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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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Nuclear Winner

But behind the scenes, Kiefer is already pressuring Buchanan to have Habib call Jamal. Buchanan's doubtful they can pull it off, but he'll do what he can. "We need to involve the President," he says dramatically, like we don't know who that is. It's 10:22:54.

Commercials. The people trying to act like their minivan is some high-performance sport vehicle aren't convincing me of anything except what losers they are.

10:27:23. Looks like Buchanan was as good as his word, as Tom patches him through on the speakerphone in Wayne's office. Buchanan explains to Wayne that they have Fayed, but that he won't take them to the nukes until he speaks to General Habib. Oddly, Buchanan is speaking really loudly and over-enunciating, like he's talking into a speakerphone instead of the mouthpiece of the headset he's wearing. Or maybe he's now part of the contingent who thinks Wayne's mind is going. Wayne echoes Buchanan's earlier doubts about getting Habib to cooperate, but Buchanan says that Kiefer thinks this is the only way. These are, of course, the magic words. You'd think that after three years of running CTU, Buchanan would hope to have enough credibility of his own not to always have to argue, "Kiefer says so. If you don't believe me, believe the loose-cannon, insubordinate, ex-junkie, PTSD sociopath who, technically speaking, hasn't ever worked for me." After learning from Tom that the Mideastian ambassador has just arrived at the Bunker, Wayne agrees to do what he can, and ends the call with Buchanan. Tom advises Wayne that if their little con isn't working, maybe they need to try "more conventional means." Wayne naturally believes Kiefer's assessment of the situation implicitly, so that's how they'll be proceeding. Then, as he's heading out of the room to go meet the ambassador, Wayne nearly collapses. Tom grabs his arm and asks if he's all right. "No, you ass, I just got blown up five and a half hours ago," Wayne doesn't say. He insists he's fine.

In the Bunker's Lounge -- which I've been mistakenly calling a conference room all this time, oops, how embarrassing -- Wayne tersely greets the ambassador, who has been waiting with Karen. The ambassador is all suave about his Prime Minister's gratitude and relief at Wayne's calling off the earlier strike. Before he can make a polite request to have the U.S. haul its ditched nuke out of Mideastia's waters before all of Mideastia's fish start looking like Blinky Simpson, Wayne grumps that they're not finished yet. "Siddown," he rudely says. The ambassador sits, while Wayne, Tom, and Karen remain standing. Wayne explains the situation to the ambassador, and again we get to hear what we already know, which is that Fayed's waiting to hear from General Habib before he'll lead anyone to the nukes that are in his possession. The ambassador says he's only too glad to relay the request, but warns Wayne that Habib hasn't been too cooperative up until now. Karen advises the ambassador to have his government be "more persuasive." The ambassador wants to assure them that his government is doing everything it can, even going so far as to arrest Habib's family. Hey, that's not cool. "Have you threatened to kill them?" Wayne asks neutrally. Hey! Even less cool! Karen's shocked. Tom's expression is more like, "Too bad he had to ask that." The ambassador is of course all offended that Wayne would dare to suggest such a thing, but Wayne doesn't care. He bitches the ambassador out for a minute, then hands the ambassador a phone and says, "You'll make the call now." The ambassador's expression tells us that he's really wishing he could have been the ambassador to Canada instead. The scene ends before we can witness his further embarrassment at having to ask, "So, do I press 9 for an outside line, or what?"

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