Here are 24 thoughts I had about last night’s finale of 24: Live Another Day.
1. You knew the time jump was coming if you followed the news about the show, but still, it was a little jarring to hear Kiefer Sutherland say “The following takes place between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 A.M.” It made sense to do it this way, I guess, because then you still get the titular 24 hours covered in just 12 episodes, but the way Kiefer said it made it sound like even he was a little surprised. “Whaaaaa? A.M.? SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME. [kicks in door, begins firing bullets indiscriminately]”
2. A good indication of just how much had transpired over the previous 11 hours: The “Previously On” section at the beginning of the show lasted over two and a half minutes. That’s over 5% of the episode’s 44 minute run time.
3. And really, let’s look at how we got here: We went from Catelyn Stark controlling drones to a fake Julian Assange masterminding everything to Cheng coming back from the dead to try to start a nuclear war between the United States and China. All in London, all within 12 hours. Even for 24, that’s a busy day.
4. Shout out to Jimmy Cooper from The O.C. for giving us the “It’s over, we can’t get to Cheng” speech like two minutes into the action, and 30 seconds after Jack used the Russian guy’s lifeless hand to access his thumbprint-protected phone. OF COURSE WE CAN GET TO CHENG, DUMMY. Haven’t you been watching this show?
5. Aw, man. Aw, Audrey. What a roller coaster of emotions this day must have been for her. Jack came back, her father fake-died, her husband turned out to be a traitor (kind of), her Chinese friend died, she was held hostage by a sniper, then got away, then got shot via sneak attack after she thought she was safe, then she died on a park bench. That does not seem like a fun day. R.I.P.
6. Between Cheng killing Audrey and Jack Bauer’s general Baueriness, this can only mean one thing… WE GOT A RAMPAGE, PEOPLE.
7. Things Jack Bauer used to kill people in his Neeson-esque boat rampage: assault rifle, handgun, meat cleaver, switchblade, samurai sword. Until he got to the sword, he was basically working his way down from most effefient to least efficient weapon. I was kinda hoping he’d continue the trend until he got to, like, a grapefruit spoon.
8. I am far from an expert in nautical matters, so maybe one of you can help me on this: Is it common for a large cargo ships to have samurai swords mounted on the walls of the control room?
9. For those of you keeping score, this now makes two (2) high-value, potentially useful terrorists this season that Jack Bauer has violently murdered instead of turning over to the government (one via defenestration and one via decapitation, because 24 never stops being 24, even for a second), even though in both instances he had said terrorist neutralized and in custody.
10. And this one was even more egregious because all they had was a 10-second “verified” video clip to show the Chinese that Cheng was alive. What if the Chinese president had said “Yeah, no. That could be fake. I’ll hold off on the warships, for now, but we need you to deliver him, alive, to the Chinese embassy so we can take custody on him and verify it ourselves”?
11. I’ll tell you what: NUCLEAR WAR.
12. (Side note: Last night, around the 28:30 mark of the commercial-free version of the episode, after a full season of everyone pronouncing it “nuke-ular,” someone finally pronounced it correctly. I had to rewind it three times to be sure. It was the guy on the left. I still can’t believe it happened.)
13. Back to the point I was making: Jack Bauer is a horrible government agent. Total badass? Yes. Highly-skilled operative? Sure. Willing to put his life on the line to keep America and the rest of the world safe? Repeatedly. But just an awful, impulsive, bloodthirsty government agent.
13. It would be fun to read the newspapers that exist in the 24 universe.
14. It took me a few episodes to catch on that the Number Two at the London CIA station was none other than Marlo Stanfield’s enforcer from The Wire, Chris Partlow. Once I realized that, the only thing I wanted in the whole wide world was for Snoop to walk into the building and announce that Langley had sent her there to assist. Denied. Truly heartbreaking.
15. Oh, and while I’m careening off-topic, another thing: After Cheng realized Jack was storming the boat and picking off his men, he told his henchman to “contact whoever’s left.” On my first pass through, I thought he said “contact who overslept,” and started thinking about how tough it is to find good help these days, even for supervillains.
16. Anyway, the time jump. Twelve hours, from 10:50 p.m. to 10:50 a.m., after the situation with Cheng and China was under control and Chloe was taken hostage.
17. I really want to know what Jack was up to for those 12 hours. I imagine a substantial chunk of it was spent in a debriefing with a government agent who was saying things like “So you just chopped his head off? Really? But he knew so much. We could have interrogated him. Aw, man.”
18. And I also want to know why the Russians chose to wait 12 hours to do the trade-off in broad daylight, via helicopter, in a city that had just had destruction rained down upon it from the heavens the day before. Seems unnecessarily risky to me.
19. Hey, look. Chloe’s cybergoth makeup finally came off, after a full day of torture and running and being taken hostage twice.
20. Given the makeup’s resiliency in the face of all that, I have chosen to believe the Russians removed it as part of their detention/torture process. “Tell us vhere to find Bauer or ve vill remove ze eye shadow. You vould be unvise to test us.”
21. I know that doesn’t really work because they already called Jack and set up the meeting, but I really wanted to do it, so work with me, okay?
22. And anyway, for a top secret agent who just came out of hiding and is using an encrypted CIA cell phone (presumably), it really seems like everyone in the world — allies, enemies, telemarketers (probably) — has Jack’s phone number, no?
23. The episode, and the season, ended with Jack looking out the window of the Russian helicopter followed by a silent count on the clock. Silent counts are usually used to signify the death of an important character. Does … does this mean Jack is on his way to his demise? Is that what they’re trying to say? Or are they saying it means the end of the show, like, for good?
24. Because, in either case, a possible implied off-camera death of the main character would be an awfully subtle way to go out for a show that did this just a few episodes ago.
Well, that’s it. Maybe forever. Another terrorist plot foiled. Another season with a body count well into the hundreds, and possibly thousands. Another handful of unintentional/intentional comedic gems. As always, your thoughts below, goddammit.