The following review takes place between 6:58 and 7:20 a.m. Words are written in real time...
Man, we thought this was it! We thought Jack and Renee would live happily ever after, barely be featured for the rest of the season and President Taylor would work out a peaceful treaty without any more assistance from CTU.
Just kidding! We clearly expected a major twist to take place before this hour was through - but did anyone out there think Renee would be killed? For the second consecutive week, it excited us to be genuinely shocked by the conclusion of an episode.
Seriously: back-to-back silent clocks? That's almost as rare as back-to-back no-hitters in baseball.
Just as we were determining that Jack having sex is more disturbing than Jack getting tortured, it turns out these developments are one and the same for our hero. We never thought he'd get a true happy ending on 24, but we also didn't think he'd lose yet another loved one.
Kiefer Sutherland's reaction to Renee's death was as quietly sad and intense as anything the actor has done over eight seasons on this show. And that's saying an awful lot, as even when the quality of storylines has suffered a bit, Sutherland has always been at the top of his game.
It's hard to say if we'll specifically miss Renee, but there's no doubt that we sympathized for Jack - and now we can't wait to see him exact serious revenge for her murder. You might wanna hire extra security, Russia.
As for the reveal that that nation has been behind the nuclear plotting from the beginning? Can't say we were shocked. Any veteran 24 viewer is aware that the main villain is introduced around this time each season. It's just too bad no one told President Taylor that.
Her decision to tell the Russian delegate about the promotion of Mrs. Hassan seemed awfully silly and naive. She's suspected all along that Russia didn't want the peace treaty to be signed, yet she opened up to the delegate about Mrs. Hassan just because "he asked," as she told him? Weak.Unfortunately, meanwhile, this day and age of spoilers already made it clear that Charles Logan was coming back to the show. That's too bad because we'd have been psyched and surprised to see him otherwise.
But with the cat (or the wily, ethically shady ex-President, to be exact) out of the bag before the episode aired, this return fell flat. It's as much of a contrived storyline as anything 24 has done all season.
It's almost as if the writers themselves aren't sure what to do with Logan, mindlessly inserting him into the peace talks, without giving him an actual agenda or plan just yet. Would the President really agree to his help without explicitly hearing a plan of action?
Still, the creators of 24 have said they're gonna take some liberties over these final hours, adding that the show has earned the right to take some chances (read: leaps of logic) over the years, in order to wrap things up in the most memorable way possible. We can buy that. We've been around from the beginning and we're willing to have various characters pop back up if it helps the show come full circle before the final tick of the clock.
We just wish that final tick would be silent. With a 24 movie on the way, Jack will clearly live to save the world again - but wouidn't it fit this character better if the series concluded with him with him dying for his country?
RIP, Renee Walker.