SHOOTER Review: “Ballistic Advantage”

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Bob Lee uses a “Ballistc Advantage” to save his family from the real SHOOTER as the first season rolls to its last couple of episodes. Shooter made some interesting choices with this episode. We knew Bob Lee was going to concentrate on rescuing Julie and Mary. That’s the most pressing issue. The second is keeping them safe moving forward.

“Ballistic Advantage” begins with Bob Lee prepping to kill the men holding Julie and Mary. Memphis is still on his team but she isn’t okay with the straight up murder plan. Memphis doesn’t have family at risk but she has had to make difficult choices. The Memphis character internal wound is an innocent person she killed during a hostage standoff earlier in her . It’s my hope that we’ll see her get another shot at this type of situation in the finale. Bob Lee knows he can trust her and he still needs support to save his family. Memphis is a major part of that picture.

Agent Johnson is the other part of his plan. Memphis is trust worthy as a person and she’s a quick learner, but he also needs someone with Johnson’s tactical skill and willingness to kill when he takes on the villain team. Here come the episode spoilers; Meachum, Scott, and Payne do not survive this week. That leaves Krukov and Johnson. Krukov isn’t a thematic antagonist, he’s a straight up plot villain. His death will only serve a plot point unless he becomes a hurdle for Memphis, which is possible. Johnson does have a more thematic relationship with Bob Lee.

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Bob Lee traps Johnson in the woods with an assist from Memphis. Bob Lee and Johnson both have people in their life they want to protect, but Bob Lee has an ally he can trust and Johnson’s team is falling apart. Krukov tells his men to bury Meachum. This happens off camera and there’s no need to suspect the character will return. Meanwhile, Payne is back working for Lon Scott, but Krukov is trying to buy his loyalty. Payne doesn’t have many options, Johnson never liked him to begin with. Scott gets more single minded by the moment.

Johnson agrees to help Bob Lee until he gets his family back. This is a bit self-serving, Johnson knows Payne and Scott also pose a danger to him moving forward. It also gives him time to work on Bob Lee’s forgiveness. Even if Bob Lee softens after getting his family back, Memphis is going to need someone to turn over to justice. She’s much less likely to forgive Johnson of his crimes. These two might have their own showdown in the finale too.

Memphis traces a call Bob Lee makes to Julie to prove she’s still okay and says he’s willing to exchange the Annex B evidence drive for his family. Johnson helps him kill a team of Russian hench when they go for the rescue but Julie and Mary aren’t there. The whole building is just a trap set up by Scott to expose Bob Lee so he can kill him with an awesome shot. Scott even goes so far as to kill a Russian hench who is about to shoot Bob Lee. He can’t stand the thought of a nobody taking down his target. Bob Lee and Johnson escape the building and Bob Lee uses Scott’s desire against him.

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Bob Lee makes a special round for Scott’s fancy King rifle, then turns himself in to Scott so he can plant it with the rounds he knows Scott will use to try and kill him. Again, he agrees to turn over the Annex B evidence and expose himself in the open so Scott can take his shot in exchange for Julie and Mary. Scott sets up the meeting but Krukov and Payne have different priorities. Krukov doesn’t want to turn over the hostages until he has the Annex B evidence for sure, Payne hands Mary over to Krukov’s men and continues to the exchange with Julie.

Scott and Payne do not survive this meeting. Scott blows his face off when he uses the round Bob Lee loaded in secret and Payne dies a slower death. He has a shotgun tied to Julie’s head and his hand taped to the trigger. Johnson shoots his arm off and Bob Lee catches it in time to save Julie. Then, she uses the shotgun to kill Payne. Yep, he messed with the wrong woman. Now that we’ve seen this side of Julie, I wonder how she’ll play into season two. She isn’t exactly a bench warmer.

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Payne was a baddie, but he was a proper trickster and I would have liked to see him next season. Going into the finale, we still have Krukov and Johnson to deal with. Memphis followed Krukov to the Russian Embassy, we can assume he’s holding Mary there. The bigger mystery is how Johnson will play in her release. He’s in serious trouble with law enforcement at this point and I hope to see a fantastic showdown with Bob Lee in the finale.

Season 1, Episode 9 (S01E09)
Shooter airs Tuesdays at 10PM on USA

Read all of our reviews of Shooter here.
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Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.
Follow Eric on Twitter: @Etom2012
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