Kiefer and Bierko both survived the gas plant explosion, unlike the nerve gas itself. Now that the apparent terror threat has been neutralized, the show would now like us to be afraid that something even bigger is coming, unless Kiefer can finish uncovering the conspiracy in time. Wayne Palmer and Aaron make it back to Not Camp David so they can talk to David Palmer's source for all things conspiracy-related: the First Lady's assistant, Evelyn. But Evelyn has problems of her own, namely that Henderson has kidnapped her daughter and is holding her hostage in order to retrieve the evidence that Evelyn has. Kiefer needs CTU's help to save the little girl without giving up the goods, but CTU is busy being swallowed up by Homeland Security. This is at the Vice President's creepy-ass insistence, so Kiefer can't even tell Hayes what's going on in case the Veep is also behind everything else. And the only way Audrey can keep Chloe around to help Kiefer is to sign a document selling out CTU and Buchanan. Which she does. VP Gardner is acting all kinds of suspicious, particularly after running into Wayne at Not Camp David. Audrey and Chloe provide remote support for Kiefer's operation, in which he and Wayne shoot Henderson's guys right out from under him at the evidence-for-daughter exchange. Evelyn's wounded in the crossfire, but her daughter is safe and Henderson has to escape empty-handed. And then we see Henderson on the phone with the guy he's been taking orders from: President Logan. Uh-oh.
It's been a couple of minutes since the ginormous explosion that looked like it was going to squish/immolate the police car that Kiefer and Bierko were in, and they're still dealing with the aftermath at CTU. Chloe confirms that the nerve gas was incinerated in the explosion. Here's what I don't get: they couldn't stop the Sentox once it was released into the main distribution tank, but they could stop fire? Why didn't the natural gas ignite all through the pipes and in every home on the plant's grid? Ah, well, I guess I just don't understand all the underlying science stuff that I'm sure was thoroughly researched. The bad news for CTU is that there's not yet any sign of Kiefer. Hayes goes off to brief the White House, calling Slime to heel alongside her.
Curtis is still on the scene and on comm with Buchanan and the rest of the folks at CTU. He's just explaining that rescue units are out there looking around for bits of Kiefer, when he sees a heavily laden figure walking purposefully out of the stylishly backlit smoke. It's Kiefer, of course, schlepping Bierko -- or, more likely, a Bierko-shaped dummy -- in an effortless fireman's carry. Curtis notifies CTU and rushes to help Kiefer. Kiefer's face and clothes are blackened, as are those of Bierko, whom Kiefer lays on the ground and tries vainly to revive. "Bierko!" he screams, in a more convincing Russian accent than that of Bierko himself. A medic rushes up and quickly diagnoses Bierko with shock, so Kiefer orders his prisoner transported to CTU Medical. "You get him back to CTU alive," he tells Curtis, who we won't be seeing again this hour.
Kiefer then calls Buchanan on his cell phone to make sure that CTU is making the search for Henderson a priority. He says this kind of attack isn't particularly Hendersonian, and adds that his old boss was willing to let his wife die in order to protect someone very powerful, although Kiefer doesn't know who. "Bill, I'm scared," Kiefer admits. "I think this is bigger than anything we could have imagined." The hand holding the cell phone is shaking with the stress of trying to keep us worried even after the primary terror threat has been neutralized. Don't give up, Kiefer; you've still got nine hours to kill, and probably ten times that many people.
It's 10:04:42, and Vice President Gardner is having a private cell phone conversation in the backyard of Not Camp David, giving Hayes what-for over her failure to make CTU part of Homeland Security already. Hayes says she doesn't want to get in the way of the search for Henderson, which the Veep blows off as a "procedural mop-up" and tells her to get off the fucking dime. I don't know why even a "procedural mop-up" supersedes a "bureaucratic reshuffling," but then I've never been elected to public office. Perhaps that's why.
At CTU, Slime says they'd better get started on implementing the Veep's order. But Hayes still isn't convinced they have sufficient political cover to pull it off in light of all the lives that CTU just saved. Slime suggests getting someone to roll over on Buchanan, but Hayes points out that Buchanan's people are loyal and therefore unlikely to go along. So Slime slimily explains that he's thinking of targeting Audrey, who's been there all day and who also has loyalties to the DoD that he can play off of. "Let me draft a statement and present it to her," Slime oozes. And then he quickly grows a mustache to twirl. The really amazing thing is that all this time they're spending plotting and scheming and politicking causes Christopher Henderson to magically materialize in a CTU holding room. Okay, not really.