24 Live Another Day
24 Review: Death Comes at the End

Philip Harris | 15 Jul 2014 17:00
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This is where things get sad, folks, but you knew there had to be some tragedies in the season finale. It's what we've been building up to. While having done a bang up job trying to save Audrey from Cheng's snipers, there was one more gunman Kat hadn't considered and Audrey takes a bullet during her escape. This is the tough part about being smart and working hard: you can only do so much. It's obviously not Kate's fault that Audrey is dead, and yet, had she just done a little more, Audrey would be alive. The show was crafty in killing Audrey -- we (and Jack) are led to believe that she made it to safety only to discover that she's been killed. Cold, 24. Cold.

As you can imagine, when Kate calls to let him know, the news wrecks Jack. He's on a ship and close to finding Cheng. If there was any adrenaline rush that would help him get to the finish line of this day, it's the death of his beloved. He's afforded a moment to internally freak out, but it's literally just a moment, because instead of wallowing in his own sorrow, he deals with this news in pure Jack Bauer fashion by killing a shit-ton of bad guys. These final scenes on the ship, as he's getting closer and closer to Cheng, felt like the boss fights in Super Mario Brothers 3. Remember that game? When at the end of every level, Mario or Luigi had to board a ship to kill one of Bowser's children. Well, it's time to confront Bowser, and in a spectacular moment Jack beheads Cheng with, yes, a samurai sword he found on the wall. So. Freakin'. Awesome.

With Cheng confirmed dead, the Chinese reluctantly agree to retreat their campaign.

It's time for President Heller to be told Audrey has passed. It's a tragic scene, as President Heller -- who's also been through the wringer emotionally and mentally these last twelve hours -- collapses when he hears the news. Seeing the leader of the free world crumpled up on the floor of the CIA is heartbreaking.

Soon after, Jack gets a phone call letting him know that the Russians have taken Chloe. The deal is simple. Jack surrenders: Chloe lives. Jack agrees because with Audrey gone and the world saved, what exactly does he have outside of Russian custody? Jack does what none of us would do to protect the world, which is why we love him and need him protecting us.

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Jumping forward in time, we see Audrey's casket boarding Air Force One. In a more poignant moment of the series, President Heller admits to the British Prime Minister that he saw a photo of a girl on his desk and didn't know her name. After a moment, he had realized it was his daughter. For the entire season, his impending Alzheimer's has been a negative, that silent sniper about to keep him from executing his job. In this moment, he's grateful for the sand trap his mind is becoming, for soon he will no longer remember that his daughter died a horrible death. Soon, he'll remember nothing. This whole season I've been writing a lot about truth and belief, the idea that those who know the truth are burdened by it. In this one admission, President Heller finds the only plausible way to release the burden of truth. He knows his daughter was gunned down by a sniper, but soon he'll forget, and that's fine with him.

The final scene of Live Another Day, Jack trades himself for Chloe. As she is released, he tells her to look in on his family from time to time to make sure they're okay. That said, he boards a helicopter filled with Russians and leaves for tortures unknown.

In conclusion, it's been a hell of a season. Jack has faced many enemies new and old, one of whom was Lady Catelyn Stark. We saw the return of Chloe and her asymmetrical haircut and kohl-caked eyes. We saw the president begin to mentally degenerate, and we even got to see Jack show a little emotion. It's been a wild ride, and I'm hoping the season's success and the possibility of Jack escaping the Russians and more to be revealed about Kate (who turned in her CIA credentials) are enough for Fox to decide to do it all again next year.

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