I Need a Hero

As I was lurking on message boards and searching through Tumblrs on my quest to discover all that was Armitage

-which way to the skin pics?-
which way to the skin pics?

one elusive title kept being suggested as an absolute must-see: Strike Back.

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I had learned not to be misled by the readily available American version that touted itself as the complete first season

-interlopers-
interlopers

but rather the UK original version of Chris Ryan’s Strike Back, the one starring Richard Armitage.

the one & only
the one & only

I was directed to a link to view the entire 6 part series, in whole, on YouTube. Ten minutes into my viewing I stopped…and scrambled to download all of them first

hey, make them region-free and I will gladly buy them!
hey, make them region-free and I will gladly buy them!

because I knew magnificence like that was bound to be removed very quickly!

magnificence
magnificence

and I was right! three days later they were gone.

-bastards!-
bastards!

Everything about this series captured me instantly.

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The style and story line were reminiscent of things I had watched with my DadΒ  through the years.

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military based, conspiracy theories, full of no-nonsense action and focused on a tarnished hero.

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John Porter is my favorite kind of hero. The kind that does what he does because he has no real choice in the matter

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it’s ingrained in him to just do what needs to be done.

hiding a razor-blade up the bum? hero, indeed!
hiding a razor-blade up the bum? hero, indeed!

Someone else would have probably defended their actions concerning the young suicide-bomber, and fought for the right to continue to serve their country

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but Porter knew that course would be neither honorable nor productive in the end. He owned his actions and accepted the consequences. When his personal life fell apart because of it, he braced himself as best he could and trudged forward.

"I'm at a payphone trying to call home..."
I’m at a payphone trying to call home…

I must pause here and give his wife a few harsh words. Granted, we don’t see the parts where John struggles with PTSD, often aided by alcohol.

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So their initial separation may have been a necessary evil for the state of their marriage at that time

just focus on the thumb
just focus on the thumb

but to declare later, when John had been reported as being MIA, that they’re better off without him?!

none of us are better off without this
none of us are better off without this

I don’t really hold his daughter’s actions against her, though. She was young and acting out her resentments. Been there done that, sorry to say. And in pretty much the same bratty manner.

lucky for us, Dads are forgiving
lucky for us, Dads are forgiving

And while we’re here, let’s talk about why Collinson would even report that to John’s family in the first place. Porter was on a secret mission and had not been out of contact for any significant amount of time, all things considered.

you wouldn't happen to have a sudden craving for brains, would you?
you wouldn’t happen to have a sudden craving for brains, would you?

Just one more way to step in and try to take something that belongs to John!

-the Armitage Army is mine! you can't have them!-
the Armitage Army is mine! you can’t have them!

That is what I love about the series though, the focus is on the mission and action of the plot

yes plot, strictly plot
yes plot, strictly plot

but there are underlying story lines throughout that give insight into who John the man is, without taking the spotlight off of John the soldier.

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I could easily go into a detailed discussion of every episode, because I greatly enjoy every one of them in this series. It would be long-winded and full of passionate praise though, so I’ll save that for another day.

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What are some of your favorite Strike Back moments?

these jeans
these jeans

 

this...gun
this…gun
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31 thoughts on “I Need a Hero

  1. Strike Back is Mr. M’s favorite of all of Richard’s work. Great flawed hero and redemption just along the corner – as soon as he goes through one obstacle after another though. I’ve often wondered why his ex-wife would have acted the way she did, but I’ve learned that we never know what happens in a marriage between two people, and that Porter, and the wife, aren’t perfect. With PTSD, it is what it is. And of course, Collinson didn’t help matters, building himself up just as he was bringing John down to John’s family.

    But that’s what makes us love our flawed heroes. They manage to rise to the occasion and give all of us something to hope for. Like having our very own John Porter, of course πŸ˜‰

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    • the first time I watched it and heard the wife say that, it just gutted me! how could she be so cruel? even if she felt relief of some kind, you don’t say something like that out loud.

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      • PTSD is weird though. People suffer from blackouts when it happens sometimes so you never know what happened in the past after he returned and was discharged to have prompted her to say that.

        Interestingly, in any good script, no word is every wasted. There’s always a reason why it’s there, although sometimes scenes that would have expounded on a statement could have ended up on the cutting room floor.

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        • my Dad has suffered from PTSD, so I’m somewhat aware of what it can do to a marriage. her and John had been separated a good amount of time by that point, and the way she was trying to get their daughter to not be nasty to him, made me think that she wasn’t the vindictive type; I don’t know it just confuses me. but like you said, there was probably something to put it into context that had been cut out (tho Richard seemed to have a similar reaction to that line as well)

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  2. When Porter is comforting Katie in the first story;when he’s stopped by Muslim women who make him text their choice for Afghanistan Idol in third series; Thanks for a really fun post.

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    • yes, that whole “Idol” thing was odd, but funny πŸ™‚ I really like the scene with Ewen Bremner in the last story when they’re sitting in the jeep and he has a gun pointed at Porter; John pops him in the nose and tells him the gun isn’t a toy then shoots it in the air, not realizing it was loaded!

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  3. i just looked at his again. Did you notice in the first video how he swung his hips, like a Latin dance move, when he reached to the car? Love that move. There are a few other instances in his repertoire when he executes a sort of dance move- like when he lifts Lisa in “Staged” twice. Wish someone would put those together is a vid

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  4. Oh John Porter! How do I pick only one…I think when he’s comforting Alex via phone chat from Africa – that one finger on the screen guts me. I also love the line to Baxter about the “case of bipolar daftness”

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    • yes, all of the moments with the daughter are good πŸ™‚ and when he’s trying to comfort Katie while they’re being held hostage, also when he orders her to look at him while they’re being tortured. and when Masuku keeps delaying them to save everyone, and John is getting frustrated but knows he’s right. and the way John checks Danni out & smirks at her comment to not “get your cock shot off”…there are just so many great scenes!

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  5. Argh! You guys are killing me here! I have been trying to find a way to see Strikeback for ages, and I’ve looked on YouTube and could never find it 😞
    Guess my timing is bad.

    Forget trying to get North & South on PBS! That can be bought on American version DVD! Get me Strikeback on any American channel please!

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  6. Kelly, what timing! Have you got a direct line to my brain? I just did a Strike Back-marathon last night. All 6 episodes in one go. By the end of it I was not exhausted but invigorated – despite the early hour of the morning (1.30 am). The flawed hero is so not-flawed at all! My favourite scene? The end, when John actually gives Collinson forgiveness and compassion as Collinson confesses the real story after the show-down. Porter’s eyes full of unshed tears and pity, but also realising that there is no point in revenge. Instead he reassures Collinson that “it’s ok”. Wow. I went to bed feeling energised by the force of Porter. What a man!

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    • I don’t think he’s all that “flawed” either, but that’s what we’re led to believe πŸ˜‰ and I really love that he could forgive Collinson. Porter was such a good leader. (I wrote this because I had the intention of having a Strike Back marathon myself πŸ˜‰ but then got inspired to write a post about it first! which means I got too distracted by pictures and never did watch it!)

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  7. Really love Porter. I bought the UK dvds. I can watch them on my computer. I have a MacBook and it lets me switch regions. At least a few times. I don’t watch Region 1 videos on the computer, so it’s no problem. RA is so buff in Strike Back it’s a pleasure to watch him move. Or not move. I think I’ll just stare at these pictures and gifs some more. Love Porter. Oh, I said that already. πŸ˜€ Thanks, Kelbel. Great post.

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    • it is a pleasure to watch him move, or not move…in those jeans. I have a particular fondness for Porter’s jeans πŸ™‚ (I accidentally typed “fondleness” instead of “fondness”!! *snickers*) I really do like the plot too, I swear πŸ˜‰

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      • Fond, fondle. Yes. I guess the plot is okay, but eh, not really my thing. Although I love Katie, and some of the other characters too. I swear. “smile” Seriously, though, I watch for…well, you know. “smile”

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        • I seriously do like the story lines, though I realize a lot of RA fans don’t *shrugs* the second story is my favorite, but every time I see that native tracker guy know exactly where Porter & Masuku got off the hardtop road, while he himself is traveling in a vehicle, I roll my eyes πŸ˜‰ I like when Porter calls Masuku “Cinderella” too (because he was sweeping the riverbank to get rid of their tracks) that makes me giggle each and every time πŸ™‚

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          • The story lines are good, and the dialogue is witty. I would not watch it if it were not for RA in it, though, honestly. :-/ Thus, for me, I watch Strike Back for the pleasure of watching Mr. Armitage. Not just his body, but his acting, which is always fascinating. “smile”

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          • I wouldn’t be watching it as much as I do if it weren’t for Richard, just as I probably wouldn’t be watching “The Hobbit” as much as I do, even though in both instances I greatly enjoy the stories themselves & the other performances in them, etc. there is a definite difference between one’s “looks” and their physical presence; it’s the latter that captures me πŸ™‚

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          • So true! There are plenty of actors who look nice, but just don’t have the physical presence that RA does. There is much more to RAddiction than pretty pictures. There is much more to the man than just his looks!

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          • most definitely! as you can see from my very first posts, it wasn’t his looks that drew me to him at first. it was that piercing stare, and just something “more”, though I didn’t know what that “more” was yet. I would see still pictures of him from photoshoots and be like “eh, he’s attractive but not really a big deal” πŸ˜› after becoming familiar with his personal character and not only his acting talent but his personal approach, I feel quite differently now πŸ™‚

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