Musa Qala
S1 episode 3 Aired on November 29, 2016

Warning: Recap Contains Spoilers

Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) starts to make good on his promise to hunt, putting Isaac Johnson (Omar Epps) firmly in his crosshairs (literally) and taking a big risk trusting Agent Nadine Memphis (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). As he works to uncover who set him up, Swagger also takes steps to protect himself and his family.

 “You’re alive because my family’s alive”

After a close call, being recognized at a convenience store, Swagger calls Isaac Johnson, watching him through his rifle scope from nearby. Swagger warns him that the only reason he’s still alive is to ensure his family’s safety, and if they get hurt, Johnson gets hurt. Swagger promises he’ll uncover the truth. To drive home his point, and remind Johnson who he’s dealing with, Swagger shoots Johnson’s cell phone right out of his hand.

“This is our worst case scenario”

Johnson works the situation from both angles, telling the FBI task force that Swagger is paranoid and unstable. Then he gives his co-conspirators a frank assessment, warning them that if Swagger lives long enough, he’ll try to take them all out. Swagger can hide in plain sight, he’s patient, committed, and fearless. Johnson knows that Swagger’s only weakness is his family and he’s prepared to use them as bait if necessary.

Lasagna Night

Julie (Shantel VanSanten) shops for ingredients for lasagna night and gets a call from Swagger while she’s in the store. Two agents trail her as someone spills coffee on her. She goes alone to the restroom to clean up. Swagger is waiting there for her. After a brief happy reunion, he gets down to business, warning her not to mention Isaac Johnson’s name to anyone. He tells her bluntly that if she talks, they’ll kill her. He’s working on getting her and Mary out of the country. He asks Julie to mention the story of Musa Qala, Afghanistan to their daughter if she doubts her daddy. Julie tells Swagger that she trusts Agent Memphis, so he suggests Julie tell her to look into Kyle Timmons, the police officer who supposedly shot him, and see what Memphis does with it.

Kasper the Friendly Russian

Swagger calls “Kasper,” a woman Alexander Rosovich mentioned might be able to get his family out of the country. She asks for $100,000, and that’s the hero rate.

Spare Parts

Swagger goes to a VA hospital to see Ron Perkins (Eddie George), the director of rehabilitation and prosthetic services. Ron initially brushes his friend off, angry about the negative public perception of vets that Swagger is adding to, but he changes his mind, giving Swagger the item he asked for. Perkins mentions that he changed the serial number, but we don’t know yet why that’s important. Yet again, Swagger slips through a police barricade.

The Other Patsy

After Julie mentions Timmons to Memphis, she takes the name to her boss, Agent John Renlow, who encourages her to continue trying to get Swagger to trust her. Is it possible Memphis isn’t the ally she seems? She sidles up to Timmons in a bar and tries to get him talking, then turns to interrogation, mentioning his less-than-stellar record and the fact he wasn’t supposed to be working the day of the assassination. He warns her off, but she’s starting to believe Swagger.

Walking in on Memphis

Memphis comes home at the end of a long day to find Swagger in her living room. He found Kyle Timmons’ body; Payne killed him but staged it to look like suicide. Swagger asks Memphis for her help. He tells her the truth about Isaac Johnson and how he was set up. She wants to believe him, but notes he has no evidence. Swagger points her in the direction of a journalist named Kalina Ordenko, who was working on a story about dealings in Ukraine but hasn’t been heard from since the assassination. When Memphis asks Johnson about her later, his vague answers don’t satisfy her curiosity.

Payne in the Rear

As Johnson is scrambling to fend off Swagger, Payne is not making his job any easier. He tells Johnson their supposed boss, Meachum, blames Johnson for Swagger getting away. And there’s a key piece of evidence missing. Payne leaves a flash drive in a dead drop at a church, then bails when Johnson sends him after Swagger.

The Cabin in the Woods

Swagger hides out at a friend’s cabin, hunting deer, and rigging a bomb. He draws Johnson and the FBI to him by going out in public. Johnson threatens Julie with arrest to get the name of Swagger’s friend with a cabin in the area. SWAT teams find the house empty, but once Johnson and Memphis are inside, Swagger starts shooting at them. He misses, which is not like him. Johnson waits for his moment and shoots back into the woods. There’s a giant explosion.

Bits and Pieces

The team finds body parts everywhere and the remains of a suicide vest. There’s so much gore, it’s hard to tell what they’re looking at, but we’ve been paying attention and remember Swagger killed a deer earlier.  Then they find a titanium hip like Swagger’s, and Perkins’ comment about altering Swagger’s record to match also suddenly makes sense.

Musa Qala

After seeing news reports of Swagger’s death, Julie tells her daughter that they have to have faith in him. She asks Mary about the story of Musa Qala. Mary remembers that her dad saved Isaac’s life. But, she says that wasn’t the best part of the story: daddy had to be a ghost. Julie understands and is relieved.


In the cabin, Memphis finds Swagger’s evidence board before Johnson can get to it. Her phone rings, it’s Swagger. He’s trusting her with his life and asks her to trust her gut and keep digging. She remembers the last time she trusted her instincts, someone got killed. “Then the good news is I’m already dead,” Swagger says.