- The Chinese president warns Heller: “Whatever happens today is on your head.” which mirrors how Audrey consoled her father not to blame himself for the events of the day. Similarly Margot’s last words were poised to sit harshly with Bauer, blaming further deaths on the man. Obviously since we the audience have followed much of the events through Jack and Heller’s POV, it’s no debate that they’re the good guys doing the honorable thing, but the question is, how will they actually live with all the damage done at the end of the day, for the tough decisions they had to make, and things they had no choice but to do? This thematic notion is even more emphasized when Heller insists on keeping the alert level low. He wants to prevent further complications, and ultimately another war, but you could also argue that he doesn’t want to ‘get his hands dirty’ either. More importantly in Heller’s case, how will he be viewed in history books? Savior of nations, or an incompetent commander-in-chief? Will Heller and Jack come out of this endless day of reckoning with heads held high?
- Speaking of Heller’s restless conscience, his reflective moments have shined through this season, particularly where he’s briefly seen looking out the car window here, or his office (see 9.01), watching the deaths broadcast on local news (9.07) and his failed shot at heroic sacrifice at the Wembley stadium. Now put that against his progressive amnesia and there you have the arc’s sweet spot: a clear conscience, saving lives, preventing wars, leaving a good name in history books for generations to come…does it all really matter when you can’t even remember your who you are? Would you still do the “right” thing even if you knew you wouldn’t have the memory to recall, when you’re losing yourself neuron by neuron (see the car conversation with Audrey in 9.01)? We’re going to discuss further Heller’s quest at a crossroads in the upcoming 9.12 afterthoughts.
- [SPOILERS for the Day 9 finale] With the events of 9.12 in mind (Jack and co. failing to keep Audrey safe), Jack’s heartfelt phone conversation with Audrey -resuming where they’d left off back when Navarro sneaked out with the override device – resembles the last time he spoke with Teri. In both these last goodbyes, their invisible bond is fortified, all before the curse of Bauer takes charge as Heller reminded him in 6.26. Jack loses the love of his life all over again. [/SPOILERS]
- “As long as Bauer is alive he is our political liability. I was trying to turn him into an asset.” – Mark’s rationales highlight the struggle President Taylor had to deal with in the final hours of Day 8, and basically come close to sounding like Logan’s. So what pushes a character into the grey area? Curiously enough, a major element in classifying 24 politicians for us would be to take into account the way they each have treated Jack Bauer; the sole wild card in preventing wars and saving lives who’s ironically also a liability as Mark points out. Palmer stood by Bauer till the end, and hence, consistently so, he arguably stands as the most honorable and courageous of 24 presidents (if not characters). At the opposite side of the spectrum, we’ve got Logan who sold Bauer out to enemies more than once over the course of seasons for what he thought was the right pragmatic thing to do, or the best for his presidency. Then we’ve got others falling somewhere in between, like President Taylor or Heller (and even to a lesser degree, Noah Daniels) who had to make tough choices, challenging their values at different points in time, but ultimately did the -redeeming- right thing.
- Note how these two shots brilliantly place Simone and Boudreau behind metaphorical ‘bars’, when there’s no turning back and only one way forward.
- Turns out, Mark was right after all. Bauer resurfacing means bad news for Audrey, every time!
7 / 10 Seriable Stars