The debut of 24: Legacy brings up a (semi)philosophical question. Is the real-time format or Jack Bauer the star of the show?
Four episodes into the “worst day” of Eric Carter’s life and the answer still isn’t clear.
It’s easy to forgive certain things Jack Bauer did or to accept them as simply part of the power of Baur because we’ve spent ten days together. Seeing Carter act with a similar reckless abandon to what Jack used in order to get the job done and damn the consequences doesn’t necessarily feel earned yet. In the first four hours, Carter has used a large concrete pipe as a shield to take on terrorists, got himself arrested in order to steal $2 million in cash from a police squad and, as hour four ends, is breaking out of CTU in order to try and get a list of potential terrorist cells back.
Having Carter not affiliated with CTU (at least officially) gives him the opportunity to pull these crazy Jack Bauer like stunts and get away with them. But at some point, you’ve got to think CTU is going to stop bailing him out like they did in the police station (after he’d blown a sizeable hole in the wall and engaged in a firefight with multiple officers, mind you) Carter certainly has a sense of loyalty to the last remaining member of his strike team, though it’s hard not to say he’s blinded by it.
So far, I don’t really feel like we know enough about Carter to want to invest him and his antics as a character. I find myself wondering if I felt the same way about Jack in season one. But I don’t necessarily recall Jack doing anything quite so over the top as Carter has done back on that first day (though I’m pretty sure he probably did or tried).
As for 24: Legacy, it feels like the 24 we knew and loved back in the day.
So far, we’ve had the former head of CTU tasering the new guy to cover-up a rogue operation to help Carter. We’ve got some internal drama between the new staff and the old staff. We’ve got a new director who isn’t going to put up with Carter’s antics, at least until it benefits CTU.
Meanwhile, we’ve got a potential leak and someone being framed for it. And we’ve got the plotline that is in the running for the “Kim Bauer is stalked by a cougar” award that a friend and I used to give out weekly to our favorite shows going doing a silly storyline path. That plotline involves the terror cell at the high school with the young girl and her chemistry teacher. So, she is on top of it enough to seduce the chemistry teacher into helping with whatever plot is unfolding, but she’s not quite on top of it enough to check for a pulse when she and the teacher supposedly kill her suspicious ex-boyfriend! (Don’t get me started on the craziness of the classroom sitting empty for at least three hours! It’s almost like the show’s writers only recall that we know what time it is on the show when it’s convenient)
There are a few other 24 things in there from the fact that it feels like more time passes between episodes than the real time concept seems to indicate (Grimes seems to recover from being shot awfully fast! Maybe I’m just a wimp, but if I’m shot I might lay there and whimper for a bit) and the 24 geography angle where geographic point is just as far away as the plot needs it to be. Either that or this is some alternate universe where you can get around DC, New York and Los Angeles in five minutes or less.
And yet, the show still does just enough to keep me intrigued by it. Well, all except for the plotline of Carter’s wife, which I can’t get all that invested in. And so, I’ll watch. And while I know Jack Bauer won’t show up for a surprise cameo (Keifer is busy on his own new show), I guess I can only hope that if the show makes it to next season that we’ll see an epic Carter/Jack team-up.