'24': Jack and Renee and the Mexico City backstory

24-season-8.jpgNow that " 24" has settled into its regular timeslot, we get a chance to stretch our legs and get some holes filled in various backstories. Don't interpret this as an hour lacking action, though... the body count is still rising.

Realizing the more radical parts of Kamistan are beginning to openly rebel against his administration, President Hassan decides to lay the government smackdown by arresting anyone that even remotely breathes opposition. Naturally, this isn't sitting well with President Taylor. They have it out in the UN meeting room: she says he can't govern like this and expect lasting change, while he counters that the only real law is displaying your power. She pleads with him to find a middle road. Hassan doesn't seem to like the middle road, especially since it doesn't work with his wife Dalia. When he sort of admits to still loving Meredith the reporter, she packs her bags and leaves, leaving Kayla to sulk in the corner. Yeah Omar, she might have been your best counsel at one time, but not anymore.

As for his traitor brother Farhad, he steps up his effort to gain control of the nuclear rod shipment by having a fellow countryman rush the wire transfer to Sergei. While he sees to it that Farhad has all the women he can handle, Sergei still isn't sure what to do with his youngest son Oleg, what with his radiation poisoning. Josef demands his brother see a doctor. After weighing the factors of dying for a greater cause, spilling secrets and just general human decency, Sergei finally relents and sends his boys away. Oleg is ready to die, but Josef isn't about to give up yet, making a HARD U-turn to find a GP who works overtime. Thankfully, they find a doctor (who has an easy hostage-taking family to boot) who will, at gunpoint, attempt to save Oleg.

Dana's still afraid of this Kevin Wade fellow, even to the point of slipping out of CTU at his request to come home to quite the chokehold. He even invited a slimy friend to stay the night as well. She tries to pay him off with $1000, except it seems Kevin has quite the dirt on Dana/Jenny: she was once an accessory to murder as a juvenile... hence the identity change on her part. All Dana has to do is swipe valuable information from the CTU databanks (at least six-figures worth), and he'll walk out of her life forever. It's either that, or Freddie Prinze Jr. learns the truth about the real Dana. Any guesses on how that's going to turn out?

Renee and Jack... now there's the A-plot for the hour. Señor Bauer still believes Miss Walker is insane in the membrane and tries to call the whole thing off. In a miraculous save, she manages to shut Ziya up long enough to go along with the crazy plan: get to Vladimir and get inside the organization. She drags Ziya along to Vlad's secret club, with Jack tailing close behind. On the way, Chloe (via Dana) and Arlo construct and feed the duo their Mexico City backstory.  Once at the secret hideout, Ziya goes in first to warm up the room. Of course, Vladimir ( Callum Keith Rennie!) is quite the hardass, instantly skeptical about the whole Mexico deal and asking to see Renee immediately. After gaining as much of the story as possible from Jack, Ziya takes her in, where she quickly engages Vladimir in quite the intense staredown. Even as Chloe tells Jack that Vlad went as far as to hospitalize and attempt to rape Renee on a semi-regular basis, he still feeds her answers to each and every one of our bad guy's 20 Questions. When she takes too long to answer the last one, she and Ziya are tied-up and thrown into the armor-lined trunk of a car, causing Jack to lose the connection.

Jack attempts to tail Renee's car while calling Brian Hastings for tactical backup. Of course, it's never this easy for Jack, because once he reestablishes a connection with Renee, the painful truth sets in: he's been following a decoy car the whole time. After the obligatory DAMN IT is yelled, Jack does his own HARD U-turn while having the tactical team re-deployed. As for Renee, she doesn't even blink when Vladimir kills Ziya. Yeah, it seems she's ready to die... not necessarily for the cause, but because life just ain't worth living anymore. She even taunts Vlad to pull the trigger. This deal is the only thing keeping her going. Just as it seems all hope is lost, Vladimir finally accepts her cover story, allowing her to stay alive. The tactical teams stand down right as the clock hits 9:00:00.
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