‘SEAL Team ‘1×03 Review: “Boarding Party”

Episode three of SEAL Team may be titled Boarding Party but it’s not the fun kind of gathering, and those noises echoing in the night aren’t party poppers. Instead, the mission this week involves hostage exfil while dodging bullets. We learn a little more about the members of our new favorite Tier One team, watch Clay remind us how he got this far into training in the first place, and are left with some pretty serious questions about Nate.

And that’s who I want to talk about first.

DEAD BUT NOT QUITE BURIED

Alana’s cleaned out the garage at Nate and Molly’s, much to Jason’s annoyance as he had intended to do it himself. While doing so, she’s dug a burner phone out of Nate’s tool box, with all calls from it made to the same number. Alana suspects Nate was having an affair and questions Jason. Jason, being his usual cagey self when it comes to matters involving the SEALs, promises to look into it – because even to him, living this life himself, something feels off.

With a little help from Ray, the two do some digging through Nate’s SatNav and link an address to the phone – leading them to a woman in Norfolk.

While Ray did help Jason initially, I’m with him when he suggests they let it go. “It doesn’t seem right poking around Nate’s life like this. Man’s got a right to be buried with his secrets.”

Nate may be dead, but his ghostly skeletons are going to haunt this team for some time to come.

WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS RSVP

The Centaurus, a research vessel doing oxygen level surveys, is hijacked by pirates in the South China Sea, and it’s up to our highly-skilled team to rescue them.

What I loved about this episode was the reminder that not everything happens instantly. It’s not a simple case of: Hostages taken, SEALs to the rescue. There’s office politics to manoeuvre through, permission to be granted, and large distances to be travelled. They can’t just go in blind, guns blazing, and whether they even go in or not isn’t their decision to make.
SEAL Team has shown us, from the pilot episode, how plans for infiltration must be made. Where are the hostages being kept? What’s the best option for getting on board the seized ship? And what will they need to do this successfully?
Assuming the two-stars arguing behind the scenes greenlight the mission in the first place.

The plan, as explained by Ray:
“We hit the boat as soon as it docks. Once we secure the hostages, we call for the fast boats, exfil before anybody in port knows we were there.”

Of course, once the mission does kick off, there are a few extra guests who didn’t RSVP, but our boys adapt under the cover of darkness – and under the water.

There’s one hell of a firefight during the rescue, and it’s scenes like this one that make me forget I’m watching a TV show. Just another mini-movie from the SEAL Team crew. No biggie. They’re making this look easy.

THE BOTTOM FIVER

Clay’s shaking off that cocky reputation, and trying to become a better member of the Green Team, but as Jason observes, “he’s overcompensating because he’s hit the bottom five”. He’s trying to prove himself, because failure is not an option. But he’s overdoing it, pushing too hard. He’s not thinking about how his own exertion levels are detrimental to the team. “The team’s only as fast as its slowest guy” – not something Clay wants to hear directed at himself, but something he needs to remember. And he does. He may sulk over beers in the bar, but he recognizes his mistakes later (thanks to some tough love from fellow Green Team member, Brian) and apologizes for them. He’s constantly learning. Nothing bothers me more than when character development goes backwards, and I’ve quit watching many shows because of it.

That’s not going to be an issue here.

I’m already starting to like the one character I was ambivalent about. I don’t like being ambivalent, it makes me question the writing. I want to care about this character, want to see him succeed (or, in some cases, fail). But I was kind of meh about Clay – until this week. Because last week he was trying to give advice, but now he’s actually listening to the advice others are giving him.

“I just need to worry about the mission, guys to my left, guys to my right.”

I am LOVING his growth, and even starting to like him.

FAVORITE SCENES:

Sonny, the fearless Navy SEAL, isn’t a big fan of the ocean. He isn’t afraid to swim, it’s just not his first choice during infil. “I’ve been punched, shot and stabbed. Got frag in my shoulder. Twice. And RPG almost geld me. You think I’m afraid of some stupid-ass fish?”
Uh, actually, yeah. I do. And so does everyone else.

These characters are human, they’re flawed, and some of them aren’t the biggest fan of sharks.

To help lighten the mood before an op, what’s a team to do? Tease the Hell out of him, of course. These are the little touches that make this show so relatable for me, versus other shows of this genre where I’ve struggled to connect with the characters.

Lisa and Mandy bonding during, and at the end of the episode, was something I desperately needed – and now I’ve had a taste I need more of it. Or, Lisa trying to bond with Mandy anyway, as the case was here. Mandy has a wall in place between the CIA and the SEALs. She’s the one sending them out into danger. Going out for drinks with them after a mission isn’t something she’s comfortable with. But I think if anyone is going to chip away at that wall, it’s Lisa – who’s been quietly looking into Officer Training School…

FAVORITE LINES:

“Don’t make me come looking for you, not in this heat,” warns Nancy, who just put the fear of God into tough Navy SEAL Jason Hayes, and it might be the first time I’ve seen him look scared.

Adam, after Clay got a little too unselfish: “Spencer, this isn’t Guadalcanal. Your mission, for which the American taxpayer is sending you across the world, is to get the hostage to safety. Not go medal jumping. Grenade goes live you get low out of the blast range, hope your armor catches most of the flak. At least that way you’re giving yourself a chance. Instead of dry-humping that explosive all the way to the afterlife.”

SAY WHAT?

Overwatch –A small unit providing cover fire, support, and protection for another unit.

Froghog – a Navy SEAL groupie.

Two-Stars – An officer of a two-star rank is a senior commander.

RPG – Rocket-Propelled Grenade.

Geld – Castrate.

INFIL – Infiltrate.

DEVGRU – The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), commonly known as DEVGRU or SEAL Team Six.

O Course – Obstacle Course

OVERALL THOUGHTS

Listen, CBS, you’re going to need to renew this show for Season 2. Like, now. Just run off and organize that already. I’ll wait.
Done?
No?
Well, why not??

This might be my favorite cast on TV; they’ve all come together so easily that I’d swear they’ve been playing these characters for years.

I found the balance between home drama and mission swayed more into home territory this week, with the glimpses into Nate’s personal life and the mystery being uncovered, which was due as it’s been leaning more the other way. I’m all good with mission-heavy episodes, as long as we get more episodes like this one too.

I may not love Clay yet, but I’m enjoying watching him go through Green Team training, and learning from his mistakes while sweeping a little more of that weight off his shoulders.

And I know Cerberus isn’t needed for every mission, but I can admit I missed seeing Dita this week.

(Psst: CBS? How’s that renewal coming along?)

SEAL Team airs Wednesdays 9/8c on CBS.

Rebeccah Wright

Likes to think she's a badass cross between Sonya Blade and Lara Croft, but TV characters (and baseball, and puppies) make her cry. Currently playing the cancer card for all it's worth.

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