24 Finale Recap: Die Another Day — Plus: Burning Questions Answered

24 Finale Audrey DiesThe following contains major spoilers from the finale of Fox’s 24: Live Another Day. All typing occurred in real time.

When all was said and done, and after a full 24 hours had elapsed, Jack Bauer had once again saved the day/country/world — yet not without sustaining significant and heartbreaking loss along the way.

As Jack frantically sought out Cheng Zhi, so as to prove to the Chinese that it was their presumed-dead dissident who masterminded the U.S. Navy’s sinking of a Chinese aircraft carrier, his onetime love Audrey found herself in the literal crosshairs of Cheng’s sniper. If Audrey moves, she gets shot dead. Only once Cheng is allowed safe passage out of London would she be released.

Once Jack dug up a lead — Anatol Stolnavich’s cell phone pointed towards a freighter docked at the harbor — he plotted to hunt down Cheng while Kate scoped out Audrey’s sniper, knowing that if Cheng learned of Jack’s approach, he’d issue the kill order. With Chloe back from tumbling down that roadside hill and eager to run comm for the op, Jack and Belcheck’s breach of the freighter started soundly, but was compromised once Chloe’s hacked sat feed was detected. So as Cheng dispatched his men and readied to unleash his sniper, Chloe urged Kate to hurry. As Audrey purposely drew fire from the gunman, Kate was afforded a bead on his precise location, felling him with a flurry of gunfire. Crisis averted.

Or not.24 Finale Audrey Dies

Moments after Audrey dodges that proverbial bullet, a second shooter emerges from the street and fires at the president’s daughter. Audrey slumps to the ground and, despite Kate’s immediate and fervent efforts, quickly dies from the gunshot. Cue silent clock.

On the freighter, as Cheng’s men scramble and with Belcheck off to disable the engine, Jack gets the call, from Kate, reporting on Audrey’s death. Shell-shocked, Jack is afforded one of his longest “private” moments ever — nearly a full minute, during which his faces traverses an array of emotions — before rising up to “vent” in the best way Jack knows how, by going berserk on the baddies.

Roaring at his adversaries while perforating them with an assault of bullets, Jack ultimately faces off with Cheng himself, for a brief bit of hand-to-hand combat. Jack emerges triumphant, holding down Cheng long enough for the CIA to confirm his identity via video for China.

Cheng’s punishment, however, will not come at the hands of the government he turned his back on. Instead, Jack makes his and Audrey’s onetime torturer pay the ultimate price, by grabbing a nearby (?) katana sword and lopping off the Big Bad’s bean. President Heller, meanwhile, after smoothing things over with the Chinese, learns from Ross McCall of Audrey’s fate, then collapses.

For Jack, the bad day is not over just yet. After being unable to track down Chloe at her makeshift comm center, he gets a mysterious phone call. We then skip ahead 12 hours, where President Heller is preparing to usher his daughter’s casket back to the States. Jack meanwhile is arriving for an exchange — himself for Chloe, who’d been captured by the Russians who for some time now have wanted their dibs on Jack. Passing by Chloe during the trade, Jack stands by his sacrifice and simply asks that she check in on Kim and her family for him, as he surrenders himself to the Russians and whatever fresh hell they have in store for him.

At least until Jack’s next very bad day (possibly, hopefully) arrives.

TVLine grabbed a few minutes with longtime 24 executive producer and director Jon Cassar — who helmed half of Live Another Day‘s 12 episodes, including POTUS’ “death” — to reflect on the show’s crowd-pleasing 12-episode resurrection. CLICK OVER TO PAGE 2 to read what he had to share….