Warning: Recap Contains Spoilers
In flashbacks to Afghanistan, Isaac Johnson (Omar Epps) is revealed as a straight arrow who begins to lose his way with persuasion from a familiar face. We see what really happened in Musa Qala and that the decisions made by Johnson and Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) spoke to the character of each man and even laid the groundwork for the conspiracy to come. Meanwhile, Agent Nadine Memphis (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) continues to try to unravel the mystery and ends up putting a target on her back.
Bounty on “the Nailer”
While providing cover on a mission in Afghanistan during a flashback, Swagger sees something that doesn’t look right and ignores Johnson’s order to abort. Swagger’s defiance keeps him in place to protect 12 Marines on the ground but, as Johnson points out to him later, the extremely difficult shot Swagger makes also confirms to the enemy that the Nailer is in town. The bounty on Swagger stands at $600,000 and Johnson cautions him to be more careful.
Still in the past, the unit gets word that Mullah Abdul is in Musa Qala. He’s wanted for many atrocities, including beheading several UN doctors. Because he’s a high-value target, they’re getting special help -- Agent Hugh Meachum (Tom Sizemore) from the CIA. Johnson gives Swagger and his spotter Donnie Fenn orders to infil at night and provide cover for him when he goes in the next day. Then Meachum has a private talk with Johnson to convince him to go against orders and help the CIA capture Abdul while reporting he’s been killed. Meachum argues that the intel they could get from Abdul could save American lives.
In the present, Ron Perkins (Eddie George) and Donnie’s mother Susan Fenn come to Swagger’s funeral, which is attended by fewer than a dozen people, but not his daughter Mary. Watching from across the street, Johnson shares his doubts about Swagger’s death with Meachum. But Meachum only cares that the Russians think he’s dead, as Meachum promised. To further cover their tracks, Meachum orders Johnson to kill Mrs. Fenn, calling her a broken window because she helped Swagger and believes him. Johnson hates the idea but knows if he doesn’t, someone else will. When he visits her, she isn’t surprised by the purpose of his visit, and declines his offer to let her run. Johnson chokes her to death and buries her in the woods, not feeling particularly good about his choices.
Mary had a little lie
After Swagger’s funeral, Julie’s sister Anne is alarmed when Mary says her daddy is still alive. Julie tells her sister the truth, but asks her not to tell her judgmental husband Jim.
‘Do your job’
In an Afghanistan flashback, Johnson goes along with Meachum and changes Swagger’s orders so that he won’t be in position to kill Mullah Abdul. Swagger recognizes how out of character the last-minute change is and figures out something is up. Johnson urges Swagger to see the big picture. Swagger goes along to the spot as Johnson orders, but reminds Johnson he has no shot. Johnson orders him: “Do your job.” Johnson and his translator Captain Rahim arrive in Musa Qala to try to convince the villagers to turn over Abdul, but things quickly go off the rails. Rahim wants the bounty on Swagger and grabs a bazooka and blows up the shed where Johnson ordered Swagger and Fenn to set up. Johnson is taken hostage.
Out of Pocket
After disposing of Mrs. Fenn, Johnson seems worn down by his role and tells Meachum he’ll be unreachable for a few days. He goes home to his wife, and turns out to be fluent in Mandarin.
Memphis is still trying to figure out what happened to her Russian informant who claimed to have intel on something in the Ukraine. Jack Payne (Eddie McClintock) visits her, introducing himself as Matt Simms with Homeland Security. He claims that after his team scooped up Dimitri Voydian, he was returned to Russia and killed by their intelligence service. Memphis doesn’t buy it and wonders if there’s a connection to Swagger. Pointing to the articles Swagger left in the cabin, she argues the Russians had the most to gain from the assassination. When Memphis asks about the connection to Graznyole in the Ukraine, Payne doesn’t lie fast enough and she sniffs him out as CIA. He promises to try to bump up her security clearance so he can discuss it with her, but urges her to keep her questions to herself. We know that Memphis has just put herself in a very dangerous spot.
Flashing back to Musa Qala, Mullah Abdul reveals himself and is about to kill Johnson when Swagger takes him out from a distance. He had moved from the position where Johnson ordered him. Swagger quickly takes out the enemy forces around Johnson, much to the frustration of Meachum, watching via video back at the base. Johnson orders Swagger to leave the translator Rahim alive for interrogation, but Swagger disobeys him and finishes him, too.
Back at the base, Meachum tells Johnson he failed the test of his leadership by not controlling Swagger’s hero impulses. He promises Johnson he won’t get a chance to command troops in the field again and says he needs to learn about lying to his men to protect the greater good. Later, Johnson tells Swagger his report will say that Johnson allowed himself to be ambushed to draw out Mullah Abdul for Swagger to kill, and Captain Rahim, the traitorous translator, will receive a commendation posthumously and die a hero. Johnson insists he’s protecting the greater good.
Coffee with a kick
Payne is already waiting for Memphis with coffee when she arrives at a café, thinking she’s gotten security clearance to hear the truth about her informant. Payne tells her that Voydian was running protection for a mining company in Graziowa but the water got poisoned and hundreds of villagers were killed. Memphis thinks it could be what the missing reporter Karlina Ordenko was writing about. Payne says the Russians wanted to prosecute Voydian, so the CIA handed him over. But Memphis doesn’t just accept the story. She picks at it, noting that the Russians wouldn’t care about the mine because it was in the Ukraine. Payne’s lie fails. “You’ve gone to an awful lot of trouble to try to throw me off track, I must be right about a thing or two,” Memphis says. Payne argues that no one will believe her. Memphis takes her coffee and leaves. She makes it to her car before the drugs Payne put in it kick in. She comes to, tied up on her couch with Payne preparing to inject her with alcohol and stage her suicide.
‘Not exactly Butch and Sundance’
Before Payne can act, Swagger comes to Memphis’ rescue. He and Payne fight viciously all over her apartment, with Swagger ending up with a pencil through his shoulder and Payne taking a few hits. Payne eventually gets the advantage and is choking Swagger when Memphis frees herself and gets a gun. She seems to hesitate shooting and Payne runs.
After the attack, Swagger asks Memphis to go back to work and pretend like nothing happened and keep digging. They agree to work together. “You’re the most famous dead assassin in history and I’m a semi-disgraced FBI agent, we’re not exactly Butch and Sundance,” she says.
“Definitely not Butch and Sundance -- they both died in the end,” Swagger says.