What happened last week? Oh yeah, EVERYTHING!
The fallout from president Hassan's death kicks off tonight's sad piano music soundtrack. The whispers, the down faces... I feel like I'm watching a Lifetime movie of the week. Tony Al-Qaeda apparently survived several rounds to his person (no vital organs were hit!) but before you can sign Tony Al-Q's "Get Well Soon" card, a paramedic mole injects him with a colorless liquid. Renee walks by this paramedic as he leaves the scene, setting off her "Renee-dar" for a brief moment, but she's not pulling the trigger just yet. It turns out that the mole is a Russian. A Russian mole! And he recognized Renee too. So, now Renee is a target. Uh-oh!
So, just as with the death of Chancellor Gorkon in STAR TREK VI, the chances of intergalatic peace are placed in peril with Hassan's untimely death. Who stands to benefit most? The Klingons? No, the Russians. Well, the Klingons are modeled after the Russians, so you would be sort of correct to guess them in the first place. And did you know that 24 is written by a lot of TREK alumni? This isn't all just in my head, folks. Standby photon torpedoes.
President Taylor wants to promote Hassan's wife to head of the Klingo-err Kamistan Empire. She argues for two minutes then catches the girl power vibe from Taylor and agrees.
Speaking of promotions, Chloe O'Brian is the new head of CTU! Holy shit! Hastings takes it like a professional.
Meanwhile, back at Casa de Bauer, 24 fans get what they've been begging for ever since last season- Jack and Renee play a game of Yahtzee. Wait, I didn't type that correctly- they screw like a pair of rabbits. yeah, that's what I meant. Sorry. Well, are you all happy now?
Back at the UN, Taylor is busy dealing with the evil Russian Minister Nopeaceinourtimeovich. He disputes the legality of everything and Taylor insists that he is a mean, drunk Ruskie and should go empty a bottle of Stoli in his office. He doesn't agree. Taylor, desperate for some solution gets one from a miraculously recovered Ethan Kanin- call in the "cleaner"- the dirty one himself, Charles Logan. Nice!
Hastings gives a very graceful ten-word speech in which he tells everyone "thanks for all the shrimp." I've been on the record as a Hastings supporter for several weeks now. We know he will be redeemed. But I was sad to see a good man pack his briefcase in defeat. Damn you, Tim Woods.
And then the show gets 100 times more awesome with the return of Charles Logan. Logan has a solution to all of Taylor's problems, but being the shady bastard that he is, Logan won't tell what his plan entails. Taylor, like a desperate fool, decides to question Logan's motives and then let him loose. Oy... well, here's hoping Chuck is on the straight and narrow again.
Speaking of straight and narrow, we rejoin Jack and Renee in their afterglow. You do know this will end poorly, right? With the persistent Russian assassin hiding out across the street. And yep, she gets shot. Jack reacts quickly, taking her to the best cab driver in all of Manhattan. They get to the hospital in 15 seconds. If Jack got her to the hospital any faster, they would have gone back in time. But, for reasons of plot convenience and a lack of deft storytelling, Howard Gordon and his crew decide to kill off Renee Walker.
I'm not writing this as a huge Walker fan, because I'm not one. I liked the character, and I think Annie Wersching is a fantastic actress. But as someone who cares about plot, this move smells of desperation. They needed to motivate Jack that badly? I have no emotional reaction to this move.
What's worse is that it comes on the heels of a very excellent setup from last week. Can they salvage this misstep? I don't know. Certainly, I'll be sticking around, but I care a bit less about what happens now because I'm too aware of the presence of the writing. Logan's return is a bright spot. Gregory Itzin is a top-notch talent. But setting off Jack on some maniacal revenge quest is about as original and exciting as a trip to the post office. I was hoping for something better.