Tuesday, January 19, 2010

24 Day 8, 6PM to 8PM: Renee Shocks, Jack in Awe

Monday's 2-hour block of ”24” (Fox) was much more promising than the first two. The ending of this episode was a little more shocking that normal when Renee Walker does something so awful that it even gives Jack Bauer pause, and you know it has to be bad when Jack looks shocked at the event. What started out as an assassination attempt has now turned into obtaining weapons grade uranium.

The only downside to this two hour "24" was the storyline with Dana and what appears to be an ex-boyfriend from her pre-CTU life. I assume that this seemingly unrelated storyline will somehow connect back up in future, but in the meantime, we are stuck with Katee Sackhoff and her stiff posturing for the camera. I enjoyed Katee immensely in her Battlestar Galactica days, but so far in 24, she seems to be more concerned with how she is posing in each shot.

CTU is still rife with incompetence, as it seems Hastings must be beaten on the head with proof before he does anything. How a person would get to head up CTU when he doesn’t know how to look past the obvious is beyond me. I suspect that this won’t change much, despite the fact that he may have some new found respect for both Jack and Chloe as it turns out they were on the right track after all.

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has found himself in the middle of an assassination attempt on Kamistan President Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor). Of course, in perfect 24 fashion, no one at CTU - with the exception of Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) - has half a brain. She’s the only one who thinks journalist Meredith Reed (Jennifer Westfeldt) is being set up as a distraction. This is one main theme with all the previous seasons of “24” in that it’s rare that anyone in a position of authority is able to manage a terrorist situtation correctly. In this case, that person is CTU director Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson), who doesn’t want to give Jack the time of day, much less help him in trying to uncover the real terrorist. Hastings would rather continue to interrogate the hot-looking journalist Reed. Of course, this whole interrogation scenario is silly as Reed is hooked up to some biometric device to determine if she is lying, and Hastings hasn’t figured out how to use this device to verify if she is lying about her involvement. A simple, “Are you involved in a plot to assassinate Hassan” should do the trick, but no, that would be too simple.

Meanwhile, Jack has traced the mystery man – Davros (Doug Hutchison) - to a house, paying a kid playing basketball $100 after he points Jack to the right house. But Jack is too late, Davros has already killed the police officer (Jim) and his wife after Jim called in sick and made Davros his replacement for the UN security detail. In the real world, no security detail of this nature would allow the employee to arrange for their replacement, but since this is “24” I’ll pretend this isn’t the real world. Jack gets into trouble after he breaks in the house and finds the couple dead as the police who have arrived on the scene think he is the killer. One of the officers, John, decides to take matters into his own hands – after all, don’t all TV cops do this when confronted with a cop killer? – while the other, Phillip, stands by and watches as Jack is beat up by the rouge officer, despite the fact that Jack explained he is from CTU. Jack Bauer must be a real idiot if he expected they would believe his story anyway. But soon Phillip has seen enough, and when Jack manages to disable John, who is beating him up, Phillip keeps a gun on both of them until he can call it in.

Hastings is questioning Reed about her possession of a double secret extra private key card which gives access to Hassan's private residence, yet when she tells him that “Omar” gave it to her, their fancy biometric device still can’t seem to point out that she is not lying. He calls Hassan, interrupting a conference with President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones). I suppose in the world of 24, CTU trumps the President of the US. Anyway, despite the objections from Hassan’s brother Farhad (Akbar Kurtha), Hassan admits he gave the key card to Reed and they have a relationship. I wonder why it was so important for Hastings to confirm the affair, why wasn’t the president’s word that he gave her the key card enough? Despite the fact that this confirms what Chloe and Jack were working on – that there is another inside person involved – Hastings refuses to allow anyone, including Chloe, to check on Jack, who seems to have dropped off the radar.

Davros, meanwhile, had taken the spot on the UN Security detail and is part of the team that CTU agent Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is briefing. Farhad also has called Davros and tells him his brother admitted his affair and thinks the frame job with Reed will not hold. Davros thinks they should forge ahead and assures Farhad that Hassan will be dead within an hour.

Back at CTU, the soap opera drama with Ortiz’s fiancée and co-worker Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff) continues as Kevin Wade, someone Dana knew from her “past life” under her real name, arrives at CTU to harass her in person. She is so terrified Wade will reveal her past life and identity that she gives this crazy man the key to her apartment. Sure, give the crazy guy the key to your house, that makes a lot of sense (note sarcasm).

Also at CTU, Arlo (John Boyd) completed finishes decrypting the files on Reed's computer, and it appears to be the schematics for a construction project which took place at the UN eight months earlier. The plans also show that bombs may have been installed in the UN's main chamber. Hastings calls for an immediate evacuation of the UN, while Chloe presses that these plans might be fake and simply another part of the assassination plot. Hastings, of course, doesn’t listen to her, likely because Chloe is such a whiner.

Meanwhile, more police are at the scene of the murder of the officer Jim and his wife. After Phillip confirms that Jim had called in sick and that a cop named Mike covered the shift, he decides to help Jack. Jack believes this other cop is the assassin and has Phillip drive him to the UN, and while on the way, Jack updates Chloe and has her patch him through to Cole. Jack explains to Cole he must get Hassan's car off the street or the president will die.

Davros is waiting with a bomb already set under a manhole cover in the street, and bomb trigger in hand. As President Taylor and her staff evacuate, Ortiz goes with the Hassan detail, Farhad staying behind to wait for Hassan's wife. We really know it’s so he doesn’t get killed with this brother. After Hassan is tucked into the car, Farhad calls Davros and tells him that Hassan will be in the third car. But, as Jack has tipped off Ortiz, Ortiz cuts off Hassan’s car before it can reach the manhole, and Davros sets off the charge. Ortiz car flips with the huge explosion, but he manages to escape his flaming car. He manages to get Hassan in another car and off to CTU. When he spots Davros, he chases him on foot. Jack tells Phillip to drive to Ortiz’s location.

Davros, on the run, still has time to take a call from Farhad, who is in another car with Hassan’s wife and daughter, and when Davros says it won’t bel ong before they realize Farhad is in on it, Farhad leaps from the car, stabs a CTU agent and flees on foot, with Hassan’s wife and daughter watching in horror.

But Davros manages to ambush Ortiz and gets Ortiz to his knees. When Ortiz refuses Davros’ order to call in to CTU telling them the area is secure, and it looks like Davros is going to kill Ortiz, a shot rings out, as Jack manages to shoot and kill Davros before he can kill Ortiz. Jack rips open Davros’ shirt and sees all kinds of tattoos in his chest, so he takes cell phone pictures of them for CTU.

When Hassan arrives at CTU, Hastings tells him his brother was behind the assassination attempt as Farhad fled and killed a CTU agent. Hastings then gives Chloe much needed praise, which I am sure she well never ever let him forget. CTU also realizes that Davros' tattoos are from a Russian crime syndicate, and the only agent with detailed inside information on the Russian is former FBI agent Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) and that Walker apparently resigned over an "internal dispute."

Elsewhere, what looks like a Russian mob guy named Bazhaev (Jürgen Prochnow) gets a call from Farhad, and Farhad still wants to buy something from Bazhaev. He wants to meet with Bazhaev face to face.

When Jack makes it back to CTU, he tells them he’s off to LA, but Chloe tells him that Renee Walker is coming in. Jack tells her that Walker never returned his phone calls and asks Chloe not to tell her he is at CTU. Chloe adds that she's heard Walker had a mental breakdown.

While Hassan is thanking Cole for saving his life, alarms begin to ring, and it appears sensors have detected traces of nuclear weapons grade materials on Davros’ body. Hassan thinks he knows what is going on. He later tells Hastings that his country had been looking at nuclear weapons but could never enrich enough uranium. Farhad had recently been approached by someone who had access to Russian stockpiles, and he believes that was still interested in helping Kamistan become nuclear-capable. He says they must prevent him from getting his hands on that uranium.

Renee, looking a little edgy, has arrived at CTU and easily translates the tattoos. She believes Davros is connected to a group called Red Square, a gang she could never complete infiltrate. Hastings asks Renee r if she will go back undercover and help them get close to Red Square and offers her an FBI post in return. The FBI post is not an incentive but she agrees to help for the sake of public safety.

But Jack isn’t off the hook yet – after all, the day is still young – and Chloe stops him as he is leaving to tell him Renee is going back undercover. Jack is concerned and rushes to Hastings’s office to see Renee. He says he doesn't think she is ready for such a mission, and knows she almost killed Wilson during interrogation and it was so bad the FBI let her go. He says she is in a “dark place," grabbing her wrists and we see there is evidence she has attempted suicide. Renee is determined she will go through with the mission, even though she looks a little nutty to me too.
As Reed is getting released from custody, she is briefly reunited with Hassan, and apologize for involving him. She knows he cares for her, but for the sake of his work, he backs away from their relationship.

Renee tells CTU she has a contact , Ziya, that could lead them to a former higher-up in the organization, named Vladimir. But Jack won’t allow Renee to go it alone, telling Hastings he wants to stick with Renee because he does not think she is ready, and will take Ortiz's place as the competing buyer.

Farhad arrives at Bazhaev's place and Farhad wants proof Bazhaev is in possession of the uranium rods. Bazhaev takes him to a back room where his other son is shivering and sick. Bazhaev tells Farhad that his son was transporting the rods "and he was careless” adding, “There, you have your proof." He tells Farhad the rods can be ready for transportation in five hours, not even caring his son is dying. Nice guy.

Chloe works on building a back story for Jack and Renee for their meeting with Ziya, who is working at an auto parts store as part of his parole. Renee is agitated and thinks nobody trusts her. She looks a little unwound so that should be no shock to her.

Meanwhile, we get dragged back into the soap opera life of Dana, who gets another call from wacko Wade, who gets a little nutty when he finds out Dana is engaged and gets even more upset when she won’t run right home to be with him.

Jack and Renee are at Ziya’s (Jon Sklaroff) store, and Renee enters alone and attempts to get information on how she can get in touch with Vladimir. He tells her he won’t call Vladimir and he can’t leave because he has a parole monitoring bracelet. When Renee tells him she can get it off for him, she places his hand in a vice. When she moves to get a saw, he tells he she can’t cut off the bracelet, and she tells him coldly, "I'm not going to cut the bracelet.” She saws through Ziya's wrist and sends blood spraying everywhere. Of course, Ziya's screams alarm Jack and he runs into the store. He is horrified when he sees Ziya on the ground, sans hand, and the blood, and he yells that the mission is over. Renee, oddly calm and collected, just tells Jack to find something to cauterize the wound, leaving Jack standing there, stunned.

And if it means anything, so was I.

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