24 came to an end recently after eight exhausting days for Jack Bauer. Rather than sum up the finale, I’ve decided to do the cheesy ’24 Best 24 Moments’ thing, because the beauty of this show – more than any of the other TV shows I love – was in the moments rather than the bigger picture, which usually got a bit lost across the long and convoluted storylines. So here goes (needless to say, don’t read if you haven’t seen the show all the way through to the end)…
1 – Killing Chapelle (Day 3)
The most chillingly affecting scene in any TV drama that I’ve ever seen. Ryan Chapelle was Jack Bauer’s boss and he was a complete pain who stood in his way at every turn, but when terrorist Stephen Saunders demanded that Chapelle’s body be delivered to a train depo yard, Jack and President Palmer were left with no choice but to comply to avoid the release of a deadly virus. The horror of seeing a heroic character like Jack having to execute an innocent (no matter how infuriating) colleague hangs over the last few minutes of an already harrowing episode, as do Jack’s last words before shooting Chapelle in the back of the head: “I’m sorry we let you down, Ryan. God forgive me.”
2 – It’s Nina! (Day 1)
24 would supply many jaw-dropping plot twists over its 8 seasons, but none were more astonishing than the first big one. For most of Day 1, Nina Myers had been Jack’s staunchest ally at CTU, having previously had a fling with him, however, towards the end of the Day, we discovered that she’s been working with the terrorists all along. How evil she was would be revealed not too long after.
3 – Nina Kills Teri (Day 1)
Normally, when the good guy prevails at the end of a film or a TV show, you get given a happy ending. Poor Jack rarely gets that, and the tone was very much set in the first season. His wife Teri had been through a lot during the course of the day, but was surely safe at CTU HQ? Not when she discovers Nina attempting to make her getaway. When Jack gets back to CTU, a heartbreaking discovery is waiting for him.
4 – Palmer/Dessler/Almeida Hits (Day 5)
Day 5 was probably the most brutal of all the seasons of 24 and it started as it meant to go on with an opening onslaught that killed off two major characters. In order to bring Jack out of hiding, his enemies target the people who knew that he had faked his death at the end of Day 4, assassinating President Palmer, blowing up Michelle Dessler, almost killing Tony and attempting to kill Chloe O’Brian. The death of David Palmer alone was a punch to the gut, but it made for an exhilirating beginning.
5 – Getting The Sim Card Back (Day 8)
After the murder of Renee Walker and his betrayal by President Taylor, it’s fair to say that Jack goes off the rails, and when he comes face to face with Walker’s killer, his torture techniques take a step beyond even his usual standards. When he realises that vital evidence (a phone SIM card) has been swallowed by the Russian hitman, rather than waiting for nature to take its course, Jack simply cuts him open – killing him, obviously – and retrieves the card. Simple, really.
6 – I’m Going To Need A Hacksaw (Day 2)
The last time Jack went quite so far was back in Day 2 when he was still raw from the death of his wife. Called back into CTU and needing to go undercover with a terrorist group, he brings in paedophile Marshall Goren, who is apparently a witness ready to testify against them. Jack shoots Goren in cold blood and then says his most immortal line: “I’m gonna need a hacksaw…” After all, how can you prove you’ve killed someone if you don’t have their decapitated head as evidence?
7 – CTU Gets Blown Up (Day 2)
Clearly the writers and producers knew that they had to step up their game for the second season, because when a bomb threat emerged against CTU HQ, no-one really thought that they would actually blow it up. And they did. In one of the most spectacular scenes of the whole show, staff and equipment are sent flying as the C4 explosives are detonated.
8 – Poor Edgar (Day 5)
CTU would be targeted again over the years, but the saddest of these was in Day 5 when Sentox nerve gas was released inside the HQ. 56 people are killed, but most of the key staff manage to seal themselves off in an airtight office, only to see lovable techie Edgar Stiles run around the corner just after the seal is put into place, leaving his colleagues – including a distraught Chloe – to watch him die. Like so many of these, it’s something that you just wouldn’t think they’d actually do.
9 – Tony Kills Larry (Day 7)
Tony Almeida‘s return from the grave in Day 7 was a twisty-turny affair. At first it seems like he’s working with a terrorist group, only for it to turn out that he was working undercover with Chloe and Bill Buchanan, so he gets back to working alongside old pal Jack for several hours. However, when he and goody-two-shoes FBI agent Larry Moss end up cornered by a terrorist, audience jaws drop when Tony betrays and murders Larry before heading off with the terrorist.
10 – There’s A Phonecall For You (Day 5)
Not many series of 24 have a happy ending for Jack, and Day 5 was no different. Everything seemed to have been tied up nicely, he’d uncovered the conspiracy and foiled the plans of evil President Logan, his relationship with Audrey seemed to be going in the right direction and he’s been told that his daughter Kim is on the phone for him. Except when he goes to answer, there’s no-one on the other end and a bag gets pulled over his head. When he wakes up, he’s on a long, slow torture boat to China in retribution for his assault on their embassy in Day 4.
11 – Jack Chops Off Chase’s Hand (Day 3)
Of all of Jack’s ‘partners’ Chase Edmunds was one of his most effective, even if he was going out with Kim and trying to hide his baby from an earlier relationship at CTU. However, when he bravely ends up with the virus in a container chained to his wrist, and they can’t find a way to cut it off before the virus is released, Jack grabs an axe and chops Chase’s hand off. Ouch.
12 – Iron Man Jack (Day 8)
Having already eviscerated a terrorist, Jack continued his one-man rampage towards the end of Day 8 by putting on a body armour suit and mask that makes him look like Iron Man, using it to launch an assault upon President Logan’s limo in an underpass. It’s quite clever the way that this scenes takes Jack’s general physical invulnerability and makes it scary, like he’s a bad guy in a horror movie.
13 – Chloe Goes Rambo (Day 4)
Chloe had been introduced in Day 3 and had quickly established herself as a fan favourite with her surly, uncooperative and hilariously sour demeanour. She gained legend status in Day 4 when she finds herself not only away from the office but under-fire. What would she do? Simple really, she pulls out a machine gun and blows the bad guys away. Then scowled a bit, of course.
George Mason was a cowardly boss at CTU who was always happy to take the easy route and never quite trusted Jack. When he gets exposed to radiation and discovers that he has only days to live, he initially tries to hide it so that he can continue in his role, and he sacrifices himself when he and Jack end up in a plane with a nuclear device in it. He makes Jack jump out before flying and crashing in the Mojave desert, where the bomb could be detonated without further loss of life.
15 – Take That, Sherry! (Day 3)
Vying with Nina for the most evil person in the early days of 24, Sherry Palmer was quite a piece of work. In Day 1 she went as far as bullying a female member of her husband’s staff into trying to seduce him, just so she could get a bit of leverage over him. By Day 3 she was going as far as basically murdering someone, so we were all delighted to see the man’s widow shoot evil Sherry dead.
16 – Jack Cries (Day 3)
It’s a famous clip for having been used in an advert for DVD rentals, but in the context of Day 3, Jack’s emotional breakdown at the end sums up the effect his life has on him. After all, he’d only just chopped off his daughter’s boyfriend’s hand, having earlier avenged the death of his wife (see number 18), so it was nice to see that a human being lies within.
17 – Webcam Trick (Day 8)
With IFK President Hassan behing held captive and due to be executed by rebels from his country, Jack and Renee are leading a team to try and save him. The sentencing and execution are being shown via webcam and Jack bursts into the room and shoots the baddies dead just in time. But then he sees a laptop showing the sentencing continuing, turns around and sees Hassan’s body with a slit throat. It wasn’t live, you see…
18 – Jack Kills Nina (Day 3)
Day 3 saw two bad women get their comeuppance and Nina’s death was only slightly less enjoyable than Sherry’s, mainly because her character wasn’t quite so infuriating. In a scene similar to his shooting of Dana Walsh in Day 8, Jack takes no prisoners when he gets the chance to avenge Teri’s murder, ignoring her attempts to talk her way out of trouble and shooting her dead in the same room where she killed Teri.
19 – Evil Logan (Day 5)
24’s Verbal Kint/Keyser Soze moment. Charles Logan had come into the show in Day 4 as the hapless, bumbling, indecisive Vice President, pushed into power by the near-death of President Keeler. The Nixon-lookalike continues to fumble his way through Day 5 until the moment the curtain drops and we see that he has been orchestrating the day’s events to his own end.
20 – Jack’s Sacrifice (Day 6)
Another Day, another happy ending. Day 6 was a bit overblown, but had a note-perfect ending. Jack’s love interest Audrey had followed him to China to try and get him released, but had been captured and tortured, subjected to mind-damaging chemicals that left her almost catatonic. Jack tries to bring her back to herself, but after visiting her father’s house at the end, he is convinced that the best thing he can for Audrey is walk away. So he does, disconsolately.
21 – Candyman Takes The White House (Day 7)
Having said that Day 6 was overblown, here’s one of the most preposterous set pieces of the whole show, but still one of the best. General Zuma, played by Tony ‘Candyman’ Todd hatches a plan to storm the White House by going through the sewers, leading to a siege at the most famous and secure houses in the whole of the United States. Utterly daft, but a thriller nonetheless.
22 – Jack And Chloe (Day 8)
The need to set up a plot for the film meant that the finale was never going to be very final, but 24 still managed to pull a decent ending out of the hat. Jack going on the run had been done before (twice), but his emotional farewell to a tearful Chloe back at CTU was beautifully judged, and the sight of him limping off into another lonely escape made you feel sorry for him, not matter how far he had pushed our code of ethics with his actions towards the end.
23 – The Fall Of Renee (Day 7)
Day 7’s central story was really the battle for Renee Walker’s soul. On one side you had Jack, the old school thuggish CTU renegade willing to do whatever it takes; on the other, Larry the clean-cut FBI agent determined to stick to the rules. At the end, when sinister big boss Alan Wilson is in custody and smugly refusing to co-operate, Renee handcuffs an associate, takes off her FBI badge and goes into the interrogation room to do untold horrible things to Wilson. And her fall is complete.
24 – Tony Saves The Day (Day 4)
Tony had fallen from grace in Day 3 when he allowed his feelings for Michelle to cloud his judgement, helping a terrorist escape the clutches of CTU. At the end of the series he is arrested and facing charges of treason. He avoids prison, but bitterness and alcoholism cost him his relationship with Michelle and leave him at a low ebb. However, in Day 4, when Jack calls an old friend for back-up, Tony shows up in the nick of time to save Bauer and Audrey and show that he’s still got it.
- Re-Elect President David Palmer! (labragirlpictures.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Go To The Bathroom During “24” (savesavesave.blogspot.com)