24 Season 8 episode 20 review

There are more shocks in store as Jack Bauer's personal mission rumbles on in the final episodes of the last season 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 11:00-12:00pm

I’m not going to mess around. This week’s episode of 24 was a corker, and certainly one of the best of the season by far. It was a fast moving ride towards perhaps the best, and most shocking closing scene yet. This was 24 carat action.

With last week’s events leaving Dana in the hands of the waterboard-happy private security firm, and Jack teaming up with Cole to go against CTU and the President, this episode couldn’t really go wrong, and from the start it was all go.

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The episode opens with Dhalia Hassan thanking the U.S. government for its help and praising her husband for his hard work. If only she knew the truth behind Alison Taylor’s mask of lies. Oh, to be a politician, especially one in Jack Bauer’s world.

Charles Logan, a character that’s had a great impact on the show’s quality since his arrival, confirms that he’s perfectly comfortable with Dana’s situation and eventual demise, as long as he’s kept out of things. He gives his okay for the private security firm to do whatever it takes to get Dana’s alleged evidence. Despite some harrowing torture, Dana doesn’t give anything away, though, claiming that she was bluffing. We’re left to wonder: is she hiding anything, or is she telling the truth? Was it all a ruse just to get away from Jack?

Well, the private security guys will never know, as Jack and Ortiz infiltrate their location and promptly take out all the guards. The commander quickly grabs Dana as a human shield, betting that Jack won’t risk shooting her. This was a bad decision, as Jack simply shoots him in the head. Bad call, dude!

Meanwhile, at CTU Chloe is showing some cracks in her demeanour and further demonstrates her unwillingness to hurt Jack, and she orders his immediate psych evaluation on his capture. Her orders are pointless, though, as CTU eventually learns that Jack has escaped, and that he’s taken Ortiz hostage. At least, that’s what they believe.

Jack and Cole arrive at one of the city’s ever useful, underpass hideaways, and Jack interrogates Dana, who may wish she were back with the old waterboard. His interrogation works, of course, and she reveals the evidence is locked up in a safety deposit box in a bank, after Jack threatens to shoot her.

This moment was of particular interest as Cole confronts Jack, wanting nothing to do with his increasingly darker tactics. He’s concerned Jack has gone too far, and also has Dana’s words ringing in his ears.

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Is Jack solely out for revenge, with Dana first on his hit list? Or does he really want justice? Jack’s real motives have quickly become the focus of the series, and this episode certainly brings this to the forefront, but we’ll get to more of that later.

Hearing the news of Jack’s escape and rescue of Dana, President Taylor is once more visibly shaken in the midst of the historical press conference with Dhalia Hassan. She calls Logan, who’s as silver-tongued as ever, and convinces her to let him place is aide, Jason Pillar in control of CTU’s search for Jack. Once again, and showing even more signs of weakness, she agrees, and we see that Logan really is starting to become the power behind the throne, so to speak. Is this his ultimate goal?

This was only the tip of the icebergh though, and Logan goes ever further down the path of no return. Without any word to Taylor, he approaches the Russians and asks for their help to take out Jack Bauer. With Pillar and, by extension Logan, in control of CTU, they can feed the Russians with Jack’s location, making their hit easier

Back to Jack, Cole and Dana, the central focus of the episode, we’re taken to the bustling bank in the middle of New York, and events that kick the series up a gear, big time.

With Jack waiting outside, Cole takes Dana to open the safety deposit box. Unfortunately for Cole, Dana is far more prepared than he expected, and he’s hit by a flashbang-style trap when he opens the box. Dana then quickly and mercilessly kills the bank staff member who comes to check on them and grabs her evidence. However, showing that she isn’t all lies and venom, Dana spares Ortiz, leaving him with a gentle stroke of his cheek. Awww.

Trying to cement her escape, Dana calls the fuzz to the bank, informing them of Jack’s location, and CTU get wind of this, with Pillar quickly ordering officers to the bank (after previously giving CTU the order to use any and all force necessary to stop Jack). He then makes the call to the Russians.

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Let’s not forget, though, this is Jack Bauer, and a couple of flatfoots aren’t going to stop him. All he needs as his spinach-injection is the sight of Dana making her escape and, accompanied by a quick “sorry”, he shoots one of the police in the foot and makes his escape, chasing after Dana.

The closing minutes of the episode were the best of the whole hour, though, and Dana’s villain status is well earned, as she shoots another innocent passerby just to get away from Jack. As much as Dana has annoyed many during the season, she does make a good bad guy (or gal, if you prefer). Sadly, this change for the better was a bit too late.

Jack corners her eventually, after some rather cartoon-style use of his jacket as a decoy, and finally gets Dana alone. She drops the evidence to the floor and pleads with Jack to tell her what she can do to change things. With the single word – “nothing” – Jack then shoots her in cold blood, twice. Wow.

Now, many may not see this to be such a big deal. After all, Jack’s killed more bad guys in 24 than I’d care to even try to mention. This is different, though, and is, as I mentioned earlier, a sure fire sign of Jack’s decent into darkness. As Dana had warned Cole earlier, she was, indeed, the first in line, and Jack gunned her down when he had no real cause.

Does this mean Dana was right? Is Jack on a rampage of revenge, gunning for anyone and everyone involved in the death of Renee? Will he stop with her, or will he even end up setting his sights on high profile targets like Logan, or, perish the thought, Taylor?

Whatever the outcome, season eight is continuing to improve week by week, and although we’ve only got four episodes left, I’ve a feeling that there’s plenty left to go.

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What’s not clear is how the season will end. Personally, I can foresee an open ending leading into the upcoming films, so don’t expect everything to be tied up by the series’ end.

Read our review of episode 19 here.