After all that Jack endured in this installment, I don't think it was too much to hope that maybe, just maybe, he might see... well, if not a happy ending at least a somewhat contented one.
Sadly that was not to be and, if anything, this final episode delivered more shocks, trauma and heartbreak than the entire rest of the season put together. It began small — poor Audrey having to watch as her friend was shot a second time in front of her, just to ensure she was good and dead.
From there it got worse when Audrey herself became the victim. It wasn't something I was expecting and the writers did a brilliant job by misleading us into a false sense of security. Audrey had just been saved by the heroic Kate and her team. Audrey was going to be returned home safe and sound to her father and husband. Then, bam! Another shot rings out and soon Audrey is lying dead on a bench and Kate is having to deliver the news to Jack.
Jack and Audrey have had some beautiful moments this season, most of them done over the phone. So it was especially awful to watch Jack have another phone conversation and see his expression as Kate told him what happened. What Kiefer Sutherland was able to do with that scene, especially in the first few seconds, was beyond amazing. The expressions that went across his face, with almost no movement at all, were inspiring. I saw a man who was immediately shocked, then numb, then perhaps a touch apathetic. But just when it looked like Jack had given up completely, he jumped up with a cry and turned into a warrior like nothing we've seen so far.
Another tragic scene came when Heller was given the news about Audrey. His collapse was terrible enough to see but even worse than that was his conversation with his old friend Alastair out on the tarmac. When Heller admitted that he had once forgotten who Audrey was and would someday forget the events of the day and that he had a daughter who died tragically, I didn't know how to feel. It was awful to realize what he was going through but perhaps it would be for the best to not remember what had happened.
For Jack, everything was about capturing Cheng. But his purpose wasn't just to stop a war, though he did do that, it was also to exact revenge. I was a little surprised when Jack sliced off Cheng's head but truthfully by then, I think I was feeling some of the emotions Jack was feeling and the scary part was realizing how little that moment did shock me.
When Chloe was kidnapped and we discovered the Russians had her, I knew exactly what Jack was going to do. It wasn't just that he had no choice. I think he was relieved to have the option to trade his freedom for Chloe's life and the continued safety of his family. With Audrey dead, what more was there for him to live for anyway?
Usually, I dislike movies and TV shows that take viewers for a wild ride only to deliver such a maudlin ending, but this one felt incredibly right. I've said before that this series has been my first introduction to the 24 genre and from what I've learned, Jack's life is never easy and is full of drama, intensity and sacrifice. This series and this finale delivered on all counts.
Jack screaming at Mark when he pointed out that Audrey loved him and yet he was still going to go after Cheng and risk her life.
Chloe pointing out that she was the only friend Jack had left, whether he wanted to admit it or not.
Chloe guiding Jack in via infrared camera. That was some amazing teamwork between the two of them.
Kate and her team taking out the sniper right before Cheng could give the order to kill Audrey.
Truly not believing it when Audrey died.
Completely losing it when Jack's eyes went blank after Kate told him Audrey was dead and the way his eyes then hardened as he heard Cheng's men above him.
Jack going on the warpath and using every weapon, even ones he found in the kitchen, to kill Cheng's men.
Jack: "You should've stayed hidden like a rat, you would've died an old man."
Jack using a sword to get Cheng to admit who he was, and then taking his head off with it. Wow.
Ron having to tell Heller that his daughter was dead.
Heller telling Alastair that he wasn't going to remember anything that happened that day, not even that he had a daughter. Perhaps that will be for the best?
Jack calling Chloe his best friend and asking her to look in on his family when she could. I hadn't realized how many times this episode made me cry.
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