And there goes another one. Short-lived performances are no stranger to a show such as 24, somewhat adding to its well-known value of unpredictability. Often, a character is only given but a few episodes to establish himself before he is pinned down. Josef Bazhaev was obviously next on the list.
We left him last episode as he was on his way to deliver the rods to Farhad, attempting to seek some degree of redemption against his father for the murder Oleg. It was obvious from the start that Josef was apprehensive about things, unsure if his actions would truly set things right, and second thoughts were even further conveyed in his conversation with Jack and Sergei. The fleeting eye movements and nervous expressions were totally believable, and much credit should go to David Anders for his brief yet wholly enjoyable role. In an effort to strike a deal with the Josef, they offer him as well full immunity; a chance to undo his poorly considered work. And, just as he agrees to the offer, he is shot from across the street by Farhad and another man named Samir. Naturally, Chloe had been tapping the line the whole time in an effort to track the location of the rods. No dice, as it is hastily ground into the asphalt by Samir.
Now, I think it's time to take a brief intermission in the review before we get into the rest of the episode, because I have something important to comment on. No, I'm not the first to notice the idiosyncrasy but I'm seven reviews in and I haven't commented on this annoyance once. Brian Hastings… your posture is awful! How are you supposed to support anyone at CTU when you can't even support yourself? Ah, that's right; you're unable to do neither! Yes, Brian's lack of loyalty is explored even further in hour nine. Rob Weiss at the White House gives Hastings a call, and, in a surprisingly intimidating tone, manipulates Hastings into permitting a female interrogator from the Department of Justice to drill Renee, hopefully finding a way to make her take full responsibility of the death of Vladimir. Apparently he was the White House's only lead. In reality, if the interrogation is successful, Renee would be taking the blame for CTU's failed mission. And Hastings agrees to let it happen.
Five minutes later (At 20 past midnight! They couldn't have sent her in the morning!?! And, in addition, the crisis is still ongoing! Wouldn't it have made more sense to see if things can wrap up cleanly by the end of the day, denying the need for ANY process? Such logic boggles the mind), she shows up, makes her way to medical and begins the attack. She's been prepped, and she's determined to get the job done. Surprisingly, this scene was one of my favorites of the entire episode. The questions, while basic, were delivered well and gave things a sinister undertone. As time pressed on, I felt the tension between the two rise, and, as the look on Renee's face changed as Kristin kept talking, I too stared on, truly engaged. At one point, I even considered the possibility of Renee killing or injuring the woman who sat across the table from her. It may have very well been an interesting turn of events. But, the scene still concluded in a satisfying way, with Jack bursting through the door, throwing the interrogator against the wall and placing her into a chokehold. And it was at this point where Jack's true feelings for Renee began to show.
Later on in the episode, the point is brought up once more as Jack, turned away from CTU by Hastings because of his behavior, is given the opportunity to return. But he does so under only one condition: that Renee is freed from any further prosecutions. Hastings soon agrees, though only after Jack promises to remain at CTU for the duration of the day's events, demonstrating Hasting's competence for once. Perhaps Brian character will earn some greater backbone in future episodes? Hmmm… maybe that stoop has a deeper meaning? But that's not what is significant here. No, it's Jack's consistent emphasis on Renee. In essence, much of hour nine served to further show a developing connection between the two, and develop something of an inner-conflict for Jack and the audience. Is Jack struggling for his country, or instead Renee? Where, truly, is his heart in all of this? Only time will tell.
I've been looking forward to this paragraph all-season, and it is with great pleasure that I write it. Dana's side-story looks to be coming to an end. Yes, my friends, Dumb and Dumber are dead, and really, no one is upset at that. Dana, finally showing some degree of resourcefulness, tracks the two down, silenced pistol in hand. She walks closer and closer to the van where her ex and his friend are inside, certainly enjoying themselves with the two women they picked up at a grimy strip-club last episode. And what do you know? Cole shows up in the nick of time, 'following up on a lead' (completely leaving the rest of his team when his country is in danger) and gives his fiancée a talkin'-to. It is within a conveniently-placed commercial break where Dana, at last, reveals who true identity. So, after hearing her story, what does Cole do? Makes his way for the van himself, tells the two to leave the state with the $120,000 and never return. In which event he will have to kill them both. The group reluctantly agrees, and, as far as Cole and Dana are concerned, the problem is solved. Not so. The slower of two idiots stabs Kevin, grabs a revolver from the trunk and makes a move on Cole, who, after being alerted by the injured Kevin, spins around and takes a shot at the oncoming assailant, killing him instantly. Dana rushes over to Kevin, almost helpless as he dies sprawled out on the ground. The scene, while predictably bland, wrapped up a hugely disappointing side-plot, and, save for a possible clean up scene next episode, I'm hoping that we can quickly forget this atrocious misstep in the season.
And that's that. A pretty fulfilling episode, all things considered, that opens things up quite nicely for a cleaner continuation. Admittedly, the season found itself faltering quite frequently in the past few episodes, but, as this entry proved, a little more character development was all that was necessary. So, now that things are almost into play, maybe we can finally get things really into motion next time. Fingers crossed.