The mission to get their POW’s out safe might have hit a fatal snag on last Monday night’s Valor. Remember to check out my interview with the fantastic Melissa Roxburgh here!
This episode picks up right where last week’s left off with Madani (Christina Ochoa) and Gallo (Matt Barr) talking about Davis Goundry’s sister being questioned by the CIA about his loyalties. Madani wants to believe that there is a deeper meaning to their mission in Somalia, where Gallo doesn’t want to jump to conclusions and focus on getting their friend Jimmy back.
Meanwhile, Somalia, Jimmy (W Tre Davis) listens as Hendrix (guest star: Mac Brandt) is beaten by their captors. Jimmy checks on his friend only for Hendrix to rebuff his help because of the conversation they had the week before about Jimmy being Muslim and that he doesn’t fully trust him. When one of the main soldiers Dauud (guest star: Dajour Ashwood) who Jimmy has a semi-good relationship with brings him food. He tells him first in Arabic and then in English that he won’t eat until they are treated the same. When Dauud refuses, Jimmy kicks the food away from him. Khalid Samatar (guest star: Jaiden Kaine) who is holding the men comes in to see the prisoners and Dauud begin to beat Jimmy. Khalid tells him that he should be grateful for the things that he is given unless he wants to insult his hosts. Later Jimmy is moved to where Hendrix is because Kam convinced Dauud that they would thrive better together. Dauud gives Jimmy a piece of paper before leaving and when he opens it and its’s a picture of Jess and Max.
Jess (Corbin Reid) and the Colonel’s wife discuss a birthday BBQ Mrs. Haskins wants to let Jess know that they are a family on the base and that if she wanted anything, she just needed to ask. Jess politely brushes her off before going to her computer where it’s shown that she is looking at a site for a Kidnap and Rescue (K & R) company. Jess goes and meets with the K & R company to discuss their rates and what exactly they do. She isn’t completely convinced but leaves it at that. Later Thea goes to the Colonel about Jess talking to the K & R company. Thea tells him that he needs to talk to her about it. He lets her know that it will be handled in his way. Later at the Colonel’s the team joins with everyone to celebrate the birthdays of the soldiers that are on base as well as those that aren’t. Jess and Nora chat about how Jess is going and she tells Nora that she has to do things on her own. Nora lets her know that she knows how she feels. Jess and Mrs. Hendrix speak again at the BBQ and the colonel’s wife has been tasked at letting Jess know in no uncertain terms that they know about her going to the K & R team. Jess is told that she should have faith in the army since their husbands have devoted their lives to it. Jess sees Ian shake hands with the colonel giving her hope that she can trust in the army as Jimmy has. She later cancels the K & R team, because she wants to give the army the chance they deserve to save her husband. When the woman asks Jess why she just didn’t say this over the phone, she acknowledges that she is being listened to because she states that she can’t trust people unless she’s in person.
CIA Officer Thea (Melissa Roxburgh) for a change is actually on the side of the Shadow Raiders, discussing the possible two for one prisoner exchange with Khalid Samatar, for his brother, Mustaf. They are trying to talk Congresswoman Simone Porter (guest star: Valarie Pettiford) into signing on board and getting the okay from the US government. However, the Congresswoman holds tight to the same principal as Thea did the week before that the US Govt doesn’t negotiate with terrorists. After she is given more information, she tells them that the committee will have to talk about it and take it into consideration. Later Porter (Charlie Barnett) lets Nora know that the committee came back with their decision to not back the prisoner exchange. Nora is sure that there is no alternate plan that makes sense. Thea and the Colonel brief the team on their alternate plan to do a “smash and grab” extraction with a 30% success rate. Madani and Gallo talk to Ian about talking to his mother again about the prisoner exchange feeling that it was the only way that it was going to work. Ian goes to his mother again and makes a deal with her to get her to go back to the committee. Letting her know that this is the best way to get them back the POW’s. Simone tells him that she will see what she can do if he can get all of the emails that Thea has sent since she has been on base. Ian has problems with hacking the CIA, though his mother parrots back his own words. “This is about the lives of two men.” She says.
Anna (guest star: Heighlen Boyd) and Gallo discuss their lightly stringed relationship. Anna seems to want a bit more from Gallo but he doesn’t give her a direct answer.She then tells him about the feeling that she is being followed since she helped Gallo from the first episode. He tells her that it’s probably nothing but that if it happens again to let him know right away.
Gallo goes to Nora and lets her know about the CIA trailing Anna. He tells her that they can’t have any more midnight meetings. Anna messages Gallo who goes to her house and confronts two supposed CIA agents. He assumes that they are working with Thea. In the end, Gallo breaks up with Anna, telling her that he was no longer feeling it. Though you can tell that this is all about the CIA surveillance and that he his doing this to protect her.
After Ian leaves Nora, she goes to get into her pills to find that they are gone. Nora then goes into a flashback from ten years ago when she used to run with two guys, Kevin (guest star: Jordan Salloum) who has just joined the military and Bobby (guest star: Drew Starkey) who both hung around her Oxycodone dealing father, Tomas (guest star Diego Serrano). One of the highlights of this scene was being able to listen to Christina Ochoa speaking her first language of Spanish. Also shows that Nora’s first goal wasn’t to join the military, in fact, that it was the furthest from her mind. Nora tries to get into her pre-mission stride by using her drum set, However, there is obviously something that is missing about her. She calls her old friend Bobby and tells him about her prescription. Going to another flashback, we see teenaged Nora finding her father leaving her on her own. Tossing her the keys to the house telling her he would be in touch. In the present, Nora gets a call from Bobby and finds out that, Kevin can help her. She meets Kevin in a park and they discuss how their paths had diverged. We find out that Nora has been in the military for ten years. Kevin, who was wounded, given an early discharge. They talk about the brutalities, both physical and mental that being in the army entails and Nora promises that she is fine that it’s just one time with the pills. He at first tells her that he won’t sell them to her, she ends up talking him into it, he tells her that it was going to be the one and only time. She goes to give him money but he just gives them to her. This storyline is one of those slow burn ones that are going to hopefully end in redemption for Nora. You can feel Nora’s pain the way that Christina plays her. Nora’s last flashback shows her drunk and seemingly drugged out, on a doorstep of a store by an Army recruitment officer who lets Nora know that she might just need a fresh start and leaves her with a business card.
Delta force Sgt Adam Coogan (guest star: Bryan Craig) once again proves he’s the resident ass of the show going after Nora about the meeting with the committee. Darzi (guest star: Zeeko Zaki) then discusses the possibility for ‘Zero Visibility’, which Gallo comes in to interject that Nora is a badass at instrument flying, which is just as it sounds. At the colonel’s BBQ a drunk Coogan tries to insinuate that something happened between Madani and Gallo while they were in Somalia. Ian tries to break it up, invoking rank but Coogan keeps it up. An already on edge Nora takes as much as she can before she pushes him away from her. She has to be held by Gallo to keep her from going after him. Finally the Colonel has to break them up completely.
On the mission, CIA Officer Thea is coming along for the ride. I have to say that I’m here for anything that show’s off Melissa Roxburgh’s badassness! The prisoner exchange is a go which of course means that Ian is going to go behind Thea’s back and hack her email. Sure enough, he does, what will come out of that is left to be seen. Later Thea and Gallo talk about the mission, he is sure that this is the first time that she has been on a military op. Something that she doesn’t confirm or deny. Gallo then tells her that he knows that he is being followed. Thea once again doesn’t confirm though she does let him know that she has questions about his and Nora’s debriefing because it couldn’t sound more rehearsed. While on the mission to pick up Mustaf, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti we get to hear Thea speak Arabic. Gallo also catches Madani taking her pills but still trusts her to fly using just her instruments. Mustaf health begins to fade after they go through a tricky area of terrain. He goes into convulsions and Thea claims that she believes he is dead.
**On a personal note, I would like to dedicate this review to the reason it’s actually running late. I lost my beloved grandfather (Claude “Sarge” Maynard 1925-2017) last Tuesday. He was 92 years old and was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, he served as an MP for over 20 years. My family has always been a military one and it’s people like my grandfather (who fought in Korea), my father (who fought in Vietnam) and my brother who spent almost a year in Iraq & Kuwait that I watch shows like Valor. I would like to thank all of the veterans and all those serving home and away.**