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M. Giant: B- | Grade It Now!
The Final Countdown
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

No previouslies at all this hour. That never happens! It's almost as though someone knew all along that this would be airing immediately after the previous episode.

Sudden daylight has also reached the area outside the airport parking ramp, and the fire department has finished putting out Bob's car and covering up his crispy corpse. One of these days there's going to be a 24 spin-off, all about the local fire department following Kiefer and his friends around and putting out the stuff they blow up. If anything, they'll be busier than Kiefer. Walker's talking to Chloe back at base over walkie-talkie, about that laptop that Spawn recovered. Chloe says tracing it back to whoever it was communicating with will be harder than it looks; it's "encrypted, with multiple relays." You can totally tell by the cursor bouncing all over an animated world map on the monitor, like in Sneakers but with better graphics. Walker tells Chloe to get back to her when she has something. Overhearing, Spawn asks if there aren't any other leads to where Kiefer is. Walker points out that Spawn's the only reason they have this one. It's a testament to how little Walker knows Spawn that she's able to make this comment without her head exploding. "Except my father's dying, and we don't know how much time he has left," Spawn complains. Like Walker's going to say, "Oh, why didn't you say so?" and conjure Kiefer into their presence. Shut up, Spawn.

Having just escaped from Tony and the Faux-yer's complex, Kiefer finds a not-quite-closed garage door somewhere and squirms underneath it on his back. He finds himself inside a taxi garage and sets about breaking into one of the cabs. But suddenly Tony's there, reaching his gun under the door and shooting at him. Careful, Tony, don't shoot him in the virus! Kiefer dives for cover, but happens to notice the hanging controls for the door. Dodging Tony's shots, he rolls over to it and hits the close button. Unfortunately, Tony ducks back out before he gets squished. Kiefer notices that the cab Tony shot up is now leaking gasoline all over the floor. And a moment later, Tony is trying to force the garage door back open by stabbing through it with the tines of a handy forklift. Realizing he's trapped, Kiefer does what anyone would do in this situation: he wades across the puddle of gas he's standing in to grab a road flare that's conveniently sitting on a workbench. While Tony continues raising the door (He tried to kill him with a forklift!), Kiefer kneels in the fuel and tries to strike the flare, but it's tricky with handcuffs on. Also, I'm not sure he really wants it, if you know what I mean. By the time he gets it lit, Tony's made it inside, and he runs over and kicks it out of Kiefer's hands, sending it arcing through the air to burn out harmlessly on dry concrete. Kiefer tries to crawl to it, but only gets pistol-whipped into unconsciousness and dragged out by the feet for his trouble. Nice escape, Kiefer.

Olivia has a visitor, and she's not pleasantly surprised to see that it's Ethan. Aaron follows him in, and Olivia orders him to kick Ethan out. "No, ma'am. I am not going to do that," Aaron says clearly. And not just because his shift would have ended hours ago, if he were a real Secret Service agent, which he isn't. Olivia picks up her phone to call security, and Ethan sets a portable digital recording deck down on her desk and hits play. Why did he need to plug it into his car, then? Was Hyundai jealous of Cisco's product placement? After listening to only a few seconds of her conversation with Martin, Olivia presses stop, but she's gotten the message. Ethan explains about how Olivia confiscated a decoy, and Aaron had the real one. "How long have you known, Aaron?" Olivia asks. Well, it only happened a couple of hours ago, genius, so probably not much longer than that. Aaron only says he was hoping he was wrong, and goes to wait outside. He really is having the worst retirement ever.

p>Olivia tries to explain to Ethan how she tried to call it off, but he's not impressed. She's dumb enough to think he's just blackmailing her to get his job back, but he says he's only interested in the truth. Olivia says that could destroy Taylor, which Ethan realizes. "Then what do you want?" Olivia asks. Ethan says it's up to Taylor; she just needs to know. "I'll let you tell her yourself." A gentleman to the end.

At 7:05:22, Tony's got Kiefer handcuffed to a chain link fence inside his hideout, which gives Kiefer a chance to guilt-trip Tony, now that he's woken up again. "I know you think this country failed you and I don't care what kind of ideology you believe in now. This is no way to fight for it." Tony ignores him until Kiefer tells him to look at him. "Please, as someone who was once your friend, let me die in peace. Don't let them use me to kill innocent people." Tony says he doesn't plan to and never did. "I overheard you," Kiefer insists. Well, actually, Tony said that directly to you, Kiefer, so I don't know if that counts as "overhearing," per se. In any case, Tony says that was just a ruse, "to get the man who's coming here right now. Took me three years to find him. Took me another year to get him to meet me face to face." And how lucky for us that today is the day he gets to meet him! Tony's talking about Alan Wilson, of course, to whom he says had to prove himself. "He was the man behind Charles Logan. He's the one who ordered the hit on David Palmer. And he had Michelle killed to cover his tracks. This is the man who murdered my wife, Jack." Kiefer's not impressed that Tony's been doing freelance deep-cover work all these years for personal revenge. "You killed innocent people, Tony!" Tony says ten times more would have died without him, pointing out that he came up with the plan to bring the bad guys down. "I enlisted Bill and Chloe to help me track all the elements of this Group. And when I finally got what I wanted, they would turn them in and shut them down. But you screwed that all up, didn't you, Jack?" Must be the Bauer genes. Tony claims that on top of everything else, he saved more lives than Kiefer today. "I'm the one who helped you recover the CIP device. I'm the one who warned you about the White House attacks. I'm the one who stopped Jonas Hodges from launching those missiles!" Kiefer is not convinced that this all makes Tony a good guy, angrily pointing out that whole Washington Center Station attack that they barely prevented that would have killed thousands. Tony says he did what he had to do. "You kill him, and no one will ever know the full extent of this conspiracy," Kiefer points out. Which is the weakest argument he could have come up with. These conspiracies never have a full extent; there's always more to it. If there weren't, this show would be called 6, at best. Tony says he's not going to kill Wilson; Kiefer is. With that, Tony wraps an explosive belt around Kiefer's waist, saying he's sorry it has to be this way, but he'll never get within fifty feet of Wilson himself. "You're the one he's coming for," he says. "You're not honoring Michelle's life," Kiefer hisses. "You are reveling in her death and she would despise you for this." Rather than bothering to respond, Tony turns to one of the monitors, which shows the Faux-yer coming back, and programs his cell phone to become Kiefer's detonator. He then puts a strip of duct tape over Kiefer's mouth (because he can't have Kiefer blabbing his plans to the Faux-yer) and zips up Kiefer's jacket over the belt (because he wants to preserve Kiefer's trim silhouette). The Faux-yer suspects nothing when she returns. It's 7:09:28.

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