Here we go again! Let's see whether the latest installment passes muster.
The good news? SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 5 is probably the most technically adept and exciting of the show yet.
That said, I have some reservations. First, I hope it is never seen in the South Sudan. They have enough issues without seeing themselves portrayed as bogeymen.
Secondly, I hope no member of the state department ever sees this episode because the gleeful insults it hurls at diplomats are over the line.
Yes, I get that Acting Ambassador Crowley, the comically obnoxious and inept villain, is not supposed to represent all diplomats, but that's like saying Walter Peck in Ghostbusters isn't supposed to represent all EPA workers. Cold comfort.
What the hell were you doing, Nate?Jason
The portrayal of Jason handing him a flag was just heavy-handed and smug. The point had already been made that he was awful, and the implication that diplomats aren't real patriots was ugly.
It was also totally unnecessary since sometimes ethical and good diplomats can make decisions that would make someone like Jason's life more difficult. Natural conflict is always more interesting than inflated and invented conflict.
I also hate primetime's Game of Thrones inspired habit of killing people off unexpectedly. It's starting to feel lazy, and while the unexpected death was dramatic, it also left a cheap aftertaste.
Do not talk about papaw.Brian
All of that said, I am happy to report that Jason's love life and his investigation into Nate's love life played a minimal role. As a long time David Boreanaz fan, I loved Buffy, and I loved Bones and I loved him in those shows' romances.
Yet, on SEAL Team, the romance for his character just drags on the show. Thankfully, there were no domestic scenes with Alana and no random scenes of Mandy gazing at Jason. This made the show move faster and more engaging.
There was one brief scene that revealed the identity of Nate's mystery woman to be the wife of the team's interpreter in Afghanistan. So it's almost certain Nate wasn't cheating but was doing something noble, which is expected but good.
Ray: Did we rig the election?
Reporter: They seem to think so.
The strongest elements, and they were very strong, were the escape and battle scenes. They were tense and exciting. Ray's encounter with the reporter who confronted him about the US government felt fair to both sides, though the end fist bump was a little pat.
Jason's confrontation with the aid workers also showed both perspectives intelligently, and Jason choosing to respect the aid workers and their bravery was welcome and added to his heroism.
Jason also got to cleverly come up with a way to rescue Davis, Ray, and the reporter.
I had also expected to grouse about what filler Clay and Brian's subplot was because, until the end, it felt like filler. Sure, it was cute to see the two bros bond. Brian got to ship Stella and Clay, get laid at the graduate school party, and talk about his family.
I was enjoying the budding friendship between Clay and Brian, even though it all felt silly. Frankly, I should have known something was up.
Because they had to go and kill off Brian. It's like they can't let the cliches go. It's not enough that Clay feels out of place and has to live up to his dad and also live down his dad's reputation.
Now, he has to have a dead buddy. At least, I'm going to assume Brian didn't survive, although it wasn't confirmed.
And it was dramatic, but there's that cheap aftertaste. It's a little early in the series to randomly kill off a likable side character, especially when that character had told Clay to make it work with Stella.
What do you say we give peace a chance?Jason
They might as well have named Brian "Goose" after the ill-fated buddy in Top Gun.
I like Max Theriot, and I like Clay. I'm sure he'll do good work in the aftermath. Yet, I can't help but dread dueling "guy grieves his lost bro" scenes with Jason grieving Nate and Clay grieving Brian.
Yet, it still must be said that the chase scenes, the battle scenes, and the escape scenes were all well-directed, well-acted and exciting. When Jason is leading his team, cleverly coming up with solutions and being fair and wise, the show is at its best.
The writers would do well to trust that and not pump up the show with artificial conflict and drama.
Do you agree? Will you miss Brian and his shirt? Were you happy Jason didn't drag the aid workers away from their home?
If you missed the episode, you can watch SEAL Team online.
Melissa Marshall is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.