24: 5:00am - 6:00am / 6:00am - 7:00am (finale)
by Tom Biro, posted May 23rd 2006 1:38AM
(S05E23/S05E24) This season would begin with hours and hours of action and drama, and it would close out with a pair of episodes carrying just as much weight. When we left off a week ago, Jack Bauer, Christopher Henderson, and another agent were going to attempt to take down Vladimir Bierko, who just snagged a Russian submarine in U.S. civilian territory by using the last remaining cylinder of weaponized nerve gas. The fact that there were twelve sea-to-land missiles on board was just what the doctor ordered ... if you're a bad guy and represented a pretty big challenge, even for Bauer & Co. to overcome.
President Logan proved to be just the egotistical bastard that he had been portrayed as, buying in to everything his wife had to say to him to keep him where he was at the compound instead of flying to the airport to go back to DC with David Palmer's body. He thought he had his cake and would eat it too, but Jack and his band of merry CTUers would have nothing of it. The finale had a bit of laughs, with Chloe's ex-husband (who knew?) Morris, who worked at a ladies' shoe store, coming back to pretty much save the day. Okay, okay, he was just really good with technology. Plus, having him getting a high level security clearance was just the randomness we all needed to show some un-reality in this show, since no one had been opening sockets or blowing up baddies with a Treo of late.
We knew that somehow or other, Jack would make his way into the submarine and make his move on Bierko, given the promos from last week. We also knew he'd get some face time with Logan. What we didn't know was that by some odd chance, a Navy crewman had survived on the submarine, and takes out one of the guards Jack needed to have wasted in order to execute his plan. Getting to see him tell a young guy how to execute a guard was probably almost as intense to watch as seeing him do it himself, which he's done over a hundred times or so by now.
I thought that the show's writers did a fantastic job of showing how much of a fool Logan was by letting his wife play him, not once, but twice, in order to get the confession out of him. Hell, he even searched her to find some sort of listening device, not realizing that it was on him all along. And you thought Jack wussed out for once, didn't you! I've gotta admit there, was a moment when there was plenty of show left, and it looked like Logan was going to walk away, to drink scotch with his Bluetooth headset-wearing friends in some nouveau living room somewhere. Of course, that was shortsighted of me. I mean, Chloe O'Brian was on the job and whatnot.
If there's one thing that I have to commend about this show, outside of the number of Executive Producers and Co-Executive Producers that are paraded at the beginning of each week, it was how they cascaded the imagery of Logan being walked off, having his last moment in the Sun as the agents take him off the dais, just as President Palmer's body is saluted with gunshots and loaded into the cargo hold of a plane for travel to the East Coast. Both men's history pretty much ended at that moment, but one was honored while the other was shuffled off. Will we ever find out that Logan ratted out his cohorts, or will he prove to be more stingy than he seemed? I'd say considering he faced certain death at his own hand just a few hours earlier, having Jack Bauer not be able to shoot him was probably a welcome occurrence.
We never really got closure when it came to Kim Raver's character, Audrey Raines, but just as we got to see David Palmer for a few moments at the beginning of this season, maybe we'll have the same from Audrey next year -- word is that she will be part of another network's programming. What we did get answered is something that many readers of this site have been curious about: What's up with the Chinese guys who were after Bauer last year? Well, it turns out that not only are they super crafty, they've got some dealing to do with the U.S. Government when it comes to Jack Bauer. Won't he be surprised when he wakes up in Shanghai or wherever he's off to.
As far as finales go, I have to say that this one definitely made me happy, had me wanting more while still giving a pretty good amount of closure. FOX did a fantastic job, IMHO, of channeling the commercials into reasonable buckets, with the first episode flying by with lots of unbroken content. If we're going to have to wait a full year to see another season like this, it's definitely worth it. Compressing a season like they did with lots of two-hour sessions got people involved quickly, and allowed for just the right amount of break-time during the half-year. While the network, I think, made a boo-boo by breaking up Prison Break so much, and ABC is looking to do the same with Lost next year, I think they realized they did good with 24. Just like most of us binge on our DVD selections when we rent or buy whole seasons, you could almost do that with your DVR this season.
But enough from me, ladies and gents ... what did you think?