When Strike Back premiered on Cinemax last year, I wasn’t sold on it right away. However, once the first episode ended, in a cliffhanger I might add, I had to see where it was going in terms of the overall story. I rarely base my opinion on a series on the first episode because it take a couple to really start to gel. I gave it the chance it deserved and by the end of the second episode, it had me hook, line and sinker. It’s got all of the elements that I love: lots and lots of action, hot guys blowing stuff up and no apologies for the crude language or dispatching main characters in the blink of an eye. By the time the series finale was over, I was very pleased to see that the show had done well enough to warrant a second season, yet rather bummed out that I would have to wait almost a year until it started. Strike Back turned out to be a surprise hit for Cinemax, the latest cable network to jump on the original series bandwagon, and luckily for them, it paid off. After a long wait, the show is finally back, and it’s back with a vengeance. The season premiere aired last night, and instead of airing just one episode, Cinemax aired the first two as one long extended episode. However, in the weeks to follow, we’ll only get one a week. Sadface.
The premier kicks off with a brief recap that shows Col. Grant getting blown up along with the season’s villain, Latif. Stonebridge decided to leave life in the field to be with his wife, who told him she was pregnant. Scott’s future was unknown, but this season picks up with him still working as an operator for Section 20. Stonebridge kept his word to his wife and is training soldiers for the British Elite Forces. The episode kicks off in Kenya, where Scott is escorting British diplomat Patrick Burton and his Junior Attaché, Rachel (who Scott keeps calling Rosie) Mcmillan to a meet with Keemal, a Libyan contact who has information and is hoping to defect to the UK. Things go south quickly when their party is ambushed by Waabri’s people, a Somali warlord and Burton, Mcmillan and Keemal are taken hostage. Scott, who was knocked out, was left behind. Section 20 is still reeling from Col. Grant’s absence and in an effort to smooth things over, Scott asks to be sent in to retrieve the hostages. General Bennet shows up and agrees to send Scott in, but tells him he’ll be the last man sent in.
Stonebridge meanwhile, is training recruits at the SAS training facility and finds that one of his recruits, Jake Hanson, is having trouble adjusting. After a botched training session, Jake retreats to the barracks to find his brother Craig waiting for him. Craig tells Jake that Stonebridge will get him through it and tells him that he and Stonebridge served together. Craig then talks to Stonebridge and calls in a marker asking Stonebridge to help Jake out.
Scott is picked up from the scene of the attack by Carla, a British Consulate liason and taken to a safe house where she tends to his wounds, along with other needs. Oh yeah, this is Strike Back so of course Scott is going to get his freak on within the first 15 minutes. Anyway, Carla along with local holy man Sulaimani, escourts Scott through the rougher parts of Mogadishu into Waabri’s turf. Waabri is working on ransoming the hostages, but Keemal isn’t worth anything to the Lybian government. Waabri orders his men to kill Keemal, but Keemal ransoms himself and tells Waabri of some cargo that is sitting on a ship. The cargo in question are four nuclear triggers.
At section 20, rookie Liam Baxter discovers that Keemal’s true identity is actually Tafiq El-Gabhri, a Gaddafi inner circle member and that he has an interest in the ship that the nuclear triggers are on. Sinclair, who is acting as head of Section 20, orders Scott to find out what’s on that ship and why it holds the Libyan’s interest.
Things at the training center get worse when Jake freaks out on a training mission and starts shooting his team members with live ammo. Stonebridge sees what’s happening and runs interference trying to get Jake to stand down. Jake doesn’t and Stonebridge has to take drastic measures and shoots Jake, killing him immediately.
Scott observes the meeting between Keemal and Waabri, but there are others observing as well; mercenaries Carl Matlock and Jessica Kohl. As Waarbi asks Keemal who the original buyer was, Keemal is shot in the head by Jessica. The mercenaries manage to get away, but Scott isn’t so lucky. Waarbi’s men grab him and take him to Waabri’s compound. After working him over a bit, he’s thrown in the cell where the other hostages are being held. Sinclair reiterates the General’s orders that Scott was the last man in, but Julia has other plans and calls the one person she knows will go in to get him
Stonebridge, reeling from the incident with Jake, gets wind of Scott’s predicament and immediately grabs his gear to go back into the field. Kerry doesn’t want him to go and decides to throw their miscarriage in his face, which was really not cool. It’s not like the guy isn’t dealing with enough at the moment. She immediately regrets it, but he’s already gone. Stonebridge hightails to Section 20 where he’s told that he’s on his own, but Julia steps up and volunteers to serve as his back up. The two gear up and hop on a flight to Africa.
Matlock gets in touch with Waabri and tells him that the case Keemal traded wasn’t his to trade, but that his boss would consider buying it back from Waabri. Waabri sees this as an opportunity to get out from underneath his boss’ thumb and agrees to an exchange, which Section 20 is able to track.
Meanwhile, Stonebridge and Julia make it ashore and end up having to shoot their way into Waabri’s compound. They find the hostages and make their way out, but Rachel is MIA. She slips away to Waabri’s quarters to look for the case. Not finding it, she instead loads herself up with a shit ton of weapons and makes her way back to the group. Junior Attaché my ass. Just as the group is planning their next move, Rachel shows up pointing her weapon in their direction. At first they think she’s against them, until she shoots two men they didn’t see. Once Waarbi’s compound is destroyed, and the team is on the run, Rachel discloses that she’s not really a Junior Attaché, she’s actually Cpt. Rachel Dalton and is stationed with British Military Intelligence. Section 20 verifies her claim and against the General’s orders, Sinclair orders a chopper their way for evacuation.
The mercenaries try to convince Waabri to take the deal, but the elder calling the shots over rules them when he plays the Allah card. Rachel is determined to get the case back and knows that the rescue attempt wasn’t a sanctioned mission and uses that to commandeer the mission. Seeing their escape as an attack on his honor, Waabri has placed a bounty on the team and the whole city is now after them. Scott tells Sinclair to call in a marker with Christy Bryant, an old CIA contact of his, to find out where the nearest CIA safe house is. Meanwhile, Sinclair will arrange transport out of Somalia.
Waabri finally looks in the case to find four orbs and decides to make the trade with Matlock, whilet that crafty rookie Baxter traces the call. Finally, Rachel comes clean with the group and tells them what she’s after. Scott and Stonebridge decide that they can’t let the package fall into the wrong hands and agree to back up Rachel. Julia escorts Burton and the two young boys that they took out of Waabri’s compound to the safe house.
The safe house is compromised and one of the boys is shot. Burton also take a bullet but stops Julia from shooting Sulaimani just as he arrives to help. Burton and Sulaimani are old friends and Sulaimani is there with Burton as he dies from his wound. Sulaimani then stows Julia, the two boys and Burton’s body in his wagon to get them to safety.
Meanwhile, Kerry receives a visit from Craig, Jake’s brother. She invites him in, and the two talk about Stonebridge over tea, but he leaves when he realizes that Stonebridge is gone.
Waabri makes the trade with Matlock, but Rachel, Scott and Stonebridge also show up for the party. Things go crazy and bullets fly. Scott and Stonebridge manage to get the case and also manage to reconnect with Julia, but the team is under heavy fire and are surrounded. There’s a chopper en route, but is prevented from picking them up. Outnumbered and out gunned, the outlook seems bleak. Sinclair tells them to stay put and that he’s working on something but it’s unsanctioned. Scott realizes that Waabri traded the orbs for fruit and allows Matlock to take the case. As Waabri’s men close in, a convoy of allied vehicles roll in leaving destruction in their wake. The only men left standing is the team and the convoy crew.
Matlock takes the case to his boss, Conrad Knox, but it’s been discovered that Waabri played them and put fruit in the case. Knox tells Matlock that he wants the triggers back and you get the feeling that he’s not a man to be trifled with. Back at the crib, Dalton takes heat for her failed mission, but defends the need of Section 20 as well as those who work there. She ends up becoming the new head of the Section, regardless of what the team thinks.
Stonebridge meets Kerry in a park and she asks if they can start over. He seems relieved and tells her yes, but just as they reconcile, a shot is heard and Kerry is shot in the back. Stonebridge tries to revive her while finding where the shot came from. The episode ends as we see Craig with his sniper rifle. I guess he’s operating under the eye-for-an-eye rule.
Whew! Sorry for the long recap, but it was two episodes in one. This was a solid start to the new season and I’m so excited it’s back! Scott and Stonebridge are such a great team and the two actors clearly have great chemistry together. Their relationship was established last season and it had its ups and downs, but by the end it was all about the bromance. Now we’ll expand on that and I think Scott will be Stonebridge’s rock especially after the events with Kerry, the miscarriage and having to shoot one of his recruits. Poor guy. He’s got a lot of shit going on at the moment. Cinemax has created a quality show here and I for one, can’t wait for next week!Tags: Charles Dance, Cinemax, Michelle Lukes, Phillip Winchester, Rhashan Stone, Rhona Mitra, Strike Back, Strike Back recap, Strike Back Season 2 premiere, Sullivan Stapleton