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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
Vlad the Impaled
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

President Allison Taylor, President Omar Hassan, Dana Walsh (telling Kevin about his upcoming heist, "Nobody will know you were there"), Sergei Bazhaev, Renee Walker, and Jack Bauer are in the previouslies freeze-frames this week. Nice of them to pick a shot where Kiefer was wearing his disguise that consisted of a pair of Harry Potter glasses.

At the U.N., that meeting Taylor wanted to have with the representatives of the countries signing the peace agreement already seems to be over, and looks to have been a success. By the way, this looks like another Ethan-free episode. Perhaps that medication we saw him taking at the beginning of the season is to keep him from phasing entirely out of existence. Rob remarks to Taylor that they're probably safe until tomorrow morning, at least. Does that mean no more screen time wasted on this? The British delegate we met last week, not having been fooled for a moment, approaches Taylor to ask her what's really going on. He invokes the century of mutual trust between the U.S. and the U.K. (only a century? Was the War of 1812 more recent than I thought?) and promises to keep whatever she tells him quiet. She rolls right over and says to keep what she's about to tell him between the two of them and the delegate's Prime Minister: the people who went after Hassan are also after nuclear materials. "CTU is running an undercover operation to retrieve them as we speak." I hope that whatever Taylor's reasons were for keeping this quiet, they're sufficiently balanced by the need to maintain her relationship with Downing Street and the demands of early-episode exposition.

Vladimir's chief lieutenant Lugo is driving Kiefer's undercover Audi (not a Volkswagen, as I wrongly said in last week's recap, but still -- German engineering!) with Kiefer riding in the back seat, his gun leveled at Lugo's head. Kiefer's cell phone rings, and he tells Lugo it's probably his "backup," which is true enough. "No calls 'til we get to Vladimir," Lugo pronounces. Echoing my thoughts and sounding almost sincerely curious, Kiefer asks Lugo over his gun sight, "Does this look like a situation where you get to make demands?" Instead of waiting for an answer, he takes the call. It is indeed Cole calling, on his way out of the building whose roof he used as his sniper perch. Kiefer doesn't even have to be discreet as he tells Cole they're on their way to Vladimir's place. Cole offers more backup, but Kiefer says to hold off on that. "There are other considerations," he says, rather more discreetly. Cole realizes that means Walker, and agrees to hang back. "I'll let you know," Kiefer says, and hangs up. Lugo gets all curious about the call, and Kiefer tells him, "Shut up and drive." Audi's new slogan, ladies and gentlemen.

Back at CTU, Arlo has pulled up a traffic-cam image of the car, and enhances a freeze-frame for Dana, which clearly shows Kiefer's gun at Lugo's head. "Jack seems to be in control," Arlo observes. "The driver looks a little worried." Arlo wonders if he should do facial recognition on said driver, but Dana answers her cell phone instead of him. "Yeah, sure, no biggie, just unsecured nuclear materials," Arlo drawls to himself as she trots off. Everyone's stealing my lines tonight.

It's Kevin calling her, of course, and he and his prison buddy Nick have just pulled into the alley outside the evidence building in Kevin's van. She tells him to hang on; they have thirty minutes until the next security pass, and she'll be right with him. You know, maybe she could put this off for like a day or two, perhaps walk Kevin through his robbery at a time she has blocked off to catch up on her filing. Meanwhile, out on the floor, Chloe summons Arlo to a meeting in Hastings' office. But first, Arlo wants to ask Chloe a hypothetical question. Following his gaze to their coworker, Chloe says, "If it's about Dana, it's not hypothetical." Undeterred, Arlo asks, "If your fiancée was cheating on you, would you want to know?" Chloe asks, "Hypothetically, who'd be asking, some creepy stalker who's about to get fired?" Chloe was right; this is getting less hypothetical by the moment. She tells him it's none of his business anyway (because Chloe's all about people minding their own business), and then snags Dana for the same meeting just as she's getting off the phone.

At 10:05:53, Lugo and Kiefer pull up outside Vladimir's garage. Kiefer reclaims the keys and makes Lugo get out like the hostage he is. Then he forces Lugo to precede him into the garage. They're met by Vladimir, Walker, and the one guy who stayed behind. Vladimir's forces are sorely depleted, are they not? Kiefer complains to Vladimir about his business practices, and Vladimir makes his excuses. "It was a misunderstanding, but it's past. We are here." Look who's a philosopher. Vladimir waves down the gun that his non-Lugo henchman has been pointing at Kiefer since he and Lugo entered. Walker adds that Vladimir has already begun making calls. Kiefer can't even let a gesture of good faith go without one-upping it; he releases Lugo, then hands his gun to Vladimir, butt-first. Beat that! But he does insist on talking to "my partner" alone, at once. He walks off a short distance and before following him, Walker whispers to Vladimir, "He's upset, understandably. It'll be fine." Vladimir lets her go. Lugo whispers in Vladimir's ear that this is their chance to take Kiefer out. "Don't risk everything for a whore," Lugo warns. Vladimir quietly threatens to kill Lugo if he ever talks about her like that again. This is big talk given what's going to happen to both of them in the next hour.

Kiefer and Walker have a whispered argument about his wanting to pull her out and her not wanting to be pulled. She insists she's fine, and "if we stop this now, then everything I have done is for nothing." Speaking of things she's done, Vladimir comes stomping up, impatient to get started. Walker assures Kiefer, "It'll be worth it." As Kiefer follows them to the back office, he can't help noticing that Vladimir has his hand on Walker's ass. I assume that's not what she meant.

Back at CTU, it's 10:08:32 and I can only assume Hastings' little meeting is already over. If it's not, Dana's skipping it and I don't see Hastings appreciating that. Dana goes into an empty interview room and calls Kevin on her cell, while pulling up schematics and live video from the evidence lockup. She tells them to go now, and watches them on the monitor as they cross from the van to the security door. If that monitor is showing them on her video screen now, won't it also show them later, when the crime is investigated? I know, I should relax; Dana is obviously way smarter than I am. Into Kevin's borrowed CTU earpiece, Dana tells him to use the key card and the code 1668. Kevin tries it twice and fails, but Nick manages it. Probably because the number stuck in Nick's head is the last year of the Portuguese War of Restoration. There's a quiet motion alarm beeping as they enter, but Dana tells them it'll stop shortly, and warns them, "If you want the $120,000, you will be out of there in less than twenty minutes." She sends them down the hallway to the last door on the left, whose entry code is 4660. A moment later, Kevin and Nick are inside a big room divided into big, fenced-in pens, with shelves of evidence behind them. "It's like Christmas with chain-link," Kevin says, although he seems like the kind of guy for whom that statement would be redundant. He asks Dana where the money is. Dana tells them to find section 3101, which they'll enter using the access code 2824. "Last one on the left," she reminds them. Eventually Nick finds a gate, but the code doesn't work -- that's because they're trying to get into 3110. It must be so reassuring to Dana to see that she's in league with morons. "What is wrong with you two?" she asks. Speaking slowly, as if to a complete imbecile (which in fact she is), she redirects them to 3101 and they get inside. Then they have to find bin 4301. "Man, it's too many numbers," Nick mutters, which is

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