written by Robert Cochran | directed by Jon Cassar
24 built its reputation on doing unimaginable things on television; either in terms of movie-standard stunts, but also plot-twists that proved genuinely shocking to audiences. I'm sure you have some favourite moments from the show's original run, and 24: Live Another Day delivered another in this excellent eighth episode.
Sometimes an hour of 24 is dominated so much by one storyline that you just have to tackle it first, and it was certainly a huge surprise to see President Heller (William Devane) submit himself to an airborne, which gave Margot (Michelle Fairley) exactly what she wanted and ensured a terrorist's demands were met. As the story pointed out, this isn't US policy, but I'm not sure Heller's reasoning that he allowed himself to be murdered after resigning from office really means that much. It just sends the message that terrorist demands can result in any given President resigning and being eliminated, so I did have to question this aspect of the episode's plausibility. Still, this is 24. It exists to entertain on the edge of believability, and episode 8 certainly managed that.
Farewell, James Heller. A character who's been around for quite some years on 24, before getting a juicy central role in this miniseries. Devane was marvellous throughout, but particularly in his impassioned speech to Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) about letting him save thousands if innocent lives by sacrificing himself, his touching moment with daughter Audrey (Kim Raver) reminiscing over an old family photo, and the quiet dignity of the man as he wandered out into Wembley Stadium's centre spot to await his execution.
As there are four episodes to go, one assumes Margot either won't keep her end of the bargain, or she'll be ousted as leader by someone who doesn't care about her blood feud and instead just wants to get trigger happy over London's skies. The show may also now start to focus more on Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) and his manipulation of Agent Navarro (Benjamin Bratt), who sent a goon to kill techie Jordan Reed (Giles Matthey)—who's put the puzzle together and realises his boss is a mole. Plus there's the disc that the CIA have found in Margot's abandoned mansion under Navid's floorboards, which Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) much crack to regain control of the hijacked drones. So, plenty to be getting on with.
The key benefit of 24LAD has been the lack of any fat on the storytelling, and we still have the "time-jump" producers told audiences to expect because of the halving of episodes—which appears to be happening very close to the end of the show, interestingly. Maybe we're just going to avoid the early hours where it can sometimes be difficult to write a compelling narrative when all the ordinary folk are tucked up in bed.
Regardless, this was a big highlight of the show and another of the jaw-dropping moments 24 tends to excel at. I'm just a little confused Heller wasn't given the traditional "silent clock" treatment before the credits rolled...