Slowly but surely, I've come to the grim conclusion that Kiefer Sutherland's declaration that there "may" be a "24" movie is all a simple and clever ruse. After last night's episode, there will be no movie. There can be no movie. There can only be an ending, and that will occur in a couple of weeks. 

  Jack Bauer, you see, will probably die. 

  Now of course there could be a "prequel," but that's a gimmick to make money; prequels are tough when you know  how the sequel to the prequel (so to speak) ends (will "Caprica" come back? Who knows...)

MORE: Kiefer Sutherland and costars say goodbye to "24"

PHOTOS: Kiefer Sutherland on and off the set

 The fact is, Jack's story is now complete - the journey of his soul is coming to an end. And really, that's what "24" has been about these years: an outcast who is drawn back in to a place he never wanted to be drawn back into. It's not just one of those iconic tales of "I want out but they keep dragging me back in" but rather one of those tales of a destiny foretold. You could see it in his eyes last night when he blasted Dana Walsh from here to kingdom come - "there is nothing you can do."  He was saying, simply, that there was nothing anyone can do. He knows it's over; he wants it to be over.

  Jack's possible death: How do we prepare for this? We have really been preparing all season.  Renee had become Jack in the off-season, and this season, we saw what happens to anyone who becomes Jack.  He knows, too, that her fate mirrors his.

   How will we deal with this? We already are. Each bullet, each death, brings Jack one step closer to his own. He knows it. We now know itt.

  There will be irony in this death, should it happen - and I believe it will. There is now "peace in our time..." and Jack helped broker it, even if the peace meant the sacrifice of Renee. The greater good of nations  - which after all operate in the dubious shadows where Jack lurked all these years - trump the greater good of Jack Bauer.

  He will die, I am afraid - at the hands of Chloe, perhaps. After last night, his fate is foretold. Honestly, after the first day of the first season it was. 

advertisement | advertise on newsday

  A caveat to all of this: "24" ringmaster Howard Gordon was asked about Dana's demise by TVguide.com.  On one hand, he says the death of Dana was maybe the defining moment of the entire season (he's right)

  Whatever redemption there is for the character is
in that very sad moment where you realize that
she actually did love Cole. For the first time,
the onion is peeled down to the nub and you see
her vulnerable for the first moment. It's
pathetic because she's obviously a sociopath, but
she meant to reverse the position she put herself
in.

  But...how to that other hand, he also strongly implies that Jack will live. Call me sceptical at this point...

 
Jack is as about as emotionally damaged as he's
been now. He's descending right now. The finale
is a complex ending. It's not as tragic as it
could have been. It's not entirely unhappy. But
he doesn't walk off into the sunset.