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 S3/4 EP 6

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PostSubject: S3/4 EP 6   Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:38 pm


'Strike Back': Exclusive video and photos from tonight's episode! (Video)

'Strike Back': Photos From Friday's 'Episode 26' (Cinemax)
Brittany FrederickLA Fan Cultures Examiner

Guess what day it is? Yep, it's Strike Back Friday. BFTV has some exclusive video from tonight's episode, as well as photos to help you preview the butt-kicking action ahead.

Tonight, Section 20 has to decide between continuing on with their mission or saving one of their own operatives, and Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) still has health issues affecting him in the field. It promises to be another thrilling installment - so use the embedded player here to check out our exclusive clip.

We also have a second preview video for you as well. Unit boss Locke (the ever-fabulous Robson Green) is in some serious trouble, as following last week's events, he's now a hostage. Watch his predicament by clicking here.

And if that's not enough to get you excited about tonight, look with this article for a gallery of pictures from the episode, too. Clearly, things are never easy for the folks of Section 20, but would we want it any other way?

Strike Back is all new tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on Cinemax.
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PostSubject: Re: S3/4 EP 6   Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:32 am


“Season 3, Episodes 5 and 6” S3 / E5-6
by Myles McNutt September 20, 2013

This season, Strike Back has been doubling down on one of its stylistic flourishes. Every time “Short Change Hero” kicks in to start the main credits, it does so with a meaningful transition from an onscreen action—this is, at least in part, to retain the structural purpose of the “teaser” that precedes the credits, which are particularly important to Strike Back. A teaser to an odd-numbered episode has to offer viewers a taste of the storyline to come while potentially connecting it back to the resolution of the previous two-parter; a teaser to an even-numbered episode, meanwhile, has to remind viewers where things left off in the previous episode’s cliffhanger, while reestablishing the momentum lost between episodes. In either case, the credits are the punctuation mark that either ignites or reignites the narrative following a brief tease.

It’s a punctuation mark that has felt more purposefully deployed this season. Sometimes this manifests as comedy, as it did when we cut to the credits on Rebecca calling Scott and Stonebridge “fuckwits” in “Episode Two.” In other cases, it’s been used to establish stakes, as it was when the credits cut in after Baxter’s death in “Episode One” or before Dalton began her interrogation of Al Zuhari’s wife in “Episode Four.” In “Episode Three,” meanwhile, Leatherby blowing up the garage and then inquiring about lunch combined the two approaches. The series has always used its credit sequence purposefully, often—as was the case in “Episode Three”—bringing in the song’s introduction as score to signal their imminence, but the effect has seemed heightened this year.

The teasers in “Episode Five” and “Episode Six” are thematically linked: the former cuts to credits with Richmond tossing dirt on Rachel Dalton’s coffin as Section 20’s representative at her funeral, while the latter uses Locke’s first dig into his own grave as the cue for “Short Change Hero” to begin. Both choices are functional, signaling the series moving past Dalton’s death in the first instance and clarifying the stakes of Locke’s capture in the second; we can also take the two choices as thematic, given that these episodes are interested in the notion of digging up the past and evaluating its relevance to the present. While effective simply as stylistic transitions into an already memorable credits sequence, these choices nonetheless contribute to the larger goals of Strike Back in its third season.

They do so more subtly than some of the series’ other narrative patterns, which are not always as capable of handling thematic parallels. As a basic narrative, these episodes nicely transition from McKenna’s murder of Dalton in “Episode Four,” tracing the “Real IRA” operative to Budapest and a daring mission to capture sensitive NATO operations data in preparation for an imminent attack. The action sequences are typically strong, with the show doing an especially nice job selling the Embassy attack without being able to rely on the practical effects work that makes other action sequences so successful. Catherine Walker, like Dougray Scott before her, only gets a few episodes to make her villain pop, but she managed to developed McKenna into a moderately compelling figure in the game of “Villain Tag” going on within Al Zuhari’s terror network. Once again using the Budapest locations—last seen in the season one finale—to tremendous effect, this was the latest in a line of entertaining episodes from the series.

However, these episodes were also marred with an overreliance on scenes designed solely to hit the nail on the thematic head. There are some instances where this can work well once integrated into a storyline, as was the case with Stonebridge’s inability to take a shot: spread over the two episodes, Stonebridge misses the weapons shipment with the rocket launcher, doesn’t take the shot to save Locke from getting kidnapped, and then finally takes the shot that saves Locke. It’s a storyline about his continuing issues with his left hand, issues we can trace back to his fall through the roof in “Episode Three,” but it also becomes a part of the narrative engine in predictable but nonetheless effective ways.

Where the series struggles more is when the writers aren’t able to tie character beats into action sequences, relying instead on flashbacks or exposition-heavy dialogue sequences. The season thus far has nailed home the effects of working on what Locke calls “the tip of the spear,” whether through Dalton’s son being left behind, Locke’s son being killed years earlier by the IRA, Stonebridge’s injury (and the memory of his own wife and mistress’ respective deaths), and Scott looking up an old girlfriend presumably either in the interest of starting a family or in the interest of searching out the family he has but has no connection with. The central purpose of these threads ties into how the season began, Scott and Stonebridge reluctantly being pulled back into duty and spending much of the season wondering if this isn’t the life they want to lead. The diamonds—worth millions—represent the escape hatch, a way to imagine a different life not being put in danger by your superiors or struggling with physical or mental ailments civilians wouldn’t have to deal with.

These themes work as a basic framework on which to hang the series’ action sequences, but they work less well when you watch two episodes back-to-back—as I did to write this review—and see the same patterns bleeding into scenes that don’t involved shooting. Scott and Stonebridge’s scene in the train car and Scott and Stonebridge’s scene while staking out the car dealer/Al Zuhari fixer are nearly identical: they’re waiting for a mission to start, they’ve got some time to talk about life and reflect on their jobs, and both end with anvil-like evocations of the diamonds, as though we’d forgotten about them. It’s a prescient reminder that although these function as 90-minute action films from a broad narrative perspective, they’re still built to be viewed a week apart, when such reminders may be necessary.

Even then, though, the way these themes are being echoed in every other storyline has made them overstated, and not helped by silly 80s facial hair in Locke’s flashbacks. It also overshadowed the actual substance of Locke and McKenna’s feud, which generated too much conveniently-relevant back story too quickly not to seem like an info dump designed to reinforce thematic elements, limiting its value to Locke’s character development. As much as I admire the series’ desire to push past escapism and develop ongoing storylines, and as much as I like these themes and the stakes they evoke in the abstract, the writers are having trouble integrating those elements while maintaining the series’ narrative efficiency. While the credits have become seamlessly integrated into the stylistic rhythms of the series, the season’s central themes are struggling to achieve similar integration in these two episodes.

Stray observations:

In context, McKenna’s trip to an upscale lesbian bar seemed like a trade-off for the straight dudes apparently angry about the gay male sex in the previous arc. I wish we could have learned more about McKenna through the sequence (as it was really just to foreshadow the attack on the embassy), but it was more plot-connected than most of the series’ sex scenes.
Spot the Game of Thrones alum: Francis McGee wasn’t quite that Irish when he was in Westeros playing Yoren of the Night’s Watch.
“Glad to see you finally getting some action”—Not sure that the Martinez and Stonebridge pairing is all that interesting, but I enjoyed the implicit acknowledgment Stonebridge has been left out of the series’ sex scenes for a while now.
It’s foolhardy to think too hard about the logistics that allow for some of Strike Back’s plot points, but Richmond deserved to be chewed out by Dalton if she made mistakes like missing that key in the airport bathroom. Also, wouldn’t the city be in lockdown mode long before the embassy bombings if there had been a massive shootout at the airport with multiple casualties? Okay, I’ll stop now; this is a bad path to go down.
I was hoping for a slightly more dramatic first altercation between Section 20 and the Russians, but the rear view mirror kill was inventive and their argument over who the Russians want to kill more charming, so I suppose it’s onto Russia with expectations for something with a bit more pathos.
You can see some street footage of them filming part of the Embassy attack action sequence in this YouTube video.

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PostSubject: Re: S3/4 EP 6   Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:59 am


STRIKE BACK 3.06 Review
Section 20 races to rescue Locke and prevent a devastating attack.
September 21st, 2013 Blair Marnell

Strike Back 306

Writer: John Simpson

Director: Paul Wilmshurst

Previously on "Strike Back":

Episode 3.05 Review

Coming into the latest episode of “Strike Back,” it seemed pretty unlikely that Lt. Colonel Philip Locke (Robson Green) would be killed off so quickly after being introduced as Section 20’s new commander.

But there were a couple of moments where I actually had doubts that Locke was going to make it out alive, especially with Mairead McKenna (Catherine Walker) gunning for his blood. This episode also added some depth to Locke’s character, but it also left the third season without a compelling villain to follow. Al-Zuhari seems more like an abstract entity rather than the current embodiment of terrorism that has to be stopped at all costs. Without someone to serve as the human face of Al-Zuhari, it’s not a very compelling adversary for Section 20.

There are full spoilers ahead, so skip this review if you missed last night’s episode of “Strike Back” or else McKenna will hand you a shovel and tell you to start digging.

The best parts of this episode centered around Locke’s captivity at the hands of the Real IRA and Al-Zuhari; neither of whom seemed to get along with each other. Getting a prisoner to dig his own grave is one of the oldest dramatic tropes, but “Strike Back” does tend to kill off its commanding officers. Locke’s number could be sooner, rather than later.

Admittedly, the flashback to a much younger Locke was a little hokey, but it did establish his personal war with the IRA; which is never quite over for him. The IRA placed a bomb in Locke’s car that killed his son and severely maimed his wife. When Mairead wasn’t torturing Locke or shooting him, she was taunting him about the knowledge of who set and created the bomb that destroyed his family.

But it was much more interesting to hear Locke say that he genuinely liked Mairead’s brother, who was his inside spy at the IRA. That only seemed to make McKenna angrier, but she later used Locke’s admission against him and the look on his face suggested that he really did like her brother. And Locke wouldn’t have smeared his name with the truth unless McKenna died first.

The best swerve of the episode belonged to Leo Kamali (Zubin Varla), who remains my favorite new character of the season. Even so, I thought that Kamali was going to turn on Section 20 when he grabbed the gun from the embassy guard. We as an audience are conditioned to expect betrayals like that.

So when Kamali actually used the weapon to save Locke’s life, it made me like him even more. Kamali could still be playing the long con, but he’s much more entertaining as Section 20’s reluctant ally than he would be as a straight up villain. And it should not be overlooked that Section 20 has gradually accepted Kamali despite the fact that he killed Baxter in the season premiere. In fact, they’re all very cordial with Kamali after the embassy incident.

In the back of my mind, I still suspect Kamali because there is no one else on this show to fill the void as the villain. Leatherby and McKenna are dead, Even the alliance between the IRA and Al-Zuhari seems to be over. The ending of the episode does take an ominous note as Al-Zuhari managed to steal a sensitive NATO drive and take it back to Russia, where Arkady Ulyanov (Marcel Iures) will undoubtedly send more assassins after Sgt. Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Sgt. Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton).

We haven’t really seen much of Arkady since the third episode, but his vendetta stems from his son’s death in the season premiere courtesy of Scott and Stonebridge. That duo still has great gallows humor when they’re playing off of each other, especially when Scott suggests that Arkady will want Stonebridge more because he fired the fatal shot into Arkady’s son.

Either way, this could be setting up Arkady as the Big Bad of the next two episodes or possibly even the next four. It’s not inconceivable that Arkady has deeper ties to Al-Zuhari than we believed, but “Strike Back’ doesn’t always mix well when adversaries from two different storylines work together. Bringing Hanson and Knox together last season just made Hanson’s story seem silly.

There was actually a nice callback to Hanson as Locke approached Stonebridge about whether he felt better once he had killed his wife’s murderer. And although Stonebridge said that he forgave Hanson, he added that it was better once Hanson was dead. It would be a little cheesy if Locke were to suddenly find the man responsible for his family’s destruction during the remaining four episodes of the season. It’s much more interesting to see that rage festering within Locke rather than exploding.

The mortar attack on the British embassy was one of the more unique action sequences in this episode, but I preferred the way that Scott and Stonebridge dealt with the Russian assassin, Skander (Ivan Kamaras) while using a rear view mirror. That was very clever, but Skander turned out to not be as formidable as he originally appeared to be.

Stonebridge’s physical symptoms seemed to disappear in this episode, with the suggestion that his problems may have been mental rather than physical. Either way, Stonebridge makes the shot that saves Locke from the Al-Zuhari terrorists and his Locke’s arm didn’t seem to throw him off his game.

The only things keeping Stonebridge off his game in this episode are the forward advances of Kim Martinez (Milauna Jackson); who is clearly into Stonebridge. Surprisingly, Stonebridge turns down Martinez, but not before Scott catches them together and he proves to be “the soul of discretion.” Or not.

We also get a brief reminder that Scott is looking for a woman from his past and getting appraisals on the diamonds that he and Stonebridge stole from Leatherby. For Scott, the diamonds may be his escape hatch, but he seems to be hoping that his former lover will be the destination. She’s now been touched upon in two separate episodes; which means that character should appear on “Strike Back” in the future.

Oddly enough, Julia Richmond (Michelle Lukes) is becoming the Kenny of this series. Last week, Richmond took a near fatal shot at the airport and this week, the mortar attack seriously injured Richmond… but not enough that she couldn’t join their party with Kamali. That seemed to undercut the earlier scenes in the episode in which Richmond appeared to on the verge of dying.

Despite some occasionally overwrought moments and the lack of any great villain still standing by episode’s end, the sixth episode was still very entertaining. But with four episodes left in the season, I’d like to see the intensity level go up even higher.

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PostSubject: Re: S3/4 EP 6   Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:02 pm


‘Strike Back’: Things Are Not All Right In Section 20
1 hour ago by Kevin Yeoman

Robson Green and Catherine Walker in Strike Back Episode 6 Strike Back: Things Are Not All Right In Section 20

Everything moves quickly in the world of Strike Back. So quickly, in fact, that characters rarely have time to focus on what’s happening to them aside from the moment in which it happens. The pace is furious enough that, as long as it didn’t kill them, a bullet wound is generally nothing more to worry about than a nasty scrape or bump on the head from the butt of an angry terrorist’s handgun.

But while season 3 moves along at just as deliberate and swift a pace as the show’s previous efforts (sometimes its hard to believe 47 minutes or more have actually transpired), a fog hangs over the proceedings in the form of doubt, uncertainty and the lingering pain of loss. The writers have gone to great lengths to make sure the audience is aware Scott and Stonebridge have their reservations about continuing to work for Section 20 – simply because they’re exhausted and have been witness to the lasting effects of the job. In essence, everyone knows the pain of great loss due to their association with either the outfit they currently work for or because of their military pursuits in general (i.e., hunting down bad guys who like to blow things up to make a point).

In a quiet conversation near the end of the episode, Locke refers to Stonebridge and his partner as the “tip of the spear,” recognizing the difficulty of such a position, as it was one he once held. In that same instant, the roles are briefly reversed, as Stonebridge counsels Locke on the emotional value of having been afforded the opportunity to exact revenge on the man who killed his wife. The quiet moments (and by quiet, I mean moments not filled with gunfire or explosions) of the season have regularly been about soldiers thinking about their future by examining their past.

Philip Wincester and Sullivan Stapleton in Strike Back Season 3 Episode 6 Strike Back: Things Are Not All Right In Section 20

The discussion of the past, as it pertains to the road on which each character currently finds himself, is interwoven into the larger framework of McKenna and her crew cloning a NATO harddrive after conducting a rather effective assault on the British Embassy intended only as a distraction. But it’s also a theme that runs through the episode in the form of a flashback featuring Locke (with some pretty awesome sideburns) that demonstrates his somewhat convenient connection with McKenna that leads to a fairly typical showdown and more questions regarding Kamali’s true allegiance.

Less directly, but perhaps more effectively, the episode manages to play up the lingering effects of Dalton’s death by placing Locke in an eerily similar situation that finds him at McKenna’s mercy, and at one point standing in what would be his grave. The writers not only use the idea that anyone could be killed to efficiently raise the stakes during Locke’s interrogation, torture and what would have been his execution, but also manage to fill in the blanks in regard to the character.

Some of the exposition was a bit clunky, but addressing the outcome of time spent in an outfit like Section 20 gave more thrust to the subplot hanging around Scott and Stonebridge this season.


Strike Back continues next Friday @10pm on Cinemax. Check out a preview below:
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