A review of last night's "24: Live Another Day" coming up just as soon as this is me being courteous...

I suppose I have to give credit to the "Live Another Day" creative team for squeezing a half season's worth of plot twists into these last few episodes, as if they want to give us all the story beats of a traditional "24" year even though they have only 12 episodes to play with. So Adrian Cross is dispatched with quickly — probably for the best, since the whole "What if Julian Assange was really a supervillain?" twist was a lot less interesting than "Julian Assange and Jack Bauer reluctantly learn to work together" — and our old friend Cheng returns with a far more ambitious plan that could just kickstart World War III.

And because it's a familiar "24" big bad, the show can get away with introducing him so quickly. We know what he's about — and his history on the show ties in neatly with what's happening with both Jack (who may be on the way to another extended prison stay in a foreign country) and Audrey (who was herself imprisoned by Cheng) — and can thus shift straight into the end game for the season. It's completely ridiculous, but it's also "24."

Beyond Cheng's arrival and Cross' death (after telling Chloe that Morris and her son died in a mundane traffic accident, and not because someone was trying to kill her), the episode's biggest development(*) was the arrest of Navarro and Kate's discovery that her late husband was framed. I was disappointed that Jack didn't open his interrogation of the shirtless Navarro with "WHO DO YOU TRAIN WITH?!?!?!" — though "Full immunity is not on the table, but your hand is!" had its own cheesetastic charms — but Jack and Kate exploiting Kate's very real fury over her husband's death to scare the information out of Navarro was an effective sequence that also demonstrated how much more in control of himself Jack has been this season. 

(*) Well, for some people, the biggest development would probably be the random appearance by "Strike Back" star Philip Winchester as one of President Heller's military advisors. I know he's a local actor who can sound plausibly American (in fact, he grew up in Montana) and thus was someone easy to bring in at this late hour when they needed somebody to sit next to Colin Salmon, but it seems a real shame to bring a star from TV's best action show into the "24" universe and not have him kick a little ass side by side with Jack and/or Kate. 

Two episodes to go, with the Russians and Chinese both in play, Cross dead, Chloe alive, and Kate doing remarkably well for having just been T-boned by a giant truck. Think the writers have another plot reset or two in them, or is this it?

What did everybody else think?