Tarin gets word from Samir that he's busted, and when he sees the NYPD moving in early -- against Kiefer's orders, no less -- he makes a run for it, dragging Kayla with him. She soon finds herself in front of the terrorists' webcam. They're using her as leverage to demand something called "File 33" from President Hassan. Hassan feigns ignorance, until finally admitting that it's a file on all the weaknesses in American defenses -- including how to disable the radiological detectors that are the only thing preventing the bad guys from getting the fuel rods into Manhattan. Hassan is tasked with stalling the terrorists with a fake file while Kiefer and Cole track down Kayla. And Tarin, in turn, is tasked with killing Kayla if her father doesn't come through with the goods. But instead, Tarin runs away with her again. Apparently he had second thoughts or was a double agent all along. Tarin is shot in the escape, but Kayla gets away, the terrorists in hot pursuit. She calls in and directs Kiefer to the hideout while Dana directs her to CTU, but Kiefer and Cole find the hideout empty and abandoned. But at least Arlo's tracking the bad guys' car with an aerial drone, so that's okay.
Dana has to meet with Prady, Kevin's probation officer, and spins a pretty convincing tale about an ill-advised one night stand with Kevin. Prady, however, is not convinced, and won't be gotten rid of. In fact, he insists that Dana give him CTU's footage from the evidence lockup robbery, and Dana's about to hand it over and give herself up.
But then! Turns out Tarin's not dead after all; he just faked Kayla's escape so she could drive the getaway car right into CTU. And in the trunk is a ticking EMP bomb! CTU goes completely and spectacularly dark when it detonates, so that'll about do it for tracking the bad guys. The only good news is for Dana: if all of CTU's data archives are wiped, she's just gotten her first break of the season.
Tonight's previouslies freeze-frames feature Dana Walsh, Jack Bauer, Kayla Hassan and Samir Mehran. Big promotion for Samir!
Okay, so I'm just going to tell you right now that I thought this was a great episode. Unfortunately, those are the hardest to pick apart, which made this recap a bit of a challenge to write. Apologies in advance that I couldn't seem to find my long knives this week.
From the CTU floor, Hastings calls for attention so that his whole staff can get the full exposition. IRK nationalists are looking to detonate a dirty bomb in Manhattan, and CTU's only lead is Tarin Faroush. But what about the radiological detectors at the bridges and tunnels? Hastings explains, "We believe he wants to disable our defenses so they can smuggle the bomb into Manhattan." Hastings throws it to Chloe, who reports that Tarin's at the Teodore Hotel with Kayla Hassan, who has been warned of Tarin's involvement and instructed to prevent him from leaving. Hastings asks when their guys are expected to get there, and Dana chimes into say NYPD is almost at the staging area and CTU is ten minutes away. Hastings tells Chloe to work with the NYPD, but Chloe defers to Dana, saying she's better at that. "Fine," Hastings agrees. "Jack Bauer's heading field ops. Dana's on point with NYPD. Arlo will run aerial. Let's get to it." And Hastings is on exposition, but since he has completed those duties with alacrity, he can kick back for the rest of the hour.
As the buzz of activity resumes, Arlo heads over to Chloe to ask who he's supposed to be reporting to now. Chloe blows him off, so now poor Arlo doesn't know whom to hit on. He just tells Chloe that the drones are in position over the Teodore Hotel. In the background, Dana cuts a look at Chloe, probably worried that she's losing her position as Arlo's favorite target of sexual harassment.
Tarin is still waiting for Kayla to come out of the bathroom. She turns on the shower to throw him off, and goes to the window. Tarin tries to hurry her along by calling through the locked door (not that he has his own shirt on yet, but then again, not that anyone could blame him). But she's already trying to leave on her own -- out the window, until she discovers it won't open more than a few inches. While he tries to make sense of the suspicious noises emanating from within, his cell phone rings. He goes to answer it, and it's Samir, warning him that Marcos talked and Tarin might be compromised. Grimacing, Tarin tells Samir about the call from her mother. "Get out now and bring her with you," Samir instructs. "We're moving to the next phase." But doesn't Tarin need a ride? Samir says that someone named Hamid is on his way. Tarin finally puts his shirt on and calls to Kayla again. She asks for one more minute, and he again tells her to hurry. Kayla just looks trapped, but now she's doing it faster.