WARNING: FULL SPOILERS
A high up government official trying to cover up a questionable operation…
A terrorist with a sympathetic motive…
Eric Carter versus Tony Almeida…
There is some borderline great drama in the eleventh hour of 24: Legacy, some of the best since the show started. With his plot to control Asim Naseri (Oded Fehr) by kidnapping his daughter, Director of National Intelligence Donald Simms’ (James Moses Black) emergence as a new antagonist is very compelling. And an intriguing question is asked: How much of a role did Ingram (Miranda Otto) play?
We also get an exciting confrontation between Eric (Corey Hawkins) and Tony (Carlos Bernard). The new versus the old, the man who believes in doing the right thing versus a man who stopped believing in a black and white world long ago. It is a hell of a way to set up the finale.
But something is still very wrong with this episode and the series as a whole. All of these compelling storylines feel like “too little, too late.” We have compelling villains now…with only one episode left. Where were these compelling ideas earlier? This episode encapsulates 24: Legacy’s fatal flaw: Missed opportunity.
Secrets and Lies
Simms’ emergence brings up some hard questions for the world in Legacy. Is he just doing his job? Is everyone else being naive about what it takes to defend the country? These are questions the real world has to deal with as well.
Naseri is also given a good reason for his hatred of the West and Ingram in particular. A father enraged by the perceived death of his daughter…that is a dangerous man. He believes Ingram is responsible for it all and is poised to kill her.
However, none of this hits as hard as it should because of how late the reveals come. Simms appeared so sparingly before, I had to look up his name at the end of last week’s episode. Naseri was introduced only two episodes ago. In the name of twists and crazy reveals, Legacy seemingly held all of their real villains back for the last possible moment.
This may have worked if the subplots before this were not utter crap. The show wasted so much time on the world’s worst terrorist cell (It pains me to bring those idiots up again) or the Nicole-Isaac “will they or won’t they” silliness when it should have developed Naseri and Simms. What is good could have been great.
The new reveals also show how the Bin-Khalid reveal from last week is so bad. In only his second episode, the elder terrorist is seemingly a footnote to the plot.
Once our heroes discover Simms’ secret, Legacy thankfully goes into overdrive…sometimes to its detriment. Yes, we get Tony facing off against Eric, but the episode rushes to that point. That early confrontation between John Donovan (Jimmy Smits) and Eric is really good. John’s anger is completely understandable because the plan to draw out the terrorists was flawed. And Eric’s passionate defense feels like he is trying to justify his actions to himself.
But moments later all is forgotten and the two are off to confront Simms. It is a jarring change that feels incredibly unnatural. The confrontation with Simms also feels rushed and a bit silly. Why would Eric leave John alone with Simms? Does John even know how to use a gun?
The only good thing to come out of Simms and John’s time together? A tantalizing bit that Ingram is possibly in on Naseri’s daughter’s kidnapping. John dismisses it, but Naseri later confronts a nearly unconscious Ingram with the accusation and she says nothing. Is she too weak to say anything or does she know about the kidnapping?
On a quick note, the addition of Daniel Pang (C.S. Lee), the stereotypical CTU suck up that Simms sends to do his bidding, is unintentionally hilarious. Not only is he simply a convenient obstacle for the CTU folks to overcome, the way Mullins (Teddy Sears) takes him out is pretty funny. The image of him choking Pang in plain view of several CTU staffers and then falling below the window is very silly.
Despite the rushed set up, Eric’s rescue of Naseri’s daughter is well executed, as is Tony’s timely arrival to corner him in the safe house. However, the tension is not completely there. Tony has not had a lot of time to develop. The only things we know about him in Legacy is his past with Ingram. That aspect was so obviously projected that the outcome seems pretty obvious. Tony will most likely back down when he finds out about Naseri’s daughter being a key to saving Ingram’s life. This is a severe missed opportunity.
Legacy has been one big missed opportunity. All of these cool plot points and villains should be hammering home a great conclusion to an exhilarating adventure. But the show’s insistence on concentrating on terrible story lines before this point really takes away a lot of the tension. It is a little obvious at this point that those subplots (The terrorist cell, the love triangle, etc) were simply filler before the show could get to its real “heart.”
Too bad I barely care anymore.
SCORE: 5.5 OUT OF 10
24: Legacy airs Mondays at 8pm on Fox