24

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Under Pressure

Dana Walsh, President Omar Hassan, the late Farhad Hassan, and Jack Bauer are the names in the previouslies freeze-frames. Oddly, Marcos Al-Zacar doesn't get one, even though he's the guy who made half of these previouslies happen to begin with.

Marcos is of course still barricaded inside the hyperbaric chamber at the hospital. In addition to the intercom camera Marcos disabled at the end of the last hour, there's a bulb-style overhead camera mounted in the ceiling, watching Marcos do his thing. That thing, of course, is tinkering with the guts of his vest's electronics while referring to a complex circuitry diagram that he drew on the wall during the previouslies. So when Samir told Marcos he would "walk him through" modifying the detonator, what he meant was he would somehow download the required schematic directly into Marcos's brain over the phone? Dude, if the IRK has that kind of technology, who needs nukes in the first place? As Marcos continues fiddling with the wires, his vest gives a little beep and an LED light comes on under his left shoulder. That either means something to do with the bomb or Marcos's internal hard drive is spinning.

In the hallways outside, a tech geek in CTU armor is giving Kiefer a rundown on the chamber. It's one-inch steel all around (okay, so I was off by a factor of twelve) and air and power systems are "internal," whatever that means. Are we supposed to believe that the pressure controls are also operated from inside? Wouldn't that mean that anybody undergoing treatment in there would either have to be accompanied by a doctor or technician, or run the machine themselves? Maybe the magic of the hyperbaric chamber is that people inside it can instantly become experts on how to work anything, which would also explain Marcos's circuitry diagram. It would also explain why, for this entire episode, nobody ever hits on the idea of simply pumping out enough air to render Marcos unconscious. And don't tell me this chamber can't do that, because otherwise there'd be no reason for the door to swing outward instead of in. CTU would still have to get in there somehow, but at least it would buy them some time during which Marcos wouldn't be working on the bomb because he'd be too busy lying on the floor drooling pink foam. The geek adds that the atmosphere inside is probably oxygen-rich, which increases the risk of fire. Probably? Gosh, isn't it just CTU's luck to have to deal with this problem in a hospital without any staff to ask questions like this. As far as getting Marcos out, it's going to take forty minutes to drill through the steel, using a low-speed drill to avoid sparks and the attendant risk of explosion. Taking people alive is such a hassle sometimes.

The still youthful but now less inexperienced Agent Owen, a trickle of blood still on his temple where Marcos pistol-whipped him, shows up to tell Kiefer that the camera Marcos knocked out is back online. The intercom isn't yet working again, but Owen is able to show Kiefer the video feed from inside the room, which offers a sweetheart view of Marcos's wiring diagram. Owen says that according to the techs, the modifications Marcos seems to be working on will do the trick. As for the time frame, he says Marcos will need to reset four circuits, the first of which is already completed, as shown by the single LED still glowing under Marcos's shoulder. Once he gets all four he can trigger it at any moment. The bright side is that the chamber will contain the explosion and keep anyone else from getting hurt. "He's not trying to hurt anybody, he's trying to make sure we don't take him alive," Kiefer says, because he is not about bright sides. He asks his earpiece to connect him to Hastings, and a woman's voice says that's coming right up. Glad to see Sarah from The Andy Griffith Show landed on her feet.

Kiefer gets patched through to what looks like a little staff meeting already convening on the CTU floor. He wants everything they have on Marcos, and Chloe gives it to him, at some unnecessary length. We already know he's got an American mother in town, but his father was from the IRK. Chloe also has the file on Professor Al-Zacar, who was a vocal critic of the U.S. He spent four months in jail under President Wayne Palmer (a phrase I still can't type with a straight face to this day), came out unemployable, and committed suicide a year later. Hastings chimes in that Marcos joined IRK intelligence two months later. As for his mom, Arlo has her DMV records placing her home in East Harlem, "4211 East 117th Street." In fact Google Maps tells me that address is in a part of Harlem so far east it's in Queens. Kiefer wants her picked up and brought to him right away. Once the call ends, Hastings gives instructions to his troops. He says they're working on the assumption that the terrorists will want to hit someplace in Manhattan with the uranium, which of course means it'll have to be brought onto the island. Chloe suggests locking the city down, but Hastings says their best chance to catch them is in transit. Sure, using the entire island of Manhattan as bait seems reasonable to me. That means keeping a close eye on the radiation sensors that have been set up at all the bridges and tunnels. Which should work, as long as the terrorists don't get their hands on a helicopter. Or maybe just a catapult. Or a giant crossbow they can use to shoot the rods at the U.N. from Roosevelt Island one by one. I'm an idea guy, you know. Hastings barely pauses in his speech as he looks up and happens to see Dana and Cole's faces on a building security monitor, and he reminds Arlo that the drones need to be on that as well. Damn, if the air is covered, so much for my giant crossbow idea. I would be a sucky terrorist.

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