24 Review: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

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The following review takes place between 6:56 and 7:19 a.m. Words are written in real time...

We welcomed back a pair of old friends to 24 this week:

  1. A storyline involving nuclear weapons.
  2. Renee Walker.

Because the first led to the second, let's delve into that one now.

It would be nice to see a season that dealt with a single assassination plot, similar to the season one storyline that was almost entirely centered around an attempt on David Palmer's life. The world doesn't need to be at stake in order to produce great suspense, as the 24 movie in Africa also proved.

Still, this nuclear weapons-based storyline isn't similar (yet) to past seasons for one reason:

The enriched uranium is not on U.S. soil because an attack is planned. We have no doubt millions of American lives will soon be in danger, but for now the material is here simply to be exchanged for (lots of) money.

We can buy that (though not literally, not on a TV critic's salary). We're glad 24 hasn't dipped back into the well of yet another militant group planning to destroy the country.

Renee Walker Pic

This, of course, brings us to Renee.

It took us awhile last year, but we came around on Annie Wersching in this role. She's even better already on season eight, as a depressed, suicidal, barely functional, former FBI agent.

We like the pairing of Renee and Jack and we loved the ending of Jack, for once, aghast over the actions of a colleague. Remember when he chopped the head off an informant on season two, in order to back up his undercover story? Talk about a role reversal!

Still, this must be said: based on the way 24 introduced Renee last season, it's wholly unbelievable that she'd have spent two years undercover with the Russian mob prior to that. Before events forced her to go all Jack Bauer on a suspect and see the world differently, Walker was a by-the-books agent that couldn't comprehend Jack's methods upon first meeting him.

We've been led to believe that her character transformation took place as a result of season seven developments, but there's no way she would have been the straight-laced agent depicted for most of last year if she had been undercover for so long.

Long-time viewers of 24 have series evidence with which to back up this belief: hearken back to season three and recall the toll undercover work took on Jack.

With that complaint out of our system, we're willing to suspend reality because well, how else would we enjoy 24? We can at least give the show props for following up on Renee's storyline from last season. Other thoughts on this week's second two-hour episode:

  • Was the show hinting that Renee and Jack were romantically involved at one point?
  • Brothers of main 24 characters can't do anything right! Wayne Palmer got himself blown up as President and Farhad reacted rather hastily by killing a CTU agent in front of everyone.
  • It's always nice to see David Anders. The actor pulled double duty last night, guest-starring on Heroes and as the (healthy) Russian son of the uranium dealer.
  • Is Dana Walsh the next Kim Bauer? Both are blonde and both love to distract from the main storyline with annoying sub-plots.
  • We feel bad for Morris, but way to acknowledge a struggling economy by stating Chloe's husband got downsized. Wonder if Ryan Bighman broke the news to him. 

What are your thoughts on the first four hours of season eight? Are you happy to have Renee back, and more destructive than ever?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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