Don’t read anything below this sentence unless you’ve seen the episode or you like when people spoil shows for you.
This season, like its essential character has done in the past, 24 came back from the dead to reach its 200th episode.
Numbers are the basis for the 24 formula – a rigid storytelling structure that made the show both famous and susceptible to cracks in its own logic. For a show that often gets caught up in days, hours, minutes and seconds, tonight the show hit an important and unlikely milestone in reaching a number no one expected to get to.
“I can promise you when we started the show, this thing wasn’t even in our minds,” said series Co-creator and Executive Producer Robert Cochran to reporters this week. “We were trying to get to Episode 2. We’re very thankful for it.”
Ceremony aside, episode 199 left a ton of questions lingering. 24 has built an empire on the unbreakable tension of its storytelling process and the importance of No. 200 wasn’t lost on the series’ head honchos.
“I personally felt that this was going to be a big episode in the season,” said Executive Producer Manny Coto. “The real thing we knew we wanted to do was Heller giving himself up to Margot. We knew this was going to be a big story. It presented an opportunity for a really moving episode, and [one that was] different than the episodes that preceded it. I think it was stories reaching their [high] point at the same time, rather than anything planned.”
While numbers got 24 to this point, tonight’s episode was one of the better entries of the season because it didn’t succumb to the usual frills of its own tired structure. Each second ticked off a little slower tonight. Everything felt less urgent because hour 6:00 – 7:00 told the story of a man willing to give his life to save others. It was fitting that on the day the American’s soccer team walked out on the pitch and won their World Cup opener in dramatic fashion, President James Heller walked out on to one of England’s most famous pitches to meet his fate.
Here at Den of Geek we honor the fallen in real life and in fiction. It is with heavy hearts that we publish our hot-off-the-press obituary for President James Heller:
James Heller, President of the United States, Dies In Terrorist Attack
LONDON – Sitting President James Heller, who graciously led the United States into a new decade, died in an apparent terrorist attack in London on Monday. On a conference call with reporters, White House Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau confirmed that the president was targeted and killed in an explosion, though Mr. Boudreau declined to comment on the details of the attack, citing a conflict of national security.
The White House has yet to release official details surrounding the president’s sudden death, as the terrorist suspects remain at large in the London metro area. President Heller was 76 and is survived by his children, Audrey and Richard.
Mr. Heller rose through the ranking of the United States Army as an Air Defense Artillery Officer, pilot and eventually took a leadership role as a captain before entering into another form of public service. A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Heller dreamed of a life in politics, earning his political science degree from the esteemed Ivy League institution and using his military experience to win a congressional seat. A leader in Congress for his expertise in aviation and military policy, Mr. Heller was appointed as the Secretary of Defense by former President John Keeler.
Over the years, rumors have surrounded Mr. Heller on a number of key issues, most relevant today that he was previously a target of another terrorist organization, though neither Mr. Heller nor the White House has ever officially confirmed any such rumors.
Mr. Heller was in London to conduct talks with the British Parliament about keeping an American base in the United Kingdom open.
Best of the Rest:
I thought the great William Devane was hit or miss at times during this season, but tonight he turned in a wonderful performance to say goodbye to an important character in 24 history.
“If a murderer like Heller can keep his word, then so can I…” – Crazy Person
Funny, I thought you were ALREADY A MURDERER!
PARDON ME: There wasn’t enough time to put up a good fight, as Jack needs only a haymaker to sneak the President out of the curiously desolate embassy. That takes the cake for the ridiculous Jack moment of the episode. We’ve seen much worse (See Last Week).
Steve Navarro is connected to Adrian Cross but I’m wondering if they’re at all connected to Margot. It seems a little late in the season to not have revealed that already, but it almost seems inevitable considering how little we know about their operation.