Previouslys. Dr. Anne's husband is being brought in as a topic in tonight's debate between Palmer and Keeler. Apparently, Dr. Anne committed fraud in order to help her ex start a shady drug company. Brother Palmer wants to bribe the ex-husband to keep quiet. Spawn and Special Agent Charlie Brown are having relationship problems, because Kiefer has sidelined Charlie in order to break them up. Poor Man's Jennie Garth meets Kyle at "the mall" in order to give him money. Gomez is following Kyle in order to contain the V-I-R-U-S. Meanwhile, CTU has only three hours to find Kyle before he's contagious. Soul Patch catches up with Kyle at "the mall" and tries to talk him into surrendering to CTU. Gomez shoots Soul Patch. Kyle Singer is not in custody. I repeat, Kyle Singer is not in custody.
We begin this episode at "the mall" amidst a sea of activity. Soul Patch is strapped into a gurney that's being wheeled into an ambulance. Serious music is playing to underline the gravity of the situation. Meanwhile, in a split screen at CTU, Spawn and Adam the Woman Hater are freaking out because neither Kiefer nor Soul Patch are picking up their phones. "What's going on?" asks Bitchelle, entering. Spawn explains there's been "gunshots at 'the mall,'" and that neither Kiefer nor Soul Patch is answering their phones. Meanwhile, Adam the Woman Hater is on the phone with another agent at "the mall," who reports that an agent is down and no one knows yet if it's Soul Patch or Kiefer. While everyone in the office waits to hear which agent got shot, Bitchelle tries to keep it together as she frets about her husband. Spawn, who could be losing a father for all she knows, looks about as worried as a patron at a diner who finds out she can't have an extra side of coleslaw with her chicken wings. "It's Kiefer!" says Adam the Woman Hater, handing Spawn the phone. Spawn is about to lose it, but all of a sudden it becomes clear that it's Kiefer who is on the phone and not the agent who is down. Through process of elimination, Bitchelle realizes that it is indeed her husband who is "down." Bitchelle grabs the phone from Spawn and demands to know what happened to Soul Patch. Kiefer tells Bitchelle that Soul Patch got shot in the neck and he's being taken to the hospital. "Bitchelle, I know how difficult this must be for you right now," says Kiefer with velvety urgency. "But you need to make a decision." Kiefer explains that if Bitchelle, the acting head of CTU, wants to go visit Soul Patch in the hospital, she is going to have to hand CTU over to someone else. "But if you stay," he continues, "we need you to work at full capacity." "I understand," says Bitchelle, professionally. She hangs up the phone and tries to pull herself together despite having what looks like an anxiety attack.
As Spawn tries to offer comfort to Bitchelle in her hour -- literally -- of need, Potato Face enters with some Whatever Technology complaint. Apparently, CTU is running out of computer memory or something. "Now is not a good time," says Spawn to Potato Face with a surprising amount of -- for her -- good taste and tact. Meanwhile Potato Face is all, "Are you out of your mind?!" Bitchelle gives Potato Face a quick Whatever Technology remedy to Potato Face's Whatever Technology problem, and this gets her out of the room. While Bitchelle makes her way out the door in order to go visit Soul Patch in the hospital, Adam presents another set of issues. A second call from Hartmano's family came in, and Bitchelle is needed in the conference room. "I am not in a position to deal with this right now," says Bitchelle. Adam the Woman Hater points out that she is the ranking agent on site, and therefore she has to deal with it. Bitchelle dispatches Spawn to call the hospital and find out everything she can about Soul Patch's condition. Spawn picks up the telephone receiver and marvels at all those pretty buttons she has to press as part of her grown-up job where she has to wear a suit and everything. Meanwhile, in the conference room, some CTU agent-extras are listening to the new recording, which gives more explicit instructions on how to release and deliver Hartmano. Bitchelle enters, listens to the tail end of it, and asks if the "encoding scheme" matches the first message. Adam the Woman Hater confirms that this is the case. He offers to "scan the frequency" to see if he can get lucky and find out more about where the message is coming from. "Whoever sent this message is controlling Kyle Singer's movements," says Bitchelle with newfound authority in her voice. "We have two hours to find him before they release the V-I-R-U-S."