Kim is not doing that much better. Her kidnappers hurry Kim back to their van to resume their work for terrorist Ira Gaines. Kim, ever the upstart, reminds her captors that Janet is a human being and she needs medical attention. They believe Janet is a zombie and will eat their brains if they retrieve her. I agree with them- leave this unstoppable 90 lb. chick where she lay and put as much distance between you and her.
Back at CTU, Jack is trying to repair his friendship with Nina Myers. She's a rock-solid patriot and she's really pissed off at being labeled a "no good dirty rat" by her former lover and current boss. Jack makes amends by whispering to her every sensitive insider detail, something the late Richard Walsh reminded Jack not to do before dying a Klingon death in an office parking lot. Walsh, your rules got you dead. Jack knows what he's doing- Nina is good peoples!
Meanwhile, at the Hotel California, Senator Palmer is back in the good hands of the Secret Service. He calls his scummy operative Carl to remind the viewers (and Carl) of the subplot involving Palmer's son being "wrongly" accused of pushing the guy who raped Palmer's daughter out of a window. Gosh, everyone is being accused of stuff they haven't done! What's next? Is someone going to accuse Dane Cook of being funny? (zing!) Sherry Palmer (AKA the most reliable, stable and supportive wife in the history of wives) asks David why he was joyriding at 3AM, not to accuse him of anything, but to make sure he was enjoying himself during their visit to Los Angeles. Oh yeah, and to tell him that someone is trying to assassinate him.
The cinematographer is actively accusing Tony Almeida of being the real mole, capturing Tony looking menacingly at his computer screen. Tony approaches Jack with some boring nonsense involving a passenger list. Jack yawns and Tony scurries off to no doubt continue his mole-ish behavior. And then we get a dose of bureaucratic shenanigans- George Mason storms in with some suits to initiate an Agency Lockdown. What does this mean? That all efforts to save David Palmer's life have taken a back seat to an internal investigation over someone stealing sugar packets and a calculator from CTU LA's offices. Jack makes his way out the back door when some cocky guy from Division tells Bauer that he can't leave the building. Jack
Thankfully, the episode returns to David Palmer as he meets Agent Aaron Pierce for the first time. Let me pause from talking about 24 for a moment and make a statement about heroism and what it means to be a man. We live in a culture that has embraced the beta-male. The string of idiotic comedies/sitcoms glorifying the man-child and his inability to cope with responsibility is enough to make me vomit. This trend is real and it's causing me a lot of grief. Women see men as buffoons- and men play into that role all too easily. Aaron Pierce is not that guy. He's the anti-Apatow. I celebrate him and all that he stands for- and so should you.
Anyway, Agent Pierce tells Senator Palmer that the threat against his life is serious. Palmer looks into Pierce's eyes and (against all of my willpower, I refuse to make a bromance joke based on my preceding paragraph) takes the man seriously. Phew... moving on...
Teri Bauer and Alan York (father of Zombie Janet) do their own version of shitty driving through the empty streets of LA when a CHiP's cast reject pulls them over. Pay no attention to the cracked-out flop-sweat rejects in the neon-glowing van passing by you, officer. Those white-bread middle aged people in the BMW 7-series are the real threat to the city. Alan York tells the motorcycle cop "Smoke you!" Wrong answer.
As the Agency Lockdown carries on, Jack Bauer is the only guy countering terrorism for CTU. He goes to an address he pulled from the magical plot-driving keycard and encounters a terrorist, as he expected. While pursuing the suspect, shots are fired and an LAPD officer nearby decides to get involved in the situation. She and Jack team up for some inter-agency cooperation (no, you immature dolts, they don't make out, the lady cop is a cop first and a lady second). As Jack and the Lady Cop pursue the terrorist through a dark warehouse, Teri Bauer chooses this time to call her husband. The cell phone rings and causes Jack to grumble about being married as he's being shot at by the bad guy. Oh, how life is full of such moments! The chase carries on.
Apparently, all of Kim's whining about Janet still being alive actually backfires- the drug-loving supporters of carpeting van interiors decide that Kim is right- that Janet is alive and they need to go back to kill her properly. Zombie or not, they can't allow her to tell the police of their activities. As they pull up to Janet, still laying in the same spot for the last 40 minutes, they are interrupted by the arrival of an ambulance. I half expect the ambulance to drive over Janet, but they unfortunately stop and take action to save her life (and her ability to be injured in future episodes).
At the Hotel California, Carl calls Senator Palmer and tells him of the source of the story about his son. The source is apparently their son's therapist, which means Palmer's son confessed in a therapy session. Sherry is in disbelief, as she is someone who does not break the law, let alone raise a kid to do so either. David sees his troubles double in an instant.
On the side of the road, Alan York sits and waits along with Teri and the CHiPs officer for an ice cream truck or paddy wagon to come by when an emergency call comes in verifying there's some kid laying dead on the street where York and Teri were headed towards earlier. The officer sees this as a chance to let Alan York go, kind of like a catch and release trout fisherman. York tells the officer to take a screw and jumps into his car with Teri and speeds off obnoxiously. The officer is left alone to ponder the awkwardness of that entire encounter.
And speaking of officers, Jack's new partner is met with an unfortunate end when the terrorist shoots her. Should I start a "killed working with Jack" counter yet? We got Walsh and Lady Cop on the list so far. Let me know if someone here wants to take on that full-time task! Jack redeems Lady Cop by capturing her killer.
Meanwhile, the Stoners finally achieve their objective and hand over Kim Bauer to Ira Gaines. Gaines comes off as a creepy porn producer and yet Kim appears visibly relieved to no longer be stuck in that smelly van.
As Jack questions the terrorist at the crime scene, it becomes apparent that the LAPD wants to beat the living hell out of the guy for killing one of their own. This is a classic genre moment- where the cop-killer needs to be sprung by the "loose cannon" detective if he's to reveal his valuable information. I don't mind this trope because it creates some degree of moral conflict. But how many times does Jack have to piss off the good guys for the greater good? Can't we all just get along?