I do the Vikings’ recaps here at Sweatpants & Coffee. The main question on social media this season of Vikings is, “Where’s ROLLO? OMG, bring him back! Seriously, we need Rollo!” Rollo will be back for a short stint later this season, but Clive Standen, who plays Rollo, can be seen on NBC’s Taken starting again next week. And I’ll be bringing recaps here!
NBC premiered Taken last February. It was billed as a re-imagined prequel to the Taken movie franchise, wherein ‘Bryan Mills learns his particular set of skills.’
For me, the first season of Taken went like this:
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Our superheroes can be cuddly and bad ass and fall down, causing mass explosions. We like seeing our heroes beaten down after failure. That’s what makes them human. And that’s one thing that worked for Taken last season.
Mills went balls out each week. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, sometimes it exploded – ok, most of the time it involved explosions. In the season finale, it landed Bryan smacked down in an unlisted Mexican prison.
All our favorite shows offer the same story each and every week. Whether you love your crime dramas or supernatural dramas, every week we catch the bad guy or close the hell mouth, then move on to the next apocalyptic meltdown. Taken is no different.
Why do we keep watching? We watch because we love the personalities and the running background story. This is where Taken lost their audience in Season One. As Bryan checked off wins every week, there was no connection to the victims he saved, and no relationships among coworkers.
A few other things didn’t work for me last season. First, Bryan already had his particular set of skills. The only difference with the movies was that Bryan’s boss, played by Jennifer Beals, wanted to control his skills and have this warm, fuzzy version of crime fighting play out:
Why? So we can see the uber-bad guys handed to the authorities, only to walk on a technicality, in next week’s episode of Law & Order?
ODNI is a last resort special ops group. If your file’s on Christina Hart’s desk, you’re an uber big baddie. Like this guy:
Oops, sorry. This guy!
This is Taken, not reality. The fans don’t want restraint on the villians. The fans fell in love with this Bryan Mills:
No, this Bryan Mills:
That one is scary, but I meant this…
That was close. Here it is! The fans want THIS Bryan Mills!
Luckily Bryan tired, but more often then not, failed to follow Boss Lady’s orders.
My second issue was Bryan’s girlfriend. Superman, Spiderman, and Underdog spend half their time saving the doe-eyed girlfriend, who is clueless about their boyfriend’s alter ego. I know Mills saves people who are taken for a living, but it’s a tedious theme in 2018, for the woman to be the hero’s Achilles heel. Bryan’s girlfriend didn’t have the sense to run when the bad guy put his gun away and didn’t smell a problem with the FIVE deadbolts on her evasive boyfriend’s front door.
In addition to his girlfriend, the two female special agents on Bryan’s team basically managed Bryan’s schedule and made coffee. Granted, women like having a strong man around – taking out the trash, opening up jars, killing spiders. But it gets annoying to assume women need saving ALL the time.
I think the show will rectify this with the introduction of Jessica Camacho. She isn’t sitting at a desk in promo pictures.
My last issue with the show was that everyone was “nice.” You want our military and law enforcement to be decent people. But the characters as written were the Dalai Lamas and Mother Theresas of special ops. I’m personally in the Tony Stark School of philosophy.
I think the solution to this issue lies in Adam Goldberg. In Season Two he’ll play Kilroy, a computer hacker that Hart put in prison, and is now hiring. Adam Goldberg always plays smart aleck characters that I want to punch in the face. Hopefully, he’ll be our morally-challenged good guy. And hopefully, Bryan will punch him in the face at least once during team bonding!
In the Season Two premiere, Bryan must break out of a Mexican prison, get back to the States and shut down a human trafficking ring. Christina Hart has to locate Mills and build another team because she and Bryan are the only remaining members of last season’s cast. That’s a tall, fast, order for an hour-long show. I anticipate many explosions to get it all in.
You can catch up on all of Season One at NBC.com before the Season Two premiere on January 12.
Photo Source: NBC.com & Taken