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“24” Series Finale Preview

By Fred Topel

Warning: Mild Spoilers follow If you saw last week’s episode where Jack Bauer donned a suit of armor and fired on a presidential convoy, and later left a room full of a skewered bodies, that gives you a sense of where the series finale is going. 24 is at its best when it’s so crazy you can’t believe it’s on TV, but within a familiar government/cop show setting.

There’s about 3 ½ crazy things per hour, and this is a double finale. Remember, Jack has been stabbed, so the length he goes to so that he can last two more hours qualifies as one of those crazy highlights, but it works.

Considering the show has been on for eight years, they manage to get into some new territory in the final hours. Jack actually goes after corrupt government officials directly. He’s not just exposing them by beating up terrorists. He takes the game to their comfortable office buildings.

The yelling and threatening that is trademark 24 is more deadly now. The bad guys fear Jack more than we’ve ever seen, though you’d imagine some sniveling suit would be a wuss when their hands get dirty. They’re not just playing with the formula though. Jack has lost faith in the one thing that ever held him back.

He gives a smirk that’s kind of disturbing. I won’t specify where in the final hours it happens lest I give away the story’s character momentum, but Kiefer Sutherland manages to show a new behavior after eight years of playing this role.

There’s some major Chloe technology, so even though she’s been promoted to head of CTU, she gets final moments to shine with tech talk. President Taylor loses her grip and has to grasp for air with threats and words. You won’t believe how far she takes it.

I can say the finale contains the most tense 24 scene of all time early in the second hour. For a show that thrives on real time suspense to put its characters in a situation where you don’t know if either one can go through with it, and you see stuff happen that shocks you, that’s going out on top.

Like all 24 seasons, most of the last hour is talking. You want that because so much has happened in the past 23 hours that you have to resolve it. The climax is almost too rushed still. There’s no real finality. It still ends totally open for movies, spinoffs or reunion specials. They give us a clever twist on the final clock and even if we didn’t know there was going to be a 24 movie, we’d imagine the Jack Bauer adventure continues.


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