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'24' recap: It kills Renee to love Jack so much!

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24-President-8am

Image Credit: FoxSince the Conan O’Brien news consumed most of my day, I had precious little time to look forward to tonight’s episode. And there was so much to anticipate, starting with the return of the beloved Gregory Itzin (left) as President Logan to the consummation of Jack and Renee’s complicated relationship. Unfortunately, their awkward makeout session against the book case didn’t exactly deliver the climax I was expecting (and no pun intended, I swear).

As I write this, I’m still having a hard time believing that Annie Wersching’s days are numbered on 24 — mostly because I moderated a panel with the actress just two weeks ago and she mentioned something about having met with the screenwriter who’s been commissioned to write the 24 movie. She’s going to be in it! I deduced. Or maybe she was just trying to throw me off the scent because I was hammering her for spoilers. Eh, it doesn’t matter now; as of today, it looks like Renee is out of our lives, and Jack has to wrestle with yet another tragedy in his sad personal life. Color me surprised, truly; this wasn’t the development I was expecting, though Jack’s never had the best luck with women and I’d be a stooge to think it could change now. You?

Though Renee met her maker, it was still a pretty good night for 24’s other powerful women. Chloe got the (temporary) promotion that she deserved, while Dalia was asked to assume her late husband’s post and sign the peace agreement. Let’s address Chloe first: Though our girl doesn’t exactly possess the finest people skills (and so diminutive, too! Arlo could gobble her up in one bite), it was satisfying to see this old character snag the top post at CTU. I bet she gets the position by the series finale, which will surely set the stage for her grand role in the movie. I didn’t care quite as much, however, about Dalia’s insta-election, though it did provide a convenient excuse for Novakovich to back out of the agreement. Will Taylor ever get her world peace?

A newly mended Ethan thinks she can, but only if they turn to President Logan. Enter Itzin, looking as weaselly as ever (and I mean that in the best way possible). Taylor doesn’t like what he’s promising — apparently, he’s got a mysterious card up his sleeve that he can hold over the Russians — but she begrudgingly agrees to have him repair what she couldn’t with Novakovich. Here’s where things are bound to get interesting: Logan’s intentions may be honorable but nothing good can come out of his involvement. If anything, complications are sure to arise with the introduction of cult fave Reed Diamond (Dollhouse) as Logan’s “administrative assistant.” Surely the writers will be giving Diamond much more to do than take dictation and fetch Logan’s dry cleaning, right? I smell another mole…

Back at CTU, Cole learned that he couldn’t rely on Samir’s testimony because a new Russian baddo trained in the art of Dana Walsh subterfuge managed to infiltrate the crime scene and inject Samir with something fatal. This is where Renee’s checkered past caught up to her; the Russian recognized her from her suspicious days with Vlad, so he followed her back to Jack’s lair and positioned himself across the street to get a bird’s eye view of their morning delight. And now, we get to that: Last week’s promos certainly foretold the inevitability of this encounter, but it didn’t make it any more palatable. No offense to Wersching and Kiefer Sutherland, but these actors have zero chemistry — which made their makeout session and subsequent hibidy dibity (however brief) that much harder to, um, swallow. Could it be that I’ve disliked Renee’s character from the start of the season, or I just don’t want anybody to have Kiefer if he can’t have Audrey? All through their uncomfortable nookie, I was impatiently waiting for it to be over — though I certainly didn’t want it to end by having the Russian take Renee out. Dang you, writers — is she really gone from the show? She must be, since we were treated to another silent clock at episode’s end.

Perhaps it is best that I turn the discussion over to you. What did you think of Renee’s death? The series can’t possibly end with Jack suffering from a broken heart. Do you think her departure paves the way for the return of Audrey (played by Kim Raver, who has chemistry and then some with Sutherland)?  As the promos say, 24 is saving “the best for last.” Where do you think the last six hours are headed?

For more on 24:

Ausiello: The real story behind last night’s killer episode!