The plotlines converge in a powerful way in this episode, offering us two poignant confrontations: on one side, Jack Bauer and Kate Morgan drill Steve Navarro on the consequences of his betrayals, and on the other, Chloe asks Adrian Cross to look around and see the results of his failed anarchist ploys. As the episode covers much ground, viewers again remember this is a truncated season; the twists come quickly in this hour.
The episode begins with Jack’s pursuit of Steve, who ultimately falls into custody because of Adrian’s betrayal (when there is no escape car), setting up a series of confrontations. Kate discovers Steve’s treachery in two stages, first when Jack reveals Steve ordered Jordan’s death and later when Gavin uncovers (what Jordan was working to find) evidence of Steve’s selling of secrets to the Chinese and framing Kate’s husband for it. Just as an escort brings Steve into the CIA station, Kate puts the pieces together. Upon assuming command, Erik Rittter seeks to hold Kate, and Jack, in place.
After offering Kate a choice to step aside, Jack interrogates Steve, revealing they know about the selling of secrets to the Chinese as well as the loss of the override device. He says the only outcome will be the death penalty unless Steve helps them to recover the override. In typical 24 fashion (reminiscent of Nina Myers and others), Steve asks for full immunity from the President, and Jack smashes his hand. It appears to be another impasse, and President Heller’s team starts drawing up the agreement.
Later, though, when a doctor is treating the hand, Kate breaks in and threatens to exact revenge, while Jack also comes in to hold her back. In a panic Steve reveals he’s placed a tracker on the override and gives up the code to find the signal. It is at this point Steve realizes he’s given up the one leverage point he had and Kate quietly tells him his fate–he will be executed for murder and treason, and she will be there to watch it happen.
Although Kate sees an amazingly quick turnaround to something that has traumatized her for months, this confrontation is not closure enough. While she and Jack are driving in pursuit of the override, Jack opens an opportunity for her to speak. Here we learn Kate remembers a specific moment when her husband despaired because she stopped believing he was innocent. She asks Jack how she is supposed to live with the knowledge her lack of faith led to her husband’s suicide.
“You just do,” is Jack’s response. He shares he lost his partner and friend four years earlier and sought “as much revenge as any man could possibly take,” but his actions cost him everything, including what was left of his family, and brought no easing of the pain. Jack tells Kate she must come to terms with the fact that revenge does not stop the pain; only then can she begin to forgive herself. This season we are seeing a more reflective Jack, offering these words of wisdom to Kate (as he did earlier to Chloe).
The second confrontation occurs between Chloe and Adrian. Early in the episode, he reveals to her his plan for the override, revealing he was the one who designed the override (Yates only engineered parts of it). His plan is to exploit the vulnerability of defense systems around the world, sharing information gathered with all nations, thereby rendering warfare, in one technological stroke, obsolete. At the end of this conversation, hoping he has persuaded Chloe, he asks her to have faith in him, hugging her close, but her frown shows us she’s obviously conflicted. A failed attempt later to escape with the override confirms Chloe is not happy with this plot, but Adrian coerces her, by a drawn gun, back into the car.
In his development of the override, Adrian negotiated with the Chinese, believing he was manipulating them, but in the major twist of this episode, when Adrian seeks to reunite with his team, he discovers (thanks to Chloe’s insight) he has not been negotiating with the Chinese government, but a former 24 villain, Cheng Zhi (the one who tortured Jack for a year and traumatized Audrey–anyone sense a major confrontation coming?). Cheng manipulates Chloe into reconfiguring the override to work on more than drones.
While Chloe and Adrian wait, Adrian tells her he sees no way out of the situation and admits to finding evidence (in some unspecified papers) that the car wreck which killed her husband and son was only an accident, not a result of her governmental work. She does not understand why he didn’t tell her immediately, but he says he was afraid she would leave (since her belief was her motivation to join the cell). Here Chloe questions him again, asking him to look around at their dead friends and at Cheng’s terrorism, “All your work has led to this.” Adrian, though, claims he does not regret what he has stood for. These are his last words.
Although these two episodes are the major plot points of the episode, we also see an argument between Audrey and Mark. He presses her, claiming she has become “distant” since Jack has come back into her life. Despite her assertion she will honor the commitment she made to their marriage, Mark refuses to listen, exasperating her. When she leaves, he calls Anatole and gives the Russians the means to track Jack’s CIA com link. The moment seems a little forced, and Mark does regret the call, later trying to undo it.
The Russians, though, close in on Jack and Kate at the end of the episode, delaying them from intercepting Cheng and company, allowing for the sending of the fire code to the U. S. S. Massachusettes, a nuclear sub, which launches two missiles into a Chinese aircraft carrier. This season of 24 turned rapidly in the last two episodes, setting up some serious consequences in the remaining two hours.