Monday, May 24, 2010
"24" series finale recap: "2:00-4:00 p.m."
Spoilers for the series finale of "24" after the break. Don't click through if you don't want to know.
It's hard to think of two shows more different than "Lost" and "24." Sure, each was, in its own way, groundbreaking. Both took huge risks with the conventions of TV storytelling. But come on -- "Lost" was a twisty, emotionally gripping drama that incorporated philosophy, religion and complex, three-dimensional characters. "24" pretty much just consists of Keifer Sutherland pointing a gun at people and yelling "Dammit! We're running out of time!"
So it's funny that these two shows would have their final episodes a mere day apart. Unlike the post-mortem analysis that's been nearly unavoidable since "Lost" completed its six-season run last night, "24" is unlikely to elicit strong debate. Its conclusion was pretty clear cut: Jack, after turning into a one-man wrecking machine in the wake of the President's betrayal (and the death of his beloved Renee), finally gets some sort of redemption.
At the absolute last minute, President Taylor decides not to sign what she finally realizes is a fraudulent peace agreement and tenders her resignation. She calls off the hit on Jack, and allows him a brief window to escape, before he has to face charges for killing Katee Sackoff and a bunch of employees of the Russian government.
Not too deep, but a suitable ending for Jack, ever the lone wolf, always taking the unpopular stance. In fact, I rather liked the way the show ended up. It would have been phony for Jack to be content. He's spilled way too much blood, and lost far too many people close to him to have a truly happy ending.
Still, he was allowed one moment of peace, saying good-bye to the one last true friend he has left -- Chloe. OK, clearly the "24" finale didn't pack the emotional wallop of the "Lost" swan song, but "24" has always offered us at least one truly moving moment per season. Last year, we had the sad, shocking death of Bill Buchanan. And this year, we had that moment between Jack and Chloe -- honest, tender and really quite touching. Because, despite all of its over-the-top action and ridiculous plotting, "24" has managed to make me care about these two characters. When Jack told Chloe how much he appreciated her having his back, well, it got me. And, let me tell you, there are three things that it is impossible for me to stay dry-eyed in the face of -- animals suffering, children suffering, and Chloe O'Brian suffering. When Chloe broke down, so did I. I couldn't help it! Chloe almost never shows emotion! When she comes unglued, I go right with her (you should have seen me when Edgar Stiles died. Total mess).
It was a lovely moment, and one that left me feeling pretty good about "24" -- a show that has driven me up the wall more than once.
Anyway, here are some more thoughts on the "24" series finale, "2:00-4:00 p.m."
* OK, "Lost" fans -- did anyone else chuckle when Chloe said "Whatever happened here, didn't happen?" It's like they were going out of their way to cement how different these two shows were.
* I loved Chloe yelping in horror when she shot Jack. Of course she'd do the right thing -- then be totally freaked out by it.
*Also, did anyone else think Chloe had hidden the data card in her pouty chipmunk cheeks? I was a little disappointed that they didn't put her sulky face to good use.
* Fact: If you are friends with Jack Bauer, you will, at some point, find yourself in a sleeper hold with Jack whispering "Don't fight it" in your ear.
* Can't believe Jason fell for the old Jack Bauer "lean in a little bit closer" trick. Didn't he watch season six? You don't get within biting distance of Jack unless you have absolutely no attachment to any section of your face.
* Glad to see a fitting end for Charles Logan, committing suicide after all his dreams of returning to power evaporated. I know not everyone was on board with Logan coming back this season, but I thought Gregory Itzin did an excellent job, as always. I also thought it was plausible (by "24" standards, anyway) that Logan would be the serpent to tempt President Taylor down the wrong path. Frankly, once she blackmailed Mrs. Hassan into signing the peace agreement, I didn't think there would be any way back for her. But all it took was a glimpse at Jack pouring his heart out to Kim to show her the way. Corny, but very "24."