WARNING: FULL SPOILERS
I guess 24: Legacy really wants to emulate the original 24. Unfortunately, it’s emulating that show’s worst seasons. While Corey Hawkins gives an emotional performance, he can’t save an episode riddled with stupidity. From terrible plans to unnecessary and incredibly dumb subplots, “1:00pm-2:00pm” fails on so many levels.
After losing Carter, Ben (Charlie Hofheimer) calls him and demands $2 million for the drive containing the list of Khalid’s sleeper cells. Unable to get the money through official channels, Carter breaks into a police station to steal the money from a recent drug bust. Assisted by Ingram (Miranda Otto) and Andy (Dan Bucatinsky) at CTU, his plan fails and he is trapped in the police evidence room.
Meanwhile, John Donovan’s (Jimmy Smits) father Henry (Gerald McRaney) warns that his campaign manager Nilaa (Sheila Vand) may have ties to a radical mosque from her past. She offers his resignation, but John refuses. This decision may have future ramifications as Ingram discovers that Nilaa’s computer was the source of the leak that killed Carter’s squad.
Nicole (Anna Diog) is put in danger as Isaac’s (Ashley Thomas) girl Aisha (Tiffany Hines) plots his death from within and without. Khalid’s son Jadalla (Raphael Acloque) attempts to continue his father’s plans and activate the sleeper cells. And one of the cells, consisting of teenager Amira (Kathryn Prescott) and chemistry teacher Harris (Kevin Christy) accidentally kills Drew (Zayne Emory) when he finds out about their true intentions.
Man with a Plan
Corey Hawkins makes Carter incredibly sympathetic with an emotional performance that makes the his desperation to save the day believable. As everyone tells him that robbing a police station is an incredibly bad idea, his speech about taking responsibility for Ben’s condition is incredibly convincing. Every emotion is genuine and you can see the pain in his eyes and every action. It almost makes his plan justifiable.
Robbing a police station alone is a terrible idea no matter the motivation. Especially when you’re only back up could be compromised at any moment. The heist is projected to fail so obviously and yet I found myself slightly invested. Hawkins and Miranda Otto do such a great job ramping up tension that sometimes you will forget how inane the heist really is.
Carter’s scene with his brother Isaac is also touching, showing just a little more of his complicated back story. Unfortunately, some of Ashley Thomas’ phrasing continues to throw me off as his performance goes from solid to overly affected. The actor seems to be trying very hard to sound…well, hard.
On the other hand, Jimmy Smits makes the best of his screen time managing to find a balance between a savvy politician and good man seemingly born to lead. His scenes with Sheila Vand’s Nilaa are good, showing just how Donovan is a decent man who appreciates loyalty and honesty.
It’s too bad that trait is completely ruined in the obvious twist that Nilaa may be the mole. Of course she is…24 loved to throw in its Muslim red herring and so it’s not all that surprising that Legacy does the same here. It’s much too early for her to be the big reveal (Unless the show pulls a patented 24 double twist).
Again With the Subplots
The “goods” of the episode all had caveats to them. Unfortunately, the “bads” have no caveats at all…they are completely and totally terrible. The original series always had a problem with their soap opera subplots and Legacy wants to double down. These storylines are completely frustrating to watch because of how they insult your intelligence.
If Amira and Harris are examples of the sleeper cells, America can sleep soundly. These idiots will end up killing each other before anyone can activate them. From Amira’s awkward sexual “convincing” to Harris as the teacher who decides to become a terrorist because his career was ruined by sexual harassment accusations (Which are apparently true!), there is absolutely nothing threatening about these characters.
Legacy has made a terrible mistake by using these guys to represent the sleeper cells. Personally, the show should have kept these cells a mystery and then revealed them whenever they are activated. They could literally be anyone and the fact that they could be in plain site the whole time is threatening enough.
By showing these fools, it takes away any sense of danger. I get that the writers are probably trying to show just how human these people are, but it’s frustratingly badly written. The actors themselves aren’t bad. The material is the problem.
While Nicole’s storyline took an unexpected turn, it’s frustrating because it feels completely unnecessary. While it’s a relief to see that Aisha isn’t acting out of jealousy, the character and her plans still get a “Why are we doing this???” from me. On its own, Aisha playing the “game” and trying to grab power from Isaac would be pretty compelling, but in the middle of a terrorist threat it feels unimportant. I feel sorry for Anna Diog’s Nicole’s. She can say so much with a simple look. She is wasted in this storyline.
Along those same lines, Jadalla is completely wasted…because we don’t get enough of him. I get the sense that he is going to be the big bad of Legacy and we only get two scenes with him. Raphael Acloque carries a creepy confidence about him in this character. He shows this perfectly in the scene when he talks down his subordinate without a single threat or violent action. He uses is complete and total faith to bend people to his will.
That said, Jadalla doesn’t make sense as a character. He has been away, studying at Oxford. And now suddenly he’s back and able to talk desperate men out of shooting him in the head? Hopefully the show will flesh him out…and do so without the whole “Higher education only radicalizes people!” crap that permeates under the character’s origin. Don’t think I didn’t see that, Legacy writers!
More of the Same
The people behind Legacy should take a long look at that word. The show is only on its second episode and it is already crippled with a crappy subplot problem. It’s a problem since the positive of the episode is only okay. An audience will only put up with sub par secondary stories as long as the main story is hitting on all cylinders.
This show needs to simply concentrate on its main story. An ex-soldier trying to stop a terrorist attack is more than enough plot to keep an audience hooked. Cutting away to dumb teenagers or drug dramas is frustrating because it feels like the writers are over thinking it.
“Our main character has a wife…we need to find something for her to do!”
“We have terrorist cells…let’s show their daily struggle!”
Sometimes simplicity is the best approach. Hopefully these other stories will wrap up soon.
Please…PLEASE…right the ship, Legacy.
SCORE: 4 OUT OF 10
24: Legacy airs Mondays at 8pm on Fox