Renee is not able to just walk away from her killing - by multiple stabbings - of Vlad. Jack coached her to say it was self-defense, and it was, in the larger sense of a Vlad alive posing a continuing threat to her. But, as we know, she stabbed him far more than was necessary for any immediate defense.
Hastings is basically a good guy, with no taste for prosecuting Renee, but the grade-A a-hole Presidential assistant - there's at least one just about every season of 24 - has other ideas. Seems it was his idea to bring back CTU, put Hastings in charge of it, sell the President on the package. And the last thing he wants is for CTU to be implicated in the murder of someone - Vlad - who had a central role in the nuke rods still at large.
Jack first makes it clear to Renee that he loves her - good - and then proceeds to spring her, with typical Jack flair and violence, from the heartless prosecutor the President's assistant sent to CTU to break Renee. It all comes to a head when Hastings is about to send out a team to recover the nukes, but Cole's not around - I'll tell you why in a minute - so Hastings puts a young guy in charge of the team who clearly is not the most experienced. Jack sees Hastings' need, and offers to help the team - in return for Hastings' promise to release Renee. A good result all around, especially in a satisfying scene in which Jack tells Hastings that Jack has sat in Hastings' seat, and sometimes you just have to say no to superior orders. A good definition of the job.
Meanwhile, about Cole - he goes after Dana who's really Jenny, who's out, maybe, to kill her ex-boyfriend to free her from his extortion. At least this is finally having some relevance to our central story - see above. Cole takes care of business, but will Hastings welcome them back with no questions?
Possibly, because, sometimes, you just have to say no in the job.
5-min podcast review of 24
See also Season 8 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8
And see also Season 7 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hours 11-12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22 ... Hours 23-24
The Plot to Save Socrates
"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News
"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book