The Unit: Season 4

The fourth and final season of this show had a slightly different feel to the other seasons, and for me, it didn’t really work. While I think it’s important to shake things up a bit in long running series, it almost felt like the writers went a bit crazy and decided to change everything all at once. Maybe it’s a hangover from the truncated third season and long break between them (thanks to the writers’ strike) but so much changed it didn’t quite feel like the same show.

There’s a major arc running through the series for the first time, a massive terrorist threat that impacts the lives of not only the soldiers but the wives too, who are forced to go undercover to investigate the threat. That was the first thing that didn’t work – suddenly the show isn’t about the obvious contrasts and subtle similarities between the lives of the soldiers and their wives, but the wives are intruding on their husbands’ roles. Felt It just didn’t feel as realistic.

Then you’ve got a couple of new characters. A female operative joins the team (sort of), which could have been interesting but just didn’t quite work out. She spent the majority of her time back in the base, where she was just another member of the already predominantly female support team. On the rare occasions she did go out I just found it slightly creepy the way she was always the beautiful girlfriend, never involved in the really dangerous stuff. In the final few episodes they introduce a new full time team member, but he’s barely arrived before he disappears again, never really feeling like a full blown member of the team.

In fact the team spent more time as a three than a five, as Grey was absent from a good half the episodes. I’d previously complained that the bachelors in the team weren’t developed as well as the others, so this season’s solution was to have Grey fall in love and bring a new wife into the team. Which again would have been interesting if not for the fact that the storyline was really badly paced, first rushed and then awol when the character just disappeared for several episodes.

I don’t know at what point the show found out it wasn’t being renewed, maybe that caused some chaos in the writers room, but poor continuity and consistence has always been a bit of an issue. The individual episodes are all still interesting; with the usual quality of direction, writing, stunts and effects that really were the show’s hallmarks. But the season overall left me feeling disappointed, a sense that the writers actually got their own show killed.

Special Features
There are three little featurettes each of which are nice enough, but fairly short and unremarkable. There aren’t any commentaries which is a bit of a surprise given the enthusiasm and quantity of them on previous seasons, but I guess they’re harder to do once your show has been cancelled.

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