Monday, February 01, 2010

24 Season 8: 9PM-10PM Quick Review

This week we get to further explore the unstable, undercover and unstoppable Renee Walker. It's becoming routine that Jack tells CTU Director Hastings that Renee is crazy. And Hastings ignores Jack's warnings (again).  Arlo Glass is still sexually harassing Dana Walsh/Jenny, this time offering her to cry on any body part she so desires. TO THE WRITERS OF "24"- congratulations on the worst dialogue in the history of television. Okay, moving on...

No, actually we can't move on because we got a first on "24"- a Chloe ass shot, served up to viewers following her telling off Arlo for being a disgusting pig. I'm no expert on storytelling nuance but what are the filmmakers of "24" telling us? That to look at one's ass is not appropriate, but to show one's ass with a camera angle is okay? My brain hurts.

But before we can get any further into that business, we get probably one of the creepiest scenes in recent history- Renee basically chooses to "go dark"- which consists of her flushing away her earpiece (why?) and sleeping with Vlad to keep her cover going. Before I address this issue, I have to ask- why did she have to take a shower at Vlad's hideout? Oh, that's right, she didn't, but someone in marketing must have thought "Hey, can we get Renee in a towel?" Now, her sleeping with Vlad is a sad deal, another act of self-destruction by this very troubled character. Last week, Renee asked Vlad to shoot her (and we all kind of believed her). This week, she's sleeping with the guy. I'm still scratching my head at how "together" she seemed last season... oh yeah, all this Russian stuff wasn't written yet! We call that "retconning" on the comic book world (nerd alert!).

But someone in the writer's room remembered that Kiefer Sutherland is the highest paid actor on the show, and they should probably use him for a couple of scenes. Jack (finally!) goes undercover as a German arms dealer. With "Where's Waldo" Eyewear. Oh heck yes!

This reminds me of when George Costanza had his alias Art Vanderlay on "Seinfeld." It's such a goofy cover, it just has to work! Kiefer finally gets to light up a smoke on "24," which is probably some personal accomplishment for the guy. And we get some silly banter in German, which was thankfully subtitled (and funny).  But the best part was Cole Ortiz plugging three double-crossing Ruskies from his crow's nest and Jack leveraging the last guy for a final meet with Vlad. This is "24"- this is what I want more of- spy vs. spy stuff, no redneck melodrama or irradiated Russian Days of Our Lives, copy that?

In the end, this was a weird episode. We still have not gotten a bonafide Jack episode yet, and we're pretty deep into the season. Here's hoping next week does better and delivers some legitimate action and suspense. It's time things started to pick up.


J. Todd Hatcher said...

I think the Chloe ass shot was supposed to be Arlo's eyes following her.

TheJackSack said...

Yeah, I agree. It just came off as ironic.

Brian Pelts said...

Ironic or not, I enjoyed it. But I'm shallow.

Speaking of being shallow, "going dark" is now my new euphemism for doin' it.

Alright, where was I? Oh yeah, that's right: Everything that isn't Jack & the main storyline is killing my soul. Arlo's one set of balls away from being a serial rapist, I want the Dana subplot to get pulled into a gravity well and not come back, and President Pumpkinhead just makes my brain ache. Renee's new retconned darkness is insulting, but at least it serves the overall story. Everything else just screams "Filler; nothing to see here. Move along, folks." And move along I do. (Oh DVR, I'd kiss you if you weren't so damn ugly.)

I skip the previews because even during lackluster seasons I don't want to be spoiled, but I hope the glimmer of ninja-sweetness we got at the end of the episode carries over and we get this thing kicked into gear. But that optimism is tempered with the dull resignation that Arlo's stalking of Dana will result in the Duke boys' heist being botched, and OH MY GOD WE HAVE TO SPEND TWO HOURS (AT LEAST) DEALING WITH IT!

*punches baby*

Ah, that's better.

TheJackSack said...

Pelty, I will say this about the rednecks- they are as close to a Coen Bros. movie as "24" will get- bumbling crooks who cause such ruination that it boggles the mind. I don't want to get my hopes up, but if the writers have any game, they'll put those two idiots in the crosshairs of the Russian mafia somehow. That would make me really happy.

Brian Pelts said...

Maybe that dope money belongs to the Russkies? *crosses fingers, hopes for sweet sweet carnage*

Granny Annie said...

In every season of 24 there comes a time I am ready to leave the series. The time hit last night. Hopefully that means next week will have us whooping it up for the excitement and drama because it seems I always get a big turn around when I'm ready to go. It has got to be there somewhere, right? Tell me it's going to be there -- please.

TheJackSack said...

Annie, if you showed this season of "24" to a new viewer (someone who never heard of Jack Bauer before) I bet they would see Renee Walker is the main character. Scary, right?

I think next week has potential based on the previews. Jack has taken on an active role in things finally, no more coaches' booth stuff with the earpiece, etc.

B said...

Brian, your new euphemism is not funny. I'm sure you're a swell guy & all, and I'm sorry to slam you before I even know you, but it's not. I'm just sayin.

Now for the "retcon" issue (I just learned a new word :) ). Beware my upcoming rant, and please ignore it if you think I'm ridiculous. But.

I could see how some of Renee's new dark character patterns could develop based solely on the events and after-effects of last season. (Sometimes people don't even need a catalyst to fall that far.) To be honest, before the whole Russian backstory came to light, I thought it was perfectly understandable for her to take a nosedive for the following reasons: a) the massive shock to her sense of morality in day 7; b) the "no going back" actions she took forcing her to reexamine herself in a crap-ton of ways; c) the realization that the world's a cracked place when you can sacrifice everything for a greater good and then be punished for it all for the sake of "politics."

So, say that's you. You just realized the world sucks even more than you already thought it did, and you're not sure you can stand the part of yourself you've discovered. I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty uncertain (& bitter) about a lot of things at that point.

So in my mind, that justifies the whole "dark" issue. Of course, it doesn't explain a thing about the out-of-left-field Russian backstory....

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