Originally Aired 4.29.03
2.21 - Commander in Chief

Jack and Kate are at her place, he is trying to convince Mark, the ringleader of the men that beat Yusuf to death, to let him have the chip. Jack asks who he is speaking to? Mark says that is doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is that his girlfriend was going to pay a lot of money for the chip. Jack decides to be straight with them, he tells Mark that the chip contains information about who is behind the bomb that went off earlier tonight. The man that they assaulted was an agent from another country, he was trying to get the chip to Jack’s office. Kate appears around the corner and asks Jack what he’s doing? They killed Yusuf. Jack hurriedly tells her that they have the chip and he’s going to do everything he can to get it back. He tells her to go and get in touch with CTU. She leaves and Jack turns back to the door. He says that he’ll give them three seconds to come out. The second man wants Mark to just give Jack the chip and as Jack counts down he grabs Marks gun. They fight and a shot goes off, Jack comes in the room. Mark is still standing and the other man is on the ground. Jack asks where the chip is, Mark doesn’t know, he dropped it. Jack looks down searching and quickly finds it. He steps over, still in bare feet, and picks it up. He calls to Kate and when she arrives in the room he tells her to get some wire to tie them up. She asks where the chip is, Jack says he’s got it.
Palmer is in his office, he knows that the planes are not turning aback as he commanded. Mike says that’s why he’s there, he wants the president to come with him to the main conference room. Palmer seems to sense something is going on, he asks Mike ‘are you ordering me to the conference room?’ Mike lets out a small laugh and says of course not, he does want him to go, though. Palmer tells Mike ‘I’m the president of the United States, I’m not going anywhere unless you tell me why.’ Mike finally tells Palmer that there are people in the administration that are wondering if he can continue. Palmer asks ‘and these people are in my conference room?’ Mike says yes, in a matter of speaking. Palmer, standing, says “well lets go see them.” Palmer and Mike start to go down the hall, Palmer looking somewhat diminished. When they get to the conference room, the screens come on and Palmer is facing his cabinet and the vice president. Palmer tells Prescott he now knows why he had such a hard time reaching him, he’s been busy. Prescott, after some banter with Palmer, informs Palmer of the plan, the are invoking the 25th amendment. He continues to say that ‘most of here feel…’ but he’s cut of by one of the men. He doesn’t seem to want to be lumped into something and says that most of them have been scrambling to understand everything that happened today, it’s a little early to say that there is any general feeling. Prescott wants to review the relevant portions of the amendment, when the vice president and the cabinet feel that the president is unable to discharge the powers of his office they can take a vote, Palmer cuts in and says that this is only supposed to be if the president is disabled, what is supposed to be his disability? Prescott says that he believes that the stress of the days events have overwhelmed Palmer. There is evidence of the countries involved and details. Palmer says that the evidence is not clear. Prescott argues that all of their best people have independently verified the Cypress Audio. Palmer thinks they have been mistaken. Prescott sceptically says that he believes this on the speculation of a lone CTU agent, Jack Bauer. David says that he believes he has proof, Prescott says that they’ve been talking about it for hours and there’s still no proof. Waiting could cause tens of thousands of American lives. Palmer says that this is his decision and his opinion is the only one that counts. Palmer wants to go, but Prescott calls him back saying that there’s going to be a vote either way, Palmer may want to be heard. Palmer turns back to them and starts to speak. He wants all of them to look at him, he knows that they’re not in the same room “but you can see and hear plainly enough. Take a good look. Do I seem scared? Am I breaking into a nervous sweat? Am I babbling? At a loss for words? Is my…voice…shaking? Can any one of you look me in the eye and tell me I’m disabled?” The vice president tells Palmer that the issue isn’t his demeanour in the last few minutes, but his actions in the last 20 hours. One of the men on the monitor says reassuringly to Palmer that the vice president has raised a serious question. If Palmer explains himself using his usual candour and clarity it will meet the satisfaction of everyone there. Palmer turns on Prescott now. He says that he will agree to this but if they vote to support Palmer, Prescott must tender his resignation. Prescott suggests that they take a few minutes to get ready for the proceeding. Palmer, curtly says ‘lets not mix words, you mean the trial of David Palmer.
Chapelle is speaking with another CTU agent and Tony crutches up to him and asks for a word. After the other agent leaves Tony angrily says that he heard the president called off the strike an hour ago. Chapelle asks who told Tony, Tony says with attitude it was someone at DOJ that he trusts. Is it true? Chapelle says yes, Tony right away gets on him asking why they’re working on this stuff then? Chapelle assures Tony that the attack will be reinstated. Tony thinks that doesn’t make sense but Chapelle just tells Tony to do it.
Michelle’s phone rings. After she answers she comes to Tony and says that the phones are up, Jack Bauer is on line 2 from Kate Warner’s house. Tony wants to know what he’s doing there but Michelle doesn’t know, all she knows is he has the chip. Tony tells her to conference the call into his office. Jack puts the chip in a card and inserts it into a laptop while he waits. Tony comes on and asks why he’s there? Jack answers coolly that they ran into some interference, Yusuf Auda is dead but he doesn’t have time to explain. He’s the only reason they still have the chip. The computer is having trouble reading the chip, Michelle says she’ll talk him through another way. Jack asks Tony to look into the name Peter Kingsley, although it might be an alias. Also Jack asks Tony to call the president. Tony ways he already did, the president has called off the strike. Jack says good that buys them some time but Tony is more hesitant. He tells Jack the strike will probably be back on, Jack has the same reaction as Tony, that doesn’t make sense. Tony confesses to Jack that he thinks there is something going on in Washington, something they’re not supposed to know about. Jack thinks on this for a second, looking somewhat concerned. He then asks Michelle if she’s ready for him which she is.
Prescott brings Ron Weiland, the reporter that Palmer had kept quiet previously. Palmer looks as though he was expecting this and nods. Prescott says that Ron had an interesting experience earlier in the day. Ron looks a bit nervous speaking in front of all these people, but proceeds to tell them about everything that happened. The fact he suspected the bomb, the offer from the president and his reluctance to accept it, then the ‘imprisonment’ by the secret service agents. Prescott asks if Ron felt this was a violation of his first amendment rights? Ron says yes. Palmer pipes up and asks if he was harmed or threatened in any way. Ron says no. Palmer asks if he understands why he was detained? Ron says he assumes that it is because if word got out of the bomb there would have been panic. Palmer goes on to ask if he thinks a few minutes of his first amendment rights are more important than the live of thousands of citizens? Ron says no, but that was his choice to make, not the presidents. Prescott questions Ron again, he asks if he felt that David Palmer wasn’t in control of things. Palmer says that Prescott is putting words in Ron’s mouth. Ron answers anyway, no, he felt that Palmer wasn’t in control. Palmer defends himself, he says that he was juggling all these things, he made an offer to Ron, but he refused. Palmer had legal precedent for what he did.
Michelle is instructing Jack on what to do with the chip. She says to hit control-C-X and Jack does. He says that all he’s getting is numbers and symbols. She tells him to take the chip out and make sure the leads are exposed. Upon looking closer at the chip Jack hotly says “damn it!” Tony asks what and Jack tells him that the chip is damaged. Part of it is missing. Michelle says to send her what he’s got and she’ll figure it out. Tony calls and asks for 2 more techs from IT. He’s told that they are busy working on stuff for Chapelle, Tony says to send them anyway. After he hangs up his phone rings again, it’s Kim, she wants to talk to Jack. Tony says that he’s really busy working on something very important right now but Kim insists, it’ll just take a second. Tony comes down and picks up the phone downstairs next to Michelle. He tells Jack that he’s got 2 guys from IT coming to help Michelle. He then tells Jack that he’s got Kim on the line for him. Jack looks relieved and thanks him. He patches Kim in and she asks ‘dad?’ Jack replies ‘sweetheart…’ Kim says that ‘Tony told me you were alive and I’ve been trying to reach you.’ Jack asks her of she’s still at the sheriffs office, she says that they are taking her to the Matheson’s to pack up her things. She continues ‘when I thought you were gone…I just miss you dad, I miss you so much.’ Jack says that he missed her too, she says “I just wanna come home.” Jack tells her that ‘you’ll be home soon enough, I promise. Okay?’ Kim says okay, then as an afterthought says “Hey, dad?” Jack asks “Yeah?” Kim says “I love you.” Jack responds “I love you too sweetheart, see you soon.” After he hangs up Jack looks at the phone, smiling.
Mike brings in 2 cups of water for him and the president. He sets them down and sits again. Palmer turns and quietly says to him “you knew about this, didn’t you?” Mike says it doesn’t matter but Palmer says that it matters to him. How long has he known? Mike gives up and tells him a couple of hours. Palmer looks at him, sizing him up, and then concludes “you were a part of this, weren’t you?” When all is said and done, he’s on Prescott’s side. Mike says ‘no sir, I’m on your side, I always will be. This could be a good thing, a chance to correct a mistake of historic proportions. He finishes, “David, I’m begging you, reconsider your position on this.” Palmer looks at Mike and says coldly “I’m the president, Mike, you don’t call me by my first name.” Mike looks at the table in front of them and mumbles “yes sir.”
Prescott comes back in the room and starts to address the people. He says that the man they are about to see isn’t entirely well, in fact, it took a great deal of courage for him to join them at all. It’s Roger Stanton. He comes in on a monitor and sits with a grimace. He speaks in a somewhat strained voice apologizing of he’s tired as he was ‘tortured for several hours today on orders from the president of the United States.’ Palmer asks why and Roger answers that Palmer thought he had information about the bomb, as if he would hide it from the president. Palmer says that he’s lying, the truth will come out in the end. Prescott asks for Roger to explain what happened. Roger starts to explain everything that happened from the time Palmer fired Raybern because Palmer was reluctant to even contemplate an attack. Roger uses words like ‘indecisive’ and ‘erratic’ in describing Palmers behaviour, he says that Palmer was “terrified to even think of military engagement.” Roger goes on to tell if him being charged with treason. Roger claims that he didn’t know more than he said he did, but ‘in all fairness, I think David actually though he knew more than that.’ He says that Palmer is a decent man, he may be too decent for the times we live in.’ If Palmer could prove that Americans were behind the attack it would be a good reason not to use force against another country.
Chapelle enters and asks about the IT’s that he ordered. Tony fills him in about everything to do with the chip and tells him that the file needs to be reconstructed which may take a little time. Chapelle asks how much time, Tony answers “however long it takes.” Michelle gives Chapelle the answer he wants, about 15 minutes. Chapelle gets on the phone and asks for the vice president.
The cabinet is watching the torture footage from Roger Stanton. Most of them are looking away or cringing as he is shocked. Palmer enters the room on the tape and asks if he’s ready to talk, after Roger calls Palmer back and says that they knew about the bomb Palmer tells them to stop the tape. He says that should be enough, he said that he knew about the bomb. Roger says that he cracked, he did what any of them probably would have done, he told them what he wanted to hear. Palmer says that he told him more than that, play the rest of the tape. Prescott says that there is no more. Palmer doesn’t believe it, Prescott says that’s all the OC sent. Palmer tells them that he was in that room for another 10 minutes. One of them asks if the agent, Ted was still there? Palmer says he dismissed him. They got intel from Roger that they couldn’t have gotten anywhere else, Palmer turns to Mike and asks him to tell them. Mike says that he only knows what Palmer told him. Palmer says that the evidence given has been incomplete and accurate. Palmer has had no time to prepare a defence for himself. During the course of the day his behaviours have been responses to the events. If they attack these countries and it’s false then this would be one of the most despicable sneak attacks in history, even if it saves lives down the road. There is a note handed to Prescott, it’s about the Cypress Audio being fake. He tells the others and says that they should wait before they conclude this since the findings could have a huge impact.
Michelle is on the phone, she’s told that the audio files are gone. When she hangs up she tells Tony that they didn’t find anything on it. Chapelle appears and asks what they’ve got. Tony says the chip is more damaged then they thought. Chapelle asks if they found the audio files? There’s some code left that is like a signature for programmers but the audio files are not. Chapelle says “so Bauer wasted our time.”
There are some ambulance attendants and cops taking Mark and his crew out, Mark isn’t wearing any shoes. Jack is sitting on the coffee table tying his ‘new’ shoes up. As he finishes he sees Kate leaning on the island in the middle of the kitchen with her face in her hands. He comes over to her and puts his hand on her back asking if she’s okay. She’s upset and crying but tells him that ‘everything that’s happened today, everything that’s still happening, I keep thinking it’s all my fault. Jack, now facing her, says that they wouldn’t have found the bomb in time if it wasn’t for her. Kate reminds Jack that her sister was behind the bomb, she helped those ‘fanatics’. Jack says that she’s not her sister. Kate is blaming herself, she thinks that she should have seen it, what Marie did could start a war and Kate could have stopped it. Jack tells her “there are things in this world that are just out of out control. Sometimes we like to blame ourselves for them so that we can try and make sense out of them.” He hugs Kate and says that there’s nothing she could have done. They part and she seems better. He puts her hair behind her ear and they look at each other for a few seconds, Jack’s phone rings. He seems to snap back to what’s going on, apologises and answers it. It’s Michelle and Tony on the other end, he asks if she got the audio file? She says no, he asks savagely “what do you mean ‘no’?” Is she telling him there’s no file? She says that she doesn’t know, it’s too damaged. Jack is told that Chapelle wants to talk to him with the president, Jack snaps “I bet he does.” There’s also more information on the chip they might want to check. There’s junk code on the chip, it’s programmer language that’s like a signature. They traced it to a man by the name of Alex Hewitt. He has an FBI file. Jack asks if this is the tech that created it and they confirm it. He lives at 210 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in North Hollywood. He hangs up the phone with Tony and Michelle and goes back to Kate. He tells her that he has to go, they got something off the chip. As soon as Kate’s ready to go someone will take her back to CTU so she can be with her father. Kate thanks him and he turns and starts to walk away. She calls to him and he turns around. She tells him to ‘be careful’ and he says ‘thanks, I will.’
They are trying to reason with Palmer, if he wants to resume the operation he needs to decide now. Prescott says that this is a recurring pattern, everything will change once Mr Bauer calls, which never happens. The door opens and Palmer is told that it’s Jack Bauer and Ryan Chapelle on the line. Jack says he has found the chip but it was very badly damaged. Palmer asks if it can prove the countries weren’t involved, Jack says in its current state it can’t prove much of anything. He assures the president that he is following up other leads. He admits an hour ago he was captured and tortured by men who may be behind the recording. They own oil in the Caspian Sea and they are looking into them. It’s not much but it’s the best they’ve got. Palmer asks ‘given what you’ve seen, are you absolutely convinced that the Cypress Recording was forged?’ Jack answers “yes, sir. Absolutely.” Palmer thanks him and they hang up. He tells the cabinet that the evidence will be available in the near future. Prescott wants to vote. Mike asks for a second to talk to Palmer, which is granted. Mike says that “this Bauer thing…it’s an illusion, a mirage…Every time you get close it just moves away.” Mike wants him to authorize that attack. Palmer responds that there are a lot of people, American and non-American that will die for no reason if they attack, let’s vote. They sit and Prescott initiates the vote, Mike is keeping track. They are asked to answer yes if they think Palmer can continue, no if they think he can’t.
Jack calls CTU and talks to Tony, he’s half a block from Hewitt’s loft. Tony found his file, he was recruited by the FBI right out of Cal-Tech. He got caught manipulating intel that he wasn’t supposed to have clearance for. After that he tried to kill himself. He spent a year in a psych hospital.
The cabinet it still voting. The ‘yes’ side is up 2. Mike asks the Secretary of Agriculture; ‘no’. Secretary of the Interior; ‘no’. It’s now a tie. The Secretary of the State tells him that the has the deciding vote, it’s tied. He says he’s aware of that. He looks directly into the camera and says “I have never met a man that I’ve respected more than you, Mr. President…but we are talking about tens of thousands of American lives. I’m compelled to vote no.” After a pause Mike enters another ‘no’ vote. The final tally is 8-7, David just looks forward. Prescott stands and Mike closes the laptop. Prescott says to Palmer that he sees the results, he has the opportunity to appeal within 4 days in front of caucus, please take the President to a holding room. Within seconds Aaron shows up with 2 men in uniform, he says ‘come with us Mr. President.’ Palmer looks at them and then slowly stands. Aaron says quietly that he’s not a lawyer, but as far as I can tell, the constitution has been followed. I’m asking you to come with us. I’m sorry sir. He looks at Prescott and then back to Aaron, they leave as Mike watches.
Jack has arrived at Alex’s place. He leaves the elevator and knocks on the door. There’s no answer so Jack opens it and enters, gun and flashlight drawn. There are VHS tapes everywhere in the room, the place has chain-link fence inside and looks like there may have been a struggle, there is a chair overturned. Jack starts looking without touching.
The screen splits and we see Prescott getting sworn in, in the background the planes are back on route to the attack. Palmer is leaving the elevator with Aaron and they head into a room. Tony is limping around and Kim is riding in the cop car.
Jack is now examining things more closely in the apartment, he’s looking closely at a reel-to-reel. He hears someone coming so he quietly goes and closes the door and hides behind some shelves in the darkness. A man with a gun enters the room first without knocking. He is followed by a woman. Someone turns the lights on and she calls “Alex?” It is none other than Sherry Palmer.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:
-I agree with Jack, Mark and his friend don’t really have much of a choice, as far as I can see, either they give the chip to Jack or he takes it forcefully. I’d rather be in tact than maybe dead.
-Even though this came from last season, there really seems to be a body count wherever Jack goes. He might have a bit of trouble explaining the dead civilian in Kate’s place.
-I sensed at the beginning of this episode that even Jack was tiring of Kate. When she showed up around the corner he practically snapped at her to go away and stop badgering him, I don’t think he needs reminding that they killed Yusuf. Then after he gets in the room she asks where the chip is, as if she expected Jack to forget about it. He tells her quickly that he has it.
-How does Kate know that Yusuf is dead? The last time she saw him he was quite alive, unless Jack told her at some point that we didn’t see.
-Is candour the word of the day? That’s 3 times in 20 hours…we should make this a game, with bells and whistles and stuff.
-Dennis Haysbert did a spectacular job during the scene before the first commercial. This guy deserves more credit then he gets for his portrayal of Palmer. The lines that end in ‘is my voice shaking?’ were picture perfect. The way he raised his voice and left more space between the words, wow. What a great actor.
-Mike Novick has been wonderfully guilty though the whole proceedings. He’s doing a great job too.
-I wonder what Tony thought Jack was doing at Kate’s house? I know what I would think…
-It really seems like Palmer was expecting Prescott to bring Ron Weiland but he looked really surprised to see Roger Stanton.
-I guess Kim will be moving back in with Jack, assuming she survives the day. I believe the last time Jack promised someone that they’d be going home soon they ended up dead…I kind of hope a better fate awaits Kim.
-And the old words of a song come true “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.” Kim didn’t realize how much she loved Jack and would miss him until she thought he was gone. Luckily she got a second chance with him.
-In the last few episodes Palmer seems to be really flaunting the whole president thing. He keeps reminding people that he doesn’t HAVE to do anything, I mean, he doesn’t but it seems a bit out of character for him.
-I get the impression from both of these seasons that Mike and Palmer are kind of close. He seems to be the person on his staff that Palmer feels he can trust. It’s too bad to see the trust broken and he seems a bit disturbed by it.
-It was cold when he told Mike not to call him David, but Mike deserved it.
-I didn’t ever see Palmer looking “terrified” at the thought of war, he just doesn’t want to kill all these people for no reason.
-You can tell that Tony has definitely had enough of Chapelle.
-Jack/Kate redeeming Teri? That better not be ‘closed’ now…
-I really didn’t loathe the Jack/Kate scene as much as I thought I would. I didn’t have a problem with her comforting her or the things that she said. It was just the post-conversation awkward silence and then the stupid ‘be careful.’ That completely ruined the scene. Especially since she’s already said that. Too bad.
-I love that Jack stole Mark’s shoes…We need more comic relief in this show, besides Kate.
-The return of Sherry…the interesting thing is that we knew Sherry was in on the bomb plot, but how does she know about Alex? This is a totally different side of the conspiracy, the oil. She may be the missing link, or maybe she has a source inside CTU that knows what’s going on.
-I wasn’t able to tell, but I think the person with Sherry is Aramis, the man that let Ron Weiland go.
-MISTAKE: When Jack goes in the apartment, there’s a reel to reel and it has 2 reels on it. After the split screen when he looks at the same reel-to-reel, there’s only 1 reel in it. I’m willing to bet that this is where the audio came from…we are probably going to believe that Alex took it with him, or it was stolen.