Between 2 and 3 p.m., Jack Bauer pulls off a stunt so ridiculous that it makes the bulk of his day-saving actions of seasons past pale in comparison. The short version is that Jack finds Tanner and obtains the flight key. When escape isn’t so easy, he creates a hostage situation, as if it weren’t bad enough that he has already been labeled a terrorist. Jack has hit the point where he has nothing left to lose. It’s in this spectacular hour of desperate measures that allegiances change and we start to learn who trusts whom—and why.
While Jack is wandering through the halls of the embassy, Chloe is serving as his remote guide. Belcheck, Jack’s pal, asks why Chloe is going so far in helping out their mutual friend. She replies that she wouldn’t be alive without him. Belcheck responds, “We have that in common.” Jack Bauer has a lot of personality flaws, recklessness and a complete disregard for authority and protocol amongst them, but he does look out for his friends. Beyond that, if Jack believes in your innocence, he will fight for you. Lieutenant Tanner learned that early in the hour, upon his first meeting with the federal agent-turned-fugitive. Tanner, who can’t seem to convince people that his drone was hacked, is skeptical when Jack finds him. Tanner also has nothing left to lose. When Jack says, “I’m your only shot,” Tanner knows this is the truth.
Jack’s lack of an escape route prompts him to take an office hostage as he tries to obtain the data from Tanner’s flight key. Jack tells Chloe, “No matter what happens to me, you give this evidence to President Heller.” Over at hacker headquarters, Adrian Cross steps in with some tricks for Chloe to help Jack access the information. He makes it known that he’s doing this to help Chloe, not to help Jack. As Adrian continues to interact with Chloe, he shows glimpses of feelings that go beyond camaraderie. Meanwhile, Chloe is fixated on the mission with Jack.
Meanwhile, Simone, daughter of Margot Al-Harazi, is caught in a choice between family loyalties and love for her husband. Navid hasn’t changed his mind about the plan that is about to go into action. He does not want to pilot the drones for Margot. He does not want to be responsible for that loss of life. Navid explains that he could have escaped earlier, but waited for Simone to return from her mission so that they could leave together. Simone has to choose between her husband and her mother. She chooses her husband, but her mother’s control over her is too strong. Simone tips off her mother. Margot’s response is that she will do “anything” to keep Navid on board. All of Margot’s talk about family is now meaningless. This is about Margot’s revenge scheme and her own desire to control everyone around her. If she has to sacrifice her own daughter, she will.
This much happens later in the episode. Margot attempts to shame Navid by saying, “Trying to back out now is a stain on your honor.” It doesn’t work; Navid is not moved by guilt-trips. Margot knows there’s only one way she can change his mind, and she has her henchmen cut off Simone’s finger.
President Heller somehow manages to calm down Parliament. Following his speech, Mark Boudreau finally tells the President and Audrey about Jack. Heller wants to speak with Jack and he does. During their conversation, Jack reminds the President that it was the State Department under Heller that labeled him a wanted man. Jack seems willing to put that aside to make sure that Margot’s plot is foiled. He briefs the President on what he believes based on the evidence that he has acquired. Heller seems to believe him, and Audrey definitely does. Mark, whose motives are still unclear, is not going to let Jack into their lives. He convinces Heller that Jack is deceiving them. He mentions that Jack previously freed Chloe, and that he’s probably just buying time so that Open Cell can retrieve more information. Heller puts his faith in Mark—although Audrey knows better—and gives the word for the Marines to go in after Jack.
The CIA agents’ pursuit of Jack nearly ended when they were blockaded by the Marines. Kate Morgan is now starting to believe Jack. While she can’t convince her old boss, Steve Navarro, that she’s on the right path, her partner, Erik Ritter, and at least one other agent in the office have some faith in her. After listening in on the phone call between President Heller and Jack, Kate is willing to put herself on the line to get the suspect. She sneaks into the office Jack is holding hostage while unarmed. When the Marines attack, she shouts that this is a CIA issue and she’s taking Jack.
Morgan just saved Jack from a situation that otherwise would have only ended in his death, but can she get Jack to work with her to help stop the drone attack? Even if they can see eye-to-eye, will they be able to do this in time? After all, back at the Al-Harazi compound, Navid just agreed to pilot the drones … It’s a satisfying cliffhanger that built solid momentum for the coming hours, and we’re left asking more questions than we can answer as always.