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Strike Back - Episode 6.04 - Review: "Exception To The Rule"

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In the deeps woods of Hungary, after having been captured by the Magyar Ultra, McAllister and the mysterious Dr. Zaryn (Daniel Cerqueira) are taken into the organization’s campground. Once inside, they are placed inside a cell while Josef (Mark Strepan) and Rosa (Kelly Gough) try figure out their next move. Meanwhile, Section 20 is not far behind and they prepare to launch a risky assault to rescue McAllister.

Back at the camp, as Josef and Rosa discuss about what to do next, Josef demands for Rosa’s client to pay more than they initially agreed on for the exchange of Dr. Zaryn. Rosa warns Josef that her client won’t take kindly to this change of plans. Soon after Rosa receives a call from Jane Lowry (Katherine Kelly), who warns her that Section 20 might be nearby and also tells her that she wants Zaryn as soon as possible. Rosa promises Jane that she’ll take care of the situation.

Meanwhile, Josef confronts McAllister in his cell. In an attempt to turn Josef against his sister, McAllister reveals to him that Jane Lowry, a converted Islamic terrorist, is Rosa’s client. Rosa arrives and denies this. Josef does not know who to trust but Rosa assures to him that he can trust her. Josef then decides to hang McAllister. Wyatt, Novin and Reynolds arrive just in time, creating a diversion and saving McAllister. As a gunfight erupts, Rosa tries to sneak out of the base camp with Dr. Zaryn, but she is intercepted by McAllister and Novin. Rosa manages to run away, while McAllister and Novin take Zaryn with them. Josef's men give chase but the pair manages to outrun them, although their vehicle leaves them stranded, forcing the trio to continue on foot.

Reynolds and Wyatt retreat into the woods but the stumble across a fleeing Rosa, who pleads for them to take her with them, in exchange for information. She believes that Josef has lost his mind. A scouting group finds them, but with the help of Rosa, Wyatt and Reynolds fend them off. One of the scouts returns to Josef, to reveals to him about Rosa's betrayal. In order to prevent his group from abandoning the cause, Josef murders the scout in cold blood.

Meanwhile, Colonel Donovan and Corporal Jensen (Phil Dunster) are shut down by the Hungarian authorities, led by Major General Laszlo (Attila C. Arpa), for being responsible for several shootings throughout the city. Donovan tries to convince Laszlo otherwise, but there's no avail. Later, she is found by Jane Lowry, who attacks her, although Jensen manages to save her but Lowry still escapes. Then, the pair sets out to rendezvous with the stranded Section 20 operatives.

Back in the woods, McAllister, Novin and Dr. Zaryn meet with Wyatt, Reynolds and Rosa. Together, they find shelter in an abandoned facility where they set up defenses until rescue arrives. Close behind is Josef and his men, but he grows desperate and his men start distrusting him. Also, it is revealed that Dr. Zaryn is actually Dr. Markov, a Russian scientist who has been living in hiding after creating a deadly nerve agent called Novichok. Josef and his men arrive to the abandoned facility, where Section 20 ambushes them. In the vicious firefight, Rosa and Josef kill each other, but Section 20 manages to escape with Dr. Markov as Donovan and Jensen pick them up.

In their escape route though, Section 20 is intercepted by General Laszlo and his men, who forces them to give Dr. Markov to him, under Whitehall's (England) orders. Section 20 drives away. The Hungarian convoy, however, is ambushed by Jane Lowry. All of the soliders are killed and she manages to retrieve Dr. Markov.

I'm going to be honest, I thought this was going to be a generic episode, but it took several risks as it didn't turned out to be predictable. I want to point out too that the reason why I love Strike Back so much is because of its technical aspects and stunts. Its not only guns firing but it is the bullets making contact, environment destruction and sound engineering that make this show an adrenaline-fueled experience.

This episode also featured some character development for Wyatt and Reynolds, although briefly. It seems like Reynolds is covering up for her father and Wyatt is a disgraced soldier from an elite task force. We still have to learn more from Novin, who pretty much just shoots and kills most of the time.

I want to point out also that Kelly Gough and Mark Strepan did great jobs as Rosa and Josef respectively. We learn plenty about their characters and there's this emotional sendoff that serves as a payoff to villain development that has always been one of Strike Back's best traits. These are not one-dimensional characters as they are deeply humanized and flawed. I can't wait to see what other villains are brought up on the remainder of this season, and as always, Jane Lowry is probably one of the best villains the series has ever had. She is cunning, ruthless and sexy.

I am definitely still watching this show.

4 stars out of 5

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