The Unit: All Fall Down!

The Unit - Jonas BlaineTonight, CBS's strangest series, conceptually, The Unit [9/8C] merges both sides of its dual nature when the titular unit returns from a successful mission to discover that they are under investigation for past mission infractions – by a group that may be the CIA – and that two of their wives have been approached by agents of that group… The Unit has enjoyed a solid two-season run following CBS' hit series, NCIS. This is partly because both shows have a direct connection to the military, and partly because both series weave solid characterization into their missions. In the case of The Unit, this is an even greater factor since half of each week's episode revolves around the families of the unit members who live on the base and deal with all the day-to-day travails that their mates seldom encounter.

 

In Paradise Lost, the unit comes under investigation in what looks to be a conspiracy – no one knows exactly who is behind it – and it appears that the investigation could be trumped up for reasons unknown. The problem is that the charges the members of the unit face are classified [as are all of their missions. Thus there seems to be no way that they can realistically defend themselves.

To complicate matters, hothead Mac Gerhardt [Max Martini] discovers his wife's petition for divorce and, in his usual calm, reasoned manner, rants, raves and screams – forcing Tiffy [Abby Brammell] to lock herself in the bathroom. Not only that, but unit leader Jonas Blaine [Dennis Haysbert] makes it plain that he doesn't appreciate one agent's efforts to intimidate his wife [Molly Blane] – in a manner that causes the agent extreme pain.

The Unit - Four members of The Unit

Bringing the situation to an even nastier point, Bob Brown [Scott Foley] is being pressured to leave the unit, rat on his friends, and work for the CIA – and Col. Tom Ryan [Robert Patrick] is relieved of his command and – because he will not abandon his men – loses his wife! Things escalate when Blaine goes missing and his wife arrives home to find her home a wreck – and blood smears on the wall!

Over the course of the episode, even though the Unit's arc and the families' arc don't really intersect more than usual, they influence each other to such an extent that, for all intents and purposes, they have merged. This is because the script, by Lynn Mamet, is considerably more thoughtful than the average The Unit script [and since they are almost always well thought out, that's no mean feat].

Vahan Moosekian does a fine job of balancing character and action – and his pacing is perfect for giving unexpected revelations all the impact they need. The reveal of the Blaine house is as effective as the cliffhanger ending is as effective as the reveal in Ryan's office.

There may be some disappointment over the action-free cliffhanger ending, but for me, at least, it has as much impact as Blaine's wounding in the season one finale – plus, it has the benefit of being impossible to brush away lightly in the season three premiere. There may be bigger, more highly hyped season finales between now and the end of the May sweeps, but this one may well turn out to be one of the best.

Grade: B+

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