On the mend and cleared for action, Jason is back as Bravo 1 and still navigating the uncharted territory of his new somewhat secret relationship with Natalie. Ray and Mandy notice that there’s something different about Jason when he completely ignores a “frog hog” flirting with him at the bar.
Back on base, Davis gets removed from the SCIF during a briefing, alarming the team who are wholly unaware of her arrest. While Bravo preps for its newest mission — hunting down and extracting a Russian arms dealer in Asia. While on their flight over, the team worries about Davis and wrapping up their mission so that they can speak of her character during her hearing.
Meanwhile, Clay puts 2 and 2 together and realizes Sonny had been secretly dating Davis on the side; he questions his friend if he’s still dialed in and ready to operate before entering the building where the arms dealer is holed up.
While clearing the building, the team splits up and runs into trouble when an explosion traps Sonny and his cell in a stairwell with no escape and noxious fumes building up rapidly. The rest of Bravo discovers the arms dealer... dead. While conducting SSE, Jason and Clay have a heart to heart, with Clay letting Bravo 1 in on a few details about his dating life.
Ray, Full Metal, and the rest of the team improvise a way to reach Sonny’s cell, but not before almost falling into a blazing inferno themselves. The team is eventually able to reach the beleaguered SEALs and get them to safety just in time.
Back stateside, Davis is cold and unresponsive during her hearing. Blackburn, Bravo’s commanding officer, cautions her to spill the beans about what really happened in the bar before she got booked into the county lockup.
Ray is cautioned by another SEAL in Dev Group about standing up for Davis, as it could have negative implications for his warrant officer selection board. He makes the difficult decision to not join the rest of Bravo, though Davis attempts to assuage his guilty feelings later on by telling him that she understands why he didn’t do it, though that doesn’t seem to fix his regret.
Davis gets out of her predicament with docked pay — a slap on the wrist compared to what she would’ve experienced if Bravo didn’t speak up on her behalf. Jason and Natalie have a truncated version of the relationship talk, and they go public with Jason introducing her to the rest of the team.
Clay, on the other hand, is out at a ritzy event, dressed to the nines where he meets his new love interest, Rebecca. He lets her know he’s ready to make a bigger impact beyond the teams.
Nothing really to quibble about operationally and gear wise in this episode — mainly because all I can think about is what will or should happen for the next half of the season.
“SEAL Team” is on break and will supposedly come back at the end of February.
And according to the above report, the show’s audience drop off for the season was only about 10 percent, making it eligible for renewal for a 4th season (phew).
I’ve been critical of some of the episodes of Season 3 for sure. There were tortuously weak story lines, horrible operational accuracy and just dumb gaffs.
But overall, I liked that the writers seemed to listen to the experts involved with the show, including “Mark Owen” who wrote the first bin Laden takedown tell all “No Easy Day” and Tyler Grey, one of the show’s producers and a former D-Boy.
Reportedly David Boreanaz wears Owen’s actual assaulter helmet for the show.
The training these guys have gotten paid off as well. I can’t think of a time I saw a barrel sweep anyone during a mission — very hard to coordinate for film and I’m sure a detail that stretched the patience of the producers.
I’m hoping that for Season 3.5 we see more cool locations (though I doubt it) like the Serbia season openers and missions that harken back to past engagements (like the “13 Hours” analog).
I also like the twists and turns of the relationships going on here. They’re teaching the civilian world who’s watching this just how the military rank structure can inhibit emotions by force of law. It’s the down side of the increasingly mixed-sex military — even at the highest levels.
One thing we did not see yet this season (though one could argues Jason’s physical breakdown and therapy is nibbling at the edges of something like this) is a story line of political activism for veterans. I thought the writers handled the veteran suicide issue deftly last season, and the relationship between Clay and Swanny was at the same time heartwarming and tragic.
I hope we take a turn toward something like that for Season 3.5 — maybe someone getting badly injured and fighting abandonment of the Navy system?
Well, it has been a season of great episodes along many story lines culminating in this last one that (hopefully) sets us up for next season. The story seems to revolve around the Team moving on in life, but staying together at the same time.
And for sake of this analysis, I count Lisa, Mandy and Eric as part of the Team. Last week I talked about the defining “looks” that passed between the cast. This time the emphasis is more about short spurts of meaningful dialog, which I’ll capture in quotes.
Here’s where I see things:
Jason and Natalie
Their defining interaction happened at the end of the show, so I’ll start there and work backwards.
Mandy and Ray had already guessed that Jason had something going on in his personal life, especially when he didn’t jump at a “sure thing” as some girls in the bar were flashing him inviting glances. When he declined to respond, Mandy made the most telling line of the episode…“If you’re not all in with someone, you might as well be all out.”
Ray followed up later when Jason told him “change is good.” Ray commented back that “yes, change is good, but it doesn’t sound like you.” Jason kept it going…“Do you think I can’t change?”
It was right after this exchange that Jason met Natalie outside at the end of the episode where they sort of tied the knot to a relationship.
Natalie kept saying she and Jason were “just having fun.” She wants to keep work and play separate, but he took Mandy’s comment to heart and gave Natalie an ultimatum telling her “he’d respect her decision.” She made a telling comment that she was probably hesitant to a relationship as a “preventative measure against scar tissue.”
Jason then quoted Mandy that “If you’re not all in with someone, you might as well be all out.” (Yay Mandy – it worked!)
It was sort of funny that Jason, the very competent warrior, was rather high school-awkward during the episode and leading up to that moment. He definitely was not the smooth talker but it was sort of sweet.
End of story for the night – they walk back into the bar together so all the guys will know they’re together. Love it!
It was poignant that one of the Team’s main goals with the Bangladesh mission was that they had to get back to support Lisa, their Intel officer. And support her; they did, except for Ray. (See explanation below)
Jason showed his stuff by leading the Team into the courtroom. “She’s the best. She’s one of us.” Clay followed…”I trust her with my life.“ Sonny ended with, “she puts navy ahead of her own happiness.”
As the Team walked out, Lisa whispered to Jason that they had not needed to do that. He responded with the second most powerful comment of the episode. “You’re one of us. Family. We’ve always got your back.”
At first I had hoped that maybe Mandy and Jason would end up together, but obviously that didn’t happen. I think she’ll continue to be an interrogator that works regularly with the team. She’s really good at reading through people. She guessed that Jason was seeing someone and that Lisa had issues with command. And then, just one more time, I promise, there is that most defining line that wrapped up the whole episode. “If you’re not all in with someone, you might as well be all out.”
Clay and Sonny
Clay introduces Rebecca to the guys and Sonny doesn’t take it too well. It came out later that it wasn’t Rebecca per se – it was Rebecca and Clay together. Sonny thinks she’s distracting Clay and perhaps is the reason he has been so negative and vocal.
But…Sonny and Clay are each other’s “wingman.” Sonny told Clay that “he just needs to know that the guy next to me has his head in the game” before executing their mission in Bangladesh. I did though detect a bit of jealousy on Sonny’s part.
A bit later, Clay had the chance to turn the tables. “I’m not stupid.” He guessed that Lisa was at the center of Sonny’s secret relationship issue. And…top priority…he had to know that the guy next to him also “has his head in the game.” Sonny responded he was “laser focused” following by calling him a Sonny-esque name like “princess.” I smiled and breathed better because I like their relationship and bantering back and forth.
Clay and Rebecca
Rebecca to Clay… “Tell me you haven’t imagined yourself on a bigger stage.” Maybe her circle of acquaintances could help him get there? Clay admitted that “there may be better ways to impact the world than carrying a rifle.”
I was sort of bummed by that exchange as it really sets things up for Clay to make his way off the Team next season. I hope that doesn’t happen. Plus…I haven’t yet warmed up to Rebecca…sort of phony. Just my take.
Ray wants to be able to buy a house but is worried to go for it until/unless he gets his promotion to Warrant Officer. Fast forward to Lisa’s hearing. The boss-guy officer tells Ray that if Lisa goes down, her career is over and Ray would be on the wrong side. The camera focused in on pics of his family, an indication that he was going to have to pick sides.
The look on Jason’s face when Ray didn’t follow them into the hearing room was somewhere in between “you’re kidding me” and totally understanding.
In the bar afterwards, Ray apologizes to Lisa for not being there. Lisa doesn’t really say it’s OK. Just makes one of those comments that could be taken either way. I was disappointed in her after all that the whole Team had done on her behalf. Come on girl…have a little empathy. I can see both sides but Ray made the right decision. His family had to come first. Lisa beat the rap so get over it.
Brock, Trent, Full Metal and Victor
All did their parts well and are major characters in their own right - silent but strong, important to the cast – and lethal when necessary.
He has a great role. Cuts to the chase when he has to, not afraid to stand up to the Team, but is ultimately their friend.
As I’ve written before, I just love Cerberus the dog. (although I like her real name, Dita, better!) When they were stuck in the stairwell being overcome by smoke, I heard a couple of little whimpers from her. I’d be scared, too, but then I loved it that we saw Brock covering her mouth to protect her even as he was also threatened by smoke.
Full Metal saws their way through to the area where Sonny and team were trapped. Cereberus comes out first wagging her tail and then just Sonny’s hand comes out and Clay clasps it. That was the most powerful scene in the whole show. They all look out after each other. Nobody would ever get left behind. They’re a team.
Of course, later on the plane, Clay joked that “he only cared about saving the dog.”
Jason and Natalie are together. Sonny and Lisa have accepted their forced relationship (or lack of).
Ray has dual role of being a 100% Team guy AND a family man. Clay has (but hopefully not) set himself up to do something different or leave the show. Mandy is part of the family. Trent is quiet but lethal. Full Metal has shown his brawn, but not his brain yet. Eric has a good balance between boss and friend.
Cerebus is in for the long haul with Brock.
All these make for great relationships and story lines. They HAVE to be back next season!