Lynette Rice
February 16, 2010 AT 07:25 AM EST

Well, Jack’s little gamble worked – he ended up in the bowels of Sergei’s Eastern Promises-style restaurant — though first he must convince the Ukrainians that he’s not really a cop, despite the extraordinary amount of intel he had about fuel rods that only a cop would know. And yet been-there-tortured-like-that Jack didn’t seem the least bit fazed that he was about to get charged by the minute until he spills about his bosses, though it did lead to some pretty fancy footwork that had me thinking our superhero could probably jump my car without having to use his hands. Dang but that Kiefer Sutherland is one nimble devil (and a hospital bound one, to boot! Best of luck to you, Kief! We know you’ll be back soon).  Bauer ratcheted up the body count before taking out Sergei, who was suddenly (and uncharacteristically) introspective and emotional over how he killed a son for a deal that ended up going south. But the family’s not out of the nukes business yet! In an apparent attempt to spite his dad, Josef assumes the role of a weapons broker and manages to swipe the fuel rods before CTU can grab them. Farhad could get his weapons yet! Oy, but this won’t sit well with President Taylor, who’s having a dilly of a time getting Hassan to talk peace when he’s busy arresting every one in sight (Kayla, 10 dinars says you’re next).

Arlo finally got the release he craved: he got to flash those compromising pictures of Kevin and Dana to Cole, who’s only now realizing that perhaps his fiancee has more on her mind than, say, the latest data coming out of those CTU drones. Dana sure looked as if she was about to spill the beans to Cole, but as usual a classic 24 interruption prevented her from coming clean and instead gave her the resolve to deal with the problem herself. I can just hear Ken Tucker muttering to himself while tapping his fingers on his mousepad — Great, he’s thinking, another woman not living up to her fullest potential on 24 — but I’m not nearly as quick to scream sexism as I am to whine, “meh, this is feeling a little predictable, dudes!” Still, I know I risk your ire when I say that Dana’s ongoing battle with her ex is proving to be a lot more entertaining than the quest to track down those nukes. Damn you, Josef, for stretching out this storyline for another freaking week!

As for Renee, we don’t need her to undergo a psych evaluation to realize that she’s feeling pretty guilty over leading Jack back into the fray — and it looks as if she’ll probably pay the price for it next week when Weiss attempts to pin the (failed?) mission on her. When it comes to Annie Werschling’s alter-ego, I have to agree with Ken: I adored her hard-bitten character from last season, which has made it all the more painful to see this once refreshing protagonist reduced to a wobbly distraction. Bring back the hard crack, producers (and howzabout giving Chloe a little more acid to spew while you’re at it?)

So what do you think? Will Josef become the villain du jour in the back nine episodes? Will Dana treat Kevin and Nick to a little Saturday Night Special?  Is Hastings only able to process important information by squinting?

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