Strike Back‘s latest episode is proof the show has a sense of humor – and a slightly twisted one at that.
You can’t help but imagine showrunner Jack Lothian laughing as he wrote “Episode 2,” which feels like a series of outrageous vignettes put together. If this were any show other than Strike Back, you wouldn’t believe any of this, but it is, so Cinemax fans are treated to a handful of incredible stunts and a few genuine “Are you kidding me?” moments.
Section 20’s continued chase of the uber-weapon has them set their sights on Loric Demachi (Maxim Baldry). They’re hoping that they can exploit the frayed relationship between Loric and his mafia-boss father Edon (Goran Bogdan) to make Loric into an asset. Except that’s not at all what happens when they make contact with him at the family strip club. Mac (Warren Brown) gets knocked around again, Wyatt (Daniel MacPherson) gets caught breaking into the security room by an opportunistic stripper, and a glammed-up Novin (Alin Sumarwata) is honestly unrecognizable for a few seconds until she starts dispatching mafia thugs.
This would be entertaining enough, but Strike Back drags the action into the meat-packing plant next door and what happens next might convince a few viewers to go vegetarian for a while. Trying to find Loric, Wyatt gets pulled into a fight with a couple of the butchers, which culminates with a circular saw maybe two inches from Daniel MacPherson’s face. And the way that it ends is a bloody moment that goes from shocking to awkwardly funny with MacPherson’s perfect delivery when Wyatt tells Mac that he’s been “a little busy.”
The big set-piece of “Episode 2” involves a train on which Edon is planning to hand over the uber-weapon to some even nastier folks. Having had one of them in custody earlier on but being forced to abandon him, Mac might be looking to redeem himself here, and so steals another train in order to chase down the train that has the weapon and his boss on it. Kudos must be given to Warren Brown and the stunt team for a nail-biting stunt where he climbs down the front of one train onto the other; a nervous Chetri (Varada Sethu) is all of us at that moment.
But while everyone has their jaw-dropping scenes in this episode, MVP honors of the week go to Jamie Bamber, as Coltrane nearly gets himself killed when he ends up on the train without any backup. Bamber gets into a knock-down, drag-out brawl in the luggage compartment, and he really goes for it. This is the most desperate and most undone we’ve ever seen Coltrane, and especially after the mental damage he incurred in the Strike Back season 7 premiere, it’s both disturbing and refreshing to watch. We want him to be in one piece, but when so many TV bosses just stand around and give orders, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to see him get his hands dirty. It reinforces that Coltrane isn’t just the team leader; he’s a true soldier, too, and as dangerous as any of the other characters.
After Mac rescues Coltrane, and the train explodes (because this is Strike Back and that’s how we roll), Mac winds up facing off with another bad guy on his own. He eventually kills Edon, which does not go over well with his son or his widow Arianna (Ivana Milicevic). You know she’s got a vendetta against Section 20 now, not only because she says it, but because the look that she gives to the camera is the kind of thing you see at the end of horror movies before someone else gets murdered.
Speaking of questionable decisions, Wyatt also steals some cash from the mafia coffers at the strip club. Not only could this come back to haunt him for the obvious reason, but it also gives Strike Back fans a moment of pause. We want him to make a better choice than that. And we also want to know what he’s thinking. Is he just trying to plan ahead for life after Section 20? Or does he have something specific in mind for the money? But at least one of his colleagues knows he took it, so there could be some fireworks about that later down the line.
For the time being, though, we’ve got an exploded train, a butcher getting butchered, and incredible amounts of property damage — and we’re only on the second episode. If the remaining eight are half as chaotic as this, fans will need a seat belt for the rest of the season.
New episodes of Strike Back air Fridays at 10 p.m. on Cinemax.