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24: Legacy - 9:00pm - 10:00pm - Review: "Let's do the plot twist again"

“9:00pm - 10:00pm” was not short of tense moments and big twists, revealing even before the first act break that Ibrahim Bin-Khalid was still alive and featuring Henry telling Rebecca of Luis’s involvement with the terrorists. But there was a sense of structural incoherence that plagued the hour, as if it was more focused on the existence of its plot twists than it was conveying them. The end result was an episode representative of throwing anything and everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.

The best example of this is the final moments, in which Rebecca appears to be engulfed in flames, only to come back on the communications and say that Bin-Khalid is alive. It was so chaotic and structureless, and didn’t really make sense from one shot to the next to the next: Rebecca looked to be doomed, then she sounded somewhat safe on the comms, then she discovered Bin-Khalid - and all of it happened off screen. There was no consistency to any of it, and it made the ending of the hour seem far more abrupt than it actually was.

That Bin-Khalid is alive is not a surprise; Jadalla’s incompetence as a villain meant he could not possibly be the big bad, and once Naseri’s backstory was filled in there was little else the show would feasibly do. It harkens back to the first season - and therein lies the problem. After so many years and so many plot twists, the capacity for the series to execute these surprises in that way, or to do them so they do not simply seem recycled, is low. And so it becomes predictable that the man thought dead is not. Yes, there are some differences between Bin-Khalid and Victor Drazen - Drazen was never in the building when it blew, Bin-Khalid was; Andre and Alexis knew their father was alive, Jadalla did not - but the similarities are such that it is difficult to look at this as anything other than a carbon copy.

The goal, too, was the essentially same: enact revenge on the woman who thought she had killed Bin-Khalid by using her husband as a hostage. However, quite where the terrorists go from here is unclear. Presumably, Rebecca is in the clutches of the terrorists, but if their aim was to kill her for what she’s done, how is that prolonged over two more episodes (or even one more)? There is an underlying feeling that this is being extended longer than it perhaps should be, and that is never ideal.

Her decision to embark upon a suicide mission to kill Jadalla and Naseri was both noble and understandable. She and Eric discussed, earlier in the hour, how civilians cannot possibly understand what it is they have to do, and this was representative of that. Her sacrifice is not a great situation - John either dies or his wife dies; he loses either way - but the chance to not only save her husband but kill two major terrorists is too great an opportunity to ignore, and so she uses herself as bait knowing full well the likely outcome. “Carter, if this goes wrong, don’t let them take me alive,” she even has Eric promise. She is aware of her value and the larger ramifications if she is, as she now has been, taken alive, and so her death was the best worst option.

As far as the Bin-Khalid family reunion went, it is intriguing to see the justification for Ibrahim remaining in the dark until now. Naseri’s suggestion that he needed to see which path his son would take (*) makes sense - if he renounced his father’s ways completely, it is not too much of a step to be resentful of his survival - and although Jadalla has been far from a great villain, he has at least tried. And, almost fittingly, within an hour of their reunion, Jadalla was finally killed leaving his father anguished. It was a slightly underplayed kill for Eric, given the bigger picture - namely, Rebecca having to run from fire - but strangely in keeping with the handling of his character.

(*) If Jadalla had not come to the United States with the intention of fulfilling his father’s legacy, would Ibrahim have ever revealed himself to be alive?

The methods used to try and save John, and then try and save Rebecca, could not have contrasted more. Henry, quick to throw Luis under the bus in order to save his son, ended up with a nasty blow to the head upon confronting his brother-in-law. It is tough to gauge whether this was the correct play on the show’s part; yes, Henry could have died and got nowhere, but the alternative would be pretending all was normal, which would look stupid. He did the right thing, even if it got him nowhere. Tony, however, was much more open to helping find Rebecca, willingly shrugging off a job to stay behind and help CTU. Little has been done to establish the relationship between him and Sidra, and so the ease with which he brushes her off is more humorous than it is anything else.

Meanwhile, Nicole and Isaac come to CTU so she can question Eric on the letter she found. His response is entirely unconvincing, and it is no surprise that a little bit of pushback led to him being unable to answer. Even later on when Rebecca asks him if he needs it, he simply glares at her. What Legacy has shown in these ten episodes is that Eric is far more comfortable running around stopping terrorists than he is at home. Granted, we saw all of five minutes of his home life in the premiere, but while his relationship with Nicole has, prior to this, been mostly strong, it is easy to see that he needs to live in this world while she cannot.

Isaac’s offer to Nicole of starting anew with him means another consecutive episode with some sort of potential romantic sparks between the pair, a concept that was tiring pretty quickly and is now just baffling. His speech was like the personified version of a puppy using a whine to try and convince its owner to do something. Less is definitely more in this case, and if Legacy could get the memo that would be great.

“9:00pm - 10:00pm” had some good moments and the potential to be much better than it was, but some continually odd choices and a poorly constructed script led to another problematic episode.

From the CTU Archives (connections to 24’s original run not mentioned above):

Rebecca tells Eric that she hasn’t run her plan past Mullins because: “I can’t take the chance he’ll say no.” A Jack Bauer favourite.


Timeline issue: 24: Solitary was said to take place two and a half years after Live Another Day; Legacy is said to take place three years after Live Another Day. And yet Tony tells Mullins that he and Rebecca worked an operation in Yemen a year ago.

Admittedly, John did not have much time to escape, but could he have cut off the zip ties on his hands too? Also, I didn’t realise “free and safe” meant throwing him out of a moving vehicle into traffic.

Eric was back to CTU very quickly, having still been in Jennifer Marshall’s basement at the end of the last episode. And yet the bomb disposal team were 20 minutes away last week?

I may not be a doctor, but putting Andy’s bandage on the outside of his trousers seems pointless.

Andy also learnt that “East July”, the thing that Marshall overheard Naseri’s men saying, is connected somehow to the Director of National Intelligence. He has appeared in four episodes so far, but in what can only be described as cameo appearances. If he turns out to be involved somehow, then that is some bad plotting.

Apologies for the belatedness of this review - Tuesday was a busy day. It is also likely that next week’s piece will be later than usual.

What did everyone think of “9:00pm - 10:00pm”? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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