Around the globe the SARS-CoV2 virus is spreading and reaching pandemic status – in Germany as well. Drastic actions are taken to slow down the spread, to prevent our health systems from collapsing. It feels oppressive to be massively restricted in your personal freedom. I’ve noticed changes in the atmosphere between people. Hostile, suspicious glances are exchanged. They tell that you don’t know if someone who is already infected, is strolling through the park right next to you. In supermarkets you can observe people hunting after toilet paper and yeast. I have to admit that I don’t have adjusted fully to this total change of our lives. I still have difficulties to live with it. When I have reflected more on it, I will share my thoughts on this blog with you.
But for now I would like to share a TV tip. In case your “to watch” list is diminishing… Amazon Prime is offering the US American series “Six” about a Navy Seals team.
I didn’t expect much when I started watching it. An American series about a military special unit – probably false emotionalism and a story way over the top. I was proven wrong by every episode I watched. Unfortunately, the series consists only of two seasons. It was ended after two seasons – more or less involuntarily. I regret that, because the plot stops in the middle of some plot strings. I’m a huge fan of open endings but with some series it’s really unfair that they stop just when you were getting accustomed to the characters.
What it’s about?
The series is about a unit of Navy Seals. That’s an elite unit of the US American navy, which is responsible for (mostly) covert special operations in foreign countries. The first season starts in Afghanistan in 2014. Team leader Rip (Richard), the three old hands of the team Alex, Bear (Joe) and Buddha (Ricky). Other team members like Fish (Armin Khan), Buck and Chase are subordinates, their characters are developing in the second season.
The Navy Seals team is handling operations in Afghanistan. The operations are brutal, lots of fast and lethal shootings, respectively explosions. On one of the operations Rip kills a young man, a suspected terrorist, who has already surrendered. He pleads for mercy, claims he’s an American. The team is torn whether the killing was justified or not. It is not shown up to which level the conflict was exercised and how each team member positioned themselves. Instead, the plot jumps two years forward. The Seal team is in the middle of a training session – without Rip. He’s is shown working in Lagos, Nigeria, as security officer for a private security contractor. After a night of drinking Rip has to go on a mission, brutally hungover. He has to protect the photo session of an oil company at a girl’s school in the jungle. The teacher, Naomi, is outraged about the publicity and asks the men to leave. Rip’s sixth sense is activated – he senses the attack by Boko Haram already before the terrorists are jumping out of the bushes. He can’t defend the attack being armed with only one single gun. The school girls, the oil company employees and himself are taken as hostages. The following episodes evolve around this kidnapping. Shortly after the incident, the US military and the press learn of the kidnapping of the ex Navy Seal. Rip’s former team members puts all their efforts in rescuing him. Additionally, the men have to deal with their own private problems. Ricky planned to leave the team and start at a private security contractor, because the debts for his house and his kid’s tuitions are burying his family. Now he stays in the team – causing conflict with his wife.
Bear and his wife Lena had a daughter named Sara. In the course of some episodes we learn that she died of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Lena wants to have a second kid. Bear accepts for her sake. But the pressure of becoming pregnant again and the fact that they both didn’t process their loss leads to massive marriage problems.
Alex has a daughter, Dharma, who is 19ish. So far, he hasn’t had much contact with her. Suddenly, she wants to stay in his home, because her mother is fighting with her new partner. Alex, who loves his life with unattached sexual relationships with several women, is overwhelmed by this sudden closeness and his unwanted father role.
Michael Nasry is another major character in the series. He is an islamistic terrorist. His brother was the terrorist who was shot by Rip in Afghanistan in the first episode. When he gets to know that Rip is kidnapped by Boko Haram, he puts his energy to get a hold on Rip even risking his good standing in the terror organization.
How does that sound to you?
Dumb action, emotional stories… As I said, I didn’t expect much – but I was really drawn in by the series. The action scenes are very good. Yes, they are brutal. But they look very realistic, for example the sounds vary depending on the used weapons. The series offer a good insight into the tactics of elite unites with specific positions and qualifications in every team, restricted communication following protocols and tons of equipment that always has to be carried around. The total readiness to be on duty at any time. It may sound promising to be member of an elite unit but it also means that your call of duty can reach you in the middle of a surfing session or when you are fighting with your wife about your marriage. Everything comes second, after the next mission. How that affects and weighs on families is shown direct and as hurtful as it is.
How much false emotionalism is portrayed?
I was surprised by the deep exploration of moral questions and how ambivalent the characters are sketched. The series started with Rip’s decision in Afghanistan to kill a young terrorist and the following discussion, if you’re allowed or even have to kill combatants who may pose a threat sooner or later. This is a question that is discussed in philosophy since the 1970s under the paradigm “just war” (reference: Michael Walzer “Just and unjust wars”). The second season also includes scenes that take place in secret detention facilities run by the CIA in Eastern Europe. I was surprised that an US American series displays offensively the existence of secret CIA detention facilities and torturing of the inmates. This was a heavily debated topic in US politics during the last years but often enough the existence of these facilities and torture accusations were downplayed by US politicians. The internal power struggles inside the CIA, which are shown in the second season, show how corrupt and disgusting the intelligence service’s methods are.
“Six” is a suspenseful, action packed series that offers another view on the “war on terror”. How this conflict is affecting people since almost 20 years. That soldiers who risk their lives at the frontline – for their country, for all western countries – are not honored properly. Instead, they all have more or less conflict laden relationships in their families. The inner life of terrorists as portrayed is less convincing. The hatred which is cultivated over years seems too simplistic. Furthermore, I liked the everyday life in the US, it was evoking memories from my time when I lived in the US: café interiors, oversized cars. But also heavily made up women who try to hide their feelings with an artificial smile. Everybody’s fine when actually nothing is alright.
I found the first season better and more gripping than the second season. In the second season you learn more about the other members of team “Six” but some character developments are unlogic (especially Bear) and caused dismay. Moreover, the CIA intervention is irritating, because it’s erratic and driven by personal involvement.
Therefore, I enjoy watching the first season over and over again. I strongly recommend watching the English original version. The translation and synchronized voices are really bad.
Best sound: The helicopter’s machine gun fire
So, in case you’re watching the series: Have fun!
In case you’re not watching it: Thank you for reading!
Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts about the series or which series you’d like to recommend at the moment.