In the end, it was not a knife, gun or bomb that saved Jack Bauer from a lethal conspiracy, but another character’s crisis of conscience.
Rather than fighting his way out of a no-win situation as usual, in the series’ final moments Monday night, Jack knelt and waited for an assassin’s bullet, but was spared by a last minute phone call from the president.
The finale of ‘24‘ played like a two-hour prequel, with Jack given a head start by President Allison Taylor to flee the country — and U.S. prosecution and Russian assassins. Why, perhaps he’ll even flee to Europe, where the planned ’24′ movie is reportedly set.
The finale was preceded by a message from series star Kiefer Sutherland, who thanked fans for their support and enthusiasm.
“We could not have done this without you,” he said. “Personally for me this has been the opportunity of a lifetime and for that I am eternally grateful.”
Jack was on-screen for less than 15 minutes of the series’ 194th and final hour as Taylor (Cherry Jones) wrestled with her decision to cover-up the Russian assassination of IRK president Omar Hassan in the name of a peace treaty.
In the finale’s first hour, Bauer kidnapped President Logan’s toady Jason Pillar (Reed Diamond) and used him to gain access to a good sniper vantage point, where he trained his sights on former President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin), who quivered as Logan does best.
But Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) found Jack first and after he knocked her out with a sleeper hold – one last “don’t fight it” for old time’s sake – she came to and convinced him to expose the conspiracy instead of launching a war by killing the Russian president.
Next Jack berated Chloe into shooting him – it was the only way for her to get away with the evidence he gave her and prevent CTU agents from killing him on sight. After the classic “We’re running out of time!” Jack shouted: “Chloe, I know how hard this is for you, but if you care about me at all, you’ll pull the trigger!”
And so she did. (A through-and-through to the shoulder, he was fine, natch.)
But her plan to release evidence of the conspiracy was foiled by Pillar’s goons and it looked like the conspirators would win, at least until Taylor thought about what she was doing really, really hard…and changed her mind.
From there it was a mad dash to spring Chloe and Cole (Freddie Prinze Jr.) from custody and track and stop Logan’s assassins from killing Jack. (Logan wasn’t talking because he shot himself and Pillar after realizing he was sunk — the question of whether Logan the Sniveler died or not was left open).
Back at CTU, Chloe located Jack with the use of a satellite drone and Taylor made a frantic phone call to the hitter to spare Jack’s life. She told Jack she was going to resign and he should leave the country. “The Russians will be coming after you, and so will we,” she said.
Jack looked toward the skies and addressed Chloe through the satellite, telling her that when they met: “I never thought it was going to be you who was going to cover my back all those years.”
With that, Chloe gave the order to erase any evidence of Jack. “Shut it down,” were the last words of the series, as Jack’s image pixilated to black.
The eighth day ended, but we all know Jack will live to fight another day – or at least a two-hour condensed version of one, coming soon to a theater near you. Events will not occur in real time.
What did you think of the ’24′ series finale? Was it a dignified end for TV’s greatest American hero? Will you miss Jack Bauer?
Watch ’24′s Final Hour Here: