In other splitscreen windows, Ethan is still unconscious on his couch, NYPD cars are driving around with sirens on, right past Tarin's van, and the remainder of the evacuation party is reunited. Of course the only survivors are Kiefer, Walker, and the Hassans. Also, Taylor sits in her improvised situation room, probably wondering where the fuck her Chief of Staff and Secretary of State are. And at 5:57:45, Dana leaves her desk to answer a cell phone call. No one even pays attention when she does that any more. She went from Miss Perfect to That Coworker in one night.
It's Samir calling, in his warehouse where welding is apparently done nonstop around the clock. He's wondering why he hasn't heard from her. She says it's because CTU doesn't know anything. In other words, there's no word on whether Taylor is cooperating. "We lost communication with the security detail about twenty minutes ago." Samir figures this means Taylor isn't giving in. Dana starts trying to reason with him: "You use that bomb, you lose your leverage." Samir says Taylor has left him no choice, and the blood will be on her hands. "Samir!" she hisses into her dead phone after he hangs up.
Samir's next call is to Tarin, still waiting behind the driver's seat of his van and looking pretty stressed out. He probably has to pee. Samir tells him, "The president has not responded. Start the countdown." He instructs him to stay with the bomb to make sure no one messes with it. Looking anguished, Tarin listens as Samir says, "Your name will never be forgotten, my friend." Calling him "my friend" doesn't really support that claim. Tarin says something in Arabic ("The next world is the true life," according to my exhaustive research), and Samir says it back. With that, Tarin hangs up. Then he picks up a watch in his lap and presses a button. In the back of the van, an LED on the bomb lights up and starts counting down from 15 minutes. It's 6:00:00. Uh-oh, this is bad. It means the dirty bomb is going to be out of play one way or another early in the next episode, which means a lot of random flailing around for the remaining nine hours. Season Six, anyone?
And in the previews for next week, the show is already starting its long goodbye -- with a two-hour episode. How can we miss it if it won't go away?
M. Giant is a Minneapolis-based writer with a wife, a son, and a number of cats that seems to have settled at around two. Learn waaaay too much about him at Velcrometer, follow him on Twitter, or just e-mail him at M.Giant[at]gmail.com.