As the series finale of 24 creeps closer, fans can’t help but wonder if Jack Bauer will finally get unlimited days of rest or will day eight finally do him in?
Neither, says Howard Gordon, the show’s executive producer. “One thing we tried and it didn’t work was ‘happily ever after,'” he says. “It just wasn’t within Jack’s wheelhouse.”
“On the other end of the spectrum, Jack would die,” he says. “And in its own way, that’s equally unsatisfying. Jack has a far more ambiguous, complex and emotional ending this year.”
Gordon explained that the writers wanted something in the middle for Jack. “It’s not as tragic as it could have been. It’s not entirely unhappy, but he doesn’t walk off into the sunset.”
The final episodes will present something more indicative of who Jack has become. “Jack is about as emotionally damaged as he’s been now,” Gordon says, referring to the character’s grief-tinged state of mind after the murder of his girlfriend, Renee Walker (Annie Wersching). “Renee had to die because Jack existentially and dramatically can’t get away with happiness,” he says. “He’s had to make too many hard calls.”
Jack’s actions after the death of Renee have put him at odds with two former allies, Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), who is currently the interim head of CTU, and President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones), whose singular drive to pass a peace plan has clouded her normally unimpeachable judgment. “We’re taking all these characters to places we haven’t seen them in before,” Gordon says. “It’s certainly not playing it safe.”
Gordon says the abrupt promotion of Chloe to CTU head was done intentionally pit Jack’s closest friend against him. “To put her between Taylor and Jack was just interesting because she has history with him; it’s definitely more interesting than the villain of the week,” he says.
Gordon hopes that the series finale will provoke the intended emotion which is loss. “When you watch the finale, you’ll miss Jack the moment the last second ticks down,” Gordon says. “That’s the objective.”
The series finale of 24 airs on Monday, May 24 at 9/8c on Fox.
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