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 Strike Back ep 4

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PostSubject: Strike Back ep 4   Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:17 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/09/strike-back-episode-four-exclusive_n_956030.html

'Strike Back' Episode Four Sneak Peek: Exclusive Clip Of New Cinemax Show (VIDEO)
Strike Back Episode 4

First Posted: 9/9/11 03:45 PM ET Updated: 9/9/11 04:04 PM ET

Cinemax's new show "Strike Back" is really one of the most explosive shows on television--really. In true HBO/Cinemax fashion, it's the perfect blend of blood, violence, sex and gritty humor.

In case you haven't been following all of the action, here's a short recap of the premise.

The series follows Section 20, an elite military black ops unit within the British government that focuses on high-risk, top-priority targets--including an international group of terrorists.

When one of their own is captured and held hostage by the terrorist group, the Section 20 enlists the help of Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), a charismatic former Delta Force operative who is familiar with the terrorists. However, his cocky style is often at odds with the more formal team, especially the by-the-book Sgt. Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester). Team leader Col. Eleanor Grant (Amanda Mealing) is a smart, tough military leader who is skilled with a gun and diplomacy--but that doesn't mean she's afraid to break a few rules to get what she wants.

In tonight's episode, Scott (Stapleton) goes deep undercover into Daniel Connolly’s (Liam Cunningham, "Game of Thrones") terrorist group as a computer specialist and network hacker. Now, Scott must help Connolly with a heist by breaking into a security system. Unfortunately, Scott’s not a computer specialist or a hacker so Section 20 sets up a special computer worm to help Scott bypass a the security system remotely.

But, of course, Connolly is one step ahead of them.

Watch the exclusive clip of tonight's episode below. Catch all of the action tonight at 10 p.m. EST on Cinemax.

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back ep 4   Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:19 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/09/strike-back-episode-four-exclusive_n_956030.html

Check Out a Preview and Pics from Tonight’s New Episode of ‘Strike Back’

by Joe Gillis, Sep 9 2011

Truth be told, I’m enjoying Cinemax’s Strike Back. It kinda kicks ass. So, this week we’ve got a new preview and some pics from tonight’s episode to share with you.

Here’s the scoop for those of you just joining us:

“When a resourceful international terrorist group plots an attack, a charismatic former U.S. Special Forces operative joins forces with a stealth British military unit to stop them.” Don’t worry, it’s not all talk or anything. Stuff blows up. I mean a lot of stuff.

The show features Sullivan Stapleton, Philip Winchester, Amanda Mealing, Eva Birthistle, Jimi Mistry, Rhashan Stone and Richard Armitage.

Check out the preview and the new pics after the break. Strike Back is on tonight at 10/9C on Cinemax.

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back ep 4   Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:05 pm

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/2011/09/11/strike_back_episode_4_recap_and_review_action_is_character/#


Strike Back, Episode 4, Recap and Review: Action is Character
Thompson on Hollywood
David Chute salutes Strike Back‘s commanding officer.

Amanda Mealing, the actress who plays Colonel Eleanor Grant, chief of the covert ops unit Section 20 on Strike Back, gets off the single best shot, the final one, in episode 4 of this quick-witted series. The coiled fury behind that head shot, the way it’s staged and played, even more than the extra-legal step that’s being taken, creates the kind of seismic moment on a show that changes our interpretation of everything we’ve seen, our sense of what’s at stake and the kind of people we’re dealing with.

Thompson on Hollywood

This one was not as exciting overall as some of the earlier installments. Right up to the explosive death of a major character (we did warn you) it was mostly an efficient working out of the chain of events set in motion in Episode 3, by the languidly nihilistic ex-IRA fanatics Daniel Connolly (Liam Cunningham) and his long-stemmed partner Neve (Orla O’Rourke), bad guys who got turned on by their own viciousness.

The struggle for the computer code needed to open the vault containing a WMD was an effective stretch of suspense craftsmanship, but it felt too much like the sort of thing that more conventional, less-grounded shows have done, although not as well. It was a nice touch, though, that the technology took a backseat to the workings of the prodigious but buggy memory of Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), his frustration both well-written and well-played.

Character development may seem antithetical to the fast pace dictated by suspense and action stories, but in the best genre films there are many examples to the contrary. One of the greatest modern action directors, Walter Hill (Southern Comfort), went so far as to insist that “character is action.” (“In my films,” Hill said, “when somebody puts a gun in your face, character is how many times you blink.”) The directing style established for Strike Back by Daniel Percival builds breakneck sequences out of sharply focused action-is-character moments. The third and fourth episodes were shaped by a different director, Bill Eagles, who carries on this approach. Amanda Mealing has an unusual quality that makes her perfect for this role: she’s most attractive when she’s angry. When Eleanor Grant raises her gun, the scene gets its power from her cold fury, the implacable quality of her hatred. We’re not sure yet whether an act that amounts to a summary execution has been sanctioned, but what matters at the moment of truth is the personal motivation.

That slight change of emphasis has immediate implications for Philip Winchester’s Michael Stonebridge, conceived as a more controlled personality than Scott. Winchester has managed to suggest strong currents running beneath the surface, especially in his scenes with the two women who have divided his attention, Alexandra Moen as the wife who represents a refuge from the conflict and Eva Birthistle as a colleague who shares the strains of the work and understands them.

Strike Back is more single-mindedly an action series than anything else on television, but it gives us characters whose emotional turmoil is generating almost as much suspense as the WMD conspiracy known as Project Dawn. Action is character and character is drama: a winning formula.

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back ep 4   Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:06 pm

http://www.craveonline.com/tv/reviews/174082-strike-back-104-episode-4

STRIKE BACK 1:04 'Episode 4'

Scott and Stonebridge close in on Connolly after he delivers a devastating blow to Section 20.
By Blair Marnell
September 11, 2011
2

Episode Title: "Episode 4"

Writer: Frank Spotnitz

Director: Bill Eagles

Previously on "Strike Back"

In South Africa, the British Special Forces Unit, Section 20 followed Latif's (Jimi Mistry) trail to Daniel Connolly (Liam Cunningham), a former IRA terrorist who was attempting to procure weapons of mass destruction to use against the Western countries. Section 20's latest recruit, Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) had a personal interest in this case as he believed that it was linked to the missing WMDs in Iraq that led in part to his dishonorable discharge from Delta Force. Scott was visibly angered when Captain Kate Marshall (Eva Birthistle) was chosen over himself to speak with Kenneth Bratton (Alistair Petrie), the CEO of ATAT, a weapons manufacturing company. However, Bratton's family was already being held by Connolly, forcing him to deceive Kate.

While Scott took out his frustrations on his new partner, Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), Kate realized that Bratton was lying and Connolly soon believed that Section 20 and Col. Eleanor Grant (Amanda Mealing) were targeting him directly. Scott and Stonebridge intercepted an American computer hacker hired by Connolly; which allowed Scott to take his place and meet with Neve (Orla O’Rourke), Connolly's right hand woman. Immediately suspicious of Scott, Connolly had him drugged and strapped to a bomb.

Despite the best efforts of Stonebridge to arrive in time, the bomb went off and seemingly killed Scott.

Story:

Moments later, Scott is stunned to see that he is still alive. Stonebridge falls back as Connolly and his crew come into the barn and tell Scott that the bomb was designed to explode away from his body as a last test. Connolly gives Scott a chance to punch him as payback and then gives him the hard drive from the armored car to decrypt. Back at the Section 20 base, Grant is visibly relieved that Scott survived and she shares a story with Kate about her first attempt to find Connolly in Ireland. In the past, Connolly threatened a man's family to force him to deliver a bomb in Northern Ireland, then killed the family anyway.

Outside of the barn, Stonebridge witnesses Neve pull Scott aside and initiate a sexual encounter. Meanwhile, Bratton begins burning ATAT documents at his home and he seems to reconsider his arrangement with Connolly. Elsewhere, Scott and Stonebridge meet up and exchange angry words over Scott's fling with Neve and Stonebridge's poorly hidden affair with Kate. Back at the base, Scott's near photographic memory allows him to remember a brief line of code used by the previous hacker to break into the ATAT security systems. Because Scott has no hacking skills, Maj. Oliver Sinclair (Rhashan Stone) develops a worm that will allow him to hack the system remotely and preserve Scott's cover.

Bratton contacts Kate and asks to meet with her in person ostensibly to tell her the truth about his dealings with Connolly to save his family. Grant orders Kate to bring Bratton in and Stonebridge tries to switch places with her. Kate refuses, so Stonebridge plants a tracking device on her collar. At his home, Bratton tells his associate DarIn Morgan (Robert Hobbs) of his plans. During the meeting with Kate, Connolly's men grab both Bratton and Kate, leaving a frustrated Stonebridge too far away to stop them. Back at the dive hotel, Scott attempts to bond with Neve as he needles her about her terrorist activities and hints that they will get her killed.

At the base, Stonebridge reveals that he has a tracking device on Kate; which allows Section 20 to locate both Scott and Kate when Connolly destroys Scott's phone. Morgan reveals that he betrayed Bratton to Connolly, who then casually kills Morgan but he keeps Kate alive for an unknown purpose. Inside the secret ATAT facility, Sinclair's worm is initially ineffective, causing some tense moments as Connolly and Scott get into a scuffle. It only ends when Sinclair finally gets through and hacks the security system as planned. Inside the vault, Connolly brings Bratton inside as he procures the WMD. Then he murders Bratton without revealing the fate of his family.

Outside, Neve holds Scott at gunpoint as he tries to convince her that Connolly will kill her too. Stonebridge's arrival startles one of Connolly's other men, who accidentally kills Neve in the crossfire. With only Connolly left alive, Scott and Stonebridge soon corner and disarm him. But he soon tells them about the ace up his sleeve: Kate is strapped to a bomb inside the van. And neither Scott nor Stonebridge see a way to disarm the bomb without killing her. Connolly tells them that he can disarm the device remotely if they let him go. Stonebridge does so, but Connolly reneges on his promise. As Scott drags Stonebridge away and apologizes to Kate, the bomb explodes and kills her.

Later, Latif is angered by Connolly's failure, but one of his associates assures him that they will get the WMDs they require. Elsewhere, Scott and Stonebridge track down Connolly, who admits that he didn't have anywhere to run to now that Latif wants him dead as well. Grant arrives moments later and he tells her that he wants her to end his life soldier to soldier. She tells Connolly that he was never a soldier before shooting him in the head and killing him. With their vengeance complete, Section 20 withdraws.

Breakdown:

Every action series needs real stakes and it has to be shown that the heroes can be hurt or killed. With the death of Kate Marshall, "Strike Back" demonstrated that it won't shy away from killing main characters and it gave the season a much needed boost that elevated the entire story to a different level.

John Porter's demise in the first episode may have held more resonance for the fans who watched the previous incarnation of "Strike Back" on Sky, but Kate was a legitimate third or fourth lead on this series. More impressively, her death was even foreshadowed in the episode when she heard the story about Connolly's reputation for breaking his promises and killing his hostages anyway. I didn't really care for Kate's affair with Stonebridge, but it made for some powerful moments between them at the end. She asked if he loved her and he couldn't answer her. So, she ordered him away and faced her death as bravely as she could.

Of the two leads, Stonebridge has seemed flat in comparison to Scott. However, this could be just the thing that Philip Winchester needed to give Stonebridge more of an edge going forward. He may not have loved Kate the way that she wanted him to, but he was clearly affected by her demise and he won't be getting over her any time soon. Even Scott had a moment of emotional resonance when he mourned for Neve. He may be a shameless womanizer, but Scott really did seem to care for Neve in a strange way despite her unwavering loyalty to Connolly.

Once again, Liam Cunningham stole this episode with his portrayal of Connolly. He was such a great villain that I was surprised that he was killed off by the end. There could have been some added drama down the line as Section 20 hunted down both Connolly and Latif. Because their revenge was gained so quickly, it didn't have much of a cathartic release for the audience or for Section 20.

If "Strike Back" gets a second season on Cinemax, then Sullivan Stapleton's ass should probably get second billing. Scott's continuous sexcapades are beginning to become repetitive, but it did lead to a sublimely hilarious moment when Stonebride saw his encounter with Neve and reported back to base with "I think he'll pull through." I also loved Scott's "Did you learn anything?" line after Stonebridge told him what he witnessed.

Although I still feel that the characters need more depth, "Strike Back" has quickly become the best action series on television with well-choreographed and directed sequences and by showing the consequences of violence. On this show, even the heroes can bleed.

Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.

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