Setting up next week’s season finale, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is prevented from reacquiring the override device which has now fallen into an old enemy he believed to be dead because of the intervention of a Russian hit team. Surmising how the Russians tracked his movements, Jack uncovers and confronts Boudreau‘s (Tate Donovan) treason and puts the President’s Chief of Staff to work for him in a last-ditch attempt to draw out the true enemy of Cheng Zhi (Tzi Ma) before he pushes the United States and China any closer to war.
Following the attack on the Russian aircraft carrier President Heller (William Devane) does what he can to try and convince China not to retaliate while keeping his own military hardliners at bay who continue to push Heller towards using the threat of a nuclear deterrent to prevent war between China and the United States. Although she gets to play sidekick and kick some ass, Kate (Yvonne Strahovski) doesn’t get as much to do with her own story being all but wrapped up this week. That said, she is allowed to witness a side of Bauer few ever get to see during his phone conversation with the President’s daughter in the episode’s much touching scene.
As the penultimate hour comes to a close Boudreau, Kate, and Jack are unable to take Anatol Stolnavich (Stanley Townsend) alive, Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) manages to escape Zhi’s men but is injured in the process, and as leverage Zhi takes advantage of Audrey‘s (Kim Raver) attempt to reach out to Chinese contact to literally put the President’s daughter in his cross hairs. That leaves quite a bit for the final hour to wrap up including the fallout of the relations between the United States and China and the fate of Jack Bauer (if he manages to survive retrieving the advice and kill Zhi).