“Dammit!”: Jack Bauer’s Best Moments from “24”

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Kiefer was obviously still working on his gun-holding technique here. 

Kevin: Over the course of nearly 10 seasons of Fox’s “24,” Counter-Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer has been shot, stabbed, poisoned, survived a nuclear explosion, come back from the dead, been menaced by a cougar (ha ha, no of course I’m just kidding, that actually happened to his daughter Kim), yelled “dammit!” approximately 987 times …

… and saved an ungrateful America from complete annihilation by the end of every day, only to have to start from square one the very next season.

But it looks like he’ll be finally getting some much-needed rest though, as Fox is bringing “24” back following the Super Bowl on Feb. 5th but with “Walking Dead” actor Corey Hawkins in the lead as agent Eric Carter. He’s got some big shoes to fill, as for many fans the heart and soul of “24” will always be Kiefer Sutherland’s performance as Bauer.  That’s why as we look toward this future Jack Bauer-less TV landscape with trepidation, we also wanted to relive our favorite “24” moments over the years.

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I’ll start us off with a few of my favorite Jack moments:

  • Near the end of the Season Two premiere, Jack has just been reinstated by CTU and is brought in to negotiate with some pedophile thug who can help him re-establish his cover with a terror cell. The arrogant scumbag has barely finished explaining why he is untouchable when Jack pulls out his gun and shoots him dead. While CTU director George Mason freaks out, Jack says, “That’s the problem with people like you George, you want results, but you never want to get your hands dirty,” before the episode ends on this all-time classic Bauer closer: “I’m gonna need a hacksaw”:
  • In “24: Live Another Day,” Jack has tracked Margot al-Harazi, the wife of a notorious terrorist, to a building right before she’s about to launch another attack. Rappelling down the side, he pulls her terrorist son out the window to his death and manages to overpower and handcuff her before she can hit the button. She then gives the usual, “You think you’ve won today, but you’ll never stop … etc. etc” speech. Normally Jack would brush that off and hand her over to the authorities. But she obviously caught Jack on a bad day, as he picks her up while her hands are still handcuffed behind her and TOSSES HER OUT THE FUCKING WINDOW, where she splats on the ground next to her dead son. I think I broke my remote rewinding this scene and cheering over and over again when I first saw it:
  • A throwaway moment that says a lot: Late in Season 4, Jack and a group of commandos have escaped from an assault on an embassy and jumped into a van. Jack gets a call on his cell phone and puts it to his ear, before giving a quick annoyed “dammit!” and pulling out the earpiece that had been in there before resuming the call. I have a feeling that that was an unintentional mistake that they left in, and I’m glad they did because it’s one that seems so perfectly what Jack Bauer would do that it makes me wonder how much of the character was fictional and how much was actually Kiefer Sutherland.

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CJ: Here are mine in no particular order:

  • “Jack Exacts Revenge”: Oh the villain that is Nina Meyers – I loved her! Jack faced many bad guys in “24”, but none had a more personal connection than Nina, the lady who killed his wife in Season 1. Nina was in trouble and was desperately trying to claim she could still be of use to Jack and that’s why he shouldn’t kill her. But Jack believes in justice dammit, as well as telling people when they are full of shit. And he does, basically telling Nina he’s not falling for her shit and proceeding to pump a few rounds into her. What is great about this is so many times in TV shows or movies the hero will let the bad guy live, only for them to continue to cause more trouble and hurt more people (it’s why I’ve always felt Batman was a moron). Not Jacky B though. Nina had a first-class ticket to hell and Jack didn’t want her to be late.
  • “What Can’t Hurt Jack? Nukes!”: Jack and George Mason are trying to fly a nuke towards a safe place to detonate it. George, in a great moment of redemption, will basically kamikaze this thing into the ground since he is already dying after having been exposed to plutonium. Right before this moment, Jack parachutes out of the plane, hides behind a rock, and goes “this will suffice.” Nuke goes boom, Jack suffers no side effects. All “24” fans accept this without question.
  • “Bullets Don’t Hurt Jack Either”: In one quick but memorable moment, Jack gets shot in the chest, falls down, gets back up and says, “I’m fine!”
  • “Jack Storms the Russian Consulate”: Jack needs to get information out of the Russian Consulate General, forcing him to break in so that he can torture … I mean politely ask for the information. They never show Jack kill anyone, but the camera just pans through the aftermath and you let your imagination fill in the rest.

Bonus Badass Moment: Former Secret Service agent Aaron Pierce ends up boning the VP’s wife. Because after discovering Charles Logan is a traitor, the “24” writers make the former vice president spend the rest of his appearances getting bitch-slapped by everyone he runs into. And what better way than bagging his old lady?

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Mike: I loved “24” more than most people, and in my opinion up until Season 4 it was the most riveting show on television (albeit superbly outrageous and unrealistic). This new one …  I don’t know. I’ll definitely at least watch the pilot, but it’s hard for me to think of a true dyed-in-the-wool badass named “Eric.” Even worse, his full name in the series is Eric Carter, which is obviously very close to Eric Cartman. Not a good move.

My favorite moments of “24”:

  • “Jack Leaves Paul Raines High and Dry”: After leading a raid on the Chinese embassy, Jack and his team kidnap Lee Jong (a random Chinese guy who barely has any lines outside of screaming out in pain). Lee is shot in the process and they need to race him back to CTU in order to save his life. The problem is that Paul Raines, the estranged husband of Jack’s love interest Audrey Raines, is on the operating table going into cardiac arrest over a bullet he took saving Jack’s life in a previous episode. There are only enough surgeons to save one man, and since Lee has the info that could prevent a massive terrorist attack, Jack makes a tough call and at gunpoint orders the doctors to stop working on Paul and save Lee. As a result Paul dies! Jack’s relationship with Audrey is strained as a result as well because unknownst to Jack, Paul and Audrey had reconciled and she agreed to go back with him and try to rekindle their marriage. I hope she bought a refundable plane ticket.
  • “Jack Kills 8 Guys Who We Never Even See”: In one of the best moments ever, all the action occurs as we’re watching a TV commercial for that fucking Oreo Pizza that Domino’s was attempting to trick the American public into buying. Here’s the scene: Jack is sneaking around a parking garage killing everyone in sight until he finally dispatches a pair of men guarding an elevator bank. Jack hits the “up” button, kills one more guy as the elevator is arriving, and then the show goes to commercial. A few minutes later the show returns, we bounce around to various boring characters, until finally the aftermath of Jack’s one-man attack is revealed. The result is a room full of dead bodies, including one that Jack dispatched with a fireplace poker and well-placed shot to the forehead. This was one of the later seasons where any deviation from the normal show was welcomed by me, even missing out on action scenes.
  • “Jack Kills Ryan Chappelle”: Jack is forced to shoot Ryan Chappelle in the back of the head in a move that would ultimately turn out to be meaningless. As far as I can remember the terrorists have a brilliant idea to make this ridiculous demand of wanting Ryan Chappelle’s dead body in order to sidetrack CTU; this was during a point in the show where CTU was literally agreeing to any insane request the terrorists were making, so they send Jack to do the dirty work. We also get a silent clock, which I’ve always considered a nice touch!
  • “Curtis Knocks That Bitch Out with One Punch”: CTU believes that Tony Almeida is dead when “Mandy” forces her neighbors to pose as Tony and herself and sends them into a car rigged to blow. Everyone at CTU is distraught and ready to go home when Jack discovers that it was just a ruse and that Tony is alive and being held hostage. Following a blood trail that Tony leaves as a clue for Jack, the scene culminates in a parking garage where Curtis, in a move that would impress Chris Brown, knocks Mandy out cold with one well-placed shot to the face.
  • “Jack Kills Curtis”: Jack and Curtis are working with former terrorist Hamri Al-Assad in order to thwart yet another nuclear attack. Curtis is uneasy with this partnership, as Al-Assad had ambushed his Special Forces unit during Desert Storm, killing every single member with the exception of Curtis, who probably knocked out a female guard and escaped. At this point Curtis believes that Al-Assad has been about useful as he’s ever going to be and decides to settle his grievance outside of court by shooting Al-Assad in the face, but before he can do this Jack shows up and orders him not to. Curtis takes a few seconds too long to ponder his next move and Jack decides to put him down humanely, by shooting him through the neck so he can both bleed to death and asphyxiate at the same time. The move leaves Jack severely traumatized and he quickly decides to hang up his guns forever until a nuclear bomb goes off in the distance and he forgets about Curtis faster than you can say “police brutality.”
  • “Jack is Forced to Make a Country Music Video”: In a bizarre twist even for “24,” terrorists threaten the lives of millions of Americans unless Jack Bauer writes, performs, and directs a music video set within the confines of a seedy motel off the interstate. The result is haunting, and no matter how you look at it there are really no winners.

Kevin: Since it’s still up for grabs, I’ll highlight this moment as well: In the second-to-last episode of “24’s” last full season, Jack has to capture and interrogate his old nemesis, former Vice President Logan. Having obviously read a lot of “24” fan fiction and knowing what the viewers want to see, he decides to do it in the most badass way possible by donning a hockey mask and taking out Logan’s security detail like a serial killer. Note that he does the thing good guys are always able to do in movies and TV shows, where he sprays automatic fire but somehow is able to hit innocent people in areas where they won’t bleed out and die in real life. Gregory Itzin deserved 24 Emmy’s for the hilariously cowardly way he pointed to the screen and yelled, “That’s Jack Bauer!”:

Not a Bauer moment but still a perfect example of why I loved this show: In Season Five Jack is once again on his own and has to turn to former colleague Tony Almeida, who has quit CTU and descended into alcoholism since his wife was murdered in Season Four. Jack finds Tony at his house watching TV and drinking a beer at like 11:00 a.m. Tony reluctantly agrees to help Jack temporarily, but in true “24” fashion, after a couple of assassinations he’s not only reinstated but is now leading CTU. So to recap: A guy who still has a pre-noon beer buzz and who was watching “Judge Joe Brown” at 11:00 am is now heading America’s counter-terrorism operations by 2:00 p.m.

Oh and speaking of that episode where Jack kills Curtis, another reason why I love “24”: The season premiere has Kal Penn as the neighborhood friend of a super liberal couple who are horrified that he is being unfairly profiled by CTU just because he is Muslim. Any other show would demonstrate that the couple is right and that just because you are Muslim that doesn’t make you a terrorist. Not “24”! Within an hour he has repaid their kindness by taking them hostage and killing the dad during a suicide nuking of Valencia.

Mike: My favorite thing about “24” is that sooner or later everyone dies. Al-Assad died, everyone who ever worked for CTU died. Every bad guy died. Jack’s brother and father died. If you can think of a character other than Jack who’s not dead I’d be surprised.

CJ: My favorite comment about “24” is still years ago when Mike said, “Remember when Jack was playing that board game with Kim and his wife in the pilot? That’s the last time we saw him smile.”

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Kiefer Sutherland as “Jack Bauer” in an unused pilot for NBC’s “Parenthood.”

Anthony: An amazing show with an amazing cast. I’m glad it’s coming back. Hopefully one day Jack will be the president and then all will be right with the world. But I guess that will never happen. Here are some of my most cherished moments from the greatest show ever made:

  • Season 2: Jack flushes a swarthy terrorist down the restroom toilet of the President’s plane, and then takes a poignant moment to cry because it reminded him of all the time he spent potty-training Kim. Really showed his acting chops there.
  • Season 4: Chloe hacks into a swarthy terrorist’s iPhone (obvious product placement) and downloads all of the dick pics he sent to his mistress, then changes all of CTU’s screensavers to show them anytime someone clicked on an important program. Hilarity ensued. Oh that Chloe O’Brian … her humor in the face of total nuclear annihilation is welcomed by all of us I think.
  • Season 16: Chase Edmunds gives Jack the middle finger with his prosthetic hand before launching him into the air while he was tied up to the swarthy ballistic missile aimed at the Statue of Liberty. I mean, who didn’t feel that in their gut right? Cut a man’s hand off and he can hold a grudge forever … or 13 seasons at least.
  • Season 7: Mandy smokes a joint with Jack while listening to Fugazi in the underground bunker when they were forced to team up to kill the invading swarthy Huns. Totally did not see that coming. That was a pivotal scene in the development of Jack, as he admits to Mandy that his favorite tattoo is the one he got on his right quad of the comic book character Rorschach from Watchmen because he embodied everything Jack believes in. When Mandy laughs uncontrollably and Jack asks if he’s talking too loud because they’re both stoned off their asses … I think that says it all.
  • Season 15: When Aaron Pierce pops Jack’s shoulder back in place and then Jack pops Aaron’s leg back in place, and then they start shaving the eyebrows off all of the swarthy Chinese terrorists just before revealing that the ghost in Mr. Hanson’s Amusement Park was none other than Kate Morgan.

Kevin: Huh, while most of these sound like something you might see on “24,” I’m starting to question whether Anthony really was a die hard fan like us. Now that I think about it, whenever we would talk about the show he would just watch us silently before filling us in about the most recent episode of “7th Heaven.” Nah, that’s the kind of crazy conspiracy theory you would see on “24.”

Instead let’s wrap this up with possibly Jack Bauer’s greatest moment, drunkenly taking out a Christmas tree that probably had a swarthy terrorist lurking in it:

One thought on ““Dammit!”: Jack Bauer’s Best Moments from “24”

  1. Pingback: We Watch the New Bauerless “24: Legacy” So You Don’t Have To | Tough Guy Digest

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