May 18, 2006

Finale Report: The Unit - "Morale, Welfare, and Recreation" and "The Wall"

The Unit debuted back on March 7th, and I prettyu mch liked it right off the bat. The show was created by David Mamet, and is about an elite covert unit of Army Rangers who go undercover all of the world, on missions that are too dangerous for anyone else. It has a few big name actors to go with the new faces, names including Dennis Haysbert (24), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2, X-Files), and Scott Foley (Felicity, Below, Scream 3). The series has just completed it's bried first season with its 12th and 13th episode.

It was billed as a two-hour finale, but in actuality they were just a pair of unrelated episodes that aired back to back. They were both good examples of the show, but in different ways. I love how the show combines the military intrigue and the drama of their families left behind on the base.

The first hour was called "Morale, Welfare, and Recreation." The story takes off in two directions. One story follows Jonas, Tom, and Charles, as they are colled in to consult on a possible terrorist situation as a bomb is discovered in an Atlanta bank. Meanwhile, Bob and Kim go on a vacation at a nice hotel. All goes well until Kim discovers that it isn't a vacation, but a mission.

Jonas and his team but heads with the local bomb squad as to how they are going to deal with the bomb. The argument continues until it is discovered that the bomb is of the nuclear variety, that allows Jonas to take control and start getting people out of the building. That isn't an easy thing to do as there was a note saying that the bomb will be set off if anyone leaves. So, they are being watched, but we are sure that he doesn't want to be caught up in the resulting fallout. There must be cameras somewhere, but where? Jonas phones law enforcement and gets them to start evacuating the surrounding buildings while looking for spy cameras. Inside with the bomb, Charles is in the room with the bomb squad, clearly not getting along, and clearly not being able to aghree on what to do. Charles says they cannot disarm it, the squad says they can.

Eventually, Jonas team wins out, and they evacuate. Jonas and Charles are the last two there. When they are alone, Charles shows that the bomb is not nuclear, just made to look that way. That being the case, they recommend that the bomb be left. Unfortunately, the bomb squad does not take their recommendation, resulting in an explosion and the death of two squad members.

Back at the hotel, Kim suspects something is up when Bob keeps having excuses to be away from her. Her suspicions are confirmed when Bob is called on his sat phone. She confronts him, and he says that she is cover for the operation. The operation involves tracking someone who is in the act of committing treason by passing top secret information to the Chinese. To say Kim is unhappy would be an understatement, she immediately starts to pack and leave. Bob is able to convince her to stay. While Bob tracks the target, Kim takes it upon herself to try and get information from his wife. She is disturbed to find out she was innocent, knowing nothing of the crimes being committed.

The episode ends when Bob successfully has the target arrested, and Kim struggles with knowing that the guy's wife has to take care of their young children and is scared of the future. She realizes that she would never be able to do what Bob does.

This was a good episode. I liked the use of Bob and Kim as a couple on a mission, and it also showed the unit dealing with domestic issues, and not just the overseas operations that have made up a large part of the series.

The second episode, "True Believers," was the actual season finale. This time around they are deployed to assist a Franch Colonel with the UN Forces take a former Yugoslav General into custody for war crimes. Like before, this is only part of the story, as their is drama occurring back home with the wives.

At first, the team is only meant to assist in the apprehension of the nefarious individual. They have backup orders to take matters into their own hands, but to let the UN take full credit for the capture.

It turns out that Jonas knows the Colonel, so that helps to ease their assimilation. The only problem is Bob has some reservations, a certain amount of distrust for the Frenchman. Together, they decide to do it the diplomatic way, ask the General to surrender. So, they head off to the villain's compund and ask him to come out. Jonas and Bob are at his side while Hector, Charles, and Mack head up surveillance around the buildings.

Things go bad when the UN forces attack before time is up, setting off a vicious firefight. During the battle, the General's wife is shot and killed. When he turns he sees Jonas, and becomes intent on killing him.

The two sides retreat until later when the unit spies the bad guys leaving their compound. This offers them up on a plate for the taking. They arrest the General, only to be ordered to turn over custody. They do, and they go home. Only to learn that the General has escaped and killed the French Colonel.

While all of this is going on, drama builds back home. Tiffy is upset that Mack has re-upped with the Unit, after he promised not to. She turns to the Unit's commander, Colonel Tom Ryan, who she has been having an affair with, looking for a life with him. Molly, meanwhile, is trying to keep the secret of the stolen money from her husband, Jonas, which doesn't work and leads to a blow up between the two. Molly then tries to get Jonas to leave the Unit and become a mercenary, for the money, of course. Then there is Kim, who discovers Tiffy's infidelity.

All of this comes to a head when it is announced that Ryan has married another woman. Tiffy is dying to come clean while at the wedding celebration. Kim has other thoughts on the matter, knowing that if this came out, their husband's lives would be in jeopardy. Then the unthinkable happens, it turns out the Yugoslav General is holding a grudge, and has tracked them down. A hit squad breaks into the party, opening fire with automatic weapons. Fortunately, the Unit is packing too and are able to put down the insurgents, but not before Jonas gets hit.

The episode ends.

I haven't watched all of the episodes, but this nseries has real promise and I hope it comes back next season. I like the balance between the Unit and the families. It gives a more balanced view of what their life could be like. Plus, the suspense is top notch, too. The acting is above average, with Dennis Haysbert having incredible screen presence. Much like he did as President Palmer on 24, he commands attention.

I look forward to the potential future of the unit.

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