‘24’ 9.08 Recap: “End of the Road, Jack”

After last week’s action-packed episode, it was perhaps only natural that ’24’ would slow things down again this week. However, although Jack Bauer doesn’t have a single action sequence (aside from knocking a Secret Service agent out), this proved to be another excellent entry, thanks in large part to a great performance by William Devane.

Having escaped Margot’s drone attack, Simone is transferred to another hospital by Kate, while Jack has been ordered to meet with President Heller. The President has decided to turn himself over to the terrorists, and when Jack hears about it, he’s none too happy. Heller tells Jack about his dementia and explains how, in a year, he won’t remember anything anyway. After Jack reminds the President that it’s the policy of the United States not to negotiate with terrorists, he relents and agrees to help, but also tries to keep his options open. He calls Kate and tells her that they need to get information about the terrorists’ hideout from Simone as soon as possible. When Kate tells Jack that she’s under sedation, Jack replies, “Wake the bitch up!”.

Of course, Margot, Ian and the rest of the terrorists suspect that Simone might give up their location, so they’ve already moved. However, Kate is able to get Simone to give them the address of the original hideout, as well the fact that her dead husband Naveed hid a computer disc underneath one of the floorboards in the house. Now that the show doesn’t need Simone for any other reason, she dies. This is the “Rule of Necessary Characters” for those watching at home.

In case you’re wondering what happened to Jordan Reed (aka “The World’s Dumbest CIA Employee”), after getting shot and almost killed by an assassin last week, the first thing he does this week is call his boss, Navarro – who of course sent the assassin to kill him. Jordan immediately gives up his location to Navarro, who then calls the assassin and tells him exactly where Jordan is hiding. Fortunately, as was proved in the last episode, Navarro has sent the most incompetent assassin he can find. Jordan gets the drop on him, knocking him to the ground and taking both of his guns. Jordan missed the small knives he conveniently keeps taped to his upper back, however, and a struggle between the two men ensues. The assassin drives the knife (which looks more like a sharp arrow point rather than a full knife) into Jordan’s chest, but Jordan manages to shoot the assassin twice, killing him. While Jordan still seems to be breathing, his fate remains unknown as of this episode’s end.

Jack tells Heller he’s going to need one more man on the inside to distract everyone around the President so that the two of them can escape the building unseen. Naturally, Heller picks Mark – not so much because he’s the obvious guy to help, but because it will not give either him or Jack the advantage when Audrey eventually decides which guy (if either) she wants to be with later in the season. Before Heller and Jack leave, the President has one last meeting with Audrey to say his goodbyes, although Audrey, of course, thinks he just stopped in for a visit. Then, so he won’t be tracked, Jack cuts open Heller’s right arm and removes a transponder that, apparently, all Presidents have embedded in them. (Is this actually true?)

Meanwhile, the team sent to the terrorists’ former hideout find the disc underneath the floorboards and follow Kate’s instructions to send the file to Chloe O’Brian. Chloe hopes to use the data to figure out where the terrorists are, but it’s a race against the clock as Jack and Heller have already boarded a helicopter. (Does this mean that Jack is now unofficially piloting Marine One?) They make their way to Wembley Stadium, whose caretakers were nice enough to leave the lights on and the gates open for them, even though no one is supposed to know they’re coming.

At the edge of the field, Heller tells Jack that he’s given him a full pardon – not only for the events that happened four years ago, but for anything that transpires for the rest of the day. The President then walks out into the middle of the field, removes his glasses, and waits. Back at the terrorists’ compound, Ian confirms that Heller is on the field, but Margot wants to fire the drone missile herself. The missile hits its target dead-center, blowing a big hole in the middle of the stadium and (obviously) killing Heller instantly.

In this highly impressive episode (which was the show’s 200th), the writers only made one big mistake: They didn’t give Heller the “silent clock” at the end of he episode, which – historically – the series has done to mark the passing of any significant important character. That’s a shame, since both the character and the actor deserved it. (I guess there’s always home video to rectify that error.) Otherwise, this was, once again, another week of ’24’ at its best. Next week, Jack Bauer will begin to take his revenge. Hang on!

6 comments

  1. For those of you keeping track, James Heller is the 11th President to hold office since 24 began. In the show’s timeline, 19 years have passed from Season 1 to 9.

    The only President to hold a full term of office was David Palmer. No President during this time has been re-elected. Heller is the second President to be assassinated while under Jack Bauer’s watch (the first being Wayne Palmer). David Palmer was also assassinated, but after he had left office.

    Being President in the ’24’ universe sucks even worse than it does in the real world. 🙂

  2. There was another President who got injured during an attack on Air Force One, but I don’t know if they show ever said if he died of his injuries or not…I know he was replaced in office. If he died, that would be three assassinated Presidents and one assassinated ex-President. Jack sure is bad luck.

    • John Keeler (Geoffrey Pierson) was shot down in Air Force One during Season 4. It’s confirmed later in the season that he survived, but he did not return to office. He was replaced in office by Charles Logan.

      In addition to the deaths, one President was impeached (Logan) and another resigned (Allison Taylor).

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