SIX came out swinging last summer when it premiered on the History Channel. One of the few action series to strike a true balance between incredible stunts and an emotional plot, SIX tells the story of a team of Navy SEALs as they struggle to rescue a former teammate.
Led by Joe “Bear” Graves (Barry Sloane) the team’s primary mission is the retrieval of former Senior Chief Richard “Rip” Taggart (Walton Goggins). Throughout the season we see Rip both in “present” time – being held hostage by Boko Haram, and also in “past” time – as he devolved from the idealistic leader of the team into the picture of a PTSD scarred soldier.
Rip makes the decision (in the first episode – but ramifications are seen throughout the season) to shoot an unarmed combatant who had surrendered. This decision tears apart the team. Operator Alex Caulder (Kyle Schmidt) is furious and calls Rip to the carpet for his actions. Bear and Ricky “Buddy” Ortiz (Juan Pablo Raba) are torn between loyalty to Rip and their understanding that he’s violated a very basic code of the military. In the end, Rip chooses to leave the team, becoming a contractor instead.
Our big bad of the season, Michael Nasry (Dominic Adams), is motivated by this killing. It was his brother, after all, that Rip shot. Michael throws his lot in with an Emir, promising to bring terror to the West in retaliation for the murder. Michael is out for revenge and desperate to get his hands on Rip. Adams plays a great, dynamic villain and I’m excited he’ll be back – albeit in a very different capacity – for season 2.
It’s that contracting job that takes Rip to Africa. While there he becomes a hostage along with a teacher and a school full of girls. Over the season we see Rip find his truest self – pushed to the limit he becomes the protector again, fighting for the schoolgirls, not just survival. It’s this character growth that makes the end of the season particularly difficult, although we won’t find out where things truly stand until the second season premiers.
Within the team, dynamics are shifting throughout the season.
Newbie Operator Robert Chase (Edwin Hodge) has to prove himself worthy of a spot on the team from the start. He chafes against this in the beginning but is solidly accepted by the end of the season.
Buddha’s biggest conflict is the push/pull with his home life – with 2 children and a wife who begins a new career instead of staying at home with the kids. At the beginning of the season, his wife, Jackie (Nadine Velazquez) is pushing Buddha to leave the SEALs. She wants him to take a high paying contracting job. Buddha deciding to stay and help in the search for Rip eventually pushes Jackie to find her own path. It’ll be interesting to see the change in their relationship in this upcoming season.
Alex Caulder is the epitome of bachelorhood. He’s a stay-cool surfer with a teenage daughter he never sees. Through the season we start to see him taking more of an interest in being a father to his wayward daughter. Caulder’s relationship with Bear is strained over the conflict with Rip, but thankfully these two are able to move forward together.
Bear is a complicated man, a loyal friend to Rip and a leader to his men. He’s also a father whose baby daughter died and almost wrecked him. His marriage to Lena (Brianne Davis) is on the rocks – his PTSD and grief over his daughter are tearing him apart, and through him – Lena. His arc is a mirror to Rip’s right now – a journey that he will hopefully fight.
Armin “Fishbait” Khan (Jaylen Moore) is the team sniper and someone I’m really hoping we learn more about this coming season. Moore plays the first Afghan American, Muslim SEAL on tv and that’s a very exciting thing.
We go into the second season with Rip’s fate unknown, Michael in custody, Bear separated from his wife, and Buddha deciding to stay with the team. In sneak peeks we’ve seen the addition of a new teammate Trevor (Eric Laden) and a CIA operations officer played by Olivia Munn. I highly recommend binging the first season before it starts back up again!
SIX returns on History Channel Monday, May 28th at 10/9c and then moves to it’s Wednesday time slot on May 30th at 10/9c
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Check out our interviews with some of the cast of SIX!
Photo credit @SixOnHistory