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No New Strike Back Episode Friday -- Mini-Marathon for Labor Day

Thompson on Hollywood By David Chute | Thompson on Hollywood September 3, 2011 at 7:14AM

Don't take anything for granted, warns David Chute, as you wait an extra week for the resolution of the latest Strike Back cliffhanger.No new episode tonight of TV's new best action series. Instead, Cinemax is running a mini-marathon of the first three episodes of Strike Back, beginning at 10 p.m. Those already watching will have to continue gnawing their fingernails until Friday, September 9. Only then will they find out if Damien Scott has been blown to bits by the bomb strapped to his chest in a barn somewhere in South Africa by ex-IRA-turned-freelance terrorist Daniel Connolly.
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Thompson on Hollywood


Don't take anything for granted, warns David Chute, as you wait an extra week for the resolution of the latest Strike Back cliffhanger.


No new episode tonight of TV's new best action series. Instead, Cinemax is running a mini-marathon of the first three episodes of Strike Back, beginning at 10 p.m. Those already watching will have to continue gnawing their fingernails until Friday, September 9. Only then will they find out if Damien Scott has been blown to bits by the bomb strapped to his chest in a barn somewhere in South Africa by ex-IRA-turned-freelance terrorist Daniel Connolly.

No spoilers here -- but I do want to suggest that the down to earth approach of this show is such that anything is possible. No predictions, just an advisory not to get complacent.

The hook with the bomb at the end of episode three wasn't an isolated grand gesture. It was an intensification of an awareness or mortal danger that is always percolating just beneath the surface on this show.

An unusually high-strung sense of danger is built into the nature of the unit and the type of soldiers Strike Back is observing. These special-forces guys are last resort extreme warriors. They are only called in when the consequences of failure are unthinkable.

In the current story it's the end game pursuit of a seasoned terrorist on the verge of acquiring a WMD. A commanding officer faced with this prospect makes a rational decision to offer one of her men an assignment that could kill him as easily as not. And the soldier, aware of what's a stake, makes a rational decision to accept it.

A show that cares as much about honoring the reality of the situations and people it's depicting as it does about the conventions of television drama is always going to be a little less predictable and a little harder on the nerves than the normal run of action-adventure entertainment. And more addictive.

This article is related to: Reviews, TV, HBO


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.