It's The Naked Mandy Show, as she tries to use Soul Patch to force Bitchelle to help her escape. Bitchelle almost goes for it, too, but comes to her senses before anything irreversible happens. Kiefer has CTU pretend to play along, and then he watches as two figures get into a car that blows up seconds later. Whoopsie! Almost everyone gives up on finding the missile in time, and starts getting ready to deal with the aftermath of its seemingly inevitable detonation. The Chinese nab Agent Bern, who fingers Kiefer in the Consulate raid. Whoopsie again! But before the blowback hits Kiefer, he's able to figure out that Soul Patch and Naked Mandy aren't dead after all. He tracks captor and hostage to a parking garage and, with Curtis's help, takes her down. Will she talk? We won't know until the final hour starts a couple of minutes later. I don't know if I can stand the suspense.
You know, ever since Season One, the hardest thing about 24 for me to get my brain around wasn't the ten-minute crosstown drives, or all the whatever technology that always works perfectly, or the speed with which CTU gets one break after another in its investigations. It's the fact that stuff that happened to Kiefer 24 hours ago is stuff that we first saw months ago. Think of what you were doing this time yesterday. Now take a second to realize that this time during Kiefer's yesterday, he hadn't even been inside CTU for over a year. That seems like half a lifetime ago. More, if you're my son, who was just under three months old when the season premiere aired, and is now packing for law school. But anyway, now that the Nanny 911 fans have had a chance to get over the disappointment of having their show preempted by hour one of 24's two-hour season finale, let's get to it.
Previously on 24: A cruise missile with a nuclear warhead was launched from somewhere in Iowa. As if that weren't enough for the Veep to worry about, Palmer had also authorized a raid on the Chinese Consulate that got the Chinese Consul killed. And the Chinese were pissed off about it, especially when their security cameras got a gander at one of Kiefer's team members, Agent Burn (so nicknamed because of what I predicted his eventual confession would do to his superiors. Go, me!). Kiefer had Burn spirited away. Kiefer caught ImhoTerror, and then he lost him. Again. But CTU convinced Dick to provide a description of Naked Man, who was working with ImhoTerror along with Naked Mandy. At least until Naked Mandy killed Naked Man. Bitchelle and Soul Patch got back together and agreed to leave CTU, ensuring that the mission Soul Patch was about to embark on would go completely pear-shaped. And indeed, Naked Mandy killed Agent Castle and took Soul Patch hostage. Which surprised and horrified Bitchelle, even though she really should have expected it by this point. The following takes place between 5:00 AM and 6:00 AM.
Armored CTU agents are swarming all over the Naked Arms apartment complex, including Kiefer. I know it doesn't seem possible for one guy to swarm, but he's managing it. Over his earpiece connection to Bitchelle and Buchanan at CTU, we review the relevant facts: Naked Mandy is still at large, but she has to be hiding somewhere in the complex because, and I quote, "The perimeter is airtight." Huh, they must have gotten a new one. But with over 600 residential units in the complex, the search is going to take a lot more manpower. This conversation is accompanied by a nicely composed shot of groups of CTU agents working three levels of the building simultaneously. Buchanan balks at the expenditure of personnel, but a pissed-off Kiefer reminds us that there's a "missile in the air carrying a nucular warhead. This is our best shot at taking it out before it hits its target." Buchanan says that his guys are in fact kind of busy looking for the actual missile. But Bitchelle jumps in anyway to say they'll send more LAPD officers, as well as Curtis and another tactical team. Buchanan raises an eyebrow, but keeps quiet. Kiefer agrees, and hangs up. Buchanan and Bitchelle get right to work rustling up more bodies.
And now we learn why they haven't found the missile yet; it looks like DoDder's the one running the satellite search. She's on the phone to Poor Man's Hume Cronyn in the White House Bunker, saying the second pass over the search radius has come up empty. PMHC asks her to assess their chances of finding the missile on later passes. She's not optimistic, due to the missile's onboard stealth technology. PMHC has clearly been reading the forums, because he asks about tracking the missile by its heat signature. DoDder says that doesn't help if the missile is flying close enough to the ground. She says it'll be "less than twenty minutes" before the second scan is completed. PMHC asks her to get back to him then, and they hang up.