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Even Death is Better than Renee

By Cindy Davis | TV | February 26, 2010 |

By Cindy Davis | TV | February 26, 2010 |

Well folks, it appears we’re going with the one on/one off schedule again. After a decent episode last week — filled with a returned to glory Jack — we’re back to a fairly uninteresting episode that does at least do away with some of the more idiotic sub-plottery. It’s filler time! This would be understandable if we’d had more great episodes than poor, but since we haven’t, I’m feeling let down. One would think the writers know they need to keep us hooked if they want their jobs to go on, but perhaps even they know it’s time to quit. And thus I must use this moment to beg, plead, whine, cajole - whatever it takes, just please(!) do not(!) send Jack off(!) with Renee!!! That would not be the happy ending 24 fans want, in fact I daresay we’d rather see Jack dead. So do it, kill the man off any way you like: shoot him, stab him, blow him up, have him commit closet bondage suicide, choke on a peanut butter sandwich, trip onto the subway tracks and run down like an animal, eaten by zombies, drown him, bury him by avalanche, kill him with staph infection, bleed him out, nerve, blood or blister agent him, use radiation poisoning, chicken pox; he could even die by wild cougar attack! But please, please, please don’t send Jack away with that blathering, Botoxed broad. So say we all?

Josef arrives at a meet-up location and waits for Helmet Head. Apparently nothing has been learned from Oleg’s death, as there are no special precautions taken by Josef (or anyone) while transporting the rods. Meanwhile Jack puts Papa Bazhaev on a call to Josef routed through CTU (so Josef’s location can be traced); Jack stays on the line and tries to talk Josef down with the immunity offer. Bazhaev begs Josef to come in, telling him he can’t stand to lose another son. I’ll tell you, I’ve about had it with these snivelling bad guys who crumble under the slightest pressure; bring back the Assassinator! Josef asks Jack how the immunity deal would work — Jack tells Josef to just turn in himself and the rods and he’ll be free. Josef lackadaisically mulls over the offer and decides to turn himself in, unaware that Helmet Head and his men are watching and listening from a nearby rooftop. Helmet Head orders his men to shoot (Josef) and to be careful of the rods. The roof gang descends to check that Josef is dead and Samir smashes Josef’s phone, but not before he is overheard discussing a boat and Chloe employs voice recognition to identify Helmet Head. Samir realizes their conversation was overheard and tells Helmet Head they need a new plan. Chloe tells Jack that Hastings wants Bazhaev brought back to CTU to be interrogated. Jack asks about Renee and has Chloe patch him through to Renee’s room phone. Jack discusses with Renee that she has to stick to her story of killing Vlad in self-defense. Renee wants to know what Jack meant when he said that she “had him”, and Jack says he meant it how it sounded (trapped?). Rob Weiss calls Hastings for the grim update. Weiss angrily explains that someone will end up being a scapegoat for the failed mission, and Rob doesn’t want it to be Hastings since he brought on Hastings as CTU Director. Weiss suggests Renee as the fall gal, and oddly, Hastings stands up for Renee. But Weiss says he’s sending over a chick from the Justice Department, and when Hastings asks what he should do, Weiss says, “Just open the door and get out of the way.”

Ortiz and his team are finishing up with the truck crime scene when Arlo calls with GPS coordinates for Starbuck’s location. Arlo wants to know if Starbuck is worth going AWOL over and Ortiz responds that she’s his fiance. I guess that means he’s contractually obligated. Ortiz tells Arlo to tell Hastings Ortiz is following a lead. Jenny Starbuck is following Kevin and buddy Nick (Michael Filipowich) to a handy dandy remote, wooded location. After she stops her car, she pulls out a gun from her purse and attaches a silencer. At CTU, Hastings is looking for Starbuck and tells Arlo to track her down. Starbuck has been gone from the office more than she’s been present - does she even know what’s going on anymore? Weiss’s Justice Department lackey, Kristen Smith (Merle Dandridge) arrives and asks Hastings for a private room to question Renee and for the interrogation to be recorded. Hastings mentions his displeasure with hanging Renee out to dry, but Smith brings up discrepancies with Renee’s statement and tells Hastings to let her do her job. Chloe brings Renee her statement transcript to be signed; as they are talking Hastings and Smith interrupt and Hastings tells Chloe to leave the room. Chloe, poster girl for unheeded protests, wants to know what’s going on with Smith and Renee, but Hastings shuts down her questions quickly.

Helmet Head and Samir discuss that the Americans are aware of their plan and how they need to come up with a way to get the nuclear materials out of the country. When they arrive at a warehouse, Helmet Head realizes he is no longer in charge. One of the men, Ali (Ethan Rains) suggests that since there isn’t a good way to export the fuel rods, they be used as a show of power against America. Samir says he fears that America will turn Kamistan into another corrupt Mideast country run by a controlled dictator. Helmet Head sees that he is outgunned and appears to go along with the new plan to make America fear Kamistan. A forklift removes the box with the fuel rods from the van.

Kristen Smith goes over Renee’s statement with her and wonders why Renee didn’t write about her history with Vlad. Smith regurgitates past events, successfully and visibly unnerving Renee. She specifically wants to discuss that in the past Renee fought off Vlad, but this time Renee had to stab Vlad fifteen times to stop him. Renee weakly maintains she acted in self-defense. Smith tries to coerce Renee into admitting that she was on a personal vendetta against Vlad, but Renee keeps her mouth shut as tears roll down her face. Jack arrives at CTU with Bazhaev and Chloe advises Jack that someone from the Justice Department is questioning Renee. Jack immediately recognizes that Renee is being set up to be the fall girl, and he breaks into the room where Smith is interrogating Renee. Jack grabs Smith by the neck and demands to know how she could go after Renee after all Renee has done for the country (personally driving up the value of Botox?). He leads Renee from the room, but is met by an armed CTU agent. Jack talks the young officer into lowering his weapon, but as Renee begins to walk out, another agent tasers Jack from behind. (Twice in one season Jack, you’ve got to get those eyes in the back of your head checked!)

Helmet Head asks Samir if he has everything needed to build a bomb. Samir replies that they need a detonator, and Helmet Head unconvincingly tells him of a contact who can help them build one. Helmet Head says there is a professor in the city he would need to speak with privately. Gullible Samir (my six year old can lie more convincingly than Helmet Head) tells Ali to take Helmet Head to use an office phone. As they walk, Helmet Head tries to distract Ali with talk of possible New York targets, and then takes an opportunity to grab a makeshift weapon and whack the guy to the ground. Helmet Head sustains a knife wound as he beats down Ali; the fighting is spied by a suspicious soldier who yells for help as the wounded Helmet Head escapes.

Jack is led to Hastings’ office, Hastings tells the officers to un-cuff Jack. Jack starts making accusations against Hastings, saying he’s throwing Renee under the bus. Jack threatens to call the White House and Hastings informs Jack that Rob Weiss is the person who sent Smith to CTU. Jack then threatens to call the President herself, but Hastings reminds Jack that she prosecuted her own daughter. Hastings: 2, Jack: 0. Chloe interrupts to let Hastings know that Helmet Head is on the line and wants to speak to Hastings. Helmet Head breathlessly tells the director that IRK operatives have turned against him and are chasing him, and that there is an attack planned against New York. Hastings tells Chloe to get Ortiz so they can send out a team, but she informs Hastings Ortiz is off following a lead somewhere. Hastings then asks for Owen instead, against Chloe’s protestations. Meanwhile, Hastings tells Jack after he has been processed to leave the CTU building.

Starbuck watches the antics going on with some one-night-standers and Kevin and his buddy. The girls exit the van, out in the middle of an abandoned wooded area, telling Kevin his friend is a freak show. Don’t ask me how these girls expect to get home, they just walk away like there’s a taxi stand by the old oak tree. Starbuck begins walking toward the van, weapon locked and loaded, and you’ll never guess who drives up this very minute?! Okay, you guessed right, it’s beloved fiance Ortiz, just in the nick of time. There is much gritted teeth whispering between the affianced, but I don’t know why they’re trying to be quiet when the boys should have easily spotted the car headlights. Ortiz tries to get Starbuck to leave, but she says that if she leaves “this will never end”. Jenny Starbuck gets into the car with Ortiz and begins her tale of stupidity and woe by telling her fiance that her name isn’t Dana Walsh.

IRK soldiers are looking for Helmet Head and getting closer to him by the second as Samir makes plans to leave the warehouse. Hastings briefs Ortiz’s replacement, Owen (Julian Morris) who will be leading the team (and I assume be swiftly killed) to the warehouse location. Jack overhears and gets himself mixed up in the plans yet again. Jack makes an offer to bring in Helmet Head if Hastings drops the case against Renee. Hastings says he can’t do anything, but Jack tells Hastings to grow a pair and stand up to the White House. Hastings says if Jack wants Renee free that Jack has to be in this mission all the way and Jack agrees to the deal.

Starbuck tells her story and the moronic sequence of recent events to a horrified Ortiz. Ortiz makes fun of Starbuck’s foolishness in believing Kevin’s promise to stay out of her life. He asks what she planned on doing out in the woods and she shows him the gun. Starbuck says she was doing it for “us” and Ortiz wants to know if she is out of her mind. Hey, let me answer that one! Ortiz tells Starbuck not to say another word and he exits the car holding the weapon. Starbuck begs Ortiz not to get involved and her tells her to stay back. Ortiz walks up to the van and levels Starbuck’s weapon at Kevin and Nick telling them to shut up. He gives them a choice to go back to prison for grand larceny or keep the money and leave. Ortiz threatens to kill them if they ever come back to the state and Kevin agrees to the deal. So wait, Ortiz just laughed at Starbuck making this exact sort of deal with Kevin and then he turns around and makes the same deal with the same guy? That settles it, Starbuck and Ortiz are perfect together. Ortiz walks away and Nick grabs a gun to go after them. Nick wants to kill Ortiz so they can keep milking their golden goose (wait, what?). Kevin tries to stop Nick, so naturally Nick stabs Kevin. As Nick exits the van to go after Starbuck and Ortiz, Kevin stumbles out of the van and screams “Jennaaaaaaaay!”, allowing Ortiz and Starbuck to react before they get shot. Ortiz pulls out a shotgun and blasts Nick in the chest. Starbuck runs back to the van and holds Kevin until he dies, while a disgusted Ortiz eyes his future bride.

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Will Kristen Smith be pissed off that Jack got away with manhandling her and seek retribution? Will Hastings continue learning from Jack how to be a real CTU Director? Will Starbuck and Ortiz’s crimes be caught on video by Arlo’s crafty drones? If so, will Arlo blackmail Starbuck into finally…you know? Will poor Owen be killed, causing Ortiz to be wracked with guilt and caught in a downward spiral? Will we be subjected to a skulking Renee hanging around CTU the whole rest of the day, or can we vote to lock her in a padded room until Jack comes back for her? For that matter, could a pissed off Starbuck, a guilty Ortiz or a yet unknown mole accidentally kill Renee? Will this season continue to be so bad that Jack must be killed off once and for all? For these answers and more, please stay tuned to Pajiba until the next recap of As Jack’s World Turns.

Cindy is holed up in a bunker in the northeast sector of the country, and that’s all you need to know. You can reach Cindy

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