Things got intense during the mission and at home on SEAL Team episode 1×02 “Other Lives”.
SEAL Team 1×02, “Other Lives”, on CBS showed us another difficult side of military. Having a wife ready to give birth while you’re away. We felt sorry for Ray (Neil Brown Jr.), and yet he never felt sorry for himself. He clearly has an open line of communication with his wife and the two were okay with him not being there during the birth. Jason (David Boreanaz) held back on telling Ray after Davis (Toni Trucks) reported the news of Naima being in labor. At the end, Ray said he understood why Jason didn’t tell him, but he could’ve handled it.
The other theme of this episode revolved around true colors. Sonny (A.J. Buckley) showed his multiple times. He’s clearly a strong member of the team and doesn’t let emotions come into play when making decisions. This can be seen as good or bad, but is a strength when difficult times come into play. Clay (Max Thieriot) also showed some true colors during his training. He showed when it comes to being a team player, he’s severely lacking. A point that hit home when Clay ended up in the bottom five. We can only hope Clay learns from this and realizes how to work as a team.
Let’s meet our roundtable of the week!
Rachel (@tickledbloo) – Small business owner, mom and wife from rural Northern Michigan.
Kris (@foxyangel26) – TV fan and movie buff. Shoe and animal lover.
Laura (@Boneslvr38) – Bonehead turned Sealie from Jersey.
Micha (@ciaomichaella) – Chocoholic fan girl who loves live tweeting, television, spoilers, books, and social media.
Verla (@auntiev55) – Worker, reader, writer and television binge-watcher!
1. Clay didn’t stay at the top of the training wall, and seemed annoyed that the other man did. So Clay had the best time, but isn’t it more important to be a team member?
Rachel (@tickledbloo): We don’t know all of the circumstances about the course. Was the point to get ALL of them through as fast as possible? Or was it more important to have the fastest time. Judging by Clay’s position, being in the bottom five, I’d guess it’s to get EVERYONE through as fast as possible. He would be annoyed, because he’s VERY cocky! Military isn’t an “every man for himself” organization. It’s about trying to get everyone in, accomplish a task, and get everyone out.
Kris (@foxyangel26): SEALs need to be able to operate as a team. Having the best time is great, but being able to watch the backs of your teammates is more important. Clay needs to be fast and operate as a team.
Laura (@Boneslvr38): In the line of work Clay is in, yes it’s more important to be a team member.
Micha (@ciaomichaella): We don’t know a lot about Clay’s life, but his father has been mentioned in both episodes. It’s possible Clay has baggage and his journey towards becoming a SEAL will teach maturity, teamwork, and other lessons. Right now, Clay is a cocky, rebellious, immature brat with potential. He’ll learn about sacrifice and the meaning of family in time. You can’t have the “there’s no I in TEAM but there is ME” attitude if you’re going to be part of a team where members put their lives in each other’s hands daily.
Verla (@auntiev55): If you factor in Clay’s dad being a former SEAL, it isn’t surprising having the best time is what he sees as the objective. He’s spent his life trying to measure up to his father. Being the best would be his goal.
2. What was up with the weird interaction between the doctor and Ray while at Naima’s appointment? It actually seemed like there was a little animosity.
Rachel: I’m sure Naima has voiced frustration with the doctor, and it would’ve only been from a pregnant woman’s point of view. As a woman, the doctor would’ve sympathized with her, and been a bitter with Ray. My question was what business is it of the doctor’s what his job was? That seemed fishy to me.
Kris: There was a strange look and vibe. Almost disapproving of what Ray does because it will take him away from his pregnant wife.
Laura: I actually catch the weird interaction between Ray and Naima’s doctor.
Micha: At first I was worried the doctor was a spy because she kept asking Ray so many questions about his job. Then I thought maybe she’s just of the particular opinion that the baby’s father should be 100% involved during labor and delivery. Who knows?
Verla: I definitely noticed that strange vibe between them. My first thought was she was fishing for what he did and with what company or team. I’m assuming his actual assignment and team is probably confidential.
3. Clay seems more concerned with being the best. If this is the case, then why does he seem so hell bent on becoming a part of the teams?
Rachel: He thinks if he’s the individual best, he’ll make the team on sheer talent. There was also backstory about his father, and perhaps that plays into it. It’s always frustrating to see someone making obvious mistakes, and you have to wait for it to play out. Like when the chick in the horror movie stays IN the house. “Run, you dumb bimbo!”.
Kris: Clay wants to be part of Jason’s team because they’re the best and it would look good for his resume and career. However, right now he’s operating like a lone wolf only concerned with himself and being the best.
Laura: Clay wants to be part of a team because Jason’s team is the best. So, since Clay wants to be the best of the best, he would naturally want to be on the best team.
Micha: SEAL training is rigorous and they don’t just accept anybody. Clay thinks he’s hot stuff and deserves to be part of the best team. At this point, he’s more about himself, personal glory, taking risks, and one upping those around him. Eventually he’ll learn to become a team player who thinks about the bigger picture and ramifications of his actions.
Verla: He views being on Jason’s team as the best. Different remarks make it obvious Jason is highly respected and at the top of his game. Clay thinks being on Jason’s team would put him at the top. The scene where he says hello and they ignore him was so powerful in showing his desire to be seen as one of the elite.
4. Sonny doesn’t seem to allow emotion to enter into the decisions that he makes, or thinks Jason should be making. Is this a good asset to have? Or are emotions a necessary part of the job?
Rachel: It allows for a certain amount of objectivity, to have someone who keeps emotions at bay. It allows another point of view on what to do. Definitely a virtue to have on a team of SEALs. I wouldn’t comprise most of the team of emotionless people, but only because it would be too easy for good decisions to get overruled.
Kris: This is a double edged sword. If you’re always apathetic, you miss opportunities to save lives and make a difference because you are only mission focused. If you’re always emotional, it’s a distraction and may get you killed. A healthy balance plays well and so far, that’s what I see from Jason. He’s emotional but still focused.
Laura: It’s a good thing to not allow emotions in the way of making decisions. Emotions in their job might get them killed.
Micha: Given they’re constantly finding themselves in challenging life or death situations, it’s probably best to not have emotions. Being too emotional causes you to make mistakes because you’re not thinking clearly. You don’t want to be devoid of emotions either because you run the risk of not caring at all. But it’s safer to minimize the role of emotions in a high stress job.
Verla: For a lot of people everything is black and white – there’s no gray area. Sonny has worked hard to live his life and make decisions outside of any emotion involved. He joked about “getting the number” of the hostage they rescued. It’s easier for him not to feel things too deeply. The scene between Jason and Sonny about the civilians was my favorite. Sonny was so matter of fact while you could see the emotional battle on Jason’s face.
5. Jason clearly has complete confidence in his team and he shows it. Do you think this is a big part of why he is such a successful team leader?
Rachel: Absolutely. The team is as strong as its leader, and the character is smart and well-tuned into his team. They work as a very effective unit, and this is what makes them successful. At the same time, this is what makes Clay a poor fit with his current level of cockiness. I like his character, so I hope he loses the chip on his shoulder.
Kris: If you can’t trust the people around you to do what they’re trained to do then it will take away from Jason’s focus as a leader. I think he’s a successful leader because he knows his teams strengths and weaknesses. Otherwise, Jason will be preoccupied making sure his team is doing what they are supposed to and that wouldn’t make them an elite team.
Laura: Yes, I would say so. His men respect him so that is helpful in making him a successful leader as well.
Micha: Yes, his trust in his team’s capabilities is part of why he’s a successful team leader. Knowing that your boss believes in you and is confident that you can pull off the task at hand is very empowering.
Verla: Without a doubt! People rise to what is expected of them. When Jason’s team knows that he believes in them and respects them, it pushes them to do their best to prove that trust is warranted. Jason gave his team the choice to leave or stand with him. But I feel he knew what they would decide.
6. Ray didn’t seem upset that Jason didn’t tell him about Naima going into labor. Do you think Jason made the right call by staying quiet until they returned from the mission?
Rachel: YES! Working while distracted is one of the worst things for productivity. If he had known about Naima going into labor, it could have compromised the whole mission and his team mates.
Kris: Jason wanted to make sure Ray would be focused and not have a distraction during a firefight. Wondering if his wife would make it through a C-Section could strain his focus.
Laura: Jason made the right call for the team. If he was to tell Ray about Naima, that could’ve compromised the mission. Ray wouldn’t have been 100%. His thoughts would have been thinking about his wife. Jason’s decision was for the greater good of all his men.
Micha: Ray and Jason have an understanding—they have a good personal relationship as well as a good working relationship. As team leader, it’s up to Jason to decide whether or not to give Ray information. I imagine Jason withheld from Ray because he wanted him focused on the mission and not distracted by something beyond his control.
Verla: It was definitely the right call. Ray’s mind wouldn’t have been able to focus on the mission. He would’ve done what Jason did – make split second decisions with that knowledge a factor. Jason let worrying about Ray send him through the door first even though protocol and standard practice said the leader doesn’t go first.
7. Clay seems absolutely shocked that he was on the list for the bottom five. Do you think maybe now he will start to realize that it isn’t about how fast you are, but how you interact with others? Or will he remain the same?
Rachel: I certainly hope so. He’s a likable character, and I hope he realizes the way to the top is not solitary. It’s hard to say definitively what will happen, because it probably depends on ratings, but my thought is he’ll figure out how to get on the team.
Kris: I hope Clay realizes teamwork is crucial. The cocky attitude he’s wearing right now isn’t attractive. However, some guys are stubborn, so we’ll see if his attitude changes sooner rather than later!
Laura: With Clay being young it’ll take time to realize being number one, (the fastest) doesn’t always mean you’re on top. If he wants to be on Jason’s team, it’s about the team not one individual. So Clay will remain the same for now, until something bigger than being bottom five happens to him.
Micha: I hope it’s the wake up call he needs to shape up. He was pretty cocky in the beginning, thinking he has a spot on a Tier 1 squadron on lock. The list was ultimately a popularity contest. Each candidate submitted who they thought were the top and bottom five. If Clay hones in on that, he might get hell bent on getting revenge on who put him on the bottom. It’ll be interesting to see what he does.
Verla: We won’t see an immediate turn around for Clay. His mindset is too entrenched in being the best. He’ll take baby steps towards realizing how important the team concept is in being a successful SEAL. Eventually he’ll become one of Jason’s trusted team members.
Final Verdict: If Clay doesn’t pull his head out of his ass sometime soon, it isn’t going to matter to anyone who his father is, or how powerful.
The writing on this show keeps getting better. The character development is totally believable, but also different from most shows. These characters are already evolved, so we don’t get the opportunity to watch them grow as much as we would if they were younger. The writing reflects that, especially with Clay. Clay is thrown into the mix, and we think it’s so there is at least one character that you’re going to see grow and change. He’s going to have to, unless he wants to end up out of the SEALs and on a trip back home. It’s obvious he doesn’t want that at all. So he betterget on board.
There were a few flaws with this episode. Clay is a big one. We keep seeing all of the negative aspects of his personality. The incorrect things that he continues to do and his blatant disregard for others. But they are really holding off on giving us any useful information as to why he is like this. We really don’t know much past the fact that the whole reason he is attempting to get on a SEAL Team is because his father has put him here. All we can do is just sit back and hope that we get some flashbacks, information, or both on Clay Spenser and what makes him tick sooner rather than later.