24 Season 8 episode 11 review

Has season 8 of 24 just sparked into life? Aaron sees signs for hope...

UK readers please note: this episode doesn’t screen for another couple of weeks on Sky1.

24 Season 8 – 2:00-3:00am

Well, it’s about bloody time! After a fair few borderline forgettable and, perish the thought, dull episodes of 24, and a season that gave me no real reason to look forward to the next episode, season eight has finally picked up, and, if this week’s outing is anything to go by, may well pick up the pace and get back to form.

This week was all about the main plot, weaving together a couple of storylines into the main narrative, and this was all done very well, indeed, even if Dana’s side story isn’t showing any signs of dying just yet.

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With suicide vest-wearing Marcus locked inside a hyperbaric chamber, Jack and Co desperately try to find ways to communicate with him after he destroyed the intercom (although why they didn’t simply lower the pressure to make Marcus pass out, I don’t know). To add to the problems, Marcus, after taking time out to pin up or draw some nice bomb diagrams on the chamber wall, began to re-wire the vest so he could manually pop the cork.

Outside, Jack and Agent Owen, who despite being in a hospital with ample bandages, stitches and doctors is still sporting a bleeding head wound, find Marcus’ mother, and promptly send Ortiz (now back at CTU) out to fetch her.

For the first third of the episode, not too much happens, really, with the return of Dana and Ortiz to CTU, promptly followed by a telling off and slapped wrists from Hastings. It’s not long before Dana’s moment of relative calm is shattered, though, and along with being demoted and bossed around by Chloe, she also gets a call from Kevin’s probation officer, who’s on his trail and has found that he repeatedly called Dana’s number. Hmmm. Despite said officer being played by Stephen Root, always a welcome face on our screens, I’m not all too hopeful that Dana’s arc is going to get any better, but we’ll see, I guess.

Luckily, this was just window dressing, and it wasn’t long before the episode livened up, big time. We saw the new terrorist cell actually moving the nuclear rods at long last, revealing plans to sneak them onto Manhattan Island, somehow bypassing CTU’s almost mystical ‘radiation detectors’ (does anyone else think that all sounds a bit Doctor Who?), and Mare Winningham, with an excellent and convincing turn as Marcus’ mother fuelling some great, emotional moments as she tired to convince her son not to blow himself up.

Sadly for her, she wasn’t entirely successful, and it was left to Jack to tighten the thumb screws as only he knows how – by threatening Marcus’ mum. This was a great play on Jack’s past, and another sign that Jack won’t let anything stand in his way, not even a poor, helpless mother. What a cad!

Still, his plan works and Marcus relents and exits the chamber, but unbeknownst to Jack and Marcus, the terrorists remotely armed the bomb after Marcus successfully rearmed it. Jack’s unable to disarm the bomb, but before Marcus bites the big one, he reveals that President Hassan’s security chief, Tarin, is one of the people behind the plot.

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So, President Hassan was correct after all. This not only throws another 24-style twist into the mix, beefing up the President and his daughter’s storylines, but also restores a leading villain, something the show has been lacking in the last couple of episodes.

This was a great episode on the whole, and although not typically action packed, the drama was great, and the scenes with Marcus, his mother, and Jack were very well done. The shock explosion and villainous reveal were also welcome, even if Tarin’s involvement was a little telegraphed.

The main story is now building some steam with some clear direction, and thanks to some great performances, I can honestly say I really am looking forward to the next episode. Hurrah!

Read our review of episode 10 here.