A slow start to the season completely warrants an explosive finish to the last half of the season. There were several moments in this episode which really stepped up to the next level of 24. In order (with most compelling moment being last):
1. CTU Chief Hastings delivered a speech to his staff early on in the episode. Mixed with good dialgoue, great patriotic music in the background and a decent delivery from Hastings, I could feel even Hastings' scenes stepping up. 2. President Taylor making the decision to not handing over President Hassan. When she stood up and raised her voice and talked about how they must stand back up, in a worst case scenario, and that this is "what we do" I felt a chill down my spine. She blasted her Cabinet and it was a wonderful scene. 3. The betrayal in the White House. It was inevitable that something was going to go wrong when Jack began escorting the President. This twist was classical 24 and fit in perfectly with Americans doing "the best for the country."
4. President Hassan getting involved in the "action" was fantastic. I loved the idea of a President saving Jack's life. 5. The best for last! Jack and Renee working together as a team is just oh so fantastic! The use of smoke and out smarting the enemies and the genuine gun battles with Bauer, Walker and the covert ops team was extremely enjoyable to watch and full of tension.
After picking up to such a wonderful level of 24, I doubt it is going to lose momentum in the last 10 episodes. With a double episode on the way next week, I think the writers have prepared season 8 to really make us remember the greatest show ever, in style, and forever.