Anne Heche intrigues in new military drama The Brave
When the cavalry is called, this is who shows up
Of all the military-themed dramas peppering this season’s fall TV grid, I found the promotional material showcasing The Brave to be the most compelling. Give me a cast of attractive, skilled undercover heroes in camouflage tasked with the sole purpose of crossing enemy lines to save innocent victims, and I’m in. Couple that with the fact that this show is attached to executive producer Avi Nir, one of the EPs behind Homeland, and I’m all in. At least for six episodes.
The Brave has an impressive roster of actors who are perfect for a show like this. Most of them are recognizable, but for the most part, none have been memorable primary leads, so I never get distracted by their former characters. I just know them as “that smart guy from Quantico” and “the lady on Arrow who can fight.”
Of course, Anne Heche is the exception to the rule. I wasn’t expecting how much I enjoyed her performance as Patricia Campbell, Deputy Director of Intelligence at the D.I.A. She intrigued me, and of all the characters’ backstories, hers is the one I’m the most curious about.
The Brave’s pilot is pretty straightforward: Doctors Without Borders surgeon Kimberly Wells is kidnapped in Syria. Her husband hears her abduction over the phone and calls the authorities, and Dr. Wells’ case ends up in the hands of intelligence analysts in Washington, D.C., who are charged with uncovering and interpreting threats.
Hannah (Sofia Pernas) and Noah (Tate Ellington) help Patricia in Washington. They are the eyes, ears, and information hub for the Special Forces operators who eliminate the threats on the ground. This team is lead by Captan Adam Dalton (Mike Vogel), Group Force Commander and Man of My Dreams.
Dalton’s team is legitimate. Preach (Demetrius Grosse) heads up communications, McG (Noah Mills) is the combat medic, Jasmine “Jaz” Khan (Natacha Karam) is a sniper, and the new guy Amir (Hadi Tabbal) is intelligence. Their mission? Recover Dr. Wells by entering a city where half the population will shoot them on sight if they figure out who they are. Welcome to a day in the life of Special Ops.
Patricia’s team locates the driver who ditched Dr. Wells right before her kidnapping. Through process of elimination, they realize that she has been taken to an area where kidnappers don’t ransom Americans. Instead, they behead them. Dr. Wells’ life expectancy window shortens from weeks to days. Patricia puts two and two together. They recently killed this group’s leader, Baghdadi. Now the group wants retaliation with a pubic execution.
Dalton and his team move in to interrogate the driver, but someone gets there first and kills the man and his entire family. Dalton recognizes the shooter immediately as Baghdadi’s right-hand man, Al-Akmuti. New plan: If they follow this bad guy, he will take them directly to Wells.
After three of the five team members are made, McG and Preach take Al-Akmuti down and shove him into a deserted room. Since they’re running out of time, Amir pretends to be a prisoner so he can get Al-Akmuti to talk. The plan works, but a kink is thrown into the system when Amir “escapes” and takes Al-Akmuti with him. His hope is that Al-Akmuti will lead him straight to Wells.
What Amir didn’t expect was a broken piece of glass shoved up against his carotid artery. Dalton and Jaz follow Amir as he drives a truck to a compound just past a mosque. Hannah and Noah know if Amir goes into that compound, he’s never coming out. Assuming Wells is inside the compound, Jaz is given the order to take out Al-Akmuti — which she does by hanging out the passenger side window while Dalton is driving. Jaz is officially my favorite member of the team.
With a drone covering the compound, the Washington group notices that there’s a convoy escorting Wells to another location. Dalton’s team follows close behind and is surprised when the armored vehicles stop at a hospital. Facial recognition picks up the woman driving Wells. It’s Baghdadi’s wife.
For the second time, Patricia figures it out. Kimberly Wells isn’t a random kidnapping. They need her because she’s a surgeon. Baghdadi is still alive. (React continues on page 2)
Preach and McG stay outside while Amir and Jaz enter the hospital unnoticed. Dalton just “wings it” because he’s a badass. The three inside wait for their orders, irritated that D.C. has “gone quiet” in order to figure out what orders to give.
The easy thing would be to drop a bomb on the hospital right now. Sure, the action would kill a lot of innocent people, including Wells, but it would also kill Baghdadi and a ton of his followers. For some, it’s a tough call. For others, it’s not. Allowing Baghdadi to escape so he can rebuild a terror network is not an option. But can they sacrifice Kimberly Wells?
Patricia tells Dalton that the mission is now Baghdadi, with the caveat that “how you get him is at your discretion.”
Dalton decides that the best way to handle this situation is to waltz into the hospital with a gun. He’s apprehended and taken to a room before Baghdadi’s wife is called to assess the situation. Dalton and Jaz easily knock out the two armed guards, as well as Baghdadi’s wife when she enters the room. Dalton suggests a compromise: If she lets Dr. Wells go, they won’t take down Baghdadi, who is currently on an operating table. She agrees and radios her guys to send Dr. Wells to the room where she is standing, and then Dalton injects something into her neck that makes her black out.
Dr. Wells finishes the surgery on Baghdadi and is taken to the room where the guards believe Baghdadi’s wife is located. Amir and Jaz fight the two guards as Dalton grabs Wells, encouraging her to act normal as they walk out of the hospital. He then shoves her into the van with Preach and McG.
When Baghdadi’s wife wakes up, she rushes to her husband and begs him to get into their own getaway car, since they’re in danger. Before they can even celebrate the victory of finding Dr. Wells, the team in Washington freaks out watching the coverage, assuming that Baghdadi is getting away. As the car drives off, Dalton, Amir, and Jaz look on. Right when you think they may be double agents, Dalton sets off the bomb he placed in Baghdadi’s wife’s vest after he drugged her. Wells is safe. Baghdadi is gone.
I was a tad annoyed that everything ended up in the win/win category at the end of this pilot. Dr. Wells is back with her husband, the Washington team can breathe again, and Dalton’s crew is playing soccer on the beach with adorable, giggling children. Is it going to be nice and neat each and every week, the problem quickly solved in 45 minutes?
According to the huge truck full of explosives barreling toward a crowded beach — and Dalton’s makeshift children’s soccer tournament — that would be a resounding no.
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