EW Staff
January 05, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

DAY FIVE
START 7:00 AM

THE BIG PROBLEM Eighteen months after faking his death, Jack’s in hiding. He’s living under the alias Frank Flynn, working in an oil refinery, and renting a room from a single mother and son (Connie Britton and Brady Corbet) on the far outskirts of L.A. He’s called back into action when former president David Palmer is assassinated and Tony and Michelle are injured and killed, respectively, by a car bomb. Making matters worse, a Russian separatist group — seething over an antiterrorism alliance with the U.S. — decides to unleash weaponized nerve gas on American soil.

MEANWHILE… President Charles Logan must deal with mentally ill, pill-popping First Lady Martha (Jean Smart), who’s been pushed over the edge by the death of her close friend David Palmer. Aside from being framed by the terrorists for David’s murder, Jack takes on an airport hostage situation, tense reunions with Audrey and Kim (who both believed him dead), a nerve gas attack inside CTU, and the discovery that his former mentor Christopher Henderson (Peter Weller) is in cahoots with the bad guys.

HOW JACK SAVES THE DAY The terrorists seize a military sub so that they can use its missiles to launch the nerve gas. Jack forces Henderson to disarm the missiles, snaps the neck of terrorist leader Vladimir Bierko (Julian Sands), and kidnaps Logan, who manipulated the day’s events. Why? In short: to take control of Central Asia’s oil supply. (Yeah, we don’t get it either.) Jack plants a recording device on the unknowing president, who then spills the beans to Martha. Once the attorney general hears his confession, Logan is taken into custody by federal marshals. Just when it looks like Jack will reconcile with Audrey, he’s kidnapped by the Chinese, as revenge for his deadly raid on their consulate in season 4.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE Tony is injected in the heart with a dose of hyoscine-pentothal by Henderson; devious Walt Cummings, now chief of staff, dies from an apparent suicide; acting CTU chief Lynn McGill (Sean Astin) succumbs to the nerve gas; Henderson is shot and killed by Jack.

MOST SHOCKING MOMENT We’ve learned not to grow too attached to anybody on 24, but we took it hard when lovable techie Edgar died during the CTU nerve gas attack — all while a devastated Chloe watched from the situation room.


BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE

GREGORY ITZIN as Charles Logan

Itzin excels as a leader so pathetically in over his head that you almost feel bad for him. His scenes with Jean Smart’s psychologically untethered First Lady crackle with emotion, providing some of the most human moments in the drama’s history.

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