24 Season 8 episode 16 review

Events take a shocking turn in the second of this week’s helpings of 24…

UK readers please note: this episode doesn’t screen for another couple of weeks on Sky1 and this review contains major spoilers.

24 Season 8 – 7:00-8:00am

This week’s second helping of 24 was actually a bit of a corker, following on well from the last instalment, and 7:00-8:00am may well go down as the best hour of the series so far, with plenty going on, and a harrowing, if clumsily telegraphed, shock to round things off.

Dana’s ever increasing army of haters will, no doubt, have found the episode a particularly enjoyable romp, as she finally gets discovered, although not before letting CTU’s previously clumsy security prove they’re not all bad after all.

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Making the lame excuse of needing to get her migraine medication from her car in order to escape CTU, security wouldn’t let her leave, on Hasting’s orders, until she’s cleared, and just when the guard looked ready to relent and let her through, he instead offered to let one of his colleagues go out for her (although, why could the guard go without Hasting’s say so, and not Dana?).

Still, her efforts weren’t all in vain, and by using Hastings’ workstation to falsify an exit permit, she does escape, just before Hastings, Chloe and Renee discover the truth. When they do, Dana instantly kills a couple of CTU guards, and promptly makes a run for it, only to be eventually stopped by Ortiz (and an airbag).

Although Dana isn’t exactly well-liked by the fans, this was a good opening, and Dana’s vilified presence in the show actually helped to enhance the tension. You didn’t just want CTU to stop her, you needed them to, so when Ortiz did the deed, it was a real relief. Good one, Freddy!

While CTU was in a bit of a pickle, we also switched to President Taylor, who was expressing very real concerns that the peace process she’s been working so hard on is about to fail. Her worrying is interrupted, though, as she’s greeted by what has to be the most blatant Russian bad guy you’re ever likely to see. The Russian Foreign Minister, Mr Novakovich shows up, and is clearly a series bad guy in waiting, especially as his interests in Hassan’s demise are plainly evident. I’m betting we’ll see more of Mr Bond villain again very soon.

Meanwhile, all’s not so well with President Hassan, whom we see rushed into a housing block and promptly tied to a chair. Samir, now face to face with his target, is determined to get Hassan to make a statement to the world in which he is to admit to betraying his people and to selling his country out to the west. He’s then to be executed, live on YouTube, no less! Well, okay, maybe not, but you get the idea. Besides, after recent updates to Googtoob, I doubt the video would load fast enough anyway.

With the threat in place, and Jack’s interrogation of Dana done, in what has to be the most over-the-top, sci-fi interrogation room/pod yet, the rest of the show didn’t pull any punches, and with a few small asides like Hastings grilling Cole about Dana’s past, and yet another fateful conflab between Jack and Renee, it was all about the skilful and silent rescue of Hassan.

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Jack and his team arrive at the location, and with some almost Holmesian-like deductive analysis of the sunlight on Hassan’s face in the Web feed, Chloe manages to work out almost exactly where in the building he’s being held. Is there nothing 24‘s ultra-geek can’t do?

But alas, even with an impressive takedown of each and every single terrorist (even Samir), Jack was too late. The Web feed was a delayed video and Hassan was dead before the op even began. President Taylor witnesses the feed in all its gruesome glory and, quickly, the show comes to a close with a silent clock ticking to 8:00am.

It was a really good way to end the show, and I applaud the move taken to kill off Hassan, one of the series’ best characters. And, while it was a bit obvious that Hassan was going to die somehow, especially as the infiltration went so well, it was nonetheless a good plot point, and a great way to end the episode.

However, as good as the episode was, with a few tension-ridden moments, and even Dana working well as a half-decent villain, we’re left with one major, glaring problem – what now?

Each and every story thread has been tied up, with seemingly noting left. The villains are all dead, Hassan is dead, the bomb is safe (or is it?) and even Jack and Renee are okay. So, what will occur to close the last series?

Well, as I said earlier, it’s obvious that the Russians are going to pitch in, which may lead us full circle to the return of Bashaev, and there’s still the matter of Taylor’s peace treaty. Dana isn’t off the hook yet either, as her deal for immunity was on the condition that Hassan was found alive, and surely, Ortiz is going to want some of the action if she’s thrown to the lions.

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There’s also the matter of Jack’s overall story to tie up, but I can’t see that taking several episodes, especially given that a movie is surely on the way.

It’s a little worrying that the episode literally left us with no clear open story point, but we’ll have to wait and see if the dying hours of 24 can come up with the swan song the series deserves. Come on, guys, go out with a bang!

Read our review of episode 15 here.