This episode was so good that even Washington was interesting. Powers takes a call from Russian President Suvarov, who subtly informs him that (1) he knows that the Chinese have the component thing, (2) that we have a military base in Central Asia (what? where?), and (3) that if we don’t fix number (1), he’s going to fucking destroy number (2). Powers has the right answer, that none of this would have happened if the Russians kept tabs on Boris the Blade, who a few hours ago almost blew up California, but no dice, it’s almost WW3 all over again. There’s no way the Russians should have known about the Chinese or the component, so Lennox suspects a spy, and pretty much instantly discovers it’s some lobbyist named Mark who gave Lisa Miller a spicy eight-minute bone in the first part of the show! More great work by the CIA, by the way, who apparently knew this guy was working for the Russians a couple years ago but let it slide. Go back to leaning on your shovels, assholes. Later on, Lisa returns to the White House for some very creepy breathing by Powers, now in full-on Senator Roark mode, who calls her on her sexual treason and threatens to throw the icy bitch in an old refrigerator if she doesn’t work with Lennox to un-fuck this whole debacle.

Cheng Zhi is driving around in the wilderness of Los Angeles County, holding his little component in his hand and talking on the phone. His computer guy finds out the thing is damaged (Cheng, come on, it’s basically a computer chip which you’ve been holding in your hand while driving in a Humvee over rough terrain – what the hell did you expect?), and it’s useless without someone who can bypass
the security code, prompting everyone watching to suddenly be very concerned as to Morris’ whereabouts. For the love of god, Morris, please get drunk and knock yourself out until this blows over. Cheng (whom everyone calls “Chang” now) is pissed about the computer chip, and, from the preview, it looks like the Chinese are very, very serious about finding someone to fix the thing.

The main story at CTU is the rise of Nadia, and it’s about damn time. Filling out the pants of authority with peppy aplomb, Nadia doesn’t care if the fucking system is overloaded, she doesn’t give a crap about Morris’ personal problems with Chloe, she thinks Karen’s firing of Buchanan was bullshit, and oh, Milo? When Mike gets here, send him to meet me in medical, bitch. Nadia’s only mistake is not to immediately trust Jack, who has been brought back to CTU with Audrey and wants to talk to her. Nadia, come on, the first rule of running CTU is that Jack is always right (rule two, as always, is that you do not talk about Fight Club). Jack’s locked up while Nadia lets the “doctors” from Division check out Audrey (the prognosis? she’s a mess). Before Division can force Audrey conscious and probably kill her, Mike springs Jack and Jack rescues Audrey.
I can’t imagine any of CTU’s internal security guys really want to be the first one to find Jack, so he has time to coax some consciousness out of Audrey, who gives up “Bloomfield” as a Cheng-clue. After a couple of seconds, they find out that Bloomfield is a copper plant, and Audrey’s covered in copper dust, so there ya go. Nadia shuts down the Division guys and gets kudos from Doyle. I’m liking CTU with Nadia wearing the pants, except that she’s literally wearing the pants.

Moment of Gravitas: At the close of the show, Secretary Heller shows up to take Audrey home, but not before dropping by to visit Jack. After telling Jack to stay away from Audrey forever, Heller puts his forehead on ultra-wrinkle and sneers, “You’re cursed, Jack. Everyone you touch one way or another ends up dead.” With gravitas like that, you don’t even have a response… Such as, you know, why are you in a suit at 2:00 am? Or, where the fuck were you when Audrey was getting her brain fried by Cheng?

Chloe’s minute:
Acceding to my demands for More Nadia, 24 had no choice but to reduce Chloe’s role to about a minute per hour. This week, Morris makes her cry for telling him how he fucked up by arming nuclear weapons for terrorists last week. Apparently, for Morris, it’s over. Weren’t they divorced already? Well, it’s double-over! Unless the divorce was during one of Morris’ blackouts, technically, but that’s a stretch. This paragraph was longer than Chloe’s entire script.