So…what exactly makes a family? When you’re in the military, not only is it your kinfolk, it’s your squad, your battle buddy, your brothers in arms and if you’re SF (special forces), it is your team. You spend many hours every day, day after day, week after week with them. You eat, drink, sleep, travel and depend on them for physical, mental and emotional support in one way or another. Like our families at home, we generally don’t choose them. It’s a crazy mix of many races, creeds, religions, hometowns and sexes. Your life literally depends on them. Unfortunately, as much as we love of family at home, sometimes they just don’t get it. Like Ash Spenser told Clay…”the team is your true family.” The bond is almost indescribable and unlike any other relationship ever encountered in life.
Our SEAL Team family is Bravo Team which currently consists of 6 Operators: Bravo 1 – Jason Hayes (fearless leader and frogman extraordinaire), B2 – Ray (Jason’s number 2), B3 – Sonny (knuckle dragger), B4 – Trent (a real life hero and Army Ranger), B5 Canine handler Brock (played by Justin Melnick..a real police officer/canine handler) and Bravo 6 (the pretty boy and newest member) Clay Spenser). In addition to the special operators we have an amazing support team in the TOC. That support team includes CIA liaison (spook) Mandy Ellis, logistics officer (and unofficial den mother) Petty Officer Lisa Davis, the team’s commanding officer Lt. Commander Eric Blackburn and Cerebus – The Hair Missle played by the gorgeous Belgian Malinois Dita (trained by and handled by Justin Melnick((B5 – Brock)).
You’re probably wondering why (again) I am listing the cast (team) members. One of the reasons is that one of the writer’s primary focus is family, which it should be. You can’t do a show about the military without talking about family. Benjamin Cavell (EP/creator/writer – also known for a little show called Homeland) and his team of writers are really doing a great job, and as I have said in the past, the parallels that they’ve created on so many different levels are astounding. As we delve deeper into the season the relationships and the character arcs continue to blow me away. On the surface, the series appears to be a well done, action-packed but somewhat predictable procedural about an elite military special ops team and their day to day ops, but there is really more than meets the eye going on here. Secondly, there have been some subtle changes, and I feel like they should be addressed. One such change is that Judd Lormand (Lt. Cmdr Eric Blackburn) has become a series regular rather than just having a recurring role, and team mates Trent and Brock (B4 & B5) seem to complete the 6 man team (although still somewhat underdeveloped).
So, let’s take a look at our leading ladies. First there is Jason’s wife Alana played by the lovely and talented Michaela McManus. Even though they are currently separated and things are a bit tense, these two are high school sweethearts, and they’re in it for the long haul, or are they? At this stage in his life it seems as though Jason’s true love is his team. Even when he comes home, his mind is with his other family – the Team. After a failed attempt at reuniting, it looks like Jason is back on Ray’s couch…this time maybe for good. Alana to Jason; “I’m sorry, I can’t share you anymore. ..I’m the love of your life. But I don’t think I can be your wife anymore.” In my experience, that’s not something you want to tell someone who is deploying right before they deploy.
‘Getaway Day’ highlights Naima (depicted by the beautiful Parisa Fakhri) and Ray’s relationship which, as of late, has been somewhat rocky. But Ray’s commitment to Naima is true blue and the real deal. While chatting with Clay about relationships and deployment, Ray shared some tidbits about how he fell in love with Naima. He tells Clay that she saved his life on the night they met and every night since. Clay comments “that’s an awfully high bar.” He should be so lucky.
Speaking of Clay and Stella (Alona Tal) …things have been a little awkward since Clay proposed to her in ‘The Upside Down.’ Clay asks Ray for some brotherly advice about buying a new truck and a new wife. Ray manages to talk some sense into Clay, and thank goodness Clay heeds the advice of his mentor. In ‘Getaway Day,’ Clay takes advantage of a quiet moment at a small gathering (supporting the fallen brothers’ family) to apologize for putting her in a weird position by proposing when they both knew they weren’t ready to get married. Stella seems taken back a bit, and somewhat disappointed…but insists that she was thinking the same thing. They are both relieved and all is well…until Stella decides she should leave and states “I feel a little weird being here, since I’m not family.” I think there is a little foreshadowing here because prior to Clay’s arrival, Stella and Danny (Davis’ Danny) had a moment. He commiserated with her about not being part of the Team, that they are both outsiders.
So, this is where things are left for ‘Getaway Day’ (deployment day). Everyone’s family is present at the airstrip to say their goodbyes (except for Sonny who doesn’t seem to have anyone to say goodbye to) and off they fly to Afghanistan to take over for the fallen Echo Team. Things get interesting during deployments for both the members of the Team and their families. Does absence truly make the heart grow fonder or is it more like when the cat’s away the mice will play? I guess we shall see.
SEAL Team returns for the second half of its freshman season on February 28th.
Critic Grade — A