“24's” Final Hour: Jack Bauer Doesn't Die

Initial reaction to the "24" series finale

Talk about a hectic week. And in the end, Jack Bauer didn't die.

FOX's popular action series "24" aired its final episode Monday night, capping the show at the end of the eighth season. Each season was meant to represent an entire day in the life of hero Jack Bauer.

While many agreed the show had seen its best days in the first two seasons, reviewers were generally pleased with the special two-hour finale:

  • The Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara focused on the crackling "unconsummated" romance between Jack and Chloe and applauded that "24" "managed to do what so many shows try and fail to do: Go out with not just a bang but its original convictions intact," she wrote. "Jack Bauer remains, to borrow the words of the immortal Harper Lee, one of those men born to do our unpleasant jobs for us."
  • Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker called the finale "fitting." "Unlike the massive tapestry unfurled by Lost last night, the 24 finale was presented with what I thought was fitting modesty: Two regular hours of the show, broadcast back-to-back. Just by doing that, a good signal was sent that this wasn’t going to be a big-event, game-changing series-ender, and bravo to the producers for that decision," he wrote. "If 24 had broken with any trace of its formula in its final hours, it would have been a massive cheat for the fans."
  • David Zurawik, the Baltimore Sun's TV critic, wasn't as kind. "Jack Bauer and 24 were more or less dead to me two years ago," he said, prefacing a scathing review. "Like the several times that I checked back in on Jack the last couple of years, Monday's two-hour finale had echoes of the greatness that Jack and this series once were. But mainly what I saw were replays and repeats without the cultural resonance or the edge-of-your-seat storytelling power and magic."
  • The Toronto Star's Rob Salem called the finale "perfect." "It’s a word I do not write lightly. And of course I don’t mean literally 'perfect' — it was, let’s face it, overwrought, excessively violent, morbid, melodramatic and, for the most part, patently, absurdly ridiculous," he wrote. "Which, as any fan of 24 already knows, was just as it should be, just as 24 has always been at its best...All in all, a helluva day."
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