Strike Back roared back onto television last night with explosions, wisecracks, and the confident beginning it was lacking in last year’s season premiere. Coming back last year with a fresh team, it was obvious to longtime fans that all those involved were still trying to figure out what the “new” Strike Back would be. It hit its stride about episode 4, but even then some of the old magic felt lacking. This is absolutely no longer the case. It’s clear that cast and crew are comfortable in their skin and the show hit the ground running from the opening scenes.
***mild spoilers ahead***
We have new team members joining Section 20 this year, and we’re introduced to the first 2 this episode. Yasemin Kay Allen will be playing Katrina Zarkova, a Russian special forces operative who’s forced to team up with 20 when her own mission goes awry. Already Yasemin is winning over fans with her portrayal, she brings a super interesting mix of awkward and tough which will be fun to watch. Seeing her with Gracie Novin (Alin Sumarwata), fighting through a train, was a highlight of the episode. Lots of fans were sad when they found out Roxanne McKee wouldn’t be reprising her role as Captain Reynolds, but it looks like the addition of Yasemin will allow for some really interesting storylines.
We also meet Col. Coltrane, played by Jamie Bamber. I’ve been a fan of Jamie’s since Battlestar Galactica, he’s a very talented actor so I was really looking forward to seeing how he’d play into this. He did not disappoint. Coltrane obviously has a very intriguing (checkered) past, as do most people stuck in Section 20 and we’re only seeing the beginning of what that could be. He seems very much a rule and order guy, so watch for how that goes with our very *not* rule and order 20 team.
We haven’t met her yet but look for the addition of a new Comms Guy (yes I know how scary that position is) when Varada Seethu joins the cast in episode 3. I guarantee you’re all going to love Chetters!!
It’s clear that the bond developed by the three main cast from last season is deep, it translates clearly on screen. Dan MacPherson as Wyatt, Alin Sumarawata as Novin and Warren Brown as Mac are a fantastic team on and off screen. If you don’t follow all of them on Twitter and Instagram I’d highly recommend it. The team dynamics snap right in the beginning, these 3 know who they are and how they work together. Or do they? Both Wyatt and Novin are looking darker this season, there is an edge to the humor from Novin and some straight up pain from Wyatt. I can’t wait to see how that develops this season, even if it means pain as a fan.
Oh. Let’s not forget to address the biggest WUT this episode for me. Wyatt is married?! Wyatt who fell for Lyla last season, who’s a straight up, slack off, horn dog? Apparently. And not just married but swoony eyed talking about his wife, who we only hear about because she wants a divorce. Cue the eye roll. But also the “aww” because seriously Wyatt tugs those heartstrings doesn’t he?
Day in and day out one thing Strike Back can always be counted on is the best action on tv. Period. What they’re able to achieve with little budget and mostly blood, sweat, and tears is always stunning. As with last season, some of the best hand to hand combat is starring Warren Brown. His martial arts career comes in handy and shows with the restrained, powerful grace he uses in fights. Of course, in episode 1 we see him get his ass handed to him, but that’s part of the fun.
Add in some incredible scenes like the fight on the top of the tallest building in KL, Malaysia and Strike Back does it again. It’s feature film level every week. Bravo to everyone involved. Then you find out that in order to film that scene, they actually BUILT the top of that building in the middle of a field! Part of the genius we see each week is the BTS ability to do more with less. Can’t wait to see what they have in store next week!
Strike Back airs next on Feb 1st at 10/9c on Cinemax
If you’d like to check it out, @StrikeBackCrib has a new podcast, the SitRep where we discuss the episode, give you BTS facts from showrunner Jack Lothian and have interviews with cast and crew. Our episode 1 podcast guest is none other than Dan MacPherson, links to the podcast are below. As always, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @nolenag03 anytime to chat about this incredible show.