Now that Vaughn knows Michael told everything to Marv and has a list of everyone in his organization (thanks to the e-mail sent out last episode), he wastes no time bringing the hammer down. While Michael, Fi and Jesse are in the middle of trying to hide the list where even they themselves can't get at it, Vaughn's men show up and initiate a pursuit that leaves the Charger totaled, Jesse hobbled, and all three of them holed up in a half-built hotel that's going to be the site of their last stand. Fortunately it's well-stocked enough with bomb-making equipment to hold the bad guys off for a little while, but not for long.
Their only saving grace is that Sam and Madeline aren't with them. They're busy leaning on Rep. Cowley, the guy from the House Intelligence Committee they made friends with back during that episode with the puppet of Burt Reynolds. He's skeptical, to say the least, but Sam eventually convinces him to help -- even if Vaughn is so well-connected that soon the congressman is practically on the lam himself.
Michael, Fi and Jesse lay a trap for Vaughn's men, only to find out that he's nabbed Michael's mom. To save her, Michael hands the list to Jesse so he and Fi can get it out of there while he blows himself up as a distraction. But before he does, Fi joins him, I guess because it takes both of them. Fortunately, right before they have to, Sam shows up with the cavalry. Actually, it's more like an infantry unit, but the result is the same: Vaughn and his men are busted, and our heroes are saved.
But of course, that only means it's time for another end-of-season farewell. Michael is bundled into a limo by a tight-lipped government guy, and after a week of interrogation, he's dropped off in Washington, D.C., in front of a man he clearly knows. "Welcome back," the man says, which is an odd thing to say to a guy we're not going to see for another six months.
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No previouslies (it's only been a few minutes since the last episode, after all, 24), but plenty of Miami skyscraper porn as Michael VOs that in a desperate situation, you need to resist the temptation to act immediately; you always want to assess the threat and figure out how bad it really is. "It's bad, Mike. It's really, really bad," Sam tells him. This is over lunch, so how bad can it be, unless they're talking about the check? Jesse and Fi are also there as Sam elaborates that call to anyone Michael knows, from Barry to the Carlito kicks over an anthill at the FBI. So Vaughn's got guys in the FBI, which is awesome. Michael says they need to get the list to someone in the government -- "someone who can play this card." Too bad they don't know anyone like that. Wait, Sam has an idea. And considering what happened to the last government employee they tried to hand the list off to, I hope it's someone we hate.
Cut to the motel where they've stashed Madeline, and where Michael and Sam have just asked her to put some muscle on that congressman from the Burt Reynolds episode, who fortunately is on the House Intelligence Committee. Sam reminds her she did it before. "Same thing, different day." "It amazes me the things that become normal to you people," Madeline growls. Sam starts going into details, but is rudely cut off when she yells, "And you put me in a non-smoking room!" and hurls the little sign at Sam. Okay, now that's just sadistic of them. Michael's rescued by a cell phone call as she lights up anyway. He goes outside (past Jesse and Fi, who are wisely waiting outside) to take the call. It's from Vaughn, identifying himself as Michael's old pal, although the subtitles call him "Vaughn -- Not Michael's Pal." What I want to know is why Vaughn's suit has the buttons and the hanky pocket on the wrong side. With soldiers unloading a military transport plane in the background, Vaughn says he's in town and they should catch up. Michael tries to play it off until Vaughn abruptly wearies of this show's insistence on jovial dialogue between mortal enemies. Vaughn says he gave Michael plenty of chances to be his friend. "Now you're gonna see what it's like having me for an enemy. And so are your friends. And so is your family." End of call. Okay, maybe the faux-jovial thing wasn't so bad.
After the credits, Michael is going nuclear -- sort of. He VOs about how most hiding places are hard to find, but easy to access. "On rare occasions, for the most sensitive material, you have to go a step further and find a hiding place even you can't get to." Which his why he, Fi and Jesse are outside the fence of a nuclear power plant. Michael tells a nervous Jesse and Fi that this way, Vaughn could "extract" the location of the list from one of them and still not be able to get to it. Which seems a little optimistic if he has the FBI in his pocket, but you know how Michael likes to make things difficult for himself. All they have to do is get the flash drive with the list on it onto one of those trucks carrying stuff like depleted uranium shells and decommissioned sub parts into the compound, and all they have to do to do that is blow up part of the road leading in so the trucks will have to reroute to where the team can sneak something onto one of them. Sounds easy enough, and shouldn't raise any red flags at all.