24: Live Another Day, Season 1, Episode 8: “6:00 PM – 7:00PM”
Written by Robert Cochran
Directed by Jon Cassar
Airs Mondays at 9pm (ET) on FOX
And so we must say farewell to one of the finest actors to have graced this show. And what a way to go out.
There is more than a scent of resigned doddering in this week’s outing. Jack’s mission is fairly rote, as he needs to get Heller out of the presidential enclave without anyone knowing, but it accounts for much of the running time. He forms an uneasy alliance with Mark, who keeps almost everyone else in the administration occupied while Jack and Heller make a beeline for the rendezvous with Margot.
Yet the president and the terrorist never get to meet face to face. There’s no hidden agenda in Heller’s decision to hand himself over to his foe. We simply see a man with a degenerative mental illness wade into the middle of one of the planet’s most famous sporting arenas, and the explosion that turns him to ashes.
It’s a stark contrast to the previous rollicking episode (which strangely seems to have given Londoners little cause for alarm, despite a hospital and several buildings transformed into rubble via drone rockets), but one filled with beats of earned poignancy. Heller’s last moments with his daughter play out swimmingly, as they reminisce over old family times. The London skyline is given full attention with gorgeous cinematography. There’s even a note of poetry to Heller’s death by drone, since the widow of a man whose death he ordered via the unmanned assault machines pulls the trigger that ends his life.
While the episode gives us pause to reflect on the season so far, it also shakes up the status quo immeasurably. A new president is about to enter the fray, and Margot seems ready to stand by her promise to destroy the remaining drones under her command. That is, unless her son has anything to say about the matter.
Kate has relatively little to do, save for threatening a doctor and bating breath until the Navarro conspiracy ensnares her. She’s left behind, as is Chloe, who is merely a conduit to increase the tension in the hope she might stop the drones. This is the James Heller show, and everyone else is left behind.
William Devane’s last stand as a part of this universe is magnificent. He plays the scenes with Jack and Audrey beautifully, with all the gravitas that playing the world’s most powerful doomed man demands, combined with a desire to do one last good thing with his life. It’s a sad farewell to a compelling actor, but 24 demands constant motion. His death was inevitable, and so onward we must march, to a new person in power, the threat of an impending demise, and the next turmoil in Jack’s day.