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 Strike Back ep 10

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PostSubject: Strike Back ep 10   Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:47 am

http://www.buzzfocus.com/2011/10/21/strike-back-season-finale-lead-in-episode-10-victory-at-what-cost/

‘Strike Back’ Season Finale Lead-in (Episode 10): Victory at What Cost?
By Bags H. : October 21, 2011


Throughout the first six episodes of Strike Back, Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) and Col. Grant’s (Amanda Mealing) team at Section 20 took down some of the world’s deadliest terrorists. However, each victory came at a cost.

In episodes 3 and 4, Britain’s mobile Tactical Operations Unit went to Cape Town, South Africa to stop an ex-IRA member named Daniel Connolly (Liam Cunningham, Game of Thrones) who was connected to Latif (Jimi Mistry). The ruthless mercenary took Capt. Kate Marshall’s life, just before Grant too his. However, Marshall’s life wasn’t the only thing Connolly killed. By killing Kate, Connolly had inadvertently killed the happiness in Stonebridge’s life. In subsequent episodes, Stonebridge became more brash – almost seeking death. Grant may have won a temporary revenge victory, but it wasn’t going to bring back Marshall or Stonebridge’s friendly innocence.

Episodes 5 and 6 introduced us to Tahir (Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje, The Thing). We saw just how much Kate’s loss had impacted Stonebridge. He would risk his life to save a woman that he didn’t know. Also, Stonebridge now had a personal vendetta against Latif. Stonebridge inevitably took down Tahir, but not without the loss of several lives and piece of an ear (if you don’t know what I’m talking about go back to Episode 5). By Episode 8, Stonebridge became more like Scott than Scott. The two had subtly switched roles. When Stonebridge and Scott were trapped on the bridge, Scott ran out of bullets. He tried to ask Stonebridge for his gun, but Stonebridge – the new risk taker – refused to leave. Stonebridge had lost Kate, and then he had lost his wife. Truthfully, besides his military training, Scott was the only rock left in Stonebridge’s life. So he decided to have a Young Guns II moment and go out in a “Blaze of Glory”.

Thankfully, Stonebridge survived through a miscalculation on the part of a few timid organ harvesters. The team lost a few hostages, but they made it out of Chechnya alive. Still, success had its casualties.

strike back

Then, in Episode 9 the shock came. Success. Scott and Stonebridge caught Latif. Whoa. Isn’t that something you save for the season finale? Latif may have been caught, but whatever vile plan he started is still in motion. We know it involved some form of miniature chemical explosive that gives off a wide blast radius. Will the body count hit the hundreds or thousands in the finale? Or, will we finally uncover the mole at Section 20?

Scott’s backstory has slowly come to the forefront in the past few episodes. We learned about Trojan Horse, the operation that implicated Scott in illicit activities and got him discharged. We may not know the details, but Grant does. We can presume Grant’s not the mole. That leaves Sgt. Julia Richmond (Michelle Lukes), Maj. Oliver Sinclair (Rhashan Stone) and the military psychiatrist that Grant had sleep with Scott as part of her “investigation”. Right now, Sinclair has been the most vocal against Grant’s decisions and Scott’s unpredictable behavior. So, he’s the front runner for mole status. However, sleeping with the enemy is always a nice touch in an action story. So I wouldn’t count that psychiatrist out just yet, either.

Whatever happens in the season finale, it’s going to be big – or, maybe just a bigger villain. Rush Hour (starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker) theory states that somebody with money is always lurking in the shadows.

Strike Back is quickly becoming known for its intense action sequences and no qualms attitude when it comes to taking risks. In the words of Grant, “Where in the business of risks.” Let’s hope she doesn’t eat those words.

The Strike Back season finale premieres on Friday, Oct 21 at 10PM ET/PT on Cinemax. The series was approved for a second season, which will begin principle production in early 2012.

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back ep 10   Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:48 am

http://www.craveonline.com/tv/previews/176632-exclusive-strike-back-episode-10-preview

Exclusive 'Strike Back' Episode 10 Preview

Col. Grant confronts Latif in a scene from tonight's season finale.
By Blair Marnell
October 21, 2011

In the penultimate episode of "Strike Back," Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) went on a mission to Chechnya to find the dangerous terrorist Latif (Jimi Mistry) alongside Georgian special forces. However, an explosive trap soon left Scott and Stonebridge on their own against nearly impossible odds. Barely escaping with their lives, Scott and Stonebridge soon learned that Latif's endgame involved using VX gas on civilians at a World Summit in Budapest.

While Latif began covering his tracks after putting his plan into motion, Scott and Stonebridge finally caught up to him and escorted him back to Section 20's makeshift headquarters, much to the astonishment of Col. Grant (Amanda Mealing).

In our exclusive preview scene from the season finale of "Strike Back," Grant comes face-to-face with Latif for the first time since the second episode of the season as she tries to learn more about his ultimate plan.

In the second clip of the week, Section 20 identifies one of Latif's suicide bombers, but is it too late to stop Project Dawn?

And finally, Cinemax has released a brief synopsis of the season finale with one last trailer.

"Section 20 tracks Latif’s suicide bombers to Budapest, where their target could be international leaders at a security summit, or even themselves. Latif’s multi-faceted plan has Scott and Stonebridge rushing to neutralize the bombers, save one of their own and prevent the rest of his diabolical scheme."

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back ep 10   Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:02 am


That was a really good episode and season finale... *phew* I wouldn't mind seeing more of Philip in this series next season.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back ep 10   Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:11 pm

http://www.avclub.com/articles/strike-back-episode-10,63677/

Other Shows
I wish my name was manly like "Sullivan." Cinemax Sullivan Stapleton (left), Philip Winchester
A
Strike Back - “Episode 10” S2 / E10
by Myles McNutt October 21, 2011

Given Cinemax’s limited subscription base, and given the fact that the series hit its stride right when a mountain of new fall series were dominating most DVRs (for both viewers and the critics who might otherwise have alerted them to it), Strike Back has been flying under the radar. If you have been watching Strike Back, however, this likely seems impossible: The idea that a show this brash, and frankly a show this good, has gone unnoticed is kind of absurd. As it brings its first season to a close, I’m hopeful that the time is right for the word to go out, and that this review (which, I will warn newcomers, will contain extensive spoilers from this point forward) will help draw attention to a really fine piece of pure entertainment that's aiming for something more than its base appeal.

My favorite small detail within Strike Back might be the way it transitions between its opening scene and its opening title sequence. As “Episode Ten” begins, the villainous Latif has been captured, but a camera shot reveals that a pin he had been wearing is operating as a tracking device, and a group of his men are preparing to storm Section 20’s temporary headquarters. The music kicks in around this moment, escalating into a chaotic drum line just in time for the strains of The Heavy’s “Short Change Hero” to take over, and for the show’s highly stylized title sequence to usher us into the season finale.

For me, this is a microcosm of my engagement with the show at large. Strike Back has a real energy to it, maintaining a sense of momentum through its continuous transitions between escalation and resolution necessitated by the choice to tell the season as five two-part stories. It is a show that is constantly on the move, always starting or finishing one thing or another, and even the way it shifts into its credits at the end of each episode often feels like a seamless transition. While the show may be operating within a similar generic space to 24, the breakneck pace and constant turnover allows it to avoid the stasis that would often — frankly, always — cripple long form narratives on that Fox series.

I’m open to the argument that Strike Back isn’t taking on the same degree of difficulty of a show like 24, in that it isn’t as interested in intense serialization. While “Episode Ten” comes down to terrorist attacks threatening civilian lives and moles within Section 20, these elements have been a minor focus throughout the season, only occasionally mentioned while the characters have been dealing with mostly unrelated events. Instead, the stories have been smaller missions centered on people related to Latif, forming a season-long game of cat and mouse between Section 20 and the villain (who was actually stealthily working amongst them back in the premiere). The idea that they had been so close in the premiere without knowing it, and that they’ve been perpetually one step behind or one step removed as the season has progressed, provided a nice simmering tension that has been threatening to boil to the surface for the past few episodes. The same goes for Scott’s concern there was a mole in Section 20, or the circumstances surrounding Scott’s dishonorable discharge: It was there, perhaps, but things were always moving too quickly to dwell on the issue.

“Episode Ten” moves quickly, but it moves in a direction that adds considerable depth to the series in ways that finally, wholly transcend the generic shackles that have created limitations even as they have fueled the show’s visceral pleasures. I would never argue that Strike Back needs to cut out its intense violence, or its gratuitous nudity, because part of its charm is its B-Movie principles — there is something refreshing about its gratuity, a swagger that is central to its sense of momentum, and I don’t want the show to lose this as it moves forward. However, at the same time, the show needs to be willing to abandon some of its generic tropes — which do feel like a blatant effort to fit cultural perceptions of Cinemax vis-à-vis “Skinemax” — in moments that require it, moments where letting the characters carry the story should be more important than showing a little skin. In other words, while I have found the violence and nudity to be quite clearly embedded within the show’s appeal, it’s no coincidence that my favorite episode up to the finale was the one in which Scott’s cavorting was with an old flame who had some semblance of three-dimensionality and who never quite bared all.

“Episode Ten” goes by without a single sex scene, and its violence (although at times visceral) never feels as though it is designed purely to shock the viewer with its excessiveness. Instead, the season finale allows Amanda Mealing’s Colonel Scott an opportunity to rise to the forefront of the story, teasing out the mole narrative and positioning her as a far more interesting character than the rest of the season has suggested. While we have seen hints that the character was hiding something, and her occasional entries into the field have proven quite engaging, she definitely felt marginalized as Stonebridge emerged as the series’ lead. By revealing that she was central to the plot to plant chemical weapons in Iraq (known as 'Trojan Horse'), and that she has spent the entire season suppressing her guilt for what happened to Porter (and Mahmood, and Kate, and Scott), the finale fleshes out the character just in time for her to sacrifice herself in order to bring down Latif (in, of course, an enormous explosion).

At the risk of appearing as though I have been influenced by the video message someone at Cinemax had her record for me, Mealing was tremendous bringing Colonel Scott into her final moments, and I was quite impressed with how well the entire scenario came together. There is something very pure about this reveal, as it doesn’t depend on any red herrings and it resists actively turning one of the characters into a villain. Grant becomes a soldier who did what she thought was best, only to discover over time that her actions contributed to a series of events in which her actions have had disastrous consequences for the people she was supposed to protect. She wasn’t the one who sold out John Porter, but she might as well have been as far as she is concerned, and reading that psychological struggle over the rest of the season adds a nice layer of depth to things.

Now, the show rushed its way to this point in the past few episodes, and I’m not convinced that these seeds are all that present in earlier installments. However, in the moment, I didn’t particularly care: For me, so long as the information revealed does not directly contradict something we’ve already seen (which it didn’t, for me at least), then the show’s momentum is more than enough to let me just sit back and watch Mealing and the great Jimi Mistry (whose work as Latif reached its climax here) spar with one another. Since the show didn’t pretend its focus was on the conspiracy, willing to shift its focus elsewhere for the majority of the season, there was a lesser burden on the finale to deliver satisfying answers. That the writers managed to piece together something that landed with this much force, and which retroactively added complexity to the relationships between multiple characters, is the latest in a series of decisions which makes the show far better than it needs to be in order to satisfy the basic requirement of things exploding and breasts being exposed.

The way the show positioned Latif may be the best example of this, as the character could have easily been a moustache-twirling villain hell bent on global jihad. However, his extremist views were positioned as national rather than religious, tied to his desire for a stronger Pakistan which manifested in his plot to intercept and neutralize a threat to his militarized and radicalized Pakistan (as opposed to terrorizing the international delegates). While his operation is global in scale, and it represents a threat to numerous regions, the show established this not through increasing the scale of Latif’s attacks but rather by shifting the location of each scenario so as to gradually sketch out its breadth. Those locations, beautifully shot and compellingly integrated into the story (although I am unclear on what percentage of the finale was filmed on location in Hungary), were a huge asset to the series’ sense of scale, allowing the cameras to tell that part of the story instead of forcing worldwide danger in an effort to build up a villain whose agenda is best understood on more subtle terms.

I say all of this while acknowledging that Strike Back is still very much concerned about explosions, and gun fights, and the joys of softcore interludes. However, every one of those things means more now than it did when the show began, with even the sex taking on a slightly different tone after Scott turned down his more serious paramour in “Episode Eight” to continue on with his more casual fling. The gunfight at the Section 20 headquarters in the finale was simple but still had me on the edge of my seat, while the parallel climax shifting between Scott fighting with Latif’s head of security and Stonebridge disarming the gas bomb was suspense at its most basic and at its most successful. Both scenarios held meaning, whether it’s Stonebridge negotiating for a young girl’s life by explaining she is with child (thus referencing, albeit bluntly, his own struggle between his job and his wife back at home) or Scott unknowingly trying to save the woman who helped sell him out in the first place. When Colonel Grant’s video is playing on that screen in Section 20, and as her colleagues pour out a glass for her as the season comes to a close, it solidifies that those explosions and gun fights meant something. As much as the show could be dismissed for its gratuity, “Episode Ten” confidently demonstrated that there was a sum to these parts, a sum that provided an enormously satisfying finale that I hope will usher in a new era in which Strike Back is considered a great action drama first, and a vessel for excess second.

Stray observations:

I’m giving the finale an A, while the season as a whole would draw a solid A-. There were some weaker installments in there, but the season was sharply done overall considering its generic aims. This is definitely a case where low expectations helped the show, I'll readily admit, but I'd argue this is something they actively and purposefully cultivated and thus something which should be recognized.
Philip Winchester had his strongest arc earlier in the season, but he remained stolid in the final episodes, and his rapport with Sullivan Stapleton has built a good foundation for the series. “Episode Nine” was really just the two characters out in the field shooting guns at people for forty-five minutes, but there was still a dynamism to their interactions, and that will be important for the show going forward.
Speaking of which, the show is definitely coming back for a second season (news that was revealed a few weeks ago). It will be interesting to see who they bring in to replace Mealing, and whether they try to introduce a new Latif figure (or a new lightly deployed conspiracy). One also presumes that Stonebridge’s decision to become a family man will have to be reversed, but that’ll be easy enough.
It wasn’t exactly rocket science, but the episode was still fast-paced enough that I had forgotten about the gas vial in Grant’s pocket, which made it a nice “pieces falling into place” moment as far as plotting goes. Mind you, I’m not sure why they wouldn’t search her for weapons (and thus discover it in her pocket), or how the video camera would survive that explosion (even being in his cargo pant pocket), but this isn’t the show with which to get caught up in those details.
As strong as “Episode Ten” was, I still think “Episode Five”/”Episode Six” was the strongest two-parter — “Episode Nine” was a bit too much exposition, whereas “Five” and “Six” were nicely balanced and featured some great performances from Iain Glen and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (and, as noted, the most multi-dimensional female guest star the show managed).
The show is unlikely to garner any major Emmy attention, but I have my fingers crossed for Opening Title Design and wouldn't be entirely shocked to see a nomination for the stunt work.

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back ep 10   Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:15 am

http://www.craveonline.com/tv/reviews/176684-strike-back-110-episode-10

STRIKE BACK 1.10 'Episode 10'

Stonebridge and Scott race to stop a deadly plot and save one of their own as Latif makes his final move.
By Blair Marnell
October 23, 2011
1

Episode Title: "Episode 10"

Writer: Tony Saint

Director: Daniel Percival

Previously on "Strike Back"

After the disastrous mission in Kosovo, Col. Eleanor Grant (Amanda Mealing) almost told Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) about the file she had that proved that he was intentionally framed to help hide a conspiracy aimed at hiding WMDs within Iraq before the 2003 war. However, when she found Scott once again sharing a sexual encounter with Grant's spy, Marianna (Natalia Avelon), Grant quickly left without giving him the intel. Meanwhile, Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) was pressured by his wife to leave Section 20 behind to focus on their family, but he seemed unable to do so until Latif (Jimi Mistry) had finally been captured.

During a dangerous assignment in Chechnya, Scott and Stonebridge learned that Latif had procured VX gas and planed to attack a World conference in Budapest. Marianna also accidentally revealed her connection to Grant, causing Scott to become livid and almost leave the team. Once inside the country, Scott and Stonebridge tracked down Latif to a warehouse lab where he was trying to cover his tracks. And to the surprise of Grant, Major Oliver Sinclair (Rhashan Stone) and the rest of Section 20, Scott and Stonebridge dragged Latif back to their makeshift headquarters.

Story:

Upon seeing Latif, Grant immediately pulls a weapon and prepares to execute him. Only Sinclair steps in front of Latif to point out that his death could mean the loss of thousands of lives if they don't stop his plan. Reluctantly, Grant agrees. As Sergeant Julia Richmond (Michelle Lukes) treats Latif's bullet wound, he taunts her for doing "women's work," so she squeezes his wound to make him feel the pain. Shortly thereafter,. Section 20's patch into the Budapest camera systems gets a hit on the first of Latif's suicide bombers boarding a commuter train, so Grant sends Stonebridge and Scott to intercept him at all costs.

Elsewhere, Latif's men arm themselves as they start to follow the tracking signal from his lapel pin. In the field, Stonebridge and Scott arrive at the train station just after the bomber and they follow him onto a bus. Scott and Stonebridge attempt to sneak up on him from opposite sides, but a woman freaks out at the sight of Scott's gun and begins screaming. Scott and Stonebridge struggle with the bomber and they discover that the bomb with the VX gas isn't in his briefcase... it's within him. Since the bomb was activated by his cellphone, all Stonebridge and Scott can do is evacuate the bus and the surrounding area as it goes off.

However, outside of the international conference, Latif's other suicide bomber blends in with the crowd of protesters. Inside the building, one of the Hungarian security officials is briefed on the crisis and he brings his team with him to confront Grant and Section 20. With the distraction, Latif's men kidnap the leading candidate to be Pakistan's next President. Back at Section 20, Grant interrogates Latif about his motives and he admits that he isn't a religious fanatic, but rather a nationalist attempting to break Pakistan away from the west and keep its nuclear weapons.

Latif also reveals that he knows that Grant had a role in framing Scott for "Trojan horse" and her part in hiding WMDs in Iraq to justify the 2003 war. In turn, Grant asks Latif about the explosive device Scott and Stonebridge recovered and shows it to him. Outside, Latif's men move in on Section 20 and open fire. In the melee, Grant pockets the device and she is captured by the men freeing Latif. Richmond is injured, but she and Sinclair put up a fierce fight until Stonebridge and Scott arrive. The Hungarian security official arrives as well and he berates the team for their activities within his country.

Sinclair points out that Section 20 has already prevented one terror attack, leading the official to concede and ask for Stonebridge's help identifying the second bomber in the crowd. Meanwhile, Richmond gives Scott the tracking frequency for a device she slipped into Latif while he was a captive. At Latif's estate, Grant and the Pakistani presidential candidate are brought together as Latif boasts about their part in the Trojan horse conspiracy that ultimately gave him the VX gas. He wants them to confess their roles in the conspiracy, but the candidate refuses and is shot dead. Grant agrees to give the confession out of guilt more than fear.

Outside the conference, Stonebridge finds the second bomber, who responds by taking a pregnant girl hostage. Stonebridge convinces him to release the girl moments before the security team shoots him dead. Elsewhere, Scott fights his way into Latif's compound after Grant's confession and Latif activates the second bomb remotely. But as Latif tries to get away with Grant as his hostage, she forces him to shoot the hidden device in her jacket, killing them both in an explosion. Meanwhile, Sinclair talks Stonebridge through a tense bomb disposal that narrowly saves the day.

Later, Grant's confession is played as she apologizes to Scott and her team for what she had done. The surviving Section 20 members share a drink in her memory and Scott burns the file that proved his innocence seemingly because it would have posthumously ruined Grant's reputation. He meets up with Stonebridge one last time, who tells Scott that he's made the decision to leave Section 20 to raise his family.

Breakdown:

I don't think that fans of "Strike Back" could have hoped for a better ending than this. In the final hour of the season, writer Tony Saint and director Daniel Percival delivered some intense action and they also managed to give all of the major characters something meaningful to do while allowing the supporting characters to shine as well.

Starting off with Michael Stonebridge, Philip Winchester has proven that he can handle the leading role he was given in this series. It's fitting that Stonebridge's last major actions are to save the life of a pregnant girl when his thoughts are clearly with his wife and soon-to-be-born child back home. It's not the most subtle comparison, but it does externalize Stonebridge's dilemma and give him more of a personal stake as he tries to disarm the bomb. Of course Stonebridge was always going to choose his family over Section 20, but the fun will be seeing what will change his mind next year. I spoke to Winchester on Friday and it sounds like he'll be back for the next season.

However, it seems pretty unlikely that Amanda Mealing will be back as Col. Eleanor Grant; which explains why she was somewhat evasive about that question during the interview. It's unfortunate, because this episode went a long way towards giving Grant a real character arc and thrusting her to the forefront of the story. I think I'll have to rewatch the season to see if there were any hints dropped along the way about her role in the conspiracy. It definitely casts her relationship with Scott in a different light. She must have been unsure about his intentions when she sent a spy to investigate him, but it's telling that she begs Scott for his forgiveness with some of her last words. Her death with Latif was also the perfect way to end her story.

Jimi Mistry hasn't had a lot to do as Latif, but I loved that the show resisted making him into another Islamist stereotype. Using Latif as a secular terrorist actually makes his motivations even more chilling. He's still a monster, but his nationalist goals made him less of a cartoon character. But I still enjoyed watching Latif finally get what was coming to him. Michelle Lukes' Richmond got her best moment of the season when she made Latif suffer a little while treating his leg. The episode also made the siege of Section 20 feel effective by letting its defense be led by Richmond and Sinclair, who were the two most underserved supporting characters this season.

Which brings us to Sullivan Stapleton's Damien Scott, who manages to keep his pants on in this episode. In his own way, Scott has kind of been a cartoon character as well with his near omni-present sex scenes throughout the season. There were so many of those scenes that Stapleton's ass should get second billing next season. Scott may not be the deepest creation on the show, but he is a pretty good action hero. His action scenes on the bus and in Latif's compound were two of the highlights of the hour. I think that Stapleton is going to have a long career in the action genre after this. He's just very entertaining to watch.

Let's be clear, "Strike Back" is no "24" and it may never be. But it could eventually be a much better show, if the writing gets a little sharper and more ambitious next season. The foreign locations have given the series an impressive sense of international scale and the action is top notch. If nothing else, "Strike Back" earned the title of TV's best action series. And I can't wait to see the new season next summer.

Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back ep 10   Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:16 am

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/2011/10/23/strike_back_episode_10_season_finale_spoilers/

Strike Back, Episode 10 – Season Finale (Spoilers)
Thompson on Hollywood
David Chute wants you to hoist a few in honor of Strike Back, and it’s not just an excuse to drink: this short-spoken Cinemax show actually has a lot to say.

The first question for the fans is: Does it add up? Did it make sense? And then: How do we feel about the way the surviving Section 20 team members responded? Lifting a glass to the departed in a case like this, I’d argue in the affirmative on all points, and would go a step further: Understanding why this ending works for Strike Back is to understand what the series, at heart, has always been about.

Thompson on Hollywood

Strike Back is all about speed, some viewers would say, about pitching everything from violence to sex to interpersonal encounters at the highest possible energy level. Even some fans would say that, and they would not be wrong. The show has been a breathless weekly adrenaline fix, and it no doubt will be again, when it returns in 2012.

What’s really impressive, however, is that as the stalwarts of Section 20 have been racing along, hopping into Jeeps and helicopters and racing off to one hot spot after another, in India or South Africa or Eastern Europe, they’ve also been spit-balling bits of information at us. Very tiny bits, because they never had more than a line or two to spare for exposition.

And damned if it doesn’t all add up, by the end, into something that could almost be described as beautiful. (If one of the auteurs of Strike Back is the terrific action director Daniel Percival, the other has gotta be writer Frank Spotnitz, who learned his way around a tasty conspiracy as a mainstay on The X-Files.)

The underlying plot stitching the season together is a superbly engineered depiction of the vultures of espionage come home to roost. The weapons that are about to be used against the West by the self-styled Pakistani patriot Latif (Jimi Mistry) have in fact been repurposed. This is the very stockpile that was earmarked to be planted in Iraq, during the Second Gulf War, as part of Operation Trojan Horse, a deliberate attempt orchestrated at high levels (with the help of some compliant global arms dealers) to falsify evidence of WMDs. Latif savors the irony of turning the Allies’ non-existent weapons against them – and who could blame him?

At the heart of all this is the tense connection between one of our heroes, Delta Force Sergeant Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), for whom a bogus dishonorable discharge was arranged when he was serving in the Gulf and got too close to Trojan Horse, and his commanding officer, Colonel Eleanor Grant (Amanda Mealing), who has been anguished ever since by her involvement in Trojan Horse.

Strike Back has a laconic narrative style. It lacks the flashy surface of a show that’s all about blood and thunder and bare skin, but it’s one of the few shows of its type that might bear re-watching in its entirety, even with all the “spoilers” in place, just to see how it was done. If you were to do that, paying close attention to the scenes between Grant and Scott, you’d see the crucial steps the show took en route to its explosive resolution.

In espionage terms, Grant’s offense can be seen almost as an excess of virtue – as her colleagues acknowledge when they raise their glasses to her. I thought of other instances in which undoubted patriots “went too far” in their pursuit of the only thinkable outcome: Watergate, Iran-Contra. Or the case of the man Grant enfolds in a fiery death grip at the conclusion, the terrorist who describes himself as a patriot. Is the difference only one of degree? And how many other slam-bang covert adventure dramas would bother even raising the question?

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back ep 10   Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:17 am

http://www.reelgoddess.com/2011/10/22/strike-recap-episode-1-10-season-finale/

Strike Back Recap: Episode 1.10 Season Finale
Strike Back Ep 10 - Grant_Latif

Well, as much as I hate to say it, we’ve reached the end of the season. With Latif in custody, Grant figured she’d take care of everyone’s problem and immediately went for a gun. Sinclair however stopped her from taking out Latif by putting himself in between the two reminding Grant that they need him to find the two bombers that are on the loose. Grant reluctantly agreed and lowered her weapon ordering Scott and Stonebridge to restrain him and Julia to dress his wound. I gather that was the result of the gunshot we heard last week after Stonebridge took off after him.

With Latif being taken care of, Stonebridge and Scott head out to follow a lead on one of the bombers. They track him through the subway and follow him onto a bus. The situation gets out of control when their cover is blown and the bomber is able to activate the bomb. Much to Scott and Stonebridge’s horror, they realize that the bomb isn’t in the case that the guy was carrying but it’s actually inside his body. With seconds to spare they jump off the bus containing the explosion, however, toxic fumes are escaping though the broken windows.

Meanwhile back at HQ, Grant decides to question Latif herself about the weapon the bombers plan to use, setting the one that Stonebridge took from the underground bunker on the table. He tells her that he doesn’t do anything without a reason and as they trade quips, Latif’s men invade HQ compliments of a tracker that he was wearing in the form of a pin. Before his men storm the crib, we find out that it was Grant who actually set up Scott to be implicated in the mission that effectively ended his military career. So that scene last week with her going to his hotel room wasn’t about anything other than her guilt getting the best of her. Latif’s men are able to take out pretty much everyone except Sinclair and Julia, although she did take a bullet to the shoulder. One of Latif’s men barge into the room where Grant is holding him and knocks her out cold, but not before she grabs the device and puts it in her pocket. (Seems trivial to mention this but it comes into play later.)

Scott and Stonebridge barrel into HQ taking out the rest of the bad guys just in the nick of time. Scott accusingly questions Sinclair about the breach, but Sinclair shows his backbone telling him that he’s never betrayed his country or Section 20. This little yelling match is followed with a fist that connects to Scott’s jaw. Pretty impressive Sinclair! Julia realizes that both Grant and Latif are gone. So now their one mission becomes two. Find the second bomber, and find Grant. Thankfully, Julia’s pretty crafty and thought ahead by placing a tracker in Latif’s bandage when she dressed his wound.

Sinclair and Julia are able to get their system back up and are able to pinpoint a location on the second bomber. She’s also able to get a lock on Grant. Stonebridge heads in the direction of the bomber and Scott takes off after Grant. The bomber was able to get past security and get closer to the castle where several delegates are gathering. Mixed in with the large group of protestors outside, Stonebridge inserts himself in the crowd in hopes of finding the bomber. The crowd gets a little unruly however, but the police won’t budge in letting them out. Stonebridge unlocks a fence at the back of the crowd and people stream out going every which way. He finds the second bomber, but he’s taken a pregnant woman hostage. Stonebridge pulls a Jedi mind trick on the guy and is able to talk him down. The threat is seemingly over when the bomber takes a bullet to the head.

While Stonebridge is dealing with the bomber, Scott is able to find the location of where Grant is being held. She’s not alone however and Latif’s men bring in Pakistani Presidential candidate Ramiz. We find out that Grant and Ramiz are already acquainted when their part in Trojan Horse, which was all about planting WMD’s in Iraq to justify the invasion, comes out. So Grant really knew everything all along. Once Ramiz admits his part, Latif puts a bullet in his head. Latif then turns to Grant expecting the same thing not knowing that Scott is quietly taking out Latif’s men one by one in an effort to get her back. Grant records her confession but adds a part at the end.

One of the men that Scott tried to take out went a little more loudly than the others and actually put up a bit of a fight alerting Latif to his presence. Latif activates the bomb that is inside of the second bomber and grabs Grant and makes for a chopper he’s got outside. Just as he’s about to board, he puts a gun to Grant’s chest. She takes his hand, not to try to stop him, but the move the gun so it’s pointing at the bomb she put in her jacket before Latif’s man knocked her out (see? told ya!) She then squeezes the trigger for him. The bullet triggers the bomb and both Grant and Latif (and his chopper) explode as Scott watches his shock.

Stonebridge, just when he thought they were in the clear, sees that the timer has been activated and in a truly squirm-inducing grotesque scene, Stonebridge has to cut the guy open, dig inside of his body and retrieve the bomb. With Sinclair on the horn, he figures out which wire to cut just in time to stop the bomb from detonating. I’m pretty sure that’s not how he thought his day would go when got up that morning.

Back at Section 20 Grant’s recorded message is viewed and not only does she admit to Scott that she was behind his incrimination and discharge, he also finds out that it was all because he got to close to finding out about Trojan Horse. She commends each of her team members and the four of them raise a shot glass of liquor in her honor. Afterwards, Stonebridge and Scott are on the roof looking through the folder that Grant had on Scott. Stonebridge asks Scott what he’s going to do with it and Scott’s only reply is setting it on fire and watching it burn telling Stonebridge that Grant, in the end gave Scott a second chance. The tables turn and Scott tells Stonebridge that he has to make a decision as well regarding his wife and their unborn child. Stonebridge informs him that he’s already made a decision. Seems that he’s chosing family. Roll credits.

When this show first started I was hesitant about following it through. I’m very happy that I did because it just got progressively better with each following episode. I’m also very pleased to know that Cinemax has ordered up another season and can’t wait to see what happens when it comes back next year. With Stonebridge chosing family, how is that going to play out with his role in Section 20? Who will be the big bad wolf next season? Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to find out the answers. My favorite part of this series is the camaraderie between Scott and Stonebridge. They didn’t like each other in the beginning but each episode showed how their relationship and trust in each other grew.

Cinemax will be airing all 10 episodes again so if you missed any of them, I strongly urge you to start at the beginning. It’s well worth the time. One last note: The song that plays in the opening credits struck me immediately and I searched and searched to find it. The song is called “Short Change Hero” by The Heavy’s.

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