By: Jamie Samuelsen
On an episode when daylight turned to dark, you can legitimately argue that 24 got awfully dark. And with that, I promise never to use another metaphor for the rest of the time I’m blogging about 24. That should open up a whole treasure trove of writing tools to me…oh wait.
You’re probably not reading this unless you’re loyally following the show. But on the off chance that you aren’t caught up yet, there is a major spoiler alert coming in the next paragraph.
And here it is – what a dark, awful ending for President James Heller.
We’ve seen some rather awful things happen to the presidents on 24. David Palmer was assassinated after he left office. John Keeler went down in a plane crash and never quite recovered (or so we assume). Charles Logan was stabbed by his deranged ex-wife and then later tried to kill himself. Wayne Palmer was done in by a podium bomb and later died. And now Heller gets killed by a missile. Pistons coaches get a longer term in office than 24 presidents do.
Normally, when people die in a missile attack, it’s the shrapnel or the explosion or some building collapse that kills them. In this case, Heller was the direct target of a drone piloted by Margot and Ian. He was directly hit by a missile in the middle of the field at Wembley Stadium! Even by 24’s rather morbid standards, this was a little tough to watch.
That’s how the episode ended, chock full of a ton of questions as we enter the final four hours of the season. But let’s find out how we got there, shall we?
Simone has made it to the CIA medical ward where the doctor (who bears an eerie resemblance to the afore-mentioned Wayne Palmer), tells Kate that it will take a couple of hours to stabilize her before she could even think about talking. Sheesh. These doctors and their “time it takes to heal a patient”. Clearly they haven’t been dealing with CTU or the CIA for very long.
As Simone is healing (ASAP), Margot and Ian are fleeing their bizarre mansion on the outskirts of London. The place looked like it was falling apart. Yet the hedges were trimmed immaculately. Maybe it was part of a neighborhood code.
Jack is back at the embassy to meet with Heller. Great scene here between two men who would go to any length to save their country. Heller tells Jack about the Alzheimer’s. Then he tells Jack his plans to turn himself over to Margot to save the world and bring down the drones. Jack protests, sneering at Heller that “We don’t negotiate with terrorists!” (Apparently Jack’s been watching the Fox News Channel over the last couple of weeks.) But Heller tells him that he’s resigning because of the Alzheimer’s and that this would be one civilian turning himself over to another to save England. Jack has a hard time countering this one.
Jack tells Heller that he needs another person to help with the logistics of skirting the Secret Service and getting a sitting President out of a secure location and into an empty soccer stadium. Heller leaves to go find such a man (Please don’t be Mark. Please don’t be Mark. Please don’t be Mark. Dammit! It’s Mark.)
Jack realizes that the clock is ticking, otherwise he’s going to be walking a U.S. President into slaughter. So he calls Kate for an update on Simone. She tells him that nothing has changed, so Jack encourages her to, shall we say, speed the process along.
“Wake the Bitch Up!” Jack shouts at Kate. One of his more memorable lines. And also, ironically, a new reality show on TLC – Tuesdays at 10, right after “Sex Sent Me to the E.R.”
Kate decides that it’s time to wake the bitch up, so she bursts into the operating room and stuffs a gun into the gut of the doctor and orders him to…you know…wake the bitch up. Kate is so morphing into Jack it’s becoming uncanny. I think Jack has used that exact move 46 times in 24 history.
Simone comes to briefly and is conscious enough to tell Kate the address where Mummy can be found. Oh and by the way, Naveed buried some disks in a floorboard. So there’s that too. Then she dies. Amazing how she can be so lucid and so on point 70 minutes after a bus crashed into her. These doctors and their magical potions.
Back at the embassy, the newest dynamic-duo of crime fighting is united as Jack and Mark meet to discuss their plans for saving the world and killing the President (ironic). Jack runs down exactly what he needs Mark to do. Mark takes it all in and then meekly says to Jack, “She’s never gonna forgive me for this,” speaking of course about Audrey. So pathetic. It’s like when you lose your cool at work and rant and rave, then ask a co-worker, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Jack just kind of looks at him and walks away as if to say, “Hey. That’s your problem pal.”
Audrey is hard at work planning for a staff meeting when Heller drops in to say goodbye without actually saying goodbye. They look at a picture of them together on the beach with Audrey’s mom (who looks, I’d say, 100% like Audrey). Then Audrey abruptly gets up and has to get back to work. That’s one of those PSAs they play on late night TV, isn’t it? Maybe close the laptop for a minute or two when your dad wants to talk. You never know when that moment might be your last. Way to blow it Audrey.
While all this is going on, Jordan is staggering around London. (He got shot in the shoulder, and yet he’s limping. I don’t get that. Then again, I’ve never been shot. At least not yet today.) He calls into Navarro (bad move). Tells him he’s been shot. (bad move). And then proceeds to give him his location (worse move). Navarro then calls the hit man and gives him his target’s EXACT LOCATION and tells him to finish the job. The hit man shows up. Jordan seems to be expecting him. The two wrestle around on the ground. Hit man gets shot. Jordan gets stabbed. Both APPEAR to be dead. Navarro calls the hit man again and oddly gets no answer. I have to assume that since Navarro’s number will show up on the hit man’s phone, and he’s now dead, that will be really bad for Navarro. But honestly, I don’t care that much right now. The moral of this story is two fold. 1) CIA/CTU always has a mole. 2) Always use a burner. I learned that on “The Wire”.
Jack is readying the President for their impromptu tour of London. He surgically removes his transponder. (We’ve seen some gross things on 24. That’s right up there). And then the Prez disguises himself by doffing a black ball cap. Odd that he’d think this would have the same effect that glasses have on Clark Kent. Odder still that he packed an all black baseball hat for a political trip to England. I guess you always have to be prepared, right?
The two men sneak out of the embassy, but not before Jack punches out a secret service agent who comes upon them. (“Jesus Jack,” groans Heller. Hey, Mr. President. You want Jack’s help…you deal with Jack’s tendencies. Okay?) Once they emerge from the embassy, they’re just two men (one carrying a man bag, one wearing a cap) walking the streets of London at dusk. Nothing to see here.
They make it to a helipad and take off for Wembley.
Kate has dispatched a team to Margot’s house to get the disk that is buried in the floorboards. They find it and immediately upload it back to the CIA base. The spooky Gavin, who tried to scam Jordan in the last hour, is now running the computer. I don’t know if this dude is evil or legit. So when Kate orders him to send the files over the Chloe, I wasn’t quite sure that he’d do it.
Clearly he did though, because Chloe (who is still working out of a bar) furiously looks over them to find out if there is any way to bring down the drones before Heller turns himself over to Margot. While all this is going on, Chloe appears to be getting hit on at the bar (totally unrealistic). And she also fields a call from Adrian who tells her that “Open Source” has a new outlet to continue their all-important work. That didn’t take long. The last time I lost my job, I was looking for months. Open Source has been down for a few hours. The fact that Chloe is working for Jack doesn’t make Adrian all that happy. But it piques his interest, which may mean trouble down the road for Chloe, Jack or Edward Snowden. One of the three.
Trouble has already arrived for Mark who discovers Audrey in her dad’s office, tearfully reading his farewell letter.
“Mark…you’re never going to believe this.” Pause. “You knew???”
Mark has a terrible poker face and Audrey has some rather powerful means of deduction. She’s understandably dismayed (to say the least). And for the first time in the history of arguments between a husband and a wife, she kind of loses perspective. (Shocking that it’s never happened before). “You might as well have killed him with your own hands,” she wails.
Now the strategy here, as any seasoned husband will tell you, is for Mark simply to say, “You’re right. You’re right. I’m wrong. You’re right.”
But Mark throws it back at her and tells her how much he admires Heller and that he would have done anything he asked. And then, in his first act of chivalry this entire season, Mark does not tell Audrey that Jack is with Heller. Maybe that makes Jack look bad. Maybe it doesn’t. But it was a golden opportunity to throw Jack under the bus, and he didn’t take it.
Jack and Heller enjoy a beautiful ride over the London Bridge en route to Wembley. They get out of the chopper and walk into the stadium. Heller tells Jack that he’s receiving a full Presidential pardon for all of his actions. (Ridiculous that Jack needs a pardon for anything. He should be pardoning all of them.) Then he walks to the middle of the stadium to await his fate.
The music was ominous. The tone of the entire show was rather somber and dark. To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan. I know it’s a show. I know its fiction. I know it’s fantastical. But to allow a terrorist to point a missile at an American President and blow him away was a little tough to swallow. Love you 24. Thanks for the years of entertainment. But this time, you went a little too far over the time. Like the time Kim was kidnapped by the mountain lion.
But enough editorializing. Back to the absurd reality that is 24.
What does this mean?
Will the US declare war on England for destroying their President?
Will England declare war on the US for destroying their prized soccer stadium?
How can Margot somehow save face now that she’s assassinated Heller?
Will Jordan, Navarro and the hit man just DIE already?
How will the Republicans pin this on Obama?
How will the Democrats pin this on Bush?
The scenes promised us the one thing that Jack does best…PAYBACK. Well, with four hours remaining, we sure as heck better get it!
JACK’S KILL COUNT – Last night – Zero. Season – Two. Who has slipped further – Jack Bauer or Justin Verlander?
KATE’S KILL COUNT – Last night – Zero. Season – Two. Quiet night for her. She was relegated to CIA duty.
STEVE NAVARRO LEADERSHIP AWARD – To the award’s namesake himself for ordering a hit by hiring the worst hit man in modern history. I think Maurice Cheeks was a better hire.
ANNOYING TIME ISSUE OF THE WEEK – You can get anywhere in LA traffic in 10 minutes in the old seasons of 24, but it takes Jack and Heller ten minutes to travel via helicopter to Wembley? Sheesh.
That’s it for this week. RIP James Heller. Next to David Palmer, he’s easily my favorite President in 24 history – a man who truly understood and appreciated Jack…for the most part.