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'24' First Episode: THR's 2001 Review

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24: Season 8 Post-Mortem

Inevitably, much of the debate among the fans will focus on criticism or defense of the final third of the season, when the writers chose a deliberately controversial direction to close out the series. And there are many who believe that my own assertion that this was the worst season of the series as a whole is based solely on my dislike of the direction chosen. But that assessment ignores the many flaws that plagued the season from the very beginning. The seventh season was something of a return to fundamentals for "24". After the disastrous sixth season, which saw many fans fleeing the bizarre and illogical Bauer family politics, the writers' strike of 2008 provided the producers with the time and opportunity to plan out a season-along arc with plenty of room to adjust along the way. And the results, while far from explosive, were consistently strong. The key to the seventh season was the ongoing, layered examination of what makes an effective counter-terrorism agent. And, as such, what makes an effective counter-terrorism organization. With so much criticism of Jack Bauer's methods and ethics over the course of the series, concurrent with the national public re-examination of real-world counter-terrorism methodology in the post-9/11 real politik, it was the right topic at the right time. And the writers carried that message through the entire season with surprising subtlety. (So much so, that some fans missed the point entirely, and felt the series was becoming "too liberal".) So it was shocking to discover, very early in this eighth and final season, that the writers had little or no success in replicating the strengths of the seventh season. While there was a general premise ("lessons learned"), it was ephemeral compared to the depth of philosophical discussion in the previous season. Also, the array of characters in the eighth season was remarkably poor. From the new characters at CTU NY to the Hassan family to the Russian crime syndicate, the vast majority of the new additions were either bland as cardboard or irritating. By comparison, Jack, Chloe, and Renee were positively dynamic. It wasn't just the basic personalities or composition of the characters that disappointed. It was also the sloppy thinking that went into their background stories. The writers have openly admitted that they had only the most general notions of Dana Walsh's past activities. The decision to make her a mole within CTU for the Russian component of the terrorist plot was a last-minute suggestion, and one that ultimately made no logical sense, especially in light of her trials and tribulations in the first half of the season. It is within this context that the writers made an abrupt direction change for the plot when the series was canceled. The final eight episodes did not drag the season down, so much as add fuel to an already roaring fire. And the crux of the debate over the end of the series is whether or not the character turns for Jack Bauer and President Taylor made sense. Ironically, even the most passionate defenders of the writers admit that it's hard to reconcile what happened within the context of the series as a whole. Unfortunately, when one's argument begins with such an admission, it is a sign that the defense to follow is that person's attempt to justify why they liked something in spite of the fact it doesn't make sense! (And if it's just that it's fun to see Jack Bauer go ballistic on an enemy, regardless of motive, why bother with the justification? Just say so!) But the fact is, I've always attempted to look at "24" and the character arc of Jack Bauer from the point of view of his mythic status within popular culture. Jack Bauer was always going to have a tragic path to follow, but the course of the series was following a classical path. Seasons 1-3 were the opening act, in which Jack lost his immediate support system. Seasons 4-6 were his darkest days, when he was stripped of almost everything that remained. Season 7 began the process of rebuilding Jack, and Season 8 began with the continuation of that process. Let me be clear: this overall arc was never going to end in flowers and sunshine. That's not how it usually goes. The hero, having sacrificed everything in the name of saving the world, rarely gets to have a happy ending. More often than not, even if they get some measure of happiness, they must accept a price for their actions. The "lessons learned" theme early in the eighth season was all about demonstrating how Jack had come to terms with himself and his role in the world. As early as the third season, Jack made it clear that he felt the duties of a true counter-terrorist agent, particular one dealing in his brand of black ops, would have to give up the notions of family and similar attachments. Throughout the earliest parts of the eighth season, that seemed to be the choice presented to Jack: duty or family. This is why all the signs pointed to Jack accepting that he was the one person with the experience, ethics, and vision to take the reins at CTU, bringing his story full circle. (Not only that, but it would have been the perfect platform to initiate a series of "24" films!) Instead, the writers chose a path that was, to say the least, far more destructive. First, Renee Walker was killed, just as she and Jack were about to explore the possibility of a life together. This set Jack on a desire to see justice served to those responsible. When President Taylor uncharacteristically chose to bury the truth, Jack decided the best way to avenge the woman he loved (despite not even checking on her well-being for about a year before this particular day) was to kill her assassins by the most brutal means possible. (Never mind that the decision to kill Renee and Jack was, in and of itself, poorly justified within the logic of the plot.) The writers took Jack far beyond his ethical boundaries over the course of a handful of episodes, to the point where his eventual return to sanity was too little, too late. This was acknowledged by the characters themselves, and ultimately, Jack was forced to run as a fugitive, with both US and Russian law enforcement hunting him down. Not only is that as far from a solid ending as it gets, but it's also a pale repetition of the fourth season finale! Had this been a mere season finale, leading into a ninth season (in which, perhaps, the damage could be repaired), then it would be easier to forgive. But this was the series finale, and it didn't bring the series to a resolution. One could argue that the oft-mentioned film franchise could be the intended vehicle for resolving this series-ending cliffhanger, but the producers have gone on record saying that the films and the series will be two different entities. If true, the series (and Jack's journey) is left unfinished. If not true, then how can anything provided by the producers be trusted? One could argue that this shouldn't be held against the season itself; after all, the season arc regarding the peace summit was resolved rather definitively. But the fact remains that a season is the sum of its parts, and when the parts don't quite work, the whole suffers. Had the first two-thirds of the season been stronger, the questionable choices at the end of the season would have had less of an effect. But the season overall was simply uninspired and lacking, and the end was simply icing on a very bitter cake. The eighth and final season of "24" earned a Critical Myth rating of 6.5, which is well below average and the lowest rated season of the entire series. It also represents a 0.9 point plunge from the seventh season, which is the sharpest drop between seasons for any series reviewed over the past nine years. Somehow, I don't think that was the kind of distinction that "24" was hoping to achieve for its swan song.

24 Episode Recap: 3:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.

President Suvarov opens the second hour by discussing the peace treaty at a press conference, using the memory of Omar Hassan to push it forward. He realizes after the conference that Dalia has learned of his involvement in the death of her husband, though, and commends Taylor in convincing her to stay. Logan gets Suvarov on the phone, asking him to come to his office because he has credible intel that there's a leak inside the Russian camp. All the while, Bauer is on Logan's other phone trying to justify his actions (though mostly to himself). Chloe wakes up and begs Jack not to kill Suvarov; that they can get the audio file to the media. When Chloe doesn't answer her phone, Cole deploys a CTU squad to go after Bauer. They definitely won't make it in time though. Fortunately for Suvarov, Chloe convinces Jack not to kill the Russian prez, explaining that this assassination would incite a nuclear war. Because the CTU team is about to find Bauer, Jack makes Chloe shoot him. If she doesn't, she won't be able to walk out with the data card. Just before CTU agents rush in - with Jack putting his own gun to his head - Chloe shoots him in the chest. Chloe is able to debrief Cole, but Pillar (who has now been found in the back of the SUV) is suspicious of her, and asks Agent Burke to keep her in the building. To Read More Click Here . If You Missed This Episode Watch It Here Online Now

24 Episode Recap: 2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.

The series finale opens on Cole learning that Jack has killed Novakovich and his men before jumping off the radar again. Though Jack has evidence of the Russian involvement in Omar Hassan's assassination, both Arlo and Cole agree that Jack has gone overboard. Still, Cole presses on to find Jack by heading to Jim Ricker's apartment. Cole's arrival at Ricker's place is definitely not welcome. Ricker immediately wipes his computers before Cole even has a chance to enter. The two face off, but Cole is able to explain he's actually there to help Jack - well, at least to make sure he doesn't end up dead. Ricker gives up the info that the Russian president is really the man behind the order to kill Renee Walker. Oh, he's in trouble! Over at CTU, Agent Burke questions Chloe (just as she's learning Meredith Reed has been arrested) on why Cole is back on duty. Get over yourself, buddy, you're not in charge anymore. Cole fills Chloe in on Jack going after the Russian prez, adding that the recording Jack has is the only one left, so they need to find Jack first and get Suvarov out of the line of fire. Logan finally decides to reveal the truth to President Taylor, letting her know that Suvarov is implicit in all the misdeeds from Day 8. Fortunately, Logan thinks Jack didn't find out about the Russian president's involvement, so their worries should now be over. Little does he know, Logan just fed Jack this information since Mr. Bauer bugged him in the previous hour. To Read More Click Here . If You Missed This Episode Watch It Here Online Now

24 8.23/8.24: "Day 8: 2PM - 4PM"

The series finale begins with a heartfelt message from Kiefer Sutherland, thanking the audience for being there for the past eight seasons. It's actually been nine years, which is hard to reconcile. "24" has been a staple of the post-9/11 television world, and it's hard to believe that Jack Bauer is now fading into legend. Frankly, the character and the franchise deserved a much better sendoff. Actually, Jack comes off a lot better in this episode than just about anyone else, save perhaps Chloe. But then, Chloe has been the only constant this season, and especially during this ill-advised final turn towards insanity. Considering that Chloe has been around since the third season, and Jack's most loyal ally, it makes sense that she would come through and help Jack in the end. (And to think: many fans hated Chloe with a passion when she was first introduced!) The writers did everything possible to bring Jack back towards the light, but frankly, it was too little, too late. Jack had already slaughtered people with needless brutality, and it's not enough for him to admit that he has to atone for his actions. Having him die at the end of the series wouldn't have worked; if that was going to happen, it would have needed to have happened after a string of heroic choices that led to a moment of cathartic, character-defining sacrifice. And that was no longer a possibility. Granted, Jack held back from killing Piller, and he listened to Chloe's pleas, when all his instincts told him to kill Suvarov and Logan. And Jack was willing to die for his sins, which would have been an even worse ending. But it's disappointing to realize that the resolution of the crisis and the end of the series wasn't tied to Jack's active participation. While it's been implicit thus far, Jack openly states that his actions were based on Renee's death, because she was someone that he cared for deeply. And as stated several times in previous reviews, this is the biggest problem with the rationale for Jack's descent. Jack is justifying his actions on an emotional attachment to someone he didn't bother checking on for over a year and a half. Had Jack not run into Renee at CTU at the beginning of the season, would he have even looked her up? It just doesn't hold water, and that's coming from someone who accepted the notion that they would fall into a relationship! As has been the case since the killing of Renee Walker, Jack is not the only one acting out of character based on questionable logic. President Taylor has inconsistently written since the moment Charles Logan reappeared on the scene. In the penultimate hour, Taylor actually threatens to level an ally's country to preserve a peace accord, just to protect her presidency. Taylor effectively becomes Charles Logan, and just one of them was enough of a blight on the series. Perhaps the best moments, as already more or less mentioned, came between Jack and Chloe. Their brief standoff was the one moment of true tension in the entire finale. It was a little convenient that Chloe, barely willing to shoot Jack to save his life, would be capable of aiming her shot with such precision to ensure his survival. But then, "24" has always been an exercise in accepting the convenient and ludicrous; it's often a matter of degree. It's been well reported that Kiefer Sutherland was fine with the direction of his character and the progression of the season. Frankly, as much as he has been perfect as Jack Bauer, his personal track record just might suggest that his judgment is flawed. But at least he was happy with his character's direction. I can't imagine how Cherry Jones must feel. After a wonderful turn in the seventh season, her character was sidelined for expositional purposes for most of the eighth season, only to climb back into the limelight long enough to have her principled character utterly eviscerated. She did her best with the material she was given, but there had to be some moments when she wondered why she wasted the past year of her career. The finale lacked actual resolution in a number of ways. The season arc was more or less concluded, but the writers seemed to be avoiding the final word on just about everything. Consider Logan's suicide: even there, he was probably going to survive, and he might have brain damage. While it's fitting that a slimeball like Logan would screw up his own suicide attempt, why not give him a definitive fate? But what about the Russians? What consequences did they incur? And what about the fallout from Taylor's threats against the IRK? Taylor mentions that she will resign over her role in the cover-up, but that doesn't exactly leave the world of "24" in the best of situations. If the writers really had taken the original plan for the season and revised it to serve as a conclusion to the series, why did it seem like the writers made the ending more vague, instead of more definitive? The final moments of the episode were frustrating. It was great to hear Jack make certain that Kim and her family understood what happened and were protected, and it was appropriate that the last two characters standing would have that moment. But does it really make sense to have Jack on the run, being hunted down by law enforcement around the world? Doesn't this effectively leave Jack in the same position he was in back at the end of the fourth season (and the sixth, for that matter)? A number of critics and fans have made the assumption that this was all setup for the eventual film franchise: that Jack's current situation will be resolved in the eventual film. Unfortunately, that ignores the admission from Howard Gordon and other producers that the film script does not, in any way, adhere to the continuity of the television series. In other words, unless the producers are lying about the intentions for the film (and why bother doing that?), "24" will end on this unresolved note. And frankly, Jack Bauer deserved better. Overall, this was the finale that the fans were given, not the finale that they (or the characters) deserved. While there is a film franchise to look forward to, the producers have already said that it will not be a direct continuation of the series, so it makes this ending even more frustrating and anti-climactic. This is not how the series should have ended.

'24' Series Finale Review: The Legacy of Jack Bauer

One day after the controversial and divisive Lost series finale, another revolutionary Emmy-winning drama, 24 , goes off the air with a much quieter and subdued finale. It's a shame that the end of Jack Bauer is shadowed by the end of Lost, but it's also a good thing, because the series finale of 24 was a bit of a dud. While the final hours of this season have been as tense and exciting as any past year, the end was a surprisingly dull and repetitive. Three CTU agents and the president help Jack Bauer flee to avoid criminal prosecution? If you think I'm talking about the series finale, I'm not. I'm referring to the end of season 4, when Chloe O'Brian, Michelle Dessler, Tony Almeida and President David Palmer helped Jack fake his own death. Perhaps it's for the best that 24 is done, since the show can't even come up with an original ending. Sure, the series finale had some high points, notably President Allison Taylor finally doing the right thing, Charles Logan's Shakespearean tragedy of an ending and the Chloe and Jack relationship. The last one is the most surprising. In the end, it was Chloe who helped bring Jack back to sanity, and as he correctly pointed out, he never thought it would be her when they first met back in season 3. 24 might be about Jack Bauer, but Chloe's journey has been remarkable, as she survived longer than any other employee in CTU history. As great as Jack has been, it's Chloe I'll miss most of all, with her confrontational directness and her dry wit. But even the incredible Jack and Chloe friendship can't save the rushed and repetitive ending to the series. When Jack Bauer is kidnapped, again, by the bad guys with less than 10 minutes left in the entire series, the pressure of having events occur in real time becomes too absurd. However, unlike Lost, I won't judge 24 on its finale, and when I think back on the series in the future, I probably won't even remember the ending. I'll remember Jack Bauer kicking ass and getting the job done, I'll remember the great presidents, from the noble David Palmer to the evil Charles Logan. I'll remember fallen CTU personnel like Tony Almeida, Ryan Chappelle, George Mason and Edgar Stiles. I'll remember the moles, the deaths, the torture, the terrorists and even Kim and the cougar. I'll remember the legacy of 24 as an action drama that redefined what serialized television can do and provided many shocking twists and turns along the way -- the biggest one being the very real impact the show had on American foreign policy. Who cares if the 24 series finale wasn't great? 24 was never just one hour, it was a whole day, and after eight very long days, it's with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Jack. What did you think of the ending of '24'? Source: - '24' Series Finale Review: The Legacy of Jack Bauer

Day 8 Finale Review: 24 - What were the best moments of the series finale?

From "Best Tirade" to "Most Suspenseful Moment," here are some of the greatest scenes from the two-hour season finale.

"1:00-2:00 p.m." Review: 24 - And then there were none...

Jack takes down his targets one by one. This episode featured fantastic acting by Gregory Itzin, in addition to incredible action, ramping up to the 2-hour series finale on Monday. Full review:

'24' : Five Characters in Search of an Ending

The biggest question surrounding the end of 24 is what happens to Jack. It's already been discussed in this space whether he's destined to walk off in the sunset happily, sadly, or not at all. But there have been other characters embraced by fans who are floating around somewhere in hi-def purgatory. With two hours remaining it's not realistic (nor likely) that we'll get resolution on them, but here are five other members of the 24 universe who could use some closure. 1. Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) Tony is second only to Jack in terms of popularity with the 24 faithful. Most of us were devastated when he turned and prayed that it was just part of some complex plot. Alas, Bad Tony turned out to be the real deal, and he was ostensibly carted off to prison. It made for good story, but now our last image of Tony is as a traitor. It would be nice to get even a hint that he's back to the guy we all know and love. 2. Audrey Raines (Kim Raver) While not my first choice, many fans thought she made the best love connection with Jack. Audrey was last seen semi-catatonic thanks to the torture she endured at the hands of the Chinese. Believing that a future for them was not possible, Jack nobly walked away, but it would make a lot of people happy to see Audrey unexpectedly re-enter his life to save him from his personal hell. 3. Martha Logan (Jean Smart) She and husband Charles provided a fun-house mirror image of original 24 President David Palmer and wife Sherry. With the Logans, Martha was the kind, sympathetic yin to Charles's vain, power-hungry yang. Wildly popular in her own right, Martha was last seen stabbing her estranged husband in Day 6, and while we can hope, it would be great to know for sure that she is living happily ever after with ... 4. Aaron Pierce (Glenn Morshower) A loyal Secret Service agent through 24's numerous administrations, Pierce became Martha's friend and confidante during the turbulence of Day Five. The relationship took a romantic turn and it was revealed in Day Six that they were a couple, but his brief reappearance in Day Seven implied that they were no longer together. Day Eight broke Aaron's string of being the only character other than Jack Bauer to appear in every season. The last two hours would be an opportunity to keep the streak intact. 5. Behrooz Araz (Jonathan Ahdout) The most infamous whatever-happened-to in the history of 24. Whenever another character makes an abrupt disappearance, it's joked that he or she is off in a safe house with Behrooz. Although the Day 4 DVD has deleted scenes that offer explanations, his whereabouts were never officially addressed during the season. Anyone you'd like to see one last time? I'd love to hear what you have to say. Source Here

24: "Day 8: 1:00 PM-2:00 PM" Review Season 8, Episode 22

Is there any show that lives more moment to moment than 24? Look, it's been an incredibly messy road getting through this season, which has been marked by more lows than highs. Putting aside all of the unbelievable, poorly motivated occurrences that led us to where we are, this was a solid episode – and it was marked by a sequence so cool, it elevates the whole hour as a result. Let's just get right to it: Jack Bauer storming that tunnel, dressed like some unholy cross between Jason Voorhees and Snake-Eyes, will go down as one of the show's all time most bad ass moments. Strapped with about three different machine guns, and wearing armor and a scary-looking mask, Jack was about as silent but deadly as could be, methodically shooting, as he closed in on Logan's car. And how great was Logan, always a little rat of a man, screaming, "That's Jack Bauer!!" and "Kill him!!!", as his enemy approached? I love how Gregory Itzin can so quickly turn from Logan the smug slime ball to Logan the sniveling coward within seconds. To Read More Click Here . If You Missed This Episode Watch It Here Online Now