Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is at it again, saving the world right under the noses of the government operatives trying to stop him.

The show has come back strong, remaining as fast-paced and adrenaline driven as its previous 8 seasons.  The literal ticking clock and split screens keep audiences on the edge of their seats, causing hearts to race and palms to sweat.

Newcomer and CIA agent Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski) has made quite the impression throughout the last few episodes.  Her tactics within the CIA are quite similar to Bauer’s during his time at CTU.  She is willing to break protocol in order to take control and neutralize a threat.  She seems to think a lot like Bauer, understanding his motives and actions more so than most characters to date, even if she is not truly on his side. Both the character and the actress seem to have promising futures on the show.

Fan-favorite Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) has come back as well, retaining her superior skills and sass that made her famous earlier in the series.  However, her character has been portrayed in a new, darker light.  She has gotten herself into trouble with the people around her, and their intentions, as well as hers, are questionable.

Audrey Boudreau (Kim Raver), formerly Audrey Raines, was finally made aware of Jack Bauer’s involvement in the day’s events during tonight’s episode.  Audrey was a central character in a few of the previous seasons until she was taken captive by the Chinese government and tortured for information.  She was in China in search for Jack, who had already been taken hostage by the Chinese, when she was kidnapped.  Jack’s, and our, last encounter with Audrey showed her in a catatonic state, completely traumatized from her time imprisoned.  At the end of season 6, Audrey’s father, currently President James Heller (William Devane), insisted that Jack leave her be and never make contact again.  Jack cooperated.

Toward the end of the episode, President James Heller, formerly Secretary of Defense, made direct contact with Jack Bauer via a telephone call in which Audrey was able to listen in.  Chief of Staff and Audrey’s husband, Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan), urged President Heller not to believe Jack’s story, but Audrey and President Heller were skeptical.  “This is a clear call for you, Mark,” the President told his Chief of Staff.  “Not so for Audrey and I.  We know Jack Bauer.  You don’t.”  However, after some contemplation, the President chose to go against Jack’s requests.  Audrey had a significant reaction to the decision, arguing with her husband.  She explained that she knows Jack better than anyone else, and “God help [them] if [she’s] right”.

The promo for next week’s episode (below) shows Jack and President Heller together, discussing Jack’s re-entry into the field.

Next week’s episode will air on Monday, May 26th at 9.8c.

What was your impression of the hour’s events?  Do you have any predictions for next week’s episode?  Let us know in the comments below!