Strike Back “Shadow Warfare, Episode 5” Review (3×05/4×05)

14 Sep

1185816_669725489706595_1893072589_nIF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MY SEASON FINALE (EPISODE 10) REVIEW, HERE IT IS:

After the major events of last week, Strike Back was bound to take a step down. However, that’s not to say this episode is bad; it just moves slower, resulting in more of a table-setting episode than usual.

Before we get to the episode…I know I said that I would only be posting reviews every other week, but I decided to bring back my weekly reviews. Last week’s recap was extremely popular, and I wouldn’t want to take episodes off, especially considering the short length of the season and lack of many recaps around the internet. I just thought it wouldn’t be fair to all those that want to read commentary on each episode after it airs.

Anyway, this episode shifts focus to Mairead MacKenna, the IRA agent responsible for the murder of Agent Dalton. Section 20 pursues and captures her after receiving word that al-Zuhari’s forces and the IRA will deliver a joint attack on an unnamed target in the West. This is a segue into a sequence of interrogation scenes, delivered by Philip Locke, a person onto which the show has been shifting focus over the past few episodes. While Dalton was spiraling downward, Locke was doing the opposite, and now that Dalton’s gone, he becomes more of a presence in the show.

It’s chilling to watch him slowly turn the tables on MacKenna, using her dead brother as leverage. She starts sweating, tensing up, and clutching her fists angrily, while he maintains a steely demeanor throughout. Yet, it seems as if he’s a stereotypical intelligence agent; he has baggage, but he’s able to hide it well. For the most part. Notice his reaction after she remarks, “The Philip Locke?” He seems almost anxious, and it’s evident that she’s struck a chord. It is very likely that he has a more complicated relationship with MacKenna and her brother than is revealed here.

Over with Scott and Stonebridge, we also start to see difficulty maintaining the facade of a badass Section 20 agent. Stonebridge is afflicted with physical problems, while Scott is afflicted with the emotional toll Dalton’s death has taken. He’s not so much surprised as disappointed at the other members of his team for not feeling some joy at the Major’s death. Scott and Stonebridge have always relied on their physical prowess and ability to move on, so it’s interesting to see if these effects will be long term.


We know that it’ll at least continue into the next episode. After a fun, yet ridiculous (more on this in “Other thoughts”) shootout in an airport, Stonebridge is unwilling to take a shot as MacKenna holds a gun to Locke’s head. Obviously, he’s afraid for his boss’s life, but we can also tell that whatever’s troubling him is really burrowing deep into his mind. He’s going to be tested, much like Locke, the seemingly unbreakable agent that is now in the clutches of the IRA. It seems as if Dalton’s death has set us up for the character arcs to come.

Grade: B

Other thoughts:

-The airport scene is ridiculous. I know that Strike Back isn’t all that realistic, but these guys (and gals) are smart enough to not let MacKenna get away so easily. Every action star on TV should follow this statement: BATHROOM=BAD. BATHROOM=BAD. BATHROOM=BAD.

-The action scenes aren’t quite as fun this week, but I do like the opening scene. It’s very well shot and intense.

-So, we have the most gratuitous sex we’ve had all season. I’m not complaining, especially since it involves two women. It’s an essential part of the fabric of the show.

-Martinez asking Stonebridge out as they’re heading toward a firefight is so great.

-Classic Strike Back moment: Stonebridge’s elbow to MacKenna’s ribs in the car, and Scott’s small smile afterwards

Credit to Cinemax and Strike Back for all pictures. I own nothing.


2 Responses to “Strike Back “Shadow Warfare, Episode 5” Review (3×05/4×05)”

  1. Thats Underrated September 14, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    Another solid episode. I miss Dalton, it would have been awesome to see her spiral down even more and culminate in a showdown with section 20. I would have liked to have seen Section 20 vs Al-Zuhari with crazy Dalton waiting in the wings. I guess it is now Section 20 vs the IRA and Al-Zuhari with the Russian contingent waiting in the wings.I’m excited to see how it all ends up.

    • polarbears16 September 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

      Yeah, Dalton’s death was telegraphed from the start of the season, but it would’ve been interesting to see a showdown with section 20. I feel like we were just scratching the surface with her relationships with people like Kamali and Locke, and I would’ve liked to see some more.

      It would be really crazy if it was IRA and Al-Zuhari with the Russians waiting in the wings vs. Section 20 vs. the CIA, and Dalton and Leatherby waiting in the wings. That’d be too many storylines to juggle, but oh man, that would be really crazy.

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