As commotion spreads throughout the airport, Diane is prevented from entering the terminal. An officer hears her say that she has information for CTU.
The gunmen shoot one of the hostages attempting to make a cell call. They take away all phones and pagers.
The terrorists cannot find their contact, Chevensky. Jack overhears them speaking in Russian.
The leader of the terrorists, Beresch, phones the airport police and warns them not to enter the terminal. He threatens to detonate all of his men’s explosive vests, killing the captives. The police drop back, but the airport officer asks for Diane to be brought forward.
When the gunmen move out of Chevensky’s office, Jack climbs up a luggage rack to enter the air ducts from a ceiling tile.
After Suvarov arrives safely, CTU and the Secret Service relax their security around the summit. Buchanan learns that the assassin’s body was found at the refinery, as Chloe had claimed. This proves Jack’s innocence.
Suddenly, Buchanan gets a call from Jack. Audrey asks to listen in. Jack explains that he is in the Ontario Airport where a group of gunmen have taken hostages. Spenser gives Buchanan confirmation that this is true. Jack had followed a lead and believes this is connected to Palmer. Buchanan orders Jack out. “I don’t work for you,” Jack says sternly. He provides intelligence on the terrorists from the inside, and sends cell phone photos of the men. Jack asks Buchanan to look out for Diane and Derek Huxley, whom he sent to CTU.
Novick and Cummings pull Logan aside to brief him on the hostage situation. CTU thinks this is connected to the summit. Logan apologizes to Suvarov.
Spenser sends Jack’s phone a schematic of the terminal. When Edgar can’t match the faces from Jack’s photos, the imprisoned Chloe interjects with a tip. Buchanan realizes that he needs her expertise and he allows her to work during the crisis. He’ll deal with her violations later.
Edgar finds an ID on Beresch, a former officer of a Russian breakaway republic. Chloe starts working on more matches. They turn on the news for a live feed from the terrorists at the airport.
On video, a masked Beresch demands that the anti-terrorism summit with the Russian president be called off. He wants his people to have a “true national sovereignty.”
Logan watches the news and is furious. He has staked his entire Administration on this summit. Novick asks him to take a few moments to think it through, but Logan orders an immediate fix so that he can continue with the summit.
Curtis takes a CTU chopper to the airport. He phones Jack, who gives him the details on what he sees inside. Jack overhears an officer tell Curtis that Diane Huxley has information. Jack asks to speak to her.
Diane tells Jack that Derek went back into the terminal. Jack pulls out a pair of binoculars and finds Derek in the crowd of huddled hostages. Derek is not hurt. Jack promises to return Derek safely. Jack then asks Curtis to take Diane back to the command post.
Buchanan briefs the President’s team. Logan is unyielding in wanting the terrorists caught before the treaty is to be signed. Buchanan says that they must be prepared to face civilian casualties. Logan doesn’t accept this. He grants CTU authority to extend an offer to the terrorists.
Chloe back traces the phone number from Beresch’s call to the police. Buchanan gets Beresch on the line and offers to make a peaceful resolution. Beresch asserts that the American president denounce the treaty. He hangs up on Buchanan.
Beresch takes one of the hostages, and Jack reports this to Curtis. Beresch puts on the mask and shoots the civilian in front of the camera fed to the news. Logan and Novick recoil in horror. Cummings is unusually calm.
Beresch grabs Derek from the crowd and places him in front of the camera. From the command post, Diane sees Derek on the feed. She reacts frantically and the agents must pull her away.
Beresch announces to the camera that the American president has 15 minutes before he will kill Derek. Jack presses Curtis to accelerate the assault, but Curtis cannot risk the entire operation for one person. Jack says that he will not jeopardize the mission.
Martha watches the news reports and realizes that this is all connected to Palmer. Her aide Evelyn is concerned with her obsessive reaction, but Martha insists that Palmer had called her about this. She tells Evelyn that someone altered the tape of her conversation. Martha implores Evelyn to cover for her and she leaves.
Jack calls Chloe and is surprised that she has answered. He sends a photo of another hostile and has her do a close-up of the man’s vest. There is a second detonator on it. They realize that it’s wireless, and can probably be set off by a cell phone held by the leader. Jack asks Chloe to find that detonation frequency. Jack admits that he hasn’t cleared this with Buchanan, but he needs her help to save Derek.
Chloe asks Spenser to reconfigure Jack’s phone so that it emits an alternate signal. Spenser has the best bandwidth processing experience. Chloe admits that this is off protocol, but she says that she needs him. Spenser handles switching Jack to the detonator frequency. Edgar watches this all go down.
Secret Service Agent Pierce goes to pick up Martha. Evelyn pretends that the First Lady is in a bad mood and asks him to wait.
Martha slips into the men’s room of the tech office. She approaches a communications officer named Burk as he’s at the urinal. She asks about the recorded phone calls. Although the written transcripts are stored, a proper security clearance is required to access them. Martha unbuttons her top and jostles her stockings. She threatens to scream. Burk quickly hands her his security card. She sweetly says she will return it.
Chloe and Spenser cannot find the manufacturer of the detonator. They are running out of time.
Curtis lays out his attack plan for Buchanan. Meanwhile, Derek pleads for his life to Beresch.
Beresch calls Buchanan and threatens to kill the boy, whose blood will be on the President’s hands.
Spenser finds the manufacturer of the detonator, and Chloe gives Jack instructions on how to set it off.
As Beresch prepares to kill Derek, Jack waits impatiently for the signal to go through on his phone. Beresch chambers a round at Derek’s head. Before he can fire, Jack explodes one of the men’s vests. Beresch runs after the sound, ordering his men to keep the exits secure. Curtis can’t figure out what happened.
Buchanan calls Jack, who confesses that he was responsible for the man’s exploding vest. Buchanan holds his anger. Jack gives Curtis the terrorists’ change in formation.
Buchanan reassures Logan that, even with the explosion, the situation is under control. He tells the President that Jack is actually alive and has acted independently to stop the death of a hostage. Jack may have been framed for Palmer’s murder. Logan is furious that he wasn’t told about these updates earlier and he demands to know everything. Cummings hears that Jack is working inside the airport.
With his charge not ready, Agent Pierce opens Martha’s door. Evelyn tries to cover, but Pierce says it will be her fault if Martha is harmed. He wants to know where she is. Meanwhile, in the storage room, Martha discovers the paper transcript of the phone conversation.
Curtis assembles his assault team into place. He confirms to Diane that Derek is alive.
Agent Pierce takes Martha from the storage room to escort her to the event. Martha hands Burk his card. Evelyn apologizes, but Martha whispers that she got what she came for.
Cummings calls Nathanson with news that Jack is inside the terminal providing reconnaissance for CTU. Their rescue operation is set to launch any minute. He says that Jack was responsible for setting off the detonation in the vest. Jack also has a connection to Derek, one of the hostages. Cummings hangs up when Agent Pierce arrives. Pierce informs him that he found Martha in an archive storage room. Cummings panics.
Jack relays the gunmen’s positioning to Curtis. Curtis counts down to his attack launch. Nathanson calls Beresch and tells him about Jack.
Jack sees Beresch pull out a laptop. Suddenly, Jack’s phone is blast with a digital noise. He loses connection with CTU. With no idea of where the terrorists have positioned, Curtis is forced to abort the operation.
Beresch calls out to Jack on the loud speaker, commanding him to show himself in order to save Derek. Jack appears and puts down his weapon. The gunmen secure hiM.
Neither Curtis nor Buchanan is able to make contact with Jack. They assume he’s been captured or killed. Curtis must reconfigure his assault plan.
Beresch addresses Jack by name, and asks him what CTU’s plan is. Jack answers that CTU is waiting for his signal to attack. Jack emphasizes that the U.S does not negotiate with terrorists, but Beresch knows that Logan is weak. Beresch pushes Derek aside and asks for another hostage. Jack begs Beresch to allow him to buy more time before he kills another innocent victim.
The White House gets word that CTU lost contact with Jack. They watch as another hostage is shot in front of the camera. Beresch accuses Logan of signing a “corrupt” treaty with the blood of hostages. The President is horrified, and he offers to postpone the summit in order to save the people. Cummings advises Logan to stay on course because the terrorists will never release the hostages.
Evelyn encourages Martha to show Logan the paper transcript that will prove the Palmer phone conversation was doctored. Knowing that her husband is preoccupied and that he believes she is unstable, Martha wants to wait until after the treaty is signed. She slips the paper into her bra for safe keeping.
Curtis tells Diane that he doesn’t know whether Jack and Derek are safe.
Beresch watches a news report about the President moving ahead with the treaty. He orders Jack to convince CTU that he has revised the assault plan to another entry. Beresch threatens to kill Derek.
Lynn McGill from District arrives at CTU and abruptly assumes control over the chain of command. He even takes Buchanan’s office.
Forced by Beresch, Jack calls CTU and explains that he was forced to end the earlier transmission. Jack tells Curtis to set up in another exit. He stresses that he is in “flank two” position. Buchanan and Curtis make changes to their plans.
Curtis lets Buchanan know he needs another fifteen minutes to reposition. McGill summons Buchanan up to his office. He wants to review the playbook before he approves the mission. Buchanan bristles, but agrees.
Beresch believes that the White House is not giving in because they think they have an option with CTU’s attack. Derek blames himself for Jack getting captured. “This is not over,” Jack says with certainty.
Novick brings the President the good news that CTU regained contact with Jack. Even though the mission is proceeding, Logan isn’t convinced that the hostages won’t be killed.
Logan walks out to meet Suvarov and he tells him that the rescue attempt will move forward. Suvarov says that if they are both unable to deal with these terrorists, then the treaty will become a mockery.
Cummings asks Evelyn about Martha retrieving a document with highly sensitive intelligence protocols. Evelyn says that it was only a transcript of a call with Palmer. Cummings threatens Evelyn with prosecution for aiding a criminal act. She tells him that Martha has the document inside her blouse.
Logan worries about CTU’s ability to bring down the terrorists in the short time he has before the treaty will be signed.
CTU watches as Logan arrives at the stage a minute ahead of schedule. When Chloe asks if they should warn Curtis, Buchanan snaps at her. She thinks that Buchanan is convinced they won’t be able to save the hostages.
Logan addresses the hostage situation to the reporters. He is emphatic that they will not let the terrorists win.
Novick checks in with Buchanan, who asks him to slow down the ceremony. Novick refuses.
Beresch guarantees Nathanson that everything will go according to plan. The White House is under the false impression that their assault will save the hostages. Nathanson warns him to carry out the threat regardless of whether the treaty is signed.
McGill questions Buchanan on the sudden attack alterations. He is suspicious of the circumstances surrounding Jack’s decision. McGill wants to review all the transcripts of Jack’s phone transmissions.
As Curtis gets his teams ready to attack, McGill asks Chloe to unlock a node in the call logs. She is rude to him, and complains to Spenser that he is a hindrance. Spenser says that McGill is known for firing much of his own staff for incompetence.
One of Beresch’s men finds Chevensky’s dead body and the keycard he was hiding. Jack sees Beresch discreetly pass the keycard to a male hostage in a yellow tie. The man pockets the card and pretends to huddle in fear with the others.
Beresch has Jack answer his ringing cell phone, where Curtis lets Jack know that his teams are in place. Jack reiterates that he is in the “flank two” position. Jack hesitates and then finally gives Curtis the green light to move in. Curtis counts down a minute to launch, not knowing that bombs are set up where his men are about to enter.
McGill rushes into the CTU situation room and demands that the assault be stopped. He found that Jack was using a code to indicate that an agent is making a communication under duress. Although nothing came up on the filters, McGill points out that “flank two” was the code back when Jack was an active agent. Chloe confirms this, and Buchanan tells Curtis to abort and go back to the original set up.
Beresch doesn’t understand why CTU is late in attacking. He makes Jack call CTU, and Buchanan tells Jack that there was a malfunction. They will be ready to launch the attack any minute.
As Logan and Suvarov sign the treaty, Nathanson calls Beresch. Nathanson orders him to kill all the hostages because it is now too late. Suddenly, the wall where Beresch’s men are waiting for CTU explodes. The men fire back but there’s no one there. CTU SWAT teams attack from behind and take out the gunmen.
Jack grabs a gun from one of the men and starts shooting. Jack hits Beresch in the hand to wound him before he can commit suicide. Beresch makes his way to one of his fallen men and detonates the vest. He is dead. Curtis alerts CTU that they have secured the terminal. The remaining hostages are unharmed.
Novick passes the good news to President Logan, who makes an announcement to the press. “The rescue operation that I authorized was successful,” he boasts.
Jack hugs Derek. “I have to finish this,” he says before sending him to the command post. Jack looks among the hostages and realizes that the man with the yellow tie is gone.
A tearful Derek reunites with his mother. He tells her that Jack saved not only his life but all the hostages’ lives. Diane asks an agent if she can see Jack, but the agent has instructions to escort them back to CTU.
As soon as the treaty is signed, Martha urgently requests a few minutes alone with Logan. He promises to speak to her after the ceremony. She demands to be paid attention to, exclaiming that she is not crying wolf. “Do not ruin this moment for me,” Logan dismisses. Cummings approaches the distraught Martha, who helplessly says that the situation is more dangerous than the President knows. Cummings presses her for information, but she will only talk to her husband.
Buchanan apologizes to McGill for brushing him aside because his thoroughness helped save the day. McGill asserts that it was Buchanan’s insistence about Jack’s integrity caused him to double check. Yet McGill still wants Jack taken into custody because he hasn’t been fully cleared of Palmer and Michelle’s deaths. Audrey pipes in that the evidence and Chloe’s testimony prove that he is innocent, but McGill notes that the video surveillance of Jack near the assassination site was not doctored. McGill orders Jack to be brought in for questioning.
Jack tells Curtis about the missing hostage with a keycard who was working with the terrorist. Curtis has been ordered to bring Jack into custody.
The man with the yellow tie enters a subterranean tunnel below a hangar. He shows his keycard to a gunman and tells him that Chevensky is dead. The two climb into a hole drilled into the floor where a giant metal holding container is kept. The yellow tie man inserts his keycard and the top is opened to reveal several canisters. The gunman checks the canisters for radioactivity. The yellow tie man calls Nathanson and says that they are moving the canisters out.
Cummings slips into Martha’s room and grabs her from behind, putting a chloroform-soaked cloth over her mouth. Martha’s screams are muffled and she loses consciousness. Cummings takes the paper transcript from her bra.