Buchanan and the rest of the folks at CTU have a prime suspect in Palmer's assassination: Kiefer himself. Seems his sneaky and not-at-all-dead mug turned up on some surveillance footage in the wrong time and place. Naturally, Kiefer runs away as far as he can go. No, obviously I'm kidding. Instead, he takes it upon himself to investigate Palmer's death on his own, going so far as to sneak into the apartment of Palmer's brother Wayne, which is where Palmer was killed last hour. With Brother Palmer's help, Kiefer finds a clue that the millions of other law enforcement agents working the case haven't, and manages to slip the net that's closing in around him now that CTU knows he's alive. Chloe gets busted in his place. Meanwhile, the First Lady is insisting that Palmer was killed over something big that he was about to tell her -- until President Logan plays her a tape of their conversation that sounds completely innocuous. And then he tells her to go back on her meds. Logan, in turn, is insisting that the summit with the Russian president go on as scheduled, like right now, even though a bunch of Eurotrash baddies are clearly up to no good at the time the Russian president is supposed to arrive. Kiefer's clue leads him to Ontario Airport (the one in L.A., not the one in Ontario), where he hands Derek back over to his mom amid many apologies before continuing his investigation. But then Derek spots the aforementioned Eurotrash baddies piling out of a panel truck outside the airport terminal, and decides he has to go warn Kiefer. Because now the kid thinks he's an apprentice secret agent or something. Anyway, the baddies take the entire terminal hostage, including Derek (but not Kiefer, who's still sneaking around in the back). And then we learn that that recorded conversation between Palmer and the First Lady was altered by a mole who's part of Logan's inner-inner-inner circle. Things is moving pretty quickly here.
One second ago, on 24: Actually, you know what? Screw the previouslies. I never recapped those on the HBO shows, and nobody ever complained. Even though those previouslies frequently went further back than the most recent episode, unlike a certain real-time show on Fox that I could name. The first few minutes of every hour here are always full of characters talking about what happened at the end of the last one anyway. You know, just like in real life.
Okay, so maybe not right away, but they totally will in a minute. Audrey is in a room with Buchanan, micromanaging the deployment of agents at the President's retreat, which I'm calling Not Camp David. They've got a screen with a schematic and little icons showing where all their guys are, which is going to come up again later. When Audrey gets distracted by a phone call, Edgar comes in to announce that they've got video of a suspect in the Palmer shooting. Apparently, somebody broke into the service entrance of the building across the street from Wayne Palmer's apartment that morning; Edgar has sent the security camera footage to Buchanan's screen. Buchanan watches as the blurry image on the monitor resolves. "Audrey," he says, and Audrey turns in time to see the face of her dead ex-boyfriend on the screen. Buchanan just stands there, like, awkward.
Back at the refinery, I don't know what Kiefer has been doing for the last three and a half minutes, but he's just now getting around to explaining to Chloe that he's being framed for Palmer's murder. Chloe advises him to vanish, but he'd much rather lock, load, and find out who was behind the assassination. He can always vanish...later? He explains that his first move is to visit the original crime scene to look for clues. Chloe quite correctly points out that actual law enforcement officers are probably already working on that, and they'll be only too happy to find their new prime suspect sniffing around the place. Kiefer simply demands a schematic of the building and an interagency deployment grid, cleverly getting past Chloe's resistance by making it a challenge to her 7333t h4x0r ski1z. Derek, meanwhile, is looking rather dazed at what he just witnessed. "How could you kill that guy?" he whines at Kiefer. Kiefer says he's sorry Derek had to see it, and tells him to get in the bad guys' white van, which they're commandeering. Derek refuses, because he doesn't understand one of the first rules of 24: when the guy you just watched kill someone in cold blood tells you to do something, you fucking do it. Kiefer loses patience and pushes Derek against the van, his hand clamped around the boy's throat. "Let's get something straight, kid," he snarls. "The only reason you're still conscious is because I don't want to carry you. Now get in the van." Awesome. Derek, wonder of wonders, gets in the van.
That security camera footage of Kiefer is playing on every screen on the CTU floor as Edgar explains that the video footage hasn't been doctored. I love how people are always so confident of that. Obviously the recording doctors are just getting better. They don't go to recording medical school for nothing, you know. Buchanan makes the Herculean logical leap that this means Kiefer was in the neighboring building at the time Palmer was shot. Audrey's still trying to catch up, so Buchanan helpfully explains that while he doesn't know how Kiefer staged his own death, he understands that it probably seemed preferable to spending the rest of his life eating bad dim sum in a Chinese prison. Buchanan goes on to say that maybe Kiefer killed Palmer -- and Michelle, and almost Tony, too. Curtis speculates that maybe Kiefer stopped trusting them to keep his secret. Audrey still isn't buying it, but Buchanan says it's the best explanation they have right now. Audrey stands there quietly trying to hold her shit together (the chick can still act, my friends), until Buchanan advises, "The White House needs to know about this." Audrey's off to make the call, and possibly also have herself a cozy little freak-out somewhere. Curtis chimes in to say he's just discovered some evidence that Chloe was in on the conspiracy to fake Kiefer's death as well. Buchanan checks his watch and remarks that Chloe should be at CTU by now. Edgar agrees, and even takes a moment to blame Spencer for talking him out of running a locator trace on Chloe's cell phone. Buchanan dispatches a guilty-looking Spencer to take care of that now, and orders an interagency alert on their new prime suspect in the Palmer shooting: Jack Bauer.