Top 5 greatest and non-heroic moments of Strike Back

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Photo credit: Strike Back/HBO Acquired via HBO Media Relations Press Site
Photo credit: Strike Back/HBO Acquired via HBO Media Relations Press Site /

2. Porter vs. Collinson

Payoffs are a wonderful thing, and they’re made even more satisfying after an entire season of buildup. Such was the case with Strike Back in its first year. Much of soldier John Porter’s regret stems from his refusal to execute a boy wearing a suicide bomber vest, which supposedly resulted in the deaths of his fellow troops.

However, we quickly see a different story. Those soldiers were actually killed by Porter’s friend and current head of Section 20, Hugh Collinson, who mistook them for terrorists. When he’s forced to personally extract Porter during a mission, it leads to an explosive confrontation

What makes this sequence effective is not the impressive stunt work or the chaotic gunfight, but the facts that Collinson is genuinely remorseful over his actions and tearfully admits that to Porter. When his friend shows understanding for this, it’s as if a great weight has been lifted from his shoulders, and it’s made all the more powerful when Collinson sacrifices himself to cover Porter’s escape from incoming forces.

Not to mention, it provides some much-needed closure for Porter, who’s been carrying this trauma for years. Moving past that guilt and resentment makes this a poignant sendoff for a kickoff season.

1. “We were never that good”

Whenever a drama or action show ends, viewers often wonder if the hero will be killed off. Well, it certainly looked that way during the Season 5 finale (which was initially meant to be a series finale). Scott and Stonebridge have been betrayed by the higher-ups and are relentlessly pursued by the mercenaries they’ve clashed with throughout the season.

As they traverse the treacherous mountains and thick forests, a palpable sense of danger permeates the journey. They deal with several close calls and a few grievous injuries, and we start to acknowledge the possibility that they’ll be gunned down like most of their allies.

Strike Back – Liam Daniel/Cinemax
Strike Back – Liam Daniel/Cinemax /

The tension all comes to a head when our heroes are cornered in a barn. Dozens of mercs surround them, and the cocky leader comes to offer a parley. He’s open to being bought out, thinking that Scott and Stonebridge have skimmed some off the top over the years. When they refute this, he mocks them for thinking they’re “the good guys.” Stonebridge replies, “We were never that good.” With that line, he blows the merc away, leading the rest of them to storm the barn. The heroes fight like this is their last stand, working in sync to wipe out every foe in sight.

Fittingly enough, this scene is directed like a last blaze of glory. The somber music, slow motion, and angry desperation conveyed by the actors lend an element of finality to this shootout. It’s made more impactful when you consider that these two troopers willingly put themselves in that position through their line of work and by executing their lifeline.

Of course, they wouldn’t have any blood money saved up; they also wouldn’t lower themselves to buying their way out of a jam. Bargaining with the enemy is not what they’re sent out to do. Rather, they’re men of action, dispatched to eliminate human garbage. Shooting the messenger may not be an honorable move, but it gets the job done and sends a clear message about their uncompromising nature.

This goes back to the opening song (“Short Change Hero” by The Heavy), as well as the show’s taglines through the years, which have all thumbed their noses at diplomacy and emphasized the ruthless, deadly personas of the “good guys.” It harkens back to the series’ core themes: the world needs people who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to pull off seemingly impossible tasks.

When Scott and Stonebridge miraculously survive this ordeal, we understand without any doubt how they did it. It’s the same reason they lasted four whole seasons while everyone else bit the dust: they are truly the best at what they do, as unscrupulous as it is.

Long story short: this scene is a great encapsulation of what Strike Back is. That, and it’s just a really cool moment amidst a slew of others.

Next. How did Strike Back go from one team to the next? Find out here.. dark

Are you a fan of Strike Back? What do you think are some of this show’s best moments? Which Section 20 team is your favorite?

Strike Back is available on Cinemax in the U.S. It’s also available on Sky One for U.K. viewers.