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S.W.A.T - Ghosts - Review

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SWAT takes us back in time this week, two years in the past to be exact, opening with a flashback to when Buck led the team, Tan was the newbie, and Jess was just two weeks into the job.
And seeing her and Hondo’s chemistry even back then just breaks my heart even more.
In the flashback, Luca works on freeing a man in the warehouse SWAT has breached, but he’s short on time. There are explosives in the warehouse and it could blow at any time.
Ordered out of the building, Luca has made the difficult decision to leave the man behind and escape only with the female hostage, Keri, whom he had freed.
“I’ll come back for you, I promise," he tells the male victim.
He gets Keri out and is heading back in for the man when the building explodes.
The anguish on Luca’s face is haunting as all he can do is stand and watch the building burn.

In the present day we learn Luca’s still staying with Street. It’s been four months. Dude, I’m siding with Street here: it’s time to get your own place.
While browsing the markets, Luca thinks he sees the man responsible for the kidnappings and the explosion two years ago. A man presumed dead. They give chase, but he gets away.
Clearly this one’s still haunting Luca.

Jessica, having had her car vandalized the previous week, is now receiving threatening letters thanks to the leak of her proposal. And this person is brazen, leaving the letters on her desk.
Hicks will have threat management launch an investigation into who left it, and he’s putting a security detail on her. He won’t let her leave the building without an escort.

Luca brings Keri into SWAT to keep her safe. With nothing solid to go on, the case isn’t a priority. That’s hard for Luca to hear. He convinces Hondo he’s one hundred percent sure it’s the same guy from the warehouse and having pinged his car, and with some knowledge of where he might currently be, Hondo agrees they can go get him.

In a conversation with Hondo we hear how Luca and Keri have kept in touch after the explosion, both being affected by the events of that night. I appreciate how SWAT shows the human side of these characters, how they form connections with the people they encounter in this job. The victims of crimes are not just statistics – they’re people, and they matter.
Hondo and Luca find the car they believe is driven by the killer. While they don’t find him, he may have just taken another victim.
“I’m really starting to wish you weren’t right about this,” Hondo tells him.
“Yup, you and me both,” Luca replies.

Hicks calls everyone in, and Jessica addresses them regarding the letter. Because it’s one of them, or someone closely associated with someone in the room, she gives them the chance to come forward, talk to her one-on-one. They have an hour to do so. After that, it becomes a criminal investigation.
Has Rocker had a line of dialogue before? I can't recall him ever speaking, and that makes me suspicious.

Luca and Keri have an emotional scene with Wendy as Keri tries to recall information about her own kidnapping that she may have forgotten. It's hard for Keri to talk about, but her memories of the other victim, the one who died, are just as hard for Luca to hear again. Both these characters are carrying too much from that event two years ago, and I feel bad for Luca because this is his second story-line centering around painful emotions from memories of the past. This character has more than his fair share of ghosts.

Street finds Buck at a bowling alley in Long Beach, where, while fishing for information on what’s up with Buck, proceeds to show off his abysmal bowling skills. Oh, Street, honey, no.
We find out Buck’s definitely in financial trouble after taking a gamble on a start-up and losing. Making this even more difficult to hear is how Buck wanted to pay off Raymont Harris' tuition anonymously. Now, he can't do that.
Repeating Buck’s words back to him, words he told a twelve-year-old Street after his mom shot his dad dead, Street tells him, “Sometimes you get kicked in the teeth, and it hurts like hell, but life is not about how many blows you take it’s about how hard you hit back.”

While investigating the letter left on Jess' desk, Hicks pulled a print belonging to Rocker's wife off the envelope. I suspected a link, earlier, when Rocker had a line, but I’m not thrilled it’s connected to him. He claims he didn’t vandalize Jess’ car, and just ran his mouth off to his wife while riled up about the proposal. He never expected her to act.
Jessica agrees that if Val never does anything like this again, she’s happy to just let it go. But Hicks won’t let Val and Rocker off so easy. Ultimately the charge is dropped to harassment, and Rocker’s learned a valuable lesson.

Thanks to teamwork, SWAT comes up with a name (Martin Harwell) and address of the killer. They’ll need to be quick; he’s already got two new victims tied up in his basement.
At Harwell’s address, the team cut the power and enter his house, snipping security camera wires as they find them. The power comes back on, and the rest of the traps Harwell has rigged slow the team as they move through, checking rooms, alarms now blaring, gas being released. Hondo and Tan blow a door, and head down into the basement. Harwell has escaped, but they find and free his victims. Luca and Chris, meanwhile, have found a room full of explosives.
Hondo orders the team to leave, but Luca won’t let Harwell get away again. Luca triggers another trap and is dropped down a floor – where he’s attacked by Harwell.
It is brutal watching Luca thrown around, punched. But he gets the upper-hand and pulls a gun on Harwell. Luca’s rage is palpable, and it’s only Hondo’s presence, two words from his boss, that stops him from shooting Harwell.
This case has followed Luca for two years. Now he can put it to rest.

Keri gets one of Luca’s hugs after he tells her they got the guy, and I admit I’m a little jealous.

And, oh yes, Jessica and Hondo manage to get one more emotional scene in to wreck us all. They’ll meet halfway between their apartments so she can give him his stuff back. It’s a heavy reminder they’re over. Would it be so awful if Jessica accidentally forgot to give him an item or two? To give him a reason to visit her again.

Buck’s living with his own ghosts, lingering from Raymont’s shooting. Raymont’s been slowly making peace with what happened to him, but he’s still carrying that trauma, and he’s in no hurry to cross paths with Buck again. There’s an opportunity here for them to sit down and talk, and they both need to.
“Raymont, the greatest thing we can do for someone who wronged us is to forgive them,” Hondo tells him, and the boy acquiesces.

This episode allows characters to start healing from wounds that have been causing them pain for far too long. It’s cathartic, the peace that’s made here. And, on a less positive note, there’s what feels like a final nail in the Jessica/Hondo relationship coffin – but I refuse to give up on those two just yet.

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