24 season 8 episode 5 review

24 takes its feet off the gas a little, relying on usual conventions but promising darker times ahead...

UK readers please note: this is the episode that doesn’t screen until early February on Sky1.

Day 8: 8:00 – 9:00pm

It was a bit of a more reserved episode of 24 this week, after the faster paced second double feature, but no less interesting. Jack and Renee’s situation with her unlucky informant has clearly stretched the relationship of the dynamic duo, and even Jack, no stranger to unorthodox tactics, is clearly concerned for the mental state of his former love interest.

It’s clear that Renee’s path has become a very dark and dangerous place, and she’s as much a risk to herself as she is to those around her. This is a great move, in my opinion. Jack’s character in 24 has been fantastic in the past, and has given us a truly epic small screen hero, but as fun as it is to see him take out a terrorist by dropping a ‘jackleg cabin’ [please see the bottom of the article] on him, we’ve not really had any true equals to Jack so far, and although I’m loathed to admit it, he’s in real danger of becoming a little boring.

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We need Jack to have a weakness, or at least a character to compete with him. Maybe Renee, in her new, no nonsense guise will provide this, and, in turn, make Jack a little more humanised.

One thing was clear, though; the mention of a cool three million dollars appears to be one amazing painkiller, even when you’ve just had a body part forcibly removed with a power tool. Who needs morphine?

Meanwhile, new Mr Big of the day, Bashaev (J├╝rgen Prochnow) has had some groundwork laid, showing his willingness to let his own son die rather than put his plan at risk. Luckily for Bashaev’s radiation-soaked offspring, his brother, Josef (David Anders) isn’t as concerned about the plan as he is for his family, and begins what will surely be a ramification-sporting side story, taking his brother to see a doctor (with a little bit of family threatening, much to the poor doc’s dismay).

Of particular interest in this episode, however, was that CTU data analyst Dana Walsh’s past was finally revealed a little more, and we find out that her history is, indeed, a little troubled.

Dana’s done some hard time in her formative years, not for lifting a couple of cans of special brew from the local corner shop, but instead for being an accessory to murder. Now, her old flame, Kevin Wade, is all set to blackmail her into digging up some lucrative information, using her position in CTU to gain access to banks codes and the like. This can only go pear-shaped fast, but it’s a plot device that could liven up things at a rather stilted and dull CTU. And, stop me if I’m wrong here, but when someone asks you to cover for them at work, isn’t the idea to, erm… cover for them? Not at CTU it seems, as Dana’s co-worker, when asked where she is, instantly announces she’s gone home. Nice one, mate! I don’t think he’d make field officer material somehow.

Presidential interludes were kept to a minimum this time, and we learn that President Hassan has instigated a form of Martial Law in his own country, including possible executions of dissidents, much to the annoyance of President Taylor.

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There’s a bit of banter between the two, and some brief footage of the President’s homeland, but nothing substantial. This isn’t a problem, though. This aspect of the story is, for this reviewer, a little dull at the moment when compared to Jack and Renee’s thread, at least for now. So, it was about the right sprinkling of the corridors of power.

Hassan also has family issues, thanks to his infidelity, but this is 24, not Eastenders, so let’s hope that this doesn’t end up as a major thread. That’s unless Hassan’s wife is involved in the coup, which I suspected from the first couple of episodes. I’ve been wrong many times, though, so we’ll see.

With all the asides and separate plots being shuffled along, we had plenty to ogle at, but the primetime story here was Renee’s clearly warped state of mind. The last episode hinted at her unstable mindset, but towards the end on this outing we saw that Renee is clearly sick of life, eventually begging arm’s dealer, Vlad, to pull the trigger during his test of her loyalty. This made for a great, will he/won’t he moment, and further ignites the fires between Renee and Jack, who was visibly shaken at this turn of events, forced to simply listen and hope.

Great stuff overall, and another formative episode as the varied plots are fleshed out a little more.

Read our review of episodes 3 & 4 here.

Update:

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At the request of Portakabin Ltd, we have updated this review. In its words: “the PORTAKABIN┬« trade mark should only be used to refer to portable buildings that have been manufactured by Portakabin Limited. It is not a generic term. In order to protect the Trade Mark and therefore livelihoods of everyone that works here, we must take active steps to discourage it’s misuse, including prevention of use of, such as, for example, portacabin.

The purpose of this message is to kindly request that you remove all references to the word “portacabin” from your website. On a more constructive note, could I suggest use of generic terms such as “cabin”, “jackleg cabin”, “portable cabin” or “modular building” as appropriate”.

Hence, we went with jackleg cabin. Whatever the hell one of those is.

Here at Den Of Geek, we are pleased to have protected the livelihoods of everyone that works at Portakabin Ltd, and clearly the inclusion of its trademark in a review of the fifth episode of 24 season 8 would have tipped the business over the edge. Much like the jackleg cabin in the episode as it happens.