For my thoughts on last night’s finale and the entire season, I posted them here. The following is a recap of the hours 4:00 – 6:00 AM.
When informed by Little Ricky that he will handed over to the tender mercies of his grandfather, young Josh Bauer understandably balks. And it doesn’t sound any more palatable when Doyle tells the youngster that it’s “for the good of the country.” Josh obviously doesn’t like Chinese food and can’t imagine living in a country where Britney Spears isn’t worshipped as a goddess.
Wait until he finds out that sexy pictures of Paris Hilton are banned on the internet.
Jack meanwhile is dragooned by some CTU agents and placed in custody. Not for anything he’s done but for what he’s liable to do in order to keep Josh from the clutches of his father. This is a sensible precaution – but so would taking away his cell phone and putting him in leg irons and handcuffs. Too bad they didn’t think of that.
Bauer begins working the phones, calling Chloe to get a lowdown of exactly what’s transpiring and then getting through to Karen Hayes at the White House. He pleads with her to stop the exchange, telling her that his father will doublecross them. Already against the plan on the grounds that it would be wrong to sacrifice the youngster, Karen decides to help.
She tries to enlist Tom Lennox so that they can present a united front to the President, but Tom will have none of it. Nor will he go “off the books” and do an end run around his boss. Tellingly, Tom casually mentions to Karen that he won’t be looking in her direction if she decides to help Jack which is all the encouragement she needs.
She calls Bill whose home is being searched by the FBI. At first refusing to take her call via his cell, Karen tries the landline and pleads with him to pick up on the answering machine. Bill relents and, after hearing her out, realizes what must be done and agrees to help Jack.
Josh and Doyle have landed at a deserted beach when Little Ricky’s phone rings. It’s Philip. And with CTU listening in, the elder Bauer orders the satellite coverage to cease. The old man’s technical wizardry is apparently limitless in that first he was able to override CTU’s security to get Zhou and his men into headquarters and now his ability to hack into CTU’s satellite feeds. Nadia realizes she has no choice and shuts down the link to the birds.
Having blinded his enemies, Philip now wants to speak to Josh. Doyle tells the kid to go easy on the old man to keep him off his guard but to no avail. “I hate you,” pretty much sums up Josh’s attitude. Philip tells him that because of what his father had done, he could never live in America, that people would always blame him for his father’s crimes.
Would that have been true? No doubt some people would blame the kid and his mother. But judging by what has happened to people like the Hinckley family (Reagan’s assassin) and Robert Oswald (JFK’s killer), I doubt whether it would have been much of a problem.
After hanging up, Philip sends a couple of thugs to retrieve the boy. And Doyle informs Nadia that he has it in mind to save the kid if he can. Nadia, under orders from the Veep, sternly warns him not to interfere – simply make the exchange. Little Ricky reluctantly agrees.
At the White House, Karen gets the ball rolling on Jack’s rescue by calling Nadia and asking for a real time feed of Jack’s position. Puzzled, Nadia agrees to give her the uplink. Karen then flashes the info to Bill who is looking to intercept Jack in the CTU SUV. Driving straight for the agent’s car, Bill runs it off the road. When one of the only two agents they left to guard Jack gets out of the car to investigate, Jack easily steals the other agent’s gun and coldcocks him. Bill distracts the other agent long enough for Jack to emerge from the car and disarm him. Off the two go to the rendezvous point to save Josh.
A completely unnecessary and time wasting scene occurs at CTU headquarters when Milo’s brother shows up and wants to know how his brother died. Nadia tells him he died saving her. Not surprised, says the brother. He loved you, you know.
Just the thing to make Nadia feel better.
After Chloe tells her that Jack has escaped, Nadia gives the bad news to Doyle out on the beach. Doyle assures Nadia that he will handle Jack by himself since moving TAC teams into the area will alert Philip.
It wouldn’t matter, of course, There isn’t a CTU agent yet made who could “handle” Jack Bauer.
Daniels comes and visits Karen in a holding cell and tells her that he’s disappointed in her, he expected better. Karen simply says that she doesn’t trust Philip to keep his end of the bargain. The Acting President rightly points out it wasn’t her call to make, something that seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Bauer is saying that his judgement is superior to that of the person whose job it is to safeguard America. And the fact that the Russians are breathing down our necks to retrieve the circuit board points up the logic of the Veeps actions. In the real world, Daniels is probably correct to sacrifice Josh in order to prevent a war. But on TV, the proprieties must be observed and the one innocent life is given superior weight to the interests of the United States.
Nice thought but hardly germane.
Philip calls Little Ricky and tells him to take Josh and start walking toward the shoreline. They hear a motor in the distance and suddenly, out of the darkness, a small, rubber boat appears with two men. Advancing toward each other guns drawn, Doyle orders one of the thugs to hand over the component so that the geeks at CTU can confirm its authenticity.
Surprise! It literally blows up in Little Ricky’s face. The thugs seize Josh and make for the open water only to have Jack and Bill show up. But they’re too late. The boat disappears into the darkness leaving Little Ricky with a badly burned face and Jack standing on the beach contemplating what to do next.
Calling Nadia to give her the bad news, Jack asks about satellite coverage. None is to be had thanks to Philip’s penetration of the CTU network. The boat gets away and once again, Jack is back at square one.
But perhaps not. Jack suddenly remembers that his father’s company has a hidden interest in oil platforms off the coast. Given the size of the boat the thugs took Josh away in, it stands to reason that they were either meeting a bigger boat or that they were on one of the oil drilling platforms.
This sets off a frantic search at CTU of the records to see if there is a platform that would fit the bill.
And on the platform, Philip tells Cheng (who seems to be everywhere) that he can have the board when he gets his hands on his grandson. We are told that they will be picked up shortly.
Back at CTU, Chloe is having trouble concentrating. Her vision blurs. When talking to Morris about how to access Philip’s financial records she suddenly faints dead away. Morris is beside himself calling for help over the motionless body of the woman he told less than 3 hours ago that their relationship was over.
But you knew that was a lie, didn’t you?
REFLECTIONS ON PART I
Glacially slow and plodding. Too many unnecessary scenes. What’s up with Chloe?
SUMMARY - PART II
Josh arrives on the oil platform and tells Philip that he doesn’t want to go, that he hates him. Philip says that he’s doing it for his own good and that he’ll understand later that he did the right thing. Cheng, who probably had a hard time understanding how a teenager would show such disrespect to an elder, informs Philip that the boat that will pick them up is 20 minutes away.
Back at CTU, Chloe is awake but a little shaky. Morris is very solicitous of her health but all the doctors will say is that Chloe is exhausted and dehydrated. Chloe tells Morris to get back to work and save Josh.
And within minutes, CTU hits paydirt. They find a decommissioned oil platform owned by one of Philip’s front companies. A thermal scan confirms that people are on board and that a small boat pulled up to the rig in the last few minutes.
As CTU readies an assault, Daniels pulls them up short. The Secretary of Defense tells the Veep that the only surefire way to see to it that the circuit board is destroyed is have some F-18’s obliterate the platform and everyone and everything on it. So instead of a rescue attempt, Daniels orders the F-18’s in, making Josh “an acceptable loss.”
This obviously doesn’t sit well with Uncle Jack. Disobeying orders to return to CTU, Jack tells Bill that he’s going to commandeer a helicopter and try to rescue the kid himself. And in one of the biggest surprises of the series (to me anyway) Bill throws the book away and agrees to help.
Perhaps being freed from the shackles of CTU authority has allowed Bill to explore his true nature as lawbreaker and rule buster. He did a great job getting Jack away from the clutches of CTU already and this effort to help him get his nephew back shows Bill to be a true Bauer disciple.
Stealing a CTU copter was a simple matter. Jack drew his gun and told the pilot to take a hike. Not waiting to find out if Jack was serious, the pilot obliged and Bill – who displayed another hidden talent – takes the controls and makes for the oil rig.
Back at the White House, as the F-18’s scream toward the target, the Veep is informed that the Russian troops are on the move and the attack on our base is imminent.
As an aside, I would point out that the chances of success for the Russians are slim and none. In every major engagement where American men have come up against Russian equipment, it has been no contest. We wiped out hundreds of Saddam’s tanks in 1991 with the loss of only one of our own. Our planes run rings around Russian MIG’s. Our tactics are superior, our men better trained and motivated than the Russian teenage draftees, and the hyper accuracy of our artillery is legend. In short, it would be an embarrassing slaughter for the Russians. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything because we would be at war – a war that could very quickly go nuclear. But I thought I’d point out something the writers obviously didn’t know.
But President Suvarov believes Daniels when he says that they are about ready to take out the platform when Russian intelligence intercepts a sub transmission indicating that it will pick up some passengers along with the board about 10 miles off the coast. He says he will be satisfied if the oil rig is destroyed. Good news for the United States. Bad news for young Josh.
On their way in the copter to the rig, Nadia calls asking just what they hell they think they’re doing, that she won’t sign off on a “suicide mission.” Bill chides her saying that she knows what they’re doing is right and could we please have the satellite feed so we know what we’re up against? For the first time all day, Nadia shows a little spine and agrees to give them the uplink.
Jack tells Bill to come in low to avoid detection but it does little good. Cheng’s goons spot the helo well out to sea. The Chinese security chief tells Philip to get in a boat docked below decks and that its locater beacon will allow the sub to pick them up. He gives Philip the board and races to confront Bauer.
With the F-18’s only two minutes out and locking on the target, the firefight begins. Bill expertly brings the copter up to the top level where the helicopter landing area is while Jack handles the killing. And oh my, does it get bloody. Taking out the two men guarding the landing area, Jack tells Bill to set down and follow him. Alighting from the bird, Jack starts firing at the 9 goons on the lower decks including Cheng. The silly Chinese have taken cover behind barrels of oil, however, and Bauer takes care of all them by firing into the barrels and blowing them up. Standing over an injured and prostrate Cheng, one almost expects Jack to put a bullet in him. Instead, he asks where his father is. Cheng tries to bluff him by telling Jack “you’re too late” but Jack races down into the bowels of the rig, hot on Philip’s trail.
Philip drags the reluctant Josh toward the boat but the youngster fights the older man to prevent his abduction. Getting the kid in a choke hold, Philip tells him to stop his whining. Seeming to acquiesce, Philip puts the gun down to lower the boat when surprise! The kid picks up the gun and aims it right at the old man’s chest.
Thinking to talk him out of it – something he has probably done all his life – Philip advances on the kid. Then, just as he is about to grab the gun, Josh fires.
Philip Bauer is badly wounded. Josh stands over him ready to finish the job when Jack shows up. He pleads with the kid not to fire saying that he would never be able to live with the pain of taking another human being’s life. The young man takes Jack’s good advice and lowers the gun.
The jets are literally seconds from firing when Jack has his final confrontation with his father. I’m not sure if it could have been done better if there had been more time. Philip pleads with Jack to kill him – something Jack won’t do. He wants him held “accountable” – we assume in a court of law. Not to be, says Philip. I can’t walk and you can’t carry me. Realizing this, Jack’s parting words to his father are “You’re getting off easy,” which we assume means not only for the crimes he committed that day but also for the years of emptiness Jack endured instead of the loving embrace of a real father.
The jets are too close and Jack must make a run for it. Bill helps him by lowering the ladder and racing to a lower level where he picks Jack up just as about a dozen smart missiles slam into the rig, obliterating it and, we assume, Philip Bauer.
Should we assume that? Long time viewers of the show know full well that unless we see a body, don’t assume anything. Was Philip hurt that badly? Jack never checked his wound. And that boat with the locater beacon was right there. Another year with Philip as Jack’s nemesis would be interesting but I think they could do better.
Back at the White House, Suvarov is convinced the board is destroyed and calls off the attack. As if any of us really cared that much.
Jack is riding on the hanging ladder as the chopper makes its way toward shore. Suddenly, he seems to fall off causing young Josh to panic. No worries, Jack makes it to shore and waves the chopper on. Bill says “he isn’t ready to come in yet” whatever that means.
Daniels relents and pardons both Karen and Bill. Bill makes it back to CTU and Josh is reunited with his mother. We find out Chloe is pregnant and that she and Morris are back together.
And all of that is just filler, leading up to the highlight of the evening and perhaps the season; Jack’s confrontation with Heller about Audrey and the part the Secretary played in his descent into darkness.
Heller is at his home talking on the phone when he hears the door open. He knows right away who it is. It’s Jack, who in one of the most obvious breaks in the real-time continuum in the show’s history (how did Jack get from the shore to the Secretary’s house so quickly on foot), has come for Audrey.
He’s not going to get her. But Jack lets Heller have it with both barrels. He’s just seen his father die and felt nothing. He blames Heller and people like him for what he has become: â€œThe only thing I have ever done is what you and people like you have asked of me,â€ which is as telling a statement about who Jack Bauer really is that has ever been uttered on the show. Jack is a creature of those who created him. And in order to do as they have asked through the years, he has become what he most hates.
Heller tries to fob him off with platitudes about what the country owes him. Jack’s having none of it. “I’m not interested in what you think the country owes me. I want my life back.”
That last line was delivered almost plaintively by Jack. He wants to be normal again. He wants to live in a sane world. He warns Heller not to send anyone after him, that he’s “very good at disappearing” and “pretty good at killing, too.”
But Heller is brutal. “You’ll get back into the game,” and Audrey will suffer for it. It is then that Jack realizes that Heller is right, that he is, in fact, cursed. Anyone who comes in contact with him is doomed. Quietly, he goes into Audrey’s room. She’s asleep when he tells her how much he loves her and that he’s sorry to have to break his promise to always take care of her. Silently walking past Heller who is waiting outside her room, Jack leaves the house and walks toward an escarpment where the waves are crashing the shore far below. He looks lost, bereft. He gets a faraway look in his eye as he sees the road ahead of him. Without Audrey, without anyone, it is a road to nowhere.
Jack took out 6 of the 8 Chinese on the rig with explosions and offed two near the helicopter landing zone. Bill took out two more. Final totals are below: