SIX (S02E05) “Masks”

Can everyone still breathe? It’s the morning after viewing episode 5 of SIX on History and honestly, I’m still not sure I can. There was a lot happening, but nothing was more moving than the performances by Kyle Schmid as Caulder, and Savannah Welch as his new friend Dawn. SIX is fearless, let me just say that.

I have to be honest, I’m having a hard time even focusing on the rest of the episode. Caulder’s physical therapy, meeting Dawn and then the end result of their date-not date – was nothing less than gut-wrenching. So let’s explore that first off here.

Masks

Caulder gets the rough news first off, it looks like the injury to his arm is seriously bad. Like, so bad it may prevent him from getting back to the team. I can’t imagine that actually happening, he’s way too important to this show. So we all have to suspend a little disbelief and just go along with that. More importantly, during his physical therapy, he meets Dawn, a Marine vet who wears a prosthetic leg. She seems stable and the audience is cheering for their burgeoning friendship right from the start. Maybe she’ll be a stabilizing force for our Caulder? Not so much, unfortunately.

Instead, SIX decided to address the VERY real issue of military veteran suicide stemming from PTSD. After a not date/date, Dawn goes back home alone. She sets aside the therapy mask she’d made – one with 2 faces, an outer calm and beautiful one, with an inner screaming mask. She opens her trunk, pulls out a gun and puts it to her head. Now, thankfully, she doesn’t shoot herself, because holy crud I was not prepared to see Caulder find her body. Instead, she leaves him a note explaining that she almost killed herself, and now is going off to try and put herself back together. She’s been pretending to be calm (the mask symbolism) all the while checking off a list that would ultimately end in her death.

When he reads the letter, Caulder picks up his own mask and breaks my dang heart. The inside has been painted all kinds of vivid colors, representing his daughter and his team, but his outer mask is blank. He puts it over his face and it felt like a punch to the gut. The symbolism of Caulder hiding behind a mask of nothingness is so powerful. Veterans have a very difficult time bearing themselves to the world. The things they’ve seen in war are often too terrible, and they feel like civilians could never understand. Honestly, they’re probably right. Think about Lena’s (Brianne Davis) reaction to Bear (Barry Sloane) opening up last week. We can only hope that Caulder will reach out again, either if Dawn comes back, or possibly to one of his teammates?

@om

Michael

I continue to be grateful that the SIX writers brought Michael Nasry (Dominic Adams) back for this season. I do not understand why his performance was snubbed by the Emmy’s – that guy can act something powerful. Last night we saw him actually working with Gina (Olivia Munn) to help question a fellow prisoner. Michael is the ultimate manipulator, so it remains to be seen if he’s truly been broken by Gina, or is just working his own angle. Michael flips a table, screaming into the camera, “I am Michael Nasry!!” acting for the other prisoner as if he’s still holding out against the CIA’s torture. This really brought me back to earlier this season when Michael was being tortured. He’d repeat his “I am Michael Nasry” to himself in an effort to stay sane.

Through Michael, Gina is able to get information on where The Prince’s (Nikolai Nikolaeff) men could be. Unfortunately, as has been the case this season, he’s one step ahead of our team. As good as Michael is at the mind games, The Prince is ruthless and makes me nervous for our team. We know the SIX writers have killed team members before, fingers crossed we don’t lose anymore this season.

Family

Back home we have 2 situations going nuclear.

Bear goes to visit Lena, desperate in his attempts to repair his marriage, but there is a big road bump. Lena’s art teacher (and maybe boyfriend?) shows up to pick her up. Bear goes ballistic, nearly attacking the guy, Lena shouting in the background. Not a good way to save your marriage. Jealousy doesn’t look good on anyone. Bear needs to work on his issues away from Lena. Then come back to her fresh and in control.

In the Ortiz household, Buddha’s (Juan Pablo Raba) daughter Anabel (Jessica Garza) is approached by our least favorite person. Rip’s (Walter Goggins) killer Marissa (Katherine Evans). Marissa is creepily taking pictures of Anabel on the playground, planning to use her to get to Buddha. Anabel catches her but somehow isn’t driven off by the idea of being photo stalked. By moving to this new house, away from her old friends, Anabel’s family has unfortunately isolated her. She’s lonely and willing to accept friendship, even in this super odd situation.

Moving Forward

Remember how I said to keep in mind that Lena phrase, “Be careful, there are broken pieces everywhere”? I’d say this episode continues that theme in some seriously difficult ways. Obviously, at this point the biggest being her own marriage, and Caulder’s mind. Add in Chase (Edwin Hodge) gazing over his dead body pictures, and this team is in some serious trouble. It’s hard to believe we’re only halfway through the season. I keep reminding myself that SIX is not a show to wrap everything up in a season. The issues that these warriors fight are entrenched in their soul, they’ll keep popping back up no matter how long this show runs. Which hopefully is for many seasons to go.

SIX airs next on Wednesday, June 27th at 10/9c.