Every season of 24 typically had at least one or two major story twists. It was the moment when that season’s “big bad” was revealed to have been working for a “bigger bad.” (Sometimes that “bigger bad” worked for an “even bigger bad.”)

Tonight, we finally got that shift with only a few episodes left in this limited season. And it looks like an existing character was the ultimate bad guy all along with his eyes on something way, way more important than drones.

Heller is Alive

So, wow, first off… congrats to the incredibly smart commenters of mine last week that rightly predicted that no silent clock meant Heller was indeed not dead! Turns out Chloe looped some video footage of him so that Margot and Ian thought he was still standing there. Surprisingly, Jack never even let Heller in on the plan!

This is a big twist, and even with the speculation, I wasn’t sure until I watched it on screen that Heller was indeed still alive. That doesn’t, however, mean it’s a “good” twist.

Regardless, Heller is alive and Margot and Ian discover that fact very quickly, even after they’ve held firm with their end of the agreement and have destroyed five out of six drones. Once they realize they’ve been had, they stop the sixth one from crashing into the ocean and send it back towards land.

Heller, believe it or not, is pissed and he doesn’t want to go into hiding. But he goes away with Jack’s friend, Belcheck, as Jack calls the White House and CIA to bring them up to speed. He’s basically in charge of the entire operation now, doling out orders. I. Love. It.

Audrey thanks Jack for saving her dad, while Margot plots how to get back at him for reneging on his agreement. She decides instead of killing him with the last drone, he’ll have to watch as she kills all the people at Waterloo Station.

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Assault on Margot’s Hideout

Jack then jumps into his helicopter and starts heading to the East End, which is where Chloe has narrowed Margot’s location. Chloe calls Cross for some additional help and they locate Margot in a place called Tundel House. Kate and Erik are also en route to the location via car. (Side note: why has no one remarked on the fact that Erik is just back to duty as if nothing happened? Is this a case of the actor was unavailable for a few episodes?)

A firefight on the ground outside the office building erupts quickly as Jack lands the helicopter on the roof. Kate has to blow up an electrical junction so Chloe can pinpoint Margot’s exact location when the back-up power kicks in. She does and Jack starts heading for that exact floor and suite, while Kate, Erik and a back-up team engage Margot’s henchmen outside. It’s a completely thrilling shoot-out that feels like it should have been coming in a season finale–it’s that good. More importantly, I honestly had no idea how things were going to resolve themselves.

Ian locks in the coordinates for Waterloo and advises Margot that they need to leave. She refuses until the target is destroyed and even pulls a gun on him to get him to stay. Jack winds up busting through their window in a few moments, by climbing down from the roof with some spare wire. Ian fires as he sees Jack by the window, but misses. When he comes by the window again, Jack pulls Ian out and lets him fall to his death as Margot screams.

Jack jumps inside and shoots Margot before she can shoot him. But it’s too late–the missile has been fired from the drone. Chloe tells Jack he can redirect it, which he does, to detonate into the Thames River.

Margot tells Jack that she and Heller are responsible for so many deaths that night. But Jack says, “The only death tonight on me is yours.” And then he throws her out the window… holy shit! She falls to her death, landing next to her son’s dead body. That was an insane moment and easily one of the most unexpected deaths ever on this show.

Heller then arrives back at the embassy and the Prime Minister thanks him for everything. Heller is told of the successful operation at Margot’s and calls Jack. Jack now has the override device and he’s heading to the CIA to have it looked at. On his way out, he shakes Kate’s hand and tells her good work.

Steve Steals the Override Device

After Jack leaves, Kate receives a call and is told Jordan has been found dead, next to an unidentified man. (So yes, Jordan did die.) She tells Erik and they head out to the crime scene after she informs Steve. Steve’s concerned when he hears there is a second body — knowing it’s the assassin’s — and calls Cross. Cross says he’ll provide money, transport and paperwork, but only if Steve gives him the override device. Steve claims it’s useless since all the drones are grounded, but Cross insists.

Kate and Erik arrive at the crime scene, while Jack arrives at the CIA. ┬áHe calls Chloe, looking for help with the override device, but she says no and adds, “Jack… it was good to see you today. Like old times.” She then gets in a car with Cross, who thanks her for giving him another chance.

When Jack learns about the death of Jordan, he’s concerned it’s connected to Margot. He, Erik and Kate quickly deduce the second body was a covert operative and Steve starts to look panicked. Jack gets an old friend at Langley to help discover the cover operative’s true identity.

While his friend is working, Jack and Steve learn the override device does more than just hack drones. It can hack other things. (I’ll assume, based on Open Cell’s very nature, that it’s all about opening up the US government’s intelligence files… but does anyone else have any other guesses?)

Audrey calls Jack and seems to want to tell him she still has feelings for him, but Jack has to take another call from his friend at Langley. Steve, now realizing the jig will soon be up, kills (or at least knocks out) the tech working on the override device so he can steal it and escape.

And at that very moment — because of course, it’s 24 and Jack is always a step behind — Jack learns Steve is connected with the dead operative. He chases after Steve and they even exchange some gunfire, but ultimately, Steve escapes.

Cross, meanwhile, has pulled off at a gas station with Chloe. While she goes inside, he calls Steve to make sure he’s got the override device and arranges a meeting to make the trade.

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Other Odds and Ends

– Sometimes producers truly do ignore the notion of “real-time” with this show. Case in point: Audrey and the Prime Minister watching news coverage of the explosion at Wembley, even though it literally happened only five seconds earlier.

– In case you were wondering, yes, Chloe and Cross were — and apparently are again — a romantic item. I always suspected as much because of how conflicted she seemed to be all season. Was anyone else surprised though?

– Chloe wouldn’t be able to recognize Steve, right? I’m pretty sure they never met this season and I’m fairly certain he’s not important enough for her to know what he looks like.

Watch an all new 24: Live Another Day next Monday at 9pm on FOX.

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(Image courtesy of FOX)

Alan Danzis

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV