We’d had three weeks to heal, and then the previously on rips our hearts back out as it reminds us of the loss of Team Echo, the reason Bravo’s date of deployment was moved up. And then in the middle of all this loss Alana makes the separation official and I officially hate everything (I love it, but I hate it).
Deployment is the best thing to happen to this show all season. The often underutilized Davis and Mandy are very much present. We meet Cultural Relations Specialist Vanessa Ryan, and even Dita gets to shine (but, let’s be honest, when doesn’t she?).
With Azim now in their custody, after a tense scene in a house not unlike the one Echo Team entered at the start of the last episode, Mandy interrogates him, working hard to get the answers. He knows more than he’s letting on.
Outside, she and Jason discuss Azim, and it’s during this conversation we see more of workaholic Mandy. She’s going to make damn sure she sends the team to the right target, even if that means she doesn’t sleep as much as she should.
A group of women run past, one saying, “Hello, sir.”
Mandy chuckles. “I just forget that you guys are rock stars here,” she tells Jason. “I wonder if he’s the one who shot Osama,” she teases.
But Jason’s in no mood to joke around. “Alana filed for divorce,” he says in response, and it visibly throws Mandy a little.
“I’m so sorry. You wanna talk about it?”
“No,” he replies. But Jason, buddy, you really should.
I’m thrilled this conversation took place, what little there was of it anyway. I’m hoping for more between these two while on deployment. There’s obviously a professional history here, one that has allowed Mandy to be one of the few people Jason talks to about his personal life. It’s more obvious how Jason and Ray’s bond has evolved, but that Mandy is someone he can talk to intrigues me.
The team stare at Echo’s bunks in silence. The beds their friends once slept in will now be theirs. It weighs heavy on them, because while they’ve slept in a dead man’s bed before, it likely wasn’t a friend who had claimed that bed before them. How this affects them psychologically, I can’t even begin to imagine. Does it make for sleepless nights – or does it spur them on, making them more determined than ever to take down those responsible? Both, perhaps.
Brock gets a top bunk and it’s fun watching Cerberus climb the ladder to sit up there with him – but, as with all good TV, it’s not something we’re shown simply because it’s cool.
And… Brock gets lines! He’s missing some equipment, which Lisa suspects is only missing because he didn’t label it properly. She follows up with Jason and Mandy, who are watching footage of the explosion that killed Echo. But Jason’s frustrated it’s taking so long to ID the bomb maker, and he’s taking it out on Mandy.
Lisa watches, visibility pissed at him, but Mandy takes it in stride because she understands more about what’s currently going on with Jason than Davis is privy to.
Lisa moves on to see if Ray or Sonny have seen the case, blaming Brock for not following her systems, but naturally Sonny brings up Danny:
“You sure you weren’t distracted?” he asks her, because suddenly having a boyfriend means Lisa is less capable in her job. It doesn’t. But Sonny’s being an ass.
Mandy steps outside for some air, and probably to get away from Jason for a while, where she meets journalist Paul Mulwray. He’s a bit slimy. Like an eel. And I’m disappointed his name isn’t Moray – which was what I originally heard.
She doesn’t shake his hand when he introduces himself, and lets out a disinterested, “Kay.”
He’s a bit of an ass as he tries to get information out of her. Haha, joke’s on you, buddy. Mandy doesn’t give anything away to anyone (except maybe Jason?).
Having just said that, she does give away that she knows who he is, and she’s not interested in his games.
Ask me who my favorite character is this week? IT’S MANDY. And Davis. And Vanessa. And Dita!
It’s here we get introduced to Staff Sergeant Vanessa Ryan, who’s there as cultural support for any women on target. Guess what the women don’t discuss? Men. Guess what they do discuss? Supporting one another. I. love. This. Show. So. Much. Right. Now.
The team’s going after Kamal, whom the forensic team think built the device that killed Echo. Jason has revenge in his eyes as he studies the man’s face, memorizing it, ready to take him down alone if need be.
The team devises a plan, and Clay’s quick with the good ideas (while the errors in Sonny’s are also quickly pointed out – and we know that won’t go down well with him. He and Clay are seriously going to come to blows one day. I just don’t see Sonny being able to keep his temper in check for much longer).
I’m less than thrilled when Paul invades Mandy’s personal space in the mess hall. He’s attractive, in a rugged way, despite his smarminess, and not even Mandy is immune. She doesn’t hate the attention, and it shows on her face.
Because it feels like the writers are still figuring out how to properly utilize this character, I’ll admit I have concerns there will be negative consequences for Mandy if these interactions with Mulwray continue in future episodes. I don’t trust him, and I’m side-eying him right alongside Jason. I trust him even less, a little later in this episode, when he gives Mandy information on the owner of a certain red Mercedes.
The team helos in to Kamal’s compound. Lisa and Blackburn have eyes on them, watching for other heat signatures, while Mandy’s tracking a cellphone. I don’t mention it enough, but the teamwork between the SEALs and the straps is an integral part of this show, and without the trust in this relationship, without Lisa, Mandy and Blackburn’s help, our boys wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective in their job.
Clay uses his language skills to order Kamal to release any non-combatants. It’s a tense scene that follows as a door opens and a woman steps out. She walks towards them, ignoring Clay’s request to hold. It seems like she might have an s-vest on under her clothes as she remains noncompliant with their order to stop.
Vanessa tries a different dialect, but it makes no difference. The intensity increases as she inches forward, and it seems like she might be about to blow them all up – when Vanessa considers that the woman is deaf, and signs at her to stop and put her hands up. It works.
The team sends Cerberus in to see if the place is rigged, and Brock uses a laser to guide him into the building – and here his ladder climbing skills return, to remind us how amazing working dogs really are. He runs through the building and finds a scent, taking down Kamal who tries to stab him with a knife. The team rushes in them and they reach Kamal just as he’s reaching for a detonator, and Jason takes him out with one precise shot
Cerberus is covered in blood – but none of it is his.
“Aren’t you gonna clean him off, Brock?” Ray asks as the team sits in the bus.
“No don’t clean him off,” Clay replies. “Look at him, he looks proud.”
Mandy considers that Tariq was blackmailed, that he never made the calls to begin with. She thinks someone else made them. She sits down with Azim, and makes it clear she knows he understands and speaks English, so they can lose the interpreter. She offers Azim protection in exchange for his help.
Azim gives them information on the “man with the red car.” He doesn’t know his name, but he’s connected to Echo’s death. The man saw Tariq and Azim together, and the pieces start coming together as to why Tariq may have been blackmailed.
Mandy and Jason share a final scene. She believes the man who blackmailed Tariq to lure Echo to their deaths was a national police commander. Jason knows the reporter has been feeding Mandy the information about the owner of the red car, and he’s wary. If they’re going to do this, if they’re going to investigate if this is the man responsible, they’re going to have to be extremely careful.
Can the team stay on deployment the rest of the season? I am LOVING Mandy’s role here, and how it’s bringing her character out more. The women (that includes Dita!) were my favorite thing about this episode.
I am loving Lisa, and her hesitant bonding with Vanessa, and Vanessa herself is a wonderful addition to the deployment team. These two are going to become friends, because of mutual respect, because they’ll help one another in their careers, and if the writers keep going the way they did in this episode, it’s going to be a beautiful thing.
This shift has me excited for the rest of the season, and I hope it continues.