On S.W.A.T. Season 1 Episode 4 Hondo's leadership helped the team take down a local bomber, the women of the show dealt with the dangerous realities of the job, and we learn more about Buck.
"Radical" was similar to S.W.A.T. Season 1 Episode 1 in its timeliness and awareness of current issues. The hour focused on a local bomber who the FBI wrongly assumed was connected to Islamic extremism.
It's much easier to be sucked into the story when viewers can, unfortunately, recognize what's on screen from our real world.
It was enjoyable to see Hondo interact with the shop owner, Tarek, giving another example of how "in" he is with the locals. Fantasy Football, anyone?
Tarek represented the group of people who became targets because of the FBI's investigation. He went out of his way to help Hondo and got nothing in return but a broken window.
This kind of injustice certainly strikes a chord with viewers, and because of that, we relate more to Hondo because he's on the right side of the situation.
It was certainly not the only instance that Hondo was able to use his ability to connect with people in his favor.
In fact, Hondo was once again the knight in shining armor (who would have guessed?) when he was able to talk young Kevin out of setting off another bomb. It was Hondo's expertise and relatability that helped him save the lives of the hostages, Kevin, and himself.
Rather than being overly dramatic or optimistically cliche, the negotiation between Hondo and Kevin seemed extremely genuine and had me on the edge of my seat.
Maybe it was because the actor's desperation seemed so real, or that other characters were so worried about Hondo's safety, but the tension was palpable.
This "save the day" moment was certainly more believable than the helicopter scene from S.W.A.T. Season 1 Episode 2.
I particularly enjoyed it when Luca and the rest of the team presented Hondo with an "award" for this crazy stunt.
Luca: Okay the bad news is there is no Jackass of the Month to hand out today, but the good news is there's a Jackass of the Year! This month's infraction was a doozy because one of our own was pictured very prominently in the Sunday papers, on the front page, above the fold. Ladies and Gents, it is my distinct displeasure to present Jackass of the Year to shameless media darling, Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson. Come forward to receive your punishment! Anything you'd like to say?
Hondo: Yeah I got something to say, ya'll are fired! I would not like to thank the photographer who took this picture, and to the newspaper that published it, I curse you. And certainly no thanks to Annie and Deacon, our ungracious hosts.
This jovial scene made the outrageousness of the helicopter seem more like an inside joke with viewers because the team gave Hondo just as much crap as I did when I watched the episode.
Intentional or not, the nudge toward the audience was very clever.
Meeting Deacon's wife Annie was one of the highlights of the hour for me. Something about her mannerisms and her authenticity made her seem like a very real wife and mother who's doing her best to balance home life with the perils of her husband's job.
When questioned about Deacon's feeling about being passed over for team leader, Annie made it clear that Jessica didn't need to worry. This was telling of Deacon's personality but also showed just how aware Annie is about the inner workings of the team. This isn't her first rodeo.
Jessica: Hey, I know Deacon felt passed over when he wasn't made team leader. How's he holding up?
Annie: You don't have to worry about my husband causing a problem.
Jessica: How are you doing?
Annie: Look, I know it's tough being a cop, but sometimes I think it's tougher loving one.
It was especially poignant when Deacon was forced to say goodbye to his kids before the team went off to catch the bomber. I think all of his future scenes will be more emotionally charged now that we know exactly what he's missing at home.
Annie knows how difficult it can be to love a man with such a dangerous job -- a message that hit home for Jess later in the episode.
It was tough to watch Hondo refuse to wear the bomb gear when he went in to negotiate with Kevin against everyone's suggestions.
Jessica was forced to watch the man she clearly has feelings for come as close to death as one can -- and the only way out was his own words.
Viewers faced Jessica as she faced the screen of Hondo's body cam. Literally eye to eye, we were able to see just how painful this was for her.
Stephanie Sigman's superb acting only added to the emotion of the moment. Her minute facial expressions clearly showed how panicked she was about Hondo's safety just underneath her professional facade.
I expected a similar reunion scene between Jessica and Hondo as the sweet moment we witnessed with Annie and Deacon, but Jess wasn't about to let that happen.
When confronted by Hondo she almost admitted to her feelings toward him, but backed out at the last moment, putting her emotional walls firmly back in place
I wonder if this tough exterior is meant to protect her heart from the pain it could cause to love someone in such a dangerous position? Or is it merely an effort to protect the job she loves so much? My guess is it's a little bit of both.
Hondo himself had to deal with some new revelations this hour as well when he invited Buck back to HQ.
The extraordinary amount of respect that Hondo has for Buck and his career is undeniable, but I wondered if Hondo's attempt to reconnect stemmed from other motives simmering beneath the surface.
Buck: I see what you're trying to do here, you're trying to make me feel useful.
Hondo: Buck, you got screwed man. No hearing, no review, come on. That's one hundred percent Hicks trying to cover his own ass. I could still use you here.
Buck: I'm not going to responsible for you getting fired too. You got this.
Did Hondo genuinely want help with the case? Did he want guidance as a leader? Or, as Buck himself guessed, did he just want to make his friend feel useful?
Again, I think the answer is all of the above.
Hicks' big revelation was a rude awakening for Hondo when they stepped toe-to-toe regarding Buck's termination. Learning that Buck decided to leave the team was a shock to Hondo, and to me as a viewer.
Hicks: You don't have to do this, you know.
Hondo: The only thing I know is the perfect guy to disarm this kid is sitting on his ass in Northridge because you fired him without giving him the chance to defend himself.
Hicks: What's Buck got to do with this?
Hondo: He's who we need here today, but we don't have him because of you. You could've just suspended him, but no you fired him, because you wanted to do what's good for you, not what's good for this city. Otherwise, we wouldn't be in this position right now.
Hicks: You done? You think I enjoyed watching his career end like that? I begged him to fight it. Buck insisted that I fire him. He had shot an unarmed black kid who looked like he was about to die. Buck knew this city was about to explode. He didn't want to make it harder on the rest of us. It was Buck's call, not mine. -- I know you don't respect me.
Hondo: I never said that.
Hicks: Never had to. But if you ever say that I don't care about this city or the officers that work for me again, you and I are gonna mix it up.
The implications were threefold...
My first thought was that Buck ultimately sacrificed his career to provide a spot on the team for Street and help him onto the right path. It might seem like a drastic move, but not entirely unlikely considering what we know about their history, and the guilt Buck felt about shooting young Raymont.
This scene also allowed us to see Hicks as more than the authoritative prick he's proven himself to be so far, especially toward Hondo. This slightly more compassionate side of him rounds out his character and makes him more intriguing.
Finally, it's not often that we witness Hondo showing an error in judgment, and I greatly appreciated how humbled he was. Finally, he's a flawed guy, too.
But Hondo continued to be his angel self when he took the information from this little mishap and used it to remind Street to appreciate the opportunity he was given because of Buck's absence.
Hondo: I've been thinking a lot about Buck. What happened to him.
Street: Yeah, you think we should take him out for a beer or something?
Hondo: No, no, no. I think it's better for us, better for him, if we just give him some space for awhile.
Street: Okay, your call.
Hondo: Street, don't you ever forget who your locker once belonged to. The reason that you are S.W.A.T., and whose legacy you carry.
Street: I promise.
Street, himself, has proven to be a dedicated and smart officer now that he's put his nose to the grindstone a bit. He spent most of the hour solving problems and delivering case information before anyone had the chance to ask for it.
This shift in attitude wasn't too drastic, as we did get a taste of Street's adorable adrenaline-induced side that we've come to know and love -- during an especially exciting driving scene.
I mean, who wouldn't want to be strapped in next to Hondo at 100+ mph., for the thrill or the view?
I thoroughly enjoyed discovering how these many characters adjusted to new information, and I can't wait to see how they move forward throughout the rest of the season.
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Kassie King was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in December 2017. Follow her on Twitter.