SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Ghosts of Christmas Future

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SEAL Team is probably the weakest of the fall’s many military shows, but in fairness to everyone involved, the creators are clearly aware of its weaknesses.

Every episode since SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 1 has ticked off a few “problem boxes” in an attempt to right the ship. 

Mandy and the SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 4

SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 4 is no exception. I can envision some CBS network suit sending the following notes: 

  • The leading lady, Jessica Pare, has nothing to do but spout expository dialogue.
  • There aren’t enough sex scenes with David Boreanaz.
  • Hiring a bunch of super handsome actors and then covering their bodies and faces with equipment every weak undermines the whole handsome thing.

To address the first issue, this episode had a rather simple arc involving Mandy’s former CIA mentor and his desire to capture a Serbian war criminal who massacred a group of Muslim civilians in 1994.

It includes some nice banter and some dialogue about how Mandy doesn’t have a personal life. Mandy even jokes that her girlfriend might be her girlfriend if you know what I mean.

What were you doing in Afghanistan?


Truthfully, I know Mandy has “property of Jason Hayes” metaphorically tattooed on her backside, but it would be kind of cool if she were a lesbian or bisexual. She has more chemistry with Davis than she does with Jason.

Jason, on the other hand, gets a sex scene with his ex-wife Alana in an attempt to solve identified issue number two. It’s kind of gratuitous, but it’s also not unpleasant.

It’s certainly the most exciting thing that has happened with regard to Jason’s tiresome domestic drama, which also includes Jason being a total dick to his son’s guidance counselor for expecting his son to solve his problems non violently. 

You're a bodyguard who works for a guy who massacres women and kids.


The guidance counselor scene is a plot point on which I call BS because one doesn’t become a Tier 1 SEAL without being able to follow the rules and control one’s impulses. There’s no way that Jason would be as upset at his son being told to not fight at school as he is portrayed.

A Mystery for the SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 4

Clay, on the hand, continues to be a far more interesting and likable character. In fact, Max Theriot could steal this show right out from under David Boreanaz if Jason doesn't start getting better material. 

While Clay got sex scene duty on SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 3, now he gets afterglow duty with Stella. It’s a kind of Game of Thrones-style sex-position scene in which Stella questions him about his relationship with his retired SEAL father who has written the very naughty book.

It’s more character building for Clay, and even Stella by extension gets some development.

More importantly, they are kind of believable and don't feel too contrived as a couple. When they meet with Clay’s father, Ash, it comes off as somewhat natural. Ash flirts with and charms Stella, and she sticks by Clay. Clay is at once proud of Stella and resentful of his father.

All the actors elevate the material. I’m also curious as to what, exactly, the dashing Ash wrote in his book that pissed off everyone, and I wouldn’t object to a scene with Clay, Stella, and Ash having dinner and discussing philosophy once a week.

Clay’s story remains annoyingly separate from the main SEAL Team’s story, but I’m assuming the two plot lines will eventually merge when Clay joins the team for real.

Jason: I guess we're not fifteen anymore.
Alana: No, I guess we're not.

The main team goes to Tallin, Estonia, to retrieve Luka the war criminal, and this is where the show’s obligatory action sequence happens. It is also where problem three is solved because our heroes must wear civilian clothes during the operation. Jason, Ray, and company look very good in civilian clothes.

As usual, they worked together to achieve their goal cleverly, and that does include some running, shooting, and wandering through hallways.

The SEAL Team runs Season 1 Episode 4

However, it also includes their interaction with Luka, the war criminal’s Polish bodyguard, whom they all knew in Afghanistan.

In an actual, honest-to-goodness twist, they convince the sell-out bodyguard to turn over his boss simply because the boss is a mass murderer and war criminal. I hope the Polish bodyguard returns in the future.

He's interesting. 

I was also happy to see the action sequence take place in Estonia, but I’m rather fond of Tallin as a city, and I highly recommend visiting there if you can.

Regulation Stubble - SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 4

It’s charming, and there really are markets much like the ones showcased.

On top of the twist where the Polish bodyguard does the right thing, there was another twist in which Mandy’s mentor Oliver turned out to have fabricated some evidence to get the operation done.

A Mystery for the SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 4

That was mostly unnecessary, and considering the show has lionized Jason for doing what he has to do to catch the bad guys, I don’t know why suddenly we’re supposed to be on Mandy’s side as she dresses down her mentor.

In any case, the episode wasn’t outright terrible. The show still isn’t as good as it could be, but it is marching toward acceptable.

Finish off these dogs.


So, do you agree that the show is improving gradually? Do you find Jason's domestic drama as tiresome as I do? Do you think this show will become Team Clay?  Comment below. 

If you missed this week's episode, you can watch SEAL Team online.

Ghosts of Christmas Future Review

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Melissa Marshall is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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SEAL Team Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

Jason: I guess we're not fifteen anymore.
Alana: No, I guess we're not.

Finish off these dogs.