Lthe writers of 24 Hours chrono are torturers. Or geniuses. It is 11:24 pm (11:24 pm) when the viewer of this real-time series thinks that the plot of this first season is going to end on a beautiful “happy end”. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), the special agent of the Anti-Terrorism Cell (CAT), single-handedly took out six opponents and, believing his daughter to be dead, executed the mastermind of the grand conspiracy targeting him and the Democratic candidate. David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert). However, there are 24 minutes left in this 24e episode. So, yes, Jack is going to return to the cell, stop the mole – his former mistress Nina (Sarah Clarke) – and find his wife and daughter. But the viewer does not (yet) know Joel surnow, Michael Loceff, Robert Cochran and Howard Gordon, the feathers of the series.
At 11:33 a.m., Bauer’s wife Teri (Leslie Hope) makes the mistake of following Nina into one of the related rooms. She catches her talking in German. Erasing her data, the traitor coldly greets Teri. Not clever for two cents, Mrs. Bauer speaks, asks questions, speaks again. His fate is being sealed. Nina points her gun and threatens her. At 11:53 a.m., gagged and tied up, Teri witnesses Nina’s attempt to escape. His fixer said, « Make sure nothing can link Germany to you. » Bauer warned the cell about Nina’s true nature. Three minutes later, he neutralizes her in a parking lot. The reunion with the small family is close. Except… Jack Bauer searches, runs and finds his wife with a bloody stomach. She is dead. 12 pm: the first season, broadcast a few months after September 11, of 24 Hours chrono just ended.
All’s well that should have ended well
This cliffangher is a shock. A punch and a great first: how can we kill the woman, who is more pregnant, of the hero who saved America? After an exhausting race against the clock, Bauer is not even entitled to a minute of happiness. However, two endings were shot: the tragic one broadcast on May 21, 2002 on Fox; another, optimistic, added to the DVD box. In it, the agent finds his wife, numb but alive. All’s well that should have ended well. « When we saw the two scenes, we thought that Teri’s death was the best way to end the season », explains in a long interview with Entertainment Weekly Joel Nickow, the creator of the series.
This incredible ending contributes to the success and DNA of the series: the writers dare everything and are ready to sacrifice any character for the advancement of the plot or simply to surprise the viewer. During his eight other seasons will die, unexpectedly, two other girlfriends of Bauer, some directors of CAT and many colleagues (the most tragic death being that of Edgar in season 5).
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Released in January, 24 must mark the spirits to bring back the fans eight months later. The end of the season is awe-inspiring: the chemical attack on Palmer (season 2), the fake death of Bauer (season 4), the kidnapping of Bauer (season 5), etc. Better, the writers will invent the cliffhanger of the beginning of the season. On the fifth day – arguably the best -, in less than fifteen minutes, President Palmer is assassinated in his hotel room, Michelle – his colleague – is killed in an explosion, which also severely affected the Jack’s best friend, Tony. Three main characters on the mat from the first episode. Incredible but true.
With this devilishly shocking – and effective – ending, the writers also construct the character of Bauer: with the death of his wife, he becomes an endlessly unhappy and betrayed being. Especially since her daughter will reproach her in season 2 for not having protected her mother – should we remind Kim that she is one of the main causes of her father’s setbacks? In season 8, Bauer loses his new great love, Renée, triggering an outburst of violence (dare we say pleasurable?) From Jack. During the last opus, bis repetita: Audrey is killed in a London square. Solitary and eternal widower, Bauer walks his a (r) me in awe, aware that America and its security will have taken everything from him: his loves, his health, his freedom. But the viewer has never given up on his Jack.
The legendary cliffhangers:
Dallas : « Bobby’s shower »
Dynasty : and marriage in Moldova turned into a massacre
Western coast : « Poor Val »
Lois & Clark : » The revelation «
Melrose Place : « The crazy explosion »
Friends : « Two for one room »
Grey’s Anatomy : « Massacre at the hospital »
Nip Tuck : « The cutter knocks at the wrong door »
Desperate Housewives : « We said we would meet in 5 years »
Game of Thrones : « The death of Jon Snow »