24: Serving up a few Black Russians

Zuvor auf vierundzwanzig:

Pardon me while I channel the spirit of Jack Bauer going undercover as a German arms dealer. (If you were wondering, that italicized phrase means, “Previously on 24” in German, or at least according to Google Translator. My usual German interpreter is busy at work on a Sprockets screenplay rewrite, so that was the best I could do on short notice.)

I must say that I did get into the zeitgeist of Monday's episode. While previously I haven’t hesitated to point out a few gaping holes in this year’s storyline, I had no problem getting caught up in the perils of Renee. Annie Wersching did a terrific job conveying the mix of emotions—revulsion, rage, despair—that Renee had to sublimate as she tried to maintain her cover and also protect herself both physically and spiritually from Vladimir. She’s doing what she has to do, but circular-saw-toting RoboRenee she’s not. Her humanity is reemerging.

And for some reason I loved Jack putting on his best Hanseatic drag when he went undercover as the arms dealer, Ernst Meier. Last night we confirmed an important fact: Not only can Jack speak German, but he can be sarcastic in it too. Forgive me for not memorizing every season of 24, but was this the first time we heard Jack speak a foreign language? He’s apparently fluent in Spanish, Russian (which could come in handy this year), Serbian, and by now possibly Na’vi. I have vague memories of him speaking Spanish in the Telenovela-like early episodes at the Mexican drug dealer’s compound in Season 3. Then again, a lot of bad guys have gone down since then.

24 is all about the details, and the Audi S6 sedan was a nice touch— stylish and creative break from a more predictable BMW or Mercedes, not to mention the Porsche Cayenne the Russians were driving. Pretty good for prepping your cover on the fly. I would, however, have expected better eyewear from a man of Meier’s high-stakes, globe-trotting background. Maybe something a bit more geometric, a la architect Daniel Liebskind, instead of rounded nouvelle nerd frames that brought to mind everyone from former senator Tom Daschle trying to be hip (didn’t work), to Tony Curtis playing millionaire yachtsman in Some Like It Hot back in 1959.

(In defense of Jack’s glasses, I did check out the Oliver Peoples website and, while not an exact match, they do bear a strong resemblance to the Riley style in the company’s Iconic collection. But I digress.)

I even managed to put aside an earlier skepticism centered on a few of the henchmen's Boris Badenov-quality Russian accents that were floating around the room in previous episodes like pierogies surfing waves of vodka in Boris Yeltsin’s stomach. Eastern Promises this wasn’t.

Last night, the key players, Vladimir and Bazhaev, transcended their somewhat cartoonish quality of the first few episodes and began to round into a form that brought new meaning to the notion of Black Russians. Mean as they are, they also have a bit of the delicate flower about them. They’re easily wounded. Consider that Bad Vlad told Renee, “You’re not the only one who has been suffering the past few years.” Bazhaev went all Mad Dad on his sons after they betrayed his orders, sealing his fatherly advice with a kiss and a quick apology of, “I’m sorry my son,” before blasting away poor weapons-grade, radioactive Oleg.

The world may not need more bad guys, but 24 thrives on them. And if we keep getting additional psychological insights into the Vlad/Dad dyad, that’s definitely going to help keep this season moving along. Evil is a universal language we can all understand.

Comments (15)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Are they sure that his German sounds like and American accent because I am certain I hear a Canadian accent in his German. Hahaha.
Reply
Flag
jack was awesome, insulting the russians & poor renee sleeping with wakefield, that sucked but that russian dad was heartless. another great episode!
Reply
Flag
Being native German , I had a good laugh, too. To say, Jack had an American accent was the understatement of the year. The Russian guy did a great job but Jack clearly could do with some practice with German actor Juergen Prochnow...But anyway, German is a "hard" language and their choice of words was pretty good, you could grab the sarcasm and meaning of the sentences and at least they gave an explanation for his accent. I was a bit bewildered by the translation in the subtitels, though, as "ungehobelt" in my opinion is more like "blunt" or "ignorant" but "dirty". Anyway, I've seen much worse performances in German on TV and as long as they don't try to pass Jack off as German interpreter I'm happy with it. For those dying to know, Bauer is a very common German name and means "farmer" or "pawn" in chess (no coincidence, I'm sure ;-)) and "Kiefer" actually means "pine" or "jaw", great huh? By the way, "zuvor auf" is ok, but we usually go for "bisher bei" ;-) Waiting for the next episode!
Reply
Flag
"Jack" was almost chanelling "Dr. Schreber", another Kiefer character from "Dark City"...almost, but not quite...Callum Keith Rennie is wonderful to watch, though his character is creepy...
Reply
Flag
The Russians are quickly becoming the shining light of Day 8. Callum Keith Rennie's wonderfully creepy Vlad is absolutely delicious and Jurgen Prochnow(sp?) has a wonderfully heavy hand as the definatively heartless crime boss. More "Black Russians" please!
Reply
Flag
Matthew, You have definitely "caught the big wave" of Season 8. Hang 10!
Reply
Flag
In this world where people do not use the bathroom, but only make references to it, it is not left field that Jack could whip out some Deutch. I always measure the bar by Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber. I would say that Sir Alan has no need to worry.
Reply
Flag
jack was good in German and he look handsome in the glasses
Reply
Flag
I'm a native German speaker too and I experienced the best bit of unintentional comedy in a while when the Russian guy (whose German was actually better than Sutherland's) told Jack that he had an American accent... well, no sh*t! Combined with the awesomely stylish glasses, I lauged so hard at that scene that my roomie came in to see if I was okay...
Reply
Flag
So when do they kill Starbuck? I seriously can't stand her character.
Reply
Flag
I agree that his german was quite bad. My first language is german and i wouldn't have understood it without subtitles, but since most viewers don't speak german anyway I guess it's ok.
Reply
Flag
Jack's german was actually quite terrible.
Reply
Flag
I just thought that Jack's voice worked really well in German. And according to my parents, Bauer and Sutherland are actually German names. So...
Reply
Flag
I loved Jack with the glasses!
Reply
Flag
Jack looked like waldo with those glasses lol
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook

  • 8:00 pm
    America's Got Talent Live Show 3
    NEW
    NBC
  •  
    Bachelor in Paradise
    NEW
    ABC
  • 9:00 pm
    CBS
  •  
    MADtv Episode Four
    NEW
    CW
  •  
    Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise
    NEW
    ABC
  • 10:00 pm
    Better Late than Never Episode 1
    NEW
    NBC
  •  
    The View
    NEW
    ABC