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Review: 24 - 8:00PM-9:00PM

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 26th 2010 11:21AM
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer 24
(S08E05) "I think this operation just blew up." - Jack

I think this season just blew up. After loving the first four hours in last week's two-night 24 premiere, hour five of Jack Bauer's eighth bad day crashed and burned pretty hard. While the main plot involving Jack and Renee is worth watching, it still has one big glaring misstep that I had a hard time getting over last night. As for the rest of the minor subplots? We can only hope they tie in to the rest of the story, because right now, very little of it is interesting.

After Hastings allowed Renee to resume her cover with the Russians last week, things got exciting fast when she cut off Zia's finger -- it seemed as though Renee was picking up right where Jack left off. But now, as details of her previous undercover stint emerge, it just doesn't jive with what we know about Renee.

She was a mole years ago, well before Day 7 in DC with Jack and while right now, she's a bit crazy, last season that side of her wasn't there at all. Yet, if Vlad, the Russian ringleader had beaten her and attempted to rape her as Jack and Chloe discovered, isn't it fair to assume that she would have carried some of that mental luggage with her last season? This was obviously a thread created just to supplement this season, but it's negating all that we knew about Renee.

Anyway, despite the major gripe, Renee's ability to manipulate Vlad and get back in his good graces (even though many of his goons suspected her being a Fed the first time around) was very entertaining to watch. The only ambiguous moment was when Vlad had the gun to her head. I'm guessing, though, that there's a kernel of truth to what she said -- she has no one and death is obviously something she's considered before (don't forget the scars). The big question going into next week will be whether or not she's in this to help find the nuclear rods or if she's in this for revenge for what Vlad did to her.

As for the rest of the episode, there's far too many minor subplots and as of right now, there's no reason whatsoever to be invested in them at all. I don't care about Dana/Jenny and her rough-and-tumble teenage years. I don't care about the fact that she was an accessory to murder or that she spent some time in jail. I just can't see any payoff worth caring about coming out of this. The same goes for Josef Bazhaev and his brother with the radiation poisoning... big deal!

The only thing I'm on the fence about right now is Hassan. He really flipped the switch in this episode and we saw some shades of his dictator-ish side when he dealt with President Taylor and her inquiries about his human rights violations. Anil Kapoor played those scenes very well and while they don't really relate to anything right now, I could see this playing a bigger role as the season progresses. If Taylor inadvertently rubs him the wrong way, what if he starts seeing things from his brother's perspective? His wife left him, his brother betrayed him, his country is in shambles. All he has left is power, so what's he got to lose?

Final thought? Russian thugs calling their dad "Papa" is ridiculous.

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

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Ok, seriously, noone brought this up yet? Was it only obvious to me that the car Jack was following did not have Renee in it?! Are we supposed to believe that they would give Vladimir that little credit? Jack can't possibly be that inept! That was extremely lazy writing. :(

January 28 2010 at 3:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not every epeisode can be a cliff hanger and this one had a great ending. If the Russian would have immediately accepted Rene into the gang, that would have been lame. When he said Rene looked different, yea, she looks like she might pull out a saw and go beserk. I agree the CTU unit is running on fumes- from the bull-headed director to Dana. How the hell did she get a security clearance? Walmart does a better screen.
I think her ex-loser boyfriend is somehow connected to this whole deal and will try to compromise her.

January 27 2010 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Definitely better than the first four hours. I liked the whole thing with Jack relaying information to Renee. Nice role-reversal.

The side stories are lacking some pizazz, but I'm withholding judgment for now. Going to wait and see.....

January 26 2010 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved the scenes with Renee, but the other stories haven't taken off yet, so I'm still waiting for them to develop. Hassan's story is going really slow while Dana's story seems completely unrelated. I'm waiting for Kevin to drop a bombshell because I don't think money is his only concern.

Review of the episode on my blog:

January 26 2010 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mack Swift

Was it me, or did Jack say "Shit!!" when he turned the car around?

January 26 2010 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mack Swift's comment

Nope, that was just another Jack "Dammit!". :)

January 26 2010 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The plot line with the brothers and the doctor is at least somewhat connected to the main storyline. It will also probably turn into a lead for CTU later on. Plus it has freakin Julian Sark!

As for Dana Walsh: It has no connection at all, has too many eye-roll moments, and they chose a bad actress to play the weak girl in distress. Starbuck doesn't take crap like this.

January 26 2010 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

White house politics in 24 are always kinda slow. but after 7 full seasons you gotta be used to it. So hassan and taylor are fine to me. Dana walsh and her ex is a terrible storyline though, I'll agree there. But 24 has has one of them in almost every season. I can only hope she dies to tie that story up. As far as the russian brothers, I kind of like that story. Plus we know jack will end up finding his way to the nukes b/c of a mistake that the brothers make since they didnt follow "papas" orders.

With renee I can see where you are coming from, but if you recall last season renee took that step from the good girl fed to torturing a man who had vital information in a hospital without skipping a beat. If she really was that good girl to start with it would have been a harder transformation, so I think her having a undercover past that she didn't fully tell larry moss and them about and sort of kept hidden behind her good girl façade is believable to me.

That said, it's 24..it is what it is. I was thinking "This is a slow/boring episode" about halfway through, but it picked up at the end and I ended up doing a fist pump and cheered for renee when she survived. In the end, it does its job of just being a very enjoyable edge of your seat show to watch. Looking much deeper than that, sure you'll find flaws.

January 26 2010 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike McNamara

Wait -- there are ridiculous time line things that don't make sense, D-plots that are ridiculously trite compared to the rest of them, and foreign characters acting in a stereotypical way that makes them ridiculous? On 24?!? No way. Can't imagine that.

Except it's the same darn thing that happens every season.

It's like a McDonald's hamburger. It might taste awesome. But you don't want to think about it too much before, during, or after you're doing it -- and it certainly can't be compared to an actual burger for a real restaurant. But I don't go to McDonald's for a good burger; I go there for a McDonald's experience. 24 is the same way. Same awful points can be made every season, but it's awfully entertaining.

This show is ridiculous and always has been. It's also ridiculously entertaining. But it is not Lost. It does not hold up to that kind of scrutiny. Measuring it by that kind of standard, it's not even How I Met Your Mother.

January 26 2010 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is unfair. After an episode with a such exciting end the plot needs to develop. If the whole moment they are shots, explosions and races assurance at the time that you criticize the lack of history, and this when plot is formed you criticize the lack of action(share). I also miss to Jack, but if only I go out it also is criticized.

January 26 2010 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Meh. I'm enjoying 24 just fine.

Renee having aspects to her background that we didn't see last season hardly negates everything we know about her. We saw her for one day, under one set of circumstances last season. People have sides to their personality that they may keep closely guarded and don't necessarily allow to come to the surface all that readily. If anything what they've added to her backstory this season, when added to what Jack put her through last season, just makes her current state all that much more plausible.

She went through a good bit of hell on her undercover assignment and came back and played the stoic, good soldier who kept toeing the FBI party line. Then she gets thrown in with Jack and gets a good dose of anything goes, ends justifies the means, only to end up almost killing someone trying to put it into practice in an interrogation. She broke trying to shoulder the kind of load that even Jack barely handles.

I'm finding it interesting watching Jack deal with a damaged, dangerous creature at least partly of his own inadvertent making.

The side stories are still in their early stages; we're not even a quarter of the way into the season yet. I'll be patient and wait to see where they go before passing final judgement. So far they work well enough as filler between the big action.

However, somebody really needs to punch Arlo in the happy sacks. Geez Louise, you're an obnoxious geek who sits in front of a computer screen all day and you're getting ants in your pants over the GF of a CTU field agent. Catch a clue. Ain't. Happening.

January 26 2010 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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