“Close to Home, Part 2”
January 29, 2018
And so, here we are. End of Season 1 of The Brave, arguably the best new show of this Fall Television Season, and while we are left with one, potentially soul crushing cliffhanger, most of our most pressing story lines are wrapped up. Which is a credit to show creator Dean Georgaris and his writers staff for not leaving us hanging in the wind … God forbid NBC does not grant a Season 2. But, let us not dwell on such negative thoughts for there is nothing we can do right now anyway.
No, dear The Brave family, let us instead relive the action and intensity, the highs and lows, the McG getting punched in the face and the Jaz in a leather vest, of last night’s explosive season finale, “Close To Home, Part 2.” First, Read Our Deep Dive Recap from Last Week’s Part 1 if you haven’t already … I’m going to assume in the recap below that you have!
Spoilers Ahead!! You’ve been warned. The recap … after the jump!
Vienna, Austria. Still 9 Years Ago. We’ve moved ahead in time a bit from the last Vienna flashback from last week but not very. Previously, we saw Alex enter a car which immediately exploded but the new information we get this week is what came right before.
Patricia is talking to Hoffman on the phone, (A) about the power suits who were, truthfully, waiting for her in the suite loaded to bear with all sorts of nasty stories about him (he’s not worried, do enough “great things” and people will come after you with accusations) and (B) about his car info and train reservation which she’s arranged for him: Gray BMW, license plate 341, train leaves at 4, last name Cayhill. He makes an ominous comment about wishing she had used “Campbell” for the reservation and then BOOOM!
But we’ve seen that. What we haven’t seen is that CIA Director Haver is sitting on the couch watching the laptop recording of the explosion in real time … the one we ourselves come to watch several times. He thanks her for her courage blah blah blah, but she throws the cell phone at him and storms out; you can tell she’s feeling like a bit of Judas with her 30 pieces of silver. Curious, was Haver there to babysit her – make sure she went through with it and didn’t tip off Hoffman instead of selling him out?
The Present. Quonset Hut. Campbell orders Hoffman be moved out of the cage and then to have the room; time to do some interrogating. But Alex isn’t ready to move on to the present, he’s still hung up on her flawless performance and role in his planned killing. What choice did she have, with the crimes he committed?!? He plays innocent, saying he thought Patricia understood what he was doing and while yes, she knew he “coloring outside the lines” which she encourages (Dalton can attest to this), she says “I had no idea that you had become all you beheld.” Which is just beautiful writing, delivered by an Ace in Anne Heche. He falls back on his “ends justify the means” argument but she can’t accept that there aren’t limits. Limits such as killing fathers and 16 year-old girls. Their mutual baggage bubbles up with her yelling, pleading to spare the innocent, while he grouses that right up until he got in the car, he thought she’d warn him. They are speaking at cross purposes here, but I suspect that’s Hoffman’s aim.
Which begs the question, how good is Hoffman? He knew, HE KNEW, when he was talking to her on that phone and walking to that BMW, that shit was going to explode. He knew! Man, he talks about Campbell not flinching on the phone, how about his acting performance in that conversation?!?
Verina and the Polite Kidnap Murderers. Verina, reasonably enough, asks to be freed as she has hacked the submarine like they asked but Polite Kidnap Murdered (who we’ll learn is named, Victor (Marc Crumpton)), says that he can’t let her go until the job is done so she should behave as to not make her stay … uncomfortable. She agrees (I mean, what choice does she really have?).
Quonset Hut. Outside the Hut, Dalton, as you may imagine if you have seen this show at least once, has some strong feelings about Hoffman and what he is doing. He’s thinking aloud to himself, hes trying to convince himself of something he thinks he knows he’s going to have to do but isn’t quite mentally and/or emotionally prepared for … not yet. Preach is here, acting as the priest/confessor/therapist; Top’s over-arching point? You need to treat Hoffman same as a rabid dog, “you do one thing, you put him down.” And that’s the problem, Dalton posits, because Patricia isn’t here to put Hoffman down, she’s there to take him home; hence, proving Hoffman’s original theory that Campbell will destroy her career.
Hannah cuts into Preach’s response of a Daily Dose of Preach Wisdom with some bad news. The USS Wyoming, the sub that was hacked in the South China Sea? Its changed course … its headed directly for Fiery Cross Reef,** and they can’t regain control of the sub.
The team seize on the possibility this might be the Chinese actually orchestrating this, they get to look like a victim of American aggression while also being able to steal a $2 billion submarine with24 nuclear warhead equipped missiles. Time to go to work, kids, we have about 3 hours to resolve this and the clock is already ticking. Dun dun dunnnn
Inside, Dalton brings Campbell up to speed on the China connection and the time clock as he draws his gun on Hoffman. This pleases Hoffman, “you’re gonna have to do it, you know. Sooner or later.” Campbell interrupts the dick measuring contest to plead again, to help. With Dalton’s gun to his head, he agrees to help as much as he can, for Patricia, not for Adam who he has called “sport” and “ace” in this scene. Old-timey talk!
Hoffman says he needs his phone, has to be his, because of the “master protocol.” Anything other than his phone (even if its his voice on another line) and they’ll consider him a lost cause and then Verina (and the Wyoming) as fucked. Hoffman makes a point to say its an old school flip phone, analog; harder to track and bug. He gives Adam the unlock code for the phone (112708, if you’re wondering, which happens to be the date of his “death”). We’re spending a lot of time on this phone so maybe you need to place it on the shelf labelled “may be important later” mmm kay? Dalton dials and an automated escort line picks up; Hoffman leaves a message with all sorts of buzzwords and coding in it but the meat and potatoes is that he’s asking for a meet up at “Eyvan Kebap Bar” at 5pm. I gave youth website to Eyvan Kebap (there are actually 2 locations in Adana so it must be a pretty popular spot) in case you’re in Adana soon and want to drop in … Anyway, after he disconnects, Hoffman adds one more problem to the pile, he’s never actually met the contact in person so he’s not sure what he looks like. Whelp.
DIA HQ. Noah takes a call from Captain Halsey (John Terlesky, who directed this episode); Halsey said he is basically living a submarine captain’s nightmare — not having control of your own ship. Brass Tacks: Halsey will not let they Wyoming fall into the hands of the ChiComs (he doesn’t say ChiComs but he’s got a real Tom Clancy feel to his performance and a submarine Captain, in a Tom Clancy novel, would say ChiComs in this situation), so if they can’t help him regain control of his sub, he’s going to scuttle it (that means sink it with himself and anyone else that can’t be evacuated still on board). Commercials.
Listen, this is not hyperbole or writer’s fantasy. This is what a Captain in the US Navy would do given these circumstances; this is the sacrifice they are prepared to make when they accept their commission. 151 souls on board the Wyoming — dedicated to keeping you safe from America’s enemies.
When we return, Hannah and Patricia are catching the other up on where they are at — neither is really anywhere. Currently, Dalton & Co are trying to brainstorm a way to get a tracker on to whomever shows up at the 5pm meet … hopefully that leads them to Verina. Before they hang up, Hannah offers any help Patricia needs, officially or unofficially — no questions asked. That’s some Employee of the Month Stuff, right there Hannah!
Here is the entirety of Hoffman’s completely unhelpful description of the contact: named “Victor”; ex-SAS (British Special Forces); white, 6 feet tall and short dark hair. He likes young women and old scotch. Other than the creepy “young women” vibe and the British Special Forces, I could be Victor you guys. I am NOT Victor, but I am saying, that description fits me. Like exactly. So, you know, not really helpful. Victor graciously offers to come with to hep ID him but obviously that’s a non-starter.
Here is the plan they come up with: McG will play a loud mouth, mouth-breathing boyfriend to an amazingly sexy looking Jaz (sporting a cockney British accent which is different from Natacha Karam‘s real, sophisticated British accent), who isn’t interested in going home with her Neanderthal. By triggering a slight domestic altercation in the bar, they are hoping this scene appeals to Victor’s inflated sense of self and he’ll intervene on Jaz’s behalf … thus allowing them access to place a tracker on him. A Modified Honey Trap of sorts.
While we’re waiting for the “Plan” to get going, Alex and Patricia have a heart to heart. They talk about all The Feels and then he does his Alex thing and tries to convince her to use him as an asset – don’t turn him in; no good comes of that for either of them. With his connections, with the people he knows, they can dominated again. She responds, “you are too dangerous to be free.” Hmm. So that’s a hard pass?
Eyvan Kebap Bar. The Plan goes … perfectly actually. Boyfriend McG (complete with douchebag wear – the backwards ball cap and flannel) confronts a leather vested Jaz playing pool with some guys she’s met. He confronts her, it gets shouty and then, AND THEN, Victor comes up behind McG and lays him out flat with a pool stick. “You see, hitting a woman, that’s what cowards do. Breaking cowards, that’s what I do,” he smugs. Top tells McG to confirm its Victor (get a taste for if he’s trained) which essentially means McG has to take some humiliating licks. Victor lays him out once more at which point, McG, finally gets to leave. As he’s exiting, he mutters into his comms that he could have taken that guy, FYI. Dalton, “Put a bandaid on it, Sugar.” Which is a hysterical come back and according Georgaris, a completely ad-libbed line from actor Mike Vogel (who plays Dalton).
McG exits and a little later on, Victor makes his approach to Jaz, bringing her ice for her wrist. He intimates he could be the next Mr. Wrong and she blows him off. Sometime later, she bring him a bottle of old Scotch and her number written on a piece of paper. Smiles and walks away. Good lord woman … all the feels for Jaz. Focus! Anyway, Victor smiles smugly, cause that’s what Victor does, and pockets the number. Little does he know, they’ve placed an RFID tracker in the paper fiber and now they know where is without having to track him (or at least, they know where the phone number is).
DIA HQ. Noah is on the line with the Wyoming which is attempting to download Cyber Command’s worm, their attempt to override the hack and retake control of the Sub. The first initial steps work but ultimately, the worm fails to take control. Noah tells them they’ll fix that last step and get back to them. He disconnects and tells Hannah he lied, that wasn’t some draft product, that was the best Cyber Command could do and they were sure it would work. Maybe Cyber Command should hire 16 year old girls to work for them?!?
Junkyard Fortress. Dalton and Jaz are staking out where Victor is keeping Verina and its well guarded via electronic surveillance and security systems. They might be able to cut power but that costs them surprise and surprise is their only real weapon. Back at the Quonset Hut, the team starts the mission brief but there are no really good. Sure, there aren’t a lot of men but the security systems still expose them and there back up generators for if they cut power. Drone strike is out because they need to keep Verina alive – she’s the only one that can undo the hack.
Dalton and Patricia pay Hoffman a visit, as they approach, Adam asks her why she couldn’t have just killed him the first time around, “Believe me, I tried,” she deadpans. Hoffman says there is nothing he can do to stop Victor as far as Verina goes – he gave him irrevocable orders but he does suggest they use Victor’s “strength” against him …
Cut to Preach and McG working together to hack into the machine Verina is using to hack into the sub (remember, she’s actively controlling the sub, keeping its destination and speed on point). She picks up their message and they quickly work out a plan where she’ll cut the power and the team (minus Preach who is back at the Hut with Patricia and Hoffman) will storm the compound. Verina adds that they’re going to come down on her hard and fast so this all has to happen rapidly.
The Mission: Verina cuts the power and Dalton & Co quickly snipe the 2 perimeter guards (there is a funny scene where Dalton takes Jaz’ shot right before she fires). Victor realizes their is a problem brewing outside and sends the rest of his goons to clean up the mess. That’s when the Rolling Stone’s “Might As Well Get Juiced” cues up on the soundtrack and Dalton & Co go to work.
The actual takedown is done before the song even really gets going … that’s how over powered Dalton & his team are for some thugs. Adam lets Victor know its all over … which is when we hear gun fire from inside. They breach the door with an urgency, only to find Verina is okay but the laptop is shot all to hell. Well, its something I guess. Problem is, right before the breach started, Noah told Captain Halsey to hold on for just a few more minutes (they are only 10 minutes away from a welcome party of Chinese ships sitting right at their territorial border) and he will sink the damn boat. Victor surrenders like the coward he is but the poetic justice comes when he sees, first, Jaz’s face, “you,” he says, and then McG adds in, “and me *punch* Cheers, mate!” Ahh, sweet revenge.
Time is basically out for the USS Wyoming but Verina, watching from the sidelines, is able to techno babble a code hack for Noah to download to the Wyoming via the sub’s ELF (or, Extremely Low Frequency) antennae (which the Wyoming uses to download entertainment packages (e.g., movies) to the crew to enjoy). Techno babble, techno babble, techno babble, and the Wyoming is free from the grip of the hack and turns just in time before it crosses the territory line! Hooray!
Here’s the problem. There are still 11 whole minutes left in this episode and we haven’t wrapped the Hoffman story line up yet. So, hold your Hoorays for a second.
Crisis averted, Dalton tells Patricia and Preach that they are RTB (returning to base) with Victor and a heroic 16 year old (who really, was a hero at the end but the ENTIRE source of these problems). Preach says he can’t wait to meet her …
Patricia thanks Alex, who says whatevs, he was never going to get to spend the money he was making anyway from the job. He would like her to apologize though. Again, he comes back to her betrayal – her lack of a warning. Just a “Run, Alex” and he wouldn’t be mad that she didn’t do anything else to protect him. She’s like, “Dude, I’ll say whatever you need to hear to shut the fuck up” but he wants her to mean it. Cause, Patricia, you killed me, murdered me. And now, you think you’re going to do it again …
“I don’t think so, P. I died last time. This time, its your turn.” Patricia and Preach perk at this phrasing but both react too slowly. With all his effort, Hoffman kicks over the table he’s been sitting at all episode, the only thing on the table is the phone. The old school flip phone. Analog. Hard to track, hard to bug. You know what it also is? A bomb. When the phone hits the floor, a mighty explosion ignites. Before cutting to commercials, our last image is of Preach diving to cover Patricia. I’ll note that for its worth, you don’t see Hoffman in the dust cloud and also, he had the table technically between him and bomb blast … for what it may be worth.
When we return, Noah exposits for the DIA staffers (and us) that Campbell is unconscious but expected to be fine. Privately to Hannah, he says that having taken the brunt of the bomb’s impact, Preach’s lungs were severely impacted and he is in a coma. Amir and Jaz sit vigil by Preach; Amir tells her she should call Mrs. Preach because Top, Top is going to “be awhile.” We cut to Patricia who regains consciousness as McG is by her side. He asks for details and she explains how the phone was an impact bomb; when Dalton put in the unlock code, he also armed the bomb. Which is interesting because that pretty much means, no matter what, this was Hoffman’s plan from that point (where he made the contact call) forward. The man commits, you can’t fault him that.
Back to the story, Campbell asks how Preach is? “Not so good,” McG responds. She’s so shocked and disoriented, this response from McG seems to confuse her. She asks if Dalton is with him. “No. Honestly, I don’t know where he is. He yanked his comms, left his phones. We haven’t heard from him in hours. He went dark.
Some House. I originally thought they were at the Junkyard Fortress where Victor was holding Verina and maybe they are but it looks so much different than the other aspects we were shown, I am going with, “Some house.” Hoffman sneaks in, flashlight on, and and begins snooping around. Dalton, sitting at a small kitchen table interrupts him, asking if he is looking for the laptop currently under his hand? They banter about the value of the laptop and Hoffman takes a seat across from Dalton. The final chess match has begun.
I should note that Adam has his gun up and pointed at Alex this entire scene. Hoffman, who really never stops talking, starts to ruminate about how this is how it ends “for guys like us.” Its been a nice consistent approach these 2 episodes how Hoffman has approached Dalton as the brother in arms – virtually indistinguishable in motivations and abilities and morality – the morality is the sticking point, I think. But Dalton doesn’t disagree this time, he embraces Hoffman’s monologue, that it ends “in a dark room with another quiet professional.”
Hoffman engages in the same psy-ops we have seen from him these two episodes, having finally gotten to the team member he really wanted to engage with. He starts a conversation about childhood and how pain of living makes us who we are. “It fuels the fire,” Dalton believes but in the end, we just are who we are. A nature over nurture approach, Hoffman muses. He seizes on this and begins talking about his instinct and training have him memorizing details in this dark room but why? You don’t have memories when you’re dead. “Maybe Hell is the perfect memory of everything that we’ve ever done,” Dalton counters. Hoffman realizes that Dalton is not Patricia after all — he will be brought in, not by Dalton, not after what he’s done. “There is this quote I love,” Adam begins, “people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”** Convince yourself of whatever you want, Adam, but this, what you’re about to do, is just “basic murder,” Alex whines. Hoffman moves for his concealed gun (which we have learned belongs to Preach) and Adam shoots him, first in the gut, “I won’t say anything if you don’t,” Dalton replies, and then a shot in the head.
Captain Adam Dalton = Stone.Cold.Killer.
The Wrap Up. We cut to Dalton examining the debris in the Quonset Hut where he spies Patricia’s locket she is often playing with. Next, he is by her bed, placing the locket in her hands as she wakes and they stare at each other. A mutual understanding and secret neither will ever share.
Preach’s Bedside. The team is gathered around him, talking about how its odd for him to be so quiet. They start to quote some of his Preach-a-Day Wisdom drops that they imagine he’d be giving them to buck them up. Cryptic as fuck but so Preach, that you understand what they mean even if you don’t really understand what they mean. Here they are, because I like to transcribe things:
Dalton: “The sun and the moon are twins …”
Amir: “Trials are the precursors to triumphs.”
Jaz: “The river of life runs through rapids we call adversity.”
Our last shots are, in succession, Patricia recovering in her hospital bed staring out just past the camera; Noah and Hannah leaving work – another crisis resolved, a personal one created; and the team …
Thoughts. Okay, so another episode of crisp dialogue and character beats. As much as we enjoy in a visceral way the well-orchestrated action sequences and delight in the precision and accuracy of the military movement and terms, its the human aspect of The Brave that draws you in. You believe these people care about each other; that they care about their mission; that this group of 8 patriots would sacrifice everything to save one of their comrades, one of their Brothers in Arms (gender inclusive). And because of that, because its so believable, YOU – the viewer, you begin to care as deeply as the characters do. You’re invisible member of the team but because you have this front row seat to their exploits, you are invested in their successes and their failures, their triumphs and adversity, and their loves and their losses.
When Season 2 comes around, be prepared for Preach to pass away. Because its realistic. Creator and showrunner, Dean Georgaris, along with his writing staff and military technical advisor, Mikal Vega, are sworn to realistic portrayal of the willing sacrifice the men and women that make up our military and in particular, our elite spec ops teams, are willing to make. And, that’s okay. Because, Preach’s death will not have been in vain nor will it be a cheap ratings stunt; it will have been earned, sacrificing his life to protect his boss but putting himself between harm’s way and those he’s sworn his life to protect.
Chief Petty Officer Ezekiel “Preach” Carter is a rough man, standing ready to do violence on our behalf, and part of that, is being willing to throw yourself in front of a bomb’s blast. He is a patriot and a warrior.
But, maybe he won’t die. And that will be okay too.
I called titled this recap, “Prophetic Words and Dark Deeds” because those 2 themes were prevalent and central to the final play of the story.
Prophetic Words: For two episodes, Hoffman was baiting, taunting and now, predicting that when push came to shove, Dalton would not be able to be a Boy Scout – he would have to do the thing that Patricia would not and could not do. He, Dalton, would have to be the one to end Alex Hoffman’s life. In fact, I think he expressly tells him at least twice in this 2 episode arc that he’ll have to be the one to “end this.” Also, what happened to Preach, and what it says about his character and his personal honor and commitment to duty, it made me immediately flash back to Part 1, where Hoffman has Preach in his psy-ops cross-hairs. As part of baiting Preach, he mentions his family and he mentions that Preach is a good man who deserves to have a family. He demonstrated that personal worth tonight. You’ll also recall that conversation between Alex and Preach began by a discussing being “saved” at the last moments of life and redemption, and that the Bible wasn’t a “how to” for the hereafter, but rather a how to on “how to live on Earth more abundantly.” Do you think Hoffman had redemption at the Pearly Gates? I’m doubtful.
Dark Deeds: A few episodes ago, in “Grounded,” Adam ended the episode with a monologue directed at Jaz about the darkness of being an operator like they are. He ended it with the following line: “I don’t know if, um, if we have to have a dark side to do what we do, Jaz. But I know that I met mine. And, uh, no matter what I do … that guy never goes away.”
Tonight, in that final scene with Hoffman, in a dark room with another quiet professional, Adam completed his thought that he began with Jaz. He completed the story that we didn’t even realize was left unfinished. Its really the same conversation, the same thought thread that’s been with Dalton since he did what he did to get Jaz back in “Desperate Measures.” His final thought on the matter, the moment he has accepted who he is. For better. For worse. A Rough Man Standing Ready to do Violence …
Tonight, Adam tells Hoffman, “Maybe Hell is the perfect memory of everything that we’ve ever done.” I took this to mean that Adam has no illusions about whether he may or may not get into Heaven or what may come of his soul, if anything, he seems resigned to the worst outcome BUT, when he departs this Earth, he will be have felt justified in his actions, knowing he took them for what he understood to be safety of those he loves and on behalf of the institutions and freedoms that he cherishes. And that … that is a bargain he can live with.
Thank you all so much for reading this season and I look forward to Deep Dive Recapping Season 2 (renew the show already NBC!!). Until then, stay frosty.
** Fiery Cross Reef is an example of a man made island. Real world fact: China is slowly claiming dominion over the South China Sea via creation of these artificial islands (because they claim the water around the island as sovereign, same as we claim the water off of the coast of the US as belonging to us), threatening ships that pass through what they claim as their “territorial waters.”
** This quote, which is also one of my favorites, is often attributed to George Orwell. However, its probably more accurately an amalgamation of various quotes of people over time.