Not a lot to rave about in the first half, but the thrills come eventually.
Gotta explain the plot coherently: since Jack's having more trouble with this Consulate than the last one, it's up to outside forces to save him and get Markov. CTU brings in Agent Mike Doyle to potentially lead an attack on the Consulate, and Logan asks his kooky ex-wife to use her good rapport with the Suvarovs to help bring about a more peaceful resolution. I'll try that again: Logan must convince Martha to convince Anya to convince Suvarov to convince Markov to surrender while Doyle…f*** it.
The White House gives us a little reminder of the Arab involvement: Daniels threatens action against [Fayed's country] unless their Ambassador helps find the nukes. That makes two separate war threats. But I can overlook that convoluted bit because both Daniels and Lennox continue to impress.
Besides, the Russian war threat doesn't last long. Markov won't follow suit, so Suvarov throws CTU a freebie and lets them shoot up the Consulate. And here's where it gets really good, though it's over all too soon. It's an orgasm!
This episode is NOT real-time realistic, and with all the other stuff going on, there isn't much room for Jack himself. But it's nice seeing Martha and Aaron Pierce, despite their wastefully brief screentime. And Gredenko and Fayed finally initiate their drone plan; it's all very exciting. I'm sure this won't lead to a stupid anticlimax.