Veep hands things over to Palmer, and it's like Palmer never left office. He and Poor Man's Hume Cronyn even kiss and make up. As do DoDder and Grayadder (not that she's told Kiefer). But things are little rockier between Bitchelle and Soul Patch, now that she's found out that he's living with someone. Palmer's first challenge comes right away; the hard drive that Potato Face secured last hour leads to a Chinese national named Lee, who's taking refuge inside the Chinese Consulate. Palmer asks the Consul nicely to hand Lee over, but the diplomatic method is going to take too long. So Palmer sends Kiefer into the Consulate undercover to kidnap Lee, which basically amounts to an invasion of Chinese territory. Even that wouldn't be so bad, except that the Consul gets shot and killed during the grab. Oops. Way to come back to the White House in the middle of the night and practically start a war, Palmer. Lee is also shot but not dead yet, so Kiefer rushes him to the CTU clinic, where -- oops again -- the only trauma surgeon on staff is busy saving the life of Grayadder, who suddenly took a turn for the worse. To DoDder's horror, Kiefer hijacks the surgeon at gunpoint to work on Lee instead. We don't know whether to laugh or cry as Kiefer and Curtis labor desperately to save Grayadder themselves. But DoDder faces no such dilemma, especially when Grayadder dies. Dies! Because of Kiefer! Well, that's one way to resolve a love triangle.
You'll never believe this, but due to some graphic violence, viewer discretion is advised.
Previously on 24: The Veep ordered Kiefer arrested, even though Kiefer was in the middle of trying to nab ImhoTerror. So ImhoTerror got away when the Secret Service waded in. Kiefer was released, but he was still pissed about ImhoTerror's escape. And the Veep felt like a tremendous ass, so Poor Man's Hume Cronyn suggested calling in Palmer. ImhoTerror's Missile Tech had a girlfriend who presented a security risk, so Keith Szhutterupnau sent a hit man to kill Miss Iletech. But it wasn't the hit man's day, because Potato Face was there too and managed to get her hands on an assault rifle. Which she used to shoot the hit man a lot. The following takes place between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM.
I'm confused by this opening, because first we get an asymmetrical exterior shot of the White House, and then a close-up of feet striding purposefully along a red hallway carpet. I'd think they were inside the White House if they were all talking a mile a minute while walking, but an overcoated Palmer and the two Secret Service agents flanking him aren't saying a word. So I have no idea what building they're in. But then they're met by the former head of Palmer's Secret Service detail, Aaron the Lipless Gnome. I guess they're in the White House after all. Must be a cone of silence over the place or something. Aaron greets Palmer warmly and leads him and his guards into the elevator down to the Bunker. Palmer and Aaron make small talk about Aaron's son on the way down, because Palmer's a man of the people, and he doesn't want Aaron asking whether Theo's still pursuing a freelance career in the defenestrative sciences.
PMHC is pacing nervously outside the elevator doors down below, and he and Palmer shake hands when the former prez emerges. We get the non-update that Keeler is still comatose (and boy, is he gonna be pissed when he wakes up). Before Palmer joins the Veep in the Undal Office's outer lobby, Aaron again shakes Palmer's hand and goes back to the demanding work of guarding the President two hundred feet underground, a hazardous duty that I suspect involves a lot of Freecell. I love how Aaron glommed on to Palmer all the way to the White House, failed to prevent an assassination attempt, and then got to stick around when Palmer left. Quite the careerist, that guy.
Palmer enters the outer lobby of the Undal Office. The Veep rises to greet him, and the episode's director makes him stand reallyreallyclose to Palmer so he has to tip his head way back to talk to him. Palmer cuts to the chase and asks how he can help. The Veep cuts himself no slack in explaining his recent mistake to Palmer. Palmer says he understands the pressure the Veep's under; as the Veep well knows, Palmer has a little experience with this kind of situation. Which is why the Veep wants Palmer there. He invites Palmer to sit down, explaining that the stolen warhead is an extra-powerful one that will "wreak unthinkable devastation." He steals a look at PMHC, standing behind Palmer, but PMHC has nothing to say. "Help me find it," the Veep blurts, as if he lost his wallet. He promises Palmer full authority to act as his proxy, offering to let Buchanan know that CTU will be working directly with Palmer. Palmer agrees. The Veep jumps up gratefully, looking about ready to hug his predecessor. "We will get through this, Mr. President," Palmer says. The Veep says he'll be off working on a morning statement for the press. What a relief that in this time of crisis he's not going to be near anything important. PMHC walks the defeated Veep to the door, promising to keep him up to date on any developments. The Veep thanks him with great feeling, then leaves the area to let the grownups handle the problem.
First, though, there's a little air-clearing that needs to be done. Especially since we're two hundred feet underground. PMHC brings up his "personal and political betrayal" of Palmer during Season Two, and offers to leave if being around is going to make it hard on Palmer. Palmer looks like the thought had occurred to him, but since PMHC is up to speed and undoubtedly well-intentioned, Palmer's "willing to let bygones be bygones." PMHC smiles as they shake hands over the rising, inspirational music of We're Getting The Band Back Together. At 2:06:22, Palmer shucks his overcoat and marches right into the Undal Office. He sits behind the desk like he belongs there (again), confidently rattling off orders. It's like he's already ten times the president the Veep ever was. PMHC brings him up to speed on the previous hour's developments: CTU is working on restoring the damaged ImhoTape that they recovered during the abortive attempt to collar ImhoTerror, and Potato Face managed to get a hard drive that could be chock-full of clues to the warhead.