After a four year absence, 24 is returning to TV in the form of a “limited series.” Shortened seasons for broadcast shows are in right now. Big-network programs like Hannibal, The Following, Sleepy Hollow and Under the Dome are taking a page out of the British/Premium Cable model, offering shortened seasons of around 12-15 episodes without the traditional option of extending the season. 24 is embracing this model as well, cutting Jack Bauer’s “day” in half to (theoretically) tell a tighter story and keep costs down. How well 24 translates into 12 remains to be seen, but there is no denying of the excitement of having Jack Bauer back on the small screen.
As a limited run companion piece to our series-spanning Dead Series Discussions we – Patches, Zach, Jeff and MegaMix – will be posting reactions to each episode of Live Another Day as it airs. These “ReJacktions” are not as long or formal (ha!) as our other posts on the series, but instead give us a chance to add some reflections and observations for each episode. Once the season has ended, we’ll give Live Another Day a proper Dead Season Discussion before bidding farewell to 24. At least until Jack comes back again.
This week’s ReJacktion is focused on Episode 8 of Live Another Day, “Day 9: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.”
It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of 24 and strong language. Parental discretion is advised. Discussion occurs in real time.
Poor Richard Heller.
Sure, it’s likely that he and his dad cut off all contact after the events of season 4. After all, when you and your dad are complete opposites politically, your dad has you tortured for hours and then forces you to reveal that you’re gay to the staff of CTU, chances are you’re not going to be happy with him. Still, the fact that this episode denied his existence and that President Heller didn’t give one thought to his only son before checking out is unfortunate.
Or maybe he just called him during a commercial break.
Bad dad-ness aside, I really enjoyed this episode. I probably enjoyed it more than I should have, considering it’s sort of a retread of Chappelle’s final hour (with a bit of Mason-like sacrifice thrown in). When you’re going to steal (even if it’s from yourself, something 24 knows A LOT about), steal from the best. It just works.
Your mileage may vary on Margot and Heller suddenly deciding and believing, respectively, that there is such a thing as a noble and honest terrorist. But of course, that won’t matter when petulant Ian takes over next week, right? You might also wonder how necessary this really was and what end it served, particularly considering the lack of significant buildup to Heller’s decision outside of this episode (and the lack of a silent clock). But greater arguments aside, I think the smaller moments in this episode really stood out.
The “goodbye” conversation between Heller and Audrey was a little too sentimental, but the tension between what we know and what she doesn’t makes it hum. This was also a chance for Mark Boudreau, Chief of Staff to show his quality, and he didn’t disappoint, particularly in the scene with Audrey where he’s essentially Jack-Bauered her. Heller convincing Jack by pointing out that self-sacrifice is the Bauer thing to do was nice. Perhaps my favorite scene of the episode was the 30-or-so seconds of Jack and Heller in the chopper over London, not saying a word. Lastly, Heller’s death, though explosive, was one of melancholy nobility. Heller standing alone at midfield awaiting his fate was a pretty powerful image.
Of course, if you stop to think about it, it’s also deeply silly, but in order to enjoy 24, you have to give yourself over to it. I’m a sucker for moments where the bad guys win (see also, Chappelle and Mitch Anderson), so this worked for me.
I’ve run out of room to talk about the Bauer-ization of Kate (pulling a gun on a doctor), the mysterious endgame of Adrian Cross (trying to re-recruit Chloe), the absence of Erik (Not Pictured) and the concluded(?) adventure of Jordan and the hitman (a weird little side story), so maybe you can. I will say that I’m definitely on board for the final four.
The only times I haven’t loved this season is when 24 has gone back to the well to rehash something we’ve seen, often numerous times, in previous seasons. And that’s happened plenty.
However, I’m done caring. 24 is 24. It doesn’t know how to be anything else. And now I’m just basking in the glory of its 24est season yet. Live Another Day is rapidly climbing my season rankings, mostly because it’s turned 24 up to eleven. “Well, boys, this is the last season of 24. If we’re going out, let’s 24 the shit out of this season.”
LAD’s featured Jack shooting protesters, bloody gunshots to heads, severed fingers, arms blown off, and an outrageously high Damn It Rate (DIR for you sabermetricians) of 1.6 per episode through E7.
In Episode 8 alone, There’s bullets exploding from a dude’s back, President Heller’s going from zero to OLD MAN YELLING in record time, a drone strike on Wembley Stadium, and Jack hilariously telling Kate to “wake that bitch up,” although I doubt it was supposed to be as funny as I found it.
And I’ll raise Jeff’s wager and say that Heller’s arc in this episode was some of the series’ best work. Heller yelling at Jack, his conversation with Audrey (I wouldn’t call it overly-sentimental given the circumstances), Boudreau’s conversation with Audrey, the quiet chopper ride (RIP Larry), Heller’s dignified death, and Margot’s sigh of relief. It was incredibly powerful, although the facial recognition was an unneeded distraction from the power of the moment and this is all I have to say about the lack of silent clock.
Lastly, if you don’t mind me putting on my historian hat, Jack Bauer isn’t wrong often, but he was when he repeated the oft-quoted axiom that “America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.”
Anyone just historically versed would say, “Yes, it does.” A part of the Iran-Contra Scandal was the US selling missiles to Iran, who had held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days just six years earlier, in exchange for their assistance in negotiating the release of seven hostages in Lebanon. George W. Bush paid a ransom to a Filipino group that had abducted two missionaries. President Obama negotiated with the Taliban to secure the release of Bowe Bergdahl.
So, I’m Jacked Bauer to see where this is headed, especially if Terror Mom follows through with her end of the bargain, finally acknowledging that terrorists are violent protesters and not purveyors of random violence. I’m sure Terror Son will stand down peaceably.
Guys, I’ll agree: this was a pretty good episode. There’s just one thing that keeps bothering with me about this episode: that one part when Jack Bauer personally escorted the president to an easy death at the hands of a violent terrorist because Alzheimer’s.
You know, the same Jack Bauer that has spent the last however long infiltrating terror organizations because he just hates evil people so gosh darn much and wants them to be destroyed. Forgive me, fellow lovers of 24, for not being so accepting of our favorite former fed’s occasional scuffles with ludicrous fantasy – I simply think that the storyline was unnecessary, forced, and a-Jack-ian.
While Jazz Hands and I “went dark” vis a vis this show earlier this week, I claimed to him that there was no way that JB would do the same for the only Palmer who ever actually served as president in a real season of 24David Palmer. Jazz argued that he probably would have, had DP made a compelling case for it (a la Heller’s sickness, what have you). To that I say: how pissed would that have made you?
Two of the best moments in the history of 24 have been sacrificial deaths. For Mason, it was self-sacrificial, and also one of the strongest therapy sessions Jack ever receives. For Chappelle, it was because Jack deemed there was no other alternative. In both instances it was effectively Jack’s call, and the decisions were made on a wholly-utilitarian basis. Jack has certainly picked up an emotional streak in the last few seasons, but mostly when dealing with rage and therefore his enemies. Sacrifices and other hard decisions have, I argue, retained this moral utilitarianism. And it just doesn’t make any gd sense for JB to let the president of the free world get vaporized by a terrorist whom Chloe is, unfortunately, not going to find in exactly the next 35 seconds.
When this storyline was presented in the last episode I was excited, because I thought we were going to have a 3- or 4-story arc whereby Jack and Heller are on the lam, fleeing British and American troops while attempting to rendezvous and, thus, apprehend TerrorMom. But they decided instead to just blow that storyline up (yup went there). And now we return to the world in which every government on the earth wants to find, apprehend, and probably kill Jack Bauer; Audrey and Boudoir have to make tortured decisions about Jack’s fate that VP Kyle Singer won’t agree with anyway, and Chloe will have to say like a tearful goodbye or something lame.
they’ll just do awesome stuff like have Jack and Kate rock turr’sts faces again and I’ll quit my whining.
Happy 200th episode, 24!
Remember the good ol’ days when Presidential transponders weren’t sub-dermal? That Band-Aid is a bit small for that incision, Jack.
Also, no President in the history of 24 has ever served a complete, full term. Jim Prescott briefly removed David Palmer from office during season 2 and had to take over temporarily after Mandy tried to kill Palmer. Keeler/Logan/Gardner were next in line, followed by Palmer/Daniels, Taylor/Hayworth, and Heller/TBD (probably someone’s brother or sister).
Remember, kids! Dying in a fiery explosion is still better than Alzheimer’s! Although Alzheimer’s does run in my family, so I’ve given enough thought to the prospect that I’m apt to agree. SHIT JUST GOT REAL!
When President Heller told Jack to wait because he was going to get one more person he trusted, I wanted him to bring in Chief Terrorism Advisor Tony Almeida SO BADLY!
Maybe they will wake President Heller’s riddled corpse up to ask it questions and then let it die again like they do with everyone else who dies on 24!
My other favorite moment was how Marky Mark said Audrey “would never forgive him for this” and Audrey said like 10 minutes later “I don’t know how I’ll ever forgive you for this!” You see, that’s character building – Mark is so prescient.