WARNING: FULL SPOILERS
Carter (Corey Hawkins) returns Ben (Charlie Hofheimer) to CTU as our heroes plan their next move. Ben wants to make things right, telling Carter about a mysterious arms dealer calling himself Gabriel who could know location of the terrorist leader Jadalla (Raphael Acloque). But when CTU refuses to trust the troubled former ranger, Carter takes matters into his own hands, disabling the control room and going with Ben to find the dealer on his own.
John Donovan (Jimmy Smits) sees through the frame up his father Henry (Gerald McRaney) carefully crafted around Nilaa (Sheila Vand). Showing his integrity, Donovan angrily confronts Henry, forcing him to reveal the truth: He was blackmailed by Jadalla to reveal the identities of the Rangers. Henry’s oil company apparently bought oil from terrorists and the elder Donovan gave in to Jadalla’s demands to keep his son’s presidential campaign safe. An enraged John goes to tell Ingram (Miranda Otto), but Henry and Luis (Daniel Zacapa) conspire to keep the secret.
In the meantime, Nicole (Anna Diop) manages to escape Aisha (Tiffany Hines) and warn Isaac (Ashley Thomas) about the trap his conniving girlfriend conceived. Amira (Kathryn Prescott) seemingly grows a conscious as she has second thoughts about killing Drew (Zayne Emory)…but kills him anyway when he wakes up and tries to call for help.
The fourth hour of 24: Legacy is the strongest outing for the series since the first episode, though that is not saying much. Some elements in those dumb subplots are actually well done. However, most of the attempts to change things up in the terrorist cell side story fall flat and there are some missteps in Nicole’s dramatic escape. And the dumb plotting manages to leak into the main story as Carter makes some baffling decisions regarding Ben, CTU, and recovering the terrorist cell list.
The strongest material comes from Donovan’s story, as Smits basically straps that story of deceit and betrayal onto his back and climbs above the mediocrity.
A Born Leader?
Jimmy Smits has consistently brought a touch of experience and class to 24: Legacy, but this episode showcases just how important he is. Donovan’s story line has turned into the most compelling aspect of the show chiefly because of him. His scenes with Nilaa are great as he wrestles with his own doubts of her guilt. Sheila Vand is also strong in these scenes, perfectly showing the heartbreak she feels as the man she respects most does not believe her. And his rage at his father Henry? It is great because it never goes over the top, as Smits balances his character’s anger and confusion very well.
Part of me feels like the show is setting Donovan up to be their version of David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert). He is idealistic but tough with a faith in people that serves him well. He is a born leader…that is, if his campaign succeeds. At this point, things look bleak. I am glad that the story did not drag out, but that may be due to Legacy’s relatively short twelve episode run.
There is also great potential for a tragic story here. The fact that Henry continues to try and keep the secret is really interesting. After a point, this maniacal quest makes the viewer wonder how much of this plotting is for his son’s sake. Is it really about Henry, trying to save face?
I will admit that Nicole’s subplot has some strong moments in this episode, mostly due to Anna Diop. Her escape and subsequent triumph over Aisha and her henchman show just how tough Nicole is, becoming a reluctant hero in the most important moments. Though it will probably cost her later, letting Aisha go shows just how good a person Nicole is.
And Isaac actually becomes a convincing tough guy! His bluff to get out of the Dominicans’ trap is actually really cool. Though he still manages to fit in a few extraneous “aights” in there.
On the other hand, Tiffany Hines continues to overplay Aisha. During her conversations with the Dominican boss, I could almost see her twirling a mustache. She curls her lips and squints so much it becomes a little ridiculous. I am disappointed that she escaped not because I want Nicole to kill her, but because it means this story will continue. And keeping Carter in the dark about Nicole’s adventures reeks of a potential love triangle like subplot that will be severely unwelcome here.
Amira suddenly growing a conscious is slightly intriguing, but feels like a “too little, too late” development. Every character in this terrorist cell has been so poorly developed that this turn by Amira feels a little out of nowhere and slightly dumb. Apparently this means she will turn against her terrorist leaders.
And why keep Drew alive to this point only to kill him now? Granted, we never actually see him die, but if he does not expire, this makes Amira look even more inept.
Something else troubles me about this development. So Amira, the white, doe-eyed and pretty teenager is the “terrorist” who suddenly has a change of heart? And Jadalla, the Middle Eastern young man, is the one who takes up his terrorist father’s cause after falling out with him. The “Other” appears to be alive and well as the show looks as though it is embracing the “save the corrupted white person from the evil brown people” stereotype.
It leaves something of a bad taste in my mouth that the writers are going in this direction. I will give Legacy a bit of a pass simply because that may not be the direction the show is going. But if it is…shame on them.
CTU: Who Needs ‘Em?
The main story line takes a few steps back in this episode as some all too familiar cliches return from the original 24 in regards to CTU rear their ugly head. Carter continues to be a solid protagonist, but his decisions regarding Ben border on just plain stupid.
I am a fan of Ben as a character, mostly because Charlie Hofheimer is so good in the role. He has created a truly tragic character. That said, Carter trusting him again is a little silly. I get that he feels responsibility to for the character, but he is basically enabling an addict at this point and it is getting annoying.
And that brings me to the biggest flaw in this story line: Why even go back to CTU. The moment Carter walks into the control and you hear that distinctive ring tone, it is a fun moment…but is that the only reason Legacy does it? Because moments later, Carter is on his own again.
I will say it plainly: Carter’s plan is dumb. Head of CTU Mullins (Teddy Sears) is right to turn it down. Carter wants to put highly classified weapon plans into the hands of Ben, a former addict who just tried to extort money from the U.S. government! If they are trying to make Mullins look like a jerk, Legacy is utterly failing. He seems to be the most level headed guy there.
I get that Jack Bauer’s plans were off the wall crazy, but those plans were often made seasons into the original show’s run. Quite frankly, Carter has not built up the same amount of trust with the audience for us to buy that this is their only “play.” Mullins says that Carter is not a CTU Agent and does not understand how it works…and he’s right!
And am I the only one who thinks it is a really bad idea to take out CTU’s surveillance center in the MIDDLE OF A TERRORIST THREAT?!?!? True, it is only for five minutes, but a lot can happen in five minutes. This is a real time show is it not?
CTU being infiltrated, bombed, attacked or otherwise neutralized is an all too familiar plot point that always seems to rear its ugly head. For such an elite counter terrorist unit, Legacy sure does enjoy undercutting their role. Even when the agency is making sense, the show still feels the need to completely spit in its face.
Previews for next week’s episode show CTU storming a building. Will they be saving Carter’s butt yet again? Most likely because Legacy seems to be following a pattern. Carter tries to execute a dumb plan, CTU comes to his aid.
An Old Friend
The identity of the mysterious Gabriel is pretty obvious at this point. It is most likely Tony (Carlos Bernard). It would be fun if the show uses him in a sort of “meta” way by having him riff on how things “never change.” Because Legacy is doing very little to change the formula.
SCORE: 5.5 OUT OF 10
24: Legacy Airs Mondays at 8pm on Fox