As Air Force One plunges to the ground, CTU listens as the pilot radios in a distress call. Michelle dispatches agents from Las Vegas and Los Angeles to the emergency landing site. Jack runs into CTU, and he accesses the sub-channels of the Secret Service agents aboard the plane. He speaks to an agent onboard who doesn't know if the President is still alive.
In Washington, senior advisor Mike Novick informs Vice President Charles Logan about Air Force One's status. Novick wants to prepare for Logan to be sworn into office in case the President is unable to perform his duties.
Michelle directs her staff to make finding Marwan their top priority.
Audrey tells Jack that Secretary Heller wants him to lead the mission to recover the Nuclear Football, which was lost in the crash but has a tracer. Audrey blames herself for Paul's condition. When Jack tells her to focus on her job, she replies that she can't block everything out like he does.
Camping out in the desert, a man named Jason tells his wife Kelly that he thought he heard an explosion. They are startled when the see the debris of the wreckage from Air Force One.
Buchanan notices that Tony has been hostile toward him, and he asks if this has to do with Michelle. Buchanan says he and Michelle never worked as a couple, and he thinks it's because she still cares for Tony.
CTU watches live feed of the rescue workers as they scan the crash site. The President is found alive. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief.
Buchanan calls Vice President Logan with the good news. Since President Keeler is in critical condition, Buchanan advises Logan to invoke the 25th Amendment and assume control. Novick tells his boss that he has already prepared the Cabinet members for a vote.
Among the debris, Jason finds the Nuclear Football. He takes out his cell phone and calls the police.
Jack calls Audrey to explain that he does care and that she should too. He apologizes for how it sounded. Audrey understands.
Jack gets a call from Tony, who patches him through to Jason. Jack confirms that what he found is the Football. Jason says that headlights are approaching him. Tony validates that no rescue teams or agents are in that vicinity. Jack instructs Jason to remove the transponder so that the terrorists cannot locate it. He has Jason use a compass to find the electronic field of the hidden transponder. Jason is able to scratch out the transponder's force. He and Kelly take the Football and run off into the desert night.
Marwan and his henchmen stop their Jeeps in the desert. They have lost signal on the Football's transponder. Marwan is suspicious because it only just went out. He asks for a scan for cell phones in the area.
Jack tells Jason to go to an unmanned power station nearby. He also orders him to remove his cell phone batteries so that they are not traced by passive triangulation. Jack gives him his cell number in case he needs to contact him directly.
Marwan's associate notes a brief cell signal that went out. They see a reserve power plant on the map. Marwan knows that whoever has the Football is headed there.
Jason and Kelly run to the power plant and break in. Suddenly, they hear vehicles pull up. Jason calls Jack and tells him that the terrorists are already there. Tony sends Jack the schematics for the plant, and Jack instructs Jason to go to the lower level.
Marwan and his men spread out through the plant to find the Football. One of the men shoots at Jason and Kelly, who bolt for the stairs. The men lose them in the darkness. Marwan hears the helicopter land outside and orders his men to intercept it.
Jack and another agent get out of the chopper, which takes off. They enter the plant, and Jack instructs Jason to keep moving. The other agent is killed by the gunfire. Jack calls Audrey and asks for the latch code on the Football.
As the terrorists are in pursuit of Jason and Kelly, Jack gives Jason the latch code to open the Football case. He has Jason remove the Playbook and give his wife the briefcase. Jack begs them to split up with each part, rendering the Football useless.
Jason and Kelly kiss goodbye. He sends her in the opposite direction with the cell phone and the briefcase.
Jack kills the terrorist who is shooting at him and he runs into the plant.
Marwan and his men nab Jason, and they find that he has the Playbook but not the Control Board of the Football. Marwan shoots Jason in the shoulder, but Jason refuses to say where the other piece is. Marwan then shoots him in the knee.
Kelly hears Jason's screams, and she sees her husband held captive. She calls Jack and to tell him that they have Jason. Kelly emerges from the darkness, telling Marwan that she has what he wants. First, she demands that her husband be released. Marwan instead trains his gun at Jason's temple.
Jack hears Kelly's cry and runs towards it. After Marwan promises not to kill her or Jason, Kelly points to where she hid the Control Panel.
Kelly gives them the code to open it. The men take the entire Football and leave. Marwan instructs one of the men to stay behind and kill the couple. Jack appears and shoots the man before he can fire at Jason and Kelly.
Jack radios CTU for a medic. He thanks the couple, and goes off after Marwan. Jack informs CTU that he is not in possession of the Football.
Jack runs out of the plant and sees one of the men load the Football into a Jeep. He radios air support to take out the lead car.
The chopper drops down and shines its headlight on the Jeep, which causes it to flip over into an embankment. Jack shoots the driver and grabs the Football. He has the helicopter go after the other Jeeps.
Jack calls Tony and tells him that Marwan escaped. They are both suspicious that Marwan would trade the Football for his freedom. Jack realizes that a section of pages are missing from the Playbook.
At the White House, Novick tells another aide, Walt Cummings, that he is worried about Vice President Logan being unsure of himself. Cummings gets word that the Cabinet vote on the 25th Amendment was unanimous. Logan goes out to a throng of waiting reporters.
Audrey tells Jack that the missing section from the Playbook contains warhead locations and activation codes. Although they started changing the codes once Air Force One went down, it will take another hour to clear the slate because there are thousands of warheads. Audrey confirms that if the terrorists get hold of a warhead and a matching activation code, then they won't be able to stop them.
As Logan is sworn into office before the cameras, Jack calls Novick. Novick takes the new President aside to tell him that part of the Nuclear Football has fallen into the hands of terrorists.