This very early hour opens with Tony and cohorts setting the scene at the apartment of Jibraan Al-Zarian, an Arab innocent they plan on having take the fall for the upcoming attacks. Cara stocks his computer with propagandized websites, all time-stamped to appear as if he’s been at it for a while. Younger brother Hamid is sound asleep, courtesy of the chloroform dosing from the previous hour.
Chloe goes through the old CTU servers, Chloe who has the special touch that only temperamental old government servers respond to, Chloe who scowls and snipes her way through life, Chloe whose brain and mouth run faster than a Cray computer. Yes, the magic touch is at play again, Chloe begins to sort information regarding racial and ethnic demographics and the like – as Janis complains about racial profiling. This time Jack does not bite her head off, nor does he invoke anyone’s name, or refer to sitting President Bugs Bunny, or call out for FBI Chief J. Edgar Stiles. This time Jack agrees with her. We don’t know which is scarier.
But then Jack’s old friends Wince ‘n Grimace show up for a visit, and Chloe muses that something might be wrong. And she knows she’s onto something when Jack repeats himself, again, and then excuses himself to go shoot up. Janis and Renee pull her into the girls’ room, light cigs and unload the gossip that Jack has been exposing himself – to bioweapons — and “like, there’s no cure – freaky, huh?”
Chloe confronts Jack. She tears up. She sniffles, she’s a wreck. Can you blame her? Jack pleads for her to help him make his death mean something by catching the Sinister Cabal (the what?) and/or Tony, or whoever needs catching. Poor Chloe looks like she needs to be caught before she melts into a puddle. But she has absorbed the shock for now, and needs to really, really bring it.
Meanwhile Jibraan is ready for his close-up. Tony is forcing him to read an inflammatory political statement that admits his culpability in the upcoming mystery terrorist attack. If he refuses, Tony will kill his brother Hamid while he sleeps. While Jibraan makes his broadcast debut, the police show up, evidently the neighbors heard “shouting.” Jibraan calmly tells them it was his drunken imaginary friends who left and will not be back. He spits on the ground. Psppsht! The police leave. Better than a Jedi Mind Trick!
Chloe finds something with the help of Ye Olde Ancient Servers, a link between Muhtadi Gohar, an imam at a local mosque, and our fall guy Jibraan. Jack and Renee get right on it and head to the motor pool once more. These guys sweat when they see Jack Bauer approaching.
Last hour, Olivia had called a poll pal, Martin, asking for help. He shows up at the White house, and good old Aaron ushers him into Olivia’s office. Olivia recounts Hodges’ list of nasties, and asks that Martin “intervene.” He reminds her of the consequences of her actions, and Olivia is too fired up to listen, and sends him on his way.
Meanwhile, Hodges gets a visit from the US Marshall responsible for ushering him into his new life as Robert Tippett, or maybe it was Robert Stripper, I’m not sure. Jonas complains, “These hips can’t work the pole like they used to!” Marshall Sullivan is dying to smirk at him, but resists.
Jack and Renee arrive at the mosque to see if they can understand the connection between the kindly imam in front of them, and the supposed terrorist that they need to find. Jack yells a lot and decides that they need to bring poor Muhtadi with them after Renee gets a call from Janis with an address for Jibraan.
And poor Jibraan now has to pretend to his little brother that he’s this awful terrorist goon, so that Hamid will only have that information to tell the authorities once the attacks begin. Hamid is thoroughly disoriented with the news, and spits at Jibraan in anger.
Olivia calls the dude that Martin suggested in order to proceed with the “intervention.” The nameless dude gives her a bank account number so she can wire the 30 pieces of silver to him – so he can “intervene.” As Olivia begins the transaction, she’s momentarily interrupted by Aaron, who informs her that her dad is back at the White House and would like to see her. Perhaps that bit of family reminder is all she needs to press the “cancel” button on her computer. She then calls Martin to tell him that she decided not to go through with the dirty deed.
While Jack, Renee, and Muhtadi are en route to Jibraan’s pad, they get a call from Magical Chloe. She’s found evidence that all the who-haa on Jibraan’s computer was faked, along with a wire transfer of huge amounts of dough into his account. The dear lad is not a terrorist after all. High fives all around and Muhtadi remarks that it’s unusual for police to admit then they’ve made a mistake. (I think I’ve read the same sentiment on a bathroom wall, expressed slightly less eloquently.)
There’s another moment of tenderness, in First Dad Henry’s White House hospital room. Olivia tells her mom that she’s calmed down about the whole Jonas-goes-free scheme, and there are hugs and smiles a-plenty.
Jonas is outside his FBI hospital room, and is ready to depart with Marshall Sullivan. Sullivan has to confiscate Hodges’ wallet and pictures, but Hodges manages to sneak one in his shirt. When he’s inside the van, out of Sullivan’s view, he takes the picture of his wife and daughter out and gazes fondly as the family he’ll never see again. Seconds later, while Sullivan is clearing paperwork with an agent, the van explodes. Yup, you know what that means.
Olivia’s head explodes too.
Aaron watches while she storms out of the Oval office, down a corridor and makes a frantic phone call to Martin. He tries to reassure her, “Are you calling from a cell phone? Are you insane? Have you learned nothing these years on the Hill?” They agree to meet and Olivia does her best to calm down.
The last “explosion” of the hour is when Jack, Renee, and swarms of TAC/SWAT agents storm Jibraan’s apartment. They had a visual on one remaining hostile and also saw that Hamid is still alive. So they go in, guns blazing. In the confusion, Hamid pops up, and with his hands still bound slams himself against a wall breaking a framed picture. He than grabs a slab of glass, and lunges at the hostile, stabbing him severely. Nice move, but seriously? He’s supposed to be just a nobody? Hmm, we’ll see about that.
The obvious hostiles, Tony and Cara, are working on the preparations for the attack, Tony shows Jibraan live video feed of a metro subway platform, with sleepy commuters beginning their day. Jibraan is aghast, afraid of his unwanted role in whatever horrors are coming next.