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Strike Back Season 4 Episode 2

Yeah, I know that Strike Back seasons are chopped up into five two-parters so it doesn't make that much sense for me to review the Season 3 (how it's known everywhere except the U.K.) premiere knowing that it's just going to be the first half of a larger action story. Oh, and knowing that will end with a cliffhanger. But a season opener can also possibly contain the seeds and themes for the season, along with cool guest stars. Dougray Scott, who pops up as a main baddie this year, wasn't in this first part, but Robson Green was - playing new Section 20 boss, Lt. Colonel Philip Locke.

No scenes took place in the command center here, with everyone being on the move and Locke basically communicating to everyone via laptop screen. By the end of the episode, it seemed as though he was ready to head out into the field himself to aid Dalton in her quest to find the elusive Sebastian Gray. So this chief wasn't afraid to get his "boots dusty" (as he might say) and was quick to tell Scott and Stonebridge that capturing terrorist money man Kamali was their mission priority, but that killing him would be fine as well if it became necessary. So right off the bat we knew Locke was reasonable.

The episode kicked things off on an surprisingly morose note, with Sgt. Baxter getting executed right in front of Dalton; a herd-thinning move that one wouldn't expect from the very opening scene. Season 2 waited at least until halfway through its run before it offed Major Sinclair. So from that grisly display, we rushed into some really awesome moments of Dalton brutally battling her way out of a hotel room and then into a bath house to shoot and burn some information out of a fat guy. Cut to...

...Scott and Stonebridge on vacation in Northern California. Definitely the cheesiest moment of the episode, complete with lots of racing down the highway, drinking, banging of bartenders' daughters, and hustling of billiards. All that was missing was a bar fight. Maybe a gas station exploding. It actually reminded me of how ridiculous it was the first time we met Scott back at the top of Season 1/Project Dawn. The only interesting part of it was that the two of them were actually hanging out together. With Stonebridge now, um, unattached, he was free experience the same type of dudebro-style down time as Scott, minus the back-of-the-bar sex. Yeah, this show hasn't quite figured out to show these guys off duty without making it feel excessively "volleyball scene from Top Gun."

When the two of them are in the s*** though, in the heat of battle, it's a different story. This is where Strike Back always shines and this episode was no exception. Plus, Mossad agent Rebecca (Lyne Renée) showing up was a nice surprise. And I was wondering why, of all the supporting players, she was included on the Season 2 Blu-ray commentary track. Anyhow, Rebecca winds up right in the middle of a jungle raid, having been deep undercover as Kamali's moll. She wants Kamali, and his boss al-Zuhari, for Israel, but she's caught off guard when Scott and Stonebridge invade a meeting of Colombian Cartel leaders in a jungle mansion owned by a ruthless drug-runner named "The Jaguar."

By the end of the set piece - which involved an amazing, lethal boat hijacking by Stonebridge and an adrenaline-soaked river chase - El Jaguar had blown our heroes' boat to bits, sending Stonebridge and DEA agent Kim Martinez overboard and trapping Scott and Rebecca underwater. And that's where we left things off. Kind of a frantic start to the season, with only a hint of Scott perhaps not wanting to return to Section 20. The two of them never made it far enough into their vacation to have that talk about whether or not they were done with all the soldiering. And now the chat will have to wait for later since Baxter's untimely death really sort of shoved them back into the game. And it's not like either of them could politely refuse a mission after one of their own got gunned down.

Again, this is only half of the opening tale, and aside from some cool action and a shocking death, I don't really have a clue where this season is headed. I'm guessing al-Zuhari is the big grab here, but knowing Strike Back, something else will come into play to help distinguish this year's terror plot from the ones that have come previous.

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