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 Strike Back season 3 finale

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PostSubject: Strike Back season 3 finale   Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:12 pm


‘Strike Back’ Season 2 Finale Lead-in & Expectations

by Bags Hooper on October 3, 2012 ·

It’s been a painful year for the team at Section 20.

Sinclair is dead. Conrad Knox still has three nuclear devices. Scott’s got a deadly promise to keep. And Stonebridge still has a score he needs to settle.

Cinemax’s second season of Strike Back is coming to a close, with our last two-part mission of 2012. If last year’s season finale is a telling sign, then we can look forward to a few new twists that could flip our expectations on their back.

Right now, Knox appears to be our deadliest threat. Stonebridge and Scott recovered one of the nuclear weapons, but Knox still has three in his possession.

However, over the past few episodes Christy Bryant (Stephanie Vogt), Scott’s CIA contact, appears to be the real puppet master in Zimbabwe. She manipulated Knox into assassinating Walter Lutulu. She hoped that by killing Walter, his daughter Lilian would rise up to become a political asset in a new Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, when Lilian discovered Walter’s journal, she learned the truth about Knox’s true nuclear ambitions.

Scott made a promise to Lilian. In exchange for Knox’s location, he would kill Knox. He’s keeping the promise a secret from Rachel Dalton. Rachel wants Knox taken in alive. We still don’t know what Rachel’s true motivations are so that could also come out. Last year, we were hit by a huge curveball when Latif captured Col. Grant. The truth about Trojan Horse added a lot of depth to the series; it made Latif more than the cliché terrorist and threw the Section 20 mole theory out the window. What will we learn about Rachel?

Finally, Stonebridge has to take care of Hanson. The mercenary killed his wife. For a moment, in episode 2.8 (of the Cinemax series) it looked as though Scott would be the one to exact revenge on Hanson for his buddy. However, Hanson escaped with only a facial burn. I’m looking forward to an epic showdown between Stonebridge and Hanson.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back season 3 finale   Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:17 pm


STRIKE BACK 2.10 Review

Stonebridge has a final confrontation with Hanson as Knox prepares to detonate two nuclear weapons in South Africa.
By Blair Marnell
October 15, 2012
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Writer: Tony Saint

Director: Bill Eagles

Previously on "Strike Back":

Episode 2.09 Review

My apologies to all “Strike Back” fans out there. I meant to have this review up over the weekend, but I’ve been wrapped up in New York Comic Con coverage for the last few days.

However, I couldn’t let the second Cinemax season of “Strike Back” pass without comment. Especially when we finally get a chance to learn what drove Conrad Knox (Charles Dance) to pursue his nuclear endgame.

Dance is a terrific performer, but there’s really only so much he can do by himself. He is amazing on “Game of Thrones” as Tywin Lannister, yet Knox has never truly come to life. Knox just doesn’t have the presence or gravitas of Tywin despite sharing the same performer.

Episode 10 attempts to put some meat on Knox’s bones by establishing that his actions stem from a deep hatred of the Apartheid regime in South Africa and a long held resentment against his father for facilitating those few who held the power for so long. It’s almost as if Knox takes the colonization of Africa as a personal affront.

Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late to make us really care about Knox’s motivation. Maybe if it had been gradually revealed throughout the season it would have had greater impact. But shoving it down our throats in a single scene just didn’t work even if Dance is a great actor.

The one moment with Knox that really hit was when his new Nigerian allies laugh in his face as Knox claims he’s an African. Knox lived in South Africa and he was likely born there, but because he’s not descended from the indigenous people his words were met with scorn and derision. In their eyes, he could never be African.

Dance’s pained expression was a nice subtle touch as Knox reframed his argument by saying that an adopted son can love a mother just as strongly. And maybe Knox truly did love Africa. But by the end, he wanted only three things. Five million dollars, an assurance that the bombs would be detonated and three hours to get out of the blast range. That’s pretty far to fall for someone who once had wealth and power. But his dreams of Africa as world power always had a tint of madness to them. Maybe this was the inevitable ending for him.

Far too late, Karl Matlock (Vincent Regan) figures out that he’s tied to a sinking ship and tries to “resign” before Craig Hanson (Shane Taylor) shoots him in the back. “Strike Back” tried to develop Matlock as an opposing figure for Section 20. And there were times that it worked, including Matlock’s openly stated desire to retire and his admiration for Sgt. Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Sgt. Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) in the early episodes of the season.

Somewhere along the line, Matlock’s depiction flatted out and even the death of (his lover?) Jessica barely registered. On the other hand, I’ve wanted Hanson to die for weeks, but probably not in the way that the writers intended. I hated Hanson not because he was the man who killed Stonebridge’s wife. I hated Hanson because he became cartoonishly annoying. I’m all in favor of strong villains who aren’t incompetent. However, Hanson’s continued ability to avoid Stonebridge’s vengeance and even his escape from the police in this episode made him seem just like a plot obstacle to be occasionally trotted out throughout the season.

This season was called “Strike Back: Vengeance” internationally, but Stonebridge’s quest for revenge against Hanson wasn’t always engaging. I did enjoy their final battle in this episode, but it lacked a little of the power that it could have had if their showdown last week hadn’t happened. Later in the show, Stonebridge said that he “forgave” Hanson before he died, but it seemed more likely that he just said that to screw with Hanson in his last moments.

The entire Hanson arc was solely designed to get Stonebridge back in Section 20 with a reasonable excuse to keep him there. That’s it. It may have been a mistake to draw Hanson into the Knox storyline as he sometimes overshadowed that plotline.

For a show that’s not always big on character development, I do appreciate it when “Stike Back” occasionally delivers a human moment that works. Scott’s confession that he intended to kill renegade CIA agent, Christy Bryant (Stephanie Vogt) had some actual emotion from Stapleton’s performance. Likewise, Major Rachel Dalton (Rhona Mitra) seemed more likable when she confided with Stonebridge that she believes he makes Section 20 better just by being there.

A running gag the last few weeks has been the disagreement between Scott and Stonebridge on counting down to simultaneous actions and whether to include zero in the countdown. Surprisingly, it came up at a pivotal point in this episode when they conveniently had no other way to communicate. A little over-the-top? Sure. But I laughed anyway.

Knox’s final confrontation with Dalton had some tense moments, and for a while I thought that “Strike Back” was repeating itself with the fate of Section 20’s commanding officer. But this was worse than the show repeating itself. Dalton’s death would have given the episode a level of gravitas that it otherwise lacked. Instead, she survives and seemingly gives up her position in British Intelligence to keep Section 20 intact. If that’s the way that the writers are ushering Dalton (and Mitra) out of the series then it played pretty badly.

As for Knox, he gets a sad and pathetic exit. For all of his rhetoric about loving Africa, he was perfectly willing to let thousands of people die in a nuclear blast. And in the end, he dies on the streets as less than a shadow of his former self.

At some point, “Strike Back” may have to find a way to go on without Scott and Stonebridge if Stapleton or Winchester get bigger and better offers. Stapleton is already set to star in the sequel to 300. So if that takes off, I don’t know how long Scott would stick around in this series.

But for now, the duo are the show and the season ends with Scott and Stonebridge once again back together and bantering about the countdown and the concept of zero. These guys are just fun together and they are the reigning action kings of television.

Which doesn’t mean that their position is safe. “Strike Back” set the tone for Cinemax’s upcoming series, “Hunted” and “Banshee;” both of which will likely go after “Strike Back’s” crown. Starting next Friday, we’ll see how that works out for “Hunted.”

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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back season 3 finale   Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:51 pm


Oct 12 2012 04:57 PM ET

'Strike Back' season finale: 'Can we actually detonate a thermonuclear weapon?' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
by Jeff Labrecque

Image Credit: David Bloomer/Cinemax

When an actor describes the physical and mental demands of making a TV show as a “kick in the face,” it typically refers to the long hours and relentlessly frantic shooting schedule. But for Philip Winchester, one of the two stars of Cinemax’s adrenalized action-thriller Strike Back, the description can feel quite literal. He and Sullivan Stapleton play special-intelligence agents tasked with tracking down bad dudes with weapons of mass destruction. The actors pride themselves on doing mostly all of their own stunts, and since they film primarily in South Africa and Hungary, safety restrictions can sometimes feel more like, well… mere suggestions. “I got blown up,” says Winchester, with an impish grin. “But I didn’t get injured. Second degree burns on the back of my neck, took a big chunk of my hair out.”

Explosions are a big part of Strike Back, which airs its second season finale tonight with the good guys’ top-secret Section 20 desperate to keep a vengeful billionaire (Charles Dance) from setting off a nuke. The real challenge is that fans expect the show to continue to top itself, and after two seasons, there are only so many boom-boom options remaining. “We were joking around when we were looking at the scripts, like, ‘Can we actually detonate a thermonuclear weapon on a television show?’” says Winchester. “Do you think they’d let us could blow up half of Johannesburg?”

In its two seasons on Cinemax, Strike Back has had to fight to win its audience — the network reportedly reaches about 17 million homes, a fraction of its big sister HBO — but fans of shows like 24 have warmed to the fast-paced, shoot-first sensibility of the show. (A Cinemax spokesperson says viewership is up 16 percent this year.) “There’s nothing else quite like it on television,” says Winchester. “It’s not Homeland, but it’s more savvy than I think we like to admit. If people do watch it, I’m very grateful. And if they don’t, I just encourage them to.”

This season, Winchester’s Stonebridge, a polished, by-the-book British soldier, has seen his world turn upside down after his wife was murdered. This follows his mistress getting blown up in season 1, and Winchester laughs at the notion that playing his character’s main squeeze is now the television equivalent of being the drummer for Spinal Tap. “It’s the kiss of death, isn’t it. We do joke about it on set. I don’t think for his sanity’s sake we can lose another relationship that close to him, but I still think it would be good for Stonebridge to have someone who can be a bit of confidante to him.”

Yes, there will be a next year. Cinemax recently newed the show for a third season, and Winchester already has some clues about what’s next. Season 1 was about missing chemical weapons and season 2 was about loose nukes. Season 3? “[Next year's lead director] Michael Bassett is really interested in the socioeconomic impact of the Afghan poppy fields, how that influences the troops, how that influences governments [in their handling of] the drug war, slash people-trafficking war, slash everything else that is supported by drugs, like terrorism,” says Winchester. “I think that might be a direction we take it.”

Winchester is perfectly happy to keep fighting the good fight, even though shooting the series can sometimes feel nearly as wild-wild-west as the show itself. Though Johannesburg has become his second home during the last two and a half years, there remain certain occupational hazards to making Strike Back that he could do without. Winchester says that the production had to employ armed guards to protect the cast when they filmed in one notorious neighborhood. “That was the first time on the show where I was like, ‘We are absolutely visitors here,’” he says. ” It was the first time where we were shooting and we had guys with AKs guarding us because sh-t could just kick off at any time. It was brutal. When you’re running down alleyways and you’re knee deep in trash, you just wonder, ‘Am I stepping on a body?’ It gives a real texture to the show.”

Real texture? Yes, real texture can be a kick in the face sometimes.

Strike Back airs Friday at 10 p.m. on Cinemax.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back season 3 finale   Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:54 pm


“Strike Back”: Season Two finale premieres tomorrow
Posted by Melissa Hayer
on October 11, 2012M at 6:22 pm
Strike Back Episode 20 helicopter

From top left clockwise: Sullivan Stapleton, Liam Garrigan, Paul Hornsby and Philip Winchester in Cinemax’s hit action drama “Strike Back.” – Cinemax Photo

From left, Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton in the second season finale of "Strike Back" - Cinemax Photo

The Cinemax action drama “Strike Back” airs at 9 p.m. Fridays, and the synopsis for this week’s (Oct. 12) second season finale episode, provided by the network, is as follows:

Scott questions Bryant about her role in Knox’s plan and appeals to her for help, but Scott’s dark past may dictate his course of action. Stonebridge attempts to focus on the mission, but is consumed by thoughts of revenge. South African police team up with Section 20 to find the nukes and Knox before he can carry out his plan.

Philip Winchester, Sullivan Stapleton, Rhona Mitra, and Michelle Lukes star in “Strike Back.”

Episode 20 directed by Bill Eagles; written by Tony Saint.
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