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Fire in the Hole

5:28:52. Everyone at CTU is hard at work, and Dana gets that list of NYPD checkpoints from Chloe on her computer. She's just about to forward it on to Samir when Hastings calls for everyone's attention. "The White House just received credible intelligence the terrorists we've been tracking plan to detonate a radiological device in New York City in less than fifty minutes," he announces. "All of us in this building have friends and family who live in the city. We know we are bound by law not to warn them." Nice reminder. "But we also know it's still in our power to protect them. We are their last line of defense. That is our job. That is what we will do with every second of every minute we have left. Starting now. Go back through all your leads. Appeal to your sources one more time. Find. That. Bomb." He leaves the floor, which buzzes with renewed activity. Futile, pointless activity, but activity. Pretty much the only person succeeding in getting anything done is Dana, who is now forwarding that file on to Samir.

Who is already on the phone to Tarin, who in turn is in a delivery uniform driving that van through the city. Samir tells Tarin to turn left, and Tarin pulls into what looks like West Backlot Avenue. "The fallout radius will include a good part of the Upper West Side," Samir tells him. Tarin doesn't look as thrilled at this news as you might think. Maybe he was hoping to take some night classes at Columbia next semester.

At 5:31:16, Rob leads General Brucker into what I assume is the office Ethan's using while he's here. So it looks like he's going through with it, which effectively makes him no longer the chief of staff but the chief of morons. I mean, obviously someone's going to find out about this, and a lot of people won't believe Taylor had nothing to do with it. While Brucker closes the curtains, Rob gets on Ethan's laptop, signs right in (because they apparently all know each other's passwords), and gives Brucker the overview on Hassan's security: he's being protected by eleven agents, including Jack Bauer. "Why is Bauer involved?" Brucker asks, because Kiefer is just that famous all the way up to the highest levels of the military. "The president trusts him," Rob answers. "And believe me, he's not someone to be taken lightly." Brucker isn't worried about it, which calls his judgment even more into question than it already was. He holds out a thumb drive, and when Rob doesn't exactly snatch it, Brucker weasels, "The loss of life is regrettable, Mr. Weiss. No one feels this more keenly than a solder who's led men into battle, but right now we don't have a choice." Sure they do -- and Rob makes his. He takes the thumb drive, and the files are quickly transferred. Right then of course is when Ethan comes in, wondering what's going on. Sure, he disappears all night, then shows up right when nobody wants to see him. Brucker lies that he and Rob were just trying to pull up White House readiness protocols they couldn't get from Rob's computer. Ethan spots the thumb drive still sticking out of his computer, and Rob quickly adds that he was checking Hassan's itinerary to see about a military escort. You know, just on the off chance it occurs to Ethan to check what these guys were actually doing on his computer. For now, he just grunts skeptically. Brucker slowly walks around Ethan and blocks the door, refusing to move. Ethan's pissed, and Brucker tells him to sit down. Ethan refuses, sticking his hand into his jacket pocket. Suddenly Ethan's pocket says in a muffled voice, "This is Bauer, go ahead." So Ethan's last call was to Kiefer, apparently. Kiefer is walking with the group leading the evacuation under the U.N., trying to figure out who's calling him and why they're not talking. Brucker realizes Ethan has a live phone in there, and grabs at it. During the scuffle, it becomes Rob's turn to block the door. "This is beyond madness," Ethan says. "The two of you will spend the rest of your lives in prison." Brucker says maybe, "but my guess is that one day the country will thank us for it." Yes, when terrorists are calling the White House with demands like it's a Pizza Hut. Ethan begs Rob not to do this. "Don't betray your president." But then whatever Ethan was gong to say after that is cut off as he starts having a big, fat, hammy heart attack. Brucker watches as Rob helps him with his tiny little pills, but refuses to let Rob call for help. "The first thing he does is get word to the President." Rob says they can't do nothing, and Brucker points out that Rob gave him his medication. It's not like he's the kind of White House Chief of Staff who pushes people down stairs. As Rob tries to help Ethan, Brucker insists this is a tactical decision, not an emotional one. "We wait to acquire Hassan before calling an ambulance, understand?" "What if he doesn't make it that long?" Rob protests. "We have to pray that he does," Brucker says. Rob reluctantly agrees, as Ethan passes out. The price of this operation is getting higher by the minute.

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