Kiefer poses as the newly-dead Rossler to deliver the new gas canister trigger chip -- with CTU tracking device attached -- to Erwich's men. But they aren't satisfied to have Kiefer merely install the new chip; they insist, at gunpoint, that Kiefer come with them on a field test in a crowded mall. And McGill wants to let the test go ahead so as not to tip off Erwich and let him escape with the other nineteen canisters. As for Buchanan, he wants President Logan to weigh in on this latest moral dilemma. Of course, the President has already flunked one of those this hour, having decided to cover up Walt's crimes after all. So when CTU calls, Logan gives the go-ahead to let the bad guys gas the mall. But Kiefer don't play that; defying the orders coming through on his secret earpiece, he thwarts the test and gets knocked out for his trouble. During his nap, the terrorists manage to hot-wire the canister, and Kiefer wakes up just in time to prevent the gas from affecting more than a handful of shoppers, one of whom Kiefer saves personally. The surviving terrorist escapes and leads Kiefer and Curtis to Erwich's garage hideout, just in time to learn that the failure of the test tipped off Erwich, just as McGill feared. He and his other guys have already bugged out with the gas. On the bright side, they're down one canister now, so their potential for mass destruction just dropped five percent. I'm just trying to provide a more positive perspective here.
So even though McGill got beaten and mugged last week, he doesn't seem to have any trouble reentering CTU without his access card. I guess things have gotten a little lax, what with the last major security breach having occurred over two hours ago. Once inside the door, McGill re-tucks his shirt, straightens his tie, wipes the blood off of his lip, and runs his hands through his hair before anybody notices his condition and wonders what happened to him. If that were me, I'd totally milk the situation for sympathy and ice cream. But McGill isn't me, which is why he doesn't slam the door on his face for good measure. He meets up with Buchanan, who brings him up to speed on last week's final scene: "Rossler's dead. Shot by his female companion." Oh, is that what they're calling them these days? He adds that this means their initial plan to follow Rossler to Erwich, and then follow Erwich to the canisters of nerve gas, is now in the shitter. Worse yet, they're picking up "chatter" that Erwich is looking for help from other terrorist organizations nationwide. I don't know why they're getting that from "chatter" instead of eavesdropping on Erwich's phone calls as we've seen them do. In any case, I don't see how things could get worse for McGill and Buchanan right now. Oh, never mind, here's Chloe. She announces that there's a call coming in on Rossler's phone. "Put it on speaker," Buchanan says. It's either going to be Erwich or the most carefully scrutinized telemarketing call in law enforcement history.
Over at the Cradle of Love, Kiefer answers Rossler's phone with a terse, artificially deep-voiced "Yeah." Erwich gives Kiefer -- who, remember, he thinks is Rossler -- instructions to meet one of Erwich's men at a parking garage in five minutes. Wow, I bet even Rossler's parking garage is more than five minutes away. Erwich tells Kiefer to "look for a blue van" and hangs up before Kiefer has to respond. It doesn't sound like Erwich suspects anything is amiss. "I think we caught a break," Kiefer understates to Curtis. He asks for the new trigger chip that Rossler produced off-screen at some point, and puts a call through to CTU.
Buchanan's now in a full meeting in the Situation Room when Kiefer's call comes in. Kiefer points out that he can pass himself off as Rossler at the meeting, since Erwich won't be there. "We can keep the meeting," Kiefer says. "We can control this thing." Remember those words later. McGill frets that Erwich's man may already know Rossler, but Kiefer reminds them of the "look for a blue van" instruction, which wouldn't have been necessary were that the case. Buchanan thinks it's still risky, and Audrey is even more blunt: "They will probably kill you." And if they don't, I will, her tone says. Kiefer says it's a chance they have to take. Buchanan finally gives the okay. After Kiefer hangs up, Buchanan tells Chloe she'll need to "tech support" Kiefer through the installation of the chip. Remember those words later, too.
At the Cradle of Love, Curtis is explaining the sitch to Kiefer: "The chip you'll be given is genuine, but it's useless without the unlock code." Still, that's good thinking, supplying terrorists with a working component that will actually allow them to release nerve gas. That shows strong planning in setting up an impending moral quandary. Curtis adds that a tracking device is attached directly to the chip. Kiefer tells Curtis that he plans to act like he's afraid of the bad guys. Not that Curtis needs to know that, but we do so we don't wonder later on why he's going to be acting like a wuss. Curtis gives Kiefer a new comm unit. This one is a little Kiefer-colored blob of plastic that goes into his ear for two-way communication. And it probably cost me and my fellow taxpayers the price of a loft in Chelsea. It means CTU will be able to hear everything within twenty feet of Kiefer. "I'll be watching your back," Curtis promises. Would that be his broke back, Curtis?