24: Renee Goes Rogue

Watching 24’s Renee Walker take a circular saw to an informant’s thumb at a Long Island auto parts store, one thought came to mind: Now that’s what I call going rogue.

Oh, Renee. Tough, sexy, smart, befreckled Renee. In what may be the most startling transformation of a female character on 24 since the revelation in Season 1 that Nina Myers was a mole, Renee returned to CTU a haunted and damaged vision of her previous self. The episode’s thwarted assassination attempt (yes, another one), cold-blooded murders, and even its gallery of Russian mob tattoos (blown up to a wall-sized scale, thanks to some nifty new CTU technology) couldn’t compare in shock value to what last season’s events had done to this once idealistic FBI agent.

Renee returned after the determination that the Russian mob was behind the attempted assassination of Kamistan President Omar Hassan. We learned that several years earlier she had gone undercover and infiltrated the Russian mob—and could therefore help enlighten CTU about the day’s events. Or as CTU chief Brian Hastings put it, “What does a Russian gang have against the leader of the Islamic Republic?”

I was surprised that the head of an elite counter-terrorism agency couldn’t come up with at least a few possible scenarios before posing that question in front of his staff. Then again, Hastings was wrong about everything both large and small that transpired up to that point. Think about it—when Chloe told him that she couldn’t reach Jack, Hastings concluded that Jack’s cell phone had died or that he had hit a spot with bad reception. In all fairness, maybe AT&T; is Hastings’ service provider. But while I initially admired his stoop-shouldered, snarling nastiness, now I’m just relieved Hastings never went to work as a TSA screener.

Jack, still hoping to catch the last plane out of New York, was right about everything. So right, in fact, that he ended up in Queens, at the scene of hitman Davros/Mike Farmer’s murder of a fellow cop and his wife. A quick bit of advice: Never suggest to a Russian assassin “to do what ya gotta do and leave us alone,” because invariably what he has to do is kill you. Jack’s arrival at the house led to his first beating of the day, a nasty post-taser pummeling delivered by an angry NYPD cop with an accent as thick as the East River and a Joe the Plumber- sized dome.

Over at the UN, peace negotiations continued between President Taylor and President Hassan. That is, until Hastings interrupted to inquire about Hassan’s relationship with Meredith the journalist and how she had acquired a keycard to his private residence. Hassan acknowledged the romance, explaining his confession to his double-dealing, fratricidal brother Farhad by stating that he had done “the honorable thing.” I like Hassan—the hair, the serious eyewear, his background as an appliance salesman, and the Clintonesque disconnect between private life and public posture. And he can get in a dig when necessary, such as when he later explained his brother’s motivation for trying to do him in: “Yes he has a plan. Regime change. Isn’t that what you Americans call it?”

All in all a good start to the season, even with the predictability of the failed assassination and perhaps an overly familiar set-up of snarling Russians and weapons-grade uranium. The initially promising Dana/secret-past subplot also bogged down early and will need some quick explanation, because right now her story is half-24 and half-Lifetime movie: From Trailer to Treachery: The Dana Walsh Story.

We’ll see what happens with Renee. She was warm when she first saw Jack and chillingly cold thereafter, hellbent on vengeance in some indeterminate form as she reinfiltrates the Russians. Jack knows the dark place where Renee has retreated if not where she’s headed, so for now and perhaps the next 20 hours, he’s along for the ride. And like Renee, we’re “all just getting started.”

What did you think of the second half of the premiere?

Comments (22)
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Jan 26, 2010
renee is so awesome! you could totally see her becoming this way last season, i think jack regrets turning her into who she is now. more renee less dana.
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Jan 22, 2010
Great start to the season ! . and the show is going so good with the new cast and the olde espishally Jack & Renne . love the show ! ..
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Jan 21, 2010
Oh Renne, Renne.... the whole idea of her taking a U turn in her emotions is actually intimidating. its just a turn on. dana walsh has alot to hide right now. we do expect from 24 many things that we cant even imagine. we couldnt imagine almeda coming back. the four hour premiere is just the begining and 24 has done really well.
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Jan 21, 2010
Am I the only one that couldn't care less about the Dana Walsh character and her past? Seriously, I'm not falling for it, I'm not intrigued and I have a bad feeling we are going to be seeing a lot of her. It's boring filler... Ohh, and what Renee did at the end of the last episode was disturbing. It doesn't fit her, it seemed like a lame attempt to add shock value. My brother and I were actually laughing. I was loving the whole season openers except those two issues I mentioned. The assassination story plot was great and exciting.
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Jan 20, 2010
guys im just gonna write my thoughts out loud. When Hastings told her if she wanted her badge in exchange for her services and she declined, i was 1000% sure she was gonna ask to kill/meet/beat the hell out of Tony Almeida. Now that would be just amazing. Btw does anyone know if tony will play later on? (plz say yes!!!!). Ohh and does everyone think that jack has gone a bit soft and grampa on his fans? hope he changes into his old "interrogating/beating the crap-out-of-you self".
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Jan 20, 2010
she should change her last name to BAUER after that whole thing with the hand. Young Padawan is learning from Day 7...
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Jan 20, 2010
she's more brutal than jack lol
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Jan 20, 2010
The actress is hot but man do I hate the Renee Walker character. I am intrigued about her being psychotic now. LOL I hope she's like that the entire season.
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Jan 20, 2010
I'm a little concerned by what I saw her do to that guy. Not for her but for myself because i was slightly turned on. Does that make me a sadist?
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Jan 20, 2010
I am concerned : can the actress pull this off? She was okay last season, but now she has to convince us that she's as ruthless like Jack. Not sure if she can.
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Jan 20, 2010
mgfish : I agree with you, but Hastings is putting Renee in charge and Jack senses that she's not stable enough to complete this.
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Jan 20, 2010
Anybody else think that Chloe is in love with Jack but won't do anything about it and is therefore jealous of Renee? Anybody?
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Jan 20, 2010
Did anybody find it odd that Jack would put himself out for Renee. I mean she was on for only one season/day. And he became seriously ill at the end of that day so it is not like they had a long relationship. Honestly it was less than a day. Maybe 12 hours. And to top it off she did not return his calls during his medical recovery. I do not believe that most normal people would cross the street for her. Yet Jack is not on a plane to L.A. to watch cartoons and go to the Zoo with his granddaughter. I know Jack is back and that is what Jack would do. Although he put up a greater fuss over helping Chloe. Lets watch Renee chop up some Ruskies next week. 2 Jacks are better than one.
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Jan 20, 2010
This season is pretty good but some of the casting is annoying like Katee Sackhoff and Mykelti Williamson
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Jan 20, 2010
good overall start. Part 3 was kind of a let down and there are some characters I'm not fond of. Renee was just weird, but it could be a great story line...
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Jan 20, 2010
it wasnt as weak as part 1 but the only good part was the end with renee
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Jan 20, 2010
So far, SO GOOD. This season is off to an amazing start. Great characters, and even Freddy Prinze Scooby Doo Jr is great. Dana Walsh's story line looks to be the only terrible, plot-expanding snooze-fest... and they brought back the most beautiful woman on TV - Renee! Win all around!
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Jan 20, 2010
almost as good as jack takin' a guys head off in season two to get back undercover.
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Jan 19, 2010
Meh was adequate
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Jan 19, 2010
great start to the season and loving the new characters
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Jan 19, 2010
A good start to the season, maintaining the tension as only 24 can do, and a good starting cast for season 8. The New York location is also great!
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Jan 19, 2010
True that!
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