Troops are still taking up positions. I realize the show is using "military personnel running around" to remind us that they're out there, but the effect is to make me think that whoever's in charge of the operation keeps changing his mind. "You guys! Stand over there! Run across the street! Now run back! Over there! No, over there! Somebody get me a latte! Move! Move! Move!"
Isabel answers a phone. It's Gerard, the guy in charge of the big portal station. Incidentally, all this talk about portals is making me kind of impatient for a certain video game release. If you know what I mean. Sophia tells him to use the portal to get the 188 of them out of there. I like when the show gets specific about the most random things. Now we know there are exactly 188 people there! We don't know how many there are on the planet, of course. And I don't know how she decided there were 188 of them, because Leila's presence makes it clear that they didn't take a roll call. Gerard says they don't have enough fuel, because they just started loading in the uranium. He says it will take hours, and he can't portal even one person right now. She asks what he can use it for right now. We don't hear the answer. So they need all the uranium rods from a nuclear reactor to portal 188 people, but earlier, they were able to create a portal for an entire passenger jet. And they still had enough portal juice left over to let Thomas and Sophia escape from that building that collapsed on Simon.
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.
As the Situation Room staff rushes down a hallway (strangely, it appears that the path from the Situation Room to the secure underground bunker goes along the outside garden path), the shaking stops. Martinez gets the word about the Monument and tells the general to tell his men to stand down.
Back to the Situation Room. For some reason, the only way that Martinez can get verification about the Monument collapsing is by watching the news on the television. He could look out a window; he's like a half mile away, and there's nothing between the White House and the Washington Monument that would block the view. Sterling reports 70 deaths and over a hundred injuries. That's surprisingly detailed information. Usually it takes some time to get accurate information, but Sterling knows exactly how many people were hurt. Martinez starts to compose a statement. Sophia calls in to demand busses and a jet, or she'll devastate all of Washington DC. "The attacks will continue until you let us free. You have one hour." Dramatic!
Sean and Vicky, federal fugitives, are on a private jet. Just to defuse any tension you might have, I will tell you right now that we will not be learning any details about how they got this jet or dealt with the TSA. And don't go thinking that Vicky used her Dempsey Conspiracy powers, because that's the conspiracy they're trying to attack. We will just be asked to accept that someone who is being sought by all the law enforcement agencies in the country could casually fly out of the country on a private jet. I could go on for pages about this, but I am going to attempt to move on.
So: on this private jet, Sean is working on a laptop. Vicky requests permission to talk to her son. Soon, she's video-chatting with her mother, which tells us that the wi-fi is really good. Vicky's mother says that Vicky's son is sleeping, even though the light from the window behind her strongly suggests that it's afternoon. Vicky's mother reports that the Washington Monument has been blown up, which prompts Sean to look vaguely troubled. There is no word on what cover story the government has invented to pretend that this wasn't done by aliens. Vicky's done with her call, and I guess she doesn't have a secret codephrase that she uses to tell her mother to scram because some jerk is threatening to make her location go viral. You've got to plan ahead. Sean is now working on his Blackberry and announces that he's tracked down an archaeology company owned by Dempsey. It's planning a dig in the Jura mountains, so they know where to go. I don't know why he's using his Blackberry when his laptop is right there. I guess when you're a Master Hacker, you can do anything.
Dempsey arrives at a tent. I guess it's supposed to be a tent in France, but it's not really all that exotic on its own. A guy with an accent (it might be Australian, but I'm not willing to swear to it) tells him that they have some very old limestone amphoras just like the ones that held the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dempsey thinks they're older than this guy thinks they are, but he immediately backs off of any claim to know what he's talking about. The guy excitedly tells Dempsey that he'll like the pictographs that are on the "northern face of the chamber," but instead of being excited, Dempsey is angry that someone breached the chamber. He gave explicit information that no one was to break the seal or whatever. The guy admits that he was the only one who went in there, so Dempsey shoots him. And that's why I didn't bother learning his name. Too bad, Guy With Accent That Might Be Australian! Although I don't know what Dempsey was expecting. You can't hire an archaeologist and expect him not to go into the ancient cave. That sort of thing runs counter to their training.
Outside the cathedral, people in military armor continue to run around. I guess now they might be retreating, but there's also a chance that the