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'24:' 'It is the only thing my people understand'

January 26, 2010 |  7:18 am

In every season of "24" there is one plot line that just drags the show down. Five episodes into this season, the plot line that is sending me to the kitchen for a snack is Dana Walsh and her stalker ex-boyfriend Kevin. In an otherwise taut episode with lots of drama and even some good politics, the bad girl turned government agent with an angry ex-boyfriend/partner-in-crime story arc grinds everything to a halt. I've been assured that this story is going somewhere, but for now it just seems to be something to throw on screen while the writers try to figure out the next plot twist for the characters we do care about.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, here's your "24" recap. President Omar Hassan wastes no time reacting to his brother's betrayal and launches a serious crackdown in Kamistan. For all the international intrigue of "24," rarely does the show take us outside of the country, which made tonight's opening footage of Hassan's men laying down the law all the more riveting. His brother Farhad, still determined to pull off his coup, is trying to score uranium from Sergei Bazhaev, whose own son was accidentally exposed to it and is dying. While Farhad waits to seal the deal, his Russian host is kind enough to give him two woman to amuse himself with. Alas, that was the last we saw of Farhad for the night.

Meanwhile, President Allison Taylor starts getting on President Hassan's crackdown -- something that was predicted by one of Farhad's partners in crime. She challenges Hassan about his plans to, uh, take care of those who have betrayed him. He sounds a lot like Jack Bauer when he tells her, "It is the only thing my people understand."

In between trying to keep Taylor at bay and cracking the whip on his brother's supporters, Hassan tries to persuade his wife to stay, but she's tired of playing second fiddle to his mistresses and is getting ready to bolt.

As for our hero, Bauer spends most of this episode in a car following Renee who is trying to re-infiltrate the Russian mob and get back in the good graces of Vladamir, the cold-hearted (are there any other kind?) ringleader. First he tells her, "you look like hell" and asks if she has hepatitis. Can't argue with that, Renee is looking pretty goth these days. Things then get hairy for Renee and really bad for the dude whose hand she mangled last week to get him to take her to Vladamir. He gets killed and Renee almost buys it too but manages to persuade Vladamir that she's for real.

Bauer is still not sure Renee is up for the job. Turns out Vladamir was obsessed with her and used to beat her up when she was undercover last time. It does seem clear that serving her country is second on Renee's to-do list.

-- Joe Flint