'24' series finale: Shut it down

24-series-finale.jpgHoping for a more dramatic (and Smoke Monster-free) finale? Well look no further than Jack Bauer's last ride on "24."

Cole finds out that Jack was responsible for the annihilation of the Russian delegation. As he departs to confront Jim Ricker, Chloe makes a beeline to Jack's ultimate destination: the United Nations. Of course, he's not done collecting audio yet. He gathers even more evidence before hitching a ride with Jason. Russian President Suvarov is the new target, and Logan's right-hand man is going to take Jack right to him. Once Chloe and Cole have the evidence in hand, their plan is to spam every government e-mail with the audio. Let's see the president take THIS down, eh?! Jason makes his way into a building across the street, sutures Jack's stab wound and begs for his life. I imagine calling Jack's actions nothing more than "bloodlust" didn't help his cause, but Jack only knocks him unconscious.

Meanwhile, Dalia presents President Taylor with a pen that her husband was going to give her at the peace signing. This is the only time we see Dalia happy (or with a calm tone of voice) the entire time, as Kayla reveals her conversation with Meredith. When our cheating journalist doesn't answer the phone, Dalia immediately smells what the conspiracy is cooking and storms into the president's suite, demanding answers. Taylor comes (mostly) clean about all her evildoings, which leads Dalia to refuse to sign the treaty. Taylor threatens to rain holy hell upon the IRK if she doesn't. Dude... harsh. Mere minutes later, President Suvarov arrives for the signing.

Across the street, Jack sets up operations. He records a farewell video on the data card, explaining his actions to (presumably) Kim and the world. Chloe and Cole devise a plan: Find and talk down Jack in 20 minutes, or Cole blows the whistle and Jack probably dies. As the world leaders are introduced by U.N. Secretary-General Dr. Peter Benton, Chloe discovers Jack's hideout and tries everything to get him away from the gun and window. He responds the only way he knows how: by putting his ally into a sleeper hold. His real reason for being in that spot: to aim his rifle right at the head of Charles Logan and demand Suvarov be in the room as well.

Logan gets the Russian president in his suite by saying there's a leak from within. Chloe wakes up and begins the verbal assault on Jack to stand down. Naturally, he finally listens to reason and removes himself from the rifle before placing a bullet into Suvarov, a la David Palmer. Then begins a very tense back-and-forth, with Jack demanding Chloe shoot him. With a CTU unit closing in on their location, it's the only way they can both safely extract themselves from the situation.

24-series-finale-chloe.jpgChloe absolutely refuses to shoot her closest friend. Seriously, this goes on for (seemingly) forever, until CTU is practically there AND Jack is a split second from shooting her. Once Jack is shot, Chloe (now in possession of the evidence) tells Arlo to stand by for upload ... except Jason arrives and begins frisking her for the data card. When he doesn't find it on her person, she exits. If only that wer the worst thing to happen to him -- Jack inflicts one final attack on Jason by going all Mike Tyson on his left ear. Seriously, Evander Holyfield didn't scream as much as Jason did. Now he's really mad and orders Burke to take Chloe and Cole into custody before they can upload the audio to the government.

Logan ultimately shows the card to President Taylor, then offers to take Jack Bauer off her hands by ambushing his ambulance transport. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse, as Taylor does nothing to stop him. She begins watching Jack's video when Tim summons her to the peace treaty signing. With Logan and Jason watching and sipping scotch from their suite, the principals in the treaty are introduced by Secretary-General Benton. Suvarov wastes no time by applying pen to paper. Dalia (who seriously hesitated to join the others when she was introduced), takes a New York minute before she ultimately signs the document. As for President Taylor ... well, her conscience FINALLY gets back to her and she not only refuses to sign, but announces that she's been complicit in the whole thing. After storming out of the room, she demands Tim do everything to save Jack from ambush -- except it's too late. Jack escapes the overturned ambulance, but is no match for the masked mercenaries.

Realizing the end is near, Logan first knocks out, then shoots Jason in the head. With President Taylor bearing down on his suite, he does the only honorable (to him) thing: puts a bullet in his head from under his chin. Amazingly, he doesn't die, but is likely permanently brain-damaged.

As for Jack, the end seems near. Chloe, Cole and Arlo clear out CTU (after detaining Eden) and begin using the drone to find Jack. It's not easy, but they eventually spot the A-Team van they're driving. Jack is mere seconds from a bullet to HIS brain, but the president somehow makes contact and orders the men to stand down. Once on the phone with Jack, she reveals that she'll be resigning soon and will face the full force of an angry government and country. Jack expects the same, but Taylor offers him an out and a head start in leaving the country. With the Russians coming after him, he needs to disappear in a hurry. She also apologizes profusely for not listening to him all along.

The final exchange sees Jack and Chloe and tears aplenty. He makes her promise to look out for Kim and little Teri. Jack never thought it would be Chloe (of all people) who would have his back all this time. With Chloe breaking down before our eyes, she orders Cole and Arlo to silence, and then with one final command:

"Whatever happened here didn't happen. Understand? Shut it down."

192 Hours. The end.

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Photo credits: FOX

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