The boys are back in town.
Strike Back ended its first season on Cinemax by throwing caution out the window and blowing it up. It was a finale that made this show one of the best new series of 2011. However, after the tumultuous closing events, it left fans with several questions.
After deciding to leave Section 20 to raise a family, how would Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) be brought back into the fold? What would happen to the secret MI6 group following last year’s exposed conspiracy? Who would be the new head of Section 20? Now that the conspiracy and Latif, terrorist threat is over and done with, what would be the new story arc to lead us through the 2012 season? Which woman would be next to catch Scott’s (Sullivan Stapleton) wandering eye?
The series returned for its second go-round in the US with a familiar opening. Shit hits the fan. Cue awesome opening sequence and “I know where you’re – coming from…” music.
“For Now You’re on your own” – Maj. Oliver Sinclair (Rhashan Stone)
Scott’s returns, now the field-lead for Section 20. He places a call to Stonebridge, who now runs a training program for up and coming soldiers, before events inevitably turn from good-to-bad-to-worse. These two may have only known each other for a short time, but their voyage to take down Latif in “Project Dawn” has made them the best of friends. It also reminds us that the bromance is alive and well between these two seasoned vets.
We’re introduced to Rachel Dalton (Rhona Mitra), a mysterious woman who we know will eventually be a key character in Section 20’s future. The question remains, what does her presence bode for the team?
Unfortunately, when Scott and Dalton are hit by a surprise attack on a routine escort mission, we’re thrust into our next two-part mission.
The two-part mission into Somalia starts off show, but heats up in unexpected ways by the end of the first episode. Stonebridge’s life goes into a whirlwind and he inevitably reconnects with Scott. Julia Richmond (Michelle Lukes) also makes her way out into the field, showing off her curvaceous body.
Strike Back has always been about pushing these characters in unexpected directions, while testing their emotional fortitude. In “Project Dawn”, Stonebridge started off as a simple, good soldier – always obeying orders, while Scott was the mystery man. Stonebridge’s life quickly spiraled out of control when Kate died. Scott, however, began to find redemption from his shrouded past and the Trojan Horse setup that left him booted from Delta Force.
The new season pushes Stonebridge down an even darker path. Try as he might to be the good solider, things never work out as planned. In Scott’s case, the years following Delta Force come into question. It will potentially strain the bromance between these two characters.
This season adds in multiple long-term threats. Whereas last season focused on the singular threat of Latif, this season features religious extremists, potential threats from the military private sector in the form of Craig Hanson (Shane Taylor), internal struggles within Section 20 and Charles Dance. Yes, the Lannister head of house from Game of Thrones shows up to represent the big business involvement in war crimes. Dance also delivers one of his trademark, captivating monologues. It makes you wonder just what his involvement will be in this season and what the consequences will be for Section 20.
Scott and Stonebridge still show off their humor in the oddest times. Bullets may be whizzing by, but these two will find a way to talk about life outside of work. They are human after all.
In one instance, Rachel tells Scott and Stonebridge to cut the Laurel and Hardy routine. Stonebridge doesn’t miss a beat, saying to Scott, “You know what that means, she thinks your fat.” Outside of the obvious humor in the line, Stonebridge is also admitting to be the Laurel character by calling Scott the Hardy character. Great moments like this briefly diffuse a dire situation only to plunge viewers back into a tenser situation.
This season of Strike Back has the potential to edge out “Project Dawn.” Deadlier, personal threats and grab-your-gut thrills are on the horizon for 2012.
First Two Episodes Rating:
9 / 10