The final two hours of 24 involve Jack Bauer's attempt to assassinate Russian President Suvarov, the man who ordered the hit on Renee Walker. As Jack prepares his sniper rifle, Chloe and Cole attempt to locate him, lest he be discovered first by CTU and killed on sight. Meanwhile, as the three delegates prepare to sign the peace treaty, President Taylor battles with her decision to participate in the cover-up, including who really killed President Omar Hassan.
The series finale opens on Cole learning that Jack has killed Novakovich and his men before jumping off the radar again. Though Jack has evidence of the Russian involvement in Omar Hassan's assassination, both Arlo and Cole agree that Jack has gone overboard. Still, Cole presses on to find Jack by heading to Jim Ricker's apartment.
Cole's arrival at Ricker's place is definitely not welcome. Ricker immediately wipes his computers before Cole even has a chance to enter. The two face off, but Cole is able to explain he's actually there to help Jack — well, at least to make sure he doesn't end up dead. Ricker gives up the info that the Russian president is really the man behind the order to kill Renee Walker. Oh, he's in trouble!
Over at CTU, Agent Burke questions Chloe (just as she's learning Meredith Reed has been arrested) on why Cole is back on duty. Get over yourself, buddy, you're not in charge anymore. Cole fills Chloe in on Jack going after the Russian prez, adding that the recording Jack has is the only one left, so they need to find Jack first and get Suvarov out of the line of fire.
Logan finally decides to reveal the truth to President Taylor, letting her know that Suvarov is implicit in all the misdeeds from Day 8. Fortunately, Logan thinks Jack didn't find out about the Russian president's involvement, so their worries should now be over. Little does he know, Logan just fed Jack this information since Mr. Bauer bugged him in the previous hour.
After leaving Logan to head to the U.N., Pillar learns that Bauer has been injured while on his rampage. Unfortunately for him, Bauer is sitting in the backseat of his car and uses him to get into the U.N so he can get at Suvarov.
Dalia Hassan gives Taylor a gift from Omar Hassan: a pen to sign the peace treaty. This touching moment is soon diminished as Kayla Hassan describes her cryptic phone call from Meredith Reed, who pointed a finger at the Russian government in connection to Omar's death.
When Cole arrives at the mobile CTU set up at the U.N., Chloe says she plans on distributing the evidence Jack has to every media outlet, along with thousands of government employees, ensuring that Taylor will not be able to muzzle this news once the snowball starts rolling.
Once underground at the U.N., Jack has Pillar sew up his knife wound, urging him not to make any false moves or it will result in a bullet to his brain. Pillar questions Jack's blood lust, since it's completely (somewhat) different than what Jack normally does. Since the law won't prosecute the people implicit in Renee's death, Jack is the law now. Fearing death, Pillar cries out that he has a family, so Jack just pistol whips him, ties him up and leaves him in the trunk.
When Dalia is unable to contact Meredith Reed, she feels it's her duty to inform Taylor of the possible Russian deceit. Though Taylor tries to brush off the allegations, Dalia insists she contact Meredith Reed or else she won't sign the peace treaty. Taylor explains that she had ordered Reed's arrest because her information was true.
Now that Dalia knows the Russians killed her husband, she decides to back out of the treaty and inform the U.N. about the cover-up. Taylor goes on the offensive, essentially blackmailing Dalia into signing the treaty. Taylor says she'll reveal the near-nuclear attack on the United States, which would force her to order a strike on the IRK.
This does not sit well with Dalia. She'd love to get back at the U.S. and Russia by reactivating their nuclear program. She's calmed down just enough to meet Suvarov upon his arrival at the U.N. "There is nothing left for either of us to say, Madam President," says Dalia as Taylor tries to speak with her again.
Jack (incredibly!) makes it through the adjacent U.N. building without being seen, pinning mini-cameras along the way, and setting up shop in a storeroom that has a sniper's-eye view of the podium being used in the peace treaty. And just when we thought Jack hadn't been detected, a reflection in a vending machine is his downfall. Chloe decides to go after Jack, telling Cole to send in reinforcements if she doesn't respond in 20 minutes.
Before Jack goes commando with his sniper rifle, he makes a video — likely for Kim, his daughter — that explains his motives. Chloe tracks him down shortly after, though Jack disarms her quickly. She tries to explain that she needs to walk him out of there or else he'll be killed by CTU agents, but he puts her in a sleeper hold and handcuffs her to a post.
The first hour closes on Jack setting up his sniper rifle, though he's not aiming for the podium: Jack is targeting Logan, who he'll use to get the Russian president into his office, enabling Jack to kill him. Jack plays back a portion of the evidence on the data card to prove he means business. And with a little smirk from Jack, we move onto...
President Suvarov opens the second hour by discussing the peace treaty at a press conference, using the memory of Omar Hassan to push it forward. He realizes after the conference that Dalia has learned of his involvement in the death of her husband, though, and commends Taylor in convincing her to stay.
Logan gets Suvarov on the phone, asking him to come to his office because he has credible intel that there's a leak inside the Russian camp. All the while, Bauer is on Logan's other phone trying to justify his actions (though mostly to himself). Chloe wakes up and begs Jack not to kill Suvarov; that they can get the audio file to the media.
When Chloe doesn't answer her phone, Cole deploys a CTU squad to go after Bauer. They definitely won't make it in time though. Fortunately for Suvarov, Chloe convinces Jack not to kill the Russian prez, explaining that this assassination would incite a nuclear war.
Because the CTU team is about to find Bauer, Jack makes Chloe shoot him. If she doesn't, she won't be able to walk out with the data card. Just before CTU agents rush in — with Jack putting his own gun to his head — Chloe shoots him in the chest. Chloe is able to debrief Cole, but Pillar (who has now been found in the back of the SUV) is suspicious of her, and asks Agent Burke to keep her in the building.
Logan explains to Pillar that he must get Bauer's data card or else they'll all be going down together. Pillar decides to search Chloe, much to her chagrin, but he doesn't find the card. Just as the paramedics tell Pillar that the bullet didn't hit any of Jack's major organs, he figures out that Chloe is in on this plan. Jack acts as though he's going to tell Pillar something, but he bites off his ear instead. Ouch!
Chloe starts to upload the data card at the mobile CTU, but Agent Burke quickly apprehends her and Cole, calling Pillar to let him know he's retrieved the card. Both Chloe and Cole are sent to CTU for detainment.
Logan hand delivers the data card to Taylor, telling her she's won. There's just one slight problem: Jack Bauer will never quit. So unless they have him killed, this news will eventually come out. "I will take your silence as tacit approval," Logan says before heading out to approve the hit on Bauer.
Taylor sits down to watch Jack's video and you can see on her face that she finally has a revelation: what they did today was a bad idea. (We could've told you that hours ago!) Elsewhere, Logan and Pillar decide to celebrate the peace treaty, and Logan's return to notoriety, with a drink.
When the three delegates gather to sign the treaty, Taylor declines to sign, saying that some serious misdeeds where done in conjunction with this treaty. Taylor adds that she'll have a full announcement within the hour, effectively ending the treaty.
As she walks out, she gets Tim to call CTU and have them warn Bauer's medical transport of an impending ambush. (Can I just note that the 24 series finale should also be called Cherry Jones' Emmy submission tape?) The call did not come in time, though, as Jack has already been grabbed by whoever Logan hired.
As the Secretary General announces that the peace accord did not go through, Logan's phone rings. He knows that Taylor is calling so she can cancel the hit on Bauer, but he refuses to answer. As Pillar finally picks up the phone, Logan knocks him out before shooting him in the head. (Oh, the irony!)
The truth is, Logan just wants vengeance on Bauer for taking away his last chance. To ensure that the president will not be able to cancel the hit, Logan puts a bullet in his own head. Though the paramedics will be able to save Logan, he's most likely sustained severe brain damage and is essentially dead.
Taylor has Tim release Chloe and Cole so they can use the CTU drones to find Jack. Using archive video, they are able to backtrack and discover the location of Jack's kidnappers. Just before the hitmen can kill Jack, Taylor gets them on the phone and demands his immediate release.
Taylor admits her mistakes to Bauer and apologizes profusely. She says they'll both have to atone for what they've done in the last 24 hours, but her one consolation is that she'll give him enough time to get out of the country.
Jack calls Chloe, who is watching him on a giant surveillance monitor. He pleads with her to make sure Kim is protected since both the Russian and United States' governments might decide to use her to get at him. She agrees, adding that she'll try to provide him with ample time to escape.
"When you first came to CTU, I never thought it was going to be you that was going to cover my back all those years," Jack tells her. "And I know that everything that you did today was to try and protect me. I know that."
And as Jack looks up at the drone, he adds a "thank you." As Cole and Arlo watch Jack begin his escape, Chloe orders the drone to be brought back to base, adding that none of this ever happened. As Jack's pixelated face cuts out, the timer counts down to zero.
24 has come to an end with the producers, writers, etc., basically saying: To get the ending, you'll have to pay to see the movie. Closure wasn't given, though if a movie deal does fall through, at least Jack made sure Chloe will protect his last remaining loved ones.
What felt wrong was how far Jack pushed to get revenge on those who had a hand in Renee Walker's death. In actuality, they spent part of a day together where she questioned his tactics, then spent around six months apart where she was on suicidal spiral, then worked together for another day where she was undercover and slept with her ex. It felt as though the writers just needed some way to get Jack on a bloody war path that would leave us without a "happily ever after."
But hey, at least Christian Shephard didn't show up and tell Jack (ha!) that he's already dead...
What did you think of the series finale? Are you desperate for some closure? Do you think Jack is a tragic hero? Or has he pushed it entirely too far this season? And will you see the movie? Hit the comments to discuss!
Credit is due to Todd Thatcher, who has faithfully recapped 24 for us, but was unavailable to watch the finale. Be sure to share your thanks for his insightful recaps in the comments below. I'll start: Todd, thanks for letting me fill your big shoes for the series finale.