‘Special Ops: Lioness’ Reveals Dark Truths About The US Military In Episode 4 (RECAP)

Photo Credit: William Gray/Paramount+

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

This article contains spoilers from the fourth episode of “Special Ops: Lioness,” available on Paramount+

“Special Ops: Lioness” episode four dropped Sunday, and it leaned heavily into the turmoil of being both an active duty CIA or military operative and a regular human.

When most people write about the lives of military personnel or CIA operatives, their home lives are usually romanticized. Sure, some films and shows delve into the darker side of things back home, but I’ve never seen anything quite as tough as what Joe (Zoe Saldana) has to balance both at work and in her personal life.

In episode four, Joe is hit with a trifecta: Cruz (Laysla De Oliveira) is roofied on a night out with the target (Aaliyah, played by Stephanie Buddenbrock); her team is busted for the catastrophic Texas extraction, and her 14-year-old daughter gets into a horrific car accident and is revealed to be pregnant.

I was initially confused by “Special Ops: Lioness” creator Taylor Sheridan’s choice to lean so heavily into a B-plot (maybe even C-plot) so totally unrelated to the anti-terror operation that makes up a majority of the story. But the more we were shown the horrors of Joe’s life, the more I realized that this must be what it’s like for so many people in the Special Forces and other sectors of national security.

Sheridan also started to get political with his writing. While we all know that “Yellowstone” is a deeply political story, it’s also a basic black hat-white hat story. (RELATED: ‘Special Ops: Lioness’ Episode 3 Is Peak Soap-Opera-Meets-Spy Thriller)

The latest episode of “Special Ops: Lioness,” instead of being so on-the-nose, hints at the risks of our open border, and just how easy it currently is for terrorists to come into America. When most people think of our open border, we tend to focus on the cartels, human, drug, and sex trafficking. Not a lot of us want to think about how easy it currently is for terrorists from any number of international groups to wander into our country, and do horrific damage while here. (RELATED: ‘Special Ops: Lioness’ Episode Two Is Violent, Terrifying, And Laugh-Out-Loud Funny)

This part of “Special Ops: Lioness” says more about Sheridan’s politics than I was expecting. But boy, am I glad for it, because I don’t know anyone in entertainment who is shining a light on this massive gap in our national defense.