The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT: If you have the series finale of 24 sitting on DVR and you have not watched it, GO AWAY NOW. The first paragraph after the picture will tell you how it ended. You’ve been warned.
As 24 clicked to 0:00:00, Jack Bauer was once again on the run, given just enough time to get away before Russian thugs or American authorities got to him.
It’s about the best we could have hoped for from the series finale of one of the grittiest shows on television. In the last eight hours or so in the show that supposedly happens in real time, Jack had left numerous bodies in his wake and openly defied the President herself to expose the truth about a monstrous cover up and avenge the death of his fellow agent and lover (for an hour, at least), Renee Walker. Even if President Taylor did the right thing, which she eventually did, a happily-ever-after ending would have betrayed the very dark world Jack Bauer inhabited for eight seasons – days.
“This show is a tragedy,” executive producer Howard Gordon said a couple weeks ago, and it lived up to that billing.
As flawed as this season was, it set up that story beautifully. Jack was ready to retire to the West coast with his once-estranged daughter and granddaughter. But he was sucked – multiple times – back into the violent international intrigue that was his life. For all he sacrificed, he was never granted peace.
And there were other tragic figures, chiefly these past two seasons, President Taylor. As the season opened she had already lost her family in pursuit of justice.This season, by losing her moral center for a few hours, she lost everything else.
A few days ago, the Atlanta Constitution’s Rodney Ho posted a poll asking how readers felt about 24. I voted, “I’m a fan, but it’s the right time,” for the series to end.
While 24 made a vigorous sprint to the finish, it had clearly worn out its writers, its stars and its premise.
We got some modest resolution. President Taylor admitted to Jack she had betrayed him, and she was going to come clean. Some villains, including President Charles Logan, didn’t get away with their crimes. And, most important to the series, Jack told ever-loyal CTU agent Chloe he knew she always had his back – downright romantic in 24 world.
Jack was left battered and bloody, with nothing but a cell phone and a few minutes to get out of the country.
But we know he’ll get out. There’s a movie to make, and Jack’s been in much, much, much tighter spots.
He’ll be OK, but he’ll never be fine.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich