The realities of just how seriously SEALs risk their lives punch through our chests and take hold of our hearts in this week’s episode, Getaway Day.
The episode format gets a bit of a shakeup again, with the team on deployment for only the last third, and the majority of the episode highlighting how the families come together and support one another when tragedy occurs.
Getaway Day opens in Afghanistan, with a team approaching a target. It’s a SEAL team. It could be our SEAL Team. As the last man enters a building, it explodes around them, throwing some of the men outside, collapsing rubble down on others.
It’s fast, powerful, and in the blink of an eye an entire team has been killed.
Jason’s doing some home maintenance for Alana. That’s not a euphemism, although he wouldn’t mind it turning into one. Instead of giving in, Alana asks about deployment, and it’s here we learn Bravo Team is going to be relieving Echo Team in Afghanistan. The Hayes family has a tradition of going to a water park before his deployment, and this year Jason wasn’t expecting to go. Alana’s trying to keep them moving towards a shared goal and invites Jason to the park. But Jason’s holding back, there’s a hesitance in his response to the invite, and as much as he wants to be with his family he knows he might never be able to accept Alana’s terms. If it comes down to his career or his family, he’s going to choose his career – his SEAL Team family.
Sonny’s hitting the gym, building some extra muscle before deployment, and Jason’s spotting him. Jason asks him to watch out for Clay while on deployment, and Sonny isn’t thrilled with being asked to babysit. But Jason points out, “You remember how Ray took care of you your first cycle?”
It’ll be good for the both of them, because Sonny doesn’t instantly warm to people, and he and Clay have probably bonded the least so far. It’s showing in their interactions, and Jason’s noticed.
There’s activity in the corridors as Jason wanders through the base. “We got a little something going on,” Blackburn tells Jason, elaborating that there have been casualties. When he asks Jason to put his plans for the night on hold and stick around, it’s obvious to Jason that whatever has happened is so serious his team might all be called in.
At home, Naima calls Ray out on his lying. She knows he didn’t see the doctor, and she’s found the Tramadol he’s been hiding in his sock drawer. He argues he didn’t see the doctor because his shoulder is better, and that all the guys keep the pain killers on hand for flare-ups, but Naima’s no fool and she’s not buying it.
“I have twelve days to talk you out of this insanity, and I’m going to be doing a lot of talking,” Naima warns him. I love her, by the way. I wish she’d had the opportunity to do those twelve days of talking because I feel she would have talked Ray around in the end.
As more information filters in about Echo, Bravo makes their way to the base, where Blackburn and Mandy brief them on the night’s events.
“Survivors?” Lisa asks.
“None that we know of,” Mandy replies.
Squadron’s down a full team, deployment date has been moved up: They’re not leaving in twelve days, they’re leaving in eighteen hours.
“These kids, they don’t have a father anymore, you understand?
Cindy doesn’t have a husband.”
It’s a sombre atmosphere in the home of Echo Team leader Steve, as SEAL families gather to offer support.
Naima needs Ray to promise her he’ll remove himself from the team if his shoulder gets worse again. She can’t lose him. Ray promises her he will, but Naima speaks the word we’re all thinking: “Liar.”
Watching these two interact, and comparing their earlier scene at home with almost any Jason and Alana scenes, it’s easy to see why these two are still strong, while Alana and Jason struggled. Ray talks. And Naima makes him talk, and makes him listen. While Alana and Jason met while both very young and Alana had to watch Jason change as this new family became part of their lives, Naima and Ray met when he was already serving, and it was Naima who changed Ray – for the better. I have faith in the strength of Naima and Ray’s relationship.
Danny arrives with Lisa, and he heads to the kitchen to make coffee, where Stella’s been hiding. It’s all just a little too confronting for Stella, who’s getting hit hard from all angles by the realities of being a part of this SEAL family.
Clay apologises to Stella for proposing while doped up on Morphine. She agrees they’re not ready to get married. She’s feeling awkward, in the home of a woman who lost her husband, surrounded by all these people who have tight bonds. Clay decides to leave with her, but, when she hangs back to “make a quick call” while Clay says goodbye to some people, it’s obvious that this isn’t the life for her.
Emotional, Alana’s frustrations with Jason become more than she can suppress. “I’m the love of your life – but I don’t think I should be your wife anymore,” she tells him. “I can’t share you anymore.”
With so much sadness, so much loss, surrounding them, it’s not surprising this comes out now. It’s not surprising that Alana feels the need to put more distance between Jason and herself when she’s drained from comforting a woman who just lost her husband.
I would have liked to have seen these two make it – but it was never going to be a reality.
(Maybe Jason and Mandy should hook up, and they could both sit with their big ol’ walls up between them and never talk about work. I’m mostly joking…)
Speaking of Mandy, she’s at Cindy and Steve’s home too, silently watching in the background as the family gathers around the television to watch the news report of the event. Does she have any relationships with the wives? Obviously, not the same kind of bond the SEAL wives have with one another, but any kind of relationship – even some kind of a friendship – with them? I know I sound like a broken record, and I know she’s got the Great Wall of Mandy up between her and everyone else, but some time this season we’ll learn more about her, right? Please, writing team? During deployment, yes?
From the home, we cut to the base, where everyone says their goodbyes to their significant other, their family, in the parking lot. Except Mandy. Of course. Because she has no significant other, or anyone at all, it seems. And while my Mandy woes seem flippant, my main concern is that there’s such potential for this character that just hasn’t quite been fully realized. With season one getting a full pick-up, and the opportunity now to really dig deep into this character, beyond Mandy’s usual duties on deployment, I hope at least for a few scenes with Jason or Lisa where we get to learn more about Mandy. Just quiet moments of conversation, during downtime.
Deployment was never going to be easy on those left behind, to be without their loved ones for three months, but the situation that led to Bravo being deployed sooner than anticipated makes it all just a little harder on everyone, including the team. It’s all one punch in the gut after another, but the tone shifts a little now, as for the last third of the episode we’re in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Jason, Mandy, and Clay sit down a warlord who they suspect has intel on what happened in the house that was brought down around Echo Team. Clay translates while Mandy speaks, but it turns out the translating isn’t necessary as he understand English. And yes! I’m thrilled Mandy is getting more to do.
It seems the man who led Echo Team to the house wasn’t killed in the explosion, so they’re off to try and track him down.
“Let’s go kick doors down.”
Cerberus leads the way through a building, checking doors for explosives before the team breaches any. The team discusses the owner of the apartment, his plans, and it’s during this conversation that Sonny’s frustrations with Clay, and how Jason responds to Clay’s suggestions, start to boil over. Jason’s seeing it as Sonny’s anger over the loss of Echo, and it certainly is a big part of it, but Sonny’s never been Clay’s number one fan, and it will take a lot to change him.
Mandy takes a crack at the wife, after the men are unable to get much information out of her, and she has some success. Deployment is going to be a good thing for Mandy. I have hope that during it we’re finally going to learn more about this character, and will get to watch her shine as she’s given more to do. I just wish it hadn’t taken half the season (and I hope I’m not wrong).
Our boys are in good spirits as they walk, discussing hooch – and pass by the caskets of the Echo team. We get a close-up on all their faces as they stand, silently, and pay their respects. It’s sobering, and heart-breaking, and if your eyes were dry you’re stronger than I am.
This would have been the finale, had SEAL Team not received the full-season pick-up, and in a way it feels that way still. The next several episodes, leading up to the actual season finale, have an opportunity to shake things up, and almost reboot the season with the change in location for the team.
Interactions with loved ones will no longer take place face-to-face. Might distance make Alana reconsider her decision?
Time away from Stella will be a good thing for Clay. But the question I’m pondering is: Will she still be there for him when he returns?
I’m worried about Ray and his shoulder injury, and how that could put his team in danger if it becomes something that hinders him from doing his job during a crucial moment.
And, finally: Who do I need to talk to to see more of Brock? Because Justin Melnick is all kinds of hot.
Episode 14 airs February 28th at 10/9c on CBS.