The good news is that Kiefer's on the right track chasing Toombs (now known as Davros). But that's where the good news ends. Bad news includes such nuggets as: he is too late to catch Davros; he is too late to prevent him from killing the cop Davros is replacing at the U.N. (or his wife, for that matter); and a Vic Mackey wannabe catches him in the house, assumes he is the killer, and decides to have a little fun with him.
Additional bad news is the fact that CTU is continuing to bark up the wrong tree in a big way. Hastings does get Meredith Reed to confess to her affair with Hassan. And he gets Hassan to confess to it as well, albeit privately. But Hastings is still not convinced, and refuses to send Kiefer any backup no matter how much Chloe whines. Worse, that file planted on Reed's computer turns out to be plans for the U.N. Council Chamber and a bomb designed to be hidden beneath it. Hastings of course takes the bait and orders a full evacuation, which naturally will take Hassan right to where Davros plans to blow him up for real. At the last possible second, Kiefer gets sprung, does an end run around Hastings, and manages to get Cole to intercept Hassan's evacuation car. So the bomb goes off under Cole instead of Hassan. Did Cole survive? We'll have to wait at least three minutes to find out.
Also, stupid Dana lets her stupid ex-boyfriend blackmail her into letting him crash at her stupid place, in case anyone cares.
Previouslies freeze-frames: "CTU New York," President Omar Hassan, Chloe O'Brian, Jack Bauer (showing his investigative acumen while leaving out the whole part where he didn't want any part of this), Dana Walsh, and "Davros." That's the guy I've been referring to as Toombs all this time. I'm glad I can drop that geeky sci-fi TV show reference now that I know the character's actual name. Which he happens to share with the inventor of the Daleks.
This hour's opening exposition scene takes the form of one of Hastings' least favorite activities, namely being chewed out by White House Chief of Staff Rob Weiss. Weiss really wants some good news to report to Taylor, but all Hastings can offer him right now is the fact that everyone there is trying to decrypt that big file they pulled off Meredith Reed's computer. Indeed, all the CTU big screens are filled with flashing grids of ever-changing characters that look like a sports book in Hell. "If your people fail and President Hassan dies, this peace process dies with him," Weiss harps, once again repeating the stakes for this part of the season. Oh, the excitement! Peace is at stake! Weiss says to let him know when the file is decrypted. Oh, I think he'll do more than that.
Down on the main floor, Cole comes and finds Dana to ask her how that same decryption project is coming. She says it's about thirty to forty minutes away from being decrypted, although she burned up about half of that time technobabbling at him. Cole's wondering about this whole project, due to Kiefer's theory that Reed is being framed. "If that evidence was planted, the file you're decrypting is irrelevant at best. Or at worst, a misdirection." Dana says she traced the breach herself (so she's a little invested in the official theory, I'm just saying) and points out that the polygraphs indicate Reed is holding something back. Something she unfortunately did not hold back from Hassan. Cole hopes Dana is right: "Jack's going after this guy on his own." Dana is surprised that Hastings went for that, but before Cole can explain how that came about, and how Kiefer essentially made Cole a party to his blackmail of the boss, Cole's away team is ready to go and he takes off.
Kiefer pulls up in his borrowed CTU sedan to the corner of Broadway and West 23rd in Queens. We can tell that's where he is because he's narrating it to Chloe over his cell phone in real time. They know from the cab company that Davros was dropped off at this corner earlier, but since she doesn't have anything more specific than that yet, all Kiefer can do is wander around and hope to get lucky, like maybe spotting a security camera or something. Which he'll do while still on the phone with her. So far, "running ops" doesn't seem that hard.