Fade To Black. The Finale Reviewed

June 7th, 2010

What made ’24’ great was taking an idea so simple people couldn’t believe it hadn’t been thought of before, and doing it perfectly. The simpler a situation the show was depicting, the better it was, the purer it was.

Day One, A Federal agent is torn between his duty to protect a Senator, and his duty to protect his family. That’s all Day One was. Try as you might you won’t be able to come up with a similar one sentence description for Day Eight. Certainly there are parts which have been just a simple, the most simple an idea was Jack’s fight for justice during the last 7 hours. Which is why these last 7 hours where the best of these last 24. Why certain parts of these last two where so touching, emotional and even moving, whilst others where simply plot.

Everything involving Jack and Chloe was terrific. Logan was mostly the usual delight to watch. The action, as so often in these final episodes was tense and dramatic. Unfortunately however a number of other moments either fell flat or where horribly guilty of missed opportunities.

The show almost tortured those final moments at the UN podium until Taylor pulled out. How much better, more dramatic and hopeful would it have been if Taylor, looking resolved, steely, but oddly calm walked up to the podium after the others had signed and made a speech mirroring her Inauguration speech seen in Redemption, declaring her values of openness, peace and understanding – those which had lead her to seek high office, and whilst the initial work done in forging this peace her guiding principles meant she would unfortunately not be able to sign the treaty.

However in the places that mattered there was very little too complain about. These two hours wrapped up the Day 8 story nicely and neatly. But why then do I still feel a little reserved in my judgement?. Perhaps this is why…

The end of 24 needs to deal with what happens to those who go down that road. Can they turn back? Can there be a happy ending? Or is there simply a dead end?

I wrote that 6 months ago when looking back on 7×24 and looking forward to Series 8. Previously i’d written how 7×24 should be the last we saw of Jack Bauer, (and possibly 24) as it was the most perfect closure and judgement Jack was ever going to receive. The viewer could decide whether Jack died quietly and peacefully with Kim by his side or if simply the Jack Bauer we knew died on that hospital bed and a different man woke. Nothing in the past 24 episodes has fundamentally changed that opinion, most especially because we are no nearer an answer to the key question I pose above.

Perhaps it is an unanswerable question, perhaps that is precisely the point.

Overall a very fine end to the day, if only a satisfactory end to the show as a whole.

Best then perhaps that 8×24 is not “goodbye”, but merely “fair well, for now”.

In the meantime, back to the boxsets it is, and I would like to salute everyone who has contributed to the show these last 9 years.

Thank you very much for so much fine entertainment.

2 Responses to “Fade To Black. The Finale Reviewed”

  1. jack_addicton 13 Jun 2010 at 11:25 am

    “The simpler a situation the show was depicting, the better it was, the purer it was.”

    Yeah, I suppose you’re right. I never thought about it this way, but when you compare the better and worse seasons, it does seem like the more complex (and sometimes maybe even chaotic) the story line got, the more mess the writers got themselves in, the worse the season became. Sometimes less is indeed more.

    As for your key question, I think that over the course of the years, we have seen characters go down certain roads, like Tony, Renee, and Jack, and each character ended up in a different place. Renee ended up in a depression and then ultimately a coffin (RIP, Agent Walker), Tony once again ended up in prison, and Jack almost ended in suicide, but eventually became a fugitive from everyone and anyone. So that question may have been answered, at least partly, for some characters, even if not conclusively.

    And no, there cannot be a happy ending, not for 24. If 24 had ended on a Hollywood-type everything’s-hunky-dory note, it would have been a betrayal of 24’s dramatic concept. The show has made some dramatic and tough choices over the years (and other choices they didn’t have the guts to make), the first big tragic set-up being Nina’s murder of Teri Bauer in 1×24. How different the show would have been had Teri survived! Her death, however, became Jack’s driving force for years thereafter and the center of his emotional life, his inabilty or unwillingness to make deep connections, to let go and fall in love… Right up until he allowed himself to fall for Renee and she tragically got taken away from him just like Teri had been.

    No, 24 isn’t about blue skies and sunshine. Blue skies are just temporary, a harbringer of stormy weather and all-hell-breaks-loose season-enders. Typically, with some exceptions, a season would kick off strongly and end strongly, while the mid-section would sag. Which kind of gives me hope for the movie – since all that they’ll have to come up with are two – not 24 – hours worth of story, it just might be a great adventure for us to take.

    Beyond that, I don’t necessarily see the point of making a 24 movie right now, (other than of course, FOX’s thirst for money), but since we know it is in planning, I hope that they will return to the original concept of plot simplicity driven by strong characters. It’s the only way a 2-hour Bauer Power adventure will work.

  2. Kainsmoneyon 06 Sep 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I really like first six seasons, a women president was a bad idea , i would love to see Daniels in the last 3 season, she did a good performance though but writers didnt do much what to do with her as you can see it in the last season.

    End of series was a good idea, they leave in a high note.

    Movies should be ok as they are just 2 hours, Im looking forward to see them.

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