“Red on Red” is all about exposing the real SHOOTER and setting the villain team against each other. This was a fun episode but mostly functional; it was meant to check a few important boxes. At a minimum, $10 million in uncut diamonds are brought into the story and by the end of the episode, Julie and Mary are in direct mortal danger. This is a solid example of plot driven vs. theme or character driven. Most of what Shooter accomplishes in “Red on Red” is required to put Julie and Mary in peril, but not because of decisions or choices made by any meaningful character. It goes like this.
Bob Lee convinces Memphis to help him drive Lon Scott into the open, his primary goal is to kill Scott at first opportunity. This is true to his character. Memphis is happy to help Bob Lee but would rather discover evidence which implicates Scott, which is true to her character. Bob Lee needs her continued cooperation and agrees to try it her way. This seems like a bit of a stretch, but I’m willing to except it. He calls Julie and tells her it’s time to move Mary into a hidden location. Julie moves out of her sister’s place and does not tell her where she will be hiding. However, Anne, her sister, invites a reporter into her home because he has a big offer from his publisher and he knows Julie needs the money. This is pure story mechanics because neither Anne nor Porter, the reporter, are meaningful to the story on any thematic relationship level. Porter secretly works for Lon Scott and sneaks a man into Anne’s house with a device that secretly hacks Anne’s phone and eventually leads Scott’s men to Julie and Mary’s location. My guess is they wanted to start episode nine with Julia and Mary in danger. This is a classic third act for the action story; attack the stronghold and save the princess.
Meanwhile, Jack Payne calls Grigory Krukov, a Russian FSB agent and offers to sell him the Annex B evidence for $10 million in uncut diamonds. Now, that we know Lon Scott is the man that actually killed the Ukrainian president, the McGuffin has changed to a thumb drive with Annex B evidence. The diamonds are an interesting addition, they’re exactly the sort of thing Payne could travel on to set up his new life; if her survives the weekend.
Krukov discusses Payne’s request with Scott and Meachum. They both agree it makes sense to pay Payne, $10 million is nothing compared to what they have to gain. Krukov agrees at first, but he doesn’t like the idea of Payne turning on them. Bob Lee and Memphis storm Krukov’s hotel room and make him a decent counter offer. Bob Lee convinces Krukov he’d be happy to kill Payne, Meachum, and Scott but let Krukov leave with the thumb drive in exchange for the diamonds which he needs to buy safety for his family. The only deal breaker is if Bob Lee doesn’t leave the airfield with the diamonds, he promises to kill Krukov too. Krukov agrees to the deal but doesn’t realize Memphis recorded the conversation.
Agent Johnson corners Krukov about his deal with Scott and Meachum. Krukov tells Johnson that Bob Lee plans on killing Scott and Meachum at the airfield which will give him a good shot at Bob Lee. At this point, Johnson will do anything to protect himself and his wife. He knows he has to kill Bob Lee to feel safe, losing Meachum and Scott is just a bonus. Meanwhile, Bob Lee sneaks into Scott’s compound and plays him the recording he made of Krukov hiring him to kill Meachum and Scott.
All the baddies gather on the airfield to exchange the $10 million in diamonds for Payne’s thumb drive. They all know they can’t be trusted, but what they don’t know is that Memphis is hiding in the tree line too. Bob Lee spots Johnson hiding in a car and moves while the deal goes down. Krukov gives Payne the diamonds, but Payne says he’ll phone Krukov with the location of the thumb drive once his plane gets off the ground. Then, the shooting starts. Memphis opens fire and takes out a bunch of hench but doesn’t hit anyone important.
Payne escapes in his car with the diamonds and heads to a buddy’s shop where he hid the thumb drive. Bob Lee hid in the trunk and jacks Payne, but leaves him alive. Meachum and Johnson find Payne beaten and bloody. I can’t imagine why they would keep Payne alive at this point. Bob Lee returns to Memphis with the thumb drive evidence but she’s upset that he set her up to shoot a bunch of hench in cold blood. “Cold Blood” doesn’t sound right, everyone showed up willing to kill someone else, there was nothing cold blooded about it. Outside of her duties as an FBI agent, that makes more sense, how can she possibly return to work at this point? Bob Lee tells her no one has to know she was there (though Scott guessed he wasn’t alone in the tree-line,) then he discovers Julie and Mary are missing.
The big questions moving forward are where are Julie and Mary, and what will Bob Lee do to get them back? Memphis has the thumb drive evidence in her possession and Bob Lee has $10 million in diamonds which will come in handy for buying Payne or someone else from the villain team. Everything is where it should be as Shooter rolls into the last act of its rookie season.
Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)
Shooter airs Tuesdays at 10PM on USA
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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Eric Rodriguez | Contributor