Season finale review: ‘Strike Back’

“Strike Back” just wrapped up its second Cinemax season (and third overall), and I have a quick review of the season coming up just as soon as I shoot you with both hands tied behind my back…

Of the two Cinemax seasons, I would say last year probably had a better collection of two-parters, while this one told a stronger overall story. (And I would stack this season’s two-parter with Scott and Stonebridge defending the cabin in the Algerian mountains among the best individual things the show has done to date.) Both years had personal stakes to them, but they were even more deeply personal this year for Stonebridge and Scott, and the actors (particularly Philip Winchester) emoted the snot out of their material, when they weren’t busy shooting, head-butting or otherwise kicking ass. I particularly liked Stonebridge coming up with the best way to hurt Hanson emotionally before he died, but Scott’s grief blowing up a kid for the Stars and Stripes was also a nice moment.

And on the action/comedy side of things, I appreciated the pay-off to the running gag about whether you go on one or zero, and then the way it turned dark when Rachel (whose call sign at HQ has been Zero) was gut shot by Conrad Knox. Rachel lives to fight another day, but it sounds like it won’t be with Section 20, and I guess the series is now establishing a pattern of a new boss for season. If that’s the case, any British actresses (or, if they break the pattern, actors) you’d like to see giving our guys orders? With Sinclair dead, there’s no obvious candidate to promote from within (Richmond’s only a sergeant).

And overall, what did everybody else think? Did you prefer this season to last, or vice versa? Are we reaching a point where the show might be better-served by letting one of the two leads die, or is the chemistry between Winchester and Stapleton so good that we have to accept their ongoing survival as just another action movie trope the show is playing with?