24: Legacy tapped into America’s deepest fears tonight with an emotional and impactful episode that culminated with a major terrorist attack. However, the episode still had several familiar problems that constantly haunt 24 – illogical character choices.
In the wake of Gabriel’s death, CTU is left to find Jadalla Bin-Khalid and quickly picks up a lead on him. CTU and Eric Carter raid Khalid’s hideout but he and his associates have already left. The raid scene gave Carter a chance to flesh out his character a bit more when he becomes angry about not finding the terrorists.
Back with Amira and Khasan, their father remains held hostage as the pair prepares to launch an attack. This part of the terrorist plot had felt somewhat disconnected from the main plot but took a fast twist when David (Amira’s teacher) tried to save Amira from having to carry out the attack. After seeing David shoot her brother, Amira kills David. In a gut-wrenching scene, Amira watches Khasan die in her arms as he says goodbye to her. But this is where the scene got unbelievable. Amira previously had doubts about carrying out the attack, hence why David wanted to save her. Faced with the possibility of having to drive the bomb truck herself, instead of choosing to follow the logical and emotional path of the character, she elects to drive the truck to the George Washington bridge. The twist was well-executed but out of character for a girl who was obviously not emotionally committed to attacking the United States. The two character deaths were also unnecessary to achieve the goal of setting up the final attack scene. Khasan and David could have gone with Amira during the attack.
Despite the problems of the two deaths, the scene gave the episode a huge boost of momentum and energy.
Amira’s father escapes, figures out the plan. Instead of calling the police immediately, he calls Amira to beg her to stop the truck. Again, the writers had a character make a totally unbelievable decision in a time-sensitive situation just to squeeze a bit more emotion and energy out of the scene. That choice also temporarily paused the tension of the scene, making it a little less engaging.
The episode ends with Amira driving the truck over the bridge as CTU races to find her. CTU contacts a police officer on the bridge who shoots and kills Amira as she is driving and before she can detonate her bomb. As the officer checks the truck, she detonates the bomb. Overall, I liked the scene’s creativity of giving some action to a short-lived character, but the writers missed a major opportunity for a better action scene for Eric Carter, Agent Locke and the CTU techs. The writers could have had Amira pick a target closer to Carter and Locke’s locations that would allow them enough time to reach her and create a great scene.
True to 24 form, the show kept the momentum going after a devastating twist. As Nicole Carter is about to leave her brother’s house, Bin-Khalid’s men ambush and kidnap the pair in a terrifying neighborhood ambush. While it’s not an original plot for 24, this will set up the rest of the season and give Eric Carter the chance to develop his character more and force him into more emotional situations pitting his family against the Khalids. It will also give the writers a chance to naturally blend all of the characters together into the same plot and give viewers a good conclusion to the season.
Overall, tonight’s episode had the energy, momentum and action I regularly expect from 24 and it was a major improvement on the past two episodes. The episode tapped into current fears of radicalized immigrants planning terror attacks. It was interesting that the writers chose a bomb attack on a bridge because its something every American does so frequently and could easily fear.
-24: Legacy has featured much less of CTU using its anti-terrorist technology to help stop attacks. Gone are the days of Chloe O’Brian pulling up a satellite image right away and giving it to Jack or hacking into an NSA database to get information she is not supposed to have.
-It was nice to see Nilaa Mizrani get an on-screen vindication for her Muslim character. I wonder why Senator Donovan is withdrawing from the presidential race.
-This is the first season of 24 (except for season 1 of the original series) where the President of the United States is not one of the featured characters and plot points. I wonder how the writers made that decision and what it made room for in the show in terms of new ways to tell a fresh story.
-I am excited to see Tony Almeida’s character return next week. However, I am skeptical of whether he will be naturally worked into the plot.