Last night’s episode COULD have been the best episode of the new series.
Instead, it was one of the worst.
To date, 24: legacy has lacked a sense of fast-paced momentum, forward plot progress, character development and tension that usually came with Jack Bauer’s crisis of the day. Given the set up for the episode with Eric and Andy being captured, the show could have had a thrilling episode that culminated in a rescue that did not include a jump-the-shark plot point, underutilizing Tony Almeida and forced, wooden dialogue intended for emotional impact.
The episode picked up with Eric Carter and Andy Shalowitz in Jadalla Bin Khalid’s custody being forced to restore the list of sleeper cells. The first cringe-worthy moment came when Carter attempts to escape from the terrorists only to be stopped. First, this decision by Carter did not make sense because if he had escaped, he would have to overpower a phalanx of terrorists to rescue Andy. Also, it seems this escape attempt was meant solely to prompt Jadalla’s brief exchange with Eric about his religious motives. The moment felt forced and it harkened back to the cheesy moments when Jack Bauer would attempt to establish moral superiority over his foe only for it feel fake.
I never liked the Issac Carter/drug dealer storyline, but it had not been damaging the overall story – until tonight. After Issac and Nicole Carter are released from the terrorists’ custody, they organize a plan to rescue Eric. Two problems with this decision: it’s totally unbelievable that a drug organization would risk itself in a gun battle with trained, hardened terrorists to rescue somebody that means nothing to them. The other problem is it removed a chance for the show to regain some of its classic shine when CTU techs would work together to help eliminate a terrorists or rescue somebody and give the main character some great action scenes.. CTU has been underutlized a lot this season and this just minimized its relevance.
Despite poor plot twists in this episode, the show pulled off a thrilling rescue sequence when the drug dealers burst in and shot it out with the terrorists as the military missile was approaching. However, the pacing of the scene felt odd when SUDDENLY, the missile struck out of nowhere. We didn’t see any countdown to it or visual of it approaching. All of the sudden, Eric Carter was extracting his brother and we got a point of view shot of the missile striking the ground. Also, the POV shot is not visually exciting and fails to show the scope of the scene and set to give it some perspective.
Back in the warehouse, the problematic story of Tony Almeida’s interrogation of Henry Donovan devolved into a shell of itself and then utter uselessness. Tony’s return was promoted heavily, but since his return, he has had few lines, no context for his return and no involvement in the main plot. As the Carter plot progressed, I expected Almeida’s interrogation would meld into the Carter story. Instead, the strike on Jadalla rendered the interrogation useless and made Almeida’s return feel purposeless. However, the Donovan interrogation did give us a decent showcasing of Jimmy Smits’s acting talents when we see him try to stop the interrogation.
Sadly, it appears the next episode has little hope for redeeming the series. At the end of this episode, we are introduced to a new terrorist named “Nasiri” that Eric Carter had recognized. He is spoken about as if he is an extremely dangerous terrorist we have known for years. However, the viewers have no idea who this character is.
-Dan Bucatinsky was great in this episode. He had a great scene at the end after the missile strike and made his stabbing look quite painful.
-When Issac Carter said CTU still cannot be trusted, that made no sense. CTU identified the mole as Henry Donovan and Eric Carter trusted them enough to try to get their support for the Gabriel mission.
-CTU’s set feels rather stale. The two or three prior CTU sets felt vibrant, with color, visual cues and an active environment. To date, CTU has felt like a mostly empty building with a few workers.