24 Season 8 episode 17 review

A new president, new villain, new head of CTU and the surprise return of one of the show's slimiest characters of all 24 seasons put together…

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 8:00-9:00am

Any fears that we had no real story left after last week’s culling of the main thread subsided quickly this episode, and there was more than enough going on to keep things moving.

Although Jack’s speedy take down of Samir and his men looked, for all intents and purposes last week, as final, it turns out that Samir wasn’t actually killed, and was to be returned to CTU medical for aid and eventual interrogation.

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At least, that was the plan until an unknown and dodgy EMT injected Samir with something, presumably to stop him talking. Renee spots him leaving, and notices something wrong, but doesn’t act on it. Instead, she’s more preoccupied with Jack, who’s taking Hassan’s death badly, as he’s convinced it was his fault.

Despite even the president consoling him, assuring him that it wasn’t his fault, he’s having none of it. He and Renee then leave the scene together, his job apparently over.

Then, it was quickly established that, as I suggested last week (along with, I suspect, the majority of viewers), that Mr Novakovich, the Russian Foreign Minister, is far more than a mere diplomat, and is, along with a currently unknown Russian element, responsible for all the events that have transpired thus far. He even confirms that the IRK nationalists were simply puppets of the Russians. He’s handling the hitman who injected Samir, and it also looks as though he may be gunning for Jack and Renee too.

Minister Jamot, one of President Hassan’s staff, who had previously been locked up under suspicion of collaboration with the terrorists, approaches President Taylor, who is set to give up on the peace talks, and suggests that Hassan’s wife take over the talks, as the government backs her as stand-in president. Reluctantly, Dalia Hassan agrees, and the peace talks are back on.

This is a little far fetched, of course, and whether this kind of thing can really happen, especially as Middle Eastern women don’t typically have the same equality as other countries, is another thing. However, it helped to keep the treaty story going, and served to further the Russians’ hand, as Novakovich continued to display his misgivings openly to President Taylor, and formally announced that Russia wouldn’t sign the treaty, effectively stopping it dead in its tracks.

Meanwhile, back at CTU things are stirring in a semi-ridiculous, but still pretty groovy way. With the peace treaty back on, Taylor’s staff contact CTU to ensure the faltering agency can handle security for the U.N. building. They plan to do this by relieving Brian Hastings of his post and, wait for it, placing Chloe O’Brian in his place. What!? I told you last week, there really is nothing that this geek can’t do.

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To give Chloe her dues, she has been spot on all series so far, so you can’t be too surprised, and as she’s one of the most likable characters, it’s good to see her moved to the forefront.

After consulting with Ethan Kanin, who despite just coming out from heart surgery, is looking damn healthy (even non-invasive surgery leaves you a mess), the episodes second major plot twist is revealed, as there’s apparently one person who can handle the Russians and get them to come back to the table – ex-president, Charles Logan.

On his return, which I must say is a very welcome one, as his character is as slimy and self-serving as always, there’s a stand-off of sorts between him and Taylor. Of course, Logan is in this for his own ends, and wants to clear his name, and he also claims to want to help his country. Hmmm, maybe, but there’s also a strong chance that Logan’s agenda is far from that simple. We’ll have to wait and see, but his arrival has just made the tail end of the series far more promising, in my opinion.

Back at CTU, Samir is eventually killed by the toxin he was injected with by the Russian hitman, and Chloe decides to contact Jack after finding out that Samir was murdered.

Jack and Renee have been getting jiggy with it at his pad whilst all this has been going on, under the watchful, and slightly pervy eye of the Russian hitman. Jack slips out of the bedroom for a second while Chloe calls him to ask for his help. Renee answers the phone, revealing that she remembered the EMT from somewhere, but then, just as she shouts Jack, we get the shock of the episode, and Renee is shot by the sniper.

Jack gets her out of the building and to hospital, but, in the closing seconds we find out that Renee didn’t make it. Another silent clock ticks to 9:00.

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Although Renee’s initial shooting was pretty much guaranteed in this episode, and most will have guessed it was bound to happen, it still had plenty of impact, especially by stretching her demise out all the way to the operating table.

Of course, there had to be a reason to get Jack back into the main story, and with revenge as a dish best served cold, and with extra kicked ass, I’m guessing that each and every Russian conspirator will soon be treated to a Jack attack sometime soon.

This season is certainly picking up in its dying hours, and although it’s taken far too long to get to this stage, it’s finally well worth watching.

In the space of two episodes we’ve lost two main characters, a ton of villains, had a new IRK president and the arrival of an old US head of state, and Chloe has taken over CTU. It’s still far from the best 24 ever, but it’s getting good nonetheless.

Read our review of episode 16 here.