Well, a television institution has come to an end in the past week, and I’m not talking about LOST. By the way, creators of LOST, you can suck it. Seriously. Way to ruin six great years of television. Thanks so much for crapping in our collective cereal bowls for the last three episodes. I could write an entire post about this, but I’m not going to waste my energy.

Like I said, I’m not talking about LOST. I’m talking about 24. Maybe the only show on TV that rivals LOST in terms of being a completely groundbreaking show when it first aired. Sure, it had gotten tired in the last few seasons, and if it were up to me, we’d just pretend seasons 6 and 7 didn’t happen at all. But with its 8th and final season, 24 gave a fitting ending to its amazing run, and hey, that’s more than we can say for that other show that I’m not talking about. For the first four seasons, there was nothing finer on television, and those four seasons were so amazing that I stuck with them through one year of mediocre (season 5) and two years of senseless drivel. I’m so happy they upped their game for the final year.

My cousin Brad made a list of his Top 1o 24 Moments, and challenged me to do the same. I will confess that I didn’t give this the time I should have, because it really could have eaten up about a month of my life, but here are some of my favorite 24 moments in no particular order. If you read Brad’s list, there will be a ton of repeats, but I did find a few gems he missed.

Nina Kills Teri – Nina going rogue at the end of Season 1 was a huge plot twist, one that set 24 apart from any other show at the time. But the death of Teri was what really put it in a league of its own. To end your first season with your hero cradling his dead wife in his arms, a death that was essentially his fault, was gutsy to say the least. I think with everything else that happened on this show, we sometimes forget about Teri, but this was a big deal when it happened.

Jack Kills Chappelle – Without question, the most shocking episode of the entire series, and also one of the most difficult scenes to watch. Chappelle can barely walk, Jack has to help him out of the helicopter. Then Chappelle asks Jack to let him shoot himself, but in the end he can’t do it. I just never thought they would let this happen on the show. Even after he shot him, I expected there to be some sort of twist in the next episode to bring him back (like Nina in Season 1). Certainly the most questionable thing Jack ever did, at least until season 8.

Edgar’s death – I don’t even remember all of the circumstances of this death, I just remember the scene where he died, and it was brutal. Whatever had happened, Edgar had gone to do something that saved a lot of lives at CTU, but it made him too late to enter the “safe zone” (which was a mere glass wall away). He comes into the frame and sees Chloe behind the glass wall, and immediately realizes it’s over for him. He looks betrayed and hurt and resigned to his fate all at the same time. His colleagues watch from the other side of the wall as he suffocates. Not ashamed to say it got a little dusty in our living room during that one.

Jack cuts off a dude’s head – Maybe my favorite “I am a total badass” moment ever in 24. Mason is trying to get Jack back undercover with some dudes (you know, bad dudes), and Jack tells him he can get back in if Mason lets him interrogate this henchman they have in custody, a guy that also turns out to be into kiddie porn in addition to being an enemy of the aforementioned bad dudes. The guy realizes he’s in the driver’s seat since they need info from him. Instead of interrogating him, Jack shoots him in the chest and then cuts off his head with a hacksaw and puts it in a bowling ball bag. Showing this head to his old buddies gets him back in the circle. Two problems solved at once!

Logan’s in on it – I hated the Logan Presidency, and I especially hated where this season went after we found out that Logan was behind everything, but when it happened, it was a truly shocking moment. I thought Logan sorta ruined 24 after that, but he redeemed himself in season 8, where he was really one of the best things about the show.

Jack cries – I guess we all remember Jack finally breaking down at the end of season 3 and crying in his car. After what I still think of as the most trying day in all the seasons, it was appropriate and brought some humanity back to Jack.

Jack says goodbye to Kim – This was in season 2, when Jack was flying a plane with a nuclear bomb on it into the desert, where he assumed he’d be crashing the plane and saving the world. Turns out Mason did that for him, but not before he called his daughter Kim and said goodbye. Another very dusty moment in our living room. If you listened to this speech and didn’t tear up, you’re not a real human being. Again, bringing some humanity to Jack after a long day of torturing suspects.

Jack cuts off Chase’s hand – What else is there to say?

Jack kills Nina – This was just a big moment of resolution for the show, and one of the few cold blooded murders of Jack’s long career. Nina made an attempt to kill Kim in this scene, but unfortunately, Jack was able to save her. Nina tried to tell Jack that she had more valuable information, but he sensed her bluff, and as soon as he knew she was of no value, he shot her. There had been much tension in this season (again, season 3) as to whether Jack was merely acting crazy around Nina in order to get her to talk, or if he really wanted to kill her. This scene made it pretty obvious.

Jack kills the Russian ambassador along with all of his security – This just happened in season 8, and I think many folks will overlook it, but Jack killing a member of the Russian government in cold blood along with an army of security guards was maybe the most heinous thing he’s done in 8 seasons of television. It was so disturbing that they didn’t even show it happen. Personally, I had been debating whether Jack was in the wrong or not at the end of season 8 until that moment. It was obvious from that scene that he was out for blood and not justice.

Okay, that’s 10. Since Brad got some honorable mentions, here are a few from me:

Jack lets Audrey’s ex die on the table (after torturing him) – Electrocute his nipples with a lamp cord, then force a doctor to work on a terrorist instead of him. This was a pretty intense turn of events, no two ways about it.

Palmer is shot – Easily one of the most shocking moments, but it’s not in my top 10 because I hated this decision. Palmer was the best character on this show besides Jack. Chloe became great of course, but Jack and Palmer carried the show. It was never the same after they killed him off.

Jack tortures his girlfriend’s sister – Remember that crazy scene from season 2 where the cute blonde was the terrorist and Jack kept sticking his finger in the bullet hole in her arm to get her to talk while her sister (and his new lady-friend) watched? The whole “cute blonde is the terrorist” thing was one of the better twists in the show, and she was great in this scene.

Robocop “kills” Tony – This absolutely would have made my list if he had stayed dead. Zombie Soul Patch was such a stupid idea, almost as stupid as killing Tony in the first place. However, if Tony was going down, it’s only fitting that he was taken out by an cyborg from the future.

Okay, that’s a fitting goodbye to one of my favorite shows ever. 24, you weren’t perfect, but 2 terrible seasons out of 8 is a pretty good record. Thank you for an amazing run, and for writing a real series finale. There are some other great shows that could learn a thing or two from you.

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