Mark Hill/The CW
Ruth Kinane
November 06, 2017 AT 05:34 PM EST

Describing an episode of the CW’s military drama Valor as “action-packed” might sound pretty on par for a series that follows an elite unit of special-ops helicopter pilots. There’s been plenty action (on and off the battlefield) in every episode of the show’s first season so far — not to mention a glaring conspiracy and a whole bunch of secrets. Nonetheless, Matt Barr (who plays Captain Leland Gallo) promises that episode 5 is the one to watch out for.

“It is a huge, very ambitious, action-packed episode,” Barr tells EW. “Gallo really has to step up, be the leader, and really take care of his team.” When we left them after episode 4, Gallo and his co-pilot, Warrant Officer Nora Madani (Christina Ochoa), had run into a bit of a situation: A warlord prisoner who was to be traded for an American POW died unexpectedly in their Black Hawk before the exchange could be made. “He does something really, really brave and it turns into this great arc for him,” Barr says. “It’s just a super-cool and exciting episode.”

Not that Valor fans should be surprised to see Gallo step up when needed. Despite his relaxed demeanor (he even showed up to an 8-mile run tipsy), he knows when to toe the line. “Yeah, he comes across as this sky cowboy,” Barr says. “But I have this idea of him that he’s just like the guys I grew up watching in movies and TV. They all had this trivial, reckless edge, but they had the right moral compass too.”

A few episodes into the season, Gallo and Madani are still dealing with PTSD from a recent failed mission. As if that wasn’t enough, they now have to contend with the prying eyes of the CIA and stick to the cover-up story they came up with after their bird went down in Somalia. “Gallo’s learned to put on a front to try and deal with the stress of it,” says Barr. “He uses humor and he drinks and has that façade right now, but coming up really soon we start to reveal what’s eating away at him. There’s a flashback sequence where we see that something big happened to Gallo years ago that sort of defines, in a lot of ways, who he is and why he acts the way he does.”

A couple of episodes deeper into the season, the show deals with a storyline concerning sexual assault in the military. “It’s great when we can bring awareness to real-life issues,” Barr says. “It gives us the chance to educate without being preachy. Even if you even take away the military and the mission, there’s still so much to unpack that makes the show relatable. It’s about human beings and how their lives and relationships are impacted by the world around them.”

Valor airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.

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