But first, let's remind ourselves of how we got here:
Television has become the dominant force in storytelling over the last 15 or so years. Big name actors, writers and directors have all moved from the big screen to TV to enjoy the format's benefits-- more creative control and longer running times. In November of 2001, 24 premiered a couple of months after actual events turned our world view on its head. No longer were Americans safe from large scale attacks, and the margin for error for preventing them was practically nil.
I came late to the 24 party mostly because I didn't want to experience the show in the aftermath of so many people losing their lives. I started watching 24 in 2005, and by then the show had established itself as a phenomenon. 24 changed TV, and I believe it did so for the better. While it made efforts to avoid exploiting what many of us were feeling, the show nevertheless gave us an opportunity to explore our fears in this fictitious setting. 24 also portrayed smart, courageous characters who worked through problems as they appeared- including some morally questionable decisions too, which were thought-provoking amidst our new reality.
Last week, on 24: LEGACY, terrorists succeeded in setting off a truck bomb on the George Washington Bridge- a blast which caused a massive loss of life and damage. As the visuals rolled across the screen, I felt a surprising lack of impact from the characters- both at CTU and among the terrorist command. I didn't realize just how flat it all felt until when we reached the end of tonight's hour. I almost forgot about the bridge attack too, and I think that's a result of the writing, acting and direction all focusing on a different story. Maybe the showrunners' old policy of avoiding things that are too real kept them from delving into the emotional impact of an attack on New York City, but I'm of the opinion that if you're going to do it, give it some prominence.
This season is the big gamble- a new hero and a new supporting cast of characters- and I think within a handful of hours, the show has succeeded in getting all of these pieces set up effectively. The bridge attack should be a pivot point-- where we see some new aspects of these characters, and move forward from their earlier arcs. Instead, we got a lot of the same stuff for Andy, Nicole/Isaac, Ingram/Smits and Locke. As for Eric Carter, we see probably his most complex mental state yet, but none of it has to do with the smoldering crater in NYC. No, Carter is freaking out over his wife and brother being held hostage by Jadallah bin-Khalid. And since that's where Carter's focused, so goes the show. We end up with an episode of ONE TREE HILL with guns.
In terms of a recap- Major Dad gets "released" so that Ingram's outsourced, enhanced interrogator (some dude named Tony Almeida) can really work over the old man and make him offer some intelligence about the bad guys. We learn in passing that Almeida had a relationship with Ingram which can only mean that Ingram is a human being, since no human can resist Almeida. Almeida's lady partner, Sidra, HAAAAATES Ingram for being a human being, and lots of glaring goes on between these ladies as poor old Major Dad (never one to witness female rivalry himself) gets various velcro straps secured about him.
Back to Carter, he manages to convince Andy to help him free Nicole and Isaac (and potentially his missing bag, the CarterClutch™) from the terrorists in exchange for Andy fixing the broken thumb drive. But what Carter and Andy really want to do is destroy the drive once they manage to liberate Carter's family. It's kind of a silly plan, slightly below the apparent IQs of these two guys, but they seem sincere in their intent to pull a fast one on the terrorists who have been ahead of them at each turn this season.
Amazingly, Carter gets bin-Khalid to release his wife and brother by threatening to shoot Andy in front of the terrorists. You'd think bin-Khalid would have a sniper take out Carter right away since he's the ONLY person who poses any threat to the bad guys' plans. Instead, he releases Carter's family and off they go into the night with Carter's Ford pickup. Now, Carter and Andy have to deliver on their end of the bargain- but wait, bin-Khalid is not an honorable fellow. We hear our Ivy-League terrorist order his goons to shoot Isaac and Nicole before they escape the premises. Oh, terrorists, you just can't bargain with them!
|Don't call it a comeback! I've been here for years!|