24Ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for Agent Pierce! After five dedicated seasons of taciturn yet loyal duty, our favorite balding redhead of a Secret Service agent finally gets to shine. So what does it take to steal the hearts of viewers in 44 minutes or less? Step 1: Disobey that namby-pamby president you've vowed to protect, even from himself. Step 2: Help Jack Bauer pull a fast one on your fellow agents and then watch with stern approval as he apprehends and interrogates a big fat mole, knife-to-eyeball style. Step 3: Fall under the first lady's spell — the rest of us have. Step 4: Offer up your badge and weapon in a gesture of ultimate humility, thereby securing yourself a place in my Awesomest Recurring Minor Characters Hall of Fame. I salute you, Glenn Morshower . You're part of the fabric that makes this thrill ride so darn fun.

It's a good thing I'm feeling so much love for Agent Pierce, because the obligatory Audrey-Jack-Diane (oh, hey, "Jack and Diane" — I didn't notice that until just now) love triangle maintenance is killing me. "Is it true what she said — that you still love me?" Jeez, Audrey, is now really the best time to discuss this? When your just-returned-from-the-dead ex is on his way to a clandestine meeting with the president's chief of staff? That's like the CTU equivalent of asking your boyfriend to run out and buy you some tampons just as the game's going into overtime. It's only a matter of time before we hear, "Jack, does this security clearance code make my butt look big?"

Oh, and McGill? You just got served. I still don't know exactly what your relationship with Buchanan entails, but are you just gonna sit there and let him call you a punk kid in front of everybody? You're Rudy, for crying out loud — let's see some of that fighting Irish spirit, huh? That nerve gas isn't gonna find itself, you know.