Section 20 shifts gears to track the kidnapper and identify the individuals behind the bombing that rocked the premiere.
Let’s bitch it out…
We pick up in the immediate aftermath of the explosion: bodies strewn all over the place, Robert (Tim McInnerny) seriously injured and Mei (Michelle Yeoh) ready to dispense all of the blame on Section 20. Col. Locke (Robson Green) is told in no uncertain terms that the team needs to bring McQueen (Max Beesley) in, which naturally proves more challenging than anticipated. Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) and Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) have him in custody…until Changrok (Vithaya Pansringarm) and the Thai police scoop him up under orders from the mysterious Lee Dae Ho (Arthur Lee).
If the premiere got things off to a thrilling start, this second episode slows things down considerably. There are still three major actions sequences, including a firefight in a junkyard (memorable for its creative use of a flaming tractor), a rescue mission to secure McQueen’s wife, Malai (Charina Sirisinha) and the dual-pronged climax, but these are all relatively brief. Compared to the premiere’s extensive (and expensive looking) sequences, these feel far more perfunctory. Meanwhile the intrigue and the B-plots are significantly beefed up.
Episode 2 offers up a culprit for the bombing: Office 39, a North Korean crime syndicate fronted by Lee and run out of the Thai docks. The group is involved in some pretty heavy stuff, as we discover when the boys climb 25 flights up the exterior of Lee’s stronghold and find meth and counterfeit currency. Obviously there’s a much larger conspiracy in the works, made evident by the less than surprising reveal that Mei is a covert spy. In a moment that teeters dangerously close to 24 territory, Mei waxes philosophically about her political allegiance to North Korea and administers Robert’s death dose, though what she hopes to achieve by killing her husband remains unclear. Perhaps the Office 39 hard drives Scott and Stonebridge grabbed, along with a file folder on Chloe (Eliza Bennett) called Sasam, will provide some clues.
- The ladies, Richmond (Michelle Lukes) and Martinez (Milauna Jackson), get in on the action when they pick up Malai. Or rather Richmond does. Martinez doesn’t get to do much beyond coax Malai out of her hidey-hole. Richmond, on the other hand, goes hand to hand with a knife-wielding police officer. The result is a gory finish when she stabs the man first in the foot, then in the chest with a splintered broom handle. Ouch splinters!
- Say goodbye to Max Beesley. McQueen proves to be a pathetic fighter in the climactic firefight, though his wounds do distract Changrok long enough for the cheeky Brit to pull the pin on a grenade that sends them both to the afterlife.
- While in pursuit of McQueen, Scott gets a call about a 16 year old son he’s never met who is en route to Bangkok after stealing a car. This seems like a retconned way to get around the real life head injury Stapleton suffered that delayed this
fifthfourth season for six months.
- Stonebridge’s shoulder injury leaves him sidelined and forced to act as Operational Command, which provides the series the opportunity to comment on the fact that the boys will at some point need to step up or move on. I imagine as the final season progresses this will occur with a greater frequency.
- Scott proves significantly less successful as Command considering he gives orders while playing games of solitaire.
- I wish that the daring base-jump escape off the roof has been handled with a bit more flair since it is so ridiculous. Instead it just kind of happens. There needed to be far more celebratory ribbing between the boys.
- Finally, I wouldn’t watch a spin-off about Mr. Benz, the gold toothed tuktuk driver and former angry monk, but he’s certainly a memorable character that gives this episode a little extra oomph.
- Scott (as they’re surrounded by Thai officials): “Any bright ideas, Mikey?” Stonebridge: “Yeah, let’s put the guns down and raise our arms.”
- Scott (going very meta): “I predict this ends with some big gun fight.”
- Locke (after Scott asks for orders to make McQueen talk): “Hit him again.”
- Scott (after Stonebridge asks who said his line about plans going awry): “Miley Cyrus?”
Your turn: what did you think of episode two? Are you surprised Mei is evil? Wonder what is on the drive/in Chloe’s file? Surprised McQueen was killed so quickly? Excited to meet Scott’s son? Sound off below, but please refrain from posting spoilers if you watched in the UK.
Strike Back: Legacy airs Fridays at 10pm EST on Cinemax