As hour three begins, Jack is on the hunt for the real people behind the planned assassination of Kamistan President Omar Hassan — and one of them just may be the President's brother himself. But more on that later...
Jack's first solid lead takes him to a man we know only as Davros (character actor Doug Hutchison), who has been posing as a police officer and is now revealing his true colors by taking a cop and his wife hostage. Using 24 logic, we know this guy's bad news because: 1) he has a foreign accent; 2) he's got a cold, steely gaze; and 3) he fired a "warning shot" into someone's leg.
But apparently, that was only the warm-up; by the time Jack gets to the house, Davros has already executed the unfortunate couple and fled the scene.
Of course, with typically poor Jack timing, he's lurking around with a gun right when a couple cops show up and discover the bodies — and promptly Taser Jack. Someone should really get him a laminated card that says, "I'm a former CTU agent and am currently trying to save the world." Or something to that effect.
Less than three hours into Season 8, and it's already time for someone to get tied up and slapped around. Though in this case, it's Jack being slugged by a police officer who thinks he's captured a cop killer. Oh, Jack, the wacky predicaments you get yourself into.
Back at CTU, Agent Walsh's mysterious stalker, Kevin Wade (Clayne Crawford), shows up demanding a face-to-face meeting. Apparently he's a scorned ex-lover (and possible ex-con) who just can't let her go, blah blah blah. I'm already kind of bored with this plotline — it's not like we've been given a reason to care about Walsh's career or her love life yet. But, this being 24, I'll just take it on faith that this thread will ties into the main plot somewhere.
Downstairs, in a very brightly lit interrogation room (you can actually hear those fluorescents buzzing), the ever-more-unlikable Hastings is leaning hard on reporter Meredith Reed. Realizing it's the only way to save her skin, Reed fesses up to her affair with Hassan. Hastings doesn't buy it — and clearly doesn't want to give up on this convenient fall gal — but Chloe manages to convince her boss to dig a little deeper.
Surprisingly, Hassan confirms the affair rather than throwing Reed under the proverbial bus. I was gonna say he's a stand-up guy, but I guess being honest about cheating on your wife doesn't quite qualify as admirable.
Then, in this season's first big reveal, we learn from a cell phone call to Davros that the assassins' man on the inside is none other than President Hassan's brother, Farhad (Akbar Kurtha). It was clear from his first appearance that Farhad had ulterior motives — the guy just gave off that "I'm an evil traitor who would stab my brother in the back" vibe, didn't he? But I am a little surprised how quickly this Cain and Abel situation was revealed.
Shortly thereafter, CTU cracks what is supposedly Reed's encrypted data, which conveniently reveals the location of a bomb in the U.N. Headquarters. Time to evacuate the building — and get Hassan right where the assassins want him.
Thankfully, Jack manages to convince a cop (the one who wasn't beating him up) that he wasn't the killer — but the man who was is about to kill Hassan. Jack to the rescue? Nope, it's Agent Ortiz, who acts on the latest intel with Jack-like speed and reckless abandon, getting Hassan's car out of the way of the bomb, and placing his car right on top of it. Well-played, Freddie Prinze Jr.
• How about Jack paying a basketball-playing hoodlum $100 for intel on Davros' whereabouts? He's so street.
• I don't know if CTU techie Arlo Glass' (John Boyd) repeated advances toward Walsh are supposed to come across as cutely persistent, but they just read as brazen sexual harassment. He's a little creepy, am I right?
7:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M.
Looks like Agent Ortiz may have the luck of Jack Bauer (for good and ill), as he survived that close-range explosion with barely a scratch. Which makes me doubt how effective the bomb would have been at killing Hassan, but I guess that point is now moot.
No sooner does Farhad learn that his brother has also survived the attack than he decides to flee, and plunges a pen into the first person that tries to stop him. Way to play it cool and not arouse suspicion. Of course, his brother is quickly informed of this, and the hunt for Farhad is in full effect; so that escape plan is working really well.
Meanwhile, Ortiz's rough day continues when Davros gets the jump on the young agent and orders him, at gunpoint, to call off CTU's pursuit. But now it's Jack to the rescue, showing up just in time to pop the cop killer and save Ortiz's life.
Though Jack doesn't get to interrogate Davros (with this perp being not almost, but totally dead), CTU is able to read the tattoos on his corpse, which indicate membership in the Russian mafia. And who used to work undercover with the Russian mob? None other than (now-former) FBI Agent Renee Walker (Annie Wersching).
As Chloe informs Jack, Renee had some sort of a breakdown after the events of Day 7, and either resigned or was fired by the FBI. And afterward, she apparently wouldn't even return Jack's calls — what's up with that? I'm sure we'll get the full story eventually.
For now, there are more pressing issues for Renee to deal with. Upon examining the deceased Davros' body, CTU medical personnel determine that he was recently exposed to weapons-grade uranium — so recently that it's most likely in the U.S. right now. And seeing as Renee's undercover credentials with the Russian mob are still intact, Hastings asks her to help sniff out the uranium. She agrees — reluctantly — to go back undercover. But, as we've heard Jack say before, this doesn't mean she wants back into the whole game.
Upon hearing of her decision, Jack can't help but try to talk Renee out of it (because he's totally in love with her, right?). He tells Renee that he's been where she is, that she's not ready to go back into the field. And as proof, he reveals her wrists, scarred from an apparent suicide attempt. It's a dark, yet touching scene, exactly as this bittersweet reunion should be.
Obviously, Jack still has rather strong feelings for Renee. Just when it looks like he's really, finally leaving for Los Angeles, he decides to involve himself in the undercover operation with the Russians, during which he'll act as a buyer for the uranium — and, more importantly, keep an eye on Renee. There just may be a future yet for those two crazy kids!
On the political front, White House Chief of Staff Toolie (AKA Rob Weiss) is pushing President Taylor to ensure Hassan continues the peace talks, which he agrees to do. I don't know why Weiss is so intent on realizing this dream of Mideast peace, but I'm thinking it's not entirely altruism.
Meanwhile, Fahrad is doing everything in his power to undermine that peace. According to President Hassan, his brother previously tried to convince him that buying the Russians' uranium, and thus acquiring nuclear-weapons capability, was the way to turn Kamistan into a world power. When his brother pursued a more peaceful path, Fahrad decided it was time for a successor — namely, himself.
And I can't close out this recap without noting the final scene. Long story short, Renee puts a Russian guy's hand in a vice, then proceeds to saw it off. Jack rushes in, screaming, "This is over! This is over!" To which she replies: "Maybe for you, Jack, but I'm just getting started." Renee is craaaazy now.
• So far I'm liking Hassan's character and Anil Kapoor's acting, but that pompadour, particularly when seen from the side in all its glory, is a little distracting. But who am I to criticize a Bollywood superstar's hairdo?
• Classic Chloe line in this exchange between Hastings and her. Hastings: "I saw that. The way you looked at me when he thanked me for saving his life. You think he shoulda been thanking you." Chloe: "I was actually thinking he should thank Jack, then Cole, then maybe me."
• Hastings is sure getting some sharp comebacks from the sassy ladies of CTU. Upon hearing the director's offer to reinstate her credentials in exchange for going back undercover, Renee snaps: "I laid down my badge, Mr. Hastings. I took it from my pocket and laid it down. So why would you possibly think I'd want it back?" Burn.