The End of an Era
Dammit! Just when you think you're out, they drag you back in! You know, the funny thing about Jack Bauer is that even when he steps way over the line and seems to be irredeemable, he can show his soft underbelly and make us feel compassion and understanding. I really thought he had gone too far; he did go too far. But I saw that underneath it all, beyond his misplaced grief over Renee, Jack wanted to expose a great injustice. Thanks to a great bit of acting by Kiefer Sutherland, I felt Jack's internal agony and his aloneness. I understood his emptiness and how much he felt like giving up everything, even his life, if he could just expose this one last conspiracy. After an extremely ludicrous middle of the season and especially after the arrival of Gregory Itzin's Charles Logan, the level of acting seemed to rise all around. The final scenes between Cherry Jones and Necar Zadegan were riveting and at times, heartbreaking as we watched Dalia Hassan understand just who was involved in her husband's assassination and subsequent cover-up, and then President Taylor alternately threatening and crumbling. Mary Lynn Rajskub's tears seemed genuine and even Freddie Prinze Jr. stepped up to the plate, his Cole Ortiz finally snapping out of an open-mouthed stupor to take charge as Chloe's last straight-talking ally. Watching the last two hours of 24 was, for me, a welcome contrast to the Lost series finale, with most of the loose ends tied up and a rather satisfying conclusion.
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Ortiz receives a call from Arlo who alerts him that an escaped Jack has killed seven men, including Russian Minister Novakovich. Arlo muses that he knows they need Jack's evidence, but that the crime scene is a slaughterhouse. Ortiz says if anyone can talk down Jack, it's Chloe. Ortiz arrives at Mr. Blonde's place and Arlo tells Ortiz that Mr. Blonde won't be happy to be found. Inside his lair, Mr. Blonde is watching the news, a popular activity with all the day's crises. He receives a security alert on his system and on his computer screen, watches Ortiz approaching, gets a facial recognition identification and begins a computer system wipe while he waits. Ortiz has some gadget that lets him see through the wall. He shoots Mr. Blonde's door, kicks it down and and offers Mr. Blonde a deal if he'll help find Jack. Ortiz appeals to him to repay Jack for saving Mr. Blonde's life, by helping Ortiz find Jack. When Mr. Blonde says nothing, Ortiz declares that if Jack dies, it's on Mr. Blonde. Of course when Ortiz starts walking away, Mr. Blonde falls for his little psychological game.
Chloe arrives at the UN and meets up with Agent Burke (Jamie Martz) who asks her why Ortiz is back on the roster of on-duty agents. Chloe assures the agent that Ortiz can be trusted. Ortiz phones Chloe and tells her that Jack bugged Logan and heard a conversation with President Suvarov admitting he was responsible for the order to kill Renee. Chloe advises Ortiz that Meredeth Reed was arrested and that she had a data card confiscated, but that Jack has a card with the Logan/Suvarov conversation, so now that is their only evidence. Ortiz counters that they have to change their priority to stopping Jack from killing Suvarov. Chloe is worried that Jason's team will find Jack, kill him and get the evidence; she wants to change Suvarov's route to buy them some time to find Jack. They agree to try to find Jack before Suvarov can get to the UN podium where his security would be compromised.
Jason advises Logan to speak with the President before an alert about Novakovich goes out over the wire. Logan tells him that it's time for President Taylor to know everything. At the UN, the President is walking and talking with Tim Woods when she receives Logan's call that Jack is on a revenge mission. Logan tells her that Novakovich was killed by Jack, and that both Novakovich and President Suvarov were responsible for the assassination of President Hassan. Logan assures President Taylor that Jack doesn't know about Suvarov. But come on Madam President, have any of his assurances panned out today? Think, woman! As Jack listens in on their conversation, President Taylor wonders how she can ask Mrs. Hassan to shake hands with her husband's murderer. The President instructs Logan to let Suvarov to know that she is aware of his role and she walks into her protocol meeting.
Jason checks in with Eden after Logan leaves for the UN. Eden lets Jason know Jack is injured. As Jason is finishing the conversation, Jack pops up in the back seat (surprise!) and when Jason hangs up, Jack threatens Jason and orders him to drive to the UN. Jason starts blathering and Jack tells him to save his breath - he already knows about Suvarov's involvement.
A UN staff member briefs leaders before the peace agreement signing. Jamot lets Mrs. Hassan know that Kayla is waiting to speak with her and Mrs. Hassan asks Jamot to tell her to wait a moment. Mrs. Hassan gifts President Taylor with a pen inscribed with the words, "All religions, all this singing, one song, peace be with you". Dalia relays that President Hassan wanted President Taylor to have it to sign the peace agreement. President Taylor thanks Mrs. Hassan, but she can't bear to look Dalia in the eye. After the President leaves the room, Kayla tells her mother about Meredeth Reed's call and her claims that outsiders were involved in President Hassan's assassination.
Ortiz arrives at the UN security operations center where Chloe is handing down orders. Chloe has plans to send out the evidence file the moment they get hold of it; Ortiz is worried about whether the President will have it stopped. Chloe says they will send the evidence to every media outlet and every government employee simultaneously and that the President won't be able stop the truth getting out.
Jason escorts Jack to the UN and when they near the front, Jack tells Jason their destination is the emptied out Hart Building (across from the UN) and that Jason had better not make any false moves. Guards stop the vehicle at the parking garage entrance; they check Jason's ID but not the vehicle? (That we can see Jack's head right behind Jason, but the security guard can't is positively silly.) Jason parks inside the underground garage and Jack gets the vehicle keys. After exiting the SUV, Jack orders Jason out of the vehicle, has him back up to Jack then turn around to face Jack. He then hands Jason a needle and thread (that is some handy kit Jack has) and tells him to suture Jack's wound. Jack has his gun to Jason's neck as the two men discuss the day's events, with Jason questioning that Jack is acting as judge and jury. Jack says with the Presidential cover-up, yes, he is both. When Jason finishes, Jack orders Jason to his knees and Jason starts begging for his life, crying that he has a little girl. Jack takes mercy on Jason and whacks him really hard on the head to knock Jason out rather than shooting him, then lets out an agonized yell. He locks the unconscious Jason in the back of the SUV and heads out with his duffel again.
Dalia Hassan keeps trying to reach Meredeth but cannot get an answer with the phone number Kayla gave her. Jamot tells Mrs. Hassan that Meredeth's publisher wouldn't talk to him, he just wanted to get off the phone. Dalia puts on her scarf to go speak with President Taylor, making the leap that the Suvarov may have been involved in her husband's murder. President Taylor's advisor lets her know that Dalia wants to speak with her, and the President says she'll call her back, but Dalia is outside the President's door. Mrs. Hassan tells the President what she heard through her daughter and that she thinks the Russian government could be involved. She asks for help finding Meredeth. President Taylor lies and says that the claims were investigated and unsubstantiated. Mrs. Hassan pushes the President and asserts that won't sign the treaty until she finds the truth about the matter. The shaken President tells Dalia that she had Meredeth Reed arrested. Wondering why the President would arrest someone for false claims, Dalia instantly puts it all together and gets angry, yelling that President Taylor has betrayed her. She angrily informs the President that there will be no agreement between her and the people who murdered her husband, or President Taylor. Mrs. Hassan begins to walk out the door and the President tells her to stop. She threatens a military attack against the IRK if Mrs. Hassan doesn't sign the peace agreement. President Taylor says she'll make public evidence that IRK intelligence officers attempted to detonate nuclear weapons inside the United States, giving her provocation to retaliate. Dalia walks out.
Armed guards walk through the Hart Building and Jack sneaks down a hallway, weapon drawn. He goes to a wall and attaches a couple of mini cameras (I think?) to the wall, then finds an empty utility room in which to set up his equipment. Jack powers up his laptop and places a table in front of a window, laying his weapon on it. He begins unscrewing the window screen.
Mrs. Hassan screams with anger to Jamot over being threatened by President Taylor. Jamot says they don't have much of a choice, but Dalia is MAD (like madder than some of us got at the Lost finale!). She says she'll reactivate the IRK's nuclear program; Jamot says that's just what President Hassan's enemies wanted. Jamot takes a call notifying him that Suvarov is almost at the UN.
Chloe tells Ortiz that Arlo somehow picked up Jack's image from a vending machine reflection and that Jack is inside their perimeter. Chloe wants to go in alone to try to talk to Jack, and Ortiz begrudgingly says he'll give her twenty minutes and tells her to be careful. Little Mr. Nosy Agent Burke inquires after Chloe's destination and Ortiz makes up something to placate him.
Back in his little room, Jack makes a video to leave for Kim. He tells her she'll hear a lot of things, but he wants to explain his point of view on the day's events.
Suvarov's entourage approaches the UN and Tim Woods alerts President Taylor. The President wants to know if Mrs. Hassan was notified, poor Tim is confused as to why she wouldn't have been, as Dalia walks right up and stands next to the President. President Suvarov steps out of his vehicle and greets President Taylor and Mrs. Hassan. President Taylor quickly directs him upstairs and then tries to speak with Dalia on the way, but Mrs. Hassan has nothing to say.
Chloe gets a master key and schematics to the Hart Building building.
The UN Secretary General (Eriq La Salle) gives a speech about honesty and trust, as the camera pans Presidents Taylor, Suvarov and Mrs. (now also President) Hassan, rubbing in all the lies and treachery. Logan is watching on television and adjusting his tie again. Ortiz orders Agent Burke to assemble a team outside the Hart Building.
Chloe makes her way through Jack's hideaway building, searching for him. She uses her master key to open a door and that's just where Jack is hiding. Jack is waiting for her and he grabs Chloe; she tells him he doesn't have to kill Suvarov. Jack wants to know who else knows he is there. She tells him that there are orders to kill him on sight and that if she isn't out of the building in ten minutes Ortiz and a team are coming. Jack grabs Chloe, begins choking her out and tells her not to fight it. Chloe fights anyway, but ends up losing consciousness. Jack cuffs Chloe to a pipe and sets up his weapon to shoot Suvarov.
Logan receives a call and answers, thinking it's Jason. But it's Jack, and he informs Logan he has a weapon pointed at Logan's head so Logan had better do what Jack says. Logan attempts to tell Jack he told him everything, but Jack plays back the recording of Logan talking to Suvarov. Logan asks what Jack wants and Jack tells Logan to get Suvarov to his office. Logan wonders what he's supposed to tell Suvarov. Jack tells Logan to try the truth - tell Suvarov he's found out about a threat to Suvarov's life.
3:00 P M- 4:00 PM
President Suvarov gives a speech, invoking the memory of President Hassan. President Taylor and Mrs. Hassan make faces. When Mrs. Hassan walks quickly away without looking at him, President Suvarov realizes that she knows about his involvement. President Suvarov wonders why Mrs. Hassan is still signing but President Taylor doesn't divulge her own Machiavellian tendencies. President Suvarov is notified about a call from Logan - Logan demands that Suvarov come to his office and unconvincingly bluffs that Suvarov's camp has a leak. After hanging up with Suvarov, Logan asks what Jack thinks he's going to accomplish. On Jack's end, Chloe has come to and she starts right in, trying to convince Jack not to go through with the assassination. Ortiz attempts to call Chloe and gets no answer, so he deploys the CTU team to the building, confirming the order to kill Jack.
President Suvarov walks toward Logan's office. Chloe begs Jack to stop and says his assassination attempt could be considered an act of war. Chloe keeps on talking even though Jack tells her to shut up; Chloe asks if Jack will kill her too. As Logan is advised that Suvarov has arrived, Chloe tearfully chatters on and on, trying to convince Jack that Renee wouldn't want him to start a war over her death. Jack seems to falter as Suvarov enters Logan's office and begins questioning Logan about the "leak". Jack steps back from his weapon and agrees to try it Chloe's way. Logan, having no idea why Jack hasn't shot yet, quickly babbles about false information and apologizes for calling Suvarov so urgently. As soon as Suvarov walks out, Logan tells his aide to find Jason.
Jack and Chloe discuss what to do. Jack gives Chloe the data card evidence and orders Chloe to shoot him, saying that if she doesn't, she'll be considered complicit and won't be able to put out the evidence. They argue back and forth as the CTU team enters the building. Jack pulls out his own gun and tells Chloe she has to do it - Chloe keeps saying she can't over and over and over. Jack takes his gun and puts it up to his head to force Chloe's hand; she still screams that she can't do it. Just before the team bursts in, Jack shoots himself in the chest. Chloe tells the CTU agents that Jack shot at her first and then she shot him.
Chloe calls Ortiz and tells him she got the recording of Logan and President Suvarov. When Ortiz asks why she shot Jack, Chloe says she'll explain later, just have Arlo ready to download the file. But as Chloe attempts to leave the building, Agent Burke stops her and informs her that Jason was found in the back of an SUV and wants to debrief her immediately. Chloe has no choice but to wait for Jason.
Logan notifies Jason of the recording of Logan and Suvarov that Jack has. Jason says he'll find the recording even as Logan threatens that Jason is in trouble too. Jason arrives at the Hart Building; he examines Jack's confiscated possessions and asks everyone in sight about the data recording, then demands that Chloe empty her pockets. Chloe feebly argues, but Jason keeps pushing. Even after she dumps out her stuff, Jason searches her person, snidely asking if he's going find the data card. Chloe plays angry and tells Jason she hopes he enjoyed himself and leaves. As she waits for an elevator, she slips the data card out from a hidden spot inside her phone.
Jason questions Jack about the data card but Jack says nothing. Jason then asks the medics if Jack can be treated back at CTU; the medics say Jack barely got hurt as the bullet passed right through. Jason realizes he's been had and calls for a mobile unit to go after Chloe - as Jason readies to leave, Jack makes a sound. Jason asks if Jack has something to say to him and Jack motions for him to come closer and takes off his oxygen mask. As Jason bends down, Jack Tyson locks onto his ear and bites part of it off and spits it out! Jason screeches and yells for the team to go after Chloe.
Chloe gets back to the CTU command post and tells Ortiz she got the data card as she connects it to a computer and begins downloading. As she's speaking with Ortiz about the Jack shooting, Agent Burke marches in with the CTU team, grabs the video card before it completes downloading and orders Chloe and Ortiz be taken into custody. Chloe screams after Agent Burke, proclaiming that Jason is part of the cover up and to think about what he's doing. But the weasel keeps walking and he phones Jason, reporting that Chloe is in custody and he has the video card.
Logan brings a video card in to President Taylor and tells her that Chloe and Ortiz were ready to send out the evidence to the media. He congratulates the President, who asks Logan where Jack is now. Logan tells President Taylor that he knows she is in a difficult place, but that Jack will never let this go; both the President and the peace agreement need protection. President Taylor says they can lock Jack up in a black site halfway around the world, but Logan says that Jack will rise up from the deepest hole in the ground and crawl his way back from the ends of the earth unless they stop him. (Of course, he's right.) Logan advises her that with her approval, he has put a plan into motion. President Taylor defeated, says, "Of course you have," and Logan affirms he'll take her silence as tacit approval.
President Taylor begins listening to the video evidence - which is actually Jack's video to Kim. As she's watching, Tim Woods advises the President by phone that the peace delegation is waiting for her. The President asks if the Attorney General is there; Woods says he is and the President hangs up to continue watching Jack, who speaks of a fraudulent peace. President Taylor sheds tears even as she seemingly realizes she has the wrong card.
Jason walks up to Logan and tells him that Jack is being handled. Logan admiringly says he wasn't sure the President could carry out what needed to be done, but that she did. Just then, President Taylor steps out of her office and makes teary-eyed contact with Logan. Logan and Jason walk to Logan's office to toast to their victories. Logan congratulates Jason on doing well and they clink glasses.
President Taylor walks into a room full of delegates and she shakes hands with President Suvarov and Mrs. Hassan. The Secretary General speaks a few more inspirational words about the peace process. He invites the Presidents up to the podium and he reiterates the peace agreement terms, then asks them to sign. Suvarov signs first, then Dalia Hassan and finally, President Taylor steps up to the podium, taking in hand the special pen given her by Mrs. Hassan. She looks around the room as she is about to sign, glancing lastly at Dalia, and then she stops herself and closes the pen and hands it back to a bewildered Mrs. Hassan. Suvarov makes a comment trying to dissuade the President from what she's about to do. President Taylor addresses the Secretary General and the delegates, vaguely confessing her crime and calling a halt to the peace process.
As she walks out, President Taylor tells Tim Woods to get Jack's transport stopped immediately, before it is ambushed. Woods makes a call and then asks President Taylor to talk to him. The trembling and emotional President tells him she's made a terrible mistake that she can never undo, and she need his help to stop things from getting worse.
The vehicle transporting Jack has been attacked and the guards and Jack crawl out, choking on tear gas. As Jack lies on his back on the ground, three figures in gas masks stand over him and a black cloth is dropped over his face.
Woods gets a call and then he informs President Taylor they were too late, Jack was taken. Logan and Jason are watching the UN Secretary General make a statement about President Taylor as Logan's phone begins ringing. Logan knows it's President Taylor wanting to know what's happening to Jack, but he tells Jason Van Gogh to let it ring. Jason tells Logan that they shouldn't add murder to their list, so Logan pretends to go along and he tells Jason to go ahead and pick up the phone. As Jason answers, Logan picks up a heavy decanter and clocks Jason over the head, knocking him out. Logan speaks aloud, (even though Jason one-ear can't hear) saying this was his chance to come back but Bauer took it away. Logan retrieves a pillow, places it over Jason's head and shoots him, saying "It's come to this because of him." President Taylor and Tim arrive outside Logan's door, knocking and Woods calls someone for a master key. Logan stands in the middle of the room, grimaces as he places the end of his gun's barrel against the underside of his chin and pulls the trigger. President Taylor screams that she needs Logan alive.
I have to add this photo because it's just magnificent:
Medics attend to Logan and President Taylor asks if Logan will live - Woods says he might but that Logan will probably be brain dead. The President asks about Chloe and orders her released, telling Woods to give her full authority to use any resources to find Jack. Back at CTU, Chloe has Eden taken into custody and as she explains Jack's situation to Ortiz and Arlo pulls up video of the scene of Jack's vehicle ambush. They're able to follow a suspect van to a deserted location. Ortiz says they'll never get there in time.
Jack is removed from the vehicle and taken to a dirt pile where a Logan-goon, Nance (Alex Carter) orders Jack to his knees. His kidnapper tells Jack he knows who he is, so he'll try to make Jack's death easy. A cuffed Jack knocks Nance (Seriously? That's a bad-ass killer's name?) down and they fight, but the guy gets control of the situation. Nance prepares to shoot Jack in the head and Jack tells him to go ahead and do it. As Jack spies CTU's drone in the sky, one of the other Lo-goons gets a call and he tells Nance to stop - he has the President on the phone. President Taylor tells Nance to stand down, even threatening violence against him. One of the men hands Jack the phone and tells him the President wants to speak with him; the Lo-goons take off with the transport van. Jack gets on the phone to tell the President she should have let him die and that he won't give up until it's over. President Taylor confesses her mistakes to Jack and informs him she's decided to face her consequences, saying that he should do the same. But then she advises Jack to leave the country because the Russians and the United States will both be after him; er, that's not exactly facing consequences.
Jack calls Chloe, who is watching via the drone satellite images, and he asks her to promise to keep Kim and his little Kimlet safe. Aw, no more Grandpa Jack time! For our final cheese platter, Jack lets Chloe know that when she first came to CTU, he never thought it would be her who would protect him all the time. Jack knew she was trying to protect him today. Chloe wishes Jack luck as she the tears roll down her face. Chloe tells Arlo to bring back the drones and declares that, "Whatever happened didn't happen." Um, no Chloe! Whatever happened happened, Daniel Faraday said so. Oh wait, that wasn't part of the finale so it probably doesn't matter. Que sera sera? Chloe and Jack stare at each other one last time.
For your Enhanced Recap Experience (ERE), please open this link in a new tab and listen to the sad, sad music while reading the final paragraph.
Who else but The Smiths could capture Jack's lonely existence? He really should have died, but now he's going to have to run around some foreign land again until some fool president gets him/herself into some fool situation again and only Jack Bauer will be able to help. Maybe he'll run into Morrissey over in Europe somewhere. Maybe Jack will reinvent himself as a French chef with a skinny moustache and a funny accent, making killer crepes. Maybe he'll be a cast member at Euro Disney (he could totally pull off a singing waiter in Deutschland - and I'd love to see Herr Meier again). As you ponder whether or not you'll plunk down hard cash to see the 24 feature film, grab a glass, pour your favorite libation and let's all toast to a damned good series ending. I thought the two hours went by fairly quickly and the stupidity was at a minimum. Really, what more could we have asked?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment over these twenty-four episodes. I've had a great time writing and your feedback has been lovely. And Dustin, thank you for the opportunity to write!
Cindy is holed up in a bunker in the northeast sector of the country, and that's all you need to know. You can reach Cindy