24 Season 8 episodes 23 and 24: series finale review

It’s the end of an era, as 24’s TV incarnation reaches its final hour. Does it go out with a bang, or a fizzle?

UK readers please note: this episode doesn’t screen for another couple of weeks on Sky1 and this recap and review contains major spoilers.

24 Season 8 2:00-3:00pm

With proceedings this historic, as long-running TV shows go, with very few these days making it to the eight year mark, we’ll give the goings-on in these last two hours a more thorough recap than in weeks past…

After a truly impressive recent build up towards the finale of 24‘s last TV season, we find ourselves in the final stretch, the last two hours of the day. This week’s final double feature promised to be a bit of an explosive ride. The question is, did it deliver?

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The end begins with Ortiz finding Ricker, in a rather anticlimactic confrontation. Ortiz quickly convinces Ricker to help him find Jack, telling him that it’s in Jack’s best interest.

Meanwhile, Chloe, whose importance in this double episode can’t be overstated, arrives at the UN building, barking orders at new CTU face, agent Burke. A more obvious hurdle to come there never was.

By this time, Chloe and Cole know perfectly well that Jack is after President Suberov, and move to try and stop Jack’s assassination.

Logan calls Taylor and tells her about President Suberov’s involvement. Despite knowing this, and being aware of the horrible events Russia has instigated, she still wants to proceed with the peace treaty. Logan, back on smugly confident form, assures Taylor that Jack can’t possibly know the truth, but as he does so, we see Jack listening in.

Jack quickly acts and, as Pillar announces that it’ll only be a matter of time before they find Bauer, Jack appears behind him in his car – “sooner than you think”. Great stuff. He forces Pillar to take him into the UN building, moving him closer and closer to his target: Suberov.

Dhalia Hassan, another character who returns to a pivotal role in the proceedings, presents Taylor with a ceremonial pen, which Omar had intended to give her for the signing. Cherry Jones once more pulls out the stops in Taylor’s increasingly noticeable signs of falling apart, and she emotionally accepts the gift. Dhalia then finds out about the possible Russian involvement from her daughter.

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Events switch back to Jack, who now finds himself in the UN with Pillar. Bleeding out, he forces Pillar to perform some field surgery on him, stitching up his wounds. Pillar then breaks down into a snivelling wreck, begging Jack not to kill him, and Jack knocks him unconscious.

President Taylor and Dhalia Hassan then provide a tense scene in which Dhalia requests Taylor’s help in finding Meredith Reed, after her daughter informed her of the possible Russian involvement. Taylor out and out lies about this, but after Dhalia pushes her, stating that she will not sign the treaty until she knows the facts, she has no choice but to tell Taylor the truth.

Fireworks ensue, and Dhalia threatens to leave the peace treaty. We then witness a truly great 24 moment as Taylor’s demeanour takes a turn for the worse, and she threatens Dhalia and her country with military retaliation for the day’s earlier nuclear threat.

This was a great turning point of the story, and served to really emphasise Taylor’s almost fanatical dedication to the treaty. She really will stop at nothing to see it through, even putting the world on the brink of nuclear war.

With the peace treaty in real trouble, we rejoin Chloe and Ortiz who are now aware of Jack’s infiltration of the UN. Agent Burke, as expected, spends his time looking suspicious of the two. Meanwhile, Jack sets up his sniper nest, and records a goodbye message on his phone. With Jack recording the message, this doesn’t bode well, and it’s clear that Jack is about to embark on a plan of no return.

Another tense and delicious scene is then played out as Taylor and Hassan finally come face to face with President Suberov. Necar Zadegan (Dhalia) makes the scene here, with her boiling hatred for Suberov contained, but visible, and the feel of the awkward meeting is well executed.

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Chloe, now on Jack’s trail, finds his hideaway, and is promptly rendered unconscious by an increasingly determined Jack. The final minutes are perhaps the best of the hour, though, and Jack reveals the target he’s actually been looking at down the scope of his rifle: Charles Logan. He calls Logan and threatens him, forcing him to call Suberov to lure him to his location. When Logan asks how he can do this, Jack merely replies, “Why don’t you tell the truth for a change?”.

Jack’s wry smile is a great touch to the scene, and the final hour is set up.

End of the road

24 Season 8 3:00-4:00pm

And so, the final hour opens, and we see a very cringe-worthy scene as Suberov talks about Omar Hassan’s achievements whilst Dhalia Hassan watches on knowing that he ordered her husband’s death. Shortly after, he gets Logan’s call and heads to his office.

Ortiz, now suspecting that Chloe is in trouble, mobilises CTU to storm the building in search of Jack. Chloe tries desperately to talk Jack down, telling him that he’ll start a nuclear war if he kills Suberov. Jack seems determined, that is, until he gets the chance as Suberov arrives.

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In the last moment he relents and agrees to do things Chloe’s way, but things aren’t as simple as leaking the recording he has of Logan and Suberov. Chloe needs to remain in cover, so to speak, and so he forces her to shoot him (by eventually threatening to kill himself).

This was all good, but I have to admit that I was hoping Jack would go through with the shot. While I don’t want Jack to be a villainous, cold-blooded killer, I’d liked to have seen where the story went. Alas, it was not to be, and 24 wasn’t destined to end with a presidential assassination, at least not one with a bullet.

With Jack down, Chloe quickly tries to leave, but Pillar, now free, orders her to remain for a debriefing. Pillar searches Chloe, but finds nothing. We then find out that she hid the card in her phone. This was a little stupid, though. Surely Pillar would look there first. I know I would. Still, he’s not totally thrown by Chloe’s deception, and as the medic finds out that the shot wasn’t even close to being fatal, Pillar starts to order Chloe’s arrest. Before he can, Jack whispers to him, and he leans closer, then… Bam! Jack bites his ear off! Lovely.

Despite Jack’s Tyson-esque intervention, Chloe’s attempt to upload the data is stopped by Agent Burke, who interrupts the transmission and arrests both Chloe and Ortiz. Pillar orders Burke to send the card to Logan, which is another little mistake, in my opinion. Why would Logan need the card? Burke would surely suspect something’s amiss. After all, most others aren’t aware of Logan’s involvement.

Obviously not, though, as after an ad break Logan shows the card to Taylor, and we witness another prime slime moment from Logan as he assures Taylor that she’s doing the right thing, and also tells her of his plan to ‘silence’ Jack for good. Taylor doesn’t stop him, such is her frame of mind.

The journey to the end then rockets to speed, and what has been a good, if a little anticlimactic ending so far, begins to pick up.

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President Taylor watches Jack’s recorded message (does this mean that the audio recording was on a different card?) and is reduced to tears, clearly realising the error of her ways. She has no time to gather her thoughts, though, as she’s due at the historic peace treaty signing.

The signing is upon us, and all three main delegates are gathered with the rest of the UN to sign the treaty. Suberov goes first, followed by Dhalia Hassan, who hesitates, but signs the treaty. President Taylor is last, and after a long pause, where she is clearly battling with her inner demons, she refuses to sign, throwing the proceedings into disarray. She announces that she’s taken part in the conspiracy, and that the peace process is at an end, and promptly leaves.

Her first step to trying to make up for her errors is to try and rescue Jack, whose medical transport is due to be attacked on Logan’s orders. Sadly, she’s too late, and we see Jack captured by Logan’s hired guns.

Perhaps one of the best 24 scenes of all is then played out. Logan, reeling from the news of Taylor’s announcement is angry, very, very angry. Jason Pillar tries to tell him that it’s over, only to be met with a glass decanter to the head. If this wasn’t enough, Logan, stating that Jack has taken away his last chance at greatness, shoots Pillar in the back of the head.

Shortly after, Taylor and security make it to Logan’s room, and rather than face the music, Logan ties to take his own life. Pretty heavy stuff, and a real shocking turn of events.

Logan was unquestionably one of 24‘s best characters, but no more. If he survives the injuries, he’ll more than likey be brain dead or damaged. In any case, we doubt he’d back as a viable foe. We’ll miss you, Logan. You were one hell of a slimy bastard!

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The final scenes are clearly all about a fond farewell of the series and the characters. Taylor releases Chloe and Ortiz, and thanks to Arlo and his ever-useful drones, they locate Jack’s position, and witness his imminent execution.

After some tech-babble about focused microwaves, President Taylor calls Logan’s men just before he pulls the trigger, and Jack is instantly saved. Hoorah!

Come on, though. Did you really think Jack would die? Really?

The episode then ends in a rather low key, but still touching and fitting manner. Taylor tells Jack that he was right, and states her intention to resign. Unfortunately, both the U.S. and Russia will now be gunning for him. Taylor promises Jack a head start, though, giving him chance to leave the country.

The final conversation of the series is between Jack and Chloe. He thanks Chloe for all she’s done and asks her to ensure Kim’s safety. Then, once more, and after a couple of tear jerking glances towards the camera, Jack is off, on the run again, destined to run right into a Hollywood film set.

For the final time, counting down to 00:00:00 the 24 clock goes tick, tock, tick, tock…

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For a season finale this was one of the most restrained of all, and although certainly not a bad result, and a fitting end to the TV outings, I have to say I was hoping for something a little more tense and epic. It was always obvious that Jack wasn’t going to die, and in no way did I ever have cause to think otherwise. The decision to kill off Logan was a great move, though, if only for emotional impact, and bringing series veteran Chloe in on the final moments was nice.

Still, whilst the ending wasn’t quite what I had in mind, special mention should go to the quality of acting overall, in particular Cherry Jones, Necar Zadegan and Mary Lynn Rajskub, who all produced some emotional and heavy scenes.

So, after eight seasons, packed with many ups and down, we bid a fond farewell to Jack Bauer’s small screen adventures.

It’s been a hell of a ride, Jack. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Read our review of episode 22 here.