Oh, hello! It's the Oval Office, and it's full of people. It's like they're having a cocktail party in there. It's everyone from the cabinet, although there's no way to be sure they're the same people as last episode. Chief of Staff Peel and Director of National Security Sterling are in there, but no one else has ever had, or will ever get, a line of dialogue. They're just background extras with nice suits. Jarvis enters and tells the Chief Justice that he's ready to be sworn in. The oath of office starts. While he takes it, we cut between the Oval Office and the hospital, where President Martinez's stretcher is being wheeled down the hallway. There's lots of shouting in that half of the scene. Also sobbing, because Mrs. Martinez is involved in it. There's less drama in the Oath scene, although Sterling does his best to glower. And right when Jarvis gets to the "So help me God" part, there's no fluid inside Martinez's skull. That doesn't seem likely. Even if he's dead, there's still going to be something in there. Even that Siberian mummy had glop inside. So you can see how important this situation is. And then they lose Martinez's pulse. Jarvis finishes the oath and adopts a sinister expression for the camera.
After the credits, the President is still being zapped with shock paddles. He gets a pulse, but his pupils are still fixed and dilated. A doctor soberly announces that he's lapsed into a coma. So I guess Blair Underwood has the rest of the episode off, then. Good for him!
Following established tradition, we cut from this storyline to Alientown, where someone is watching a news report about what's going on in the White House. In this case, it's Simon, who's still tied to a bed. But someone has kindly positioned a television in the next room, so he has something to watch. Carlos (the guy who was supposed to be watching Leila and Samantha) brings in a sandwich and puts it on Simon's bed. That's going to be really helpful, since Simon's hands are attached to the headboard. Even if he could kick the sandwich up towards his hands, he's not going to be able to eat it. Simon wants to know what's going on with Martinez, because he's genre-savvy enough to know that if something happens on the television news, that means it must be important to the plot. Carlos says that Sophia takes no pleasure in what she's doing, but Simon characterizes it as genocide. He asks Carlos how he knows he won't be the next one to be tied to a bed, but Carlos thinks that not being a traitor is a good way to avoid that sort of thing. Simon's legs are unrestrained, and he gets Carlos in a scissorhold. Carlos starts choking Simon, but he rips a hand free of the restraints. Simon seems to have a chance, but Carlos punches him a few times and pulls a gun on him. Carlos tells Simon that the native population is doomed. Why, they've all but surrendered! "What do you mean?" asks Simon, who knows the value of a good scene segue.
Situation Room. Jarvis gets to be in charge! And his first order of business is to claim that he serves "in the shadow of the honesty and integrity that exemplified [President Martinez's] term." And with that out of the way, he has some policy changes to announce. Specifically, he feels that Sophia has unbridled power that they have no hope of defending against, so he's going to begin negotiating a peace with Sophia. And the only way to do that is to show good faith and stop hounding them and treating them like enemies. "Effective immediately, all military and intelligence personnel who have been pursuing Sophia and her people will cease and desist." Sterling is outraged, because they still don't know what the aliens might be planning. Jarvis points out that that's kind of Sterling's fault. He's got a point, if you ask me. Sterling has had a lot of Number One Priorities so far on this show, and I don't think he ever achieved any of them. If nothing else, it'll be nice to get everyone back to the home office so they can compare their various tasks. Like, do you think there are still people assigned to that jet in Yuma? The way things have been going, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody's still in charge of cordoning off that coffee shop from when Sophia got away. Sterling doesn't see it my way. Jarvis emphasizes that they'll be letting the aliens live in peace, "so that we may do the same."
Sterling and Peel have a discussion while they walk through the hallways of the west wing. It's not very Sorkin-y. Peel says he can't do anything without proof, but Sterling has a plan. He had a coffee stain on his shirt, which he sent to the lab. What lab? You can't just say "the lab" when you're in charge of like fifty of them. Anyway, if the tox screen comes back positive, Sterling will start to build a case against Jarvis. Peel tells him that until that happens, it's their sworn duty to follow Jarvis's orders and stand down against Sophia.
Carlos is reporting to Sophia. He has a bandage on his nose, which I choose to believe is a shout-out to my naming this place Alientown. Anyone who wants to try to correct me on the grounds of "shooting schedules" or "plausibility" or whatever is hereby invited to go jump in a lake. Carlos says that right now, Simon is being guarded by Jason and Cameron. So are the aliens still using the same names as they were when they crash-landed seventy years ago? Because there weren't that many Camerons back then. I'd actually still like some explanation on why they speak English and have regular human names. If they're fake names, you'd think they'd start calling each other "Quazar Mark Five" as soon as they're in private, right? But the fact that they still dress, talk, and act like Americans in private makes me think that they might do that on their home planet. Carlos is dismissed so Sophia can answer a phone call from Aaron. You remember Aaron, right? He's in Russia somewhere. He tells her that all the humans on the ship died within hours, which she admits could indeed be a problem. They'll need to run more tests. Aaron says that their courier is hand-carrying the lungs onto the flight as they speak. "The plane is on its way from Moscow to New York." Moscow? That's over nine hundred miles from Murmansk! Anyway, Aaron says, "Alex can be trusted." So the courier's name is Alex.
I think it's a mistake for Sophia to be getting instant updates from Aaron like this, because it ties the two stories' timelines in too closely. We now know that right about when Simon broke Carlos's nose, the plane was boarding in Moscow. Let's see if that causes some time dilation down the road, shall we?
The Moscow airport. A nervous, sandy-haired guy with a silver briefcase asks one of those ladies behind the desks if the plane will be taking off on time. She assures him that everything looks fine and asks if he wants to check his case. Apparently he can just hand it to her and it'll be waiting for him at the gate. That can't be right, can it? Maybe Moscow has different security procedures than we do. Sandy-hair would prefer to keep his briefcase with him. As he walks away, Sean and Vicky rush into the airport and run up to the Aero Moscow desk. Sean asks if his friend Alex has checked in to Flight 38 yet. That information is not available, sir. Sean goes back to his early-season technique of ineffective begging, but it doesn't work. Okay, he decides to go with Plan B: he'll just buy a ticket on the flight right now! Vicky is shocked that Sean would consider getting on a plane with a virus that powerful. She herself will not be getting on an eleven-hour flight with him. But then she changes her mind and they both hand over their fake passports.
The door of the plane is closing when Sean and Vicky run down the jetway and barely make it. They take their seats, which are a window-and-aisle pair. I'm surprised those were available, since every other seat on the plane appears to be occupied. Even the ones in the middle of the plane where you have three in a row like that. Those seats are awful. As Sean and Vicky pass all the crumbums with their awful seats, Sean ey