Review: 24 - 8:00PM-9:00PM
by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 26th 2010 11:21AM
(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.]