I’m falling a little more in love with this show every week.
Actually, what’s happening is that I’m falling a little more in love with the characters every week, but for me, it amounts to the same thing.
And here’s the wonderful surprise in that for me: it’s not just Jason I’m enjoying getting to know.
Let’s face it: I was hardwired to respond to David Boreanaz playing a military hero, and I’m enjoying Jason and his story very much. The thrill is discovering that I’m enjoying the show just as much when the other characters are center stage. (Also: I think the show is doing a fabulous job in that respect.)
Ray continues to steal more and more of my heart each week. I was enjoying the conversation with the journalist even before we got this line, but afterward? Puddle of goo:
But then came the moments with Lisa, which I loved even more. I have a soft spot for platonic friendship, and their love for each other is all over those scenes.
Despite having good friends in the military, I’m hopeless at sorting out rank, but it’s clear he outranks her. Still, he softens the order with her first name:
And she goes. You can see the reluctance, but she goes.
I like that whole exchange for what it reveals about both of them. Later, when she comes back, we realize that their different roles mean she doesn’t have the combat experience he does (“Well, you need to know that when I’m shooting at the range, the targets don’t shoot back.”) …and yet she would have stayed anyway, and then comes back for him.
She’s badass, and both of them are matter of fact about it, which I love. He’s not surprised she doesn’t want to go, and doesn’t seem all that surprised to see her return. And once she does? He hands her his weapon, trusting her.
I don’t think the show could exist within the world they’ve set up if the women get those kinds of opportunities often, but I’m glad Lisa got this one relatively early in the season.
Ditto, Mandy, kicking butt and taking names with the Not-Really-an-Ambassador Crowley. (Maybe he should have considered the consequences of making an enemy of the CIA before he endangered the guys she feels responsible for by sending them on a wild goose chase?)
She’s not the only one Crowley manages to tick off, and if not for cooler heads prevailing, Sonny would probably have wiped the floor with him at the end. I have mixed feelings on that, by the way. I liked seeing that very human response, and wouldn’t have minded watching it play out. (Which in my head, included lots of squealing from Crowley.) But the consequences to Sonny would have been less fun to watch, and would have deprived us of the much better response to Crowley, from Jason.
Although the scene in the cage runs a close second, this is my favorite Jason moment here. Sometimes, a non-violent response to a coward is simply more satisfying, and seeing Jason hand him his ass along with the flag rang all my bells. Crowley confused posturing with leadership, cowardice with true courage, and watching his take down made me cheer.
So everyone heads for home, safe to fight another day. (Well, everyone but Crowley, who will hopefully be job hunting in the Craigslist classifieds.)
Only…not entirely everyone else, either, because there’s another story paralleling what’s happening in South Sudan, and I’ve got to tell you…I did not see that last scene coming, nor any version of it.
I feel like I should have, because I’m generally pretty good at connecting the dots on things like a character I’d initially assumed was a secondary, recurring role, becoming increasingly important to Clay’s story…while still not ever being referenced by the show’s PR as a permanent part of the cast. Normally, I’d have gone ‘hmm’ on that, my Spidey sense tingling with, ‘they’re setting up something here to explain this character’s exit, and since it’s a military show…’
Nope. Spidey sense was asleep this time, and I didn’t see it coming. Not when Brian left to jump (having given Clay some advice I really hope he manages to take), not even when they first counted five canopies when there should have been six. It wasn’t until the camera focused on that partially deployed parachute, helplessly twisting in the wind, that I accepted what was happening.
I have to tell you that while I don’t know why this gutted me the way it did, I do not ever remember being so horrified by a television death. Ever. And I’ve seen a lot of deaths play out, including those involving characters I had far more invested in than this one. But there was something about watching that figure falling, knowing there wasn’t a thing they could do to help, that even on later re-watches has had my stomach clenching.
Damn, show. That was brutal. And so very, very effective.
Apart from leaving me a horrified mess, this episode also left me with a whole bunch of questions that I’m going to share. (Because I’m like that…)
- That photo Jason found among Nate’s possessions? He’s not in it. Ray and Sonny are, but he’s not, and I wonder if that means he was deployed elsewhere, or attending a special school, or what. But more than that, I wonder if the other guys – both of whom have now told him to let Nate’s secrets die with him – actually knew him better than Jason. Hmm.
- How will Brian’s death affect Clay? My knee-jerk assumption is that he’ll distance himself from Stella, and while I get that, I sort of hope it doesn’t go that way, or not for long…mostly because it’s my knee-jerk assumption. (Come on, show. Keep surprising me!) On the other hand, I also wonder if watching Brian die that way will build a bridge between Clay and Jason.
- Are Sonny and Lisa a thing? A could-be-a-thing? A could-be-but-we’re-in-the-same-unit-thing? The friendship is absolutely there, seen in the teasing of a few weeks back, their hanging out together after work, and now, here, where it’s not Ray to whom Sonny says, ‘good to see you’ after their rescue.
For the record, I’m good either way. I enjoy both romantic and platonic ‘ships, but…hmm.
“Listen, boss…I got a bag full of zip ties and two shoulders. You want them to come with us, they’re coming.” (Sonny, to Jason, about the aid workers who are refusing to evacuate.)
“Make sure he knows I sent you outside. Your crazy ass decided to come back in.” (Ray, to Lisa, about what she should tell Jason)