VOD TV recap: 24: Live Another Day Episode 8
James R | On 25, Jun 2014
This contains spoilers.
“Yikes!” That should be the title of Live Another Day Episode 8, which sees President Heller exclaim the frankly under-used word as Jack performs impromptu surgery on him.
It’s not easy being President. If 24 has taught us anything, it’s that. Well, that and how to torture foreign people. David Palmer gave the first lesson years ago with his moral purity, manly facial expressions and ability to be in permanent jeopardy. Was there anyone in 24 more in danger than old Dave? He was double-crossed, assassinated, bullied by his wife – right up until he died. His brother, Wayne, continued that fine tradition of knowing right from wrong while everyone else conspires against you – right up until, yes, he died.
Then there was Charles, who showed how hard it was to plot treasonous war crimes with terrorists from other nations, all while struggling to subdue a suspicious wife and choose the right tie to wear – right up until, you guessed it, he died.
To put it bluntly, things ain’t looking good for President Heller.
He’s already been threatened by Catelyn Stark with her army of drones, double-crossed Chief of Staff Mark, who forged a warrant for Bauer’s rendition to Russia, and he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – a condition that all but confines him to 24’s seemingly bottomless Presidential recycle bin. To top it off, he’s being harangued by mean British MPs, led by Stephen Fry, who blame him for everything going wrong.
It’s no wonder, then, that he decides to agree to Catelyn Stark’s demands and sacrifice himself to stop further bombings. Because, you know, 24’s budget won’t allow them to have another car chase through London with Jack pursued by mechanised flying rocket launchers.
After the silliness of last week, Live Another Day Episode 8 goes straight for the sweet spot – literally. Heller goes to Audrey’s office to gaze at old family photos and reminisce, which for some reason doesn’t ring any alarm bells for her at all. Then he has a heart to heart with Jack, who – still hurting after his bromance with David Palmer was shot short – is dead against the idea of Heller giving in.
But this isn’t Jack’s show: and that’s the brilliance of Live Another Day’s sentimental hour. William Devane is given a chance to shine. He revels in the righteous rumbling at Jack’s sceptical questions. He twinkles at the memories of summer holidays past. He squeals archaic vocabulary like an adorably uncool grandad. He even manages to wear a baseball cap and not look like an idiot.
His plan? Resign the Presidency just beforehand, which renders his surrender a personal deed rather than an official act.
Elsewhere, Jordan tells Navarro where he is – only for him to send another assassin to kill him. They have a fight, but it’s mostly dull, with fists and blades leaving them both bleeding out on the floor. Will Jordan survive and reveal Benjamin Bratt’s boss is the mole? It’s telling that, even with Bratt on board and a decent piece of action choreography, we don’t really care: the interesting plot here has nothing to do with the CIA and the Chinese, but everything to do with Heller.
There’s more tension in the shaky alliance between Bauer and Mark, who redeems himself slightly by being the only other man in on the President’s secret. And more brutality in Audrey’s belated discovery of what her dad’s about to do.
Back at the hospital, Kate continues her quest to become Bauer 2.0 by ordering Simone – who must be induced into a coma to live – to be woken up with adrenaline. (Brian the paramedic would be appalled.) The really shocking thing is, though, that it’s all in vain. Simone tells them where her mum is, they raid the floorboards and Chloe decodes a disk, but even when they get into Stark’s system, it doesn’t work.
Chloe is left grappling at a keyboard as the drone flies silently into North London – and blows up Wembley Stadium.
Heller stands there alone, waiting on the pitch for his farewell. A private tour of Wembley? Some Presidents have all the luck.
The bombshell, though, is a mother of a payload. Firstly, presuming Catelyn Stark actually keeps her word, Jack didn’t save the day. Someone else did. And secondly, it turns out we’ve actually grown emotionally attached to a character in 24.
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