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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The clock runs out on 24

        As the final seconds ticked out on the series finale of Fox's 24, there was a countdown clock rather than the one moving time forward, as has been the custom of the series.  It was appropriate, the "real-time" series finally coming to an end after eight seasons, nine years (there was no season the year of the writer's strike as producers did not want to deliver half a day).  Jack Bauer's (Kiefer Suthland) intonation of "events occur in real-time" was a welcome homage but back in the beginning of each of the last two hours, which was dropped long ago, and Kiefer's personal message to viewers was touching.  It is a series I will surely miss.

     The final moments of the show, as they should have, came down to Jack and Chloe's (Mary Lynn Rajskub).  Although Chloe was not part of the the original cast, she has appeared in the second highest number of episodes, after Jack, and has become a beloved character.  She has grown a long way since her annoying personality turned off viewers initially.  I think many of us agree with Jack that we did not expect her to be the one watching his back for the long haul, and yet, who else could have done such a great job of it?  Their show down midway through the finale was gripping, but their goodbye was one of the most moving moments television has yet to produce.

      Jack struggled more this season than any other with doing the right thing.  He always acted on his beliefs, even when they came into conflict with the law.  But as this season barreled towards a close, even fans such as myself found it hard to justify his decisions.  His cold-blooded massacre of many a Russian, because of their execution and cover-up of the assassination of his most recent love, Renew Walker (Annie Wersching).  Jack went into a dark place or revenge, and left the path of righteousness.  Yet, his video recording and his behavior in the last hour redeemed the hero in our eyes, though he will face a number of criminal investigations should the authorities ever catch up to him, which I assume will be the plot of the upcoming 24 movie, which while not guaranteed, is well on it's way to becoming a reality.

     One of the most interesting characters in the past two years was President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones).  After she turned over her own daughter to the cops at the end of last season, it was easy to believe that she stood for principals rivaling even the fan favorite 24 president, David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert).  Then this season she made the mistake of listening to former President Logan (Gregory Itzin), who has been one of the show's greatest villains.  While she had noble aspirations, she allowed herself to let the ends justify the means.  Thank goodness that she decided at the last minute to let the truth come out.  It will protect Chloe, if not Jack and herself.  She fully redeemed herself in my eyes, and I hope we will learn from the movie that she earned the sympathy and continued respect of the American people, even if she has to serve a short sentence.  Unfortunately, Logan, who got away with crimes before, did not succeed in taking his own life.  Hopefully he will rot in a cell for the rest of it.

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