PREVIOUSLY ON 24:
Cartoon villain Cheng Zhi gets his hands on an override device that can take over the world; U.S. president James Heller tells Jack to go find it before World War III breaks out; Cheng turns out to be working with the Russians; Jack and Mark Boudreau work together to raid the compound of a Russian spy with truly ridiculous facial hair; Audrey gets trapped by a sniper (because of course she does).
Earlier this year, before 24: Live Another Day started airing, the writers and producers made a lofty promise: by cutting 24 down from 24 episodes to 12, they could subvert the series' formulas, eliminating the nonsensical filler that plagued so many of those great older seasons. Since this newly-announced Day 9 would still take place over the course of 24 hours, the writers also vowed that we'd skip around through time this season, twisting real-time for story purposes.
Did they accomplish their goals? Well, yes and no.
Last night, in the not-so-subtly titled "10pm-11am" (with the "am" emphasized by Kiefer during the title sequence, JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN'T REALIZE), we finally saw one of those time skips, and it was about as underwhelming as a time skip could be in 24. Instead of jumping through real time to fuel the plot, or get people traveling around the world, the show just jumped from ~10:50pm to ~10:50am in order to end things with a 10-minute epilogue.
Still, with a major death, two silent clocks, and a killing spree that called back to the end of season eight, this was a satisfying, emotionally devastating season (series?) finale that capped what has been a consistently entertaining 12-episode run. It was all very familiar, sure, but isn't that what we wanted? More 24?
To quickly recap "10pm-11am": Jack teams up with Chloe to go after Cheng; they get to him (and the override) just in time to prevent World War III; Audrey dies; Jack cuts off Cheng's head with a samurai sword; Chloe gets kidnapped by Russians; Jack sacrifices himself to save Chloe, giving himself over to Moscow for what will surely be yet another year's worth of torture and General Unpleasantness.
Shades here of Jack going to China at the end of season five, but this time, with Audrey gone, Jack has even fewer reasons to live. I guess there's Kim, and maybe Kate will cross his mind once or twice, but damn, there really is no going back for homeboy Bauer.
Was this the last episode of 24 we'll ever see? It was certainly crushing: President Heller's semi-eulogy was one of the most depressing things I've ever seen on television. And we ended on a silent clock, which is usually reserved for big major deaths and emotional moments (like, say, the end of Jack Bauer).
But it didn't feel all that conclusive. It doesn't feel like Jack Bauer's story is over. Maybe the writers have forgotten about Alan Wilson and the major conspiracy they spent so much time setting up in seasons 5 and 7, but I sure would love some closure there.
And in many ways, this was a far less satisfying ending than the one we got last time 24 ended, back in 2010, when the monitors shut off and Jack disappeared from the world.
BTW, did you know that 24 fans are so insane they've created a dammits-per-episode (DPE) chart?
I really do hope this show never ends.
So that's 24: Live Another Day. In twelve episodes, we got to see Jack return to form, save the world from yet another apocalypse, end his China problem for good, and get captured by Russians. Though the writers didn't quite accomplish their "no filler" goal—let's all acknowledge that the Terrorist Family Drama at the beginning of this season was a massive waste of time—they did manage to put together a solid string of episodes full of badass moments and Jack's best buddy yet, Kate Morgan. I would totally watch another 4-5 seasons of Jack and Kate partnering up to kill terrorists all around the world, even if it does have to be coupled to nonsensical filler and boring CIA moles. 24 is just too much fun to end like this.
Anyway, we'll miss you, Jack. Here's hoping Russia doesn't fuck you up too much. Or, wait—here's hoping Russia totally fucks you up so we get to see you descend even further into the darkness and kill every goddamned terrorist on the planet.
- I like how Jack tells Cheng he should've stayed hidden and that he's going to die an old man, then immediately pulls out a katana and chops off his head.
- I also like how we got to see the entire process of Cheng's head departing from his body. I mean, holy crap.
- This episode set the Jack Bauer Kill Count skyrocketing in hilarious fashion. I kept expecting to hear a voiceover go "KILLING SPREE!"
- "I won't remember anything that happens today... I won't remember anything that happens period. I won't remember that I had a daughter that died in such a horrible fashion." :( :( :( :( :( :(
- 24's Wikipedia tells me this: "Live Another Day is the first season in which Jack's wife Teri and David Palmer are not mentioned." FUN FACT.
- The people behind 24 have a panel at Comic Con next week, so hopefully we'll get some news on where this show is going next, if anywhere. Please don't let this be over. Need my 24 fix.
- "It's time for you to go... you were right about what you said earlier, about being my best friend. Thank you." :( :( :( :( :( :(
- That's all for this season of 24 recaps, folks. Hope you had as much fun as I did.
Mole Count: 0
Jack Bauer Kill Count: UNCOUNTABLE.
Jack Bauer "Dammit" Count: 0
Ridiculous Jack Bauer Quote of the Week: "This is for Audrey, you son of a bitch."