“18 years of sustained combat. I learned a long time ago to remain calm in the chaos, so that the fighting doesn’t bother me. But when things go quiet, I hear Father Time coming for me. A new battle on the horizon, and for the first time in my life I’m feeling an enemy I don’t know how to fight.”
What David Boreanaz does is create iconic television characters. He has had no trouble getting work over the years. He has had the ability to jump from one successful series to another and enjoy longevity in those roles. Unlike many actors who have had big television roles, he doesn’t get at all pigeonholed or typecast. In Buffy The Vampire Slayer he originated the role of the vampire Angel, who spun off to his own series for several years. Immediately after that he took on the role of an FBI agent and partner to the title character on Bones. That job lasted a decade. Before the remains of Bones could be laid to rest, he was already working on his next new series. Now he’s the field leader of a Navy SEAL team, and if the first three seasons of SEAL Team is any indication, he’s going to be dodging bullets and RPG’s for the foreseeable future. CBS has a big tradition of long-running shows, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a decade from now I’m talking to you about the 14th season of SEAL Team.
David Boreanaz plays Jason Hayes. Hayes is the field commander for a Tier 1 SEAL team coded Bravo Unit. These are guys who are always on call for covert ops missions. While the majority of their missions occur in the Middle East hunting down terrorists, they could be called for anywhere in the world and at any time. This season the team spends a lot of time in Serbia and Greece. This season the miles are starting to weigh on his mind. We learn he keeps a contact folder in his phone with the numbers of the 40 brothers he’s lost over the years. He’s also worried that he might not be able to operate for much longer. He’s starting to carry the weight of the loss and burden. He tries to leave but finds that he can’t really function unless he’s in the fight.
Jason’s second in command is Ray Perry, played by Neil Brown Jr. Ray is finding it hard to care for his family and his brothers. It was always expected he would one day lead a team of his own, but the family needs a bigger house, and he believes his brothers need him. So he breaks ranks to try for Warrant Officer, which would keep him in the vicinity of his team, but as an officer. Jason doesn’t take it so well at first. Ray’s having trouble coping after he’s captured and tortured. His capture gets Jason back in command, at least for a while. Brown gets a lot to play this season. His character truly goes through the wringer, and we get to see this complicated issue throughout each of his relationships both on the team and at home. This might very well be Emmy stuff. It’s a truly masterful performance. Credit also to the writers for finding a way to turn the disadvantage of COVID into such a huge gain for the show. The episodes had to turn more inward because of production limitations, and it caused the writers to really push the envelope on the characters, and it paid huge dividends, making this possibly the best season yet. Jason also has to deal with killing an unarmed civilian in battle and has to worry about perceptions and whether Ray has his back.
“I did not join the Navy just to end up on a ship.”
A.J. Buckley plays Sonny Quinn. He’s the contradiction and often humor of the team. While he’s the big muscle guy and a tough fighter, he also has a lot of phobias, which include spiders and heights, which are often unavoidable, particularly for a guy who jumps out of airplanes for a living, sometimes in thick jungles. He’s a Texas man with a ton of pride. He’s been secretly romancing Ensign Davis (Trucks). When they get close to getting caught, she breaks up with him, and it puts him in a bit of a depression. The only way they can get together is for one of them to leave Bravo, and those things just don’t work out for them. He discovers he’s going to be a father going back to last season’s Texas visit where he hooks up with his old high school sweetheart. Sonny is going to have to change, and those days are coming hard and fast. Davis, on the other hand, is finding she’s in demand for her skills and could be moving up the chain of command quickly.
One of the better stories of the others is Clay (Thieriot), who has been the POV of the show up until now. He was the newbie back in Season 1, but that perspective has shifted back to Jason as the series has evolved. He has a father in high places who he attempts to distance himself from. This season he takes the fall for a letter Ray wrote, and it costs him some discipline, maybe even the loss of Bravo. He also reunites with his old girlfriend, and the season finale has them getting married. Clay is the character who has matured the most over these four years.The episodes are action-packed, to be sure. The show’s ability to do battles on a television budget that look this good from week to week is pretty amazing. There’s plenty of battle action with explosions and helicopters and all sorts of operations. Many of the shows are ripped directly from real headlines. You will absolutely recognize some of these stories. The episodes also take some time to look at the impact on the families of the team members and how they deal with this kind of lifestyle.There are times the show gets a little too heavy with exposition or military alphabet soup. You might want to catch up on your terms, because they’re going to use them naturally without filling you in. Obviously it adds authenticity to the show. I do hate when one character has to explain something that would really not require an explanation in this group of people. The old “as you know …” syndrome doesn’t happen here.
This season there are only 16 episodes on four discs. The first two episodes were really intended to be the final two from the previous season. COVID messed up many shows’ schedules. They do offer a bit more of a closure as you can see the shift to the changes in Bravo starting with the third episode. It works pretty well but still leaves with a short season, but one really focused on the relationships. You get deleted scenes, a feature on the season, a short feature on set construction, and a sit-down with Boreanaz and the writers to talk about the season. One could wish for full seasons but under COVID.“That’s not how this works.”