A Lunchbox List: Top 10 Episodes of The Unit

I've noticed over the past two months the number 1 searched item on Clark's Lunchbox are posts related to CBS's The Unit (76 or the last 500 page-loads & over 25% of the key words searched leading to my page). For those of you not familiar with the show which was renewed for a 4th Season after being in limbo due to the writer's strike, The Unit follows the harrowing missions of the Army's secret Delta Force commando unit based on the true exploits of CSM Eric Haney. But as I've mentioned before, it's not all explosions and fire-fights as it shares equal time on the drama of the wives who have their own stories apart from their husbands.

I always feel a little goofy writing about the super-secret Army elite, partly because growing up with a father who was a Green Beret himself, it was kind of understood you didn't make a big deal about that kind of work. When I left home I tried to follow in his footsteps, but it wasn't meant to be which leads me to the other reason for my reticence in that I look like a "wanna-be." That, however, is not the case, as I am posting The Top 10 Episodes of The Unit in terms closer to what this blog is meant to be.

A little background first. There are a several main characters in the show, but the one I follow closest is the freshest member of the Unit, Bob Brown (played by Scott Foley) who has a great deal to prove to his teammates, to his wife and himself. Bob, who's code name ironically is "Cool Breeze" has to rely on a his strength of character and his judgement to deal with one stressful situation after another. We may not face a hail of gunfire as a regular part of our day, but that doesn't mean we can't apply what we see demonstrated by Bob and the rest of the characters to deal with our own challenges.

The Top 10 Episodes of The Unit & What "Cool Breeze" Teaches Us About Being A Man

1.) First Responders (S1.E1): Bob, aka "Cool Breeze," is the newest member of the Unit, but he doesn't let that hold him back or make him try too hard as he taks part in his first mission.

* In the series premiere, newcomer Bob Brown joins Jonas' team as they set out to rescue a hijacked plane filled with European businessmen. Meanwhile, the Unit wives help Bob's wife Kim get acclimated as she struggles against the level of control the Unit has over her personal life. Even though there seems to be a lack of privacy, there are still secrets in the Unit that must be kept private.

2.) 200 Hours (S1.E3): All men make mistakes, but can we own up to them knowing the consequences? What will we do to improve ourselves to avoid making that mistake again, and will our mistake intimidate us to the point we shrink when we need to call out mistakes made by others?

Jonas attempts to rescue a group of American missionaries in hiding in The Philippines, but the mission becomes more complicated than he expected when two members of the missionary group refuse to leave. Meanwhile, Bob inadvertently shoots Mack during a training exercise and must repeat the drill over and over again, until he gets it right. Also, the Unit's wives come to the rescue after Col. Ryan fails to convince a visiting Senator of the importance of investing in military training.

3.) SERE (S1.E8): Don't be the weak link in a team, and don't cave when your teammates perceive that you are. Just do your job and don't make excuses.

Based on the real-life training course that the military uses to prepare for capture by enemy forces, the Unit takes on SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape), a grueling training exercise of torture and humiliation. The training proves to be especially difficult for Bob, who is sick when the training starts, and the torment pushes him close to death. To complicate matters, the CIA is orchestrating exercises with virtually no limits to the level of physical punishment and emotional manipulation that can be used in an effort to break them, which would result in them being kicked out of The Unit.

4.) Natural Selection (S2.E8): You're on your own and people are depending on you. Remember the hard work that earned you that privilege.

Bob and his translator survive a helicopter crash in Siberia but now, cut off completely from civilization and without their gear, they face the challenge of enduring the harsh weather. As Bob fights dehydration and hypothermia, the harrowing experience triggers flashbacks to his experience during Unit Selection and the extreme difficulties he faced in order to achieve entry into the elite group.

5.) Dark of The Moon (S2.E17): Sometimes you might be the better man, but you need to be a good follower too.

After arriving at an Army support base in a remote area of Afghanistan, Jonas and his team discover that the base is in a state of disarray and take control of the situation by organizing the troops for an all out attack against the tribal militia surrounding them.

6.) In Loco Parentis (S2.E20): Be Johnny-on-the-Spot. Sometimes you have to improvise with the situation you've been given so think quick, and stay calm when everyone else might be freaking out.

The Unit must rescue students of an elite international private school in the Washington suburbs who have been taken hostage by captors. However, the captors make no demands and set no timeline for negotiation. Tensions run high as the missing students are children of prominent government officials and foreign nationals. When Tiffy & Kim discover that Lissy has a boyfriend, the boy’s mother tells Tiffy the families cannot fraternize. Kim sympathizes and allows the kids to spend time together until Lissy takes advantage of Kim's generosity and trouble ensues.

7.) Paradise Lost (S2.E23): Don't be a sell-out especially when your gain is at the misfortune and expense of others.

The Team's world collapses when they return from a successful mission to discover The Unit has been shut down and all Unit members are under governmental investigation for secret misdeeds of the past. This is no security drill, no training exercise: it's the real thing, and it's a noose around the neck of every Team member. The men learn The Unit will be disbanded and the men, court-martialed; Ryan relieved of command and retired in disgrace, and the community that Molly and the other women have worked so hard to build will be shattered and scattered to the wind.

8.) Every Step You Take (S3.E4): Sometimes we fail because subconsciously we don't believe we can. Can you find that place where you have no doubts about yourself?

Subsequent to violence and threats against the American Embassy in Cote D’Ivoire, Abidjan, Bob, Hector and Mack are dispatched to collect key remaining American personnel and their families. Close to their point of safety for exodus, the group is caught in the middle of a minefield while Bob, several blocks away, fends off insurgents and attempts rescue.

9.) The Insiders (S3.E5): Don't let your work get in the way of being who you are supposed to be at home.

Pregnant, Kim is put on bed rest for 48 hours after a minor scare but Bob seems to be incapable of taking care of the kids without her. Tiffy is blind-sided by a sudden firing precisely when she needs financial independence most. Due to her DUI, Tiffy has a felony conviction and can't get another job. She ends up waiting tables in town but finds out that the real money is made dancing behind the blue curtain at the restaurant.

10.) Gone Missing (S3.E10): What moral code do you operate by? Sometimes we have to question what we're doing just make sure we haven't strayed off the path unknowingly.

The team prepares to execute a sniper mission in the small nation of Montenegro. But the mission causes Bob to wrestle with his conscience as he finally confronts the moral implications of the deadly acts he performs.

For all of you out there that have been checking out this site for information on The Unit, I figure you're ether stationed in the middle of no where and using the SATCOM hook up for some entertainment or you're an Al Qaeda cell looking to gain insight on tactics... Either way, if you have a favorite episodes let us know in the comments section.

* All episode synopsises provided by the Official CBS site for The Unit.

Watch select episodes for free at CBS.

Interested in watching The Unit? Check out Season 1, Season 2 & the upcoming Season 3 on DVD.

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