24: Welcome to Jack's Nightmare

Maybe I’ve been watching too much of the NBA playoffs. Or possibly the Manhattan setting for this year’s 24 put me in a New York state of mind. But as I watched Jack Bauer work his way through his toolbox from hell before he quite literally extracted evidence from the Russian agent and sniper Pavel, I was caught between two reactions. Both of them are best expressed by Marv Albert:

A. Yessssss! And it counts!

B. Oooooooh! That had to hurt!

Way back after this season’s first episode, when Jack returned to the field instead of becoming the most badass grandpa in a SoCal preschool parking lot, I wrote that he wasn’t just heading out onto the streets of Manhattan. The reality was that he was going back to Jackistan—a place where nightmares, and not dreams, are made.

This week, we saw just what a dark and lawless place Jackistan can be. This is the stateless mental and emotional landscape that Jack Bauer operates in. As much as 24 fans revel in Jack’s ability to outsmart and out-tough whatever is thrown at him, he’s not a super-hero. Granted, the dude bounces back pretty quickly from a knife to the gut and the occasional gunshot wound, but we all sometimes forget that he’s flesh-and-blood.

Last night, Jack Bauer was both the torturer and the tortured. When he spoke to reporters last Friday, 24 executive producer Howard Gordon described the show as a “tragedy.” Gordon also said that it would be artificial, after everything Jack has been through, to deliver him to some kind of happy ending. No, I never expected him to turn up on Dancing With The Stars. But what added to the shock of last night’s episode was that I didn’t expect Jack Bauer to end up as Dexter, either.

Hard as it was to watch, Jack’s little Q & No A with Pavel had a certain truth to it. And it was about more than Renee, too. What we saw was the sum of all the betrayals Jack has endured, the moral compromises he's made, and the mayhem he has inflicted over the years. As Gordon said, there’s never been a reset button for Jack Bauer.

Last night, we saw both sides of Jack. There he was, moving nimbly through the racks of ladies' casual on the third floor of Turner’s Department Store before deftly taking out a squadron of back-up baddies. We’re so accustomed to him doing what he has to do that the swift justice and violence he administered barely registered. Besides, they were hunting him.

But Pavel? That was personal. With blood literally on his hands, Jack brought down his full wrath. We got some vintage Jack, such as his little tap to the cheek and “You first!” response when Pavel told him to go to hell. His breakdown of how the Russian shot Renee to guarantee maximum suffering helped make what was to come a bit more understandable. He even delivered an “I give you my word” before Pavel spit in his face. That was not a good idea, and what ensued may have been the most brutal and graphic (at least in audio) torture sequence we’ve ever witnessed on 24.

Jack provided a moment and Jackism that many 24 connoisseurs will cherish forever: “You dumb bastard, you swallowed it. You swallowed it! This is from my friend.” Insert knife here, remove, then cleanse SIM card. Revel, if you like, in Jack’s actions; it was certainly hard to find much sympathy for the likes of Pavel. But triumphant he wasn't: If a man wielding an acetylene torch and caramelizing a now-defenseless adversary’s abdomen can ever be described as vulnerable, then that man was Jack Bauer. “All you had to do was leave us alone,” he told Pavel. “Why couldn’t you just leave us alone?”

It's tough to see Jack like this, tough to see him committing these acts. He has done it all before, saving cities, his country, his President, his family, his friends, and maybe lost himself along the way. Last week, I said it was Jack against the world. But he’s got a bigger battle on his hands. Because now it’s Jack Bauer vs. Jack Bauer.

Do you think that Jack went too far on last night's episode? Or was he just getting the job done as he always has in the past?

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I don't have time for this.
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And yea, I wanted to say, I just love that they got Michael Madsen for some role in the last season. I like his character, and he has been in so many films I like(for example, Reseirvor dogs, Kill bill), just cant not like his acting.
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If anyone wants to check out the interview with 24 executive producer Howard Gordon, it's on this site at bit.ly/ayXEAu
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I was expecting Jack to kill Pavel in a very nasty way, especially after executing Dana, (and I think within these last episodes we might see Jack kill Logan). Jack considered Rene family and we all know how far he is willing to go for family. He did not go too far.
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The jump to NBC was scrapped. Keifer said in an interview a while back that Fox cancelling the show was just the excuse they needed to end the show.
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Read another interview from just a couple of days ago that said basically, the important people had read the script, and work had begun on the 2nd draft
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On a conference call last week, Howard Gordon, 24 exec producer, said a first draft of the movie was finished but there was no word on when the movie would come out. He hoped sooner rather than later but there were no guarantees on anything.
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Clarification on something please? I read that the movie was likely off the table as another network (NBC?) was hoping to pick up 24 and continue the series. As for too far, nope. He got what he needed to prove the link of Renee's assassination is linked to a specific person (Logan) in the White House. That plus the video he has proving the Russian link should be plenty to use to bring out the truth. (And possibly impeach President Taylor, but she knows she compromised too much and that this was a likely outcome in the end.)
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people,producers,24 fans,listen to me... Do not.Kill.Jack.

Let him go see his grandaughter.I mean,that's all the guy wants.A normal life.

The best ending for me...Jack going away into the sunset,just like the lone gunmen from those old western movies.Perfect.That way,we would always know that he's out there,somewhere.And that he can always come back and shoot you point blank if you get in with the wrong people.
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As there is a movie planned to follow this season I dont think he will die at the end. Theyd have to kill him in the movie which I think is kinda retarded. Im a huge fan of 24, but Jack has to die, it\'s the only ending for him and a 'happily ever after' ending just wont work
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I don't believe he went too far. Though he is on the wrong side of the edge right now, what would be the alternative? Turn the Russian over to the authorities that want to maintain the cover-up? Trust that the reporter's news story won't be quashed somehow? Though he's maybe gone farther than he has before, he has no real recourse at this point. Though, setting his sights on Logan won't end well, I'm sure.
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Jack is not going to get out alive this season unlike the past...This is becoming obvious. Being a huge fan of Jack Bauer, I don't want him to die. But death of Jack Bauer is the best way this series can go out with a BANGGG!!!
Will miss 24 !!!
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I don't know if it was really about getting the job done, but so Pavel certainly got what he deserved. Hopefully Logan finally gets what's coming to him next week. I think the movie that keeps getting alluded to is just a bluff so we don't see Jack's death coming though.
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I applaud what Jack did, and hope he does some of the same to that bastard Logan!
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Each week now it ends with a Jack Execution. Next week is it wrong for me to hope for President Logan to take one to the head??
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I completely agree with the post before me. he got the job done, and now he wants revenge so much, like never before.
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I think that last night episode had the two things, jack getting the job done and getting the revenge he deserved. The last scene was like a dejavu from season 5.
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Psychologically, it makes sense to me. I hate seeing Jack, our hero turned anti-hero, in this terrible, awful place, but - it\'s true to the character. It\'s more than getting the job done, or seeking revenge - it\'s am accumulation of all those years of **** crap that's gone on. really, now - that has taken a huge toll on him. and it\'s all coming out now, in these last few episodes.
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may be this is going to happen? jack ends up locked in an high security prision, next to tony.
and they are both called for duties in the subsequent movie.
i would love that
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Exactly @rockworm. talonz, people like you who think they are rational give a bad name to rational people.
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A tragedy series ending for Jack? My money's on him finally getting convicted for point-blank shooting someone. As much as I hate Dana, Jack should finally face the law for what was honest-to-goodness murder.
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talonz your an idiot. Everyone Jack has killed so far deserved it. And we're not rationalizing torture. That claim is as rediculous as saying anyone who visits the vatican rationalizes pedophelia.
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Well we are definitely off the reservation now people. Jack's killing people in cold blood now and amazingly there are people justifying it. Oh yea, it's just a show and everyone walks away at the end of the day. Looking forward to the stare down between Jack and Logan. Looking forward to the demise of Logan's man at CTU. Looking forward to how Jack is going to die again. Looking forward to the end of a show that helps people rationalize the need for torture.
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He didn't go far enough. Okay no, he went just the right amount of far. This is what we were waiting to see since he threatened to take out a guy's stomach lining back in Season 1.
I hope he now kinda understands what Tony felt last season.
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As Cole noted, elsewhere in the episode, there are no good guys in this story--not Jack, not the President, not Pavel, not even Cole himself. Everyone in this little play has committed atrocities (well, maybe not Chloe) and every one of them has blood on their hands. Of them all, I think the worst betrayal has been from President Taylor. As for Logan, there's an old story about a woman caring for a poor half-frozen to death snake that ultimately bites and kills her. "Silly woman. You knew damn well I was a snake when you took me in."
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Can't say I wouldn't do the same thing put in that situation.
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On the forums people are comparing this to what Tony did last season. How do you from torturing someone who clearly deserved it to trying to set off a bio weapon on a subway? I don't get that. Jack might be on the brink of losing it but even at his worst Jack never kills innocent lives.
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I think he went quite far, but not too far. Some moments of the scene were dark but they were balanced by jacks overall motives. In the end - even though he had a personal stake in it - jack really was torturing Pavel to gain further information (this is discovered when you hear jack mutter "this isn't working" - he was hoping to use his motives to convince Ravel he was capable of anything). However what he is going to do with this new information is yet to be seen....personally I'm all for a Jack slaughter fest!
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Not far enouugh.



With everything Jack has been through over the last 8 seasons, I wasn't even expecting Jack to give Pavel a CHANCE to talk and give over the evidence. Everyone that Jack has gotten close to over the years has been taken out of play, and Jack has every reason to be destroyed emotionally.
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This is Jack vs. Logan. Let me put it this way, Logan represents evreything Jack has sacrificed his life for, but at the same time everything that ultimately betrayed him. What was the past eight years fought for??? That the question Jack has to figure out in the next 3 hours.
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Too far. I was hoping the show wasn't going to end on a Demented Jack-note, but it looks like that's the direction it's going in. How ever will they redeem this guy enough for fans to want to go see him on the big screen? After last night's episode, the "Jack Bauer for President" campaign is likely over.
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