Quite a bit of fallout from last week to deal with, as Kiefer's and CTU's problems begin to mushroom. If you catch my drift. DoDder is pissed at Kiefer over Grayadder's death. The Chinese are pissed at the U.S. government over their Consul's death. And the Veep's pissed at Palmer for the mess he's made. So now, while CTU is supposed to be looking for the warhead, they have to simultaneously put off and play host to a guy from the consulate who's trying to prove Kiefer led the raid, and not doing a terrible job of it. Was kidnapping Lee and sacrificing Grayadder's life worth it? Well, yes and no. Lee directs Kiefer to ImhoTerror's latest base, and they actually manage to nab him this time. Seriously! Kiefer treats ImhoTerror to a non-fatal gunshot wound and then wastes precious seconds having gun-sex with his enemy in a rather gross and scary way. By the time ImhoTerror lets slip that the warhead will be delivered via missile, it's too late to prevent that missile's launch. It blasts off its barnyard pad a few seconds before four o'clock. On the bright side, the fact that a nuke is airborne and on its way to an as-yet-unknown target should speed up next week's early-episode exposition follies. Right?
Previously on 24: CTU watched the ImhoTape of the bad guy which imhoplied that he planned to detonate a nuclear weapon before dawn. "President David Palmer," as he's now described in his freeze-frame (which I guess would make him "Former Ex-President David Palmer"), was basically reinstalled by the Veep and briefed on a guy named Lee who was connected to ImhoTerror. Lee was also connected to the Chinese government, in the sense of taking refuge in the Chinese Consulate in L.A. It was going to take too long for the Chinese to hand over Lee the legal way, so Palmer sent Kiefer in to get him covertly. Two things went wrong: one was that one of Kiefer's team members was briefly unmasked during the ensuing melee, and the other was that the Chinese Consul was shot by his own guards. Lee started dying before he could tell Kiefer anything, which was bad luck for Grayadder, who was also dying. Kiefer ganked Grayadder's surgeon to save Lee, and Grayadder died. DoDder was hella pissed. The following takes place between 3:00 AM and 4:00 AM.
We're still in the operating room, where Grayadder's face is being covered with a sheet. "Is [Lee] going to make it?" Kiefer asks. "I'm doing the best I can," bitches Dr. Besson. Funny, it looked like the previouslies were over. Kiefer again tells Besson that he just needs Lee coherent long enough to give up the goods on ImhoTerror. Besson snaps that Kiefer "made me aware of that when you forced me to sacrifice Grayadder's life." So Besson's just as tired of the unnecessary exposition as we are. Curtis suggests to Kiefer that they leave, and he does so, with a shitty-feeling Kiefer not far behind.
And he feels even shittier when he realizes he's now got to face DoDder, who's out in the hallway by herself, crying. Nice of Curtis to blow right by her, huh? Kiefer tries to break the tension with a joke about a monkey and a cop walking into a bar. No, not really. He tries minimizing DoDder's loss by saying, "After you left, Grayadder woke up for a second and said he never liked you and then died again." No, his overture is, "Huh. So that happened. Dinner?" If only any one of those things had happened. Instead, he approaches DoDder and whispers, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." "How could you kill him, Kiefer?" DoDder weeps, and comes at him again, although with not much force this time. Kiefer is able to pull her into an uneasy hug, and she sobs in his arms for a few seconds before pushing away, saying, "I can't be near you right now." Kiefer's at a loss, and he reaches out to touch her back, but loses his nerve at the last second. It's not clear whether DoDder actually wants him to back off or not. Kiefer asks DoDder what she wants him to do, and she says she wants him to leave. He stands there looking bereft for a couple more seconds, then grants her wish without another word passing between them. Too bad, because I like DoDder a lot more when she's not talking.
In the hallway, Kiefer meets up with Buchanan, who tells him to call Poor Man's Hume Cronyn at the White House right away. Kiefer agrees, but Buchanan knows something's up. Kiefer makes Buchanan his father confessor, telling him about Grayadder's death. "There was only one doctor and I had to make a choice between Lee's life and Grayadder and I chose Lee." He's doing that thing where people carefully separate their words because they're trying not to cry. Buchanan tells Kiefer he did the right thing. Nice how quickly he got over being left out of the loop on Kiefer's last mission. Just threw himself a little wobbler on Soul Patch and now he's all done. Kind of functional, really. He asks if Kiefer's okay. Kiefer says he's not. Awkward pause. If he's expecting a hug from Buchanan, he's out of luck. Too bad he shot Chappelle last season, huh? Now there was a huggy boss. Kiefer apologizes to Buchanan and asks to be told when Lee's out of surgery.