In the aftermath of Taylor's order to call off the air strike, everyone thinks it's because she doesn't trust the intel. Except Kiefer, who with Tony's help figures out that Hodges is holding prepped-and-ready missiles over her head. But Tony's still inside, and he offers to blow the fuel tanks, which Taylor obliquely authorizes. She receives Hodges in the Oval Office, and listens to his sales pitch to make Starkwood a de facto part of the government. Of course she's only playing for time while Tony sets the charges, and the minute she gets word of the explosion at Starkwood, she orders Hodges and Seaton arrested on the spot. But no sooner is Hodges in custody than he claims to be only a small part of something bigger than all of them. What, exactly? "You'll find out," he threatens.
But in the meantime, there's mopping up to do. Tony survived the explosion and is taken into Moss's custody for the time being, while Kiefer's beginning to literally lose his mind. And it doesn't help when Walker tells him that she went ahead and brought his daughter into the FBI to try the experimental treatment. Kiefer's pissed, until he learns that Kim's been trying to reach him all day. They have an emotional reunion and bury every possible hatchet, but Kiefer's still refusing her help.
And just when things at Starkwood seem to be under control, one of Hodges's men manages to kill two FBI agents and smuggle a single bioweapon canister off the grounds. In the ensuing pursuit, Moss gets shot, and while he lies there wounded, Tony suffocates him while the Starkwood guy watches. So…Tony's evil again, then?
The first of this week's previouslies freeze-frames features -- get this -- "The FBI." Which is represented by Kiefer and Agent Walker, on the phone at the DC field office. Weird. Remember when CTU used to get freeze-frames sometimes, as "Counter Terrorism Unit"? I'm just a little taken aback at seeing this week's new 24 viewers introduced to something that actually exists.
Tony makes his sneaky way across the Starkwood compound, and from behind a building he watches a semi pulling a tanker trailer into place near what looks like the above-ground pipes leading to a private fuel depot hidden underground. Stokes and another Starkwood guy meet the truck there. While watching this through his binoculars, Tony asks Kiefer over his earpiece where the damn F-18s are already. Kiefer has to tell Tony that Taylor called off the air strike. He claims that Taylor wasn't satisfied with the intel (despite the fact that Kiefer and Tony both saw the canisters themselves) and agrees with Tony that it doesn't make sense. But they still have their orders, and Kiefer's in an obedient mood this hour, so he tells Tony to go meet with Moss's teams, which are along the southwest perimeter of the Starkwood compound. Well, that explains why Moss hasn't been back to FBI-DC yet. Tony tells them to hold on for a minute so he can get a closer look at that truck, and he sees that the truck and the fuel pipes are labeled "RP-7." So that's either a tanker truck full of spray lubricant or remote-control robots, then? Actually, RP-7 means something else to Tony; he recognizes it as fuel for surface-to-surface rockets, which in turn helps him and Kiefer form a theory as to why the air strike was called off: Hodges threatened Taylor with the rockets. Of course, now we know that she could have gone ahead, since the rockets apparently weren't fueled until just now anyway. Kiefer confirms that Tony's got some C-4 on him and that he thinks he can get to the underground depot undetected, and then ropes Walker into coming with him so they can call the president.
Tim enters the Oval Office and tells Taylor that the Joint Chiefs are giving him a hard time about Taylor's decision to call off the air strike. And frankly he doesn't get it either. Taylor's in no mood, and she didn't get this far in the season by not being stubborn, so she puts Tim off, except to mention that Jonas Hodges is on his way to talk to her. Tim is shocked, and asks, "Shouldn't your advisors be at that meeting?" Yes, with guns. But Taylor snaps at him to stop asking questions and tells him to keep Hodges's visit quiet. As Tim leaves, Taylor gets a call from the FBI. Kiefer tells her, "We need to talk." Uh-oh, is Kiefer going to break up with her? But Taylor insists on doing the talking, saying she appreciates their work, but she needs more. "Madam President, with all due respect, I don't believe you're being truthful with us," Kiefer says. Taylor looks busted for a minute before remembering to say, "excuse me?" Yes, Kiefer just called the President of the United States a liar. You'd think POTI would get used to that in a hurry. Kiefer tells her his theory that Hodges has armed missiles with the bioweapon and is threatening to use them. He goes on to tell her about what Tony saw and what it means, and finally Taylor admits that it's true. She's lucky Kiefer's only on the phone and didn't have to torture it out of her. Walker asks Taylor what Hodges wants, and the prez says he has demanded a meeting. Kiefer says she can't negotiate with Hodges, but Taylor insists that she can talk him out of what he's doing. Kiefer says, "Jonas Hodges is a traitor and a terrorist, and after everything that's happened today, are you really naïve enough to believe that you can simply talk to him and change his mind?" Taylor points out that she's out of options, but Kiefer tells Taylor she's not: Tony's in position to bomb the fuel tanks and take out the bioweapons. "RP-7 rocket fuel burns at 5,000 degrees," Kiefer says. "There'll be nothing left." Funny, we learned last week that white phosphorus charges burn at 5,000 degrees too. Does everything burn at that temperature in the 24-verse? Must make barbecues pretty dicey affairs. Taylor is still worried about the possibility of Starkwood busting Tony and launching the missiles as per Hodges' standing orders, but Kiefer begs her to trust him. Finally, Taylor asks, seemingly out of nowhere, "How long do the doctors give you to live?" Kiefer says nobody's sure, "but the pathogen has started to take effect." "Then there's not much I can threaten you with, is there?" Taylor says. "I expect you'll do what you think is right." After giving him a second to think about that, she cuts off the call. Walker is confused, but Kiefer explains that this was Taylor's way of saying she wants them to do it, without actually saying it in case something goes wrong. He tells her to call Moss now, and relay this most indirect presidential order.