'24' - '2:00PM - 4:00PM' Recap (Series Finale)
by Mike Moody, posted May 25th 2010 8:21AM
(S08E23 / S08E24) Sayonara, Jack! '24' ended its run of real-time action with a swift and often gripping finale that wrapped up this season's storyline and left things wide open for a big screen follow up.
Unlike some other popular shows, '24's legacy won't rest solely on the events and quality of its final episodes. For one, we're told that Jack Bauer's story will continue with at least one movie already in pre-production. Second, the show will always be known as a pioneering suspense drama that gave us a new kind of hero and put the viewer uncomfortably close to the action.
Individual seasons of '24' stand alone and, as evidenced by the show's final moments, Jack Bauer is an unstoppable force both on TV and in real life. People will love him no matter what he did or said (or who he killed) before the final credits rolled.
Things seemed to move faster than ever during the finale's first hour with Cole and Chloe determined to track down Jack and stop his plan to assassinate Russian President Suvarov. Of course, all signs were pointing to a hard-to-watch confrontation between Jack and Chloe before the first hour was over. It happened, and yes, it was a little hard to watch. Jack putting Chloe in a sleeper hold and telling her not to fight it was a very disturbing way to approach the final hour. But one of the most heated confrontations of the first hour came courtesy of President Taylor and Dalia Hassan.
Cherry Jones finally reminded us of why we once thought she was a good actress. The Prez seemingly crossed over to the dark side after Dalia found out about her involvement in the cover-up. Dalia's trust in the Prez was shattered and friends became foes in an instant in a well-acted and truly tense showdown between two great actresses. I'm glad '24' made time to showcase Jones and Necar Zadegan this way. Their scenes together were amazing, and I kept wondering what each of these women was going to do next after Dalia learned the truth about her husband's murder.
And speaking of good acting, we were treated to more of Gregory Itzin's greatness as political leach, conniving weasel, and all-around bad guy Charles Logan. Logan stayed smug during the first hour, assured that everything was going as planned. And he underestimated Jack – again! That was until our man dispatched his attaché (by knocking him out, not gutting him, surprisingly) and training a sniper rifle right between Logan's beady little eyes.
Who didn't love seeing Jack crack a smile when he told Logan to do what he does best and tell a lie? It was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it light moment that reminded us that '24,' even with its grim tone and dubious moralizing, was a really fun show.
So Chloe shot Jack in the chest, a beat most viewers probably saw coming weeks ago. But the wound, of course, was not lethal, "through and through." The most disturbing thing about this scene was how Jack held the gun to his head. He was certain, just as he was when murdering Novakovich and gutting the sniper, about his role as "judge, jury, and executioner."
Another disturbing and satisfying moment followed as Pillar lost his ear to Jack's raging teeth (a scene possibly inspired by former Reservoir Dog and '24' back-up man Michael Madsen?). But nothing was more satisfying than seeing and hearing Jack thank Chloe in the closing moments and sealing their relationship as friends and partners for good. Now that was a great beat. I didn't even mind that it was all captured by a drone and projected on one of CTU's big screens that's probably twice the size of my apartment.
I won't groan about Jack being "saved by the drone." That's the kind of silliness we've come to expect from the show, especially during this final season. Luckily, the Prez's warbly apology to Jack mostly made up for that. As did Logan's final moments with Pillar (a doomed man if there ever was one) and the cold, detached manner in which he attempted to end his own life.
We all knew that Logan would probably die or be gravely injured, but I would've love to have seen him get away and, say, hop a flight to Mexico. Simply put, he's the kind of villain you love to hate, and watching him manipulate everyone he ever met was always a blast. He might still make it, but with heavy brain damage.
I loved watching Jack morph into The Punisher last week, but seeing him come back to Earth thanks to Chloe appealing to his better judgment, and invoking Renee's name and memory, was just as great. Still, like the Prez reminded him, Jack has plenty of crimes to pay for, and the US government plus the Russians are gonna be on his tail.
The Prez might've apologized to Jack, but he's still a villain in many people's eyes. The final moments were emotional and bittersweet as Jack's life was spared, but he was forced to slip away in shadow. A hero with no glory. Sad, but still satisfying.
- Eriq La Salle as the UN Secretary-General? Not as distracting as I thought he would be.
- The acting from all the leads was uniformly superb here. Kiefer Sutherland was excellent. I know Jack has pretty much become Superman at this point, but I still hope Sutherland holds on to the role for at least a few movies.
- Somebody please give Gregory Itzin his own show. Or at least make him a villain on 'V.'
- I know this wasn't Jack Bauer's finest hour, but what did you think? Was this a good way for our man to go out?