The Cinemax series, Strike Back, is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Breathtakingly beautiful women, profanity, excessive violence, over-the-top action, nonstop-mile-a-minute-pacing, and a throwback to “old-school” tropes and testosterone-filled storytelling. As Aaron Sorkin would write, “‘Tis was a time when men were men.“ No 21st century, “female-empowerment/lean-in” narratives here! Nor any “celebration of minority cultures or diversity messaging.” Oh no. In Strike Back world, the Americans are unequivocally good, the villains are basically all non-Americans, and the women are universally gorgeous and, uh, portray roles customary in Cinemax productions. It’s all very glorious.
Anyway, the reason I bring up Strike Back here is because Sullivan Stapleton’s character, Damien Scott, is an elite ex-Delta Force operative whose main role, as far as I can discern after watching all five magnificent seasons, is to essentially be the “reluctant moral conscience” and then utter the word, “f**k!” every time he and Stonebridge (The crown jewel of Montana! Belgrade’s very own Philip Winchester!) need to “do the right thing” in the face of overwhelming danger and certain death, compelled solely by some platonic sense of duty and responsibility. For example, they’ll be on the verge of escaping the terrorist hideout but then need to shoot their way back in, guns blazing, in order to save the last hostage. Or they’ll be in the free and clear of the nuclear bomb threat, only needing to return to rescue the ambassador’s daughter. Or… you get the idea.
Basically, the gist: The are times in our lives when we can clearly see the path forward, the one that leads to safety and comfort, out of the woods. But for whatever reason, we always go back. Because in your heart of hearts, you already know– it’s the right thing.