After a chain of weak episodes, the show is back on track and zooming ahead in the right direction. This episode has given me confidence that the season will turn out fine. The main nuclear material story took a few turns, upping the ante, the Jenny/Dana debacle took an expected but necessary turn, and Jack is on top of his game and getting the girl at the same time. Not only were all the stories above average, the episode was as suspenseful as any episode. Before I get ahead of myself, this is only one episode in what I consider a sub-par season, but for one week, we can rejoice.
The turnover rate for the nuclear material erupted into fury within an hour, spanning the end of the last episode to about halfway through this episode. Josef has the nuclear material at the beginning of the episode, and is in contact with CTU, ready to cooperate. In an instant, he is killed by Samir, and the Russians have essentially become a moot point. 24 is so different than other shows, because it's a real time show, but in a day, the power transfers and threats, can switch between so many people, the perceived threat in the beginning never has any consequence in the end. Farhad has it, but who would listen to this short, greasy haired guy with a whiny voice? Nobody. Samir prepares to take him out, but Farhad escapes, hurt, and calls CTU who sends in backup. There's finally a real threat towards America, a clear enemy, and an objective. It's a good start, and one that should have occurred before the ninth episode, so we'll see what the writers do.
It's nearly impossible to create a real romantic relationship on 24, but the writers are trying this season. Fans of the show have made fun or hated Jack's past girls that weren't Teri or Nina Myers. They do have a point with the boring Kate, crying/turnip Audrey, and weird Marilyn. Renee may break the streak. She can be tough and smart, and there has been an indirect that Jack wants to be with her. Sounds good so far, but she's broken. I don't know how better to put it, but that's what she is. With what went on with Wilson and now Vladimir, Renee is struggling to keep everything together. The real relationship stuff will happen off screen, so the payoff of a happy Jack and Renee will never really happen.
White House aide Rob Weiss sees a coming disaster, and takes preemptive action by instructing Hastings to set Renee up for the fall. A DOJ lawyer is going to catch her on a murder charge. Hastings, who has no spine, crumbles like wet cookie and goes along with the plan. The lawyer, Kristin Smith, comes in and immediately puts Renee on the spot. Smith is an angry, spiteful bitch and tears down Renee's world. It's infuriating, it's exactly what the writers wanted, and it's good television.
Jack arrives to save the day, and doesn't think about anything other than saving Renee. He gets tasered, and is about to leave when he hears the attack plan from Agent Owens, who will lead the team to retrieve the nuclear material and save Farhad. Jack makes a passing comment while leaving that the plan isn't that simple. It catches Hastings's attention, and Hastings brings Jack back into the fold.
There could be a quick resolution to Dana's story sooner than expected. Cole shows up right before Dana makes her final approach with her silenced gun, and forces her to tell her everything. She tells him everything, and Cole decides to get out of his car and deal with Kevin and Shane. When he arrives, he gives them two options. Go to jail or get lost. CTU, the top anti-terrorist group in the United States, hires boneheads like Dana and Cole.
Even after hearing Dana tell him that Kevin went back on his word, Cole offers Kevin another out. Second time's is the charm, right? For Kevin it is, but Shane kills Kevin and goes out to kill Cole and Dana. At the last moment, Kevin yells out Jenny, alerting Cole and Dana fast enough so they can get out of the way. Cole kills Shane, so there's now two bodies and a future cover up. Remarkably, after all she been put through, Dana first runs over to Kevin and cradles him as he dies. Nice move in front of your fiancé. I know some will complain that Kevin and Shane was unnecessary, but it got rid of an annoying, extraneous factor, so the focus would be on two main characters that are involved in a heinous crime.
The episode was scant on action, but the writers proved they don't need nonstop action to create a great episode. I'm guessing there will be plenty of action next week with Jack in charge of the operation, so fans that watch for action will be satisfied.