24 Review: Arrest Jack Bauer!

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The following review takes place between 6:41 a.m. and 6:58 a.m. Words are written in real time...

For seven and three-quarter seasons, Jack Bauer was an American hero who stopped at nothing to save lives and protect his country.

Now, he's ending his run on 24 as a revenge-fueled traitor who is putting everyone at risk.

There's no other way to interpret the ridiculous turns that have taken place as this Fox drama limps to a conclusion. For the second consecutive week, an episode lacked any suspense because there are no lives actually at stake - and because Jack has actually made this decision:

It's more important to bring a few Russian officials to justice than it is to ensure peace in the middle east.

This stands against everything that has made Jack so enthralling to watch over the years. This was a man who would torture and lie and scheme and go to any length to save American citizens. Now? He's angry that Renee is dead and defying the President, Chloe and all that are thinking clearly enough to focus on the big picture.

Loose in NYC

In other words: please arrest Jack Bauer. If this were happening in real life, I could live with a few Russians getting away with a foiled plot over the disintegration of a global peace accord. But, hey, that's just me.

As someone who has watched everyone second of every season and defended 24 over the last couple years, this incredibly depressing to watch. I had always hoped the show would end with Jack giving his life to save millions of people. Nothing would be more apt.

Instead, we already know Jack will live because producers talk openly about a 24 movie, and I keep coming back to this same point: THERE ARE NO LIVES AT STAKE!

After everything Jack has gone through and the show has been about, its final storyline doesn't revolve around any imminent threat. That's amazing.

Think about this: if the show ends with Jack simply using the evidence Dana gave him this week and exposing the Russians - thereby bringing President Taylor down in the process - will that feel remotely satisfying? Worthy of a series conclusion? As if Jack really did something heroic for the the country and the world?

The only development that saved this episode from receiving a negative rating is the fact that Jack shot Dana. Thank goodness! I was afraid this new, soft Bauer would actually just arrest her or let her go.

I just wish he'd executed her 17 episodes ago and saved us from the worst B-storyline in 24 history.

I also wish the writers would have realized that pitting an intense Freddie Prinze Jr. against an intense Kiefer Sutherland is simply gonna make the former look silly. The scene where Cole shoved Jack to the ground and where he face shook in anger was more humorous than suspenseful.

In closing, President Taylor might be a worse example of a strong woman than any contestant on The Bachelor. She has no idea what she's doing and simply listens to the last person to offer her advice. Hmmm... I should put some random dude I just met in charge of CTU because you said so, even though the last course of action you recommended didn't work out? Okay, Charles!

What did you think of the episode? Are you actually invested in Jack's mission, or do you wish more was at stake as 24 ticks down to its end?


Editor Rating: 1.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (54 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Man, if you really think peace in the Middle East is possible without genocide, an exchange of nuclear weapons, or at least some good, ole' fashioned ethnic cleansing, then you're crazy. I think Jack and occasionally Cole are the only ones thinking straight... gonna let the Rooskies who planned to irradiate Manhattan off the hook? No way man... and I feel sorry for Renee, SHE needs some justice, legal or otherwise. Hat tip to Dee.


i agree this was a good episode it was actioned packed, suspensful, and love the idea of jack going berserk seems realistic.

Matt richenthal

@LinconX: Thank you! That's all I'm saying. There's no actual urgency to any of this, it's manufactured drama because Jack is sad about Renee - who, let's remember, he knew for two entire days.
@Egads: Blackwater types aren't bad people in and of themselves. Many people take exception to their role in the world, but each person is simply a former soldier. What did Bledsoe do? He tortured the same woman Jack shot in cold blood! For that, he was murdered by Jack. To save anyone's life? Nope, just to find some evidence... which also won't save anyone's life.


I still don't understand why this whole plot thread ran the course it did. It seemed to me at the time that the only thing the President needed to do is simply hold the evidence against the Russians until AFTER the peace treaty was signed, then expose them through back channels. Peace treaty signed, Russians brought to justice - big reveal at the end to show the prez was remaining true after all. On Jack killing Dana: perhaps Dana deserved it, but Jack has now gone to a place (executioner) from which it would be difficult if not impossible to return.


"Think about this: if the show ends with Jack simply using the evidence Dana gave him this week and exposing the Russians - thereby bringing President Taylor down in the process - will that feel remotely satisfying?"
Definitely should be bringing down the Russians and Logan and Taylor. !50,ooo PPL were almost offed...
I think bower will take the evidence to the media. Can't be CNN - gotta be Fox. Well he is in NYC after all - so he should barge in to Glenn Beck's Studio and force them to air the evidence tp air - Live On FOX!


Some corrections, right from the show. First, I don't believe Jack has actually killed ANY federal or local government agents in his post-Renee actions - he's winged a few and given one NYPD officer a good reason never to wear sandals again, but the guys he took out at the safe house where Dana Walsh was being water-boarded were all Blackwater types, by Logan's intent and machinations. Second, the President has now committed multiple impeachable offenses and completely broken her oath of office. Jack has always been willing to do black opps and give his commander(s)-in-chief deniablility, but he's proven again and again to be a stickler for checks-and-balances and constitutional behavior by POTUS (as Logan knows all-too-well). I'm half-hoping Jack gets so completely torqued by high crimes in high places that he springs Tony Almeda and the two of them REALLY clean house. As Jack says, he's the only one thinking straight - how long does anyone think it would be before the Russian faction responsible for all of this season's badness would find a venue to leak the presidential cover-up and pull the rug out from under the peace agreement?


I absolutely love the idea that the series is going to end on a personal crisis. It's about Jack, Chloe, Logan, and Taylor, not some anonymous bomb that will go off somewhere. The seasons have a tendency to burn out before the end, and it's the ones with the big threats (Seasons 2, 3) that tend to crash before the finale. Think of Season 1 -- whose life was at stake, Kim's? Season 7 wraps up the threat with 40 minutes to go in the finale, so that it's all about the characters. I'll take this over a terrorist thread any day.


LOL!I am out of it and i am happy about it i have no plans to enjoy a healthy conversation with you and i know who you are!!!and yes you want to be the center of the attention ,i stand by it!!! you can think what you want i have no plans to go through legitimate statistics to say 24 fans do not enjoy overtly harsh criticisms allllllllll the time ! i was not posting a comment to critisize "others"...i was simply talking about ur recap!hey at least dana is gone!you can lighten up!lol

Matt richenthal

@lida: I want to become the center of attention?? I'm the critic that wrote the article and I'm responding to a debate about the episode. I'd imagine most people that read television show sites would love to have a back and forth with the author.
I'm also pretty sure your ratio of people loving the episode and agreeing with me is way off. Count the actual number of people, not the number of posts, seeing as a majority of these comments are between myself and KBZ, with whom I'm having an enjoyable, healthy debate. Feel free to join or to stay out of it - but seems odd you'd post a comment just to criticize others for... posting a comment.


we get it m.l house!you want to become the center of the attention but look at the comments there are only two comments in agreement with ur unbeliveable criticism!!!!how do you think ppl would recat to u simply saying"please arrest jack bauer"!!!LOL!i mean really!the only good thing that comes out of 24 ending this season is that i dont have to read ur criticisms about it!

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