When the original 24 series began, the show tapped into the fears many Americans had in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks and continued that momentum as a show where the nation was constantly under threat and the government always one step behind.
Last night’s episode of 24: Legacy left all that behind with an episode focused mostly on hoping viewers invest in storylines mostly about a drug-dealer’s business woes and a family’s internal dispute. This episode could have easily been 30 minutes instead of 60 because most of it was filler and little of it moved the Eric Carter storyline forward.
Thankfully, the storyline with Nilaa Mizrani possibly leaking the Army Rangers’ names ended with her being cleared of guilt and Senator Donovan’s father being hauled into CTU for questioning. The turn gave Senator Donovan (Jimmy Smits) a great moment facing down his father when Donovan’s father begins lying about his involvement with the terrorists.
Amira and Hassan arrive home and find their father, who is suspicious of their work in America and eventually reveals he suspects them of terrorism. Amira and Hassan take their father hostage. It’s another obvious example that the writers do not quite know how to fill the terrorists’ time before they are called upon to launch their attack and asking viewers to quickly invest in a story and character they have just met.
Issac Carter arrives back home completely paranoid and afraid after nearly being killed by an associate and in search of possible moles. Over the course of the episode, Nicole Carter counsels him on how to navigate his difficulties.
The Amira/Hassan and Issac Carter drug-dealing stories made me feel like I am watching three different shows that are not connected or moving toward formulating a climactic end of the series. While there is a little connection between all three plots they lack the emotional turmoil and forward momentum the original series had during its best seasons.
The episode did have one shining aspect – Eric Carter and Ben Grimes. The pair arrives and meets Gabriel the arms dealer, who is suspicious of their motives despite being offered the Onyx missile system plans. The scene gave viewers a good moment when Eric is asked to kill Ben but refuses. That little twist further established Eric as his own character separate from Jack Bauer and having limits to what he is willing to do to succeed in a situation. Gabriel’s associate kills Ben, putting that skittish character out of his misery.
The episode ends with CTU and Carter killing Gabriel’s associates and Gabriel taking his own life.
Overall, most of the episode felt stalled until the last five minutes. The best seasons of the original 24 series kept the plot moving even when the writers had to reset the story partway through the season. That is key to any 24 season – movement – but 24: Legacy is failing that.