SHOOTER Review: “Recon by Fire”

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Bob Lee returns to the scene of the assassination hoping to find evidence of the actual SHOOTER in another impressive episode, “Recon by Fire.” There are two major story pockets to this episode with a couple clever conflict mines.

Jack Payne hasn’t gone public with the fact that Bob Lee is still alive, but he doesn’t mind rubbing Johnson’s face in it. Johnson hates being left out of the loop, but Payne doesn’t feel the need to tell him what he’s doing. This week, Payne kills a restaurant full of Voydian’s known contacts to keep Memphis from interviewing them. He sends Memphis a bouquet of harassment roses to her desk at work, and later, leaves a rose on one of the victims at the crime scene.

Payne, Johnson, and Bob Lee make a great trio of characters. They’re all shooters and soldiers of different moral shades. Payne is the most primal, and Johnson is the most misguided. The other trio, Meachum, Johnson, and Memphis, work much the same way. Memphis gets a decent amount of story attention, but it’s really the Johnson character that holds this narrative together.

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Bob Lee has a quick rendezvous with Julie and sets up a way to meet in the future. He tells her he’s going back to the scene of the original crime, but doesn’t tell her how important Memphis is to his investigation. When Bob Lee looks over footage of the day the Ukrainian President was killed, he notices a Seattle Police Department squad car parked in the back ground. Memphis runs the vehicle number and Bob Lee tracks it to the police garage where he finds a special bullet lodged in the rear wheel well.

Again, Memphis has a contact at ATF that recognizes the bullet; it’s used by a fringe group called “Tree of Liberty.” Bob Lee heads to Spokane and infiltrates the TOL compound led by James Richards (Randy Orton.) Richards welcomes Bob Lee to the cause, but his little brother Joey isn’t impressed and senses Bob Lee is trouble. Richards recognizes the round, but it isn’t one of theirs. He knows who makes them, but isn’t willing to share with Bob Lee yet.

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Bob Lee wants to leave, but he checks out the rest of the compound and finds a van filled with explosive. He calls the ATF contact Memphis gave him and leaves the phone so they can track the signal. ATF spins up their tactical unit, but it will take some time to get them on site.

Meanwhile, Johnson tracks Bob Lee to the compound, but gets discovered by TOL security. At first, Joey thinks Bob Lee and Johnson are working together, but Bob Lee suggests they use Johnson for target practice. They walk Johnson out a mile and tie him to a tree in true Tree of Liberty fashion. Bob Lee misses his first shot and Richards thinks he missed on purpose, but he misses his first shot too.

Bob Lee shoots down the ATF drone with his second shot. This keep his presence a secret but also gives Richards a chance to escape the ATF attack. Johnson works himself free of the ropes and Bob Lee tells Joey how to get away too. In return, Joey gives Bob Lee the name of the man in Idaho that makes their bullets, O’Brien. Again, this scene differentiates Bob Lee from Johnson and Payne. He neither killed Johnson when he had the chance, nor walked away from the Tree of Liberty explosives van.

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Memphis visits Julie to warn her about agent Payne and offer them safety, but Julie has a more aggressive option in mind. She takes Payne’s file to the news teams that constantly hover around her house and outs him to the media. She says anyone with information about Payne may contact Memphis. This puts Payne in a tough spot but it also makes Memphis more unpopular with her own office. Utay never had faith in her to begin with.

Meachum contacts Johnson and tells him he’ll be assigned to him until further notice. Payne walks into Memphis’ office and turns himself in. We have to see how that plays out. There is a slim chance he wants to surrender, but I think he has something up his sleeve that will discredit Memphis. This is almost the midpoint of Shooter and USA is doing excellent work with presentation and pace.

I expect to see more pressure placed on Julie and Mary in the back half of the season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson showed continued growth, he also has his wife to think about. First, we’ll see if Memphis can survive the position Julie put her in or the scheme Payne has ready to explain his actions. Maybe he’ll be sidelined for a while and Meachum will have to do some of his own dirty work. I’ve been waiting for him to do more than lecture and make phone calls.

Season 1, Episode 5 (S01E05)
Shooter airs Fridays 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.
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