By Chaz Lipp

A dip in the ratings for 24: Live Another Day wasn’t a great way to mark the series’ 200th episode, but quality-wise there was no discernible problems with episode eight. Spoilers abound in this recap, so definitely don’t read it if you haven’t seen this rather intense outing.

Photo: Daniel Smith/FOX

The episode-closing event that gave the season it’s most startling moment centered on ailing President Heller’s (William Devane) decision to follow through with his surrender to Margot (Michelle Fairley). Knowing his Alzheimer’s will only progress, Heller has concluded that sacrificing himself to save the people of London is the only logical move. In a powerful moment, Heller erupts at Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) for questioning the sense behind his decision. Devane gets to play the full range of Heller’s emotions as he visits Audrey (Kim Raver) for the last time without telling her what he’s planning to do. His Chief of Staff (and Audrey’s husband) Mark (Tate Donovan) is the only other person who helps Jack deliver Heller to Wembley Stadium. He correctly predicts that Audrey will be unable to forgive him.

Photo: Daniel Smith/FOX

In an interesting bit of character complexity, Margot seems to have a fleeting moment of uncertainty as she aims a drone missile at Heller during the final showdown. She had no such mixed feelings about attempting to kill her own daughter last episode. Simone (Emily Berrington) is in critical condition, though Kate (Yvonne Strahovski) follows Jack’s orders to force the doctors to “wake the bitch up” from a coma. They manage to get a bit of potentially important information from a very woozy Simone but nothing that prevents Margot’s assassination of Heller.

Seemingly impressed by Heller’s display of integrity, Margot upsets her son Ian (Liam Garrigan) by saying she plans to honor Heller’s wishes by calling off the terrorist attack on London. Ian is perhaps the most stringently, mindlessly militant of the Al-Harazi clan so it will be interesting to see how his conflict with Margot plays out. Will Ian truly be able to accept his mother’s decision to pull the plug on their carefully laid plan?

Photo: Daniel Smith/FOX

Meanwhile, CIA honcho Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) is still attempting to cover his involvement with Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) in the framing of Kate’s deceased husband. This subplot continues to feel grafted on, rather than comfortably integrated in the story. The reduced episode count has definitely compromised the storytelling in this way. And Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) continues to sit more or less on the sidelines. I was among the many 24 fans pleased to find out that Rajkub was being brought back for season nine. I can’t be alone in feeling that she is being completely underused. There are still a few weeks to bring her back into the story, but lately it feels as if they didn’t really know what to do with her (she’s basically out of the loop, working from a computer in a public coffee house).

Photo: Chris Raphael/FOX

24: Live Another Day airs on Fox on Mondays, 9/8c. Visit the official website to view full episodes.
Chaz Lipp

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