[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the SEAL Team Season 6 finale “Fair Winds and Following Seas.”]
How can Bravo move forward after that?!
In the SEAL Team Season 6 finale, Bravo returned home, but not in time for Clay’s (Max Thieriot) funeral (though they visited his grave). And Jason (David Boreanaz) did accept the Navy Cross, and in doing so, he publicly spoke about his TBI and Clay’s work to change the military’s views on them. “I don’t know if coming clean is going to change anything, but hell if it saves the next guy, then maybe I’ll be a different kind of hero, like my brother, Clay Spenser,” he said.
The finale ended with Jason facing command after that move, and he was joined by Ray (Neil Brown Jr.), the rest of Bravo, and other SEALs who spoke up about their own struggles. Showrunner Spencer Hudnut discusses where the show goes from there if it’s renewed for Season 7.
You were right: I definitely need to see what’s next after that!
Spencer Hudnut: We definitely put Bravo in another position of how are they gonna get themselves out of this situation? As I said, it’s very different from how we ended Season 5. They are once again in jeopardy but most importantly united, and when Bravo steps up for each other, they usually get themselves out of these situations. I think it’ll be a lot of fun to see what comes next.
Talk about getting Jason to a point where he does accept that medal and speak out about his TBI.
This journey started back in Season 5, and there are a lot of breadcrumbs throughout the season that get him here. First and foremost, this idea that he’s articulated — because of command’s attitude towards TBI and operators with TBI, he really had to look over his shoulder and watch his back in a way that he wasn’t comfortable with as the guy who’s in charge of watching the backs of his teammates.
[There’s] this idea of understanding that other operators are dealing with this issue and he really doesn’t want to see other people have to go through what he went through. As Blackburn [Judd Lormand] says, it really is the ultimate act of sheepdogging. He’s not just doing this for his Bravo teammates, he’s doing it for all these operators at command. If you go back to conversations he had with Mandy [Jessica Paré], if you go back to even the conversation he had with Omar [Raffi Barsoumian], when he tells Omar about his TBI and Omar’s reaction of, you think you’re special, a lot of guys are dealing with this, obviously hearing about Clay’s plan of picking the baton back up to take on this fight and even that conversation with Stella [Alona Tal], it all just kind of points him in this direction of making that choice.
It also really says a lot about how far he’s come in his home life. He knows the consequences of this situation, and I think he’s, for the first time, really comfortable with the idea that maybe he won’t operate again. That’s really a testament to where he is with Mandy, but also all the work he’s done on himself, not just on the TBI front, but just putting Jason Hayes first. And so it’s a huge step for Jason and one that’s obviously gonna have big consequences.
Is there relief to have that burden of hiding it off his shoulders?
There’s big relief. It really made him uncomfortable to have to almost put himself first in a way of hiding it and watching his back, not his brothers’ backs. And so I think he’s at peace. That scene where he goes to the beach, there’s a peace to Jason that I think we haven’t seen before. When he stands in front of command, he’s ready to take his punishment, and obviously the surprise to him is that his brothers come in and have his back and they’re not gonna make it easy on command.
When did you decide that would be how you’d end the season?
We knew that Jason was gonna have to shed this TBI secret at some point, and the idea of him almost sacrificing himself for the greater good of the other operators we always liked. Because of everything he’s done for his brothers, returning that to him just felt like a really powerful moment.
What we’re doing a little bit with Jason coming out about the TBI and these guys coming into command and throwing it in their face is tapping into [the fact that] there’s a little bit of these operators going rogue that has always been a part of the SEAL community. These guys have the rogue warrior sort of mentality. So there’s a little bit of that at the end here, of these guys taking on command and “we’re not gonna make this easy for you.”
An added element of that scene that that makes it even more powerful for those of us who were there when we did it is the guys who come in who are not part of Bravo are actually veterans. It just gives it a little more punch that the veterans associated with our show really wanted to give voice to this idea of, we really do need to do a better job of protecting our protectors, as Jason said.
Ray spoke up about his PTS, but when it comes to retiring, how does he feel?
We saw some moments toward the end of the season where it was starting to hit him. As we’ve seen with Jason and Clay, this is not an easy job to walk away from. The brotherhood’s not easy to give up. Coming out publicly the way he did, Blackburn said, we’re not just pulling one bird now, we’re gonna have to pull two. Ray certainly puts retirement in jeopardy. He may not have the opportunity to retire because of what he’s done here. I don’t think he did it necessarily because he was wavering about retiring. I think he did it because he needed to have Jason’s back the way Jason’s had his so many times in the past.
What does that ending mean for what SEAL Team looks like going forward? In terms of balancing how much they’re operating and how much you’re addressing issues like the ones that have been brought up? More of the latter than you have in the past?
What it does is it kind of tips everything on its head a little bit. But at end of the day, these guys operating, these guys being out in the field is usually the engine of the show. It’s really, can they get back to that? Continuing to push these issues forward is super important to us. So [it’s] finding that balance. But what excites us — the writers and even the actors — is where do we find these guys when we come back and how do we get the band back together or can we even get the band back together moving forward? It allows us to move in new directions and move forward in kind of a fun way.
How worried should Sonny (AJ Buckley) be about punching the colonel?
As Blackburn says to Davis [Toni Trucks], if they figure out who was behind that, that’s obviously a career-ender. Sonny stepped up so much this season for Clay, making this blowout kit that really saves the life of the female pilot. In that moment that he’s talking to Clay at the grave site, you can see Sonny’s proud of himself. He’s kind of evolved into the guy that Clay wanted him to be, that Jason’s wanted him to be, to see himself as more than a knuckle-dragger. But obviously Sonny is gonna stand up for those he loves, and when he finds out the guy responsible for the ambush in Mali is actually getting a promotion, he has to take it into his own hands. That will be a threat to Sonny moving forward, and how he either has to deal with those consequences or is able to avoid those consequences will be a big part of what he’s doing next season.
How would you describe a potential romantic future for Sonny and Davis at this point?
It’s so clear deep down what they want, and obviously with their roles in command, they’re always gonna have that hurdle. They also know if they try it again and it doesn’t work, that’s it. And so I think they both understand that the circumstances need to be right. They both need to be in a place where not only can they dedicate themselves to a relationship, but also they don’t have to worry about outside factors like command and losing their jobs getting in the way. Just from the show’s point of view, it’s like once we go there, we have to go there. But I think those two both deep down are always hopeful that they’ll find a way to make it work.
Mandy ran out of the fire for Jason. Are you thinking about perhaps having him do the same in the future or be faced with that decision?
We haven’t necessarily thought of it that way. Mandy has played such a huge role in Jason’s development, in the way he sees himself, the way he’s worked on himself and the fact that she was able to drop everything for him is a message to him of, this is what relationships are about, and yes, we have these important jobs, and yes, we dedicate ourselves to the greater good. But at the end of the day, she will be there for him whenever he needs her. In a way that message and understanding that allows him to make this decision at the end of the season, where before the idea of giving up operating seemed so impossible to him. But because of Mandy, because of, again, how much he’s evolved, he’s willing to sacrifice operating for the greater good, and she obviously plays a large role in that decision.