Strike Back: Retribution (S06E01) Episode 1"

***spoilers ahead***

Last night kicked off a new season of one of Cinemax’s most popular series, Strike Back. It’s been a few years and we’re introduced to a whole new cast – Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Damian Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) having exited the scene in season 5. Although helmed by MJ Bassett again, I think it’s fair to look at this as more of a reboot than anything else.

First off, I think an introduction to the team is probably welcome. We’ll have a four-person team led by Captain Reynolds (Roxanne McKee). She’s joined by SGT McAllister (Warren Brown), CPL Novin (Alin Sumarwata) and SGT Wyatt (Daniel MacPherson). I think this team is going to be great together once they really get flowing – the banter is already reminiscent of the old Stonebridge/Scott flow which was such a draw. I think they have some work to do, but from the airings in the UK, my understanding is that they really hit their stride a few episodes in. I do hope we see more of this team performing their own stunts. That made a huge difference in past seasons, the continuity of the shots made it feel much more movie-like.

We’re introduced to McAllister at the beginning as he flies to a prisoner pickup with his current team. During the transfer, however, his team is ambushed and everyone is killed except him. Let it never be said that Cinemax shies away from death in their series! Once back on base McAllister loses it, punching the intelligence officer who sent them into that situation. We next see him locked up, being approached by a Col Donovan who is recruiting for a new “team”. The two reference the “old Section 20” which makes me grin, I miss our boys! (Ok I promise I won’t do that too much, although hearing the theme music may have gotten me a little choked up)

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As his first mission, McAllister is sent in to rescue an American soldier who’s being tortured for information. We meet Wyatt as he’s trying to talk his way out of being waterboarded. Y’all, I was so distracted by his beautiful teeth in this scene. Very nice Mr. MacPherson (another Aussie playing an American). Wyatt is not pleased with McAllister’s rescue, claiming that he got caught as part of his plan to track down weapons shipments. I have to say it was pretty amazing to see one of the team repeatedly telling the other not to kill the people chasing them. That’s very new, Wyatt isn’t quite the trigger-happy soldier we’ve come to expect.

We see a lot of that old Strike Back banter right off here, these two may work well together in the future, but right now they just rub each other the wrong way. Of course, that always makes the best pairings in tv right? The boys are picked up by Novin, and man I have to say Alin Sumarwata is perfect in this role. She’s smart-alecky, adorable and tough as hell. My favorite scene of the whole episode is her in Wyatt’s room after they return to safety. Wyatt is wrapped only in a towel, Novin looks him up and down and hands him a washcloth saying, “That’s more your size.” Perfect.

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The team is sent to find a new contact at a bar – meet up with Reynolds and get the information Wyatt had been looking for. At the bar we’re introduced to Capt Reynolds, looking smashing in an LBD and able to charm her way into the target’s private suite.

After a surprise ambush, we get to see the team in action together for the first time trying to keep the target. I loved seeing Reynolds stab the bad guy in the neck with her high heels – if they’re going to make you wear them might as well use them. All in all, some good action. Again, I’m hoping that see more stunts performed directly by the cast.
The target gets away and so the team is sent in to reacquire him. Here we get some good old Strike Back action – lots of shooting, explosions, and dead bad guys. The team gets their man, and we’ll see what they do with him next episode.

I’m very excited to see more of Katherine Kelly as the cold ass bad chick, we got only little glimpses of her but man she’s looking scary!
See you next week!

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