BWW Spoiler Alert!: The Clock Runs Out on Fan Favorite in 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY Season Finale
Welcome to BWW Spoiler Alert! In this new column, I am going to share my takeaways from the most buzzworthy television episodes of the week (a.k.a. whatever shows I watch). By definition, these columns will contain spoilers if you have yet to see the episode in question, so don't say that I didn't warn you!
Tonight the clock ran out on 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY, "the limited event television series" that brought 'Merica's favorite morally ambiguous super-spy, Jack Bauer back to Fox. After spending four years as a fugitive enemy-of-the-state, Jack was back to save President James Heller from a terrorist plot(s) designed to kill the President and turn the world against the United States.
Fortunately for Jack, he was able to coerce his trusty side-kick,
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Chloe O'Brian to manage the IT aspect of the operation, and helped corrupt an otherwise by-the-book protégé along the way as well.
In addition to adding CHUCK's erstwhile Yvonne Strahovski to the mix, the new season of this revolutionary series seemed to serve as an opportunity for the showrunners to assess what made the final seasons of the original run seem stale, and course-correct to get the show back amongst the most exciting hours of television on a weekly basis.
As a whole, I think Executive Producers Manny Coto and Evan Katz did just that. As I mentioned when I spoke to them last week, the 12-episode order, as opposed to the traditional 24, allowed them to streamline the storytelling to provide a more emotionally impactful "day."
For much of 24's original incarnation, emotions were just things characters used as excuses to kill people that were in their way; but this season between redemption, loyalty, love, and honor, the characters' emotions actually seemed believable, and their decision-making, though often flawed, seemed logical. These facts went a long way to creating an extremely entertaining ride. I, for one, am hoping we get 24: BACK FOR ANOTHER DAY next summer.
Ok, after that quick season critique, onto tonight's Season Finale:
Tonight's season finale marks the first episode in 24 history that did not stick to the "in real time" construct. There had been a lot of talk about time-jumps this season, but I am glad the EPs decided to save it until the last 15 minutes of the season. It kept the feeling of the original 24 intact, while maintaining the powerful forward-momentum that the shorter season created.
Do none of the CIA vehicles have hands-free communication? Jack should know better than to be on his phone while driving in the rain.
The scene where Jack and his Serbian hired gun Belcheck take the ship, with tactical assistance from Chloe, seemed like straight out of a video game. Of course in saying this, I am going to humble brag and say that I beat "24: The Game" in the first three days that I had it... or was that "The Godfather: The Game"?
After Jack's bait-and-switch at Wembley Stadium, it wouldn't have felt like a real season of 24 if a major character didn't die, but I didn't expect for it to be Audrey. She and Jack have seemed like the writers' ultimate endgame since she debuted on "Day 4," so when she got the silent clock, it was actually a bit of a surprise to me. I always found Audrey to be a bit annoying, but Jack's reaction, including momentarily considering suicide, gave him the emotional kick in butt needed to go old-school commando to take Cheng Zhi's cargo ship. It was a brief, but powerful reminder that Keifer Sutherland is a Golden Globe and Emmy-winner for his work on the show.
Flying meat clever! I repeat flying meat clever!
Samurai beheading! I repeat, Samurai beheading!
William Devane delivered a touching speech at the end of the episode; a sobering, but oddly comforting realization that President Heller's Alzheimer's will soon remove the painful memory of losing his beloved daughter in such a senseless and tragic way. A very nice capstone to Devane's time on the show.
I'm not exactly sure where this leaves Jack, Chloe, and 24 as a whole. On the conference call I linked to above, Manny and Evan said that they are open to bringing the show back again. Does that mean that Jack escapes the Russians? Is it possible to have Kate Morgan lead a new season; perhaps into Moscow to rescue Jack? I don't know, but if it happens, I for one will be watching right along with the rest of you.
What did you think of the finale? Are you upset that they killed off Audrey; or are you happy because that means Jack and Kate can put their palpable chemistry to good use? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter @BWWMatt.