Day 8: 9:00 – 10:00pm
It’s all getting darker and darker as we approach the witching hour in 24‘s latest troublesome day, and I don’t simply mean the lack of daylight. Quite a few story threads are woven a little tighter in this hour. Much of the episode spent time with Jack and Renee, in an increasingly tense situation with Russian weapons dealer Vlad. Jack is still unsure of Renee’s suitability to be in the field, and while his appeals fall on the deaf ears of Brian Hastings at CTU, Jack, as ever, is probably right. Renee’s character is continuing to build on the dark side of the ex-FBI agent, and not only does she abandon Jack’s aid by going dark and removing her comms, she’s also forced to endure the sickening advances of Vlad in order to keep the mission alive.
This made for some uncomfortable scenes, none more so than Vlad cornering Renee as she gets out of the shower (not sure I’d be comfortable enough to take a shower in an arms dealer’s hideout, to be honest). It’s clear that there’s plenty of animosity between the two, and it all makes for some great drama. It’s surely a certainty that Renee is going to get a little more, how shall I say, physical with Vlad before the day is out, maybe with a power tool or two.
Vlad’s attempt to double-cross Jack and Renee was an expected twist, and Jack and Ortiz’s counter-cross was also pretty predictable, but no less enjoyable. As often as bad guys think they can win, Jack quickly slaps ‘em back down. This makes me wonder, though…
Jack Bauer is hardly inconspicuous, having saved the free world seven times previously. Surely, you’d think the criminal fraternity would have poster-sized images of the man, complete with detailed personal info. Apparently not, though, as Jack easily poses as a bespeckled, German weapons dealer with no one coming close to recognising him, even with his high profile court case at the start of the last season. The terrorist information network isn’t as good as we thought, it seems. Either that, or they didn’t pay their TV license.
Other stories have started to get a little more interesting too, with Dana Walsh’s side story gaining some speed, if a little unconvincingly. Right in the middle of CTU, supposedly one of the most well equipped and secure offices around, she manages to hack into the NYPD computer system, override a storage warehouse security and even create an NYPD pass card, all without anyone noticing. This was strange enough, but can someone please tell me how CTU security doesn’t notice a dirty and clearly suspect white van parked right next to CTU’s front door without raising even a little suspicion. Sure, Arlo eventually got wise and watched Dana’s deal on camera, but the guards on the door are apparently fine with strange vehicles parking on their doorstep.
Still, the actual story is decent enough, if a little familiar. With Kevin Wade and Co about to rob an NYPD storage warehouse, on the hunt for drug money, Dana has hard times on the horizon.
The presidential plot it also beginning to build steam, in particular President Hassan’s descent into madness, as the cracks start to show. He’s not content with arresting known criminal elements, and has now started to suspect his own staff. Not unreasonable after his brother tried to kill him (where did he go, anyway?), but he’s clearly starting to sweat, and with President Taylor keeping him in the dark after the UK and other countries threatened to leave the peace talks, we could be in for some feuding in the echelons of power.
Finally, we have Josef and his attempt to save his radiation-dosed brother. Not only has Josef got a seriously impressive GP (when was the last time your local doc had to treat weapons grade rad poisoning?), but on the verge of hope and the promise of some helpful medicine, his father’s goons burst in, kill the good doctor and his staff, and cart the two back to daddy. If this wasn’t bad enough, as a lesson in obedience to Josef, his father promptly shoots his brother, killing him outright. Now that’s some warped fatherly love right there!
A bit of a shocker to end on, and one that certainly doesn’t fail to enforce Bazhaev’s dastardly credentials. With a head villain who shows no emotion after killing his own son, it’s going to be interesting to see how he’ll treat his enemies. Jack’s going to have his hands full to be sure.
Another good episode that, as ever, won’t please everyone, but was still very enjoyable. There are things to be picked at, of course, but each story thread is interesting, and with some great character fleshing going on, 24 really is on good form so far.
Read our review of episode 5 here.