Renee Walker is in full Nancy Sinatra mode! While it's fun to see Renee acting like a complete sociopath, I think it's a little goofy that she cuts a Russian mobster's thumb off to prove to him she is willing to "cut him in" on some big deal? What? Ehhh, I'm not following that logic.
And after 5 episodes, I'm willing to comment finally on Dana Walsh/Jenny. Her subplot rivals that of Lynn McGill, the hobbit CTU director from Season
Now, onto other subplots- Russian mobsters are fantastic. There's no shortage of material you can delve into with these guys. Yes, you've got the run-of-the-mill sadists, pederasts, schemers, etc. But then you find these two Russian brothers- one exposed to radiation from smuggled nuclear material and the other brother who feels really bad for the guy. They are off on their own little adventure to cure the sick brother, risking the authorities learning of their plight. No, it's not quite Coen brothers material, but I like where this thing is heading.
Back to the Russian with 1 thumb, Ziya. I am amazed at his calmness 30 minutes after his major reconstructive surgery. Ya know, I bumped my knee a month ago and it still hurts. Ziya gets his thumb cut off and he's cooler than a pack of menthols! And you can't have a Russian mob without a dude named Vlad, the big kingpin that Renee is trying to get to in order to crack open the case.
Meanwhile, Jack spends 40 minutes chatting in Renee's ear about his overly elaborate cover story. Jack's a professional, I admire that about him, but his backstory became downright boring 20 minutes ago! But before I can groan any further, Jack figures out that Renee was the victim of some serious abuse while she was undercover several years ago. I suppose this makes better sense of her general instability (Moss' death last season set off a mental relapse). But wow, did she cover it up really well for 99% of last season... anyway.
Let's get to the big point- is "24" becoming the Renee Walker show? So far, her character has been the most interesting, well-written and best-plotted. I definitely admire the strong work by Annie Wersching and all parties involved. But we're 5 episodes in and I have not witnessed "The Power of Bauer" grab hold of this season yet. I'm not complaining, I'm just making note. I want Bauer to unload some chaos, and soon. In the end this was a strong episode, branching out subplots in mostly interesting ways. Next week looks very good too.
By the way, check out this week's Carnival of Bauer, hosted by the glorious AmyV of Blogs4Bauer and social networking fame.