I've been following "24: Live Another Day" via Amazon Prime, and have seen up to Episode 7. Tonight I'm watching Episodes 8 and 9, and since there are only three more of these to go, I'm feeling a bit sad. After seven episodes, things are as tangled as they ever were during Seasons 1 through 8 of "24," and I wonder how suddenly everything is going to have to resolve itself. Perhaps a few predictions are in order:
1. Jack Bauer will, of course, live. He's too marketable a character to be killed.
2. Most, if not all, of the villains will get their comeuppance. That includes Tate Donovan's character, Mark Boudreau, the President's Chief of Staff, who has made a bad deal with the Russians and will likely fall into their clutches ("24" is nothing if not a parable about karma). The dragon-lady, Margot Al-Harazi (Michelle Fairley), will most certainly die, but whether she dies by Jack's hand is not so certain. The mole, Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt), will likely perish or be incarcerated as a consequence of his own mistakes. Cyber-crusader Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) will likely buy it, now that we know he's pulling Navarro's strings. Betrayers occupy the lowest circle of Dante's vision of hell, so people like Cross, Navarro, and Boudreau need to watch their asses if they hope to survive the season.
3. Good people normally also die in "24." Whether this happens to Audrey Boudreau (Jack's former lover, played by Kim Raver) is unknowable, although I'd say there's at least a 30% chance she'll kick it. The big question, though, is whether faithful Chloe O'Brian will make it to the end of the season alive. This could very well be the bombshell that propels Season 9's ratings over the top: killing off Chloe would leave Jack Bauer truly friendless in this cold world, and arguably helpless, too.
4. President Heller (William Devane) will step down from office as his Alzheimer's becomes public. Jack Bauer has been there at the downfall of almost every president under whom he has served. In fact, "24" has done an excellent job of making the US presidency look like the worst possible job in the world. The Oval Office always ends up occupied by someone who is an actor in a major scandal (President Logan in Season 5, President Taylor in Season 8), a future assassination victim (President David Palmer, along with his brother Wade in Season 6; and President Keeler, shot down in Season 4), or a victim of disease who must step down (Heller).
5. The Brits, who've been made to look like incompetent, duplicitous ninnies on this show, will still be incompetent, duplicitous ninnies by the end. Season 9 hasn't exactly been an olive branch toward the UK. It almost makes me wonder about how the behind-the-scenes negotiations worked when Season 9 was first proposed:
US: Say, Winslow? How would you feel about shooting '24' in your country?
UK: Oh, jolly good, that! You shan't put us in a bad light, yes?
US: Wouldn't think of it!
If traitors occupy the ninth circle of Dante's hell, then perhaps there's a place there for "24."