Review: '24: Live Another Day' Finale: The Final Mission

By Curtis Kalin | July 15, 2014 | 9:37am EDT

Spoiler Warning: If you have not watched the finale episode of '24: Live Another Day', stop reading now…

If the 24 series has proven anything, it proves, again and again, there really is never a happy ending for Jack Bauer. The finale of 24: Live Another Day gave us exactly that.

It is also 24's custom to provide us with tactical victories while serving up much more powerful and despondent emotional losses. That too, was the result of last night's finale.

Jack's mission tonight was to find Cheng alive and prevent a war. Kate Morgan and the CIA's job was to prevent Audrey from seeing any harm. We only saw one of those missions accomplished.

'Jack Bauer' Has One Final Mission

Jack quickly learns where Cheng is. He's trying to flee the country on a ship leaving the Port of London. Cheng calls Jack and lets him know he has Audrey in the sights of a sniper and will kill her if he or the CIA attempt to stop him from leaving London. Jack dispatches Kate and a CIA team to save Audrey while just he and Belcheck storm the ship. Chloe is picked up and serves as their eyes and ears on comm, per the norm.

These dual missions commence as Heller and the Chinese President are staring into the abyss of nuclear war as a Chinese fleet closes in on U.S. bases in the Pacific.

Kate uses Audrey to figure out where the sniper is positioned as Jack begins picking off Cheng's henchmen. Cheng's techie sees Chloe's satellite hacking and Cheng soon knows Jack is there hunting him. Chloe gives Kate the go ahead to make a move to save Audrey. She begins firing at the window and hits the sniper as Audrey runs for cover. With only a handgun, Kate hits her target as the sniper slumps out the window. However, as Kate and the team are walking Audrey away and to the cars, a second sniper sprays them with bullets. A number of agents go down and Audrey is holding her chest. She's been shot, too. Kate races over to catch her and attempts to stop the bleeding, but it's too late. Audrey is dead. She is honored with a silent clock.

Meanwhile, Jack and Belcheck split up to cover more ground as Kate calls Jack. She delivers the somber news to him. Jack slumps over in emotional heartache. Suddenly, he gets that same look of rage we saw in the waning episodes of season eight. He fires with fury at Cheng's remaining men. He reaches Cheng and they fight hand-to-hand. Jack ends up getting the better of a now bloodied and battered Cheng. Jack puts Cheng's face in front of a screen for confirmation and voice authentication - then pulls a Samurai sword off the wall (yes, really!) and proceeds to slash Cheng's head clean off his body, producing one of the greatest Bauer kills of all time.

Heller is able to call the Chinese President and get them to back down. Then, he, too, is informed of his daughter's death. He collapses in grief. Jack and Belcheck try to meet up with Chloe, but she's gone with some spots of blood on the floor. Jack receives a call. We only hear his end of the call as he tells the caller to "set it up."

For the final segment, we witness the elusive time-jump. Twelve hours pass and we see Kate Morgan turn in her badge and leave the CIA for good. Mark is in custody and on his way to prison. Heller watches as the flag-draped coffin of his daughter is lifted onto Air Force One. He then delivers one of the most melancholy monologues in 24 history to the British Prime Minister. He tells of the onset of his disease, not recognizing Audrey, and that soon he won't remember anything that happened on this day.

Finally, we see Jack's car approach a helicopter with unknown men guarding it. Chloe hops out of the chopper. Jack gets out of the car. They walk towards and past each other. Jack is trading his life for Chloe's. They share a poignant moment as they pass. Jack admits that Chloe is his best friend and for her, "It's time for you to go home." The men are Russian. They assure Jack all they ever wanted was him. They wanted him to pay for his killing spree at the end of the eighth season. He willingly climbs in the helicopter and they fly away to Moscow.

Overall, this "limited event series" was two thumbs up. It started out a bit slow, but the latter half of the season was non-stop, must-see TV every Monday. The ratings seem to be quite good, and the ambiguous ending does leave open the possibility of a movie or another short season next summer. I, for one, would like to start the movement for #OneMoreSeason of 24 right now.

"The 24 thrill ride" of 2014 was unbelievable, and there's no reason why Jack Bauer and 24 fans everywhere can't live one more day.

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