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Valor - Pilot - Review: "We Only Have Secrets, What's One More Secret"



Before pressing play on the series premiere of Valor, I've really tried to block it all out. My opinion on the military genre (and how poor it was been done by NBC and CBS this season), the network the show airs on and everyone dooming the show before it has even aired. It was tough, very tough and I haven't completely succeeded in my attempt but at the end of the day I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. It was far from a flawless Pilot but very still enjoyable. There were some writing issues and some not perfectly acted out scenes in the episode written by series creator Kyle Jarrow (Lost Generation) was directed by Michael M. Robin (Major Crimes, Dallas etc). So let's have some valor and enter Valor. . .(pun intended)

Even Hot People Have PTSD

This is the part of the review where I praise the lead. Christina Ochoa delivered a strong performance, her Nora Medani was mostly on point with a sharp tongue and a relatable performance. She is someone who is constantly pushed from all sides and ready to fight back when neccessary. Her interactions with Matt Bar's Leland Gallo were strong. The tension between them was palpable, you could feel they were close, that they went through stuff and while their experiences were gluing them together it was tearing them apart at the same time. Their interaction peaked during their almost hook as the stress was eating up both of them and pushed them toward the edge.

The anger outburst in the abandoned house felt quite genuine and the emotional spark created was sadly put out in a clothes on way but there is time for that to change.  Intrigued to see which direction the writers will take with these two hot heads/bodies.

One thing that really impressed me during Christina's performance was the way she handled her PTSD. Her facial expressions were on point and the scenes were very well edited, giving enough focus to Nora's face and the pain in her leg. The test flight before the rescue mission was another well-portrayed contrast between PTSD Nora and the Strung Out Nora. Nora carries scars and they are a lot deeper than we might think. It is an interesting direction and if handled well by the writers with a strong performance by Christina could be something that will carry the show throughout it's run.

The Unnecessary Unapologetic Banter

And while I understand the need for sexualizing the show and give hints of "mental" abuse at Nora's workplace it didn't go as smoothly as it was intended to. It was a very useful tool to show how strong and "used" to it Nora is it did not work.

Also, we get it Matt Barr is hot and he can get every girl out there, but his character could've enjoyed a lot more edge and substance. And the banter didn't help in making his character relatable or likable. Let's hope there is something more under that handsome shell of a character cause hearing the name Leland all the time is painful enough.

The banter especially felt rough with Melisa Roxburgh's Thea.

Thea: Anyone ever tell you, you look like an action figure?
I mean really!????  Who says that upon meeting someone? I get she is tough but there were so many better ways to show off her qualities. Her character did tone down it a bit further in the episode and I hope she'll be a strong addition to the show.

The Flashback Story

Caught me off guard and didn't suck at all. The mystery introduced via flashbacks was intriguing enough to make me wanna tune in again. A morally questioning story with danger to explode in the leads' face? Of course I love it, just need for it to be executed well. The flashbacks were very well layered, inserted at the right times during the present story and ended on an intriguing cliffhanger. Davie Gaundry getting away from them will be a stepping stone in the future and I like Tim Griffin, the actor behind the role so I'm excited to see the story unfold.

The hostage situation involving Jimmy Kamm and Crank Hendrix, played by W. Tre Davis and Mac Brandt respectively, added another dose of tension to the pilot and I have to say I enjoyed both actors. Especially Jimmy's interaction with Khalid Samatar, played by TVD and Luke Cage alumni Jaiden Kaine. I liked that the soldiers had a plan and were willing to endure pain to execute it.

The Standout

Before sounding off I have to give some kudos by How To Get Away With Murder alum Corbin Reid. Corbin played Jessy Kamm, Jimmy's heartbroken wife and mother of one. She really gave a lot of emotion into this role and while she mostly annoyed me during her HTGAWM run she added the show a stronger emotional dimension.

That's the wrap guys. How much did you or did you not enjoy Valor's series premiere? The comment section is your island, so feel free to share your thoughts down below.







 
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