I remember myself in 2001, when I first heard of the main concept of 24: a real-time action drama documenting the events of a whole day, with each episode dedicated to one hour of that day. I thought it was cool. I also wondered whether the show would last, as you can only do so much in a space of 24 hours without looking ridiculous.
The show ended up lasting eight seasons. Sure, there were big hits and there were huge misses, but throughout the better part of ten years Jack Bauer managed to get himself into situation after sticky situation, and wiggle himself out of it. Sometimes he got out without a scratch, but most times he had to give up something for the greater good. There was Teri. There was Audrey. He even had to give up his liberty at one point, but it was all for a cause he strongly believed in.
This season was different, though. While it started like everything else — finding himself sucked back into service despite attempts to settle down and live quietly — it ended up with Jack going to a completely different side altogether. He’s still in it for the greater good, but he’s now against the very people he used to fight the good fight with. What used to be a mission to save President Hassan has become a one-man crusade to uncover a conspiracy to kill him, one that’s connected to the Russians, to President Logan, and by association, to President Taylor herself.
It’s a place we didn’t expect Jack to be in, but come to think of it, it’s completely natural — even if a part of us would probably cringe at the idea of him killing indiscriminately like he did last week. We know he can do those things, but to that extent? Not really what we’re used to.
That brings us to tonight’s episodes, which are 24‘s last two hours before the clock stops ticking. The funny thing is, Jack doesn’t seem to be finished — in fact, it looks like he’s just getting started. He’s killed Pavel. He’s killed Novokivich and his entourage. He’s planted a bug (again!) on Charles Logan’s neck. And as President Taylor prepares to sign a breakthrough peace deal — one that proved to do more harm than good — nobody knows just what Jack will do. Maybe he can wear his iron mask again and start shooting.
But in a way, it’s a fitting ending. Jack’s always been someone who fought hard for what he believes is good. It’s about time he does it by himself, because if there’s one thing he should know, it’s this: he can’t trust anybody, even those on his side.
24, the revolutionary action series, stands down tonight at 8pm on FOX. Sure, there will be a movie soon, and some say it’ll connect directly to tonight’s events, but this is still the end of an era.
(Image courtesy of FOX)