It turns out that Wayne was only bluffing with his "nuclear strike" against Mideastia. It's just an unarmed warhead. The hell of it is, it works, and the Mideastian government suddenly starts acting all cooperative-like. They seem to have arrested a Mideastian general named Habib who's been giving Fayed his orders. This is a lucky break for Kiefer and Doyle, who aren't having any success at beating information out of Fayed. CTU stages a fake jailbreak to make Fayed think that he's been rescued by another cell. And then Wayne makes the Mideastians force Habib to call Fayed and tell him to go ahead and rendezvous with his men. This is supposed to lead Kiefer to the bombs, but Nadia detects a duress code in their conversation. It's too late to prevent Fayed from making an actual escape in a stolen garbage truck, but it's just in time to allow Kiefer to stow away in the truck's undercarriage. He follows Fayed to the nukes, kills Fayed's men, and kills Fayed. Nukes secured! Threat over! But all is not quite well -- especially Wayne, who is physically falling apart. Also, Milo is acting like a jealous fifth-grader over the lack of hostility between Nadia and Doyle. And then at the very end, Kiefer gets a cell-phone call from his old friend the Chinese Consulate Cop. He's got Audrey, and she's not dead -- as long as Kiefer does what he's told. What that will be, we won't find out until next hour. Looks like we've got a second act.
We return to the White House Bunker's Battle Bridge, where Wayne's angry insistence on ordering a nuclear sub to launch a missile against Mideastia has caused Tom to wonder if all the artificial adrenalin in Wayne's system is turning him into the protagonist of Crank. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs informs Wayne that the missile is already over Mideastia. Tom urgently expostulates with Wayne about calling off the strike, but Wayne isn't trying to hear it. The Admiral says that it's five minutes to impact, and Wayne tells Tom that they're about to find out just how cooperative the Mideastians can really be. Tom casts a desperate look behind him at Karen, who sneaks off, dialing her cell phone. She's calling hubby to ask him if Fayed has told CTU anything yet. Buchanan has to admit that Kiefer hasn't learned much and isn't optimistic that he's going to. He's shocked when Karen tells him that Wayne has already launched the missile. Still, when Karen asks him to exaggerate how well things are going with Fayed, Buchanan won't do it. "Fayed's not talking and Gredenko's dead," he says, which probably means that Gredenko's not talking either. Well, at least Karen gave it a shot and provided some useful exposition in the process. As she returns to the Battle Bridge, the Admiral reports that they've kicked over quite the Mideastian anthill in terms of air defense. "Then they know we're coming," Wayne says. "Good." As we'll soon learn, that's kind of the whole point. Karen tells Wayne about her conversation with Buchanan and recommends that they hold off. Wayne refuses. Karen asks why he's doing this, but Wayne wasn't kidding when he said he was through talking. The Admiral reports four minutes to impact, about a minute and a half after he said five minutes. Is the missile a bit lost? Wayne's left hand, resting on the conference table, starts shaking. Tom says something to him, and Wayne hides his hand under the table before it can shoot clean off and shatter one of those fancy tactical display screens.
After an awkward pause, the conference phone rings with a call from someone the operator identifies as "the ambassador." Wayne takes the call, and luckily, it's the Mideastian ambassador instead of the Chilean one wanting to bitch about new duties on shiraz or something. Naturally, the Mideastian ambassador is having a whole litter of urbane, Anglo-Indian-accented kittens about what's going on: "For God's sake, I implore you to stop it!" Talking fast, the ambassador starts rattling about "new information." How fortunate that they learned about it just seconds after a nuke headed their way. Specifically, the Mideastian government has already arrested a general named Mohmar Habib, who has been in contact with Fayed. "He's being interrogated as we speak," the ambassador claims. Tom asks whether Habib knows the current location of Fayed's nukes. As we watch that red radar blip approaching land on the digital map, the ambassador says that Habib hasn't been in touch with Fayed since Kiefer crashed the drone into San Francisco a few hours ago. The Admiral cuts in to say that they have two minutes to impact. It's only been seventy-one seconds since he called four minutes to impact, so it sounds like the missile is back on course and making up for lost time. Wayne leans forward in his chair and quietly voices his suspicion that Mideastia has known about Habib all along. The ambassador tries to deny it, but Wayne roid-rages, "Stop lying to me!" and slams his hand on the table. Or maybe that was just an extra-violent tremor. The ambassador makes some lame excuses about the political situation back home. And I suppose it must be bad in his country, if nobody there can even agree on a name for the place. Wayne says, "I really hope protecting this man was worth pushing us to the brink of World War III." He takes his time saying the missile will be aborted. He warns the ambassador to start being a lot more helpful, get his ass to the White House toot sweet, and not plan on leaving until the crisis is over. It's not until Wayne's off the phone that the Admiral relays the abort code down the phone line. "Ditch it in the Gulf," he says. Way to cut it close there.