Strike Back (S06E05) "Episode 5"

***spoilers ahead***

I had high hopes going into last night after such a great episode last week and the team did not let me down. They’ve definitely figured out a lot of the “new show” kinks and it’s really showing. This episode was all Novin (Alin Sumarwata), all the time. Seriously. Ok, yes, the rest of the team did a good job, but y’all there is a fight scene in there that I’m already going to go back and rewatch it’s that good. This episode really solidified Alin Sumarwata as a bonafide action star. Get it girl!

Just to make sure we all know exactly how evil Dr. Markov (Daniel Cerqueira) is we start off the episode with a flashback to his time as a scientist in Russia. After a warning from a colleague that he’s going to be replaced, Markov takes the natural next step of releasing his deadly nerve gas and killing everyone in the lab. Nice guy that.

lab death

Flash forward to current day, we see a drug lab with busy little bees creating some sinister looking red pill. We meet Milos Borisovich (Peter Firth) as he’s accusing one of his drug makers of stealing from him. The price to pay – cutting his own finger off! Lowry enters, and Milos walks off with her to the screams of his employees – not a nice boss I’m thinking. She’s renting the lab from him for Markov to continue his research in creating the perfect nerve gas, and by perfect we mean scary as all get out.

Containers exploding.png

With a boom we’re taken…well…someplace that’s currently exploding. Not a shocker for this show. The team emerges through the smoke and fire with a man in tow. They make their way through a shipyard, fighting bad guys around every corner. In perfect Strike Back fashion, they do this cool and calm, shooting barbs and jokes at each other as quickly as they’re shooting bullets at the enemy. Wyatt (Daniel MacPherson) and Mac (Warren Brown) seem to have settled differences. Now the argument is simply whether or not Mac owes the team a beer for allowing an alarm to go off, which is much better than the “you literally stabbed me” vibe of last week.

Under Reynold’s (Roxanne McKee) questioning the extra guy, who turns out to launder money for Jane Lowry (Katherine Kelly), gives up Lowry’s bank account. Jensen (Phil Dunster) is able to track it down and freeze the account, leaving Lowry up the creek.

Back in Belarus, suddenly Milos ain’t too happy with his, now unpaying, British guest. He sends his goons to bring Lowry to him, interrupting a little heart to heart between her and Markov where we learn that all he’s done is purely out of ego. Jerk. When confronted with her empty bank account we finally see the first cracks in Jane Lowry’s exterior. She’s been unflappable until now – so this was telling, Milos is not a guy to mess about. He’s charging her 30,000 A DAY to use his labs, and now it looks like he isn’t getting paid. Lowry promises to get the money and is given 24 hours to make it happen. Lowry flies to meet with someone who also knew and loved Idrisi – but this guy scares the snot out of her. If she had cracks in front of an angry Milos, she had fissures in front of this guy. He won’t give her any money, he does promise to give her some men, but says, “Omar believed in something pure, you crave power.” He’s not on team Lowry, that’s for sure.

Through tracking Lowry’s money Jensen is able to connect the dots and figure out that she’s using one of Milos’ labs. Our team loads up and heads for the lab with the dual goal of destroying all the work as well as capturing Markov. At the lab, the team storms in, shooting up the place, but unfortunately, Markov is able to make a quick exit. With all those bullets flying around, and all the chemicals stored in a small room they do successfully, but accidentally, cause the entire lab to blow up. So one check off the to-do list.

exploding chemicals

Now here’s where the fun really begins. Donovan (Nina Sosyana) decides to send Novin in alone to the funeral of Milos’ mother. This is in order to retrieve a logbook containing the location where Milos would be hiding Markov. Reynolds (Roxanne McKee) is not happy about this decision and questions Donovan, telling her that this mission is starting to feel personal. I’ve been saying that for a couple of episodes, Donovan has some shady past with Lowry that’s for sure. Donovan shuts Reynolds down, “I brought 20 back from the grave.” and so the mission is on.

While Novin is making her preparations we see her vulnerable for the first time in the season. She’s talking to Jensen when she says/asks, “It’s worth it right? The shit we do, the collateral damage. It’s necessary right?” She’s torn up, that’s clear to see. This mission, everything she’s already seen and done is weighing heavy on our snarky soldier. Jensen responds by describing the gruesome realities of a nerve gas attack, assuring her that yes, what they do is necessary. Novin nods, and she’s ready.

Novin nervous

First off check this dress:

Novin in dress

I mean damn – I looove that leg tattoo exposure. Moving on. Being dressed up fancy doesn’t slow our girl down one bit. After entering a party full of drunk Belorussians (so drunk a couple of them have a SWORD fight) she begins flirting with Milos. He immediately draws her inside, leads her to his wimpy son’s bedroom and tells her to make him a man. Lol. Novin was not expecting that turn of events. It works out fabulously for her though. Alexsander is so overwhelmed with the beautiful and unexpectedly kind, women that he gives up the code to his father’s vault without even being questioned. My only question in this scene – where the heck did Novin’s Russian accent go – not a great undercover operative right now.

Novin heads to the vault and quickly finds the logbook she’s been sent for. Things being difficult in this world though, Milos gets a notification about her entry and sends his guards. This is when we get the best fight scene I’ve seen in a long time. I kid you not – girl went through at least 10 men using – in order – a letter opener, a couple handguns, a sword, a mace type thing and then deer antlers!! She’s jumping, shooting, kicking ass and it’s amazing. Just as we think she’s about to be captured the team creates a diversion outside and she’s able to escape – by jumping through a stained glass window!! I’m telling y’all – this was some seriously good action.

After leaping through the window she’s picked up by Reynolds on a motorcycle, and the boys have to make their own escape. They do this – by stealing the hearse!!

hearse

Y’all, this was hysterical, Mac leaps in the back without even realizing and then is so pissed. Unfortunately, despite Wyatt making him kick the coffin out the back (Mac protesting the indignity) they’re caught by Milos’ guys and hauled away.

While this is happening Novin is getting patched up by Jensen in their getaway van. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Strike Back, and something that really stands out from other tv, is that they have no problem showing the heroes in all their banged up, sweaty glory. This is no different, Novin is all kinds of scraped and cut. She’s not a happy camper though and doesn’t take well to any pity, brushing off Jensen’s attempts to reassure her. Novin’s a little prickly.

Novin getting Dr

The boys wake up to find themselves tied up in a warehouse, and to their utter shock, there is another prisoner – none other than Jane Lowry. Lowry asks them what happened to her husband, I was surprised, but impressed, when Mac told her exactly what happened, not in a mean or gruesome way, but just straight and honest. In return, Lowry messes with their heads, asking Wyatt, “Have you told him about your task force yet? The whole story? The one where he was so desperate for the glory that he got his whole team killed?” Another reference to Task Force 18 to file away. Wyatt doesn’t take that well, telling her it wasn’t like that, he’s clearly in some emotional distress at the mention of this. I’m wondering – he and Reynolds didn’t know each other but both are connected to this Task Force somehow – weird coincidence or is someone pulling strings??

Mac scoffs it off, “I’ve spent time with him, I know he’s a dick. I also know he’s solid.” The gratified nod from Wyatt here made me smile – there’s hope for these two after all! Milos comes in and frees Lowry – he plans on selling Markov and his nerve gas and so will give her another chance. Then it’s time to take care of the boys. Milos lines them up and hands a gun to his son Alexsander, demanding that he kill one of the men. In a shocking turn, Alex ends up actually pointing the gun at his father, demanding that he be nicer to him. Milos swats the gun away and stuff is about to go south, but with perfect timing, Novin, Reynolds and computer boy Jensen charge in to save the day. They’re able to save the boys, and Jensen even gets a compliment from Novin on his moves. These two are cute – do I sense a burgeoning romance? I don’t know – although it’d be cute I’m not sure I like that for Novin, she’s so badass and I see her being a more Damian Scott-like character when it comes to romance.

Novin and Jensen

We end with a creepy killer named Yuri (who talks about himself in the third person, gross) getting the call from Milos that he’s to target the Section 20 team. We’ll be dealing with the fallout from that next week I’m sure.

Another great episode that kept me glued to screen. Action that comes off as more movie like – YES! Finally! I mean seriously, I can’t fawn over Novin’s hallway fight scene enough. The shooting there was beautiful and smooth in a way we hadn’t seen a lot of yet this season. The whole team was on it’s A-game. Can’t wait until next week!

Episode 6 will air March 9th at 10/9c on Cinemax.

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