’24: Live Another Day’ Season Finale Review

Published 10 months ago by

Kiefer Sutherland in 24LAD Episode 12 24: Live Another Day Season Finale Review

[This is a review of 24: Live Another Day episode 12. There will be SPOILERS.]


It is not too farfetched to say that, when it was announced, 24: Live Another Day felt more than a little unnecessary. The 24 series had ostensibly run its course four years earlier, having taken its protagonist to an ending that may have been appropriate within the context of the series itself, but it seemingly left intrepid terrorist hunter Jack Bauer looking less like the hero he’d become in the seven previous seasons and more like one of the people he’d sworn to protect the world from.

As such, a great deal of the concern that normally (and appropriately) accompanies the resurrection of any series – regardless of its legion of fans – was whether or not it could reignite that special spark that many might argue had all but been snuffed out during the latter seasons.

Now, after having survived all twelve hours of Live Another Day, the answer to that question is: yes. And it is a resounding one at that.

The final hour of Live Another Day is a rousing bit of television that’s a little like watching an athlete come out of retirement to win a national championship. But more than simply being an engaging and relentlessly intense episode of TV, the final hour of Jack Bauer’s latest crusade lands some surprisingly effective gut punches, ranging from the unexpected demise of Audrey Boudreau – just as she had been plucked from the hands of certain death by Kate Morgan – to Jack’s tearful goodbye with Chloe that cemented their BFF status, and could have only been improved by Jack throwing a “Dammit, Chloe, you’re my best friend” in at some point before boarding a helicopter that will presumably fly him to a rather unpleasant destination.

It’s a somber end to a story that, through and through, has always been about the interminable struggle to prevent horrible people from doing equally horrible things, and how that undertaking, by its very definition, means there are no happy endings (or endings at all, really), just the beginnings of the next endeavor.

But in order to appreciate where the series concludes, it’s important to recognize just how surprisingly nimble and swift the series felt throughout its truncated 12-episode run.

That is to say: ’10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.’ would not have felt as satisfying and compelling had it not been for the fluid and dynamic collection of episodes that came directly before it; something that seemed nearly impossible for a long-running series that had all but overstayed its welcome just a few years ago. And yet, Live Another Day, aside from a few hiccups along the way, managed to do just that.

Yvonne Strahovski and Kiefer Sutherland in 24LAD Episode 12 24: Live Another Day Season Finale Review

What had started as a very contemporary revenge plot by Margot Al-Harazi, turned on a dime and became an unexpected race to prevent World War III from starting.

Similarly, the return of Kim Raver and William Devane initially seemed like a nostalgic bit of “Hey, remember when these people were also on this show?” but, surprisingly, in the last few hours of the story, both Audrey and President Heller became integral not only to the plot, but also as emotional anchors to help ground a series in something more than the visceral excitement of seeing Jack Bauer set his sights on destroying Cheng Zhi.

Sure, Cheng’s return from the grave was very much on the nose for a series that had itself emerged from the television equivalent of a dirt nap, but then again, that reemergence was part and parcel with the atmosphere of Live Another Day, or what it intended in terms of commenting on its own return. There was an overwhelming sense that 24 was coming back as a matter of its own will.

It was a feeling of inescapability; in true 24 style, the show was coming whether anyone wanted it or not, but that also gave it a unique distinction. Rather than be conjured up by the sound of fans clamoring online or petitioning for its return, the show more or less popped up and proceeded to muscle its way into a Monday night timeslot like Jack Bauer shooting his way into an American Embassy.

And maybe that’s why the series carried itself so confidently: It was not beholden to the idea of fan service, like, say, Veronica Mars. Instead, the series pulled itself out of the grave because there was still some demonstrable life in its veins.

Tate Donovan and Yvonne Strahovski in 24LAD Episode 12 24: Live Another Day Season Finale Review

A great deal of that life certainly came from how easily and assertively Kiefer Sutherland slipped right back into Jack Bauer mode. But it also sprang from unexpected sources like Yvonne Strahovski, who gave a tough-as-nails performance that was more convincing and lively than she’d ever had the opportunity to deliver on Dexter or even Chuck.

However, the kicker in the last hour would have to be William Devane and the sobering speech to the Stephen Fry’s PM about how the pain of losing his daughter is made far worse by the knowledge that he will one day forget she ever even existed is as emotionally harrowing a moment as any of the action contained in the nearly 12 hours that came before.

And those 12 hours are key here, because it seems anyone would be hard-pressed to argue that the success of Live Another Day wasn’t significantly due to the fact that fatigue never had the chance to set in.

In that sense, maybe the larger takeaway from the return of 24 isn’t so much that Jack Bauer’s still got a few patented Thunder Punches left in his reserve, but that more and more television programs – and more to the point, American television programs – can find more creative, critical, and commercial success in thinking smaller; in telling more compact yet richly rewarding stories that are more focused on finishing a story and less concerned with what is coming up next.

24: Live Another Day may have been something of an uninvited guest, but at least it knew not to overstay its welcome. In the end the show did what all good programs should do: leave its audience wanting more – which, in this case, is probably the most satisfying takeaway of all.

Screen Rant will cover the future of 24, as news about Jack Bauer’s next adventure (if there will be one) is made available.

Photos: Chris Raphael/FOX

TAGS: 24
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  1. A mediocre finale, but I did like when Jack cut Cheng’s head off. I also liked the reveal of Mark Boudreau as the foolish, naive chief of staff that he was. The most emotional part, for me, was the president’s disclosure of Alzheimer’s disease, and how he would not one day even remember that he had a daughter. It brought to mind the great Ronald Reagan and what he went through.

      • I cited three, count them…three, elements of the show that I liked, and you think that is “pretty much the whole episode”? Really?

  2. Uhm, Jack Bauer died, right? The Russians have him, we had the silent clock. If they bring the show back again, it’s crap.

    • Yeah, I think they want the audience to think Jack is dead man walking, but I have a feeling he’ll be back.

    • The Silent Clock does not even mean somebody is dead…remember when David Palmer was poisoned in season 2, there was a Silent Clock. When Jack said goodbye to Audrey when she was sleeping at the end of season 6, there was also a Silent Clock…so NO, Jack is not dead, the Silent clock in the end just meansthat a darker world is waiting for him…

  3. 24 is going to be at Comic-Con this year. I will be very surprised if there isnt an announcement made that the show is coming back. I just hope they keep the 12 hour format if they do.

    • Maybe it takes place in Moskou or some place else.

      • *Moscow

    • I HOPE that JACK comes back! I really liked that series and thought the latest is so far the greatest. will he escape from the russian? we will see!

    • +1

    • Yet you seek out and post on a 24 specific message board. Interesting.

  4. I loved it and want more. So glad Chloe didn’t end up dead.

    • I actually thought they were going to kill Chloe in that last episode…that would have been a big twist.

  5. Jack never dies ! Next season a Russian villain escapes to the west with a bio-weapon and the Russian government is forced to use Jack as a field agent to track him down and prevent WW III

    • Cool idea Trent…i like it…sign me up for that 24 adventure. Are you a writer on the show?

      • Best idea. I actually thought about this yesterday. Next 24 could involve Jack working with the Russian Government to fight a common terrorist enemy. And then he gets released back to the states.

        • and then he loses a leg or hand in the finale, retires and lives ever happily after with his family.

  6. First of all, I thought this was a really good evaluation of this 24 season. The seemingly only major plot line at the beginning with terrific actress, Michelle Fairlay, took an interesting twist by seeing it through with more to come. William DeVane is fantastic. What a smart move to keep him through to the end. He is believable, committed, and extremely talented, bringing another
    stalwart performance to accompany Keifer Sutherland. Some of the other commanders and dignitaries weren’t as strong, but the main characters played their parts well. I don’t know if Keifer Sutherland could have made the remaining episodes so captivating without William DeVane’s performance. It’s like he has someone else writing for him, but that’s not it, he’s just that talented.

    For us 24 fans from the beginning, this was not a disappointment. And, even though Keifer Sutherland has eluded to this being a final installment, it was at least not a let down when a) Chloe was kept to the end & friendship/reliance between the two was highlighted b) there was that ever so slight opening for another go around with the ending.
    (Seriously, why isn’t William DeVane working more??)

    • I agree, I’ve always enjoyed William Devane in tv and movies since I was young. He always makes them more fun and enjoyable because he always seems like such a nice, good guy. I also have enjoyed Kieffer’s work for a long time and he too makes everything a little more fun.

  7. I’m confused…

    So clicked the info button on my remote control. The guide says that it was the series finale not season finale.

    Which is it?

    good episode though. Really sad for a lot of characters…Felt like a Shakespearean tragedy.

  8. A great season. It was nice to see Jack again doing what he does best! I’m sad that Jack never got the happy ending that he deserves but like The Dark Knight has shown, being a hero is more about sacrifice than praise. I hope we see you again soon Jack and who knows maybe then you’ll get the happy ending you deserve.

    • He still has that thing with the russians that is unresolved so maybe another season and then Jack deserves his happy ending.

  9. that sequence, when chloe is leading jack and belchek through the gauntlet, jack grieving, his berserker rage, hand to hand combat with cheng, then the beheading, damn straight I was fired up.

    • Yep, soon as he got the call about Audrey, I literally said out loud “Oh s***, he’s gonna be pissed”.

      Wouldn’t blame him acting like that after he found out he lost the love of his life, I’d do the same myself.

  10. 2 words:

    Meat Cleaver.

    • Haha, yeah, that was epic.

  11. OK, that was an amazing finale. Blew me away!
    I really loved the first 5 seasons of 24, but felt it go bad and repetitive during seasons 6-8.
    But LAD felt a lot like 24 during its peak.

    The storyline was amazing, the actors performances were incredible, and the gut wrenching twist was brutal. Topped off by Kate’s apology,Bauer’s grief and President Heller’s sad words, it really hit me there. LAD was non stop action and awesomeness, but Audrey’s death really brought back the feelings of emotion when we lost other characters.

    LAD had a good start, but the last 4 episodes were spectacular. The arc after Margot alHarazi was a huge improvement. Navarro being a mole, Cheng being alive, all awesome twists which remind me why 24 rules.

    I really hope they continue with another season, same format.
    Bring back Boudreau, Navarro, Kate, Erik and all, but also People from the previous seasons.

  12. I loved the season and really loved the finale. One question… Did they ever retrieve the intercept device from Cheng? Maybe I missed that part.

    It’s a true sign of something special when the emotional impact of an episode nearly eclipses the visceral action segments. Well done indeed! I hope they bring it back at the current 12 Episode format.

  13. I haved loved Yvonne Strahovski ever since the first episode of Chuck aired. I loved her in Dexter as well either though she didnt have the best character. But this is the best range and acting performance she has given to date. Really would love for them to carry on a real-time sequence tv show in the same universe as Jack Bauer but with Kate and Eric.

  14. This season was overall pretty good IMO.
    That’s not high praise but then again 24 was never “the best show on television” for me.
    It’s always been just a fun action romp that had both highs and lows.

    The best thing about this season was the fact that it was 12 episodes so there was none of the filler that at some point plagued every season.

    So hopefully Fox will give it another go.
    Bring back Jack, Chloe and Kate.
    The writer’s can easily come up with an entertaining story were Chloe and Kate team up to get Jack out of Moscow.

    • “The writer’s can easily come up with an entertaining story were Chloe and Kate team up to get Jack out of Moscow.”

      Bingo – that’s what I’m hoping for.

      A still grieving President Heller is informed of Jack’s abduction, and as his final act in Office before stepping down, he signs a full pardon for Jack and authorizes a Black Op to rescue him … commenting that he’ll have full deniability since he is stepping down due to Alhzeimer’s – and he literally won’t remember ever giving the order.

      And of course – somewhere along the way – some new threat will occur that the 3 of them will have to neutralize before Jack is reunited with his daughter and her family back home.

      (But the season will end in a cliffhanger where Jack & his Son-In-Law go out to pick up dinner and a Mountain Lion gets in the house and traps Kim & her child in a room.)

      • Oh dear lord, Kim and the Mountain Lion was a truly special moment in WTF T.V. History that only us 24 fans can appreciate and bond over. :) :) :)

        Over the years I’ve tried to explain that plotline with friends and family that didn’t watch the show and while they find it funny, unless you actually watched the show when it first aired one can never truly appreciate it.

        • I totally just tried explaining this to my wife when I literally LOL’ed at the last post and she asked why I laughed. She laughed, but she doesn’t really understand it either.

          So true. Kim and the Mountain Lion, classic. One more reason the 12 hour format rocked, no stupid subplots (aka, No Kim).

          • AGREED!!! :D

        • Holy cow. Too funny. Forgot about the mountain lion.

          And was it Jack’s wife who had amnesia in the first season? That was unforgivable too.

      • Re: “President Heller…signs a full pardon for Jack “:

        That already happened. He handed it to Jack prior to them leaving for Wembly Stadium to hand Heller over to Margot. In the same episode, Heller also signed his resignation, handing the Presidency over to the V.P.
        After the episode, I kept wondering, which docuemnt did he sign first, because if he signed the resignation prior to signing the pardon, wouldn’t the pardon be null & void.

  15. Tony Almeida gets out of prison, goes on a covert mission, frees Jack from Moscow, and the world is a better place

    • +1!!!!

  16. The show was fantastic, glad most of the people writing comments are not professional TV critics. There are some people you can never please. I think all the actors did a wonderful job , Keifer Sutherland is a great actor as is his father. Hope the show continues next year.

  17. This was a great finale to a very good return of ’24.’ That said, I don’t understand all the negative comments. It would seem that all these people ‘wasted’ twelve hours of their lives to watch ‘mediocre’ television. That says more about them than the ’24′ series. The ending left open the return of another series and that is perfectly fine with me.

  18. I agree. I see this same thing happen on a lot of series. People who have watched it all the way through and then put it down for being so bad. I usually know by the second show (If not the first) if it’s worth giving more time to. I’ve dumped a lot of series that apparently appeal to some. But I too can’t understand sticking with a series if I don’t like it then getting all negative like they tried to ride out a bad marriage and now wants the world to know the nasty crap they had to endure. Nobody has to watch. It’s ok to stop at any time. Sheeeeeeeeeze

  19. Very good season and great finale! Next season will be called 24: A good day to die Hard :)

  20. I disagree with most of the comments on the final episode. It to me was like a Shakespearean play. No winners except maybe Cloe. The do the president in with dementia. The daughter’s husband goes home for treason. Kate has both the guilt of her husband’s suicide and death of the presidents daughter on her conscience. Jack goes to Moscow for torture.
    I don’t expect Mart Poppins but at I felt it was the worse of all endings. I felt cheated there there were no real winners among the cast except maybe Cloe. I don’t know if I will watch future series, I just felt cheated-maybe killing the son-in-law and letting Jack go to Moscow but knowing the president’s daughter still cared or something like that would have been much better.

  21. Just watched the last episode and I loved it because it brought back the whole “24″ feeling. It was tightly written and left me wanting for more! Hope they do another run:)

  22. What a great season. Loved President Heller’s last scene as he walked with Audrey’s casket. Twelve episodes was almost too short because it was such a good story line…it leaves you wanting a little more. One more good season like this one would be a dream come true!

  23. #BringBackJack! I loved Jack’s reaction to Audrey’s death, his facial expression was very believable. And Heller’s speech to the PM brought tears to my eyes. Great show, although I didn’t care for the massive time jump.

  24. test

  25. What a fantastic and intense episode, one of the best episodes of 24 ever. I actually had to step away from the tv a few times, my heart was beating so fast. I really, really hope they do another season or at least a movie, with Kate, Chloe, and Belcheck going after Jack in Russia.

  26. I may have missed a given explanation, but what was belcheck’s reason for aiding jack?

    • Probably money.

    • Jack saved his life during a previous mission so Belcheck felt he owed Jack one. It’s explained in the first episode (possibly the second) so you could be forgiven for not remembering that since so much happened since.