SEAL Team 1×09 “Rolling Dark” Review

Welcome to DEVGRU.

“Today the only thing I have to worry about is keeping my mouth shut, setting up my equipment cage, and probably getting my balls broke for bringing the wrong kind of beer.”

Rolling Dark
Courtesy: CBS

The episode opens with Russian defector Dimitri, previously in charge of Russia’s cyber warfare program, on his way to the United States with his wife, when their plane goes down in China, near the Afghan border, in the middle of a storm.

It’s up to our SEAL Team boys to go in and exfil the survivors into Afghanistan, and since it’s Clay’s first day as part of the team you can guarantee it’s not going to be that simple.

Rolling Dark
Courtesy: CBS

Clay brings the case of beer, as ordered to do so in the last episode. But he brings imported Japanese beer – a move he’ll need to make up for by bringing another case of proper (that means American) beer next time.

The team hazes him, but it’s fairly innocent teasing. Lisa is the first to welcome him to the team by asking for his weapons wish list – something Clay can’t quite get his head around. It’s like Christmas has come early. Ray welcomes him too, as we expect Ray would, with a few nice words. Because Ray’s just an all-round decent guy, who, on a related note, is still letting Jason crash on his couch, and probably will continue to do so as long as Jason needs it. These boys have a code, they help one another out. I’d like to throw out my own Christmas wish list here: Jason crashing at Clay’s. If only to see these two bond more.

“On time is five minutes late, right?” Clay retorts after Jason gives him crap about bringing imported beer, and just like that he’s already failed at keeping his mouth shut. As expected.

“First time that new guy tries to show up his new team mates? I’d say that’s a case of beer,” Jason warns. Clay better start keeping track of how many cases of beer he’s going to have to bring, because his new team mates are sure going to keep track.

To get to the remote crash site in the middle of the mountains, the team will HAHO in. No chance of using ATVs here.  Get in, get out, before anyone even knows they were there. Aiding them (or, actually, the opposite of that) will be a Pentagon advisor, necessary because they’re putting US boots in China and a whole lot could go wrong. None of the team is happy about this. To relieve tension, the boys sass each other, teasing Clay, who gives it straight back. And just like that he feels like he’s part of this team.


“I’m just checking on ya, man.”

Rolling Dark
Courtesy: CBS

Last episode’s mission brought a lot of emotions to the surface for Sonny, due to it’s connection to his friend Danny’s accident prior to Green Team training. He’s still trying to get in touch with Danny, but unable to connect with anything but the man’s voice mail. He’s carrying a lot of guilt, still wrestling with how things went down after the accident. While Sonny was in Green Team, Danny was in the hospital in Germany, and he kept meaning to go see him, but it never happened, as so commonly happens. He blames schedules, but it’s difficult seeing his friend in pain, difficult seeing their dream taken from them while his own is achieved. What would he say? How would he act? It was easier for him to stay away. And here, as regret flashes through Sonny’s eyes, it’s not difficult to surmise he’s never actually caught up with Danny since the accident.

It’s interesting watching Sonny from week to week; he feels like one of the more complex, multi-faceted, characters in this team. He’s gone from a somewhat two-dimensional joker, to the most reckless, most likely to snap, and perhaps the most emotional. In a way, this makes him feel the most human to me.

Rolling Dark
Courtesy: CBS

The team HAHOs into China, with Cerberus on the scent, but a Russian tier one team has beaten them to the wreckage of the plane. Clay works well with the team, despite still having a lot to learn, and he’s definitely opening his mouth too much. But it’s by questioning things that he’s learning, so he isn’t wrong to do so, and there’s a little less arrogance in his tone now, and more curiosity.

Once the Russians have finished poking around the plane wreckage, our boys move in. With the Russians on Dimitri and his wife’s trail, Clay learns that this team must get ahead of the Russians, instead of trying to catch up with them. And that’s where Cerberus will prove valuable, once they get him downwind. Brock and Cerberus work on catching the scent, and they quickly find Dimitri.

Sonny threatens Dimitri to get him to come with them, Jason tries to talk him around, but it’s Clay offering medical treatment that draws the man out. His wife is injured, and while Jason works on stabilising her Mandy breaks the bad news that China’s sent seven-hundred men into the area to block off the pass to the border. During this, Dimitri slips away now his wife’s being looked after, off to surrender to the Russians.

Jason takes Clay with him to find the Russian defector, and this decision is good for the both of them. It allows Jason to use it as a teaching exercise, and Clay to build a comradery with his new boss. With Dimitri found again, and the Russians hunkering down for the night, Clay and Jason do the same, staying put until sundown as the Chinese infantry doesn’t have night vision.

While waiting for sundown, Jason has a tough conversation with Clay that drives home the reality of this job. If Clay wants Stella, who’s been staying at his place most nights, to be notified if he’s injured or killed, she needs to be made his legal next of kin. Considering what we’ve seen Stella start to wrestle with in previous episodes, that’s going to be a difficult, emotional discussion for him to have with her. And it’s one I hope we see.


Light it up!

At nightfall, the team attempts to cross the border but Cerberus catches the scent of the Russians. So now they have to get past them. Clay asks his smartest question yet: “So the real question is how would we get past us?”

The decision is made to blind them with flashbangs and make a run for the border. Our guys suceed, but it’s been a Hell of a first mission for Clay, a week-long ordeal, and now Clay owes the team, oh, only about nineteen cases of beer.

To save his bank account, Davis suggests he brings in a couple of cases over the next few days, and then bring in a keg. No one will want to try and do the math after that.

Just… no more imported beers.

SEAL Team returns Wednesday January 3rd, 9/8c on CBS.


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