24: Legacy Recycles Twists in ‘9:00 PM – 10:00 PM’

Photo Credit: Steve Dietl/FOX

“9:00 PM – 10:00 PM” Plot Summary:

After Jadalla (Raphael Acloque) and Naseri (Oded Fehr) abduct Senator Donovan (Jimmy Smits), Rebecca (Miranda Otto) enlists Eric’s (Corey Hawkins) help in a plan to save her husband.

While I enjoyed this week’s episode of 24: Legacy, I couldn’t help feeling that I had already seen this episode. The reason, of course, is that this episode shamelessly reuses plot points from this series and its predecessor at an alarming rate. An argument could be made that these similarities are intentional callbacks to Jack Bauer’s adventures, but there is a difference between reverential homages and lazy imitation. And as much as I’d like to consider this episode’s merits in a vacuum, longtime 24 fans will no doubt find such duplication to be a distracting sticking point.

The first and most blatant offender is (SPOILER WARNING!) the reveal that Jadalla’s father is still alive (though he does have an Emperor Palpatine/Phantom of the Opera look to him now). As established earlier in the season, Eric Carter and Rebecca Ingram were both involved in the mission that led to the elder Bin-Khalid’s supposed death, and now he and his son are out for revenge. Sound familiar?

It’s more or less the exact same as the payoff to the first season of 24, when Jack Bauer and David Palmer discovered that Victor Drazen was still alive and working with his sons to gain vengeance. For those viewers familiar with the original series, that level of recycling is simply impossible to ignore and feels like an unapologetically weak attempt to draw easy parallels.

On top of that twist, the episode also includes fairly large winks to President Heller’s attempt to sacrifice himself in 24: Live Another Day, the countless instances of characters surrendering themselves for the sake of their loved ones being used as hostages, and the numerous times in Legacy in which Eric and Rebecca have snuck out of CTU and broken protocol. As proud as that last point would make Jack Bauer, when will Keith Mullins (Teddy Sears) figure out he needs to put GPS chips in those two? Nevertheless, the fact remains that we’ve seen all of these plot points before, and they can become unavoidably staler with each use.

That all being said, “9:00 PM – 10:00 PM” is an entirely enjoyable episode that actually sees some welcome character development take place. For perhaps the first time this season, I felt like I got a real sense of who Eric is as a person: a solider torn between his desire for a quiet life with the woman he loves and a sense that his true calling is on the battlefield. That description shows shades of Jack, but Eric has also distinguished himself from Jack; Legacy’s hero is not nearly as broken as his predecessor and hasn’t yet shown a willingness to sell his soul for the sake of the mission. So while there are similarities between the two protagonists, Eric has proven he can be viewed independently.

If only this episode could say the same. As solid as this episode may be, that quality is not fully earned.

RATING: 7 OUT OF 10

Josh Sarnecky is one of Pop Break's staff writers and covers Designated Survivor, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things. His brother, Aaron, is the site’s TV Editor, but Josh is the family’s reigning Trivial Pursuit: Star Wars champion.