The Brave: “Enhanced Protection”
This week The Brave takes us to Nigeria where the team is sent to protect an ambassador. Their mission changes suddenly when a group of civilians is taken hostage at a local mall. If you read Reuben’s comparison of The Brave vs. Valor, you know that The Brave is doing a great job of portraying complex female characters. From an early scene where Preach complains about the struggles of having daughters to the closing words of a son to his mother, a discussion of women and girls weaves through the episode. The episode was a little obvious at points, but mostly it did something this show does very well. It showed strong, complex women without being a show about women.
The episode opens with Patricia receiving a final letter from her deceased son. But she’s interrupted when a threat comes in that requires her attention.
Intelligence indicates that there is a potential threat against an ambassador in the midst of peace talks in Nigeria, and the team is sent to protect him. During the protection detail, Jaz interacts with a young girl who is impressed and surprised that Jaz can be so tough, even though she’s a girl. Jaz responds the maybe being a girl is what makes her strong.
When a bomb goes off at a local mall, the team learns that the threat wasn’t against the ambassador after all. Unfortunately, the ambassador’s wife was in the mall. The team is quickly retasked to the mall, with Dalton, Preach, and Amir arriving first, quickly followed by Jaz and McGuire, who were securing the ambassador. Amir heads up top to take out a sniper, then observes what’s happening outside the mall.
The rest of the team head inside. They find four gunman holding about 30 people hostage. The team in D.C. finds out that one of the gunman, Emmanual Ade, is a serious radical who has been a part of deadly attacks before. The gunmen insist upon the release of their leader, General Ogu. There’s only one problem, Ogu died several days before. The gunmen say they will only speak to Ogu, and other attempts to contact them will result in killed hostages.
The team can’t get a visual on what is happening with the hostages, so Preach takes off his military gear and heads in pretending to be a scared shopper, armed with only a small body camera. This gives the team the information they need to proceed though. We also learn that the girl Jaz spoke to earlier is a hostage, along with her father.
Noah has falsified a video to give proof of life to the gunmen which draws the gunmen’s attention, and Dalton, Jaz and McGuire are about to take a shot at the four gunmen when a man runs in with a pistol. He is quickly shot by Ade and his men. Soon after, McGuire steps in and is able to pull the man aside without the gunmen noticing and treats him in a nearby pharmacy (how convenient!).
The father of the injured man saw his son be shot, and is now shaking and not doing well. Louise Webb, the Ambassador’s wife, goes over to comfort him and calm him down, but Ade doesn’t like this. He reminds her that she’s no hero, she’s only a woman.
Preach tries to connect with a gunman who seems to be in over his head. He asks the man’s name and points out that both men have Biblical names. Ade shuts down the conversation though, and hits Preach to remind him who’s in charge.
McGuire has his own bonding moment with the injured man. He learns that the man was there to find his father, who is also his best friend. McGuire is impressed, and the two connect over their shared first name, Joseph.
Having realized how exposed they were, Ade moves the hostages to a more protected corridor. The gunmen discover Louise’s embassy I.D., but it has no photo. The gunmen begin to threaten two women, convinced the embassy I.D. must belong to one of them. Louise intervenes by identifying herself. The gunmen think they’ve hit the jackpot and increase their list of demands. They send the father of the young girl out to meet the Nigerian military, which had pulled up outside the mall earlier, but hadn’t entered yet.
Patricia feels that the time is running out and tells Dalton that he needs to get those hostages out. Hannah comes up with a plan for Dalton and Jaz to shoot the gunmen through the flimsy walls, with Hannah in D.C. acting as spotter using the surveillance videos (What?!?). Amir gets the Nigerians create a distraction to draw Ade out. McGuire rejoins Dalton and Jaz. The Nigerian military’s distraction works and Ade leaves. The other gunman are taken out quickly, though Preach regrets the death of the young gunman who he had tried to connect with before.
The team quickly exits the mall with hostages, briefly taking fire from Ade on the way out. Once outside, they realize that the young girl is still in the mall. Jaz and Dalton go back in. Jaz finds her, but Ade gets to the girl first. Dalton tries to draw Ade out while Jaz flanks him. When Ade appears for an instant, Jaz takes her shot. She comforts the girl and points out that she is pretty strong too.
Back in D.C., Patricia reads her son’s final letter, which is a touching reflection on Patricia’s role as his mother. Anne Heche does a beautiful job portraying Patricia’s grief in this scene.
I’m not sure the marketing team got this episode’s female empower member because, even though Louise shows some real strength in this episode, it’s her husband in all the promotional photos for the episode. Whatever.
Amir seems a little out of the group this week. I think that is because this episode seems to have been intended to be shown earlier in the season, so it’s likely that his isolation was meant to reflect his newness on the team. The episode was probably postponed due to the death of several soldiers in Nigeria, in which case it was a wise choice, even if it made Amir feel a little off.
Delaying this episode would also explain why Preach’s comments to Jaz and Dalton about being alone might have felt a little obvious after earlier hints at potential feelings between those two.
Overall, another great episode from a show that continues to impress.
Brave airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.