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As President David Palmer tries to decide whether a taped conversation concerning the bombing attempt is real, Jack gets one last chance to talk to Kim as he pilots the small plane carrying the nuclear bomb into the Mojave desert outside Los Angeles.

Episode guide

Previously on 24

  • Kim demands Lonnie McRae let her go as she knows the bomb didn't go off. Lonnie confesses he lied, but explains that he just wanted company. After Lonnie gives her a gun for protection against cougars, Kim leaves into the forest.
  • President Palmer speaks to Sherry after interrogating Roger Stanton, who's known about the bomb for weeks. Then President Palmer orders Sherry to leave. He threatens to place her under arrest should she resist.
  • At Norton Airfield, Marie Warner points a gun at Kate Warner's head and threatens to kill Kate unless she hands over her badge. Kate resists and Jack comes out and shoots Marie in the arm, disabling her. Later, Marie confesses that the bomb is downtown, at the Arco Towers. Jack is suspicious because of Marie's hurried tone, and orders his agents to initiate a grid search of the airfield staring from north to south.
  • The NEST nuclear team runs to a truck and finds a green duffle bag inside. They open it, revealing the real nuclear bomb. Jack Bauer asks them how much time they've got. They respond by saying any second...

The following takes place between 10:00pm and 11:00pm

10:00:00

File:JacktalkstoMason.jpg

Jack and the NEST team walk into Hangar 12, and Jack alerts someone to tell everybody they'll be working on the bomb in that hangar. The team bring the nuclear bomb into the hangar and set it down easily. As they work on the bomb, George Mason arrives at the airfield alone. Jack sees him and ask what's he doing here. Mason wants to be there when the nuclear bomb is disabled, since it's ultimately responsible for his death. Jack tells him that the NEST team has everything under control and that they are looking for the internal timer. Mason drops his pills and Jack helps him pick them up.

File:Normal PDVD 023.jpg

After seeing the NEST team having problems, Jack excuses himself, wanting to know what's wrong. The NEST technician explains that the trigger is tamper-proof and disguised. If the bomb is dismantled or disconnected from the main casing, it will dentonate. There is no way to defuse this bomb.

Hearing this, Jack orders Agent Goodrich to find a plane capable of flying fast. Agent Goodrich says there is a Cessna Carvan in Hangar 3 that cruises 210. Jack orders him to get it and calls the O.C. to brief President Palmer on the situation. Jack asks the NEST team how much time they've got. A technician responds 55 minutes and holds up the timer.

Hitchhike

Kim hitchhikes.

10:05:18

Kim walks down a deserted street. She flags down a couple of people on motorcyles but they pass her by. A car drives to her and stops. Inside is a guy asking where she's going. She says San Jose which is almost exactly where that guy is going. Kim becomes suspicious and refuses. The guy comes out of his car to persuade her, and she draws her gun. She fires at his car, shattering his back right window as a warning to back off. The guy drives away.

Jack and President Palmer discuss over the satcom two different locations to take the bomb: the Pacific Ocean or the Mojave Desert. President Palmer tells Jack that his advisors will analyze both options and get back to him.

10:07:40

Mike Novick and Lynne Kresge accompany President Palmer into the O.C. war room. Mike announces that he will outline the consequences of taking the ocean as Lynne will outline the desert. There is less risk at taking the desert but there's a catch: the bomb has to be deposited at a very precise location. Since the aircraft carrying the bomb is not a military aircraft, there's no method to deliver the payload accurately. The pilot would be forced to go down with the plane. It's a suicide mission.

President Palmer calls Jack with the news. CTU has already come to the conclusion about this mission being one-way. Several men have volunteered to take the plane to the desert. President Palmer will pledge the nation's gratitude for that man's service and vows to take care of whatever family he leaves behind. President Palmer asks Jack to call when the plane is in the air.

10:11:55

George Mason approaches Jack after overhearing his conversation with President Palmer. He knows there are no volunteers for the mission because Jack wants to do it alone. He then offers himself up to pilot the plane, arguing that he is an instrument-rated pilot, and he's going to be dead by the end of the day anyway. Jack refuses, explaining that Mason could black out or die before he gets to Ground Zero. Jack tells his agents the mission is a go and the plane is readied for flight.

10:12:49... 10:12:50... 10:12:51

10:17:07

After Tony receives a phone call, two CTU agents bring a suitcase full of Syed Ali's belongings to him. An encrypted hard drive is among these items. Among the agents are Yusef Auda, an intelligence liason from an Arab country suspected of helping Second Wave. Auda is eager to participate in the analysis, but Tony is hesitant. He asks Michelle Dessler to assign someone to watch Auda and not let him see anything of importance to the case. Michelle informs Carrie Turner that she'll take care of Auda. Carrie asks whether Michelle has problems with her working here.

10:19:45. The NEST team loads the nuclear bomb onto the Cessna as Jack calls Tony to find out Kim's whereabouts. Much to Tony's dismay, Jack confesses he's the one that's flying the plane. Jack must tell Kim immediately about the situation. He also tells Tony that there's a safe in his apartment with his will and a letter to Kim if anything happens to him. Tony promises to make sure she gets it.

10:20:55

Kim is still hitchhiking along the road as a car pulls up. The driver's name is Anna. Kim tells Anna that she fled a date and is going to San Jose. Anna invites her for the ride and lets Kim use her cell phone to call her father.

10:21:15

Kate Warner questions Agent Baker regarding how the bomb will be transported to ground zero. She then learns that Jack is the one that's flying the plane. Horrified, she calls out to Jack as he gets in the cockpit, equipped with a clock synchronized to the bomb's timer. He turns and sees Kate, but there are no words for what's happening. Jack closes the cockpit door as Kate watches him fly the plane out of the airfield.

10:24:31... 10:24:32... 10:24:33

10:28:49

Mike Novick gets word that the plane is in the air. President Palmer requests that Air Force One be prepared to take him to Los Angeles. Novick and Kresge try to talk him out of the trip, but President Palmer wants to be there to reassure citizens he's in control of the situation. President Palmer is then shocked to hear that Jack is flying the plane.

10:31:03

Tony calls Jack to tell him he has Kim on the line and he connects the two. Jack is relieved, but then tells Kim they found the bomb and now somebody has to fly it out of the city. Kim cries and apologizes for the way she treated him. Jack pledges his love to her. They say their goodbyes to each other.

10:35:05... 10:35:06... 10:35:07

10:39:28

Anna pulls the car over to comfort Kim, but she leaves wanting to be alone. She runs off in to the night, not caring anymore about leaving Los Angeles.

10:40:04

Michelle brings Tony a transcript of a recording pulled from Syed Ali's encrypted hard drive. The audio is an conversation between Ali and three high-ranking officials of three Middle-Eastern governments. It confirms that these three officials supplied Ali with the bomb. Michelle requests they run a voiceprint authentication on the tape.

10:41:43

Tony calls President Palmer about what he found in the recording. Aboard Air Force One, President Palmer is concerned that Division may have already reported this to other intelligence agencies, spreading alarm. President Palmer asks why Syed Ali would tape the conversation. Tony suggests that Ali probably wanted to keep proof in case those officials turn against him. President Palmer thanks Tony, but isn't throughly convinced. President Palmer tells Novick that they would be soon at war, not only be with those countries but with others.

10:43:54

As Jack pilots the plane in the Mojave, he senses movement behind him. He draws his gun and swings around to find George Mason behind him. Mason hands Jack a parachute. Jack tells him he's taking this plane in. George asks whether Jack has had a death wish ever since Teri died, and the look on Jack's face tells him that he has. George then tells him that it would be more heroic if Jack put his life together, reconnect with his daughter, and continue to save his country. Jack considers this seriously. He asks Mason if he is absolutely sure he can do this. Mason says he can, and Jack instructs him on how to man the plane. When the clock reaches 1:30, Mason will have to intiate a dive at the presice cooridnates of the depression. After telling Mason this, Jack thanks him solemnly.

10:48:08... 10:48:09... 10:48:10

10:52:25

Jack gets ready to make his escape, but will wait to jump four minutes before impact so that he can stay with Mason as long as possible. He phones Tony about the change of plan. Tony instructs Michelle to send a helicopter to pick up Jack in the desert. Auda notices the commotion at CTU and questions Tony about what evidence has been found. Tony won't divulge anything to Auda, who becomes annoyed because his government helped the Americans in good faith to Syed Ali's apartment.

10:54:04

Lynne Kresge escorts General Bowden from the Joint Chiefs in the President's room to talk about the plans for retaliation. The military now knows that Ali's conversation points to three governments complicit in helping him obtain the bomb. Plans for war are underway even though the coversation isn't authenticated yet. Bowden assures President Palmer that retaliation is in the planning stages only. President Palmer gives him approval to activate his plan, but the military cannot implement the plan without direct authorization from him first. As Bowden leaves, President Palmer tells Lynne they may be talking about World War III.

Jack asks George if there's anything he can do for him. Mason explains he was able to see his son earlier and asks Jack to watch over him. Jack places his arm on Mason's shoulder, who touches his hand in return. They let go, and Jack leaps from the plane to safety.

Mushroom

The bomb explodes at Ground Zero.

10:57:51

Novick gingerly informs the President Palmer that he'll be able to see the nuclear explosion on the eastern horizon out his window. President Palmer grimly faces his window to the east. Mason determinely flys the plane toward Ground Zero. As the clock reaches 1:30, he dives into the depression. Jack drifts down to the ground and releases his parchute. He shelters behind a rock, looks at his watch and mouthes down the countdown. He puts his arm over his head as a nuclear blast roars in the distance. Meanwhle, Kim sees the explosion in the forest from a distance, thinking she has just lost her father. President Palmer also sees the explosion out his window, thinking he has just lost a good friend. A mushroom cloud explodes over the desert.

10:59:57... 10:59:58... 10:59:59...11:00:00...

Memorable quotes

  • George Mason: This is the thing that killed me, Jack. I'd kinda like to be here when you lay it to rest.


  • David Palmer: Secret Service works for me. I don't work for them.


  • George Mason: Hey, hey, hey, service on this plane is bad enough; you don't have to shoot me.
  • Jack Bauer: George, what the hell are you doing here?
  • George Mason: Felt like taking a ride.


  • George Mason: You still have a life, Jack. You wanna be a real hero, here's what you do. You get back down there and you put the pieces together. You find a way to forgive yourself for what happened to your wife. You make things right with your daughter, and you go on serving your country. That'd take some real guts.


  • Jack Bauer: You are absolutely sure you can do this?
  • George Mason: Jack, I'm supposed to do this.


  • Jack Bauer: Is there anything you want me to take care of?
  • George Mason: Oddly enough, I think I got everything squared away. I even got to spend some time with my son.
  • Jack Bauer: I didn't even know you had one. I'm glad you got to see him.
  • George Mason: Yeah, me too. I don't think he was, particularly. (pauses) Actually, I'd appreciate it if you could look in on him every once in a while.
  • Jack Bauer: Of course.


  • Mike Novick: At this altitude, the explosion should be visible from the eastern horizon.


  • George Mason: (his last words to Jack) It's time.

Dramatis personae

Starring

Guest starring

Co-starring

Background information and notes

  • N.E.S.T. stands for Nuclear Emergency Support Team. It is controlled by the Department of Energy.
  • This is Xander Berkeley's last episode as a series regular.
  • Series regular Penny Johnson Jerald does not appear in this episode.
  • Despite claims from Jack and Roger Stanton that there was "no way the bomb was going to go off," the bomb did in fact detonate, causing international tensions and nearly starting World War III


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