Confusion never stops
Closing walls and ticking clocks
Gonna come back and take you home
I could not stop that you now know singing
Come out upon my seas
Cursed missed opportunities
Am I a part of the cure?
Or am I part of the disease?
"Clocks" by Coldplay
Cole Ortiz gets an update from Arlo- Jack has created a slaughterhouse. Cole believes that Jack is just set on killing bad guys and consoles Arlo, who is... inconsolable. Cole is also scared, but he has to do some manly shit to impress Mr. Blonde, which he does. Well done, Chico, Jr!
Chloe is at the UN telling everyone in person that they can trust Chico. The CTU agents believe Chloe. Well done, Chloe!
Chico & Chloe assemble a plan "on the fly" that will save the Universe. They know Yuri Suvarov's life is in immediate danger. Logan and his lapdog don't know this and tell President Taylor everything, which Jack overhears. Oy, we got problems!
Taylor returns to the roundtable and Logan gets into a freshly un-shot limo to return to the UN building. Logan's lapdog gets into his own vehicle and tells Eden to keep an eye out for Bauer. Oh wait, what's that? Bauer's in lapdog's truck? Ha! You've been punked, Piller! Jack tells lapdog that he knows the Russian President is involved. Lapdog indicates non-verbally that he needs new undergarments.
Back at the UN, an international-looking group of people pow-wow about their awesomeness. Dalia Hassan hands President Taylor a guilt-ridden gift from her dead husband- a pen! I got a pen as a gift when I graduated law school. I lost it- it's somewhere in a box in my attic. One day, I will find this pen. When I'm not looking for it. Wait, is this episode still on? Oh yeah, Kayla tells her mommy that the Russians ordered the hit on Omar Hassan. They whisper this stuff. This is dramatic.
Chloe tells Chico that they're going to pull a "Firefly" and broadcast the damning evidence to the entire world (and every government employee) at once. SPAM filters will probably defeat this plan, but here's to hoping for success!
Outside a building across from the UN, Jack and lapdog pull up to the security checkpoint. The guard does not play along with lapdog's worried looks. Oh well, it was worth a try. When they pull into an empty underground lot, Jack makes lapdog suture up his wound. They are close enough to kiss, but what they really do is rehash the entire day's plot and reveal Jack's motives- Jack declares he's Judge Dredd. Lapdog cries that he has a basket full of puppies at home that he's supposed to feed in three hours. Jack loves puppies and for this reason alone, he spares lapdog's life. But that doesn't mean he can't beat him into unconsciousness! Jack is now loose inside the UN complex! He takes The Jack Sack XXL with him for an unscheduled tour. First stop- the gift shop!
Dalia Hassan goes to meet President Taylor, who is still holding that guilt-ridden pen. Mrs. Hassan tells Taylor that she knows the Russians killed her husband. Taylor tells her it's a frivolous rumor. Mrs. Hassan tells Taylor that Meredith Reed is a slut yes, but not a frivolous one! Taylor's poker face begins to crack. Mrs. Hassan doesn't believe anyone could arrest a journalist for telling the truth. What country are you from, Dalia? (Writers of this show, you need to lay off the crackpipe, sorry). Anyway, lots of weeping and whining ensues about some peace treaty and trust. Dalia calls off the party and demands they call the caterer before they can't get their deposit back. Taylor then gets dirty- real dirty: she's offering Dalia World War Three "It will be decades before your country recovers." Damn, girl! You done gone off the deep end! What the heck am I watching?
Meanwhile, Jack gets his sniper's nest set-up. He makes a video confessional explaining what he's about to do. More motive! 24 fans, are you watching this? All of your questions are being answered repeatedly. Renee Walker is someone Jack was close to. He won't say girlfriend because fate denied them the chance to buy Pottery Barn furniture together- but he knows they were on track to move in if the Ruskies hadn't plugged her with lead. Dammit!
Yuri Suvarov pulls into the UN basement and is met by Taylor and Dalia Hassan. Suvarov tells Dalia he's sorry about her dead husband and asks to be taken to the hors d'oeuvres pronto. Taylor asks Dalia if she wants to share in cheese pinwheels. Dalia tells Taylor she doesn't want to become a fat, lying scumbag like her. Zing!
Back in his private haberdashery, Logan tries on yet ANOTHER new necktie, fresh from his ass-kicking by Jack Bauer. And speaking of Jack, Chloe gets the drop on him! There's a first for 24. But Jack puts the sleeper hold on Chloe ("Don't fight it, don't fight it"-- hey, Curtis Manning is watching this from his shiny-shirt heaven right now, laughing his dead ass off). Chloe takes a nap.
Jack calls Logan. Logan needs new undergarments to match his fresh necktie. Jack tells Logan to get Suvarov in his office so he can kill him. Logan succeeds, and Jack congratulates him on being a world class liar. This stuff is great. Logan is looking out his window with dread. Chico, Jr. gets Chloe's voicemail and calls in the tactical team to take down Jack Bauer. Dozens of men in windbreakers mobilize. The music soars!
Chloe tells Jack he's about to start WWIII. Jack tells Chloe to shut up. Dude, several years of telling Chloe O'Brian to zip it have never worked, why expect it to happen now? Jack has a moment of clarity and decides that killing Suvarov, while just, is not the best way to honor his dead... girlfrie- "person who was very close to him." He makes Chloe promise that she'll finish what he started with multimedia power. Jack tells Chloe to kill him. Chloe cries. Jack yells. Chloe cries a bit more. Jack pulls a gun on her, then he puts his gun to his own head and is about to blast his brains out and Chloe shoots Jack brilliantly in the shoulder. What are the Vegas odds this doesn't slow Jack down a bit? Bazooka shells bounce off this guy at this point...
Lapdog arrives on the scene and senses that Jack and Chloe are in cahoots. He checks Bauer's recorder and sees there's no recording inside of it. He frisks Chloe and she asks that he be a decent chap and at least slip a $20 bill in her g-string. After Chloe leaves with the recording, lapdog learns that Jack was shot professionally! Oh, shenanigans! Before lapdog can call CTU to lockdown Chloe, Jack starts whispering at him. Uh-oh, lapdog puts his ear way too close to Jack's chompers. Wait for it... wait for it... oh yeah! Mike Tyson, if you're watching 24, you've been vindicated. Lapdog now has an asymmetrical set of ears (meaning he has only one ear left). While this is a great 24 moment, Chloe is still "locked down" and the recording falls back into the hands of evil.
Meanwhile, the 24 writers unfurl a prolonged peace treaty-signing ceremony that rivals the ending of STAR TREK VI. The Andorian delegation is seated in the front row. Their antennae signal they are hopeful for a new day in the Federation. Suvarov signs first. Dalia signs next. Taylor picks up that freakin' pen from the dead dude and stares at the treaty for 4 hrs until she decides all of her stupidity will never result in a meaningful peace. Justice is on the menu and it needs to be served. Screw the peace process! Let's get back to honesty and war!
Taylor runs off the stage and tells the ubiquitous Tim Woods to call Jack's medical transport and warn them that she ordered a hit on Bauer. Oh boy, that lady's got problems. Too late though, as we find Jack's ambulance smoldering from the ambush. Jack survives the crash (naturally) but is taken into custody by a group working for an unnamed government agency (probably the Department of the Interior, let's be honest, nobody's watching our Park Rangers).
Logan begins to understand that the jig is totally up for him and he kills his one-eared lapdog (woof?) and puts a bullet through his own head in order to avoid Federal prison food. But wouldn't you know it, Logan must have used the same bullet that Jack got shot with as an EMT informs us that Logan will probably survive. I love Gregory Itzin and Charles Logan is my favorite 24 villain, but come on guys- let the dude die already. This wasn't a cry for help- Logan really shot himself in the head. Let him go!
Jack is taken to a lot underneath the Williamsburg Bridge as a recently re-re-reinstated Chloe and Chico Jr. direct CTU to save Jack's life (on Presidential Order by Tim Woods). Okay, so the last 10 minutes have been jam-packed with plot, but we can follow this, right?
One of the "Park Rangers" has a lot of respect for Jack and tells him he's gonna kill him with love. Jack sasses him and this actually works in delaying things long enough for President Taylor to stop the murder of our man Bauer. Bauer is not gonna die (surprise!). The Park Ranger hands Jack the satellite phone and tells him some crazy old lady is asking to speak with him. Jack gets on the line and tells Taylor he's not giving up his quest to kick everyone's ass but Taylor tells him it's all good- she's going to tell the truth, resign her office and remand herself to the Attorney General. 24 writers, FYI- the Attorney General is not some super-cop. Axel Foley is a super-cop. Having her surrender to the Attorney General is like having the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court take payment for her overdue parking tickets. Silly!
Anyway, we get the big farewell scene. Taylor tells Jack to leave the country otherwise he's going to get arrested. Can't she do one of those pardon-thingies before she resigns? Come on, he deserves it! Just write it out on a napkin. It's cool!
But this is 24, and while we can go down ridiculous paths story-wise, we have to leave things off with a cliffhanger: Jack is now Batman at the end of THE DARK KNIGHT. He's on the run, a man without a country. Chloe and Jack have a nice chat about friendship which is fitting in its finality. Jack makes Chloe promise to stay classy and make sure the Russians don't send a pack of cougars to take down Kim (remember her? Yeah, I almost forgot too). And then Chloe says to "Shut it down" and out goes the predator drone camera. Jack dissolves into the digital ether. Next stop: Europe(?).
My thoughts: I don't think there was ever a perfect way to close out this series. I started this review by quoting a song's lyrics that I feel speak to the writers' view of Jack Bauer- that he's a part of both the cure and the disease of his world. Vigilantism is an old story- from Robin Hood, Zorro, Superhero characters, Godzilla and now Jack Bauer- and as such there's a long history of the hero being a loner. I enjoyed the way it ended, but I still feel that Season 8's greatest failing could not be resolved by this conclusion- namely the political plot.
It is nothing short of silly what we've endured with this whole peace treaty nonsense. Taylor (who was brilliantly acted in this episode) did things that were incredibly implausible. She was bent into a shape that was unrecognizable from her character last season. Her sole motive was to preserve a peace accord? And then to cover her ass when she hid the truth about the Russians? Ethan Kanin's reaction a few episodes ago should have been Taylor's reaction as well. The writers forced a showdown that made me scratch my head quite a bit. And I get what they tried to do, but they pulled the story too far down an absurd path for the impact of the conflict to resonate fully.
Luckily, Jack remained true to his character throughout- dogged, honorable and strong. His is an iconic persona- I'm glad he didn't kill Suvarov or Logan as he would have done more harm than good in his quest for justice. And he relied on Chloe to do the right thing- willing to give up his own life to preserve something within himself. It's a sad ending in that he was willing (and almost hoping) to die, but his dedication to justice was vindicated (albeit hamfistedly by Taylor).
Personally, I would have rather seen an ending in which Jack could have moved onto his next day with a feeling that things were better than he had found them 23 hours and 59 minutes ago. Or even many years ago... but the writers are not into that sort of character arc. There is no closure here, just a prelude to more of the same. I hope the movie pushes outward with this character. Kiefer Sutherland has a lot to offer here and Jack Bauer is more than bullets and persistence. His story encapsulates a period in this country's history that, for better or worse, has changed us forever. Just as I hope we all learn from this period and form a better set of circumstances for ourselves, I hope to see Jack Bauer move forward when we see him next.
Until then, let the discussion continue...