CTU goes all soap-opera this hour, with unfortunate results for everyone who respects Nadia as much as I do. At the office next door to CTU where the drone pilot was hanging out, Ricky’s friend from Division, Johnson, finds a chip that proves the Russians hacked into CTU without inside help, clearing Nadia. Johnson is trying to set Ricky up for failure, thinking that he’ll bury it to save his ass after going all KKK and sort of strangling her. Back at CTU, Johnson tells Milo about the chip, prompting Milo to try to kick Ricky’s ass with his arm in a sling (sure, ok), but it turns out Ricky isn’t a dick after all. He gave the chip to Morris to check it out, and Nadia is cleared and released by Buchanan. Nadia stays on the job, but tells Milo it ain’t happening, prompting Milo to slam her against the wall and roughly kiss her as only an extra-chromosome-having shoe-bomber-looking dago computer dork can. I was hoping that the whole Milo-Nadia thing was going to fizzle out once he didn’t defend her from charges of treason, but here we are. Welcome to hell, where Nadia will now spend every moment on screen getting groped by greasy Frankenstein.

Washington isn’t much better off. Karen Hayes cons Sandra into ordering the doctor to bring Wayne out of his coma, probably killing him. Powers Boothe, walking out on Lennox as he chirps out damage estimates for World War III, finds out about Palmer and threatens the doctor, who apparently didn’t see Sin City and tells him to go to hell.

The big deal this show is the usual matchup, Jack vs. the incompetent Russians. Gredenko’s under pressure to get his shit together, since Fayed is getting tired of nobody dying, so he calls up this guy who also lives about a block from CTU and appears to be making breakfast for his autistic brother. The guy (Hauser? Don’t sweat it, he’s gone after this hour) is a security guy for a nuclear power plant, so Gredenko coerces him into getting security codes. Naturally, it’s the Rain Man brother that’s going to hack the system and get the codes, because all autistic people have super math powers (this is not true – some of them have awesome three point shot skills). Chloe finds out about the call from Gredenko about three seconds after they hang up, and Jack is there after the commercial. Jack and the CTU guys (Christ, how many tac teams do they have? Didn’t they lose about a hundred dudes this morning?) bust in and shoot the guy. The guy initially refuses to help Jack find Gredenko, but quickly caves and dupes Gredenko into swinging by the house to pick up the codes from his brother.
Unbelievably, Gredenko actually shows up, and CTU takes him down with a tranq dart to the jugular. Even Jack must have been shocked that this plan worked. Knowing who Jack is, Gredenko smartly offers to help him find Fayed, and also plays the ultimate 24-cliche: he wants amnesty and a promise that he won’t get shipped back to Russia, where it’s cold and there isn’t shit on TV.

So if you’re putting together a bracket of evil people that hate America, who’s your one-seed? Russia is kind of like Duke: a perennial evil-empire one seed that is suddenly vulnerable and sloppy, you can’t put them higher than a 4. The Arabs? Nah, they’re dangerous, but so inconsistent. 9/11 was kind of like West Virginia almost getting into the Final Four in 2005, a huge deal that shocked everyone, but no terrorist attacks in the US since (in this analogy,
Pittsnogle would be bin Laden: scary dude with a beard, you haven’t heard from him in a while, but you know he’s out there in the mountains somewhere). So who’s the one? That’s right, China, who shows up now and then to mess with Jack and then vanishes into the darkness. They’re not a threat to take the whole thing, but they’re always right up there. Like what, UNC I guess. You haven’t heard the last of the Chinese this season, just you wait.

Back at Washington, Powers Boothe gives the order to nuke a random Middle East nation, but Wayne miraculously awakens and tells the sub to stand down. Powers’ response is to decide that there are still a few square inches of the Constitution he hasn’t wiped his ass with and demands to talk to the Attorney General about having Wayne declared incompetent to serve as President. I swear, if Boothe was black, the establishment would have 25th amendmented his drunk ass out of there by now. So not cool.

I’m running out of insulting names for Milo, despite the fact that this whole hooking up with Nadia thing has prompted me to hate him more than ever. Whoever comes up with the best insult for Milo, I’ll buy some random “24" crap on eBay and ship it to you. Dead serious. Submit your best stuff below or at craftinvegas@gmail.com!