Has your head stopped spinning yet? Have you picked your jaw up from the floor? Have you slid back so that you're no longer on the edge of your seat?
Shooter Season 3 Episode 8 felt like the culmination of everything we've been waiting for this season. It felt like a penultimate finale, but it's not. That means we have more installments remaining, and the prospect of seeing where else this series will go is exciting.
It was evident the narrative would focus more on the Bamas and Swaggers on a personal front rather than the ongoing Swagger Squad goodness.
The Swagger Squad and the decryption card business took a backseat, and that could have easily been disappointing only because the team element has been such a highlight. However, this hour had EVERYTHING and was one of the best of the season thus far!
The worst thing about this hour was not having access to popcorn, but it was so enthralling that there was no time to eat anyway. The signs of it being a great installment were kicking things off with Bob Lee going after Junior and Sheriff Brown getting in on the action. And yes, that was some serious action.
Red Bama: I want Swagger arrested.
Sheriff Brown: For what?
Red Bama: Trespassing, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder. Being an asshole.
Sheriff Brown: Hell, that last one ain't even a crime. As for the rest of it, looks like your boy tripped. Bob Lee helped him up.
Red Bama: Cut the shit, Brown.
Sheriff Brown: That's Sheriff Brown, Red, and if I say there's no crime, there's no crime. Unless you want your boy to come down to the station and talk about what happened to Sam Vincent?
It was so satisfying one couldn't help but giggle in glee. Junior is a perpetual screw-up, and he f*cked up real good by going after Sam the way that he did.
How did he not think there would be blowback from that? Swagger loses his shit over random people, how the hell do you think he'll react if you go after one of his father-figures?
Junior is a punk. He went after a senior-aged man and then hid behind his father's men like a coward. Bob Lee's method of handling the situation was glorious!
The others falling into the background meant we saw more of the other characters. Sheriff Brown's presence, as well as him teaming up with Bob Lee, was fresh and heartening.
It drove the personal aspect of the storyline home knowing that Bob Lee was working with one of his fatherly figures (Brown) to avenge another (Sam) and find out the truth about his actual father.
In the end, it was Bob Lee and Brown's teamwork that led to them discovering the evidence that Red Bama wanted so desperately. Earl recorded a confession in which he revealed everything about Phoenix/Atlas, his part in it, and his concern that they're plotting something momentous.
Please, please, please let Bob Lee dig up a VCR in a decent amount of time so he can watch his father's recording before the tape disappears or something. It's going to happen, right? He's going to face another obstacle before he can see it, right?
Let Bob Lee rest 2K18. That man is tired, Jeebus.
In addition to all these new revelations and progress made, he has to plan a funeral because Sam tragically died. We knew it was likely coming, but it was no less devastating.
First, it's commendable that Julie is finally on her freaking A-game. Shooter is on a roll with Julie now, and hopefully, there's no going back. She was right there by Sam's side, and she was alert and calling shit out when that hitman came in pretending to be an orderly and tried to take Sam out.
Unfortunately, Sam was not going to make it regardless. I'm so happy Julie was there for him, but it's heartbreaking that Bob Lee has so much going on that he didn't get the chance to say goodbye.
In all this time, Julie and Sam were interacting the most, and it was easy to forget how close Sam and Bob Lee were. Bob Lee saw him as the father-figure who looked out for him after Earl died. It was like losing a father all over again.
That scene with Bob Lee by Sam's bedside crying was a gut-wrenching one. It's also a moment where Bob Lee was more expressive and emotionally open with Sam than he tends to be with many other things, especially his father. Bob Lee still has mixed feelings about Earl.
One thing that is certain is Bob Lee is more motivated than ever to take down Atlas once and for all. It has wreaked havoc on his life and cost him so much. He's lost friendships, friends, relatives, and more. It keeps hitting too close to home.
If this hour was about fathers and sons, then Bama and Junior have to be the most irritating. Oddly enough, the only time Bama seems less like a villain is when it comes to his goofball son. Junior is his weakness, and Atlas knows that, which is why they wanted him dead.
Junior is a special kind of stupid and has proven as much time and time again. How did Bama think Junior would survive Atlas? Everyone wants Junior dead, myself included.
You were always there, Sam. I never had to worry about that. That's more than I can say about my actual father, and I love you.Bob Lee
All signs pointed to Bama being ordered to kill his kid. Anything for the cause, right? Junior was a liability and desperate to impress. Junior was so earnest in that drinking scene, and Bama was so distraught that their villainy aside, it was an emotional one.
The only betrayal that came close to that one was Carlita turning on the Swagger Squad. It was an expected outcome so you can sum that up as "disappointed but not surprised."
Carlita is only looking out for Carlita, and if she wasn't already suspect, she was on Shooter Season 3 Episode 7 when she was drooling talking about Atlas and a higher purpose. She wants her name off that kill list, but she can't be that naive, can she?
The crazy thing is, she's not the type to expect the same deal Mayfield had. She's the type who would want back into the organization altogether, and that sure as hell won't be happening.
Carlita is so much smarter than to want back into a shadow organization that apparently may have ties to a white supremacist group? What did you make of Harris approaching the Chief of Staff about his connections to the Alpha Boys?
What does the Alpha Boys have to do with Atlas? It's not at all terrifying that a shadowy organization that should've (and did?) face congressional hearings, and may or may not be white supremacists, are close to completing their decades-long plan to infiltrate the government at the most powerful positions.
Nope, not scary at all.
Social media makes it a lot easier to be a racist these days.Harris
All of Atlas' power-hitters (not to be confused with the foot soldiers) being mostly old white guys suddenly makes sense, though. Go figure.
It's too bad that it took Earl so long to come to his senses. Guiterrez knew something was off a long time ago. It took Earl's terrible experience with Major Brooks ushering in dope and killing innocents in cold-blood for Earl to realize Phoenix may not be on the right side of things as he thought.
Bama's opportunistic and entrepreneurial spirit is what had him crossing paths with Phoenix/Atlas. They helped him acquire land and build his empire. As payment, he killed Earl. He has a hell of a shot.
Junior: I can't believe it I'm finally in.
Red Bama: Well, you're on the doorstep, son. You haven't entered yet, and if you do, know this, that door is one-way.
Oh, but that ending. That same douche-bag Major who murdered innocent Cambodians and whom Earl challenged is the new Chief of Justice. Atlas spent 30 years grooming Brooks for the gig. Their plan is coming together.
No way in hell Bob Lee is going to let it carry on without putting up a hell of a fight.
What a thrilling ride! Don't you think so? Sound off in the comments with all of your thoughts, theories, reactions, and fangirling/fanboying.
If you need to catch up on what has been a thrilling season, you can watch Shooter online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.