Eric Carter’s (Corey Hawkins) mission to save America just became a lot more personal on “24: Legacy” Monday (March 27), when the real villain finally stepped forward.

RELATED: The professional (and personal) struggles of ’24: Legacy’s’ John Donovan

Leave it up to a little blackmail to get the ball rolling on an unexpected CTU lockdown: A security guard’s easily coerced in releasing Jadalla from custody and all it took was the visual confirmation of his secret girlfriend wearing a vest of explosives locked up in a basement. Not only was this a ploy to infiltrate CTU, the whole thing played out as an explosive bait and switch: We’ve seen CTU attacked in previous seasons of “24,” and there’s nothing like a little breach to raise the stakes…

And in this case, we learned the mastermind behind the attack early on: Asim Naseri (Oded Fehr), the former bodyguard to Jadalla Bin-Khaleed’s (Raphael Acloque) father. The man not only has ties to Carter’s mission in Afghanistan, his gruesome acts of violence leave Eric rocked to his core. In the end, Grant’s girlfriend is rescued — but the security guard himself falls victim in the attack. And in the episode’s final moments, we’re left with two main relationships hanging in the balance.

We’re unsure if Eric and Nicole (Anna Diop) can work as a married couple after this day is all over. Time and again, he’s been choosing the work of a soldier over his personal obligations. Maybe, deep down, he wants Nicole to fall back in love with his brother Isaac (Ashley Thomas) — but choosing a hail of bullets and explosions over having this difficult conversation with his wife isn’t the best way of handling things.

RELATED: The professional (and personal) struggles of ’24: Legacy’s’ John Donovan

Then there’s John Donovan (Jimmy Smits) and Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto)… It’s clear that John’s reaction to the interrogation of his father has left the couple with unresolved issues. But it’s looking like things are about to get way more complicated: With Asim Naseri taking Donovan prisoner, we’re positive Rebecca will come to his aid.

However: This is “24” — you can never count out the possibility of an unexpected casualty along the way. And though John may have been taken captive, it’s Eric who’s on the verge of collapsing under all the pressure. To fully become the hero this show needs, it’s clear he’s going to have to be pushed all the way to the breaking point — with or without Nicole by his side.

“24: Legacy” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.

Posted by:Aaron Pruner

When he was a child, Aaron memorized the entire television lineup, just for fun. He once played Charlize Theron’s boyfriend in a Japanese car commercial. Aaron’s a lover of burritos and a hater of clowns. TV words to live by: "Strippers do nothing for me, but I will take a free breakfast buffet any time, any place."