“Violence is not the answer. Violence can never solve the differences we have.”
It’s telling that this statement by Ambassador Robin Foster is intercut with a violent shootout, with people dying all around as he delivers a bomb-filled package to the North Koreans. It’s part of a sequence that’s frustratingly devoid of logic–he’s really just walking through the embassy with a package that nobody bothers to check, and Locke doesn’t mention that there’s a bomb?–but it also strikes at the main theme of the episode: the inevitable intersection between family and work.
Foster, after all, is a man with a family, and that family is brought into his work when his daughter is kidnapped by Ray McQueen. “That time was different,” Foster asserts when he and Locke are talking about his past actions. “I didn’t have Chloe.” His job is one that requires him to be constantly placed under the public eye, and he’s understandably a perpetual target for manipulation and political maneuvering. He’d like to keep his family out of it, but as Locke tells him, it’s “about a lot more than Chloe”. And there’s the thing: the kidnappers couldn’t care less about Chloe because they’re using her to reach a larger goal, but for Foster, it’s all about his daughter now. It must be a dagger in his heart for him to hear the following: “You follow orders because you know you’re small and insignificant, that your wife and child are alive only because we say so.” He’s at the mercy of the kidnappers, and he knows it.
So, the bomb is detonated at the end of the episode, but before that, we get yet another Strike Back thrill ride of an hour. In particular, the opening river sequence is exhilarating and beautifully filmed, and it’s undoubtedly only the beginning of a season’s worth of action brilliance. The show knows exactly what works and what doesn’t, and as a result, it throws us back into the Stonebridge-Scott adventures with aplomb. Bring on the final season.
-Absolutely no need to shorten the title sequence.
– “Money shouldn’t be your primary concern, with the baby on the way. Fatherhood is a blessing; it will change you forever.” Family vs. work.
– “I lost my folks when I was a kid…all things considered, I don’t think I turned out that badly.” Again, more about the influence of family, even if we’re talking about the lack of one.
-I plan on covering all the episodes of this final season, even if the show may not be as rich thematically as some others (which is part of its charm, of course). It was easily my most popular show when my blog was just getting off the ground, so I’m going to see this to the end. The fact that we’re losing this and Banshee within months of each other is really a shame.
Photo credit: Cinemax, Strike Back