At 5:08:55, the TerrorTaxi enters a warehouse where all manner of welding is going on. Samir and Tarin get out and are met by the bomb technician Samir talked to on the phone a couple of hours ago. He's sorry to hear Ali didn't make it, but Samir assures him, "Tarin will take his place as driver." All that remains to be done is for the rods to be loaded into the bomb. Samir takes Tarin aside and tells him to be ready to leave. "I want to place the bomb as soon after I talk to the president as possible." So as to give them more time to find it, I guess. Tarin watches the bomb tech open the big duffel bag with the rods inside. It's 5:10:12. How exactly are these rods going to do any damage at all when nobody seems afraid to be around them? Maybe it's a special kind of radiation that only works on Russians.
5:14:24. Kiefer and Walker emerge from an elevator at the U.N. and greet a Secret Service agent named O'Connor, who already knows who they are, and doesn't seem to resent being saddled with a couple of freelancers. She explains to them about the plan to evacuate the Hassans underground, with a task force of seven Secret Service agents, two of Hassan's guys (neither of whom is Nabeel, which is a little odd), and now Kiefer and Walker. They'll be ready to go in ten minutes, via a tunnel that parallels a PATH train into New Jersey. Just waiting on the vehicles now. Kiefer wants to see the evac routes, but since Hassan wants to see him first, he sends Walker to deal with that while he meets him in the Council Chamber.
Hassan stands to shake hands with Kiefer when he enters the room, but totally forgets to thank him for saving his daughter. He's glad to hear Kiefer's leading the evacuation, and tells him that he and his wife and daughter are ready now, awaiting only Kiefer's instructions. Kiefer asks for ten minutes before they can get them out through a tunnel into New Jersey. Hassan chuckles ruefully: "And here I thought I would be leaving the United Nations today at the head of a peace march down Fifth Avenue." Grandiose much? Kiefer says Taylor's still holding out hope for that, and repeats the ten-minute timeline. Oh, and he's welcome for saving his daughter.
Ethan apparently works fast; a situation room has indeed been set up by 5:15:11, complete with dispersal maps of Manhattan up on the big screen. A general brings up the subject of how to respond in terms of military retaliation, and then my local Fox affiliate goes haywire, sticking some rogue commercials in here for some reason. By the time we're back, Taylor is taking a call from Samir on his sat phone. He lies that it's going to be a short conversation, and says he wants to convince her that he doesn't actually want to hurt innocent Americans. Taylor brings up he bomb he 's threatening them with. "Actually a radiological dispersal device, Madam President," Samir corrects, "capable of contaminating forty square blocks under a dense radiation cloud." Well, at least it's not a bomb. Taylor in turn threatens retaliation against the IRK if this happens. "I would expect nothing less," Samir says. But all he wants is Hassan. "He is a traitor to his people and must stand trial for his crimes." "That will never happen," Taylor declares, I guess letting the accusation stand. Samir gives her one hour to change her mind. "Mr. Woods knows how to contact me," he adds, meaning Tiny Tim from Homeland Security. "Madam President? Clock stars now." Taylor asks how many people they're talking about. "Between a hundred and a hundred and fifty thousand," Tim estimates. Taylor tells Rob to tell CTU about the threat, but not the ransom demand. She tells Tim to call up the National Guard and start an evacuation. In an hour? Rob cuts in: "I'm just gonna say it: we should consider the alternative." "You mean give in to the demand to turn over President Hassan?" Ethan asks, stunned. Rob argues, "No one man is worth the lives of tens of thousands. And you know what? I bet he would agree." Call him and ask him, then. Ethan can't believe they're even talking about this, which Rob says they need to. "Not unless you're intent on destroying our moral authority," Ethan lectures. "This country's unique place among nations, maybe forever?" Rob weighs it against the people, homes, and businesses, "uninhabitable for maybe a hundred years or more?" Into this long, awkward pause steps Tim, saying he agrees. "Giving up Hassan is wrong, but a forty-block wasteland at the heart of New York City is unthinkable." So wrong > unthinkable. Rob adds that the country would crucify them if people ever found out this could have been avoided. "Now we're talking politics, for God's sake?" Ethan blusters. Rob argues, "We're talking about the primary role of government. Any government. Which is to protect its citizens." The general from before jumps in to say that if Taylor has to retaliate against the IRK, things could escalate and end up destabilizing the entire region. When Taylor points out that he was the one who brought up retaliatory strikes in the first place, he brings up the popular military expression "facts on the ground," which almost always means somebody's about to say something obnoxious. In this case, it's that they've changed: "Now we have a viable option." "Viable?" Taylor repeats disapprovingly, and asks, "Is that the sense in the room, then? That surrendering President Hassan is somehow viable?" She lays out her three points: 1) the bad guys might detonate the bomb anyway, 2) Hassan is a guest and her partner in peace, and 3) "caving to any terrorist demand weakens this nation immeasurably." We already know this about her from last season of course, when she also refused to cave in and as a result got to watch a midair collision right through her office window. And a funny thing, she's still in office even after that. "Now we have sixty minutes [actually more like fifty-eight] to find these bastards, and I believe we will. But if we don't, and the worst happens, we will deal with it. We will pick ourselves up off the floor and deal with it." But why? Because that's what we do? "Because that's what we do!" she says. I knew it. "Americans don't stay down. We rise up together in times of crisis." To amplify her point, she stands up, saying, "We carry on. Is that clear?" No answer except for everyone else standing up. "Start the calls, Tim" she orders, and heads out of the room to wherever else she needs to be. I hope nobody else had anything to bring up in that meeting, because I'm pretty sure it's over now.