After watching the season finale of “Game of Thrones,’’ I really thought I could go for a day or two without seeing any major television characters get killed off. Whoops. Forgot it was Monday, and it was “24’’ time, and that this is a show where presidents are about as disposable as redshirts on the original “Star Trek.’’ But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back to the beginning of last night’s episode. Simone is wheeled into the CIA headquarters, still very touch and go in her induced coma. The say she’ll be out for an hour in the least … but does anyone really think it’ll be that long? Jack’s patience supersedes medical logic. Hell, he drops a “We’re running out of time!’’ four minutes in, which must be some kind of a record. Somewhere else in London, the Al-Harazi’s are packing up like the Griswolds, switching locations after Heller agrees to Al-Harazi’s demand. He’ll trade his life for the destruction of the drones, Margot reports to her son, before they flee in their family trucksters. Holiday ro-oh-ah-oh-oh-od.
That really awful assassin sent by Navarro continues to bumble himself around London, looking for Reed. The Benny Hill music should just follow him around. Remember the old Kids in the Hall “Bad Doctor’’ sketch? He’s that incompetent in his assassin profession. Maybe he just won a contest. Well, he can’t really screw up finding Reed this time, as his hurt target has already blabbed about his location to the duplicitous Navarro on the phone. No big deal to track him down. Reed’s waiting, though, suspicious of Navarro’s motives, and the two get into a brawl that ends with Reed stabbed (and presumably dead) and the World’s Worst Assassin gut-shot and definitely dead. I guess he wasn’t too, too bad at his job in the end.
In the U.S. hotel, Heller reveals to Jack that he’s offered up his surrender to Margot, in return for the drones getting themselves crashed into the English Channel. It’s a one-for-one trade they make – Heller’s life, to be snuffed out by one drone’s attack, for the destruction of the rest of the drones. She tells him to show up at Wembley Stadium (England’s famous football grounds) within the hour. I’m in a soccer mood after that awesome USA win, so it’s nice to keep that thing going tonight. It’s also where my Oasis live CD was recorded, so I’m liking this little plot twist. So far.
Jack’s a bit hesitant to go along with Heller’s plan, but the president pulls out the Alzheimer’s card and forces Bauer’s hand. “Face it, son, you and I are the only chance they have,’’ Heller barks at Jack. That gets him,. They need another member to fill out the hush-hush trio, though – and to everyone’s surprise, it’s Boudreau, that shifty-eyed chief of staff, who’s their co-conspirator. Jack is charged with sneaking Heller out of the hotel and beyond the secret service agents to carry out the plan, kind of like a reverse “Olympus Has Fallen’’ / “White House Down.’’ There’s some housekeeping to be done, though. Heller shares a tender remembrance with Audrey – this sure feels like a farewell – and Boudreau gets them the time and resources for their fleeing purposes.The odd couple of Jack and Boudreau, working together. A model for all exes interacting with current relationshipees.
There’s one more thing they’ve got to do before they can peace, however. Apparently, all presidents are Lojacked. Jack’s got to slice into Heller’s arm and pull out an embedded transponder before they can go. How on earth did Jack know about that? This is some “Total Recall’’ type stuff right now. Thanks to those resources, they slip out of the residence with Jack only having to one-shot punch one secret service agent. Maybe if that were Clint Eastwood, it would have been a fair fight.
There’s one last card to play, as Jack presses Morgan into interrogating the wounded Simone (first “Damn it!’’ 15 minutes in). “Wake the bitch up!’’ he yells at her, a rare moment of misogyny that seems just a bit out of character for Mr. Bauer. Well, at least it works, even if it takes Morgan threatening the poor doctor with a gun in order for the hazy interrogation to proceed. Simone gives them an address – 10 Broadmoor Road, which sounds exactly like a street a bunch of American writers would make up if they were setting a show in London. A CIA team manages to find a computer drive there, another possible route into the Al-Harazi organization. Chloe tries to get what she can out (typing in a typically crowded British pub) of it as Jack and Heller embark on that final mission to Wembley, Heller’s disguise nothing but a plain black baseball hat. I wonder if that’ll be on sale at Lids for $40 tomorrow.
Boy, what can’t Jack do? Forgot completely that he was a helicopter pilot along with being a regular pilot. I bet he just downloads skills like Neo and Trinity at this point. He choppers Heller into Wembley; London at night, especially the soccer stadium, just looks lovely. Uh oh. There’s not much time left in the episode – and certainly not enough time for Chloe to effectively hack into Margot’s system. It’s all on Heller’s shoulders now. The president turns to Jack and says that he’s issued a full pardon to Jack, giving him a clean slate in the world, before striding out alone to the pitch to meet his drone-related fate. Certainly the most heroic sacrifice by a fictional United States president we’ve ever seen, right? A squeeze of a joystick trigger, a drone missile and an awful CGI explosion later, and it’s time for the National Cathedral to start sweeping the floors and shining the pews. The curse of “24’’ presidents has claimed another one. The poor chief executives in this show, man. There have only been four presidents killed in the history of the United States; it seems like “24’’ goes through four a season.
Other thoughts, as I really hope that we can see Jack fly an F-22 before the season is over:
– Big questions for the last quarter of the season. Will the Russians stay away after the pardon was issued (ha!)? How will Audrey take to Jack allowing her father to get blown up? Will Margot keep her word and destroy the drones? Is Reed really dead? Can we get a backstory behind that Russian guy’s great facial hair?
– Sorry for all of you “Game of Thrones’’ book readers about that little hint I dropped last week. Really thought that was going to end season four. I guess there’ll be no double duty this season.
– This was the 200th episode! What a landmark for the show. How many deaths and explosions and bullets have we seen fly through the years …
– I mentioned “Star Trek’’ red shirts in this episode, so that gives me permission to link to a “Galaxy Quest’’ clip. What a hilarious movie.