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Lioness’ Recap, Season 1, Episode 3 – GooPdf News

Lioness’ Recap, Season 1, Episode 3 – GooPdf News

Photo: Greg Lewis/Paramount+/Greg Lewis/Paramount+

Damn, this Lioness program is turning out to be a real drag for our girl Cruz, and we’re just now getting into a real episodey episode of these Special Ops — keeping the action and the plot and all the emotional beats a movin’. Cruz gets her first real round of spy games in, and some of the boys on the team even get a naughty lil’ sidequest. Action’s moving, plots developing, and characters are emoting tight little morsels of soap-Western wisdom from the TV cowboy poet himself.

Aaliyah is playing vacay with her inner circle at a mansion in Chesapeake, owned by founding OPEC member Kudra Petrol. “Saudi oil and mobile, joint venture,” Two-Cups lets us know later. “Makes more money than Amazon and Apple combined.” LOL okay, okay, we get it these guys are “more evil” than us or whatever. The point is, Aaliyah’s called Cruz to pop in for a hang and “she has access to more money than I expected,” as Joe tells Kaitlyn at their latest check-in lunch at another lizard-person cafe in D.C. It seems like a weird thing for the CIA to “not suspect,” but it lets us know the whole apparatus behind Cruz is getting into more than they initially bargained for, so it’ll really be up to her to keep her cool as the pot boils slowly on either side of her.

This week’s mission begins with Cruz driving in on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a powerful visual that recalls these sweeping establishing shots in James Bond and Mission: Impossible movies when they’re about to enter some villain lair or otherwise ominous but beautiful enemy-territory location. The long, thin bridge cutting through an expanse of ocean is also an apt visual for the distance, both physical and, well, tactical, between Cruz and the team as they hang back and listen in from a hotel, not too far away but also not quite close enough. If Cruz is blown, it’ll be an easier extraction than if they were in Dubai or Jordan. Still, there’s a worry here that someone’s already suss of our girl and is throwing a big party to plant a shadow on her. As always, the plan is to throw the spy right into the den of vipers and see what comes up.

As soon as Cruz arrives, Aaliyah takes her by the arm and gives her the rundown on her ragtag Mean Girls crew: her GFs, Nala (Priscilla Doueihy), Malika (Carla Mansour), and Nashwa (Layla Mohammadi), are all going to be a pain and a half to lie to all the time. Best avoid them as much as possible, as Bobby points out from the safe room. There’s also the fellas. Aaliyah’s fiance Ehsan (Ray Corasani) plugging away at a laptop under a canopy down the hill while Sami (Adam Budron) and Kamal (Sam Asghari) play at the pool. Anyway, here’s the whole soap opera with these folks as Aaliyah explains it:

Kamal used to date Nashwa, and then he dated Malika. So Nashwa and Malika hated each other. But then he did what Kamal does and fucked some little blonde, so she broke up with him. But by that time, Nashwa was dating Sammy, so Kamal is still with us. And Malika and Nashwa are best friends again because they have someone in Kamal they can both hate together. 

Incredible. Love that for them. Aaliyah’s hardly finished explaining the social dynamics of this crew when Nashwa comes up like, “Hey, take off your glasses; lemme get a better look at you.” Weird thing to say to someone who had just presumably been in a car accident, but maybe she’s sussing her out. “Looks terrible,” Nashwa says. “Does it hurt?” Then Sammy comes bounding over with some “evil drink,” as Aaliyah calls it, and we’re off to the races.

But wait, the gang ain’t having it with this black one-piece Cruz has brought to the pool party, and Aaliyah demands she lend Cruz a bikini. Hmm, almost like it was aggressively, almost superhumanly dumb, to wrack Cruz’s body with bruises like right before she’s supposed to be going undercover. “There’s turning up the heat, and there’s setting her on fire,” says Tex from the safe room.

“It was a bad wreck,” Cruz says when Aaliyah sees the bruises all over her rib cage. Not good enough. Aaliyah’s getting a doctor to take a look. Doesn’t take long for the doc to recognize Cruz’s bruises as coming from a fist and incite his duty to report abuse. Now’s Cruz’s time to shine, play spy like a pro, and shine she does. The story is Cruz has already reported her partner for abusing her, he was arrested last night and she’s out here trying to escape the situation. “She invited me up here. I’m trying to make friends,” Cruz says. “I’m trying to start a new life. I’m really, really trying. Please don’t tell them.” The doc buys her story, hook, line, and sinker. Laysla De Oliveira plays this scene incredibly, towing a razor-sharp line — using your drive and emotional truths to get a lie across. The mind moves faster than the speed of light, fight-or-flight trained by life to execute an assassin’s ruse, pop in and out, etc.

Next, Cruz gets a chance to rest her tensest spy muscles, sit back a bit and play confidant. The gang’s fucked off to party somewhere else, leaving Aaliyah behind to talk real shit with her new BFF. Stephanie Nur’s casting comes in clutch here. She’s gotta give this whole speech about how she could never live in the Middle East forever (“I would choke on the sand and all their rules”) and how her “great fantasy is to be ravaged on the beach.” She gives a pretty basic observation about how fucking on the beach never lives up to the idea of fucking on the beach because of the sand, etc etc. But Nur ignites the dialogue with a piercing intensity and deep, earnest romanticism — creating space for the necessary feelings of warmth and foreboding you want from this scene.

“Stay away from Malika and Nashwa,” Aaliyah says with an air of urgency. “They hate every friend I try to make. They’ll hate you too.” And that’s the point. The whole circle’s been chosen for her. “They choose it all.” Certainly, something Cruz can relate to as a rough-and-tumble CIA recruit.

It’s back to covert fighter mode later on, though, when Aaliyah’s gang returns for some midnight pool shenanigans. And wouldn’t you know it, soon as Cruz is down in the kitchen looking for a drink of water, Sami’s in there to try and put the moves on her. Naturally, Cruz nips that in the bud with a well-placed smack to Sami’s throat — a move that saves her for now but may tip folks off to her “special skills” if she’s not careful with her next few moves. A guard comes out of nowhere to see Sami out. “We’re around if you need us,” he tells Cruz, which is incredibly comforting as she goes to bed with the red light of a camera peering at her through the vent above her bed.

The next day, Ehsan takes the wheel and lets Cruz know they’ve removed Sami from the picture. He’s also got a surprise trip on a private jet lined up. Our episode ends on another cliffhanger: Joe, Tex, and Bobby roll out to the FBO, where Cruz (quick on her feet as always) sneaks them the plane’s tail number. The next leg of the chase is on as quickly as this one started.

• Something tells me this little “hot extraction” side quest will be a problem for the team down the road. Never take an unsanctioned side gig from some prick named Kyle, am I right? Honestly, I’m still not even sure what that shit was all about — a human trafficking mark of Kyle’s has been arrested, and Kyle wants to extract him before homeland security gets a hold of him? It made for a great little Friedkin-esque grimy car chase, though, and sufficiently built out this hectic, fractal world of violent nonsense and infighting that is American post-war espionage.

• I’m not sure how much of Joe’s “troubled” domestic life we’ll get here, but I’m still enjoying its unintentional entertainment value while hoping we get less of it? At the end of the day, it’s like a weird fishbowl suppository for Joe to be unhinged in a quieter setting. Do we love Daddy Dr. Neil, though, or what? Being a safe, progressive parent and all that. When Joe comes home to find Kate foolin’ around with a boy, she gives him the hard parent, I’m gonna kick your ass if you don’t get the hell out right now treatment; Neil fills her in on the make-out rules of the house. “Anything over the jeans is fine, but they stay on. She has discretion with her shirt … I sacrificed the top to protect the bottom.” The best line of the episode.

• Joe’s insane response to Neil’s well-adjusted parenting: “You left some meat on the bones in negotiation.”

• Boy, Kaitlyn is quickly proving herself one to watch out for, eh? Clearly got all sorts of evil irons in the fire, as suggested by her little exchange with the asshole senator:

“I took the liberty of ordering for you; I hope you don’t mind.
“It isn’t even noon, and I’m already sick of making decisions. I appreciate you taking one off my plate.”
“I’ve got a couple more I can help you with.”

Hell yeah, that’s the kind of shit you bring in Kidman for, man.

• Kaitlyn’s also schemin’ on this whole Kudra Petrol connection already — checking in with her V.C. partner or husband or whatever (Martin Donovan) on how things are moving for ‘em in the oil market. “Be careful poking that bear, Kate,” he warns. “Or the target will be on you.”

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