Bob Lee discovers the identity of the real SHOOTER after attending a gun show in “Danger Close.” Shooter is just past the season’s midpoint and we should know all the major players by now. In “Danger Close,” we meet another important figure from team Meachum; a billionaire baddie with a gun, Lonnie Scott. First, let’s examine the stakes. Bob Lee would kill to protect Julie and Mary. They are at the top of his motivation pyramid and represent a great choice by the storytellers.
Stakes characters are usually vulnerable and need protecting; they need a hero to survive. That’s certainly the case for Mary, she’s a child. Julie is a different story. She’s a tough, formidable stakes character. Julie is able to defend herself, protect Mary to a certain degree, and provide emotional support to Bob Lee. We don’t need to see a lot of her on screen but the scenes we do get support her ultimate function. This week Julie’s brother in-law, Jim, discovers her recent emails with Bob Lee. He confronts her about the possibility of Bob Lee still being alive, but she maintains the fiction he died in the explosion. Jim doesn’t like being lied to, Julie and Mary are guests in his house. He takes his evidence to the FBI, Memphis takes his statement but she calls Julie immediately. When Jim returns home, Julie puts a knife to his throat and tells him to take a long business trip until she decides it’s safe for him to return.
This is a great little bit because we don’t expect Julie to kick a guy out his own home without even discussing it with her sister. It also isolates Jim and, to some degree, weakens Julie’s defense system. Team Meachum is growing desperate and they know Julie and Mary are the only people Bob Lee cares about. It’s only a matter of time before they attack Julie, that’s part of her character function. If they find Jim, he may inform the way they attack.
The villains also have stakes. This week we see Agent Johnson send his wife, Lin, into hiding. This is a harbinger of his shapeshifting function. Johnson isn’t hiding her from Swagger, he’s hiding her from his own team. Now he sees the threats everywhere; Meachum, Payne, and the Annex B stormtrooper-hench.
Payne was part of the only scene that caused a bump this week. Last episode, we saw him escorted out of the FBI office by soldiers. They turned him over to his boss, Lonnie Scott. Meachum is Payne’s operational supervisor, but Lonnie signs the checks. Scott offers to retire Payne someplace comfortable but Payne wants $10million to disappear. His leverage is some evidence he keeps of Annex B hench committing war crimes. Scott lets Payne walk out of his office and puts Meachum on the problem. This felt a little weird, why not just kill Payne on the spot? For story purposes, Payne, a solid trickster, has much more value causing chaos in the world. His stakes are a mystery. Greed is a solid motivation but money is a weak goal. I’m curious to see if anything really drives Payne other than his love of the game.
Meachum is another mystery where stakes are involved. In “Danger Close,” Agent Johnson tells Meachum the FBI is looking into Mr. Scott in connection with the assassination. He tells Meachum it’s time to pack his bags and take a long trip. Meachum says he doesn’t have any bags and tasks Johnson to say the same. If Meachum doesn’t have any bags, why is he doing all of this? This is a lot of pressure on the villain team with only three targets to relieve it; Julie, Memphis, and Bob Lee.
Bob Lee heads to a gun show to track down the owners of the remaining three Black Kings. This is where he gets the lead on a one-legged shooter, Lon Scott, probably the only man capable of making the kill shot on the Ukranian President. He reports his findings to Agent Memphis and begins hunting Scott. Johnson finds Bob Lee in the parking lot of Scott’s Virginia headquarters and suggests they team up against Payne and Meachum. Bob Lee refuses the offer and promises to kill Johnson for killing Donnie’s mom. Bob Lee usually makes solid moves and I agree, Johnson isn’t to be trusted, but why not agree to partner with Johnson for all the resources at his disposal?
Bob Lee contacts the one person for help he feels is really on his side, Agent Memphis. He tells her he needs her close to take down Scott. Then, we see Memphis ask her boss for a suspension. I know this season still has plenty of time to fumble, but I’m ready to follow Swagger on his next adventure. USA recently announced the second season. It’s a safe bet Meachum won’t be involved, and I’m sure Johnson is headed from a tragic showdown with Bob Lee, but I hope Payne is still out there causing chaos. Maybe Payne keeps trying to make a love connection with Memphis.
Season 1, Episode 7 (S01E07)
Shooter airs Fridays at 10PM on USA
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Eric Rodriguez | Contributor