Special Ops: Lioness – Season 1 Episode 4 “The Choice of Failure” Recap & Review

The Choice of Failure

Episode 4 of Lioness begins in East Hampton in Long Island. Cruz has progressed well in her friendship with Aaliyah. The two have been spending a lot of time together lately. So have the people keeping track of them – Joe’s team and Asmari’s men.

While out on a casual swim in the ocean with Cruz, Aaliyah confesses that she doesn’t want to get married. Although Ehsan is kind and a great prospective partner, Aaliyah feels there is more for her in life. 

Joe’s team is still trying to figure out the underlying transaction in Aaliyah and Ehsan’s marriage. There has to be some logic about a Saudi royal marrying a Kuwaiti national in the present circumstances.  Joe wants to nab Asmari at the wedding, feeling it is the perfect setting. But if it happens on foreign soil like the Emirates, the team would have a nightmare keeping track of Cruz.

While talking to one of the members of her team who did the job with Kyle, Joe is furious to learn there were casualties. And that the lawlessness was to such a level that her team could be in trouble. She immediately phones Kyle and tells him off for his carelessness. With everything going on, she can’t afford to have such distractions.

Kaitlyn Meade (Nicole Kidman) and Byron Westfield (Michael Kelly) question Kyle over his off-grid operation. Footage obtained from authorities clearly shows them driving up to the scene in a car. He is forced to divulge that he used Joe’s team for the job, which invites more distress from his superiors. Kyle saves the day somewhat by telling them that his contract agent (the one he rescued) is bringing over five Al-Qaeda operatives to San Antonio, where the CIA can nab them.

In a rather distressing scene, we see Kate, Joe’s elder daughter, get into a vicious car accident. Neal is informed of her arrival and he instantly drops everything at the hospital to be with her as she is treated. Kate will be fine but one of her friends didn’t make it. He informs Joe over the phone, who is in New York. After he keeps the phone, Neal suffers the shock of her life when he discovers that Kate is pregnant. To prepare her for surgery, she will have to be aborted to avoid fetal injuries.

Neal has a sombre conversation with Kate about her situation. He seems heartbroken that his daughter broke the promises she made to him. Trust is the hardest to win back once lost and Neal’s eyes give away his pain.

Cruz accompanies Aaliyah and her friends to a high-end club. Joe and her team are keeping close track of her movements. When no one volunteers to get closer to Cruz in the club, Joe takes it upon herself to do so. She struggles to reconcile Kate’s reality when Neal calls her about it. The duo promise to work this out together and meet the next day at the hospital.

Cruz spots Joe at the bar and purposely tries to rile her by flirting with a stranger. Unbeknownst to Cruz, he slips a roofie in her drink as Kaitlyn arrives outside the club to meet Joe. When the drugs start taking effect, the stranger tries to slip Cruz out to take advantage of her. Although Aaliyah’s security was watching her, they are distracted by a brawl that breaks out. Joe loses sight of her as well and intimates to her team where the man is taking her.

In a tense sequence, they follow Cruz’s tracker into the woods where the man prepares to rape her. Joe and the others get to her in time and save the day. Joe threatens him to keep quiet and also takes his DNA sample and ID as security. Cruz gains consciousness but is still struggling to come to her senses properly. Aaliyah keeps calling her as Cruz reveals the wedding will be in Dubai. Her position undercover is under scrutiny as Joe and Kaitlyn doubt she will be able to carry her cover.

The episode ends with another shock for Joe as Kaitlyn reveals her team is in deep trouble having been caught on the Border Surveillance footage along with Kyle.

The Episode Review

I love how Taylor Sheridan ends every episode with something dramatic but doesn’t immediately pick up in the next one with that energy. It keeps us hooked while also not forcing him and the writers’ room to come up with artificial fillers.

Episode 4 manifested Joe and Neal’s sacrifice that we touched upon in our last review. Kate’s severe accident has definitely given the duo a lot to think about.

Zoe Saldana gave her best version of Joe in this episode, mixing her ferociousness and helplessness on both fronts effortlessly. Cruz’s recklessness is unlike her and felt a little out of place. If she was impacted by Joe’s presence and wanted to “get back” at her, why did she not follow through on it after regaining consciousness?

Sheridan has still not revealed all his cards to us yet. Time is on his side, though, with four more episodes to go. Special Ops has done a solid job in its first half. It is now time to capitalize on the foundations and launch the story in a more exciting direction.

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You can read our season 1 review of Special Ops: Lioness here!
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