WARNING: FULL SPOILERS
“2:00pm-3:00pm’s” opening moments pretty much sum up 24: Legacy’s problems. Carter (Corey Hawkins) is still trapped in the evidence room after stealing the money Ben (Charlie Hofheimer) demanded for the list of terrorist sleeper cells. With the help of one of his hostages, Carter manages to escape but is quickly cornered. The standoff is abruptly settled as CTU contacts the police and explains everything.
Essentially the whole “rob the police precinct” scenario was pointless. And that is the problem so far with 24: Legacy. Many of the show’s more outlandish (And honestly, stupid) plot lines end up being superfluous because they don’t tie in to the main story. The writers seem to think that a terrorist threat isn’t enough for a twelve episode season and continue to bring down Legacy with increasingly dumb and unconnected subplots.
After Carter finally gets the help of CTU, he heads to the meeting with Ben. Unfortunately, Jadalla Bin-Khalid (Raphael Acloque) and his men manage to obtain the drive after a quick gunfight. Meanwhile, Ingram (Miranda Otto) heads to Donovan’s (Jimmy Smits) fundraiser to confront the supposed mole, campaign manager Nilaa (Sheila Vand). However, an unlikely (But fairly obvious) person emerges as the source of the leak: Donovan’s father Henry (Gerald McRaney)
Oh, and the world’s worst terrorist cell manages to mess up even more when it turns out Drew (Zayne Emory) is still alive. And Nicole (Anna Diop) occupies herself with some sort of drug deal gone wrong or something.
Seriously, does anyone care about these other story lines?
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Terrorist List Exchange
Yes, the terrorist cell subplot ties in, but it’s stupid and poorly plotted. Amira (Kathryn Prescott) continues to be the unconvincing mastermind in the worst terrorist cell to ever exist. The fact that neither she nor Harris (Kevin Christy) realize Drew is still alive (And everything that follows) is hilariously lazy writing.
The boy’s head wound is serious enough to knock him out, but he still has the strength to climb out of a second story window in the span of five minutes. And if he’s aware enough to climb out of the window, why not just get that student’s attention while she speaks with Harris? And seriously, neither Amira or Harris hear a stumbling Drew tumble through the classroom?
My God, Legacy, this is a TERRORIST CELL!!! I should be feeling fear or hatred for these characters but I’m simply laughing at their ineptitude. It completely undercuts any sense of danger the country could face if the only “enemies” I see are complete idiots. I’ll give the show some props: I’m glad they didn’t go the stereotypical Middle-Eastern-terrorist-guys direction, but this is ridiculous.
Speaking of ridiculous, Nicole’s story line bothers me for a number of reasons. For one, the show manages to clumsily tie the subplot into CTU’s hunt for the terrorist cell list. Nicole gets Carter involved as they attempt to get the audio from the call that Aisha (Tiffany Hines) made in the previous episode to set up Isaac (Ashley Thomas). This is odd since Nicole saw who Aisha calls on the phone itself. I see a pattern developing here with Legacy’s secondary antagonists…
Secondly, the whole plot line feels incredibly stereotypical. Of course, the African American protagonist has a drug dealing brother. Of course, that brother’s African American girlfriend is jealous and plotting against her man. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The acting doesn’t help either. Hines goes from decent to slightly hammy when she has her “evil” moments. Ashley Thomas’ performance is so over the top and overly affected that it’s almost comedic. Take a shot every time the character says “Aight” and you’ll be hammered in the span of two minutes.
And that leads to the overall “glossy” feel of the Nicole/Isaac/Aisha subplot. It comes off like a heavily sanitized version of an “urban” drama. There is no grit or realism involved here. It’s seemingly the product of a writer who has watched a few too many John Singleton movies and completely missed the point to all of them. Anna Diop has actually impressed me because she still manages to give a decent performance despite the sub par material.
I truly hope Nicole’s adventures never connect to Carter’s hunt for the terrorist cells because that would mean the subplot died somewhere in the middle of the season. Part of me wishes that Carter never had a wife.
Oh, About That Terrorist List…
The episode’s finer moments come whenever it returns to the race to find the terrorist cell list. It is often familiar, a throwback of sorts to the original series, but it does work to a certain degree. Especially whenever the show focuses on Corey Hawkins. In my previous review, I said that he is a solid protagonist with a strong emotional core you can root for. And Carter is pretty bad ass. When he walks by that downed terrorist and shoots him without looking, it’s an awesome “action hero” moment.
I haven’t focused on Charlie Hofheimer as Ben very much, but he has some great moments in this episode. That short scene where he tells Carter about those glacial lakes and a new start is actually very touching. You can see the desperation to get sober and he grasps at any opportunity. But he can never stay out of his own way.
Ben is a frustrating character, but not like the fools in the terrorist cell. You care about the guy because you see how much he has gone through via Hofheimer’s performance and Carter’s words. But his extortion plot is so maddening and dangerous. He’s a nicely layered character and I’m interested to see where they go with him.
For many viewers, the intrigue surrounding the mole in Donovan’s campaign is very familiar and, despite some strong work from the actors involved, that familiarity kills some of the suspense. Jimmy Smits is very convincing when he looks heart broken at Nilaa’s betrayal and Miranda Otto swings from concerned wife to no-nonsense CTU interrogator with ease.
But this is yet another “mole in the unexpected place” that the original 24 used so often. As the story unfolds, you can’t help saying, “Nilaa is a red herring,” and sure enough she is. I’ll give Legacy credit for not dragging it out, but I’ve seen this before. It’s slightly intriguing to find out why Henry leaked the identity of the Rangers, but there is only so many avenues this can go. I’m guessing it has something to do with power, guaranteeing Donovan’s presidency or some other well worn territory.
The Following Takes Place Between…Okay We Get It!!!
Legacy continues to frustrate me. Honestly, watching it feels like a chore so far. Even when the show has it’s good moments, they are either just okay and/or familiar. This episode is an improvement, but only slightly.
SCORE: 5 OUT OF 10
24: Legacy airs Mondays at 8pm on Fox