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Sweatpants & TV | Taken, Season 2, Episode 8 “Strelochnik”

By Lesley Gayle

Hart wanders into the woods by herself, hunting the mentor who betrayed her. All her finger-wagging over justice versus personal revenge went right out the door, didn’t it? How will this improve team trust, when you lie to your go-to guy, Christina?

Hart tells Bryan over the phone that she is drumming up business in Dubai. But she isn’t in Dubai. Her well-trained and overly suspicious team find breadcrumbs of her actual whereabouts while doing “inventory” on their day off. (Inventory? Like for guns, knives, and liquor?)

Bryan’s guard dog hackles are triggered when Lassie remembers he heard a train whistle in the background of Hart’s call. Bryan’s ruined for trains forever after his sister’s death. (It would have been awesome to see Bryan’s struggle with that trauma, but we don’t. There is merely a mention of it at the end of the episode.)

Hart meanwhile has boarded the Trans-Siberian Railway. With a click of her gun, we are transported to a faded memory of her past (Literally, the scene’s color fades. It sounds hokey but the effect works really well). Side note: did no one on the train see her pull this sucker out? Everyone was still being seated!

Her past is an older mentor agent/handler she trusted and loved, who killed her source, outed her to the Russians and then defected for money. (Every woman over thirty is now jealous of Beals in her love scenes. She still has the maniac body!)

Kilroy tracks down the most likely location for Hart. And Santana and Bryan sneak into Russia on a Japanese cargo ship that smuggles Afghani drugs. (Santana has all the best contacts.) She and Bryan gain passage on the ship after taking out some modern-day ninjas, who were plotting against the kingpin. (They were really badly trained ninjas who didn’t even try to conceal their identities.) Santana and Mills catch up with Christiana, just as her ex-lover leaves her to be killed by his security detail. Bryan gets to use his new catchphrase again!

In a great twist, Hart doesn’t kill her treacherous lover, Donovan. Christina kills his handler, Farewell, instead. Hart’s original mission was to take out Farewell twenty years ago. So is she just finishing her last mission? I hope Hart isn’t losing too much sleep over this loser. Donovan insisted he loved her, before he tries to kill her again. Bryan ends it once and for all, shooting him in the back.

I like that this episode didn’t have a bigger social commentary. I appreciate the need for social awareness, but we as a society, have political “fatigue” right now and don’t need to be reminded of it outside of the news these days. The acting was perfect and our characters are finally bonded. Bryan is still a bit of fish out of water with his interpersonal relationships, but he’s rarely in the office. The team needs more bonding time over sake. The only social message inserted was Santana’s eco-causes – saving dolphins and wanting revenge on an ivory poacher. (I’d actually like to see those episodes. Maybe the sons of some nation’s leader could be caught trying to shoot the last baby Javan rhino when it’s tied to a tree. I’d love to see Bryan make them pee their pants.)

In the end, Bryan doesn’t give Hart a tongue lashing. She admits she was a hypocrite for seeking revenge and not involving the team. Truthfully though, it wasn’t pure revenge, it was her original mission years ago. But it was personal. Bryan is being too nice. I hope he ribs her about it often.

My Favorite moments:

Hart Got Skills

You have to be a great actor – i.e. liar – to be a spy. Hart’s skills are honed. I love the quick turn her expressions take, as she twists an asset around her finger.

Hair of the Dog

Kilroy, team player that he is, comes in on his day off – hung over.

Then we travel to Japan for sake, and Siberia for drunk sailors. Everyone needs to take the edge off this week.

Someone’s Been Sleeping in My Bed

Santana zones in that someone accessed a lockbox of passports. And Kilroy discovers a hack job of someone touching his computer. (He would notice, he already asked Bryan not to touch his mouse.) Hart even left a photo of her old handler.

And She’s Still Not Here – Bryan goes Papa Bear

Santana and Kilroy get distracted with their back and forth flirting over who has fewer morals. Bryan, knowing the dangers of the spy game, is now really worried about Hart. Bryan has a point. I mean, the team found Hart in five minutes, while NOT looking and hungover.  It was emotional sloppiness by Hart.

But the villagers don’t want to listen to Lassie about the dangers Timmy is facing. Bryan loses it over the levity in the room. Kilroy may or may not have learned his lesson – probably not. Maybe he’ll learn if thrown on the front line.

Ninjas!

My favorite scene this week was NINJAS! Bryan and Theresa earn their passage to Russia by killing a room full of NINJAS.

They weren’t very stealth about concealing their identities, like good ninjas. And we don’t know how Mills learned of the conspiracy. But who cares! Santana and Mills took out a room full of NINJAS!

And Standen gives a nod to his Rollo character.

Tune into next week’s episode when Hart must stop a journalist from leaking the names of government assets.

Here’s hoping next week is as good as this one!

Picture source: NBC & Taken

Leslie Gayle

Leslie is a one time CPA, wife and mom of twins. She’s an over thinker who loves karate, thunder, and travel. Her sweatpants are yoga pants and she takes her coffee with milk.

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