May 25th, 2010
10:16 AM ET
[Editor's Note: You know the drill by now. If you haven't seen the finale of "24," DON'T READ ANY FURTHER.]
Well Bauerites, today is the first day of the rest of our TV-watching lives. Our beloved "24" is no more. For those of us who have it recorded, "24" shall live a bit longer in the purgatorial realm of our DVRs. For the rest of us who have seen the final episode, it's all over. (Click here to read more on my "Life AFTER '24'")
Ahead of the show, I decided to "speak Bauer" all day. Time flew by as I threw in line after line of Jack's best quotes... although I did have a bit of trouble finding the right context to say, "The only reason you're still conscious is because I don't want to carry you."
(By the way, schematics of the vending machines, my laptop, and the conference room speakerphone were all sent to my PDA, and by my count, I was "10 minutes out" about three times.)
I thought the show started well. Sparks flew quickly with Jack's appearance in the backseat of Jason Pillar's car, and that cool moment led to Jack telling Pillar that he was "gonna suture him up." At that point, the pace seemed to be off to a great start, especially since I was balled up in a fetal position watching Pillar stitch Jack's wound at gunpoint.
Elsewhere, I thought one of the best examples of "24's" dramatic muscle was the conversation between Mrs. Hassan and President Taylor. It was an absolutely riveting moment with two superb performances, and each of these fine actresses brought their all to the scene.
Yet my hopes for a fast, furious, relentlessly-heart-pounding thrill ride of an ending were dimming. The first hour was just "moderately paced," but I was hopeful that hour two would jump into high gear, and seal the deal.
Things kept moving, but the adrenaline shots just never took me over the top. As the credits rolled, I sat there stunned, silent and motionless. Was I taking it all in? I know I wasn't exhausted (with that "24" kind of exhaustion), and I know I wasn't shell-shocked by the heart-pumping action that's usually thrown at me non-stop during the show. There were many questions left unanswered. As Jack's "on the run" again, what happens next? Will the Russians be exposed and brought to justice? Will Mrs. Hassan seek retribution?
I actually think the final episode fell victim to my lofty expectations. I know the story will continue in the film, but for a show-ending episode, there was a lot left on the table. While a season finale is held to a certain standard, a show's conclusion has expectations somewhere in the neighborhood of the distance from Earth to the planet Jupiter.
Bauerites, it's been a great ride. Since 2001, Jack Bauer has entertained us, and made us gasp in disbelief at the horror he's seen many times. Let's look back, shall we? In honor of the show's conclusion, let's hand out some awards to a few moments we'll never forget:
(While reading this, feel free to begin softly humming the words to Boys II Men's "It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday" or, "I will remember you" by Sarah McLachlan... your call).
The Wow, Did You See That? award
Former President Palmer's assassination (Day 5) - This was truly one of the most jarring moments of the show's great run. There's nothing like the old song-and-dance of Jack being framed for a murder and a government cover-up, but this one takes the trophy home in a landslide.
The I Knew She Was Up To No Good! award
Nina Myers' betrayal (Day 1) - Nina Myers (played by Sarah Clarke) was the ORIGINAL CTU mole. She was the sinister, cold-blooded CTU agent who killed Jack's wife Teri on Day 1. If you're fairly new to "24" and you're trying to figure out how Jack Bauer's patented scowl came to be, start with Nina Myers.
The I Hate This Guy, But Hell Yeah! award
George Mason's moment (Day 2) - This former Director of CTU was (literally) a thorn in Jack's behind at almost every turn, but he gets a hearty "Hell yeah!" for one heroic act. After being exposed to radiation, Mason has one week to live and agrees to sacrifice himself to safely detonate a 'nuc-u-lar' device. Copy that.
The OMG! Jack's Gonna Hunt You Down! award
The murder of Renee Walker - As loyal fans of "24," we all know Jack's seen his share of tragedies, but few compare to the murder of Renee Walker this past season. As the sniper's bullet pierced the window, some clever editing made the moment that much more poignant. By the time the tense few minutes ended, the look on Jack's face as he was told Renee had been killed was absolutely stunning. Then, in an instant, his pain turned quickly to the need for vengeance.
The This Is Hard To Watch! award
The death of Edgar Stiles (Day 5) - Day 5 is arguably my favorite season in the series' history. Of the dozens of deaths throughout the history of "24," the show routinely killed off major characters. We've seen many come and go, but the death of Edgar Stiles in that Sentox nerve gas attack on CTU was a savvy move by the show's writers. While Stiles wasn't the uber-geek Chloe was, he was a likable character, and his death was a striking moment in one of the show's best seasons.
... And just like that, "24" is TV history.
Loved, kinda liked, or hated the final show? You can check out iReports on the finale here, and share your most memorable moments, thoughts and comments on the final episode of "24" below.
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