The troops are using a drill to open up a door that looks like it's on the second floor of the cathedral. I'm no expert, but I thought that when you tell someone they have a deadline, you're supposed to stay outside the building until the deadline's over. I'm going to blame the person I made up that was ordering people around. Maybe after he got his latte, he accidentally shouted "Run over there! Climb that tree! Stop, drop, and roll! Break into the cathedral! Oops! Wait, don't do that last one yet!" Bang! The soldier gets shot by one of the guys that Thomas handed guns to. In the Situation Room, the general tells Martinez that Sophia's troops have opened fire. Martinez tells his general to start the operation. Simon protests as much as he can without holding up a sign that says "I'M ONE OF THEM," but Martinez brushes his protests aside. Sophia calls in (she has to go through the White House operators every time) to tell Martinez that the shooting was an accident and also to tell him not to do anything. Martinez tells his general that he has his orders. He makes a stern, decisive face for the camera.
Inside the cathedral, Sophia is told that "troops are closing in." Pretty slowly, frankly. They were right outside the doors before. That guy that got shot had a few pals with him that could just whip out their guns and return fire. Sophia says, "Tell him to take it down." On a show like this, everybody gives orders as vaguely as possible, so that the audience doesn't know what's going on. You'd think that would cause problems occasionally. Luckily, everyone knows exactly who "he" and "it" are. I don't want to tell Sophia how to do her job, but I think it's risky to leave everything in pronouns like that.
The Situation Room starts to shake. Lights flicker. Martinez comments, "It's them." Everyone is hustled out. A bunch of papers and flagpoles and stuff fall on the floor.
The tip of the Washington Monument falls off. The whole thing collapses and falls over. Our country has lost one of its great phallic symbols. It's nice to see aliens blow up a major DC landmark that isn't the Capitol Building. It makes a nice change. Admittedly, some of the punch of this moment was taken away by the way it appeared in previews for months ahead of time.