It’s 4:00 am in post-quasiapocalyptic Los Angeles, meaning nobody’s up except for people with shitty jobs, stoners looking for Del Taco, and the cast of 24. The situation is grim: Cheng’s getting his component fixed, the Russians are pissed, Josh is about to get shipped to China and probably get molested by Papa Bauer, and I have no idea what’s happened on Heroes since January. Only three things give me hope: Milo is still dead, Nadia’s sticking with the tight black sweater, and Jack Bauer is on the motherfucking case.

Jack starts the episode in CTU custody, but it’s the kind of custody where they let you call the White House and anyone else you want, so he calls everyone to explain that the plan to give up Josh to Dad Bauer for the component is fucked up. Karen agrees and with some surprising finesse, gets CTU access and calls Buchanan for his help. Buchanan is busy watching the FBI pack up his house, so he’s down with whatever.
Buchanan springs Jack, and they’re off to fuck up the exchange. Doyle, who apparently is not interested in Morris’ opinion on the situation, is hanging out with Josh at the beach. When he’s informed that he’ll have to face Jack and Buchanan alone, his response is a hilariously unconvincing, “I’ll be fine.” Do we drink when Doyle says, “Dammit!”? Yes, yes we do.

At CTU, Marylin is freaking out, Nadia is somehow getting hotter as the day goes on, Chloe falls down a flight of stairs and finds out she’s pregnant, and Milo’s brother Stuart comes by to pick up his body. I guess he didn’t want all of it, since he didn’t have a mop.

On the beach, Dad’s goons show up by boat, and hand Doyle what is supposed to be the component – and the thing blows up in his face! Why didn’t they just shoot Doyle? Who knows. Jack and Buchanan arrive, but can’t shoot without risking Josh, and he’s spirited away. Doyle is blind in one or both eyes, leaving the possibility in Day 7 of Doyle rocking an eye patch, which could either look very cool or totally ridiculous.

Anyway, Josh gets taken to an offshore oil platform, which as we learned in Diamonds are Forever, is a great place for a final shootout. Knowing that they’re low on time since Powers has promised the Russians he’ll blow the rig up with an airstrike (an odd choice which will leave him with no way of proving that the chip has been recovered), Buchanan and Jack take over with style, commandeering a chopper and heading out to the rig where Dad, Cheng, and their remaining henchmen are hanging out waiting for a Chinese sub. The Chinese are smart enough to try to use cover as the chopper approaches, but are stupid enough to hide behind barrels that explode (what, they forgot to pirate Doom?), so a few shots from Jack are enough to blow most of these fuckers to hell and roast the left half of Cheng’s face. Jack goes below to find Josh and kill everyone else.
He’s a little late – Josh, who does not like movies about gladiators, is about to get thrown onto the raft thing again to meet the sub, but he takes a wrench and cracks Dad’s head open and takes his gun. Dad is incorrect in his theory that Josh will not shoot him, and he is continually reminded of how wrong he was by the gaping hole in his chest for the rest of the show. Jack talks Josh down, verbally abuses Dad, and with a Matrixy jump onto the chopper’s rope ladder, escapes the exploding rig with Buchanan, Josh, and New Crispy-style Cheng. War is averted, Powers drops all charges against Karen and Buchanan, etc.

In a quality denouement, Jack jumps off the ladder before shore and runs off into the hills. Cut to the Heller residence, where Jack sneaks up on Heller, whose body appears to be swelling at the same rate his old Yoda-head is shrinking. Jack asks a tough but fair question about why the fuck Heller didn’t get him out of China, and I don’t think he ever got an adequate answer. Jack’s idea is to take Audrey away and start over, and there isn’t much Heller can do except convince Jack that he can’t really give her a good life at this point. Jack visits Audrey’s bedside, and surprisingly (1) does not get smacked on the head with a lamp by Heller and (2) tells Audrey he loves her and has to let her go. Jack leaves the house by the wrong exit, winding up on the back porch looking out at the ocean. Instead of leaping to his death or something, he stands there, fading to black and a silent countdown. I assume he’s going to just walk the earth, like Kane in Kung Fu.

In the final analysis, it looks at first glance like Jack was putting himself ahead of the country for the first time, but it’s really not the case. This country was built on guns, tits, and not taking crap from foreigners (it’s right there in the Constitution, check it out sometime, comrade).
It was not built on scheming with the fucking Russians who are too drunk to keep track of their own suitcase nukes and a Chinese guy with an overdeveloped sense of vengeance to hand some kid in a sweater over to a sociopathic pederast. By interfering with this bullshit plan, Jack was simply getting America’s priorities back into whack. Jack loves America. Part of that love means disobeying orders from the idiots in charge, which is ironically the most American thing anyone can do. I already can’t wait for Day 7.

Best shot of the episode: When Josh gets to the rig, Dad gives a weird look out at the beach for no reason, sort of holding his head like he just sensed something. Jack looks back with a weird look, too. It was exactly like the mind-shit that Darth Vader was pulling on Luke in Empire.

Moment of Gravitas: Jack to Heller, on his plan: “I’ll disappear. I’m pretty good at that. If you send someone after us, I’ll kill them. I’m pretty good at that, too.” Heller’s Depends were probably full by this point.

Final Proposed Kimeo: Once the dust settles, Mandy exits the Whiskey, visibly pissed that she had no role in the day’s events. Kim, dressed like she’s just joined the X-Men, pulls up in the 1970 Dodge Challenger that Fillion had in Drive (you cancel Drive, but you’re cool with Foxworthy quizzing people on that fifth grader shit? fuck you, Fox) and pushes the passenger door open. Mandy lights and drags a cigarette, and asks, “What time is it?” Kim’s response: “It’s go time.” Mandy gets in, and the two head off into the dawn to do god knows what.

Awesome Picture I Didn’t Find Until It Was Too Late: Fayed, in Mortal Kombat mode.