The CTU cast is all sealed up in "safe" rooms, but they won't be safe for long. That's because the nerve gas filling the building comes complete with seal-eating acid, which means that our heroes can't wait around for help to arrive. Chloe could take care of it from the Situation Room, but there's that computer in the ventilation room that has to be shut down manually. Kiefer's attempt to get through to it is blocked, so McGill has to step up. And it kills him. That'll learn him not to report his keycard stolen. Meanwhile, all manner of political maneuvering is going on in the outside world: the Vice President is pushing harder than ever for martial law, and it looks like the Department of Homeland Security is going to take over what's left of CTU. Once the building is aired out, Spawn declares that two hours around Kiefer is quite enough for her, thank you very much. And a vengeful Tony decides to finish off an apparently comatose Henderson with a lethal injection. Notice I said "apparently." So when Tony loses his nerve, Henderson snaps awake, turns the needle on his would-be executioner, and escapes, leaving Tony for dead. Kiefer arrives just in time to hear what might be Tony's last words. Yes, I said "might be." It's Tony. I'll believe he's dead when I see his bones.
Hey, in case you missed last week's episode, CTU got gassed but good. Also in case you missed it, it turns out that they have an automated announcement set up for exactly this kind of occasion. An unfamiliar voice on the P.A. explains how Sentox nerve gas has been released in the building, and lists the safe rooms (one of which is McGill's holding room, like, way to remember that a week later, writers). The announcement further instructs anyone in those areas not to leave until the chemical response teams clear the area. I don't know who the announcement thinks it's talking to in terms of people who aren't inside the safe rooms, because those folks? They dead. This is a highly specific yet not terribly bright automated announcement, is what I'm saying. One of those many corpses is, as you'll recall, Edgar, who's splayed out on the floor with strawberry yogurt spilling out of his mouth. Inside the sealed-off Situation Room, Chloe drops to her knees in front of the window as she looks out at him. Now she'll never get to hit that.
Buchanan's in his office (also sealed up safe), on the phone with Curtis. The Handsome Black Agent was already on his way back to CTU, but it's going to be another half hour before he and the Chemical Response Teams arrive -- even though it took them less than a half hour to get to the hospital two episodes ago, during rush hour. They must have been going against traffic back then. Buchanan hangs up and calls down to the Situation Room to relay the news to Kiefer and the gang, explaining that the CRT units that weren't at Tyler Memorial (over an hour ago! Snap it up, slowpokes!) have been sent to other "high-probability targets." On the bright side, all of the phones and computers are working, so they can still read my recaps. Kiefer's main concern for now is whether Henderson is still alive. He explains to Buchanan that the suspect was shipped over to Medical by Burke The New Torture Guy just before the barriers went down. Buchanan tells him to look at a building grid to find out. As for nerve gas countermeasures, CTU is lucky enough to have gas masks in the armory and atropine (nerve gas antidote, I suppose) in medical storage; CTU is less lucky in the sense that both of those areas are inaccessible. Kiefer tells Buchanan he'll call back. Because he's going to order a pizza?
He goes over to Chloe to try to snap her out of her paralysis, but she isn't snapping. For once. Kiefer acts all patient and understanding with her for about ten seconds, but his voice quickly begins to rise in frustration. And then Spawn's shrink boyfriend Barry cuts in: "Mr. Bauer." Kiefer gets up, walks all the way around the table, stands right in front of Barry, and pisses at him, "What?" Hee. Barry offers to help Chloe with what we can presume are his mad shrink skillz. Kiefer swallows his contempt for the man -- which briefly makes him look like a python devouring a boar -- and accepts the offer. Spawn gives a tiny, proud smile as her man goes around to where Chloe is sitting. Barry hunches down in front of Chloe, gets her to tell him Edgar's name, and explains to her that she's in shock and he wants to help her through it. What Barry doesn't realize is that this isn't the worst thing that's ever happened to Chloe. It's not even the worst thing that's happened to her today. He guides her over to a chair and as he holds her hands, he advises her to "collect your breath, just for a second." Chloe decides to spend some, instead: "He was such a great guy, and I just treated him like crap all day," she soliloquizes. Everyone's watching. Nobody's arguing.
In the Holding room, at 7:05:42, McGill decides that confession is good for the soul. There's a random Redshirt sealed in there with him, whom McGill informs, "This is my fault." The Redshirt's confused, and McGill red-facedly explains that his keycard was stolen and he didn't report it. The previously bored guard is suddenly a lot more interested, as McGill explains, "I was embarrassed. I didn't want anyone to know I got beat up." Redshirt: "So we're all gonna die because you were embarrassed?" I guess we can assume that this isn't the Redshirt who let McGill back into the building without his keycard. McGill just looks at his fellow survivor like he's thinking, (a) Why did I decide to share that, and (b) when I fire him, who's going to throw him out of the building?