It was a tale of two 24s--
The first hour was tedious.
Hastings calling the leader of a foreign government would never happen in real life, or even an alternate universe where logic and decorum exist. Sorry, I can look past a lot of stuff with "24" but this one insults my intelligence. Could you imagine the leader of Iran trusting some mid-level American bureaucrat with an admission of an extramarital affair? Yeah... no. And in spite of this ridiculous conversation, Hastings still insists on ignoring the very information that exonerated his suspect. I've seen and heard of stupidity, but this sort of behavior only exists in fiction. Wow.
Arlo is a sick puppy too. I know government employees can never get fired, but his level of sexual harassment is beyond believability. And how does one get to work at CTU and be that much of a screw-up? Wait, this is "24"- screw-ups get employed at CTU all of the time, that's part of why they disbanded the agency a few years back. Well, wash, rinse and repeat, people!
Cole (a.k.a. Chico Bauer, Jr.) brings the action hero stuff though, saving President Hassan from certain doom! That was a good scene, the best part of the first hour by far. He gets an entry in the ever-growing TheJackSack.com Dictionary!
The second hour kicked ass.
Hastings admitted he was a moron, Chloe was vindicated, they didn't drag out the revelation of Hassan's brother being the mole, etc. I was sorry to see Davros get killed so quickly. Whenever I photoshop a character, I hope they live longer than 3 episodes. Oh well... at least things are moving fast! And now a nuke is on the loose? Under the control of Transylvanian Russians? Hurray!
And then Renee Walker came back and shared her (odd) expertise in Russian mafia tattoos. But it was her steamy emotional scene with Jack Bauer that made this episode transcend the prior three hours. The first scene between Jack and Renee was more explosive than the missile attack on the helicopter and the attempted road bomb attack on Preident Hassan. That's what Annie Wersching and Kiefer Sutherland bring to the table- chemistry! I approve of this sort of thing! And then she had to go and cut that poor Ruskie's thumb off. This alone made Hour 4 the best of the season (so far).
And that's where we leave off- we got nukes, a dangerous undercover operation and some Russian mafia dudes causing trouble. Yep, this is shaping up to be a good stretch.