Kiefer Sutherland in 24 - SEASON EIGHT - "2:00-4:00 PM"
Early TV Review: 24 - SEASON EIGHT - '2 p.m. to 4 p.m.' - Series Finale
It's hard to believe that Jack Bauer is clocking out,
but it does so in its usual gloriously unpredictable and awesome wayStars: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Freddie Prinze Jr., Cherry Jones, Gregory Itzin
Writer(s): Howard Gordon
Director: Brad Turner
Release Date: May 24, 2010
By CARL CORTEZ, Contributing Editor
I have to say, I’ve been a fan of 24 since the very first Day that aired back in 2001. It was a show that had a bold concept that, against anyone’s better judgement, should not have worked – let alone last eight years.
Even after the super cool, groundbreaking first year, Fox was reluctant to renew the series for a second season unless the producers figured if they could pull the concept again. And at some point, there was discussion of actually modifying the real-time format.
Thank goodness sanity and creative ingenuity paid off.
Now, in its eighth and last season, we’ve had a somewhat rocky beginning that’s transformed into one of the best second halves of the series to date.
The big turn of events happened when some-time CTU agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) helped save the day by thwarting a nuclear attack on New York and allowing the continuation of a ground-breaking peace-keeping treaty between the U.S., the Russians and a fictitious Middle Eastern country Kamistan.
But, just as Jack was enjoying some down time (and love-making) with his soul partner Renee Walker (Annie Wersching), the Russians ordered a hit on Renee (and succeeded) and, well, Jack wasn’t going to sit and wallow in pity, was he?
Hence, we get Dirty Harry times ten as Jack has went on a bloodthirsty rampage killing, maiming and destroying anyone who had anything to do with the death of Renee – all the while on a somewhat quasi-misguided mission to uncover the government cover-up that the Russians, not Kamistan were really behind the terrorist attacks on this very, long day.
What we’ve been treated to is some of the most insane Jack Bauer action ever – culminating with last week’s episode of him in body armor gear (dig that crazy leather-like mask) machine gunning away at the car that contained former President Logan (Gregory Itzin) who has also been instrumental in screwing up Jack’s day (and has proof that the conspiracy goes all the way up to the Russian President).
Damn, it’s been that good.
So, with Jack breaking so many laws, protocol and effectively turning into a one-man judge, jury and executioner, there didn’t seem like much hope for him in the two-hour season finale.
I’m not going to spoil anything here for long-time viewers (you can read our more formal, plot heavy review on Tuesday), but I will say the final two-hours wraps things up in a way that is completely in line with the 24universe
The ending isn’t mysterious like THE SOPRANOS and its isn’t overly gushy and sentimental like many shows wrapping things up (though, the producers did find a way to get a couple of really powerful emotional beats in there that will satisfy die-hard fans).
What we do get is Jack planning on assassinating the Russian President, his long-time girl Friday Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) trying to save him, President Logan and President Taylor (Cherry Jones) continually butting heads and CTU and Logan’s cronies trying to stay one-stop ahead of the best one-man army there has ever been.
For anyone who hasn’t watched 24, or only seen parts of it, the emotional wallop that comes from Jack’s character this season won’t feel as potent unless you’ve seen everything that’s led him to this point in his life. Jack, as the producers have stated over and over again, is a tragic hero. He’s perhaps one of the most tragic in the history of long-form television and perhaps the most kick-ass anti-action hero ever. He has morals and standards, but he also will stop at nothing to do what’s right – or get revenge for a loved one.
It’s actually a really good place for the series to end (and, perhaps, for the film franchise to begin).
Sutherland has let the weight of all eight seasons really inform his performance and character. With so many characters that have come in and and out during the last eight years, it’s always been Jack that have kept the show’s anchor firmly into the ground.
How else could a series, eight years in, continually swap out most of its major cast and introduce new characters and still keep the show interesting and alive. That said, the produces really do deserve credit for coming up with fresh new characters year after year too.
That’s a lot of characters over eight years, and in effect, aside from Jack and Chloe, they’ve damn near come up with a whole new show every season without the new character ever feeling stale or boring. And even as Season Eight ends, you can’t help but dig on new regulars this year like Freddy Prinze Jr. as Cole Ortiz and John Boyd as Arlo Glass. Even Michael Madsen popped up as an old, ex-military buddy of Jack’s.
The series finale airs Monday night at 8:00 pm PT on Fox. If you’ve been a casual fan, a long-time faithful or just want to see what all the fuss is about – it’s worth checking out where 24 ends and get a reminder why it’s one of the greatest and most ground-breaking series of all time. TV will never be the same, and, sadly, nothing will ever be able to replace the magic that was Jack Bauer and the ferocious bad-ass he proved to be for eight, awesome seasons.