Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fox's "24: Live Another Day": season finale review

That's it, season 9 of "24" is in the books. Will there be another mini-season in the future? Did this season hold up?


At the end of the day, Jack Bauer saved the U.S. from a war with China by showing that Cheng Zhi was still alive (but not for long!), Kate Morgan saved Audrey Boudreaux from being shot by a sniper only to lose her to a second shooter on the ground, Mark Boudreaux was detained and likely facing a charge of treason, and Jack saved Chloe O'Brian by turning himself in to the Russians in exchange for her freedom.

* Audrey's death shouldn't have been that surprising. Women who fall in love with Jack Bauer have bad odds of survival: Teri Bauer (wife) was murdered by Nina Myers in season 1; Nina Myers (adulterous lover) was killed by Jack in season 3; Claudia Hernandez (lover) was killed by a stray shot in season 3; Audrey Raines/Boudreaux nee Heller endured torture at the hands of Cheng in between seasons 5 and 6 and then was killed in season 9; and Renee Walker (lover) was murdered by a sniper in season 8.The only romantic pairings for Jack who've survived (thus far) that I can remember are Kate Warner from season 2 (romance implied in the break-up conversation at the start of season 3); Diane Huxley from season 5 (unclear whether there was an actual romance); and Marilyn Bauer (sister-in-law) in season 6 (previous romance).

* I would've thought that the Chinese would want to interrogate Cheng Zhi, even if they accepted the U.S.'s facial recognition software's conclusion and an obviously coerced man's claim to being Cheng. "Oh, you wanted to question him too? Alas, poor Cheng, I knew him, a fellow of infinite malice. of most devious fancy, he hath whipped me on my back a thousand times. . . ."

* I was going to say that Cheng wasn't the first person killed by Jack via decapitation, but then I remembered that he shot Marshall Goren to death before cutting his head off ("I'm gonna need a hacksaw") in season 2. Still, I think Cheng got off pretty easily, all things considered. I mean, dude tortured Jack for almost two years, and then Jack learned in season 6 that Cheng tortured Audrey when she came looking for him, and later gave the order to kill her. The last guy who was killed someone close to Jack was poor Pavel Tokarev, whom Jack tortured brutally and then eviscerated to get a swallowed sim card.

* The Jack Bauer kill list reports 39 confirmed on-screen kills for this season, which is more than any seasons except for 4 (43), 5 (tied), and 6 (51). On the other hand, he did have twenty-four episodes in those seasons, so his per episode kill count is much higher in "Live Another Day."

* The end scene where President Heller was being comforted by the British Prime Minister was pretty heartbreaking as Heller noted that soon he wouldn't remember that his daughter had died a horrible death on this day, that he wouldn't remember this day, or even that he had a daughter.

* Oh, we got our time jump, and I was wrong in thinking that we'd see 5-6 hours eaten up by a flight back to the U.S. It was just "twelve hours later". . . . What do you think Jack did in those twelve hours? Well, he had already gotten the mysterious call where we only heard his side of the conversation, agreeing to meet the caller. After the time jump, we learned that it was the Russians who'd captured Chloe. Some possibilities:
  1. Jack could've gotten some kind of transponder implanted on him so that he could be tracked by Agent Morgan et al.
  2. He could've gotten a suicide capsule hidden in a false tooth (c'mon, as many fights as he's been in, he must have at least one false tooth).
  3. He could've gotten some kind of shoe/pants/shirt bomb so that he could blow up himself and the Russians once Chloe was safe.
  4. He could've gotten some sleep.
* Is it realistic to believe that he would sacrifice himself (with the prospect of horrible torture) for Chloe? Well, this is who Jack Bauer is. He was prepared at the end of season 4 to turn himself over to the Chinese to take responsibility for the accidental death of their consular officer during the raid on the Chinese office, until he learned the White House was going to have him killed. He's loyal to a fault, and with Audrey dead, he probably felt he had nothing to live for anyway.

* So . . . "24: Siberia Break" will start with Kate Morgan and Chloe O'Brian teaming up to rescue Jack, right?

* Overall, I thought this was a terrific season that held up from start to finish. It was lean and streamlined, and I hope the finale's 1.7 rating was enough to persuade Fox to bring it back for at least one more mini-season.

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