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S.W.A.T - Shaky Town - Review

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Previously on SWAT: Street lied to Hondo and was kicked off the team.
Street: “I don’t need you, or anybody else.”
Somehow I think Street’s going to quickly realize otherwise.

The premiere, Shaky Town, gets off to a high-octane start. Street’s a skilled driver, but he’s also cocky, and that’s his downfall as he participates in an illegal street race in LA - and loses.
He may claim not to need people, but he needs Chris’ help after his bike is stripped, and while she’s less than impressed to be dragged out of bed to help him, she does it. Street and Chris formed one of the closest bonds during season one, and he may be pushing his luck a little with the boundaries of this friendship but she still has his back.
Because SWAT is family.

Beni’s on the team, filling the hole left by Street but Chris makes sure the team doesn’t forget their old team member, mentioning that Street says hello. It isn’t even a little bit subtle, and the person she had hoped would react to her words, does.
Hondo: Oh yeah, how’s he doing?
Chris: About how you’d expect. You should ask him yourself if you’re curious.
Chris has Street’s back (and the patience of a saint) and she’s there to remind Hondo their ex team member still exists – even if his spot has been filled for now.

And despite Hondo's tough exterior, the cracks are beginning to show. As the leader he makes difficult decisions and shoulders a lot, Street’s firing being one of them. It’s another thing he has to live with, work through, and he’s not hiding it as well as he likes to think he is. Nia, a deputy DA he meets in a hotel bar, has a knack for reading people and she sees the brooding in Hondo right away. The two connect, but as Hondo gets a little release, the pressure's building beneath them. There's a joke about the earth moving for them in here somewhere.

Timeless fan favorite Joseph Lee Anderson guests in the episode as Street’s LAPD partner, Tony. And, as in everything he appears in, he’s a wonderful addition to the season. This reviewer assumes he will only stick around until Street's back with SWAT, but hopefully there will be stories that allow him to return again later in the season. I'm very much a fan of seeing more of him on my TV. As for his character, Tony’s going to be good for Street, and the respect is quick to go both ways.
He gives Street a lesson in how police work can be something as small as scaring away imagined ghosts that have haunted an elderly women for years. Such small acts matter just as much as the big ones.

Mack Drummond is the bad guy this week. Holding kids hostage, preparing to sell them. The team closes in, and just when it appears Hondo might be able to talk the guy around, an earthquake strikes LA.

Have you missed that opening theme as much as I have?

With a new commissioner comes new headaches for Jess and Hicks and the team. They’re not teacher’s pet anymore – and challenges lie ahead.
But with the earthquake having hit, departmental and personal issues are going to have to wait while SWAT works to free the children taken hostage by traffickers, and headquarters takes the overflow of minor injuries from two nearby hospitals.

Luca is Mr Seismologist, educating the team on quake depth and power. Luca’s a character people underestimate; he is full of hidden talents.
Elsewhere, Street and Tony are helping people who need minor first aid. A woman is stuck next to a gushing fire hydrant while a live downed cable threatens to electrocute her. Using his SWAT skills, Street swings down, saves the girl, and sets them both on the ground away from the water.
Street and Tony are going to complement one another well with their ideals and skills. It really is almost a shame Street will ultimately return to SWAT because these two are pretty damn great together.

As with all great SWAT episodes, there’s a good mix of action and emotion. Deacon shines in the emotional scenes while he negotiates with the Haitian trafficker. Jessica keeps her cool despite her frustrations. Street impresses Tony with the Tarzan-inspired act. But Luca wins action star of the episode when he hangs from a helicopter above the broken streets of LA. It’s one of the more terrifying scenes to watch (can’t imagine what filming it was like), and I’m sure I’m not the only one who breathed a sigh of relief once Luca was back on the ground.

As for Hondo and Nia, things don’t end on a positive note for them, with Nia’s husband turning up. If Hondo’s determined to be in what could become a complicated relationship, this viewer would much rather see him give things another try with Jess.

The episode ends on one of the best emotional conversations we’ve seen between Chris and Hondo as she talks to him about Street’s future with SWAT. Having this conversation away from headquarters was important, and as she helps clean up the mess in Hondo’s home she’s also helping put the team back as it should be too. There’s a lot to fix, and both Hondo’s apartment and Street’s career are going to take time to be put right again.

Despite the unsettled atmosphere swirling around our team, what’s not on shaky ground is just how good this episode was. If this is setting the standard for what’s to come, season two is shaping up to be a thoroughly entertaining ride.

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