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'24' recap: Stick it, Renee... but not to Jack!

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Okay fess up – you were hoping as much as I was that Renee would turn the knife on herself, weren’t you? Her preposterous, Jack the Ripper moment came completely out of left field, though it (finally!) advanced the story and got Jack back in the driver’s seat of this now maddening (-ly boring?) journey to track down Sergei. But really, did she have to stab Jack in the process? And did the producers have to follow it up with such an excruciating exchange? (Renee: “I’ve made such a mess out of everything! I thought if I did this I could make it all right! I could have my life back!” Jack: “You can have your life back if you want. You just need to want it!”)

Thanks for that, Anthony Robbins! Bauer’s sudden about-face toward Renee made my neck hurt (wasn’t it just an hour ago that he got authorization to pull her from the mission?)… and now he’s looking like he wants to plant a giant buss on this loon? I was so hoping that she’d off herself when he turned his back, but alas… Renee lives to see another day and the possibility of a future romance between these two remains. Do you think he’s going to bring her along for a little R & R when he joins his family in L.A. at season’s end?

At least we had Dana, Kevin, and that prankster Nick to keep our pulses racing. Arlo was still as suspicious as ever (he’s starting to think she’s a cheater), but Dana managed to find a private room in CTU to help Kevin and Nick navigate their way into a police warehouse so they can find the stash for the cash. Gee, those CTU schematics are dang handy! I really enjoyed this part, though, especially when Mutt and Jeff failed to follow Dana’s direction and kept screwing up little details like typing in the right combination and locating the correct cage door. Bravo to Katee Sackhoff: the abject fear in her face had me biting my nails, especially when her Dana discovered how the guys made the (predictable) decision to stick around longer so Nick could find something more to steal. Sure enough, a cop showed up to make his scheduled inspection and Nick went all Grand Slam on his backside, thus leaving behind an even bigger mess for Dana. Boy, she’s up sheet creek now. The only moment that topped this entire sequence was the sight of Kevin and Nick giggling and swigging booze in the van, reveling in their victory. I’m actually starting to like these guys.

What’s happened to Fantastic Sam? Gone is the reporter-loving, Sassoon mousse-using, sensitive soul who wants to sign a peace treaty with President Taylor.  Now he’s arresting anyone who seems even remotely connected to an attempt to overthrow his regime, a development that has Tarin running to his lover – Hassan’s daughter’s Kayla, no less! – for help. Too late; Nabeel, Hassan’s new henchman, came knocking on Kayla’s door and took Tarin into custody.  Clearly, the producers want Hassan to get so unraveled that we start to question who’s the baddest dude here – his nuclear-loving brother Farhad or a human-rights-hating-heavy like Hassan. Whatever the outcome, I’m not feeling particularly engaged (but that Tarin, a.k.a. T.J. Ramini, sure is hot).

I’ve got two thoughts coming out of this seventh episode: one, Cherry Jones has got to be feeling a little unfulfilled at this stage because her President Taylor has been reduced to a hand-wringing worry wart who’s still stuck at the U.N. (how I wish something  – anything! – involving her ex-husband or incarcerated daughter would suddenly come into play). And this business involving Sergei, Josef, and his radiation-poisoned dead son went on way too long and needs to be buried ASAP (out back is as good as any place, Father Gregor!). Thank goodness that Vlad’s calls got Jack closer to Sergei, who’s had his men park the truck carrying the nuclear rods somewhere around New York.

So what did you think? Will Kayla become the real hero to her country that her dad set to out to become? Is Nick the bigger threat to Dana than Kevin? And did you catch Vlad copping a feel of Renee’s butt before she stuck it to him? In the meantime, check out my up-to-date news on the long-gestating plan to turn 24 into a movie. Just click here!