Everybody ready for round 3? Here we go!
In this third episode, entitled “Orinoco,” we see Marcus (Jovan Adepo) arriving at MacDill Air Force Base. He parks his truck and puts on a chain with his father’s Navy ring on it. Then he grabs his pack and meets up with Matice aka Not-John-Clark (John Hoogenakker) on the tarmac as they’re loading the boat onto the transport plane. Marcus asks if they’re going to Central or South America. Matice says who said anything about either, and Marcus reminds him that he’d asked him how his Spanish was – it’s a little rusty by the way. Matice says he’d better get on board if he still wants a window seat.
Once under way, Marcus meets the other two operators – Coyote (Allan Hawco) and Disco (Victor Rasuk). Coyote asks Marcus what his call sign is, and Marcus says “Black Mamba.” Coyote’s like, “oh, you mean like Kill Bill?” and Marcus is like, “No, like Kobe.” But Coyote says the name sucks and comes up with a new one – since he’s the driver, they’ll call him “Uber.” Marcus hates it and looks like he’s already thinking of bailing.
With the obligatory rock-n-roll music playing (the Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’,” just in case you were wondering), the plane approaches the drop zone. Matice checks Marcus’ parachute and does a terrible job at calming his obvious nerves. The other guys get themselves all psyched up with the stereotypical “Woo’s!” and “Let’s go muthaf**kahs!” as the boat gets dropped first. Then the green light goes on and the guys all jump – except for Marcus, who hangs back, still nervous. But then he kisses his Dad’s ring and finally jumps, catching up with the other guys at the boat.
They get on board and start inspecting their gear – only to find several inches of water in the boat and their electronics (including the radios) ruined by the water. Marcus – who Coyote insists is still “Uber” despite Marcus’ protests – checks it and says there’s a crack in the fiberglass, but he can fix it. Not-John-Clark asks how long it’ll take and Marcus just tells them all to get off the boat. They’re all like, “Seriously?” But when it comes to the boat, he’s in charge, Uber or not. So back in the water they go.
Meanwhile, at the embassy, Jack (John Krasinski), Greer (Wendell Pierce) and November (Michael Kelly) watch a press conference with President Reyes (Jordi Molla), displaying the 2 captured militia guys and their signed confessions to the murder of Senator Moreno. Ambassador Calabrese (Susan Misner) makes nice for the TV cameras, shaking Reyes’ hand.
Jack says November can’t possibly buy Reyes’ BS story, and November agrees – a hit on an American senator isn’t even close to the militia’s “style or skill set.” So he’s disregarding the memo he’s gotten from DC to stand down on the investigation. He says he’s also got people checking the hospitals for any man coming in with an eye injury.
They head to the back of the embassy where they meet up with November’s assistant, Jose (David Norona) and another guy who are going to escort them to the port. November says Jack getting jumped by the South African guy, Jost Van Der Byl (Arnold Vosloo) definitely warrants further investigation.
Meanwhile, we finally get our introduction to Pres. Reyes’ opponent, Gloria Bonalde (Cristina Umana), who’s making lunches for her kids, Ily (Sara Lasprilla) and Carlos (Esteban Diaz). Ily complains about having to eat yet another ham sandwich – and before Gloria can even say anything, Carlos jumps in and says she should be grateful they even have ham, since so many other people in the country are starving.
They all rush out to the cars and Gloria hands out more ham sandwiches to all the drivers. She gets in her car with her assistant, Valentina (Paula Castano), who tells Gloria the good news. Their numbers are up and several newspapers in neighboring countries are reporting that they have a real shot – something that the press in Venezuela won’t cover because they’re controlled by Reyes.
Down at the port, the guys all get badges, vests and hardhats and get waved in. In the backseat, Jack finds a pill bottle on the floor – it’s Greer’s. Jack hides it and doesn’t say anything. Once they park, Jack walks ahead as November asks Greer how Jack’s doing. He’s concerned that Jack’s too personally involved. Greer tells him it was Jack who ran Suleiman down and killed him. Not sure that really answered the question, but November seems to be satisfied.
So they break in to the office of Cinco Palmas, only to find it’s been thoroughly cleaned out – Greer remarks that even the floor’s been swept. Jack says everything must’ve gone upriver with the shipment. As they head back to the truck, Greer says the SAD (Special Activities Division) guys are standing by at the mouth of the Orinoco River. Greer says he’ll meet up with them and head upriver. Jack says he’s going too, and November tells them he wants sit-reps at least every couple of hours.
Meanwhile, Marcus has the boat fixed and the bilge pumps working. He asks Not-John-Clark if he can be “Black Mamba” now and Coyote jumps in, saying they’ll upgrade him to “Uber Select.” To which Marcus replies by romping on the gas and nearly knocking them all overboard.
At Miraflores, Gen. Ubarri (Francisco Denis) asks Pres. Reyes how he found out about the surveillance. Reyes says his head of security, Mateo Bastos (Eduar Salas) told him, and from Ubarri’s reaction, it’s clear he doesn’t think much of him. Ubarri asks again why Reyes didn’t tell him about Sen. Moreno, and Reyes just says again that he didn’t kill him. Ubarri then asks why the coerced confessions from the militia guys who obviously had nothing to do with the ambush? But Reyes just deflects by saying perhaps Ubarri thinks he can do a better job. Isn’t that what he and his wife were saying on the recording?
Ubarri says he was upset that Reyes didn’t seem to value his counsel anymore. Reyes says that he doesn’t have the luxury of being self-righteous. Then Ubarri de-escalates the argument by talking about when they were both kids growing up in the Catia barrio – how Reyes caught Ubarri stealing food and made him give it back. Ubarri says Reyes always felt responsible for Venezuela, even back then. And Reyes says he’ll continue to be – always.
Gloria Bonalde and her crew arrive at a rally where she’s to give a speech. She’s met by lots of fans and she greets them all, shaking hands and even posing for a selfie. But when she gets to the balcony where she’s to speak from, she’s stunned and even a little rattled when she sees the size of the crowd and how amped-up they are. But then she puts on her game face and goes out to thunderous applause.
Gloria talks to the people about how she originally decided to run for President as a protest, on behalf of her missing husband (Gonzalo Vivanco), who disappeared a year earlier. She says Reyes doesn’t really want the revolution he keeps talking about and doesn’t care that the people of Venezuela are suffering. But, she says, no matter what the people will be free. And the crowd goes wild. Little does Gloria know that Bastos is down there in the crowd too, watching and listening disapprovingly.
As they drive to the rally point, Jack asks Greer if there’s anything he should know about. Greer says nope. So Jack then pulls out the pill bottle and Greer just snatches it back. He says if there was something Jack needed to know, then he would tell him.
As they wait for the boat, Jack complains about the mosquitoes and notes that they’re not bothering Greer. Greer says he’s a Louisiana boy and Jack says Greer originally told him that he was from Cincinnati. Greer just remarks how gullible Jack is. Jack says it shouldn’t matter anyway – that mosquitoes are drawn to carbon dioxide, not place of origin. Greer just says the mosquitoes don’t bother him because they know the deal – that he’ll bite back.
Not-John-Clark and his crew finally arrive in the boat – and despite the circumstances, it’s clear that he, Greer and Jack are all glad to see each other again. Matice razzes Jack about being the doctor of economics who never gave him any stock tips. Jack replies that he just needs to get a good S&P 500 index fund. Matice looks at him like, seriously? And then he starts complaining about the mosquitoes too. Greer hands him a bottle of bug repellent and Jack says, “oh, you bite back, huh?”
Matice introduces everybody and Greer goes over the op – ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) only – “no cowboy stuff.” They’ll open up a few of the shipping containers, look for the weapons and Jack will check for anything radioactive. They’ll take some photos of what they find and then they’re out – no one will ever know they were there. Greer then adds that they have no air support – the boat is their only way in and out.
While having dinner with his wife, Cassandra (Marcela Vanegas), at a fancy Caracas restaurant, Ubarri tells her that their house is bugged. She asks by whom and he says that Reyes says it’s the Americans – but he’s not sure what to believe. Cassandra asks what they should do and Ubarri says they should just act normal. But they will have to make sure their daughter, Maria (Laura Giraldo), doesn’t say anything bad about Reyes. He doesn’t want her to become a target. Cassandra says she would never be a target since Reyes is her uncle – but Ubarri doesn’t look so sure.
Flashback time – we see a lovely dinner party at the Bonalde’s place, back before Sergio went missing. Everyone’s happy and buzzed on wine – and listening with rapt attention as Sergio speaks out about the government. Later, they’re all sitting around drinking more wine and singing – and Sergio and Gloria dance together, very much in love. Then we cut to the present day, where Gloria sits in that same room, now empty, with nothing but photos and her memories.
Then it’s nightfall on the Orinoco River as the team arrives at the cargo drop-off point – only to find that the containers have already been moved inland. They pick a spot to park the boat and Matice lets them know that the radios are kaput – but they do have infrared beacons for everybody. As they head on shore, Matice tells Marcus he’s going to have to be ready to go as soon as he sees them coming.
The team then heads inland and soon comes across the militia camp and the containers. Greer says they’ll search the ones on the outer edge of the camp. They sneak in and Jack grabs a set of bolt cutters out of Matice’s pack. He snaps the lock on one of the containers and they go in. Jack uses the Geiger counter, but there’s nothing radioactive. There aren’t even any weapons – just some major drilling equipment.
It’s looking like a bust, but Jack says they need to keep looking. The camp guards are coming too close and Matice says they need to leave. But of course, Jack just ignores him and goes for another container. This one has crates of ammonium nitrate fuel oil. Jack manages to snap a few photos on his phone before he’s caught by Jost Van Der Byl – who recognizes him and asks if he’s still looking for those coffee beans before he kicks Jack in the nuts.
Luckily, Matice comes up behind Van Der Byl and they drag him away for some questioning. Van Der Byl won’t say anything, so Disco and Coyote say they should just kill him and get the hell out. But Jack says Van Der Byl’s an unarmed combatant and they can’t do that.
So Greer jumps in and takes over, grabbing the bolt cutters and snipping off one of Van Der Byl’s fingers. Yikes. Greer tosses the finger at a stunned Jack, saying now they have his DNA so they can identify him. Then they gag and hog-tie Van Der Byl and take off.
Back at the boat, Marcus hears a militia patrol approaching his position. Then he breaks the cardinal rule set down in Apocalypse Now – that is, “Never get out of the boat.” He grabs his rifle and jumps out. And meanwhile, the militia guys have found Van Der Byl and are in pursuit of the team, with Van Der Byl saying they can’t let them get back to the river.
As the guys are hauling a** back to the boat, Greer’s bad ticker starts acting up again. Jack has to push him forward so he’s not lagging behind. Van Der Byl and his guys catch up and the shooting starts. Coyote takes a minor hit and goes down, and Jack goes back to grab him up. Matice gets to the boat first, only to find Marcus gone. He fires up the engine as everybody else jumps in.
Marcus hears the noise and starts back to the boat – but the guys already have the engine running and the lines cut. Matice says they’ll come back for Marcus as they pull away from shore. And Marcus gets back just in time to see the boat racing away. He’s officially stuck.
Back at Miraflores, Bastos updates Reyes on Gloria Bonalde, saying how she has the people’s support and the latest polls show her numbers are up. Reyes sends him away as Ubarri comes in – and Reyes asks Ubarri to be honest with him and tell him if Bonalde can win. And Ubarri’s reluctance to answer is the answer.
On the boat, Greer asks Jack what the hell he was doing. Jack says they were there to search the containers, and that’s what he did. Then Greer finally admits to his heart condition and says the prognosis isn’t great. He says it’s why he had to leave Moscow. Jack asks who else knows, and Greer says other than him, just the COS in Moscow. Jack then asks what he’s going to do about it – and Greer just says he doesn’t know.
I have to say, I think my favorite new character this season has got to be Francisco Denis’ Ubarri. There’s some real depth to him – he’s not just playing the cardboard-like second-in-command, like Bastos. He has a lot of conflict and genuine emotion, way more than those around him. I’m hoping that he’ll be a major player as Reyes loses his grip on his power – something I think we all know is coming.
Nice to finally meet Gloria Bonalde – Cristina Umana infuses the character with a real spark of energy and I like the fact that she’s genuinely overwhelmed by the support she’s getting. Overwhelmed and a little frightened, which makes her all the more human and relatable.
I wish I could say the same for the SAD team. Now of course, I’ve never served. I’ve never been in that kind of position so I can’t say that I wouldn’t act that way. Maybe I would. But the stereotypical, super-macho, stoner cowboy attitude of Not-John-Clark and the other two mercs really just rubs me wrong. I’m glad that at least Marcus is there to balance it out – to show a personality that, I have a feeling, is probably closer to the real thing.
But of course, Marcus also made the supremely stupid mistake of leaving the boat. I don’t know if we’re supposed to chalk that up to his having been out of the game for a while or if that’s really what the boat driver should do. I don’t know, but it seemed like a pretty dumb move for a guy as smart as Marcus.
As for Jack running off and doing his own thing with those containers, I don’t know why Not-John-Clark and Greer were so surprised to see him doing it. It’s pretty typical Jack. They really should’ve guessed as much. And as for Greer, man, he is really pushing his luck, isn’t he? Almost to an unbelievable point. I mean, Greer’s a super-savvy dude. So it’s getting harder and harder to believe that he’s going to keep ignoring the fact that he’s not only risking his own life, but the lives of those he’s with. I really hope that gets resolved sooner rather than later.