Restart the clock, because 24 is back!
The pulse-pounding action, ticking clock, and evil terrorists have returned, but in a huge change, it turns out that America does have more than one man to turn to for help. After nine days/seasons of torture, gunfights, near death experiences, and no bathroom breaks, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is getting a well-needed rest, with Eric Carter (The Walking Dead‘s Corey Hawkins) stepping up to the task.
24: Legacy isn’t your father’s 24, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Debuting less than two months after the 9/11 attacks, the unfortunate timeliness of 24 made it resonate that much more. The original 24 pilot hooked viewers with a unique concept, intriguing premise, and non-stop thrill ride, something that this premiere doesn’t have.
Maybe it’s just that Legacy is recycling stock character types and storylines that even wore on die-hard viewers toward the end of 24, but the first installment isn’t likely to make audiences forget about Jack. That being said, Hawkins is believable as an action star, and the new series, with its 13-episode order, will benefit from not having to draw out the story, which often hampered 24 (we’re talking to you, cougar!).
New cast, new day, but we still get the same opening — except instead of Sutherland, this one is voiced by Hawkins and Miranda Otto. The first characters introduced are a group of men ravaging through a house, the owner bloodied and tied up. Unable to find what they are looking for, they kill him. “For Sheikh Bin-Khalid,” the shooter declares. On the way out, one of them calls his brother to share that they couldn’t find the item. Looking at a picture of American soldiers, they cross out another — only two left. As the camera zooms in on one of the faces, the action jumps to that man returning home from work, giving us the first glimpse at our new protagonist.
Eric Carter has left his military career behind, and he and wife Nicole (Anna Diop) have been given new identities. A short dispute over whether they are ready for children ends with the couple on the verge of some afternoon delight before they’re interrupted by a phone call. It’s Ben Grimes (Charlie Hofheimer), the other soldier from the picture. He looks homeless and sounds crazy, even though we know he’s right when he says people are after him. Considering Ben’s problems with drugs, Nicole, is skeptical.
Carter decides to send out a secret message to the rest of their squad. When none of them immediately respond, he becomes concerned, and rightfully so, since at that moment he spots men approaching the house. With only enough time to hide Nicole in the attic, Carter is nabbed by the intruders. AND WE GET OUR FIRST TICKING CLOCK INTO COMMERCIAL! While being interrogated, Carter seems genuinely surprised to learn of the strongbox that the men are looking for. The torture is about to escalate when the crafty Nicole causes a distraction outside. This gives her the chance to sneak downstairs to grab a gun while Carter breaks free. Having taken down the terrorists, they are officially on the run.
Jack might not be back, but the show’s second most relevant character is — CTU. This version is in Washington, D.C., and it has a whole new group of possible moles! Let’s meet the key figures. The most central is Rebecca Ingram (Otto). A lot of crucial information to know here: Her senator husband, John Donovan (Jimmy Smits), is running for president; she’s leaving her position as head of CTU; and she was in charge of Carter’s mission to kill Khalid. Then we have Keith Mullins (Teddy Sears), her incoming replacement; Andy (Dan Bucatinsky), the teacher’s pet analyst; and Mariana Stiles (Coral Peña), the newest employee, whom Andy thinks is underqualified. “You know my cousin was Edgar Stiles,” she reveals. “He was one of the best analysts CTU ever had. He taught me more than you ever could have learned at Stanford.” So we have our first callback to the original series and another case of nepotism at CTU (hopefully this works out better than Kim).
Now that we’ve met the personnel, it’s time to get down to business. Rebecca gets an unexpected call. “It’s Carter. We’re blown,” he shares. “The whole squad.” After getting filled in on what’s happened, Rebecca suspects the box is key to Khalid’s plan for an attack. They come to the conclusion that Ben has the box, which we soon learn is true. Carter says they can’t trust Mullins, so she needs to look for Ben under the radar. Once off the phone, he tells Nicole that he has to get her somewhere safe and then go handle this situation. But why him?! “Because right now,” Carter tells his wife, “I’m the only one I can trust.”
NEXT: Time for a family reunion
One place Carter probably won’t be taking his wife is to a high school, which is where the action shifts. Amira, a female student, walks through the hallway, only to be harassed by Drew, who seems like a jealous ex-boyfriend. When he gets more aggressive, a teacher thankfully comes out to calm things down. Turns out Drew isn’t just pissed about Amira passing notes to other guys; he thinks she’s a terrorist and is planning some “terrorist stuff” (very scientific term). Taking this seriously, the teacher vows to get to the bottom of it.
Carter and Nicole arrive at their destination, and she isn’t happy. The safe place that he’s brought her to is their old neighborhood, which happens to be only a 15-minute-or-so drive from where the government was secretly keeping them. I’m no expert, but that seems like a lazy job by Witness Protection. Carter is leaving Nicole with Isaac (Ashley Thomas), his big-time gang-banger brother, whom he apparently stole her from. DRAAAAAMA. The brothers are reunited for a tense face-off featuring some not-so-amazing dialogue. “What I should do is bury your ass right here and now,” Isaac tells Carter. After reluctantly taking his ex in, Isaac checks in on her before his girlfriend Aisha (Tiffany Hines) makes her insecure presence known. As she’s apparently the queen bee of the crew, she’s not a fan of having Nicole around. Isaac tells Aisha that she’d better not be a problem. Being an expert at 24, I’m going to go out on a limb and say she’s going to be a problem.
With Andy’s help, Rebecca has tracked Grimes en route to Union Station. He thinks he’s meeting his family there, unaware that they’ve already been killed. Having relayed Ben’s location to Carter, Rebecca soon has some classic 24 problems. Stiles realizes that the former CTU boss has hacked into the system. “Score one for Brooklyn College,” she quips to Andy, instantly making her the best character on the show so far. Upon being informed, Mullins confronts Rebecca, who, in the typical 24 mindset, thinks the best course of action is to tase him. I’m sure that will work out fine.
Speaking of things that will surely work out fine, we’re back at the high school. The teacher steps away during class, perfectly timed with an incoming text that prompts Amira to sneak out. She goes to the back of the library, where she is met by… the teacher (ugh). Drew wasn’t breaking news to him earlier; the teacher is the person who’s been texting “terrorist stuff” to Amira. He’s panicked over what to do, but she promises that she will take care of it. And as if the teacher and Amira being terrorist partners weren’t terrible enough as a plotline, they’re also apparently lovers (double ugh).
Carter has made it to the train station, but unfortunately so have the terrorists. Having tracked down Ben, he confronts him over the box, which Ben insists only has money and jewelry. “You know what the war did to me,” he complains. “I was owed!” Digging through the box, Carter discovers a secret compartment housing a flash drive. It’s a list of names, numbers, and activation codes, all indicators of sleeper cells. But there’s no time to come up with a game plan, as they are soon chased through the station by the terrorists. Pinned down, Carter shoots a cement tube, causing it to both distract and run over the gunmen. His heroic moment is short lived when he discovers that Ben is gone and has taken the drive.
It’s the last minute of the episode, so you know what that means: the patented multi-box catch-up with all of our characters, concluding with one last scene. Sadly, it’s no big cliffhanger or anything to get the adrenaline pumping. Instead, Ben calls Carter to basically say he’s going to sell the drive to the highest bidder. Then, with the police descending, our hero makes a run for it.
What did you think? Did this adequately fill your 24 void? Will you be checking back in for Monday night’s episode?