All right, so who had "Tarin is a traitor" in the pool? Everybody? Yeah, I figured.
Man, there's a lot of same old, same old going around, isn't there. I won't say that's an automatic bad thing; while 24 needs some level of novelty and freshness to stay exciting, at this point in the run it's not surprising that the newness doesn't come very often, and while we're waiting around for another "Renee cuts off a dude's thumb" or "Jack takes out a house of Russians" scene, we can stand to put up with a little familiar plotting. But while the pressure chamber set-up was an interesting angle, it amounted to the usual Jack torture session. First he talks reasonable, then he brings the family in, and then, when that doesn't work, he threatens the family. The biggest difference here is that Jack's threat isn't immediate, which I guess is in keeping with the Grandpa Bauer image: still a bad ass, but not quite as willing to cut off a man's head without at least considering it.
I forgot to mention last week that Marcos's mom is played by Mare Winningham. She's fine, and her efforts to convince her son to stand down are believable enough. There was a fair bit of non-insulting discussion going on tonight, between Jack and the Boy In the Bubble, and Hassan and his wife, Dalia. Dalia actually calls her husband on his paranoid tendencies, and it's refreshing to have a political wife who initially looks like she's going to be another shrill bore display some wit and compassion. Chloe got to make one of her begrudging stabs towards friendliness when she told Dana she was glad to have Dana back at CTU, and even Arlo pretended he wasn't a total creep.
On the other hand, we had Hastings give not one, but two lectures about Dana and Cole's absence, and while the first was clearly justified, I'm not sure the second was that well timed. (I wonder if we'll get another round of "Pin the Tale On the Fall Girl," only this time with Dana in Renee's place?) A complication formed in Dana and Cole's desperate plan to spend the rest of their lives grimly resenting each other: Bill Prady, aka Stephen Root (yay!), arrives via cell phone call to Dana. He's looking for Kevin, who is, of course, quite dead. I'm sure that will continue to eat up valuable minutes in the future, so I'll just be grateful that I'm happy to see Stephen Root in anything, and having Root and Katee Sackhoff hanging out satisfies some nerd checklist in my head that I usually pretend doesn't exist.
Was this exciting? I didn't really think so, although it got a little tense at the end when the bomb jacket was armed. Man, we've had a long run of guys giving out vital clues just before dying this season. This is a standard action/thriller tradition, but I wish the good people at 24 would try to be a little more subtle about it. At least we finally got Tarin's true nefarious nature out of the way. (If you watched the preview for next week's episode, you know exactly where that hotel room scene is going, too.) This would've been an intense episode if we'd spent more time with Jack trying to get into the pressure chamber. Instead, it's another foot-dragging, bringing us a little closer to our final goal, while not really giving us much more reason to care if we ever achieve it.
- Still, a guy did blow up. I'll raise the grade a notch on that alone.
- Another thing I hate about the Dana/Cole plot is that I know they won't get away with it in the end—at the very least, Dana is going down—but I still end up half-hoping they'll be okay. It has nothing to do with the quality of the writing. I'm just a big damn sucker.
- I guess Renee is hanging out in Jack's apartment now?