We’ve been rooting for Eric (Corey Hawkins) and Nicole’s (Anna Diop) relationship to work all season — but after Monday’s (April 3) episode of “24: Legacy,” it’s become clear that Mrs. Carter needs to kick our hero to the curb.

Eric’s drug-kingpin brother Isaac (Ashley Thomas) has suddenly become a more viable candidate for Nicole — a move that has us equally baffled and applauding the FOX series.

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No matter how shady Eric’s drug-dealing brother is, Isaac’s interactions with Nicole has shed light on one clear difference between the brothers. No matter how dirty Isaac’s hands are with the law, his sense of loyalty to family is top notch. Plus, it also helps that he’s in love with his brother’s wife.

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Here’s where the family drama comes in: Before Eric married Nicole, she was Isaac’s girlfriend. Obviously, she left this whole situation once Isaac moved up to Avon Barksdale levels of power. But as Eric’s mission with CTU gets more intense, Isaac’s questioning his situation more and more.

When “24: Legacy” started, Nicole had a heart-to-heart with her husband about starting a family. It’s plain to see she needs stability in her life, along with a man who can be there to offer love, compassion and support. And while we think Eric wants the same thing, his deeper drive to be a soldier is screwing everything up for the couple.

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So how is Isaac the better option for Nicole? Sure, that man has done his fair share of illegal dirt — drug running, extortion and murder quickly come to mind. But we have to remember that this is “24,” and a lot can happen in one day. As Eric continues to ignore his wife and trade patriotic duties for husbandly ones, Isaac’s been by her side, questioning his own path. It’s inspiring to have his old girlfriend thrust back into his life — showing him the possibility of what could’ve been, and what’s still possible.

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Nicole and Isaac’s unlikely partnership has become an unexpectedly strong bond, saving each others’ lives during troubling run-in with Jadalla Bin-Khalid’s (Raphael Acloque) men. If Isaac can have a do-over and put his street life behind him, then Nicole should go with him. Not only has he proven he can keep her safe, Eric’s brother has equal amounts of emotional and physical support to dole out — and that’s one thing Nicole has been missing all day.

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Which brings us back to a question we posed earlier in the season: Can Eric Carter have a healthy relationship and be the hero CTU needs? If Jack Bauer’s (Kiefer Sutherland) experience has anything to say about it, that answer would be no. It’s an unfortunate, but necessary choice and sacrifice that Carter needs to make, if he wants to step up and keep America safe.

And while that seems to indicate an end to this marriage, it’s also the trait that makes Eric the hero this FOX series requires.

“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."