24: Legacy s1 ep 12

End-of-season spoilers

As promised by the final scene of last week’s episode, we open this season finale with Almeida vs Carter. And it’s quite the fight. The two of them punch each other almost to a standstill, then Carter breaks Almeida’s arm, and it looks as if the grand old man of the 24 franchise is going down. Until, that is, his moll pulls a gun on Carter. But, just in time, Senator Jimmy Smits manages to get through to Almeida, tells him that Ara, Asim’s daughter, is still alive, and that she can be traded for Rebecca. Obviously with Rebecca’s life in the balance Almeida agrees not to go through with his task, and he withdraws, presumably to have an awkward conversation or two with his current partner.

Meantime, Rebecca’s complicated and time-consuming execution is being streamed to a worldwide audience. But – yes, again, just in time – Carter gets through to Asim, offers to trade, and Asim saves Rebecca. When Carter and Asim finally do the deal, though – a process which probably takes more time in a season-ender than it should – Ara is deposited safe and well in the Jordanian Embassy, while Asim and Rebecca take bullets from bin Khalid, who is also shot. Rebecca is taken to hospital, but gets the trademark 24 silent clock of doom. Oh dear. She was a terrific character.

And that’s more or less it. Donald Simms kills himself. Senator Smits mourns his wife and decides to keep on running for the Presidency. Daniel Pang is presumably under a desk somewhere in CTU. Carter tries to leave his wife because he’s decided that the life of a CTU agent – which has no room for families, etc. etc. – is the life for him, but Nicole won’t hear of it. It’s not the best episode, but it’s good enough. If 24: Legacy is to be renewed, though, it’s pretty clear that the Almeida-infused second half of the season was measurably better than the first. I’d start the contract negotiations there. As to whether it should be renewed: I think it did just about enough, creatively speaking, to warrant another season. But it’s the ratings that count, and we should find out shortly whether they’ve been sufficient to lead to a renewal.

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24: Legacy s1 ep 11

So what does Director of National Intelligence Donald Simms have to hide? To the point where he’s prepared to send his unlikeable flunky Daniel Pang into CTU as co-director? Well, the big secret is that Simms was responsible for ordering the abduction of Naseri’s 10-year-old daughter Ara, and for threatening to kill her unless Naseri gave up bin Khalid. Nasty. In order to get proof, though, someone’s going to have to get into Simms’s office – in the Pentagon – and access his computer.

So Senator Jimmy Smits and Carter team up and do just that, which – unexpectedly – furnishes them with the information that Ara is, in fact, still alive. And that, according to Simms, the abduction was actually ordered by Rebecca. You know, I can see that, and it certainly means that I’m still shipping her and Tony Almeida, a relationship now confirmed as having been made in two-fisted realpolitik heaven.

Rebecca herself is, for now, in the custody of bin Khalid. Rather than just kill her, of course, he has something more elaborate planned: blah blah trial, blah blah execution, blah blah streamed around the world. Which will, in due course, give someone a chance to rescue her, but in the meantime affords her the opportunity to try to commit suicide.

Back at CTU, it’s all kicking off: Pang has worked out that something hinky is going on, so Mullins has to give him Jack Bauer’s patented chokehold to subdue him. And while Carter sets off to the house where Ara is being held captive, Simms pulls out the biggest gun of all: he hires Tony Almeida to “clean up” after him. Carter gets there first, and is just about to leave with Ara when Almeida pitches up outside and makes it clear that he ain’t leaving without TCB: “I’ve already been paid. I always finish a job once I’ve been paid. I’ve got a reputation to keep”. Ooh. I feel a little faint.

Anyway, it all means that this entertaining episode finishes with the heavyweight contest the show has been building towards: in one corner, Carter and a 10-year-old kidnap victim; in the other, the Tony Almeida, his squeeze, and two redshirts. Got the cojones for this, Carter? Finale next week.

24: Legacy s1 ep 10

So Ibrahim bin Khalid, Jihadi Sr., is alive after all, albeit now rocking some Elephant Man-esque makeup. But there’s barely time for a touching father/son reunion with Jadalla; they’ve got Senator John Donovan, and they need to use him. Jr. contacts Rebecca and offers to trade her husband for her. She thinks about it a little too long, if you ask me, but eventually agrees. Rebecca also reaches out to Henry, who – with his son’s life on the line – finally gives up some information about his links to the terrorists; specifically, that it was all handled by his man Luis. He tries to get Luis to sit tight and wait for CTU, but instead Luis smashes him on the head with some sort of kitchen implement – a juicer, maybe? – and runs.

Rebecca then heads off to meet Jadalla, and takes Eric Carter with her. Behind everyone’s backs, of course. Because she has a plan – use herself as bait, get John released, draw Sr. and Jr. out, and kill them. Eric’s up for that, although his increasingly tedious wife Nicole has discovered that, before all this kicked off, he was planning to leave his private security job and work for CTU anyway. Inevitably, Isaac is there to offer her a better life as a drug dealer’s moll.

Meantime, with only two more episodes to go, what looks like the final piece in the conspiracy jigsaw drops into place, as Stiles and the Department of National Intelligence move front and centre. Jennifer, last week’s captive/leverage, remembers overhearing a mysterious phrase being used by her captors, which Andy traces to a DNI computer. And Stiles does what he can to thwart Rebecca and Carter, although sending a couple of ordinary sheriff’s deputies after them really isn’t going to work, is it? No. No it isn’t. Jr. gets killed, Rebecca looks as if she’s going to be on the receiving end of an unnecessarily elaborate death but isn’t, and all in all it’s pretty good. We need more Almeida, though: he’s only on screen for a few seconds this week, passing up a paying gig to help CTU find Rebecca, and royally pissing off his current squeeze by doing so.

24: Legacy s1 ep 9

So, who is this Naseri dude? Well, while Carter and his team were looking for Ibrahim bin Khalid, Naseri pretended to be an interpreter, used that as cover to get access to an intelligence asset, and killed him. Oh, and beheaded his children. No-one seems inclined to draw a line under that incident and move on, so Operation Find Naseri is launched, and a phone call he made shortly before the air strike at the end of the last episode is traced to a nearby house.

Naseri’s call was to a CTU security operative, Stephen Grant, from his girlfriend Jennifer’s home, showing her tied up and wearing a bomb vest. The idea is that Grant will co-operate with Naseri’s plan to spring Jihadi, Jr., and Grant, of course, goes along with it. Which means that CTU is, once again, infiltrated by terrorists. It’s been a while. Meantime Carter makes his way to Jennifer’s place, and defuses the bomb in the usual way – cut the short wire, look for the trigger (or whatever, I wasn’t taking notes) – but by the time that news is passed onto Grant, it’s too late: Naseri has Jr.

And – bonus ball – Naseri has someone else as well. Because at the same time as this is all going on, Senator John has also dropped into the CTU building, in order to try and put his marriage back together after the whole your-former-boyfriend-tortured-my-daddy business. But he gets caught up in the crossfire and abducted by Naseri. I’d guess that the Senator will now be used as leverage to get Rebecca to do something she shouldn’t. And if that, in turn, is used as a device to keep Tony Almeida involved then I’m all in favour, because post-torture he’s left the scene, and a fair amount of the show’s excitement has walked out of the door along with him; leaving a gap that Nicole’s continuing but inexplicable attraction to bad-boy-drug-dealing ex Isaac just isn’t going to fill.

24: Legacy s1 ep 8

After a few weeks of pretending that this show might be some sort of realignment of 24, this week’s episode returns the show to its roots with torture torture torture all the way. It’s hardly ideologically sound, of course, but I don’t come to 24 for that. Top of the bill once again is Tony Almeida, who at least holds off on filling Donovan père’s veins with pain juice until Senator John arrives to discuss it with Rebecca, his wife. It’s an argument that Almeida watches with just the faintest hint of a sneer; a sneer which unmistakably says “Yeah, dude, Imma torture your father and I banged your wife”. John eventually concedes the point, though, and the fun begins.

Meantime, Carter and Andy are with Jihadi, Jr. and his team. Andy is given the USB drive and, trying not to look too smug, connects it to his laptop, uploading the virus to the drive. But then Jr. reveals that the drive was a decoy, and that Andy had better do it properly this time. Andy says he won’t, but a knife in the thigh changes his mind.

While that’s going on, though, Isaac and Nicole are attacked by the other half of Jr.’s men. They survive, take one of the terrorists alive, and Isaac tortures him into giving up the location of his boss. But rather than call in CTU, Isaac summons his crew to, as he puts it, “lay some jihad on they asses”, something which they decline to do – it’s the government’s problem – until Isaac offers them money to persuade them to participate in his unilateral outsourcing of US domestic security. I’m sure there’s someone better qualified than me to write a #hottake on this show’s portrayal of African-Americans. But CTU has also managed to trace the whereabouts of the jihadis, and the Department of Defence orders a surgical strike on their compound, notwithstanding that Carter and Andy are still onsite.

Isaac and his crew get there first, though, and the jihadis discover that they’re no match for a good old American gang of drug dealers, which means that by the time the compound is bombed Carter and Andy have been rescued; Andy has managed to recover the USB drive; Isaac has taken a bullet; and Jr. has been captured; the last of which means that Rebecca calls off the torture of her father-in-law. I’m not sure any marriage could survive that little episode, to be honest, so I do hope Rebecca has someone in close proximity who could offer a shoulder to cry on.

A happy ending all round, then? Well, no: because Carter recognises one of the surviving jihadis as someone named Naseri, who gets away, much to his horror. “You know who he is and what he’s capable of!” he tells CTU, which is more than we do. The good news, though, is that Naseri is played by Oded Fehr, an actor I’m always happy to see around. A brutally exciting episode.

24: Legacy s1 ep 7

I was hopeful that the end of last week’s episode might finally have lit the blue touchpaper on this show. I wasn’t wrong; this was comfortably the best episode since the first of the season. Henry Donovan is still claiming that he knows nothing about any leak of the whereabouts of the Rangers, so Rebecca concludes that it’s time to use “enhanced interrogation” on him. But she knows her husband won’t approve, so someone on Mullins’s staff will need to keep the Senator distracted while Henry is “released”, then snatched by Rebecca’s torturer of choice and taken to a black site.

Mullins signs off on the plan, but then makes the mistake of asking Rebecca who she has engaged for the job. And the really good news is that she’s contracted an old friend of the show, and very, very special guest star, the one and only Tony Almeida. “Almeida?!” splutters Mullins. “He’s a criminal! A lot of people are dead because of Tony Almeida!” Yeah they are, bitch, because the Almeida is the biggest, baddest mutha you and your pretend CTU have ever had to deal with. He even performs the extraction in a menacing obsidian-black van with tinted windows. And his current partner-in-torture – some popsy about half his age – correctly guesses that he used to be in a relationship with Rebecca, thus continuing Almeida’s impressive record of hitting it with just about every woman in every iteration of 24.

Can you tell I’m excited?

Almeida and Rebecca meet at the interrogation site, where he finds out that her husband doesn’t know what she’s signed her father-in-law up for. “That’s going to be an awkward conversation”, murmurs Almeida. And he’s right, and it is: the Senator finally works out that he’s being deliberately kept distracted and demands to know what the hell’s going on. “Your father… wasn’t responding to conventional interrogation”, he’s told, while Tony and his partner are futzing around with blood samples and counselling Henry on what’s about to happen to him: it’ll feel as if his skin is being burnt off, and that’s just the beginning.

Meantime, the other half of the show, now freed from the underperforming subplot with the teacher and the two murders of Drew, is finally able to hit escape velocity as well. Carter’s wife and brother have been kidnapped by Jihadi, Jr., who’ll trade their lives for someone who can repair the USB drive which holds the details of the terrorist sleeper cells. Unfortunately for Andy, who has of course already lost his job, he’s also the best tech guy available, so Carter grabs him and proposes that they head over to see the terrorists, secure the release of Isaac and Nicole, then make it look as if they’re fixing the USB drive while in fact erasing it. Of course, that’s a certain suicide mission. “There’s gotta be another way?” pleads Andy, who’s obviously never seen this show before. No, dude, you’re going to die. Think of the thousands of lives you’ll be saving…?

So Andy says her farewell to Tom, who discerns that there’s something going on, and catches up with Carter and Andy on the road, but is handcuffed before he can interfere. They get to the terrorist hideout and persuade Jihadi, Jr. to release Isaac and Nicole. “Take care of her, man”, says Carter to Isaac, who has already made his declaration of undying love to Nicole, so I think we can be reasonably sure that he will, uh, “take care” of her should she be widowed. Isaac and Nicole drive off, but Jr. then orders one of his henchmen to follow them and kill them. Tsk. Can’t you trust anyone these days?

24: Legacy s1 ep 6

Most of this episode proceeds in the same way as its predecessors: interesting, mildly diverting, but inessential. Amira and Khasan, now activated as Terror Cell #1 and planning a suicide bombing, are visited by Mr Harris, Amira’s teacher, who decides to make a gallant gesture by taking Amira away from all this terrorism: he shoots Khasan, but unfortunately Amira isn’t as hot for teacher as he thought, and stabs him. Before he dies Khasan extracts a promise from Amira to complete the mission, although their father has other ideas. Senator Donovan, meantime, has daddy issues of his own: Henry – wearing, it should be said, some interesting but unfathomable hi-tech handcuffs; how do these things work? – is still denying having anything to do with the leak. The Senator decides that he’ll need to withdraw from the Presidential race.

Meantime the CTU manages to extract enough information from Gabriel’s laptop to provide a location for Jihadi, Jr and his team. So – with Carter now riding shotgun – they head off. However, news of the shootout chez Gabriel has made it onto TV, so Jr. and his team fly the nest before the CTU can get there.

But then, 24: Legacy finally comes up with the sort of climax the show’s been needing. Amira’s father alerts the CTU, and her van is spotted on the George Washington Bridge. So the cop on site, clearly counting down the days until retirement, is contacted by Mulllins at CTU HQ and told to stop her. He fires some bullets into the van, and is asked to assess the situation. “I think she’s dead”, he replies, looking at the unmoving figure of Amira, and at that moment we know he’s doomed; that particular statement just isn’t worth anything in the world of 24. Sure enough, Amira has enough life left to detonate the bomb and blow up the bridge, killing around 100 people.

And, meantime, Jihadi, Jr. proves that he’s got some terrorist game: Carter had asked the CTU to pick Nicole up, but Jr.’s men intervene, shoot the CTU guys, and snatch Nicole and Isaac, which means that he can now use them as leverage to get Carter to provide details of the other terrorist cells on the USB drive, thus finally providing Carter with the motivation he needs to colour outside the lines. Almost worth waiting for.