To sum up: NOTHING HAPPENED.
To sum up (slightly longer version): Renee continues to abase herself in the name of saving the world even though, at this point, the threat doesn't seem all that pressing. (Yes, uranium rods, nuclear weapons, big kaboom, but am I the only one just not feeling it this season? Every villain we've met so far has been grossly incompetent, easily defeated, or so disconnected from the main characters as to be practically irrelevant.) Jack keeps demanding somebody pull her off the mission, although he himself has been far crazier, over far less. Eventually, he wears dorky glasses and some guys get shot. Dana takes the first steps towards her eventual sobbing interrogation/dismissal from CTU. Arlo was a jerk. President Useless decided she needs to appeal to delegates at the UN to keep the peace accords moving forward. Hassad is getting more paranoid and has one of his entourage arrested. Hassad's associate is worried, and calls Hassad's daughter. And Oleg and Josef's misadventures in radiation therapy come to a bitter end, with three innocent dead, and Oleg himself taking a bullet from Daddy.
That's it. Really, that's everything. And it just sort of sits there. Right now, I'm counting one good plot in a sea of unpromising developments, and while the Dana Situation continues to unfold exactly how you'd expect it to--at least, if you've watched the show before--other stories threaten to rise up and catch hold of our contempt with each passing minute. Obviously, Arlo is either going to report Dana, or Chloe is. There is a third possibility, which I'm keep my fingers crossed for: Chloe could figure out what's happening, and help Dana get rid of her poisonous ex. That would probably be the most satisfactory result, because it would be a positive development, we'd get to see Chloe being cool, and Dana could stop being such a tedious victim. Plus, Arlo could get screwed. We've only know him a little while, but right now, I'm really looking forward to seeing Arlo getting screwed. (His exchange with Chloe was both funny and strange, because this is a show that almost never, ever tells jokes. Arlo checking out Chloe's ass as she walks away is way too obvious to be really funny, but it's a moment that's meant purely for laughs. It's sort of refreshing.)
Hassad is turning into a jerk, but I'm not sure why I care. I have no investment in the peace accords, and without any immediate threat, the episodes are floundering. Renee is risking life and sanity to track down Prochnow's rods, but the danger is so abstract that it doesn't generate any urgency or suspense. The most intense sequence in tonight's hour was the will she/won't she exchange between Renee and Vlad, and the resulting hook up was so deeply unpleasant that it really could've used a compensating horror to justify Renee essentially prostituting herself for her country. We've seen Jack push himself to the edge before, but at least then, there was a real sense that if he didn't take those risks, if he didn't turn himself into something of a monster, hundreds of thousands of people would die. Right now, it plays more like Renee is letting a government bureau fund her nervous breakdown.
And what the hell was up with her taking a shower? "Huh, the guy who sexually assaulted me years ago, whose very presence makes my skin crawl, has stepped out of the room. He could be back at any minute, and I can't lock the door. So I guess I better get naked and wet fast, before he comes back!" I like Renee well enough, and Annie Wersching gets a few nice, non-naked acting in, but this is ugly stuff. And worse, it's tedious ugly stuff. 24 needs to throw out a bad guy or some more shocking gore in soon, or I'm afraid this is going to be a very, very, very long day.
- I tried to approach President Useless's plot with more of an open mind tonight, but while her character isn't as achingly ineffectual as she has been, I just don't give a damn about the peace accords. It's almost enough to make a guy miss Sherri Palmer. Almost.
- The one action scene of the hour was brief, but cool: Vlad's men were about to take Jack out, and Freddie Prinze Jr. came to the rescue. I never thought I'd be happy to see him.