10:36 am EDT, July 15, 2014

’24’ season 9 finale recap: Stop all the clocks

Jack saves the world one more time on the 24 season 9 finale. Check out our recap, and share your thoughts on “Day 9: 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 a.m.”

Just as 24 runs in real time, so do our recaps. Here is everything that happened in the season finale:

Previously on ’24’

Chloe O’Brian
Cheng Zhi
Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau
Audrey Boudreau

This was so close to being a perfect character list for the final episode. Just swap out Jack for Mark. Sorry, Mark!

10:00 p.m. – 10:09 p.m.

We open where we left off, with Audrey at the end of a sniper’s scope. Her friend is still alive but before Audrey can help her, Cheng kills her because he’s cold-blooded like that. Jack finds info that shows where Cheng will be departing the country at Stolnavich’s residence. Mark discovers some more troubling info. A photo sent to him of Audrey in the line of fire. Cheng gives Jack a call (is his the easiest phone number in the world to acquire?) and gives him the relevant deets. Let him escape the country and he’ll let Audrey live. Just like that, we have clear cut stakes for the finale. That’s the kind of story writing economy you get from nine years of season finales. Well done.

Jack, of course, will still try to stop Cheng but trusts Kate to go rescue Audrey in the meantime – all on the down low. President Heller arrives at headquarters and Chloe gives Jack a call.

10:13 p.m. – 10:20 p.m.

The Chinese President is not backing down. No Cheng, no mercy. President Heller makes it clear that the U.S. fleet will attack the Chinese one when they are 12 miles outside their perimeter in Okinawa. World War II reference intentional? Probably.

Kate arrives at Audrey’s location within 6 minutes. It took Audrey the better part of an episode to arrive there last week but let’s not focus on that right now. Kate asks Audrey to draw sniper fire to reveal where the shooter is. This plan is a modest, yet terrifying success.

Jack picks up Chloe and tells her not to be too hard on herself. Chloe says that she is the only friend Jack has left. Belcheck tries not to clear his throat very loudly from the backseat in response. They arrive at their destination: docks where a ship is being held to whisk Cheng away. We know we’re in good shape as every great 24 finale has featured docks heavily. Season one with the Drazens and season five with Bierko, Christopher Henderson and a submarine, for examples.

10:24 p.m. – 10:32 p.m.

We were right to assume the presence of docks mean greatness. Chloe, with the help of a satellite feed leads Jack and Belcheck on a video game style assault on the docks and later the ship.

Unfortunately, Cheng’s computer geek out-Chloe’s Chloe and realizes someone has hacked into a satellite feed. Cheng dispatches his men to track down Jack and Belcheck while Chloe frantically calls Kate to get Audrey out of there immediately. Their ruse has been found out.

Thankfully Kate pushes Audrey out of the way of a sniper’s bullet and kills said sniper. A classic 24 happy ending! Audrey is safe, Kate is a hero and…oh my God they still shot Audrey. A second gunman approaches from the ground and gets an unfortunate shot off to kill Mrs. Boudreau. It’s brutal but a nice bit of symmetry as the tragedy that set Jack on this whole path of self-destruction was the loss of another loved one back in season one. Sorry you had to be the victim of solid, by-the-book storytelling and irony, Audrey. Enjoy your complimentary 24 silent clock.

10:36 p.m. – 10:46 p.m.

It’s like these terrorists never learn that hurting Jack Bauer’s loved ones is a bad, bad decision. Jack gets the phone call from Kate letting him know of Audrey’s demise. This engages Jack Bauer Psycho-Killer-Murder mode just like back in season one when he thought his daughter had been killed. Jack kills approximately 12 of Cheng’s goons in under a minute through increasingly creative means. If Margot Al-Harazi had just killed Audrey ten minutes into the season, this whole thing could have been resolved in like 10 minutes with every terrorist in London dead.

Jack’s rampage culminates in some nifty hand-to-hand combat with Cheng and witty repartee (“You should have stayed hidden like a rat.”) before Jack subdues a bloody Cheng and takes a video to show that Cheng is still alive.

President Heller shows the video to the Chinese President who is satisfied enough of its authenticity to call off his ships and avert a nuclear war. For his part in ending said war, Cheng is rewarded with a swift beheading via samurai sword. It’s hard to believe we’ve made it nine seasons without a samurai sword beheading but better late than never.

Yet another classic 24 happy ending! War is averted, Cheng is dead and…oh my God, no one’s told President Heller about his daughter. All snark aside, William Devane brings some scary and sad gravitas to Heller’s reaction. He collapses to the ground in disbelief and sorrow.

Meanwhile, Jack gets some bad news of his own. Chloe has been captured and he tells the unheard voice on the other end of his phone that he’ll meet up with them to rescue her.

10:50 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

10:50? Then why is it so bright outsi…oh, so THAT’S why Kiefer Sutherland accentuated “a.m.” at the beginning of the episode. We have our first ever 24 time jump and it’s…ok. Honestly, the only scene that required a time jump logically from the end of the episode is the very first part where Heller must say goodbye to his daughter’s casket before entering Air Force One.

If you thought a devastated father falling to the floor after learning of his daughter’s death, then try this on for size. Here is what President Heller says, unedited:

“I won’t remember anything that happens today. I won’t remember anything that happens. Period. I won’t remember that I even had a daughter who died in such a horrible fashion.”

For a show that basically disemboweled a bad guy every week, this is still pretty brutal. Series wrap, President Heller.

Jack arrives in the famous “Outside London” district of England with Belcheck. He steps out of the car and confronts the Russians who have captured Chloe. He demands that Chloe be let go. As she approaches him towards safety while Jack approaches capture, they have a (final?) heart to heart. Chloe is his only friend left and the last good act Jack has in his power to perform is to let her go home. Chloe gets in the car with Belcheck and they drive off towards safety while Jack climbs into a helicopter, the Russians’ captive. They assure him he won’t like Moscow.

Yes, the “Jack in captivity” by a hostile foreign government has been done before, funnily enough by the now-departed Cheng Zhi. But this time it’s actually a final heroic decision on Jack’s part. Audrey and God knows how many other loved ones are gone and he can’t bring him back. The only move he has left to make is to sacrifice himself for Chloe’s freedom.

It has been much speculated that this is the last we will see of Jack Bauer and if that’s the case, we understand how this could feel anticlimactic. But for a man who has experienced such extreme violence and pain as to barely even be a human being before, maybe a timeout in Russia is best for Jack. He can watch the snow fall and think about the bed and breakfast Chloe, Belcheck and Kim will surely open together.

And if this is the last we get of 24 itself, just be glad that it died as it lived: utterly incomprehensible, logic averse at best, at times morally reprehensible and so, so, so, so much fun.

What did you think of the season/series finale of 24?

Is this the last time we see Jack Bauer?

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