Another night, another two-fer of “24.” Whatever did we mere mortal do to earn such good fortune? While this seems like a lot, just know that if “24” were an NBC property, they would probably air the entire season in one single day to help sell the concept of the show. So really, we shouldn’t be complaining too much.

Since a lot happened tonight, let’s get right to it!

[Full recap of Monday's (Jan. 18) "24" after the break...]

Hour 3 (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm)

Cole and his bizarre accent converse with Dana before heading to the U.N. Behind them sits a large screen that depicts the attempted decryption of the files on Reed’s computer. It looks like a schizophrenic Scrabble board. He mentions Jack’s rogue plan, which leads Dana to realize that he probably got his intel from Chloe. Had Dana a beard, this is the point at which she’d scratch it. She tells her fiancé that she discovered the bug herself, which is “24” for “I’m not evil! Really! Totally not evil!”

In Queens, Jack bribes a less-than-upstanding b-baller to learn the whereabouts of Davros. By the way, I hope we never learn Davros’ first or last name, whichever one is currently missing. I went him to the the Prince or Madonna of the “24” assassin world. Unfortunately, Jack gets there too late: Davros has already killed the couple after his former colleague phoned in “sick.” Davros makes a call of his own: to the local NYPD, who take down Jack via taser. “Don’t tase me, bro, DAMNIT!” says Jack. OK, maybe not. In any case, Evil Bald Cop wants to not call in the incident, and deliver a little off-the-record justice to the supposed cop-killer inside the house. Oh boy. Hour 3 and we’ve already hit on a plot device as improbable as Teri Bauer 1.0’s amnesia.

Speaking of horrible plotlines that make me wince, Kevin Wade shows up at CTU looking for Dana/Jenny. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to see Starbuck look like she’s glad to be wearing adult diapers. Just. Awesome. She goes upstairs to greet him, in media decryptium, to try and get her abusive ex off CTU property. Naturally, this leads to her allowing him to spend the night in her place. But only one night. Because clearly he’ll leave the following day and never return. Maybe he can room with Joan’s husband on “Mad Men.” They seem like they’d get along.

Back at CTU, Hatsings gets hold of Reed’s keycard, which has access to Hassan’s private quarters. Hastings thinks she cloned it, but she finally admits Omar gave it to her. Hastings not buying the relationship, but Chloe presses him on the intel due to Jack’s sudden absence. With Davros already at the U.N. reporting for duty under Cole’s watch, Hastings agrees to lend Jack some support if Hassan corroborates the relationship over the phone. (What’s so implausible about the Hassan/Reed relationship? Doesn’t Hastings know that “nuclear disarmament” is one of the 29 dimensions of compatibility on eHarmony?)

Jack’s now The Gimp in the basement getting beat up by “Herc” from “The Wire.” He’s huffin’ and puffin’ and beatin’ the snot out of Jack, apparently upset by the number of criminals that get away on technicalities. I suppose “police brutality” is a technicality according to this guy. His younger partner (so young he might not even get the “Gimp” reference) isn’t down with this technique, so he’s banished upstairs to have a juice box and think about the evils of the world.

Hassan leaves negotiations to take the call from Hastings. In front of his shocked brother, Hassan confesses the affair, with the understanding that he’s talking to CTU and not TMZ. (As I look at Fahrad’s face, I finally realize who he looks like: the love child of Dmitri Martin and Aziz Ansari. I’m thrilled and delighted by this.) Thrilled, Chloe asks Hastings to keep his word about helping Jack. He reneges, suggesting, among other things, that Jack’s cell phone is simply dead. Has he ever watched an episode of “24”? Death, taxes, and Jack’s cell phone always having a full battery are the three constants in this universe.

Arlo notes Dana’s distraction as the world’s longest decryption continues. He chalks it up to wedding nerves, which makes sense: I mean, wouldn’t you be terrified at the prospect of being married to Freddie Prinze Jr.? (Vampire slayers are apparently exceptions to this rule.) In any case, the final decryption reveals a bomb placed between two newly constructed I beams inside the U.N. Once again ignoring Chloe’s claims that this intel is patently planted, Hastings orders the immediate evacuation of the building. Naturally, this fits right into Davros’ plans, as he actually holds the detonation device in his hand as part of the police detail. The bomb itself sits underneath a sewer grate.

Back in Queens, Jack’s manages to take down “Herc” using some nifty chair-fu, and convinces the younger cop to call in the murder. Doing so not only reveals Jack’s innocence, but also the connection to Davros at the U.N. Moreover, Jack convinces the officer to drive him to the U.N. Ah, the power of the Velvet Voice of Jack Bauer. Jack gets through to Cole, who manages to Grand Theft Auto his way to the middle of the motorcade just as Davros triggers the explosion. Oh no! Who will live? Who will die? We have to wait a whole week to find out!

Oh wait, no we don’t. The next hour starts right away.

 

Hour 2 (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm)

Cole crawls out of the burning vehicle. He rushes over to Hassan’s car and escorts him into a new one before Davros can take a second shot at the President. Cole notes Davros’ suspicious behavior and tracks him to a nearby building, on foot, alone. In no way will a master assassin catch him under those conditions. No sirree. So, naturally, he gets caught by the master assassin within a minute, but to his credit, refuses to call in a false report to facilitate Davros’ escape. His hesitation buys enough time for Jack to show up (having heard the call via police chatter) and shoot Davros. Woohoo, threat averted. That’s a relief. Hmm, wait, what are those crazy tattoos on Davros’ body?

Before his death, Davros relayed the failed attempt on Hassan’s life to Fahrad, whose idea of “playing it cool” is “stabbing the first cop he sees and running away.” By the time Hassan reaches CTU, news of the escape has already spread. Hassan seems concerned, but somehow seems more concerned about getting some face time with Meredith Reed. Omar and Fahrad Hassan would make terrible partners on “The Amazing Race,” is all I’m saying.

Hastings gets caught up to speed via Dana on the situation with Jack and Cole. Those tattoos? They represent membership in a Russian crime syndicate. I love how easily these fellahs identify themselves via body art. Very handy. Anyways, the government used to have an undercover connection to this syndicate. That connection? Renee Walker. Can’t wait for her to show up looking like Linda Hamilton in “Terminator 2,” especially since Davros looked like the T-1000 played by a Russian Hobbit in that cop uniform.

Chief of Staff Weiss escorts President Taylor back into the U.N. He’s all business: what’s a little attempted fratricide between historic disarmament proceedings, right? Luckily for him, Hassan agrees that postponing the talks will only hand his brother a moral and political victory. Before heading back to the U.N., Hassan personally thanks Cole for saving his life, and then personally berates him for “Summer Catch.” But as he does so, the “hazardous materials” warning goes off during Davros’ autopsy. Looks like he’s been exposed to a little weapons-grade uranium.

And Hassan thinks he knows why. His explanation for the U235 on Davros’ body: while his country couldn’t enrich enough uranium to actively produce a nuclear weapon before disarmament talks intiated, Fahrad had mentioned a Russian buyer who could supply it in exchange for a stockpile of missiles and spoilers on the smoke monster from “Lost.” Hassan thinks this buyer is still in play, and in the city at that moment.

Just outside the CTU doors, Jack thinks he’s done, having “saved the day.” He’s ready to catch a flight after his final debrief, only to learn about Renee’s imminent arrival. Chloe speaks of the former agent’s “breakdown” in light of the events of Season 7. Well, once you go Jack, you tend to go whack. Once you go Bauer, your life will only sour. I sadly have more of these, but I won’t subject you to them. In any case, Jack instructs Chloe NOT to tell him of his presence. Remember this, since Jack won’t.

After landing to the sounds of tragic hero orchestration, a dour Renee analyzes the photographs of the tattoos. She’s supposed to play “haunted,” but comes off simply “exhausted.” Someone give that girl a 5-hour Energy Shot! Even though she laid down her badge in the aftermath of the botched Wislon interrogation at the end of Season 7, she jumps back into the undercover fray as a giant neon “Death Wish!” sign lights up over her head. The mission? Go back and sniff out the faction known as “Red Square.” Upon learning of her involvement, Jack instantly breaks his vow to stay out of sight and lays on extra Velvet in attempts to convince her to stay out. But she’s got a briefing to attend, scarred slash marks on her wrists be damned.

Hastings releases Reed with the promise of an official pardon in the future. Reed takes a dig at his “react first, think later” approach, and finally meets up with Hassan. For a moment, I was worried that “24” was going to go the way of “The Notebook” in dealing with this couple. After all, as soon as he sees her, Hassan talks about his life flashing before his eyes that night. But in a decent twist, he chooses work over booty, thereby ending their romantic affair to focus on more worldly affairs.

Across town, Fahrad meets up with the Russian buyer and his son, Joseph. Joseph’s played by David Anders, which makes this “Alias” fan happy. Fahrad wants to see the nuclear rods before agreeing to pay for them. Why Fahrad would no longer have access to the country’s checkbook due to his attempted assassination of his brother is a plot point the Russians seem to be ignoring and “24” would rather I not dwell upon. The proof of the rods’ existence? Joseph’s radiation-poisoned brother in the meat locker, sick due to careless handling of the cargo. Alrighty then.

At CTU, Renee debriefs everyone on the mission at hand: she’ll go undercover alongside Cole to set up a competing buy for the rods. All this talk of Russian rods just makes me feel dirty. Anyways, Jack complains to Hastings about Renee’s readiness, and at this point Hastings is too tired to keep fighting Jack and allows him to take Cole’s place. Renee resents Jack’s tactics, calling him not a partner but a babysitter. Dana would run point on their operation, but her ex (whom we learn just got out of a 7-year stint in prison) is too busy being abusive both Dana and the audience’s intelligence for her to do anything at this point.

Jack and Renee show up at the legit establishment of a mid-level member of the Red Square. Inside the store, she speaks slyly of their former time together, during which they were either lovers or else she was simply a major Russian rod teaser. He notes his house arrest wrist bracelet, which yields him unable to help find the Red Square’s leader even if he wanted to do so. Renee tells him that she’s got a way to remove the bracelet, and even though this stooge didn’t see what was coming, we at home could: Renee out-Jack’ed Jack Baurer and used a circular saw to cut the dude’s thumb off instead of the bracelet. Bloody hell.

Jack runs in, shocked by what he sees. At this point, the two re-enact that classic '80s PSA where the dad finds his son’s stash of drugs. The dad asked where the kid learned to do drugs, and the kid finally replies, “You, alright! I learned it by watching you!” Substitute “drugs” for “torture” and you pretty much have the last scene of tonight’s episode.

What did you think of tonight’s “24” double-feature? More sold on the season than last night, or ready to cut off your own thumb rather than watch another minute?