This hour is all about how ImhoTerror is several moves ahead of everyone. A fighter pilot's philandering gets him killed, and also gets one of ImhoTerror's minions access to an Air Force base. Kiefer's guilt over Grayadder's shooting drives him to attempt a plan that will almost certainly get Kiefer killed if it goes wrong, which it does. And it doesn't look too good for his accomplice, TerrorMom, either. Although she's off-camera when she ostensibly gets shot, so there's hope. There's also hope for Grayadder, and of course DoDder's romantic vacillations during his surgery swallow up more air time. Looks like Kiefer's only hope with her is to get as nearly-killed as Grayadder is, which, given the fact that he ends up in ImhoTerror's clutches, might just work out for him. Oh, and Potato Face is back, more than filling the bitchface vacuum left by Special Agent Breck.
Welcome to the third quarter, traditionally the portion of a 24 season rife with dropped plot threads, narrative dead ends, and time-burning subplots while the writers try to stretch things out to the season's endgame. One way or another, we'll be in the fourth quarter in a few more weeks, so hang in there.
Previously on 24: It turned out that ImhoTerror was an employee of MacGuffin Factories, so the company set off a blackout-causing EMP and waged its own private war against Kiefer and Grayadder. You know, so as not to get in trouble. Our heroes survived the firefight with the help of a couple of walking public service announcements, but Grayadder got shot in the aftermath. Ever get shot in the aftermath? Hurts like a bitch. ImhoTerror's next move involved a guy in an Air Force uniform and ominous references to the President. The following takes place between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM.
We open on a lovely aerial shot of a CTU helicopter passing from among the darkened downtown skyscrapers into view of the lights of the rest of the city. Don't know how they did that, but it's cool. Kiefer's on board with Grayadder, telling him, "Stay with us, we're almost there." Aw, poor Kiefer. So worried about his boyfriend. Suddenly he remembers that there's a third person who might be interested in what's going on with Grayadder, and he pulls out his cell phone. I assume it's a new phone, since his old one must have been fried by the EMP that went off ten feet away from him. I realize that assumption is based upon the more unlikely assumption that someone at the show remembers that.
At CTU, DoDder takes a break from looking busy to answer her own phone. Her relief at Kiefer's well-being is short-lived as he tells her about what happened to Grayadder. She's clearly very upset, but she manages to hold it together long enough to demand, "How did this happen?" Ooh, she's pissed. She gave Kiefer one job and he blew it. To Kiefer's credit, he tells her the whole truth about how Grayadder pushed him aside and took the bullet meant for Kiefer. "He saved my life," Kiefer adds generously. Which is probably an exaggeration. I mean, Kiefer was the one in the bulletproof vest. It was actually a pretty stupid move on Grayadder's part. DoDder doesn't have much to say to Kiefer right now; she's too busy trying not to (a) cry, and (b) rip him a new one over the phone. Kiefer promises that they'll do whatever is necessary to save Grayadder. "I'm sorry," he finishes lamely. Instead of asking whether Kiefer's sorry Grayadder's hurt, or sorry he screwed up, or sorry he's in trouble, DoDder says she has to go. She sits there for a minute trying not to get all weepy, but she accomplishes that about as well as she accomplishes everything else.
Hey, you'll never guess who else is in the air: President Keeler. I know! He's talking on the phone to DaD at CTU -- just a regular phone call, no videoconferencing -- as DaD explains that ImhoTerror is the mastermind behind the day's events. Which I thought Keeler already knew, but we have an expositional quota to fill here. POTUS asks if any more attacks are planned, and DaD says that it looks that way and NSA is "sifting through the intel now." Keeler isn't satisfied. Rather than telling POTUS's pissy ass to take that up with, say, the National Security Advisor, DaD says they're also hoping to catch ImhoTerror using information from the coded document that Kiefer got from MacGuffin Factories. DaD's walking out of the building to meet the CTU medevac chopper as the convo proceeds. Keeler switches gears: "Today's events are continuing to generate an unprecedented level of fear. I'm not sure the social and civil fabric of this country can withstand another attack." Yeah, the folks at IDS Systems looked about ready to light out for the territories, didn't they? Way to be in touch from 35,000 feet, Keeler. Basically, Keeler is keen to declare martial law. Not that I can see how the United States of the 24-verse could be more of a police state than it already is, but I'm always ready to be surprised. By now, DaD is out in the parking lot with DoDder and a passel of other agents. Doesn't CTU have a rooftop helipad? I guess they have room in the parking lot since AIIIEEEE!sha's car blew up and cleared a few spots. It probably also helps that CTU doesn't have a regular night shift. POTUS tells DaD that a "General Wakefield" has just landed in L.A. to "discuss our options" with DaD, and will be calling him to set up a location to meet. Keeler wants to keep it quiet for now, and DaD, although a little nervous about Keeler's plan, agrees.