***update from last week. Just wanted y’all to know that we got some information about last week’s hilarious hearse scene with Wyatt (Dan MacPherson) and Mac (Warren Brown). Dan told us on twitter that that scene was actually their audition scene! They did it so well and everyone thought it was so funny, that they just had to find a way to have it actually in the show. I am so glad they did because it’s been the funniest scene all season. We got later confirmation of this when Cinemax posted their behind the scenes on Youtube:
Moving on…I was really glad to get a Reynolds centric episode this week, Roxanne McKee has done a good job so far, and I really liked the emotional depth that we got this week. We had some good emotional moments last week – Novin (Alin Sumarwata) vulnerable with Wyatt, and Wyatt’s voice breaking when he defended himself against Lowry’s Task Force 18 accusation are the two that come to mind. This week we got glimpse into what’s going on in Reynold’s head.
Before we can get to that however, we get some classic Strike Back action. In bed. Novin wakes up after a night of “you know what” with Jensen (Phil Dunster). Boy I called that – didn’t expect it to literally be this week but hey!? Novin is still all kinds of beat up from last week, but at least she got this out of her system…maybe. There’s a lot of “Don’t make this weird” and “never again” to Jensen, but then some heart eyes and “5 minutes and THEN, never again.” By the way – does anyone else scream “Baxter” in your head every time Jensen is on screen? I’m nervous because all my instincts say he’s going to be the same in too many ways.
While our team is “recovering” and continuing to attempt to track Lowry (Katherine Kelly), Lowry herself is working with her youngest recruit, a young Muslim girl named Maya. Lowry found a young, impressionable girl, and as Donovan (Nina Sosanya) says later, “gained her trust, made her feel important.” (Donovan again with the personal – was someone she knows turned into a terrorist by Lowry? She has some connection I just know it.)
Jensen is able to weed through recent police reports and connect Maya to Lowry. Reynolds heads to meet with Maya’s sister and here is our first inkling that things are going to go south. (As if they don’t always with this show – there was a joke on twitter last week that telling the team to be subtle was like telling the old 20 to bring someone in alive…HYSTERICAL). Maya’s sister asks Reynolds to promise that she’ll bring back Maya safe. Roxanne McKee broke all our hearts when she responded simply with this look.
She knows things aren’t going to turn out like that. We all do. After Maya’s sister gives them information, Jensen is able to track down Lowry’s car on the freeway. The team realizes that she’s going to drop Maya off at the airport – presumably with the Novichok (Markov’s nerve gas) in hand. They rush to airport, arriving only slightly after Maya is dropped off. The team has doubts when Donovan sends them a picture, with Wyatt (Dan MacPherson) remarking, “Hell, she’s just a kid.” In the airport the team is running around trying to track her down, Maya only minutes ahead of them and already going through security. Here I was shocked when at security Mac (Warren Brown) tells the guard, “I’m with Section 20.” Ok y’all – I really think this was a writing mistake, this NEVER happened on the old show. I feel like this was confirmed a couple of minutes later when they’re telling a different guard that they’re British military. That’s always been the story – 20 doesn’t exist, so Mac saying it out loud was shocking.
Reynolds is the one to finally spot Maya, pulling her gun, and crying out “it’s ok, you don’t have to do this!” and begging Maya to put down her backpack. Maya, crying, depresses the button on a spray can hidden in her backpack. Reynolds shoots to kill and takes cover, assuming (as do we) that the gas is about to be emitted. The team is shocked when nothing happens – Milos (Peter Firth) had betrayed Lowry, making that particular can inert. Reynolds is visibly distraught at Maya’s death – you can tell she wanted this to end very, very differently. Wyatt gently gets her up and the team heads back to their “headquarters”. Seriously, where do they find these places?
Lowry is furious when she discovers that the nerve gas wasn’t released, but Milos shrugs it off, “I do not shit on my own door step.” Such a class act this criminal. He tells her that this was simply proof of concept to show that the gas could be snuck through security – and that it was a chance for creepy killer Yuri to spot and begin tracking the team from 20.
Back at the headquarters Reynolds checks in with Donovan about Maya’s sister – Donovan “assuring” her that she’d been picked up by the authorities. Reynolds starts to protest but Donovan interrupts with, “you promised her sister whatever she needed so you could get the intel we needed, just like I trained you to.” Donovan is cold y’all…and shady, so shady. Need further proof of that? She followed up that statement to Reynolds with, “This is only a win because the device didn’t active. If you want to feel bad about something, feel bad about that.” Oof. She pulls no punches.
While Novin and Wyatt track down Yuri’s brother Ivan, Reynolds and Mac head to a bar. Reynolds is drinking her pain away, Mac doing his best to assure her that they made the right choice. The world is not black and white – but for Mac when someone threatens civilians, all the grey fades away – Maya making that choice meant that Reynolds did exactly what she was supposed to do. Reynolds expresses her doubts about Donovan, “we’d all be on the scrap heap if it wasn’t for Donovan right? I feel like she would burn through all of us just to take Lowry down.” I’m also getting that feeling – there are serious alarm bells going off!
Can we just talk about this flirting moment in the bar from Mac though? Like seriously. Adorable. When Reynolds tells Mac she’s going to, “sit here, finish the bottle and find somebody vaguely attractive so I can screw their brains out and forget what a shit day I’ve had.” he responds with, “You know, I’ve heard it said that I’m vaguely attractive.” I literally laughed so hard at that. And yes, yes you are Warren Brown – damn that dimple.
Reynolds sends Warren off to help Novin and Wyatt, choosing to stick with the handsome bartender (her loss). This scene was insane, Reynolds is having this hot sex scene, but is just flashing back to shooting Maya and appears to choke herself at one point? However we take that, it’s clear that Reynolds is in serious mental pain. The stuff that these soldiers do, I can’t imagine that any of them have healthy emotions.
While Reynolds is having “therapy” the team is able to locate Yuri’s brother Ivan. This resulted in a really fun fight scene at a pool hall, including Mac flipping over the table like a total badass. They’re able to pin Ivan and I literally got chills when he told them that Yuri was “hunting”, meaning tracking them, waiting for them to be alone and then striking. Of course they (and we) realize instantly that Reynolds is in danger.
In perfect tv timing, Reynolds gets a warning phone call from Wyatt just as Yuri walks in to kill her. Roxanne McKee was great in these scenes, she’s a total stone cold badass and just exudes confidence. Unfortunately, Yuri is also a badass – mostly in that he’s huge and ridiculously strong and he’s able to get the upper hand when it comes to fighting. Proving how strong she is though, Reynolds tricks him into throwing her across the room (ouch) in order to get close to her gun. She shoots him…out the window. He gets away, but at least she’s back with the team.
Jensen is able to use radiation from the gas canister that Maya attempted to set off in the airport to track down where the lab is located. It’s in Chernobyl! Donovan sends the team to destroy the lab (again), capture Markov (again) and bring back a sample of the gas. When Reynolds protests how dangerous the latter could be Donovan has the damn nerve to say, “Don’t let Maya’s death be in vain.” I think Reynolds face here speaks volumes:
Once in Chernobyl the team splits up, the boys heading into yet another abandoned building – which, can we point out gets a little weird/old? Like it makes some cool fight scenes, but wow – how about someplace that doesn’t have flickering lights, random electrical cords hanging down and sheets of plastic in the doorway?
Wyatt gets ambushed by Yuri who THRUSTS HIS ARM through a door – how the heck would he have known to be waiting? Insane. Anyways, again Yuri shows just how strong he is, throwing both Wyatt and Mac around like sacks of flour. Teamwork wins in the end and they throw Yuri off a balcony with one of the aforementioned cords wrapped around his neck.
After a successful diversion by the ladies, the whole team enters the lab where the FSB is currently loading up the nerve gas. A shoot out ensues (duh, it’s Strike Back) and at one point a canister of the gas actually gets shot! Reynolds is in the room, and barely makes it out, crawling and vomiting, before the room is sealed off. Wyatt and Novin are shooting to hold off the Russians, Mac is helping Reynolds and Dr Markov – being helpful for once – is trying to make an antidote. Except he’s shot in the forehead before he can complete it. Mac injects it in Reynolds anyways, figuring a small chance is better than none, thank goodness it actually works.
As the team exits Reynolds has Novin blow up the whole lab – she doesn’t want Donovan to get a sample of that nerve has anymore than she wants the Russians to have it. The team has her back and we get a class Strike Back exit moment.
As for Lowry, when Milos double crosses her and tries about to kill her, she smashes a canister of the nerve gas. While everyone around her dies, she uses the antidote and crawls out into the forest to recover. We get a HUGE shock here – her phone rings and it’s someone claiming that Omair Idrisi is alive!!! That’s going to be interesting next episode!
A great week for Roxanne McKee – we really got to see some depth in Reynolds that’s been somewhat lacking. Roxanne doesn’t have the physicality that Alin Sumarwata does, however, this episode really showed why they cast her as the Captain – she’s got the brains and leadership skills to get it done.
*Mac’s comments to Reynolds about being vaguely attractive – I’m still giggling over that
*Reynolds “scared” not scared face at Yuri when he tried to intimidate her
*Wyatt’s smartass comments to Ivan about his “Mebers Only” sign in the bar – I love Wyatt’s sense of humor, it slays me
*Mac with a flying, leaping punch into Yuri at Chernobyl (Warren Brown’s fighting skills have really upped the game on cool, showy, moves)
Strike Back airs March 16th on Cinemax 10/9c
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