24: Legacy Season Finale Falls Flat

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24: Legacy ended as a shell of its original self last night.

Overall, the season finale lacked depth, tension, emotional impact and was rushed to make the 12-hour time jump the writers had promised.

The episode picks up with Eric Carter protecting the young daughter of Naseri as Tony Almeida attempts to recover her. The pair eventually get into a brutal fist fight. Senator Donovan calls Almeida and convinces him to help CTU get Rebecca back.

Sadly, the fight scene was the only highlight of the episode. The call from Donovan to Almeida was a creative and unexpected turn of events, but the lack of credible emotional buildup to persuade Tony to help CTU undercut the impact of the twist. Throughout the season, viewers had a couple of hints that Almeida cared about Rebecca, but we did not have the details and context to support the phone call twist.

Also, why did the writers remove Almeida, a skilled operative who could help Carter recover Rebecca, out of the action? His role this season has been minimized and left the show with one less engaging character to which viewers could connect.

The showdown between Carter and Naseri, which lead to Rebecca’s death, felt almost insignificant in its execution and somewhat comical. After confirming the girl was safe at the Jordanian embassy, Naseri gives Rebecca to Carter. Bin-Khalid, whose presence has felt unnecessary this season, conveniently grabs a gun and shoots Rebecca. Carter then guns down Naseri and Bin-Khalid and escapes to bring Rebecca to a hospital.

Rebecca’s comical death felt like something out of a bad action comedy. The scene glossed over the main enemies of the season with a quick few bullets and Carter escaping. 

At the hospital, Donovan, obviously is devastated by his wife’s death, but Carter, who had a strong connection to her, seems unfazed. Carter’s muted reaction was out of sync with the connection writers wanted viewers to believe Carter had with Rebecca.

The finale ends with rushed wrap ups of each character’s fate. Carter and his wife discuss what they want out of their lives and whether he can be a CTU agent and handle the stresses it places on a relationship. Senator Donovan, meanwhile, after seeing the horrible lengths to which his wife went to fight terrorism, decides to stay in the presidential race. 

The Carters’ scene attempted to address their relationship issues but it was recycled material from old series – can a CTU agent have a healthy personal life? The first three seasons of the original show posed this question, and answered it in a dramatic, cathartic way. 24: Legacy not only recycled an old theme but failed to execute it well. 

Senator Donavan’s story, meanwhile, ended somewhat thoughtfully. As he learned more about the lengths to which his wife went to do her job, he faced the question of whether to continue his presidential run. Donovan decides to continue his campaign, but we don’t get any dialogue from him explaining why. I believe maybe he wants uphold the ideals and morals he stands on instead of letting people like his wife continue to erode them in the fight against terrorism. 

The time jump was badly executed. All of the dialogue that occurred after the jump could have been done before it. The jump served no creative purpose or plot advancement. It felt done purely to satisfy the 24-hour time format of the show. 

Other Thoughts

-Issac Carter never got a real sendoff scene, probably due to the time constraints of the episode. 

-The time jump graphic was not consistent with the style and tone of the show. The graphic depicted a clock fast forwarding 12 hours as the sun moved over the horizon. This feels like something a comedy show might do, hokey and comical. A simple, “12 hours later” graphics in the font of the show’s clock would have been perfectly fine. 

-The young girl seemed to suddenly know a lot more English when she was talking to Carter about the trees.

 

24: Legacy – Tony Almeida vs. Eric Carter

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When I first began this blog, I asked whether the reboot of the show could tell new stories of battling terrorism with a fresh batch of characters?

While I have not yet made an assessment as to whether this has been a successful reboot of the original 24, this episode, when viewed without any connection to other episodes, was a strong argument that a creatively successful reboot could be done.

This was the best and most thrilling episode yet with tense drama, high stakes and an original, unexpected twist. It felt like the first season of the original 24 where every major character had something to lose.

The episode picked up with Eric Carter speaking to Senator John Donovan at the football stadium where Rebecca Ingram was abducted by the terrorists. Carter updates Donovan on what the plan was at the stadium and what actually happened with both men feeling the weight of the situation and the coping with the idea they could both lose somebody they love – Rebecca. The scene carried a lot of emotional weight and made me feel more invested in the character’s fate. Carter and Donovan team up to recover find and recover Rebecca.

Back at CTU, Andy Shalowitz finally digs up information on “East July,” which later turns out to be that the Director of National Intelligence had Naseri’s daughter abducted and is keeping her in a farmhouse. The reason (I think) – to exchange the daughter for Bin-Khalid. The old version of the show was known for unexpected twists and tonight’s was certainly out of the blue and rather original. It also took an interesting step that the original show rarely did – it presented the actions American agents would take to defend the country as reprehensible, instead of trying to find a logical justification for it. (Of course, there is no logical excuse for kidnapping any child)

To get confirmation and details on Simms’ actions, Carter and Donovan decide they need to get into the Director’s office computer.

This was the low point of the episode and felt familiar like the many times Jack Bauer had to slip into a very secure place and force information out of somebody. But, once in the office, Carter, with Shalowitz’s help, discovered the girl’s fate. Donovan, who has mostly kept his composure during the show’s long day, finally, showed some great character and emotional depth as he helped Carter and confront Simms. 

The highlight of the episode was the mounting standoff between Tony Almeida and Eric Carter as they race to recover the young girl from the farm house. Carter arrives first and gets to the girl but Almeida quickly arrives forms a plan to take Carter down. Finally, Almeida got some good dialogue, screen time and an action scene! The scene set up what I hope will be a great action scene between Almeida and Carter.

Overall, this episode was energetic, fast-paced and emotional and ended with a cliffhanger where I truly have no idea how it will end. I think the major improvement can be attributed to the writing focusing on the basics – focused progressing plot, weaving character attachment to the plot and good acting. Notice how this all happened when the sillier parts of the show had been stripped away, such as Eric’s drug-dealing brother’s subplot along with the Shalowitz fractured romance story. In other words, the writer’s kept it simple and small tonight. 

OTHER THOUGHTS

-I really wish Ibrahim Bin-Khalid had not been alive. His character is cartoonish, his makeup is bad and his involvement in the plot is minimal. 

-I think the writer’s will kill Tony Almeida. However, before they do, viewers need to know the circumstances surrounding his release form prison and what he has been doing since he was. 

24: Legacy – Unoriginal, But Still Fun

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Despite the unoriginal plot turns, tonight’s episode of 24: Legacy was its best so far.

Hopefully, the show’s final two episodes will be at least as good or even better.

The episode picks up with Senator John Donovan in captivity after terrorists captured him during the CTU attack. Rebecca Ingram quickly, and thankfully, becomes the focus of the episode. Miranda Otto turned in a fantastic performance reacting to her husband’s plight and tapping into the fear she feels while keeping her cool and working to get him back. Otto has been the best actor on the show.

Soon, we learn that Ibrahim Bin Khalid, whom was believed to have been killed by Carter, is alive and in America to abduct and execute the woman who managed the operation to kill him – Ingram. Sadly, this type of plot is familiar territory for 24 and harkens back to when it turned out Jack Bauer’s original nemesis, whom he believed he killed in Kosovo, was alive and in prison. Ibrahim being alive felt like a cheap, easy twist for a show that usually pulls off unexpected twists well. However, it added scope to the season’s otherwise small, focused terrorist plot that the original series abandoned after its first season.

Once CTU learns Eric and Rebecca have left to try to recover Senator Donovan, Tony Almeida is called upon to help locate her, which I hope means Tony will finally be joining the show’s main plot as he should have from the beginning. Despite his small role so far, Carlos Bernard has played his character well.

Carter and Ingram finally arrive at the exchange site, an old football stadium where the field is soaked in gasoline. The last few minutes were vintage 24, full of great action photography, a great location for an action scene, agent teamwork and tight editing. As Ingram approaches the field, she showed some real courage, emotionally demanding her husband be released before she is asked to read a confession. From there, the scene turns into a fast gunfight during which we don’t know Rebecca’s fate. I loved the scene but it had one problem. At the end, Carter says he can hear Ingram but cannot see her. Then, with the camera still on the field fire, we hear Ingram say Ibrahim Bin Khalid is alive. It’s jarring to jam such an important line into the end of the episode during an action sequence during which we cannot see one of the main characters.

How will the Carter’s live the rest of their lives? That was the subplot and somewhat central question for Eric and Nicole Carter during this episode. The show has slowly built to this question as Nicole slowly realized her husband liked being in combatant fighting terrorists and did not seem to want to continue living a simple and quiet life with her. Nicole confronts Eric about what he wants with her and asks him what kind of life he wants to live? The dialogue was a bit clunky and without nuance but Eric showed some real emotional depth, which we have seen little of this season. They felt like a real couple in this scene.

Overall, the episode packed a lot of decent story into the hour and kept the momentum and energy of the plot moving fast.

OTHER THOUGHTS

-The makeup on Ibrahim Bin Khalid was overdone. It’s intended to portray his wounds from the battle against American forces, but it ends up making him look like a monster.

-Tony Almeida: please bring him into the main plot. Please.

-Corey Hawkins’s performance was his best yet. It was emotional, nuanced and connected with viewers.

24: Legacy: Make Tony Almeida Great Again

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24: Legacy took an unfortunate trip down memory lane last night.

Despite the episode’s unoriginal plot development, it was a small improvement over the previous episode. Overall, it was well-paced and slowly built to the action-packed climax. However, the show’s problems remain, including little use of Tony Almeida. 

Back at the interrogation site, Tony Almeida had little to do, which again highlighted his notable lack of screen time. As I have said before, bringing back such a big character to a successful series requires a good story, filling in background gaps and enough screen time to do that. However, Almeida has had few lines and little use. In this episode, we see him tell Rebecca, with whom he was previously involved, to take care of herself. This seems to be a set up to something larger in a future episode. But, viewers need to know the Tony/Rebecca background BEFORE whatever climatic moment is coming.

At CTU, Jadalla Bin Khalid is subjected to a forgettable interrogation. It is soon revealed that Naseri has kidnapped the girlfriend of a CTU security officer in hopes of using that to break into CTU and recover Jadalla. This storyline presents a few problems. The promo for this week’s episode gave away the attack on CTU and left little to be thrilled about. Also, this plot device of attacking CTU has been used many times before on 24, including season 2, 5, 6 and 8. I rolled my eyes at this.

The setup to the entire Naseri plot to date has been sudden and incoherent. After the terrorists capture Donovan, Naseri tells Jadalla that he was a top aide in the Khalid organization. But, there is no emotional motivation for Naseri’s insertion into the plot and no stated terrorist goal. The writers just conveniently inserted him into the plot after Jadalla was captured.  

This episode was a perfect example of the season’s problems. The show has failed to find its core purpose that the original series had – Jack Bauer’s constant battle to keep his humanity while protecting the country from terrorist attacks. 24: Legacy has failed to structure the threat plot and emotional engagement enough around Eric Carter for viewers to feel truly engaged with the show. 

Other thoughts

Anybody catch the name of the company the terrorists used to get into CTU? Terradyne. That was the name of the subsidiary that was used to make the nerve gas in season 5. Connection to 24: Legacy? We’ll see.

-This season has featured a few moments that are described with dialogue but not seen on screen. It’s a device the writers are obviously forced to use to meet the constraints of the 12-hour format. Still, it may be jarring for viewers and make them believe they missed a moment of the episode. 

-The scene during which Senator Donovan is kidnapped was staged badly. The physical reactions of Donovan didn’t look like a man who was trying to avoid gunfire and kidnapping after his security guards are killed. 

24: Legacy: This Could Have Been Best Episode. It Wasn’t

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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. 

Other Thoughts

-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. 

24: Legacy: Tony Almeida Returns, For Just A Moment

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Tony Almeida’s return to the 24-verse could not save this episode of 24: Legacy.

Overall, the episode was decent but suffered from unusual pacing, not enough of Almeida (Carlos Bernard) and some oddly placed dialogue. 

The episode begins with Rebecca Ingram calling Almeida to abduct Henry Donovan for off-record interrogation. This sequence was classic 24 with tensions quickly building to a fast-paced action scene. The end of this scene could have been a great way to continue the momentum the old series was great at producing. Almeida could have gone right to work with a quick interrogation (after all, they need Jadalla’s location ASAP because the clock is always ticking on 24). Instead, the show turned the pressure down with a scene during which Eric Carter must convince Andy Shalowitz to help him stop Jadalla. While necessary, there must have been a way to keep the momentum going without a long, dialogue-heavy scene. 

Despite this being a new iteration of 24, bringing back an old, beloved character such as Almeida should require more use of him. But, Almeida’s return ended nearly as soon as it began. Viewers got no context for his return and few lines from him. When we last saw him in 24: Solitary, he was still in prison as a result of the events of season 7. How did he get out of jail? Why is he out? What is he doing now? Why is helping the government he came to despise in season 7? All of those questions need to be answered for viewer satisfaction and believability. 

Also, this episode’s attempts at emotional sparks between Jadalla Bin Khalid and Nicole was flat. There was little chemistry between the two actors. The tension meant for this scene could have been better accomplished with facial expressions and a very quick exchange of dialogue as Nicole treated Jadalla’s wound. The scene was also a missed opportunity to reveal Jadalla’s motives. Yes, his motive is revenge for his father, but that is rather boring and has been done on 24 (the Drazens in season 1). I would have loved to have known why he hates America and is intent on destroying it. Does he believe in his father’s terrorist ideology? 

The final scene was a letdown with Shalowitz and Eric Carter arriving to meet Jadalla. With the tension building, and the scene proceeding smoothly, the writers have Issac and Nicole beg Eric to stop his suicide mission. Stopping the action and making such a fast tonal shift was drastic and undercut the tensions between Jadalla and Eric.

With only five episodes left in the season, the show has been mediocre and has failed to recapture the fast-paced feeling, acting and emotional energy the best seasons of the original 24 series did. 

Other Thoughts

-Eric is starting to feel a little bit more like Jack Bauer with his commitment to completing a mission and hand-to-hand combat skills.

-Miranda Otto has been fantastic  on this show, with a great, nuanced acting. She has the most screen presence of any of the characters. 

-Dan Bucatinsky did a great job during this episode with an emotional scene between Andy Shalowitz and Agent Locke. It felt authentic. 

-I predict Shalowitz will die during the next episode. It seems the writers are out of useful things for him to do at CTU. 

-Some of the music some tonight’s episode was recycled from the old series. If this was truly a reboot, why are they using music that calls back to the old show?

-I wish they could have cast a better actor for Jadalla. His acting feels robotic. 

24: Legacy Gets Back on Track

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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. 

Other thoughts

-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.