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24: 4:00am -- 5:00am/5:00am -- 6:00 am (season finale)

by Meredith O'Brien, posted May 21st 2007 7:40PM

Mike Doyle and Jack Bauer*Warning, spoilers from the last two hours of Jack Bauer's sixth bad day.*

(S06E23/S06E24) In honor of the two-hour, 24 season finale, we're going to do things a little differently. We're going to have a live chat during the show so you can post your snarky comments and reactions in real time. The full double-episode review will be posted in this space later.

Will we get the answers to our burning questions? Will there be a Star Wars-like father-son showdown between Jack and Phillip Bauer? We'll soon find out.

Click here to join the chat. Read the episode review below.

I'm usually a sucker for gimmicky season finales. I totally go for those heart-tugging moments, the unanticipated plot turns, the cliffhangers that leave you wondering for months what's going to happen next. And usually, TV writers deliver finale excitement and give the viewers what they want, even with all the ratings pressure bearing down on their writerly shoulders.

However it pains me to report that I really disliked the two-hour 24 season finale. Disliked may be too weak of a word. Hated works better. And that just kills me because I usually love 24, even when it's campy and silly and Jack Bauer springs back like Gumby from unspeakable torture. I'm sure there will be many who will disagree with my assessment -- please feel free to extol the virtues of the final two hours in the comments section -- but despite this lackluster season, I hoped that the writers would pull it together in the end. I was wrong.

The Bauer family: So much for the dramatic father-son showdown. So much for Jack, the all-American hero, facing off against Phillip, the personification of grizzled evil who was partially responsible for the nuclear bomb in Valencia and was willing to let the United States be drawn into a war just so he could get his "grandson" in his sinister clutches. (Still no answers on why Josh was so important to the unsympathetic Papa Bauer.) This potentially juicy storyline died with a whimper.

Papa Bauer was on an off-shore oil rig with Jack's torturer, Cheng Zhi, waiting for Josh Bauer's arrival. Meanwhile, Mike "The Brawler" Doyle was waiting to hand Josh over to Papa's men in exchange for the Russian circuit board in order to avoid a U.S.-Russian military conflict. Doyle, who disagreed with this plan, vowed he could both save Josh AND the board. However Papa's guys -- just as Jack predicted to anyone who would listen -- double-crossed Doyle. When they handed over a phony circuit board in exchange for Josh, it blew up in Doyle's face, likely blinding Doyle, as they took Josh away in an inflatable motorized boat.

The boat was pulling away when Jack and deposed CTU chief Bill Buchanan arrived on the scene. (Bill was summoned back to duty by wife and National Security Advisor Karen Hayes who wanted Bill to break Jack out of CTU custody in order to thwart Papa. Bill staged an auto accident and distracted the newbie CTU guard with a monologue about the Constitution while Jack got away.)

Bill and Jack "borrowed" a CTU chopper and headed to the rig to get Josh and the circuit board, even though Acting President Noah Daniels had just ordered F-18s to take out the rig and the Russian circuit board. On the rig, Josh -- who looked like he was in dire need of a juice box -- decided he'd had enough of his sociopathic "grandpaw" dragging him around and promising to take him to China. So Josh hit the old man on the back of the head with a wrench, grabbed his gun and shot him, though not fatally . . . just as "Uncle Jack" arrived and talked him out of plugging the old guy again (which is what I was rooting for him to do). Bill, Josh and Cheng (detained by Jack and Bill) were in the chopper when the U.S. missiles hit and Jack leapt off the exploding oil rig and onto a rope dangling from the helicopter. Once they were near the shore, Jack let go of the rope and fell into the ocean, so he could swim ashore and find Audrey.

While I was expecting an emotionally-wrought scene with Jack and his father -- something to explain Papa's evilness and fondness for all things Chinese -- there was none. Instead, the emotional scene occurred when Jack tracked down Audrey Raines' father, James Heller, and read him the riot act for leaving Jack to rot in a Chinese prison and for trying to keep Audrey and Jack apart. "Earlier today, you said I was cursed, that anyone I touched ended up dead or ruined," Jack said menacingly as he confronted Heller at gunpoint. "How dare you. How DARE you! The only thing I did, the ONLY thing I've ever done is what people like you asked of me."

It was a good scene. Compelling. One of the few compelling moments in the finale. (Kudos to Kiefer Sutherland and William Devane.)

But the gripping monologue was overshadowed by the giant question mark hanging over my head following the conclusion of the episode. Heller led Jack to a room where Audrey was sleeping. Jack gingerly kissed her head and expressed his undying love and devotion to her. It was genuine. Another solid moment. But during that scene Jack said something I found curious: "I know I promised to take care of you and protect you, but I'm at a crossroads. Right now, the best way -- the ONLY way -- to do that is to let you go." Why did Jack have to let her go? Why did he have to leave? Did he have an appointment elsewhere? As Jack headed out to the balcony and looked out over steep, rocky cliffs leading to the ocean, the sun was rising and the 24 clock ticked silently off, indicating the end of Jack's day.

It was unsatisfying. I wanted some sort of epic father-son clash. Nada. I wanted a closing of the circle, Jack started off the day in captivity and uttered his first words in almost two years ("Audrey"), and now he was walking away?

There was other unsatisfying weirdness: Chloe O'Brian being knocked up for example. "I'm pregnant," she told her ex, Morris, after she fainted and had to be taken to the CTU medical bay. "You mean, what, with child?" he responded. (I cannot, for the life of me, imagine Chloe, the Mommy Years.) The scene with deceased Milo Pressman's brother telling Nadia Yassir that Milo loved her led me to this question, why?

I also wanted to know about a whole host of characters who, when last we saw them, were in the hospital or on their way to the hospital: Walid Al-Rezani, Charles Logan, Wayne Palmer and Lisa Miller.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but I have high standards for 24. It started off with such promise and excitement this season. I would've given those first four hours top ratings -- 7 on the TV Squad ratings scale -- if TV Squad had this ratings system in January. However the expectations I had for the finale weren't met, despite the cool oil rig explosion. But I'm going to be an optimist and hope that the promised season seven "rebooting" will be a true reboot and that the flaws of this season will not be revisited in the seventh. I'm giving this finale a 3 out of 7.

(A big thank you to all of those who participated in the live chat during the episode. It was fun exchanging quips and observations together.)

(24 - S06E23/S06E24) How do you rate these episodes?
1 - Worst48 (11.9%)
259 (14.6%)
351 (12.7%)
474 (18.4%)
578 (19.4%)
647 (11.7%)
7 - Best46 (11.4%)

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It was an okay finale, but a little weak compared to some of the previous season cliffhangers.

I didn't like the Chloe 'twist', that seemed like a time filler. I didn't like that fact that the vice president was yet again making bad decisions even when given much better alternatives by his advisors. Why do an air strike on an oil platform to destroy a small piece of technology? Why would the Russians have been satisfied by this, when in all of the previous conversations they've demanded concrete proof that it had been destroyed?

I did like the Jack/Heller showdown, and I liked that they were able to bring Buchanan back into it.

I don't mind the lack of a Jack/Phillip Bauer showdown, as this was clearly done to give them the option of bringing the character back in future seasons. He was left for dead, but it's just about plausible that he could have been picked up by the Chinese sub before the oil platform was destroyed.

Looking forward to next season.

May 24 2007 at 5:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Moncur

Attention "24" Writers:

When you have a show that supposedly contains one 24-hour "day", YOU CAN'T WRITE IT ONE EPISODE AT A TIME. Try outlining the entire season in advance next time.

The worst part of this season is that it was backward - it started with a nuclear bomb blowing up in LA, then we had some other bombs that MIGHT go off, then it moved on to Audrey in danger, Josh in danger, and the Chinese potentially acquiring a small tactical advantage against the Russians. With that backward progression, ending with Jack quietly contemplating the ocean fits right in. Perhaps next season Jack could prevent a minor convenience-store robbery or work on alternatives to fossil fuels.

I keep thinking the bizarre things they threw in this episode (Milo's brother, Chloe's pregnancy) will mean something next season, but you KNOW the next season will begin "2 years later" with all that thrown under a rug.


May 24 2007 at 4:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Darrel Hormeku

I think his father whats to go to China because its a rising economic force( that even the US is afraid of) and if he could get in at the ground floor with alot of favors owned to him (component and all) he could become one very powerful(rich) man.

May 23 2007 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dalmar W

Did Jack's dad really die on the platform or did he manage to get on the small boat and move far enough off the platform while Jack was moving to the upper level to escape on the helicopter???
What about his daughter coming back next year?
There are numerous open ends which leave a lot to the imagination. Next year hopefully will be better, but this year was still good for entertainment.

May 23 2007 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have seen worst. I agree the season was not very creative, recycling old ideas from previous seasons. Although majority of the finale was lackluster… I did like the Oil Rig and Jack/Heller scenes. There was too many “loose ends”. I think Phillip Bauer is not dead. He was only a few feet from the boat. As for next season… rumors (possible spoiler here) are flying around that the series will take place outside LA and CTU will not be involved. Personally, I would like to see Jack overseas or maybe ditch the 24 format. I really don’t pay attention to the format. I’m more interested in the story, not the time frame.

May 23 2007 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Delmarc -

Boy, you're in a mellow mood. Kinda. Hard on CC, but oh so forgiving of a lackluster finale.

Like you say, the last few minutes with Heller and Audrey were good, but beyond that, the preceding "action" climax was really, really lame.

Anyway, glad you enjoyed it, and I appreciate your near boundless optimism about Season 7. Hope it pans out, but I think that will depend less on a change of location, and more on a change of writers.

May 23 2007 at 1:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dear C.C,
Im just gonna be blunt with this.

- Jack said " THIS IS BAUER", not Mrs. Bauer when he talked to Karen.

- Bill took the album away from the agent because it was personal to him and irrelevant to the FBI's case. I would do the same thing if an agent searches or takes away something dearly personal to me and something I see as insignificant to a case regarding me.

- Bill knows how to fly a helicopter because he's a well trained agent and worked his ranks to become an agent from Division and eventually the CTU director. Jack is not the only agent to know how to fly an aircraft and especially with the position Buchanan held, he must have been extremely well trained in the past and definitely capable of maneuvering many types of vehicles.

- I won't even discuss your anagram because you've posted wrong theories based on these anagrams before. You can form a thousand different things with Bauer and Buchanan's name that can be made into something important, but in reality, its really nothing.

And about the season finale, I thought it was a good and mature ending to this season. I believe season 7 will be totally different, from the cast to the plot to the actors and all the way to the locations, thus having this season finale covering all aspects of previous plot lines. Season 7 wil be totally new and they needed to finish every plotpoint now, and Im pretty sure Season 7 wont be affected by the previous season as the other seasons were. And just my 2 cents : Episode 23 was way to slow to be part of a season finale, and I was anticipating the action to be rewarded back to me in episode 24. It was disappointing because Bauer just shoots, hits, and kills too quickly and especially with some well precisioned shots to a gas pipe, the action was too limited and too short. The greatest thing about the season finale was the scenes with Jack, Heller, and Audrey. It was well acted and extremely tense and a very mature ending to a "lackluster" season. It wrapped up the "Audrey" years and setup season 7 to be a totally new aspect of the show.

May 23 2007 at 12:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AJ MacReady

I thought the finale was really good.
But you know why I'm REALLY happy? So I don't have to read "Mike 'The Brawler' Doyle" anymore. At least there was no calling Morris "Drill Bit" this write-up.
May have been funny the first, I dunno, 3 times or so (probably not, however); now when I read it I can literally feel myself die a little inside.
It's NOT clever and kind of a waste of time, is what I'm saying.
But let's move on - bring on Day 7, I'm ready to rock it out!

May 22 2007 at 11:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was absolutely fabulous to see Bill Buchanan -- the Cary Grant of CTU -- gallantly coming to the rescue, piloting a helicopter and shooting bad guys (the whole time decked out in a very fashionable black ensemble).

Nonetheless, other posters are right: having survived one mission with Jack, debonair Bill, the Salt and Pepper King, is living on borrowed time. He's bound to be killed in the very near future, quite possibly by that psychotic (and always drably attired) Mr. Bauer.

I hope Mr. Morrision, a fine actor, sees the writing on the wall, and moves on the greener pastures.

I think he would be a marvelous new host for The Price is Right.

May 22 2007 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wanted to use a good cliche in my post, but it looks like LTF (45) used them all up.

May 22 2007 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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