In this hour, Kayla and Tarin's doomed love affair converges with Jack and the CTU team's anti-terrorist operation — with deadly consequences.
We pick up right where we left off last hour: Stalling for time as she awaits CTU's arrival at the hotel, Kayla has locked herself in the bathroom, and even briefly considers trying to escape out a window. (I find the lack of any real lock or screen on this old-fashioned window a little odd, but for 24, that's a minor contrivance.) Either way, Tarin cuts that plan short when he spots a SWAT team approaching the hotel and decides to kick down the bathroom door and grab Kayla.
Meanwhile, that SWAT team is ignoring Jack's orders to stand down — and they pay the price when Tarin gets the drop on them and guns down several officers. Guess they should have waited for Jack!
With that operation botched, Tarin is able to slip out of the hotel and into a waiting cab. The expected chase ensues, but when Jack and company catch up with the cab and order the driver out, the car is mysteriously empty.
So where are Tarin and Kayla? Apparently on their way to an abandoned bank, the new hideout of head baddie Samir (Mido Hamada). And once he has Kayla, Samir's first order of business is to tie her to a chair and train a video camera on her — with a live feed for President Hassan and his wife to watch in horror as he puts a bag over their daughter's head and threatens to suffocate her.
But Samir tells the President he can make it all go away by turning over File 33 — whatever that is. Hassan pleads ignorance at first, but Jack reminds him, "They gave you 15 minutes. ... You don't have time to waste."
So what's in that file Samir wants so badly? Just a highly classified (and illegally obtained) list of all the weaknesses in America's missile defense and radiological detection systems — information that would help the terrorists smuggle their nuclear rods into New York and set off a dirty bomb. In other words, if they get their hands on File 33, NYC is pretty much screwed.
Unfortunately, we take a breather amid all of this action to spend a few minutes on the never-ending Walsh-Kevin storyline. Kevin's parole officer, Ben Prady, shows up at CTU asking questions about Walsh's last encounter with Kevin. For some reason, Walsh goes along with Prady's conjecture that she got drunk and slept with Kevin, I guess because it seems like as good a cover story as any. Prady seems to buy that part of the story, but clearly suspects Walsh is withholding further information — possibly related to the evidence warehouse break-in Walsh helped them carry out.
For a parole officer, this guy is awful persistent, and after a few minutes of wandering around CTU unchaperoned (which seems rather unlikely to be permitted in a high-security government facility), he's learned that all the security cameras from the evidence warehouse feed into CTU. So if Dana could just load those onto a thumb drive for him to review, he'll be on his merry way...
Though their relationship was most likely started as a ruse for Tarin to get closer to President Hassan — and the person he loves most — there are hints that Tarin may have actually fallen in love with Kayla. So when Samir's deadline is up, Tarin apparently has a change of heart and impulsively decides he and Kayla will make a run for it. Though he's seemingly shot by one of Samir's men, Kayla manages to get in a car and drive away, leaving Tarin bleeding to death on the sidewalk — or so it seems...
However, once Jack and Ortiz arrive on the scene and begin hunting for Samir in the tunnels beneath the abandoned bank, CTU's drone spots two men exiting the structure — and one of them is a very alive and well Tarin.
That's when Jack realizes that Samir never expected President Hassan to turn over File 33; it was all a ruse to get Kayla in that car and headed straight into the heart of CTU. But why?
When Hastings rushes out to survey the situation, he quickly learns the reason: The car is carrying a massive electromagnetic pulse bomb, and there's not enough time to disarm it. In seconds, the bomb goes off, sending out a shockwave that knocks out all of the computers at CTU — and any means of tracking Samir and Tarin.
Then Jack decides it's time call in the NSA because, as he tells Ortiz, "The terrorists just took out CTU."
• So we finally got a name for KevinEx's buddy (courtesy of Prady) now that he's dead and gone: Nick Caulfield. Not that it matters at this point, but better late than never, I guess.
• That storyline aside, this was definitely a standout episode — enough action to keep things moving at a good clip and enough twists to keep them interesting. 24 tends to sag in midseason, but I think this day has actually been picking up steam; hopefully the writers can keep it up.
In this hour, Kayla and Tarin's doomed love affair converges with Jack and the CTU team's anti-terrorist operation — with deadly consequences