The first act of Episode 23 is practically a season finale all by itself. With backup from Henderson and a short-lived agent, Kiefer boards the Russian submarine. He kills Bierko and then Henderson, after Henderson disarms the sub's missiles seconds before launch. It all goes down in about twenty minutes, and it's really quite exciting. And then Kiefer's going after Logan himself. To that end, Chloe calls in tech help in the form of her ex-husband Morris, a reject from a Guy Ritchie film who isn't nearly as charming as he thinks he is. At Not Camp David, Aaron and FLOTUS bring Novick into the loop. Logan is about to leave so he can be at the airport when David Palmer's body is flown out. But his wife, his Chief of Staff, and the former head of his Secret Service detail resolve to work together to stall him and give Kiefer time to arrive and do his thing. Luckily for Novick and Aaron, FLOTUS is the only one who actually has to have sex with her husband.
We open with a nice, clear shot of a big sign at the "military shipyard" where the Russian submarine Natalia is docked. The sign says, "Authorized Personnel Only. Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted." Unless they get past the single guard at the gate, which, since that guard is currently lying dead on the ground nearby, Bierko's band of heavily armed henchmen must have managed to do. One of those henchmen is currently patrolling the dock topside. He's not wearing a gas mask, even though Bierko opened the hatch after the sub was full of gas. Don't tell me -- this deadly nerve toxin, which at the beginning of the season stayed extra-lethal for an extra-long time, and which could eat through airtight door seals in the middle of the season, became this shrinking flower of a chemical weapon that first couldn't tolerate the high pressure in a gas line, and is now neutralized by salt air? Am I getting warmer?
Down below, Bierko's other men are still wearing their masks as they work. In the control room, one of them reports to Bierko that he's finished flushing the Sentox gas out of the sub, and it's now safe to breathe. Whatever, like that's hard any more. The guy removes his mask. Bierko does the same and hands over a list of coordinates that he wants the sub's missiles to target. Then he speaks into his walkie-talkie: "Remove your masks. We are close to finishing what we started today." Well, actually, you started something entirely different, but never mind. It's the season finale, so it's a time for big speeches. And expositions. Bierko says they're hitting twelve major targets. "The Americans will wake up this morning to discover how steep a price they've paid for their alliance with Moscow. What we are about to accomplish today will be remembered by our countrymen forever." Or at least until their country gets melted by not one, but two pissed-off nuclear powers.
At CTU, Audrey is using her computer to dial her fancy-ass, product placed, Crisco Systems Internet Video Telephony whoozamawhatsis. Sorry for not being more specific. It's not like I'm buying one, so who cares? In any case, the Admiral from Point Mugu soon appears on her computer screen. Audrey reminds the Admiral that the Natalia is docked at the Port of Los Angeles (which is news to him even less than it is to us, since he authorized it). Audrey, her hair and makeup back under control, informs the Admiral that terrorists have taken over the sub. The Admiral's skeptical, since there haven't been any distress signals from the crew, but Audrey explains that that's because the crew was killed by Sentox nerve gas. Which, yeah, pretty much says "terrorist." She asks how long it'll take to scramble a flight of F-18s in order to sink the sub before the terrorists can use its weapons against civilian targets. At the Admiral's request, she promises to have a "team on the ground" confirm the situation, but right now she needs to know how fast the fighter jets can get there. The Admiral tells her it's going to be 22 to 25 minutes. Audrey says that's bad, because they have less twenty. The Admiral orders the jets in the air anyway, then turns back to Audrey on his viewscreen and remarks, "Looks like this is going to be up to your team on the ground."