Hey! I just noticed that the "Previously on THE EVENT" caption doesn't have a backwards E. See, even the show itself thinks it's dumb. And that might be the first thing the show and I agree on.
We start by watching Thomas's end of that conversation with President Martinez. As you remember, it ends with Thomas threatening, "I don't need to hear your excuses. Or this time, people will die." He means the people who were on Avias Air 514, and he probably means that this time they'll stay dead. Unless we need another Shocking Swerve Cliffhanger, I guess. Anyway, since Thomas is threatening to kill 183 people in cold blood, I guess we are to consider him a bad guy.
Speaking of those 183 people, the caption that places them in the Bio Quarantine Facility in Fairfax now calls them "Avias 514 Victims." That means that all of them are pasty and hyperventilating and they're being shot with that desaturated digital effect that makes them strobe if they move too fast. The effect is that of a crappy, low-budget horror movie made in the last five years. That Air Marshal from the first episode demands to know what's going on, but he is ignored. Also ignored: everyone else who asks the same thing. Including Michael Buchanan. Everyone's sick and freaking out. Have we established that? Good! Let's move on.
A Situation Room. Probably in the White House. The president is being told about the disease, which is affecting neurological systems and cognitive functions. All they know is that according to blood tests, it's neither viral nor bacterial. So naturally it must be of either foreign or extraterrestrial origin. They have no treatment plan and figure that none of the Avias Air people will be alive by morning. Suddenly! Thomas calls. He actually called a few minutes earlier, but it takes a while for an untraceable call to make it through to the Situation Room. He tells us what's going on, in case we missed both the Previouslies and this scene we're watching now. "I assume by now you realize the 183 passengers aboard flight 514 do not have long to live," he says, on his way to making a specific offer: he'll turn over the antidote (there's an antidote!) if the president releases Sophia and the detainees. He actually says "meet my demands," which seems like a good way to make the president think of you as a terrorist. I mean, he could spin it like "I believe these innocent passengers may have fallen victim to a side effect of the teleportation. I'd be delighted to save their lives if you did this thing for me." But no, he's straight-up saying the passengers will all die if his demands aren't met. The president declines, and Thomas gives him two hours.
Flashback! BROOKE MOUNTAIN RANGE, 1944. Just after the crash, in a snowstorm. And I believe we've seen this flashback already. It's the one where Sophia tells Thomas to take all the able-bodied people away. It ends with Simon and Thomas leading about two-thirds of the crash survivors away from the site. And fifteen seconds later, Simon wants to stop and let people rest. That would have made more sense if there was a break between scenes, but it just looked like people gave up immediately. Thomas says that everyone has to keep moving, but then he and Simon just let everyone stand still in the snow while they check out this Quonset hut they found. It's abandoned, but instead of inviting everyone in to get out of the snow, Simon and Thomas spend some time exchanging exposition. So we learn that their ship didn't survive the crash and they need another way home. Thomas takes apart a radio and tells Simon, "They're still using vacuum tubes. They're nowhere near the level of technology we're gonna need for getting back." Simon gives Thomas a pep talk about Sophia believing in him.
Back to the Situation Room. They failed to trace the call, because that sort of technology only works when the plot calls for it. Sterling reminds the president that the United States doesn't negotiate with terrorists, and also that he doesn't trust Thomas to be telling the truth in the first place. And this could be showing weakness! You don't want to show weakness, do you? Darn right, you don't.