In his pursuit of Khalid, Carter takes a page out of the Bauer playbook.

By Derek Lawrence
February 20, 2017 at 09:01 PM EST
Guy D'Alema/FOX

Through 24‘s nine seasons, some tropes became part of the fabric of the series. There was always a mole; Jack’s loved ones were constantly in danger; Jack was never good at taking orders he didn’t agree with; there was always a renegade analyst; and time wouldn’t ever allow for food or bathroom breaks.

Four episodes in, 24: Legacy has done what any good child is told to do: follow your father’s rules. The series doesn’t have Jack Bauer, but it does have its past iteration’s playbook. And that’s a good thing, because as ludicrous as 24 could get, it was also often a must-watch adrenaline rush, to say nothing of that Best Drama Emmy it won. The classic 24 hallmarks are on full display in this episode, beginning with the falsely accused mole.

John still isn’t handling the news of Nilaa’s alleged betrayal well. Since Rebecca couldn’t get anything out of her, he’s now trying his hand, peppering her with questions. “I don’t know how, but I’m being set up,” she pleads. “And we both both know why they picked me.” Considering their longstanding relationship, it’s clear that John wants to believe her. Mullins orders that Nilaa be brought back to CTU for questioning, so Rebecca takes her away. As Papa Donovan, who we now know is the true leak, watches Nilaa leave, his son comes in, still not convinced that she could have done this. Trying to calm his son down, Papa Donovan says, “You think you know someone…” (We could say the same to you, Pops!) John interrupts: “That’s just it, Dad. I do know her.” He can’t believe his dad isn’t more surprised. Papa Donovan has already moved on to looking for his son’s next campaign manager. “Son, we’re going to get through this,” he tells John, bringing him in for an embrace.

Having hopefully healed from just being hit by a car, Carter catches up to Mullins just as Ben is being loaded into an ambulance. Pissed off, Carter grabs his friend from the stretcher, yelling at him, “The squad. Their families. Their children. Your mother, your sister. They’re all dead because of you.” Damn, that’s tough talk — but it’s true. As he’s put in the ambulance to head to CTU, an emotional Ben repeats that he can still fix this.

Carter is a little preoccupied with terrorists trying to take down America, but his wife is having problems of her own. Nicole is still being held by Aisha and Jerome. When Aisha steps out to call the Dominicans about killing Isaac, Nicole takes the opportunity to escape. Convincing Jerome to change the channel, she knocks him down and makes a run for it. Proving to be quite the athlete, she leaps off the balcony and starts booking it, Usain Bolt style. As people refuse to help her, Nicole hides behind some broken-down cars, eventually sneaking up on Aisha and grabbing her gun. As she holds her captors at gunpoint, Nicole phones Isaac to warn him about the ambush he’s walking into. Isaac, an incredible bluffer, lies his way out danger, saying he has snipers nearby. Meanwhile, Nicole doesn’t have the stomach to pull the trigger, allowing Aisha and Jerome to get away as the police arrive.

Carter, who might possess a sixth sense, calls his brother to check up on Nicole since she isn’t answering her phone. Continuing his impeccable bluffing skills, Isaac tells him that it’s all good and he will have Nicole call him back shortly. Luckily, it won’t be from jail, as Isaac pulls back up to the neighborhood before the cops have taken Nicole. One of the cops happens to know Isaac and agrees to let his sister-in-law go in exchange for “being taken care of.” Being a big-time drug dealer has its perks. Isaac and Nicole are both very grateful that they’re each okay. I’m no love doctor, but Carter might need to be a little worried that his brother and wife might rekindle their past relationship.

We’re now four hours in, and Carter walks into CTU for the first time. When he spots Rebecca, the two embrace, and she apologizes for the loss of his fellow soldiers. “I wish I could tell myself they didn’t die in vain,” he admits. “I really wanted to get the guys behind this.” Oh, I think you’ll have your chance, good sir.

After catching up with Rebecca, Carter heads to the infirmary to see Ben. He wants to know how his friend thinks he can fix this. Ben recognized the terrorists’ guns — he’s convinced they got them from an arms dealer named Gabriel. Not only does Gabriel smuggle guns, but he also brings people into the country, which Ben thinks explains how Khalid and his men got here. “I know I’m done, Eric, it’s over for me,” an emotional Ben confesses. “I’d be lucky to escape the death penalty. This is my last chance to do something right… for once.”

NEXT: Carter takes a page out of the Bauer playbook

As bad as Ben feels about losing the drive to the terrorists, it might not all be bad news. It turns out the drive was damaged and is now unreadable. But Khalid isn’t sweating it; he considers the mission a success since he laid eyes on Carter, the man who killed his father.

Meanwhile, another budding terrorist has her own problems. Amira has made it to the hospital to finish off Drew, but being a novice, she needs her brother to tell her how to kill her injured boyfriend. As he’s giving her instructions, Drew’s mom shows up, worried but glad to see Amira. “I’m sorry,” Amira whispers as they hug. It’s obvious that she’s torn. Her uneasiness doesn’t subside as she swipes a syringe and makes her way into Drew’s room alone. Her brother, who is on the way to pick her up, once again walks her through it. After hanging up, Amira has second thoughts and is ready to leave — but at that moment, Drew wakes up and freaks out at the sight of her. They struggle, and she eventually frees herself enough to fill his IV with air, causing Drew to flatline. With Drew now dead, Amira rushes away.

Despite his initial skepticism, Carter recommends to Mullins and Rebecca that he and Ben try to get in with Gabriel to track Khalid. The proposed plan is to offer the sale of schematics for the anti-missile defense systems. “Doesn’t this sound familiar?” Mullins asks, rightfully noting that Ben literally just threatened to sell the flash drive to Khalid. Carter is riled up, saying they need “boots on the ground,” not analysis, but Mullins nixes the plan, sending Carter to be debriefed.

Despite not being in control anymore, Rebecca decides to help Carter by having Andy get him the schematics. “Grimes was my responsibility, too,” she says. And when she goes to convince Andy to help, guess what — he’s already on it. “I had a feeling that this would end up in my lap,” he quips. How could Mullins not want this guy around? Oh yeah, he helped tie him up. Good call.

This Nilaa news is still weighing on John when one of his aides comes in with some intriguing research. Ryan found a local newscast from years ago, proving Nilaa’s story that she went to that mosque to protest radicalism. With this new information, John goes to confront his dad. Since talking with Ryan, John had a buddy at the NSA check into that campaign HQ footage of Nilaa, and he knows it’s been altered. Geez, sloppy job, Uncle Luis. Now, John doesn’t just think Nilaa is innocent — he also knows it was Papa Donovan. Turns out the only people who had access were Rebecca, John, and his dad. “But it never occurred to me how you could do something so horrible,” John says.

Papa Donovan tries the old, “I did it for you” routine. Apparently, six weeks ago, Khalid contacted him with evidence that Papa Donovan’s company had purchased off-market oil from ISIS. Ruh-roh. Papa Donovan says he wasn’t involved in the acquisition, but the press would have ruined his son’s campaign, so he made a deal with Khalid. The guy at least seems a little beat up about it. He cries, “I weighed all the good that your presidency could do against those six lives…” John cuts him off, disgusted, saying it will be way more than just six lives considering that Khalid has the flash drive. Despite his dad’s pleas, John marches off to call Rebecca and let her know.

After being accosted by his nephew, Uncle Luis comes in to see Papa Donovan. Not ready to admit defeat, Luis insists that they can still salvage this: They just need to deny it since there’s nothing to connect them.

Carter’s testy debrief ends early as Andy sends him the schematics. That means it’s time for Carter to take out a bunch of CTU guards. I will give him credit, though: He seems to apologize as he does it. He’s definitely much more polite than Jack Bauer. After throwing a smoke bomb in the server room to knock the system down, Carter grabs Ben. Upon making it to their getaway car, Carter tells Ben that he’d better be telling the truth, and Ben responds that he is. For Ben’s sake, I hope so because Carter fires back, “Good, because if you’re not, I’m going to kill you myself.”

What did you think? Is the show starting to build some momentum?

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