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Review: 24 - 6:00PM-7:00PM/7:00PM-8:00PM

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 18th 2010 10:10PM
Annie Wersching as Renee Walker
(S08E03/S08E04) "Renee, I know where you are and it's a dark place." - Jack

24's two-night four-hour season premiere continued tonight with the season's third and fourth hours and, by the end of it, we finally got a pretty clear picture of what the larger threat is and where it's headed... at least until next week.

Renee finally made an appearance, Hassan didn't get taken out, and Hastings figured out that Chloe actually knows what she's talking about. But was any of that enough to make up for the numerous shortcomings this season has already displayed?

Tonight's first hour was largely filler as it devoted far too much time to throwaway plots like Dana's shady past or Jack's run in with those two NYPD cops. When it comes to Dana, it's not that her past as "Jenny" or her history with Kevin Wade isn't interesting, but it is hard to develop a connection to her when the strong possibility exists that she'll only be around for this season.

In many ways, this has been one of the biggest issues with 24 since season five. Yes, the show has always featured a rotating cast of disposable characters, but that group has grown significantly since most of the old guard was off'd in the Emmy-winning fifth season. It becomes hard to get attached to these new players as a result. However, it does help that a.) old faces still show up (last season featured Tony and President Logan will show up later this season) and b.) newer characters like Renee or President Taylor have been able to strike the right chords with fans.

New CTU Commander Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson, L) and data analyst Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff, R) watch as the explosive events unfold.For now though, Dana's issues or Jack's torture scene with Domenick Lombardozzi (playing a dumb cop carbon copy of Herc from The Wire) were really nothing more than speed bumps leading up to Jack's ultimate goal of saving President Hassan. No thanks to Hastings, who's blind devotion to Meredith Reed's involvement bordered on absolutely insane. Again, how did this guy get such a high level job?

Hour four is where things really picked up for the better. After Jack shot and killed Davros, the dominoes fell fast. Davros' chest was covered in gang tattoos, linking him to Russian crime syndicate Red Square. As luck would have it, Renee Walker was an FBI undercover agent, buried deep within the Russian ranks six years ago as Renee Zadan.

Renee hasn't had an easy time since her first 24 hours with Jack and it seems her full transformation to "Jill Bauer" took place in the meantime -- what she saw, what she learned from Jack, and the people she lost... like Jack said, she's in a dark place.

Renee almost killed Alan Wilson when she interrogated him, lost her job with the FBI as a result, then had a breakdown and attempted to commit suicide. Knowing all that, I'd never put her back in the field, but Brian Hastings? Yeah, he would. While jaw-dropping, it wasn't that much of a surprise when she went and cut off her old Russian pal Zia's thumb to get off his parole bracelet. Renee is pretty much constantly chanting WWJBD and it's going to take the man that wrote that book to keep an eye on her while this Russian connection is figured out.

As for Farhad's motives, seems that he just thought his brother was soft. He agreed to pay big bucks for some old Soviet uranium rods if the Russians agreed to kill Omar. No Omar, no more weak policies, and Farhad reinstates his country's nuclear program. Through him, we met most of the Russian goons: Bazhaev (Jürgen Prochnow) and his son Josef (Alias' David Anders). The only guy we didn't meet, but saw pictures of, is Renee's goal, Vladimir (played by BSG's Callum Keith Rennie).

A few more thoughts:

  • Perhaps the only interesting part about Dana's issues is that fellow analyst Arlo seems to know something is up. To be fair, this could turn out to be a decent sub-plot, but right now... not so much.
  • Even though we never heard his name spoken, turns out "Mike Farmer" was an alias for Davros (his name was in the "previously on" segment at the top of the first hour). Guess it wasn't Boris, which, humorously, rhymes with Horace (Doug Hutchison's character on Lost).

At this point, it's a bit of a guessing game as to what comes next. It's a safe bet that Jack and Renee will track down Vlad no problem, but assuming they are able to stop Farhad's transaction with Bazhaev, what's next? Does a nuke go off in Manhattan? Could there be another buyer involved? Knowing that Logan pops back up later makes sense too, especially considering the company he kept in season five. No matter what happens, it's gonna be fun to watch. Tick tock.

[Watch full episodes and clips of 24 over at SlashControl.]

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Dana's boyfriend Kevin revealed something at the end of the most recent episode. For the first time this season, we saw tattoos on his body. Of course, a shady character like Kevin would probably have tattoos. But why hide that until the final few minutes of this most recent episode? Maybe because tattoos - the mark of this Russian organization - has suddenly become very important.

Go back and watch it and see if you agree.

I might be reading too far into it - and if so, eh, who cares, it's a TV show - but what if there's double mole action going on? Renee's playing insider with the Russian mob while this guy Kevin is working with the Russian mob to get into CTU. If I was a betting man, I'd put some money on it.

January 22 2010 at 2:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Nathan's comment

Maybe Renee is the double agent working for the mob penetrating CTU? Maybe if the moon was made of green cheese we'd have no more hunger on this planet!
Maybe if my grandma had a d..., oh, never mind.

January 25 2010 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Keep an eye on Meredith. Who did she call while waiting for her badge to be reinstated? And why did she say what she said on the phone?

January 19 2010 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to George's comment

Yes..At the end of the first hour, last three or four minutes, just after Meredith got her badge back and went through security, she called someone and said that the brother pulled her badge, but she had Hassan reinstate it...Then she said: I know, I know I'm behind schedule, but it'll get done!
Who was she talking to? And what does this mean?

Oh, and I loved the typical NY cop beating on Jack. He represents 90 percent of NY cops behaviour.

Hour two with Jacks daughter telling him it's OK to go back, and Jack visibly torn between duty and family was a powerful scene.

I think Cloe is just as much of 24 now as Jack. She's awsome.

January 19 2010 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that was just misdirection. But, with 24, you never know for sure.

January 20 2010 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't like how they brought Renee back. Instead of a tough arse, she comes across as a stone cold sadistic ditch.

January 19 2010 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't get me wrong I love 24 but how can Jack be beaten in the face by that goon cop and not even have a tiny cut or bruise less than 1 hour later? And how can someone change their name and have an implied seedy past and still be hired by CTU? I know we have to suspend disbelief with this series but come on.........

January 19 2010 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Saragee's comment

I agree 100% with your comment especially about Jack getting a beating and not have a scratch 1 hour after, that was very poor

January 24 2010 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone find it funny that David Anders was competing against himself on 'Heroes' /and/ '24', last night? :)

January 19 2010 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Season 7 was great. I haven't been that impressed in a while. So far I'm loving this season too. Especially Renee. Hard-core.

One question though, does anyone know how much time has passed between last season and this one?

January 19 2010 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Wes's comment

Not quite a year.

January 19 2010 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think last season ended in May, so it has been 8 months.

January 19 2010 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Come on! 24 is great network programming! If feels like it belongs on a cable station with it's grit, action, plots, and sub-plots. Every time I watch it is like riding a roller coaster of twists and turns and dips.
After each episode I feel wrung out.
Renae is a loose cannon and Jack feels responsible for her breakdown. Dana may be a bigger part of the conspiracy than we realize. How come CTU didn't find her true identitiy?
Or, her ex-boyfriend is part of it now and is coming in to compromise her. I sure as heck wouldn't give him my apartmernt keys!
This show still delivers and we can nitpik all day long but it is still a quality show and so worth watching.

January 19 2010 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Cyn's comment

I agree, how can it NOT be fun when Jack is apparently the sane one in his team-up with Renee? Yeah, yeah, the boss is stupid, CTU's hiring practices are suspect for such an elite government agency, ok, fine. I can still suspend my disbelief, this is after all a TV SHOW!

January 19 2010 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Dana/Kevin Subplot is really worthless fluff, not even interesting fluff. The problem with this show and I've watched every episode since the beginning are the endless distractions, the huffing and the puffing, the pregnant pauses and the fact that Jack is never wrong or out of place and even when strapped to a chair he can break a man's ribs. Tell me how he can look so dumb sometimes and then suddenly overcome it. MI-5 is a much better series, but I'll still watch 24 because there is much fun here.

January 19 2010 at 7:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just a few issues:
Hastings walks around like the ceiling's too low (maybe the boom mic is too low), Jack is an idiot for not knowing where his gun is when he's in the same cop car, Dana works at CT-fuckin-U so who's this punkass bitch she's taking orders from and what cop (even a fake assasin) doesn't wear a bulletproof vest when on assassin-watch at the UN? I just can't buy Renee as some tough agent now. Jack's taking orders from her? COOOME ONNN!!
It really IS a weak start and shaking my faith. I don't know that I can make it through this whole season and I never thought I'd say that.

January 19 2010 at 7:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Renee is way out of control, and is totally crazy. While it's predictable that Jack will bring her back to sanity, it'll be interesting to see how he does it in the midst of all the other craziness. Dana's story better tie-in to the main plot, because it is going absolutely nowhere.

Review of the episode on my blog:

January 19 2010 at 3:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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