SPOILER ALERT: Although not a summary, the following look back at the series finale of 24 will contain some references to the final episode so read at your own risk!
Yep, those words in the title of this post, spoken in the series finale by President Allison Taylor, basically sum up the 24 series as a whole. If people just listened to Jack Bauer and did what he said, the 8 “days” of the series would have been a lot less eventful and the crises of the series would have been resolved much sooner. Instead, the show brought us a non-stop supply of moles, torture, terrorists, conspiracies, close calls, and in general great suspenseful television.
Sadly though, even these motifs became repetitive after 5 or so seasons and in recent seasons even became a bit of joke. In some respects, the show was a victim of its own success. It packed too much awesomeness into each season that they ran out of new twists (attempts to keep things interesting by moving to a new city, disbanding CTU, and bringing back Tony Almeda flopped). It killed off too many good characters and couldn’t replace them. Even the crazy plot twists (the best part of the show in my opinion) became, dare I say, predictable.
Despite that, I was glued to the final two hours of 24 on the small screen. No, it wasn’t the best season finale they’ve done, but it did a good job of finally wrapping up the various plot threads of this season. It was neat to see Jack and the president go to the brink before finally redeeming themselves somewhat. I’m glad to see one more Jack-Chloe team-up and the episode closed fittingly with Jack on the run again (although the wounds the guy can endure are getting ridiculous). It would’ve been nice if they stretched the events in the finale out a little more for dramatic effect. I understand the quick pacing, but it felt a little rushed (almost faster than real time). This is a small thing but I also would have liked a cameo by Agent Pierce (who has appeared in every season except this one). Nothing big, maybe just a few seconds of him watching a press conference on TV or something. It would’ve been a nice Easter egg for the fans. I also liked the irony that it was a drone that ended up saving Jack, even though Jack criticized Hastings at the start of this season for relying too much on technology at the expense of manpower in the field.
Of course, I also had to keep in mind that this isn’t the real “end” of 24 but rather a segue into a movie. I actually thought it would’ve been neat to wrap the story up in the series finale and do a prequel movie. It would allow the TV show to stand alone and perhaps bring back a few old characters who have since died off or were written out (Palmer, Tony, Michelle, Renee, Buchanan, just to name a few) for a story that happened during the show’s run. To my disappointment though, the producers decided to milk this thing for all it’s worth and the film appears to take place after the series. However, it does appear to at least take place partially in London so I’ll be looking out for some familiar locales!
So 24, I’m glad you didn’t listen to Jack and as a result had a great run. It’s not always that I blog here about TV shows (in fact this is my first) but I just wanted to pay tribute to the excellent writing, directing, and acting of 24. I joined midway through the show’s run and it’s probably the only show that I truly get excited about each week. Sure I look forward to The Office or House, but those shows lack the cliffhangers and the intense serialization that 24 has. I really want to know what happens in the next episode and a spoiler greatly diminishes the show’s enjoyment. That’s why I’m looking for a similar show to replace it next year and so far it’s hard to find anything comparable.