Promo with electric blue Kiefer and electric blue Spawn. 24. Previouslys. Soul Patch and Kiefer, via videotape, brief the president about V-I-R-U-S II: Electric Flu-aloo, and how everything up until that point was a big lie designed to get Kiefer in good graces with the Salazars and intercept an even deadlier V-I-R-U-S. Meanwhile, Salazar brothers Hector and Felipe Hartmano struggle with the notion of trusting Kiefer ever again after all he did to the Salazars. Turns out they don't even know half of what he did. Clowdy-Ah, for instance. She's pissed off because he betrayed her too. He was supposed to take her away back when he was undercover…but he didn't. Special Agent Charlie Brown has blown off CTU to rescue Kiefer, and is only making things worse for Kiefer undercover. And Kiefer's spywatch with built-in homing device got broken, so CTU has no idea how the mission is going. Or where to send the assault teams. The following takes place between 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM.
So first we open on this dinky little glass room. It looks like the room at the DMV where you had to take the written exam for your learner's permit. It's filled with suit-wearing extras with press passes dangling around their necks. Some guy who looks like he belongs to some wing of the military takes the podium. He introduces Palmer and informs the press that Palmer will be making a statement but not answering any questions afterwards. Palmer steps up and explains that he had to stop the debate earlier because he had to go handle a "national security threat." He stops short of giving any details of this national emergency, but promises that more will be explained in a "few hours." "Let me assure you," he concludes, "that the danger that existed a few hours ago has now passed. America is safe. The American people are safe." He apologizes to Senator Keeler and the debate spectators for the cancelled debate, and promises to reschedule it. After he says "good night," the reporters start yelling questions at him despite their being told he wasn't answering questions. He ignores the crowd and walks out of the room, but one voice rises above the crowd: the voice of a female reporter. Another girlfriend of Joel Surnow? "There's a rumor that this crisis was manufactured by your administration to protect your friend Dr. Anne Packard," says the redheaded reporter. "How do you respond to that?" Palmer doubles back and tells the reporter that those allegations are false, and he has proof that "comes directly from Anne Packard's ex-husband." Of course, he neglects to mention that Anne Packard's ex-husband is now Anne Packard's late ex-husband. Is that news yet? "Anne Packard is an individual with the utmost integrity," says Palmer, as Brother Palmer scowls guiltily in the corner. "She didn't deserve this."
Back at CTU, Soul Patch is on the phone. And he's doing something that annoys me. 24 doesn't do this very often, but other TV dramas do this, and it bugs. I am referring to the fact that Soul Patch is on the phone with someone whose identity we don't know, expositing the latest plot twist for the benefit of viewers who might not have been watching last week…or need reminding. I'm totally on board with the fact that sometimes shows need to hold viewers' hands to guide them along a difficult plotline -- and in this case it's perfectly understandable, since we've been on break since mid-December -- but I wish we knew who Soul Patch was talking to. This is supposed to be a top-secret plan, and it seriously sounds like he's breaking Kiefer's cover to the head of IT or something. So as Soul Patch explains to the mystery caller that they've lost touch with Kiefer's "responder," Bitchelle watches him with concern. Soul Patch tries to get Gael to amplify the Whatever Technology so they can read Kiefer's weakened signal, but Gael points out that they're getting no signal, as opposed to a weakened signal. "What do we think happened here?" asks Soul Patch. "There's a strong possibility that Kiefer's cover might have been blown," says Bitchelle. Soul Patch argues that there's no indication that Kiefer's been found out. "Maybe he's in a place where he can't get a signal, or the transponder's been broken," suggests Soul Patch. "Partial damage might have knocked it to another frequency," says Crystal Gael. Soul Patch orders Bitchelle to do a Whatever Scan. Bitchelle is already running one, and she's getting nothing. Soul Patch walks over to Spawn's desk and tells her to run a Whatever Scan as well. "What's the signature?" asks Spawn, referring to a Whatever Technology code she'll need to run the scan. "I already told you," says Soul Patch. "Thirty over five!" "You didn't tell me," says Spawn. Soul Patch accuses her of being frazzled due to her father's predicament, and orders her to "focus." Spawn does that thing that everyone does who has ever had a difficult boss: she sucks it up. But Bitchelle is watching.