WARNING: FULL SPOILERS
24: Legacy’s eighth hour is a solid follow up to last week’s strong outing. Taking full advantage of the real time format, this episode is a taut and often exhilarating ride. The episode often falls into cliche, nearly derailing things, but it all manages to work in its own strange way.
As Eric (Corey Hawkins) and Andy (Dan Bucatinsky) try to enact their plan to destroy Jadalla’s (Raphael Acloque), the terrorist leader discovers and ruins their play. Andy is forced to really fix the flash drive as CTU tries to locate them. Though they do, a surgical missle strike is ordered
Meanwhile Ingram (Miranda Otto) and Tony (Carlos Bernard) must deal with John Donovan’s (Jimmy Smits) presence as they attempt to torture the truth out of his father Henry (Gerald McRaney). The elder Donovan proves to be surprisingly resiliant and withstands the procedures long enough…
…For Isaac (Ashley Thomas) to rescue Eric with the help of his gang. After an exciting shoot out, Jadalla is captured, our heroes are safe and John is bringing his father home. But a new villain emerges from the wreckage, a dangerous one that Eric knows very well.
This is the first time 24: Legacy utilizes the real time format to its fullest. The episode rarely lets up due to some tense scenarios. Will the terrorists get the sleeper cell list? Will Andy, who we have come to root for, die? Can Isaac and Nicole (Anna Diop) get to Eric on time? The episode careens from one moment to the next and constantly flashes that clock, masterfully playing on our fears for our heroes.
That said, this is probably Corey Hawkins’ weakest episode. While he gets some very cool action sequences here (The chair escape followed by a dive for the grenade is right out of an action movie), he spouts some dumb dialogue.
It did not start out that way. When Jadalla says that Eric created him by killing his father, it plays perfectly into Eric’s feelings of responsibility. The look he shoots at Jadalla after he says that is probably the most powerful moment for him. Making it personal is the direction this story should have gone.
But then the rest of their dialogue dissolves into tired cliche. The whole “America is stronger than you think!” versus the “God is on my side!” argument that takes hold of the conversation the rest of the way has been done before on this show and on others. It feels a lot like filler and takes away some of the tension. It thankfully returns to the more personal side as Eric taunts Jadalla about his father.
Acloque is also very good in the episode, with his eerie and calm confidence making Jadalla into a threatening villain. That is why I am a bit disappointed to find a new villain possibly working behind the scenes, played by Oded Fehr (I actually missed his name). This probably means the end of Jadalla as the main antagonist for a more traditional one.
The exciting conclusion should not have worked. A gang taking on terrorists? A surgical strike on the terrorist hideout? On paper, it looks ridiculous. The former is silly and the latter is a well worn cliche. But the because the episode utilizes them both so well, it works.
Yes, Isaac literally strutting into the warehouse blasting away with a shotgun is over the top. But it does stay true to the character. This is probably the best Isaac has ever looked, not only saving Eric, but also points out that CTU cannot be trusted. Remember, the show pulled out the classic “Mole in CTU!” trope by kidnapping Isaac and Nicole. While I dislike being reminded of that damn disappointing plot turn, it is nice that Isaac is the only who remembered.
Torture, Torture, Everywhere!!!
Legacy uses Tony Almeida sparingly, but effectively in the torture story line. Still threatening as he questions Henry, he seems almost desperate to break the man. Does he have something to prove?
Contrast him with Ingram, who is willing to use torture under the right circumstances. Ingram makes some compelling arguments for using questionable methods as she explains the situation to John Donovan. But then she knows when to stop. Henry never breaks as Jadalla is captured; there is no need to continue despite Almeida’s desire to proceed.
Bernard is great in his brief time as his growing frustration and resulting menace grows in each scene. When he starts shouting, it is a scary moment. Otto is also great in those scenes, her cold demeanor projecting something interesting: Ingram has done this before.
It is effective, but feels like a betrayal of the character from last week. Ingram looked to be struggling with her decision. That seems to be gone here. So she is either doing a great job of covering up her regrets or the show is just disregarding it.
Overall, I am a bit disappointed that Legacy has returned to the original show’s attempt to constantly legitimize the use of torture. It is everywhere in this episode: Jadalla tortures Andy with a knife, Isaac tortures the terrorist sent to kill him and Eric is beaten severely. It is a nice contrast to show that all sides are guilty of it, but in the end, the show seems to say it works.
I know Legacy is a fictional show, but I do not want this to become a regular occurrence. Not only is it a troublesome idea to put forth in this day and age, it makes for tired story telling. The original 24 got bogged down as it constantly tried to legitimize torture. It became tired and almost laughable.
A New Day…Err, Hour
It looks as though Legacy is resetting, creating a new scenario whether I like it or not. While it looks as though Jadalla is going to be replaced as the main threat, I am glad they did not kill him off yet. Unfortunately, it looks like CTU will be breached once again as Oded Fehr’s character is on the attack. But this episode rose above its cliches…hopefully next week’s will as well.
Score: 7 out of 10
24: Legacy airs Mondays at 8pm on Fox