Spoiler Warning for the fifth hour of “24: Legacy,” as well as all previous seasons of the original series.
THE FOLLOWING TAKES PLACE BETWEEN 4:00 P.M. AND 5:00 P.M.
EVENTS OCCUR IN REAL TIME.
The first four episodes of the newest entry into the “24” Universe blew away my expectations and managed to land on the same level as some of the original series’ episodes. The series seems to have hit a bit of a speed bump with the latest hour, however. While I am greatly enjoying most of the main characters, some of the side stories are starting to feel a little lackluster. The episode spends a considerable amount of time focused on subplots that initially felt important to the overall story, but now feel disconnected. Although, there are many positives to note, specifically the completely unexpected twist near the end.
After being interrogated in the previous episode, it is finally revealed to Nilaa that she has been apparently set up and is no longer a suspect. Given CTU’s horrible track record of not only allowing moles into their system, but also arresting and questioning/torturing suspects that are framed, you would think that Rebecca and the team would be better at spotting when someone is innocent. Rebecca explains that Nilaa will be released, but there is some obvious uncertainty about the future of her career; Rebecca tries to console Nilaa, stating that Senator Donovan never stopped believing in her. While I originally believed Nilaa to be one-hundred percent innocent, something tells me that she will seek revenge later down the line. On the main CTU floor, the employees frantically search for Eric, who has just escaped with Ben. Suddenly, Rebecca and Keith receive a phone call from Eric, ordering them to send a tactical team to a location where they plan on meeting with Gabriel, the arms dealer. Keith tries to warn Eric against trusting Ben, but there seems to be some unearned trust as the mission continues; while I do believe Keith is doing a terrible job at being CTU Director, he does make a strong point about Ben, why would anyone trust him after the mess that he has caused already?
Across town, my favorite subplot receives significant developments as Amira and Khasan return to their home after dealing with Drew at the hospital; how exactly did Amira make it out the of hospital without being caught? We may never know. Upon returning home, they are met with a surprise visitor, their father Mikail (Ivo Nandi). This complicates their situation as Mikail is seemingly unaware of exactly what his children are planning, although he does seem to be suspicious. He asks about Khasan’s work, but demands answers after revealing that he stopped by his workplace and learned that Khasan had not been to work in weeks. Mikail is able to connect Khasan to a plot by friend to plant a bomb; Khasan and his friend were traveling abroad together at the same time that the friend was training to be a terrorist. After slapping his son, Mikail demands that his children return to their homeland together, but a fight breaks out after Khasan realizes that their mission is in jeopardy. Amira and Khasan tie their father up, but there is a clear divide forming between the siblings. After learning that her father has diabetes, Amira has a moment of self-reflection where she starts to wonder if the mission is really worth losing her family. However, this is cut short as Khasan receives the activation code, effectively launching their mission into play. This particular storyline has been incredibly gripping since the start of the day and I’m interested to see where it goes next; seeing the day through the point of view of some of the terrorists provides a fascinating look into how fragile the mission is. While Eric and CTU fight to stop the terrorist attacks before they begin, the villains themselves may be the ones to bring everything falling down. Is it possible that Amira will be too emotionally conflicted to fulfill her role in the mission? It’s worth noting that Kathryn Prescott is delivering a fantastic performance in this role, managing to present a gripping character that isn’t fully committed to her cause.
The weaker storyline of this episode revolves around Isaac and Nicole as they come to terms with the near assassination last episode. Clearly feeling betrayed by Aisha and Jerome, Isaac begins turning on his own people, demanding that they turn over their phones so that he can review their communications and trace any other backstabbers. On the other hand, Nicole is beyond ready to leave and join back up with her husband. She calls Eric, who tells her that things have calmed down but that he cannot come pick her up just yet; she is no longer in danger so he suggests that she go over to a friend’s house until he is done. Nicole makes her way to speak with Isaac to warn him that his witch hunt may cause his people to turn on him. In a rather odd scene, Isaac knocks Nicole down to the ground after becoming increasingly angry about her warnings. There’s also another scene of strange flirtation between the two, which basically confirms my theory that Isaac and Nicole will get back together before the day is over, making for a completely unnecessary love-triangle that will most likely result in someone dying. It’s clear that Nicole still has some feelings for Isaac, but I just keep wishing that she would leave and move on. I really hope the writers have bigger things planned for her character as this current story is beginning to feel stale; last week proved that Nicole is definitely a fighter, she just needs a change of setting to be able to fully reach her potential.
Back with Eric, he and Ben are traveling to their meeting with the mysterious Gabriel (Andrew Howard), who is apparently not a fan of beards. Ben quickly shaves while discussing his beliefs about an afterlife (this immediately raised a red flag in my mind about Ben’s future, although I never predicted what happened later in the episode), but Eric explains the importance of making the most out of the current life. This is a touching moment between the two estranged friends and manages to make me feel some sympathy for Ben, a character that I pretty much despised for the first four hours. Upon entering the meeting place, which seems to be a large abandoned warehouse, Ben is confronted by some of Gabriel’s men, who are far from happy to see him. Eric presents a portion of the schematics that he stole, giving them enough credibility to meet with Gabriel. One look at Gabriel and you will see just how menacing he is, however, he also comes across as a typical villain with not much depth aside from being bad. In a showing of loyalty, Eric is given a gun and ordered to shoot Ben, a task that proves to be too difficult for Eric; it’s probably a good thing that Jack Bauer wasn’t here as we was no stranger to gunning down his allies for the sake of completing his mission (cough…Curtis Manning…cough, cough). In a tragic twist, Gabriel commends Eric’s loyalty before silently giving one of his men the command to shoot Ben in the head. And just like that, the most unlikable character this season meets his end; I can’t say that I’m sad to see Ben go, but I am definitely shocked to see a main character taken out already. This will absolutely serve as an emotional catalyst for Eric to finish out the day and seek vengeance for his fallen friend.
Back at CTU, there is clear tension between Andy and Keith, making for a confrontation that serves the sole purpose of manufacturing drama. Keith calls Andy into his office to alert him that he is being sidelined for his role in Eric’s escape with the schematics. I don’t really understand why he doesn’t just fire Andy, as he is basically left at CTU without a role. Nevertheless, Rebecca promises to get Andy his job back once the crisis has passed. Over in a holding room, the interrogation of Henry begins, with Rebecca running point; for all the undercover work and lying she has done so far this season, Keith really is giving Rebecca a lot of room to work freely. She takes a calm approach, but Henry is not planning on incriminating himself and opts for the innocent act. This prompts Senator Donovan to storm into the holding room and demand that Henry tell the truth. This growing family drama makes for some truly exciting moments, showcasing the fact that “24: Legacy” is still managing to make the political-based storylines both gripping to watch and revenant to the main plot. The hour comes to an end as the CTU TAC team arrives on the scene just in the knick of time as Eric has started a shootout with Gabriel and his men after realizing that the plan isn’t going his way. Eric is distracted by the arrival of the TAC team, allowing Gabriel to slit his own throat to avoid being taken alive. A CTU agent begins working on Gabriel’s computer, but there is a automatic deletion program that is initiated. Eric’s quick-thinking prompts him to use Gabriel’s thumbprint to stop the evidence from being deleted. Will anything come from this meeting with Gabriel or did Ben just die in vain?
THE CLOCK STRIKES 5:00 P.M.
The fifth hour of “24: Legacy” leaves me far less satisfied than the previous four hours have. There’s something about nearly every storyline, minus that of Amira and Khasan, that presents itself as being problematic or completely unnecessary to the overall plot. In regards to Eric, I am still confident in his role as hero of the series, especially when taking into account the loyalty and cleverness that he demonstrated this episode. As we near the halfway point of the day, I am looking forward to the season ramping the terror threat up; I just don’t feel the complete urgency of the situation yet, although next week’s episode does look like it may change things. The focus on Rebecca and Senator Donovan is some of the season’s best material and it will be interesting to see how Henry’s role will change their relationship and if the campaign will be affected. What will the five o’clock hour hold? Be sure to tune into “24: Legacy” next Monday at 8 p.m. on FOX.