Monday, November 24, 2008

The Unit - Recap & Review - "Shadow Riders"

The Unit
Shadow Riders

Original Air Date: 23 Nov 2008

Brittany Wells – TwoCents Reviewer

Last week, somebody commented that I must not like this show because I find things to make fun of. This episode – obviously setting things up for whatever craziness is going on next week, but more on that later – gave me plenty of ammunition. I love this show dearly, but you do have to call it like you see it. At least it made more sense than “Inquisition.”

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  1. Last week, somebody commented that I must not like this show because I find things to make fun of. This episode – obviously setting things up for whatever craziness is going on next week, but more on that later – gave me plenty of ammunition. I love this show dearly, but you do have to call it like you see it. At least it made more sense than “Inquisition.”

    There are two basic plots in this episode: one involving Mack, Charles and Jonas escorting a girl through Afghanistan so she can be married off and therefore seal a peace treaty, and one involving Kim and Bob working together to figure out what the heck is up with Kim’s boss Isaac. I’ll talk about the first part first.

    Firstly, it must sort of suck to be Jonas Blane. If I’d rescued my kid from Syria a week ago, I’d still be velcroed to her (and I bet Molly probably is, hence Regina Taylor’s absence from this episode), but he’s doing the noble team leader thing and being in charge as they end up riding horses (yep, hence the title) from Point A to Point B. Nothing much happens plotwise, but it gives our characters moments to show their personalities really well. When the team comes across a Dutch aid worker and takes her in, I thought, “Oh, that’s nice of them” until Jonas pointed out to their guide that it was to keep her from squealing on them. This, sir, is why you are in charge of the Unit and I am but a humble episode reviewer.

    Then we get to Mack. I know I’m obvious in saying Ryan is my favorite, but I adore Mack and this is another reason why everyone else loves him too. Max Martini steals it with sarcasm (commenting he really doesn’t want to die for a horse), brings back our favorite OTP (Mack/rifle), and even sort of saves the day in the end. You see, the princess has a little thing for Mack (and who wouldn’t, really). So at the end of the episode, being that arranged marriages suck, he lies and claims he’s fallen in love with the girl so that when she turns eighteen, she can go marry whoever the heck she wants. That was actually really sweet.

    And Charles. Oh, Charles, how I like you. Remember last week when I said it would be funny if someone had no idea what language was being spoken to them? What happens to Charles is somewhat in the same vein. We find out that Charles hates horses, and Michael Irby expresses his distaste perfectly just with the look on his face. It’s one of those things that might not necessarily be good drama, but it’s entertaining, and realistic to boot. Props to the writer for injecting a lot of levity into this episode.

    Was anyone really surprised when the aid worker went all ‘human rights defender’ and flipped out? No. That’s because you’ve all been watching this show long enough to know that nobody is what they appear to be. Which is why it also probably surprised none of you that Kim’s eyelash-batting boss Isaac is now Colonel Ryan’s favorite suspect. I’m sure a lot of you, like me, figured the guy was just too damn nice to be true. (Although I wonder whatever happened to his wife, she seemed more than a little creepy to me, too.) Bob is, of course, not happy with this.

    I’m going to dwell on this scene for a second, for two reasons. The first is Ryan in general. Assuming that a week has passed between episodes, the man looks pretty good for somebody that got beaten to presumably near-death. I was expecting worse, but I’ll give the show half a pass on it because it’s also probably not efficient for either the writers or Robert Patrick to have him dragging around an IV all episode. The second thing that gets me about this scene is just how it uses common sense. Bob is upset and wants to protect his wife, so Ryan lets him go and infiltrate Reed alongside Kim. I love it when shows think the way that the rest of us normal people would. When I can make something make sense, I’m much more inclined to believe it, and this decision is one of those things.

    The way that they do this is kind of ingenious: they convince Reed that Bob has a massive gambling problem, so Reed offers to get him some money by sending him on some top-super-secret trip to deliver a plane to someone named Leon Drake in Vegas. However, it turns out Drake is with the FBI, and spends an awful lot of time interrogating Bob. Meanwhile, Kim overhears a phone message from the previous nanny’s father, still wondering where his daughter is. She does some digging only to find out that the girl suspiciously vanished right before Kim started. Are we all putting the pieces together yet?

    It turns out Reed is sneakier than we thought. The FBI guy? Not really FBI, he’s working for Reed. The whole thing was a setup, a very elaborate test. And Ryan informs Bob, who then informs Kim, that they’ve now located the body of the previous nanny in the mountains. She’s just about to run for it when Reed turns up, and hits on her again. In the interest of saving her life, she kisses him. Yeah, that’s going to get ugly. And if the previews are right, very ugly, because he’s pulling a gun on her.

    This episode didn’t do much action-wise, but it sets up some very important plot points for next week. Don’t you think the TOC has to be massively awkward after beating one’s CO to within an inch of their life? If Isaac is the scary one, what does that say about his wife? And am I alone in appreciating finally having an episode without Bridget in it? (Don’t hold your breath. She’s back next week.) Sound off below.

  2. I dunno, it seems to me that the episodes are getting lamer and lamer. The plot with Bob and Kim was pretty interesting - Kim's doing awfully well for someone with no training! - but I thought the main storyline was boring. As far as I can see, the Dutch aid worker served no purpose at all except to get shot lots :P Still, yay for Mack being the hero :)

  3. Some of the episodes this season, IMO, are feeling like filler to get to a bigger point, like I felt "Inquisition" was just a big lead-up to the two-parter. I think this one basically is a lead-in to next week...I'm really hoping that they'll get these guys OUT of California because if each episode is roughly a week or so? They've been there for months. And if you're going to drag a plotline out all season, you'd better pay it off.

    I will say this: the writers have obviously recognized that Max Martini is sort of the unsung star of this show and never falter in giving him something to do. To me, he deserves higher billing than Scott Foley. He really steals the show, early and often.


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