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.
(Image courtesy of FOX)