Strike Back welcomes two Spartacus alumni as the team is divided and left vulnerable.
Let’s bitch it out…
In the wake of Robert’s death last episode, Section 20 begins interrogating Lawan (Sonia Couling) for information. A call to Mei (Michelle Yeoh) accidentally reveals the location of the safe house (courtesy of some very questionable low-tech involving a cell phone plugged into an iPad) and for the second week in a row armed goons descend upon the team. I was glad that the incident – and Martinez’s (Milauna Jackson) computer skills – quickly identify Mei and the Yakuza as the real culprits. It makes the team look slightly less inept and allows Strike Back to advance the plot more readily.
Once Mei’s duplicity is revealed, things fall into place quickly. The team zeroes in on Shiro (Masa Yamaguchi), Mei’s collaborator within the Yakuza. He’s easily identified because of a company website that lists all kinds of info – it’s super helpful and only a little narratively convenient! Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Julia (Michelle Lukes) follow the info to a car dealership with financial records that points to Shiro’s private island where the episode’s climax takes place. Episode three ends on an uncertain note: both Michael and Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) are MIA and Mei’s desired cargo is revealed to be weapons of mass destruction.
As always the action is solid. The initial safe house attack is decent, although the inefficiency of the Yakuza assassins is perplexing (not only are they terrible shots, but they apparently only pack mini-grenades that don’t do much damage, despite the fact that the walls are practically paper). Much better is Michael and Julia’s car dealership attack, which involves a creative torture techniques involving a live wire and an open mouth (yikes!). The final island shoot-out is fairly standard aside from Michael’s hand-to-hand combat with a very capable Shiro and the fact that the team is actually outgunned enough to leave Stonebridge behind. There’s no danger that either of the team’s guys are in danger, but it’s a nice change of pace when an episode ends on an ambiguous, rather than cut and dry, ending.
- Michael spends the majority of the episode in his own subplot when he and his troubled son Finn (Christian Antidormi) are attacked leaving the airport. It’s clear from the outset that Finn is going to be an annoying character – he doesn’t listen to instructions and continually challenges Michael. Some of this is expected since they don’t have a relationship, but Finn’s petulance grows tiresome quite quickly. It doesn’t entirely make sense that Finn is so clueless. If he truly believes that Michael is a drug dealer, wouldn’t he take the threat of armed men a little more serious?!
- Oh man – I had heard that Dustin Clare’s Texan accent was spotty, but it is seriously awful. Almost as bad as his mullet ‘do. Regarding the character himself, the jury is out on Faber. We don’t have enough information to understand what his role will be moving forward, but I feel like he’s destined to be more than a simple arms buyer.
- It’s a bit strange that Mei threatens Chloe (Eliza Bennett), but doesn’t actually inject her when Locke (Robson Green) and Martinez raid the Foster home. It’s also a bit strange that Chloe isn’t glimpsed again. Blame the need for forward narrative momentum, but presumably the incident confirms to Chloe that her stepmother is a villain and we don’t get to see how she processes that. Strike Back has never been overly invested in character development so it’s not entirely surprising, but part of me hopes we’ll get a scene between Chloe and Mei before the end of the series to provide closure for this story line.
- Finally it’s fun to hear Winchester’s American (ie: his real) accent at the car dealership, even if it’s only for a moment. Also fun: watching Julia blow away a bunch of baddies in a cute yellow sundress (though I was concerned that it made her an obvious target).
- Finn (falsely identifying Scott’s profession): “It’s obvious man, you’re a drug dealer.”
Your turn: what did you think of episode three? Is Finn a good addition to the cast or is he already annoying? Are you glad that Mei was exposed fairly quickly? What’s your impression of baddie Shiro? Are some of the tech shortcuts a little silly? Sound off below, but please refrain from posting spoilers if you watched the UK broadcasts.
Strike Back: Legacy airs Fridays at 10pm EST on Cinemax.