Last week’s episode of 24:Legacy was one big emotional roller coaster ride. We had Amira’s father showing up, only to have him watch both of his children killed within an hour after his arrival. It was heart-wrenching to watch, and it’s made worse by the reality that the CTU has thus far failed in containing the terrorist attacks orchestrated by Jadalla Bin-Khalid. But, as is typical of “24,” going into tonight’s episode, nothing lets up — not even a bit — and so, hold onto the rails for another heart-racing, hour-long joyride.
WELCOME BACK, TONY ALMEIDA, OUR MASTER OF TORTURE….URR, “ENHANCED INTERROGATION”
Given that Tony Almeida’s big return to the 24 franchise has been the hot topic around the watercooler for weeks, I won’t make you wait a minute longer and will talk about that first. Also, truth be told here, I never watched the original 24 , and so, when the Almeida character surfaced in the news about the spin-off, I had no clue who this guy was (if you’re wondering, I decided to cover 24:Legacy because I’ve been a critic for The Walking Dead since the Pilot, and Corey Hawkins is an alumnus of the show. And, just as a FYI, I am **very** glad I made the decision. Great show! How did I not ever watch the original 24?). But, thanks to Wikipedia and a couple of good friends who gave me a crash course on the character this past weekend, I have a pretty good idea now.
That being said, Almeida’s initial appearance tonight really isn’t the main storyline of the episode, and I suspect the character will likely come front-and-center next week. As we saw in the Promo for the episode, CTU isn’t having much luck interrogating Henry Donovan (Gerald McRaney). Assuming Henry’s confession to John wasn’t just some big hallucination or dream sequence, we witnessed Henry spilling it all to John with our own eyes, and so, we know he’s guilty. Yet, because Henry may somehow be privy to how to beat the biometrics interrogation techniques or maybe due to sheer luck, he manages to pass all of the standard lie-detection tests, and so, the CTU has no choice but to release him. Well, sort of. That’d be true if they were following the standard protocols.
However, this situation is far from “standard” and ordinary. One of the 15 sleeper cells has already launched an attack, and it’s imperative that they learn what Henry knows if they have any hope of stopping the remaining 14. So, Rebecca (Miranda Otto) gets approval from Mullins (Teddy Sears) to now resort to “enhanced interrogation tactics” AKA torture at a black site. For some unknown reason, Mullins doesn’t inquire whom Rebecca is going to activate to handle the interrogation, but he eventually does, and when he hears Almeida’s name he definitely doesn’t like it. Mullins says Almeida’s a criminal and has gotten many people killed, but as Rebecca points out, he’s also not associated with CTU which could prove to be handy if the operation goes sideways. Rebecca, as usual, wins the argument. It turns out, however, that she may have had an ulterior motive. Almeida’s sidekick, Sidra (Moran Atias), questions his motives for taking the job, and it’s revealed he and Rebecca had a thing several years, before Almeida’s wife was killed. Tst, Tst, Tst, Rebecca.
So, with Almeida all ready to go, the only thing left to deal with is that nagging problem called a husband. Yeah, somehow I don’t think kidnapping Donovan Sr. will go over very well with John (Jimmy Smits). That’s when Mullins steps up and offers to to stall John in the briefing room while Almeida does his thing and snatch up Henry after he’s released. Boy, oh, boy, Rebecca, I sure hope you have a good divorce attorney on speed dial! Anyways, Mullins’ little ruse works, and Almeida is able to get Henry out to the black site all while John is repeating the same BS about his father that he has already said a dozen times.
Once Henry’s at the black site and Almeida explains to him why he’s there, Donovan continues with the same song and dance that he pulled at CTU. I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know who this Jadalla person is. Blah. Blah. Blah. Then, Almeida explains to Donovan that they’re going to run a few standard blood tests, and then, after that, unless he starts to tell the truth, they’re going to inject him with a drug that will “make your skin feel like it’s burning from your body.” Damn!! Henry, whatever you know, now is the time to start talking!
All is going smoothly, at least until they hit a snag at CTU. When Henry was released, he made a phone call to Luis to let him know he was on his way back to the house. Well, when Henry doesn’t show up, Luis then reaches out to John, and that’s when it all hits the fan. By now, Rebecca is also at the black site waiting for the interrogation to begin, and so, when John confronts Mullins about his father and also about his not being able to contact his wife either, Mullins is forced to call Rebecca. She doesn’t deny what’s going on, and that, of course, really upsets John. However, she does promise not do anything to Henry until John gets there and has the chance to talk to Rebecca in-person.
So, there’s cliffhanger #1 in the episode, and needless to say, things are about to get really hairy next week.
ANDY HAS BIGGER BALLS THAN HIS MR. TOUGH GUY EX, LOCKE
While Almeida’s big return was the majority of the hype surrounding tonight’s episode, the main arc turns out to be Carter (Corey Hawkins) , his wife and brother being held by Jadalla and what he does to try and get them back. In the meantime, Andy (Dan Bucatinsky) is feeling pretty frustrated back at CTU and pleads with Mullins to restore his clearances so that he can help. But nope, no dice. Andy’s stuck doing grunt work and archiving servers, but that is all about to change.
It starts with Andy getting a call from the parking garage attendant, telling him that the alarm for his “Teal Ford” was going off. “Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it ‘teal'”, Andy responds. Um, Andy, a little insecure about appearing too feminine? Too funny! Anyways, down he goes to the parking garage, turns off the alarm and proceeds to walk away. Then, almost immediately the alarm goes off again, and when Andy runs over to his car to check it out, boom! Carter jumps out, grabs Andy and covers his mouth with his hand. Man, oh, man, Andy doesn’t say anything, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the poor guy pissed himself.
Carter then explains the situation and tells Andy that he needs him to fix Jadalla’s flash drive. However, instead of actually repairing it, he wants him to erase it. Carter asks Andy if he can do it (well, of course, he can!), and after initially stumbling over his words, Andy admits he could write a virus which should get the job done. Of course, Andy is a super-smart guy, and so, the obvious follow-up question is after he destroys the flash drive, how are they supposed to get out of there alive? Great question, and the short answer is, well, they don’t.
Um, okay. That’s kind of a big ask, don’t you think? — Andy
This is a suicide play, but we’re doing this to save thousands of others. There aren’t that many people in this world who get the chance to make this kind of difference — Carter
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t do it. No effin’ way. But, remember, Andy is feeling down on himself and seems to have the need to prove to the world that he’s not as weak and insecure as some people may think. So, he finally agrees and says he just needs to go back to his desk to get his laptop and development kit.
This is where things get complicated. Andy sees Locke (Bailey Chase), and approaches him with what feels like a final good-bye.
I get it. I am needy, Tom, and insecure — Andy
Andy, now isn’t the time — Locke
It’s never the right time. It’s OK. I only wish I was able to show you some of my good qualities because believe it or not, I do have some — Andy
Andy then walks away, and judging from the look on Locke’s face, he’s more than a little suspicious.
That turns out to be right on point, because while Andy is finishing up writing the virus, Locke shows up and holds Carter and Andy at gunpoint. As Locke points out, “Andy, you took your laptop and development kit and left during a terrorist event. That’s not normal, even for you,” and so, he decided it might be a good idea to follow him. Well, Locke, you’re not the dumb tough guy after all! Anyways, Carter ultimately makes a move against Locke, knocking the gun from his hand. This results in a big fight between Mr. Tough and Mr. Tougher, and during the chaos, Andy picks up the gun and yells “Stop!” Hot damn! Andy, my man! I do wonder, though, if Andy has ever even fired a gun, but even still, that took some balls. Locke doesn’t take it too seriously and tells Andy he wouldn’t shoot him. Okay, Locke, maybe that’s true, I give you credit for that. But, that’s definitely not the case with Carter because while Andy is holding Locke at gunpoint, Carter gets his gun from the truck and points it at Locke as well. It ends with Andy being forced to tie Locke up, and it is also here that Locke (finally!) reveals his true feelings for Andy.
I’m asking you to find another way. I don’t want to lose you — Locke to Andy
I’m sorry. I’ll see you in another life — Andy to Locke
Ahhh, so sweet! Too bad it took Andy going on a suicide mission to get Locke to see the light.
So, now, Andy has written the virus, they’re on their way to Jadalla, and that’s when Andy starts to crack. The reality of what they’re doing really sits in. Hey, if I were on my way to a probable death, I’d start to lose it too! Andy then takes off his glasses and start popping pills like they’re candy.
They’re for anxiety. I used to take 1 every morning with my coffee. I don’t know why I ever quit — Andy to Eric
You know what, Andy, we’re not sure why you quit either! Regardless, I sure hope you have lots more of those happy pills because I have a feeling you’re going to need them — especially with what they’re about to face once they reach the rendezvous point.
When they finally arrive, they are met by a couple of Jadalla’s scouts, and once they are convinced Carter and Andy came alone, Jadalla shows up. At the same time, Carter tells Andy that he needs to act like he was forced into helping repair the flash drive. Somehow I don’t think Andy is much of an actor, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. Here’s why. When Jadalla refuses to release Nicole and Isaac before Carter gives him Andy, Carter grabs Andy and points a gun to his head, threatening to kill him. Nice play, because as Carter points out, Jadalla may not need him, but they definitely need Andy. While all of this is playing out, Andy is shaking, scared shitless and about to piss himself, and this, in itself, makes Jadalla believe Andy is being coerced. That’s good news! But, with a gun pointed to the back of his head, somehow I don’t believe Andy thinks so.
Regardless, the little ploy works, and Nicole and Isaac are released. But, remember, Nicole knows nothing about the deal Carter made to get Jadalla to let them go. However, she gets the message pretty quickly when she realizes Eric isn’t coming with her, and it takes Isaac to pull her away from Eric, kicking and screaming. Man, what a tear-jerker of a scene! Anyways, with the exchange now complete, Jadalla puts black hoods over Carter and Andy’s heads, and they’re off. However, before leaving, Jadalla does give one of his goons a message — go catch up with Isaac and Nicole and kill them.
All in all, I thought this was another fantastic, top-notch episode — fast-paced, non-stop action, everything that made the original 24 and this spin-off so good and so addictive. However, because I’m a stickler for detail, I did notice a couple of glaring plot-holes. First, WTF was that with Henry Donovan’s cell phone? I mean, you have his son, John, in the briefing room with his own cell phone. Then, you have Henry, who was just released, with his cell phone. Didn’t Rebecca and Mullins realize that Henry would make a call and thus, John would quickly find out about their plans? Hell, I’m surprised Henry didn’t actually call John first! I’m not sure what they could have done, but I suspect jamming Henry’s signal would have been possible. But, wait, oh yeah, that would mean we wouldn’t have the added drama of John finding out.
Then, we have that last part about Jadalla planning to kill Nicole and Isaac anyways. Are we to believe that Carter seriously would not have thought of that? After all, Nicole and Isaac have been to Jadalla’s new hideout, and while he did make them wear black hoods, they could describe the location and quite possibly lead CTU to them. It definitely would be too big of a risk for Jadalla to take, and so, of course, he has to kill them. Then again, perhaps Carter is so desperate to save his wife and brother that he refuses to see the obvious. Who knows.
Even so, these are relatively minor complaints, and the one thing that made me still give the episode an “A” rating regardless of the flaws is the strong cast performances. Everyone was at the top of their game, but I will say that Corey Hawkins and Dan Bucatinsky definitely were the MVP’s of the episode. Wow times 10. Bucatinsky plays the role of the tech geek/walking nervous-breakdown perfectly. I’d know, too, because I’m an Andy Shalowitz professionally (well, minus the hourly panic attacks). And, that final scene with Carter pointing a gun to Andy’s head? Holy crap! Dude, you ROCK. Then, Hawkins just continues to be the ultimate bad-ass, but at the same time, is still able to show his emotional side when confronted with the reality of his likely not seeing Nicole again. Kudos and plaudits to both of you.
So, what should we expect next week? Tonight’s eppy is what I would call a “staging” episode, where the writers lay the foundation for the next couple of major arcs. Almeida now has Donovan and is all set to do his thing. And, Jadalla got Andy and Carter, with the full expectation that his flash drive will now be repaired while Andy has other plans. Compared to previous ones, this episode was somewhat of a slow-burn, but make no mistake, that will all be over come next week. See you then!
24:Legacy airs on Mondays at 8/7c on FOX.
Critic Grade — A-
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com