The last 24 hours of my life have been interesting. I have been responding to comments and emails of all kinds regarding my initial review and discussion of part 1 of 24‘s Season 8 launch. Last night’s offerings featured a cast comprised of both new and familiar characters and even more familiar goings-on inside the first 88 minutes. Would the second half of the premiere provide us with something more filling? Or were we locked into an all-too-familiar Jack-based fate? The answer came shortly after tonight’s second hour ended in the way that, as a one fan so eloquently tweeted:
“…I give tonight’s second episode Five Whirring, Bloody Buzzsaws Out of Five!”
Once again it’s time to don the covert manpurse, load your .40cal H&K, and strap in for a spoiler-ridden review of the third and fourth hours of 24 Season 8!
These reviews are, as stated above, filled with story-decimating SPOILERS. Readers beware…
Last hour we left the venerable and determined Jack Bauer with a new but somehow familiar free reign to operate, with Chloe at his side and one goal – find the assassin targeting Middle East President Hassan at all costs! Jack heads to one of the outlying neighborhoods of New York on a lead that Chloe brandishes from a traffic cam. Jack then does some real detective work, by paying off a basketball-playing youth who has seen the man he’s looking for recently arrive by cab. The young lad directs Jack to a blue house across the the court where he saw the man go. As Jack investigates, he sees the ghastly corpse of a semi-dressed police officer who’s been shot in the head. Jack draws his weapon and clears the house and calls Chloe to get more intel.
Jack suddenly realizes that police have been dispatched to the house and only one suspect remains in the house with a gun – him. A partial explanation and taser gun later, Jack awakens strapped to a chair getting the first beating of 2010 from a justice-seeking policeman. Eventually, the policeman’s partner assists Jack in putting a stop to the vengeful beating and the two of them are able to get the vital intel about the now-dead officer to the powers at CTUNY, who piece together where the now dead cop was supposed to be on detail. This, along with a faux bomb threat inside the UN eventually reveal that the bomb is not actually in the UN building itself, but somewhere in the actual road/path that is being cleared for President Hassan’s emergency exit.
As the second hour of this evening’s offering ignites, the Russian mobster who has set the lethal trap arms the bomb hidden under a manhole cover and prepares to push the button to kill President Hassan. Agent Cole (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is able use his car to ram the presidential vehicle out of the blast zone and ends up saving the life of President Hassan.
Meanwhile, Agent Cole extracts himself from the car, ensures that President Hassan is in a new able-to-escape vehicle, and notices a frumpy, out of place police officer and realizes that this is the man they’ve been looking for. The Russian mobster realizes that the plan has been foiled and runs into one of New York’s many abandoned, yet exceptionally lit buildings and receives a call from President Hassan’s brother, Omar, who inquires as to his brother’s status. “He survived,” he states, “and soon they’ll know it was you who was involved.” Realizing that the walls of justice are quickly closing around him, Omar takes advantage of the pen he usually signs brotherly checks with and stabs one of the many in-proximity guards in the neck and makes his escape.
Back at CTU, Dana receives a call from her former manlover, Kevin, and they engage in conversation that completely derails the moment and pace of the program. I didn’t see nor will I see any value to this wayward interaction so I shant share anything else about it.
Jack has now traveled halfway across New York to arrive at the blast scene in just 4 minutes, and takes up arms with Cole to hunt for the assassin inside the aforementioned abandoned building. The Russian mobster gets the drop on Cole, who clearly doesn’t watch enough 24, and orders him to his knees. Jack gets the drop on The Russian mobster who clearly has missed the many syndicated repeats of 24 in his motherland, creating yet another dead Russian mobster for this 8th season of 24. Jack is able to capture the ornate tattoos from the most-recent dead body and sends it along to CTUNY for posterity and research.
President Hassan is brought to CTUNY where they are feverishly researching the tattoos that Jack has sent across his Sprint-provided cell connection. Thankfully, Dana has run the tattoos by the folks over at the FBI who have almost instantaneously sent over detail about an undercover operation they had going years ago. Its main operative? One still Sexy Agent Renee Walker, who thankfully is only 9 minutes away via CTU helicopter. Yes!
Being the “only one that ever got close” to the Russian mobsters, it’s almost fate that they’ve used Jack’s videoed tattoo intel, and found the person that can best help them solve this next leg of the case in less than 4 minutes. Outstanding work, CTUNY!
As the commercial music rises, the next Russian-accented gravely voice takes a phone call from the ball-pen wielding Omar and ensures that not only will he have a nice meal ready, but he’ll be ready to sell off some weapons-grade nuclear rods! Whoohoo! Weapons-grade nuclear weapons on American soil!
President Taylor calls President Hassan at CTUNY to provide her first volley of American mea culpas and urges him to continue the almost-completed peace process. They both agree that it’s in the best interest of the storyline and countries in question. Peace is good, peace is great.
Chloe informs Jack that Renee is being brought back into the storyline fold, and tells him what befell her while Jack was in a coma and recuperating in the land of grandpa bliss. Will we see fisticuffs or kisses when Renee arrives? It’s going to have to wait because there goes the haz-mat alarms inside of CTUNY! Oh my! The dead Russian mobster has apparently been exposed to weapons-grade uranium. Where could that have come from? President Hassan confides to Hastings that his brother has apparently come across the weapons grade uranium and is attempting to buy it and assures his full cooperation to bring his brother and the materials to justice.
Renee arrives in dramatic fashion with an empty, stolen-soul look and follows Chloe through no security stations at all and begins giving juicy Russian mob-based intel about The Red Square Gang. The bottom line: It’s time for Renee to go back under cover inside the Russian mob like she had for 2 years previously to ferret-out the weapons-grade material before it’s too late. She agrees. Jack saunters in and doesn’t agree. They both agree to agree that the storyline will be best served if they team up and continue on together to get the best ratings for the collective network buck by wreaking havoc on those that would do America and President Hassan harm. Those of us here at Screen Rant heartily agree!
President Hassan has a short, tender moment with his blonde reporter concubine and sends her on her way.
Renee and Chloe provide an excellent exposition scene that details the hunt for a man named Zia (Russian for “right-handed”). Jack and Renee grab their respective manpurse and wo-manpurse bags and head off into the night to search out the right local Queens-based auto parts store that Zia works at.
Omar, President Hassan’s brother arrives at the Russian mob boss’ restaurant to confirm that the nuclear rods exist before payment is made. The boss shows Omar his dying son, who at this point is doubled over in pain because of overexposure to the aforementioned nuclear materials. Payment is planned, ruthlessness showcased, and pus sores and uncontrollable sweat are terribly evident.
Renee and Jack pull up in front of the right auto parts store where Zia is closing up shop for the evening. Renee and Jack sync comm units and Renee heads inside to give Zia a hand. After wooing him with her Sexy Agent Walker feminine superpowers, and assurance that she can help him with a parole bracelet clamped to his wrist, Renee provides what will surely become one of the most memorable moments in 24 history by placing Zia’s left arm into a vice and digging into it with a handheld buzzsaw!
Jack makes his way inside after the blood-curdling screams cease, only to find that Renee needs help to find something to help cauterize the Zia’s wound. And then the clock keeps counting…
Tonight’s double-header of 24 provided some great satisfaction, memorable moments and originality that I was hoping we’d have seen last night as well. The suspense missing last night was here. The chemistry between players (frankly from Renee’s interaction I think) was here. More of that over-the-top, seat-of-your-pantsness was here and it was all very welcome.
I also wanted to ask the audience: Who are the people that like the Kevin/Jenny banter? These inserts take me completely out of the moment and slam the breaks on what I feel are vital areas of the episodes. Akin to this are the moments when we have inane, internal social banter about how Dana is with the wrong man whilst reviewing drone footage. All of that could disappear and the show would be much better off.
I’m glad to see the addition of Jürgen Prochnow who has been one of my favorite character actors for a long time. Here’s to hoping that he has a longer stint on 24 than our most recent dead uranium-infected Russian mobster.
I think tonight’s program was a perfect sample of what little detail and staff additions/alterations can make in a show like 24. I am very curious to know what you thought of this evenings program.