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Recap / JAGS 01 E 09 Scimitar

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Directed by John Mc Pherson

Written by Robert Cochran

Two Marines get lost while driving in the desert, and accidentally cross the border from Kuwait into Saddam Hussein's Iraq. They are chased by an Iraqi patrol that kills one of the Marines and takes the other prisoner. Harmon Rabb and Meg Austin are sent to represent the Marine in an Iraqi trial, which they suspect will be rigged heavily against them. If all else fails, they are to link up with a deep cover agent to help the Marine escape.


"Scimitar" contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Career Versus Man: Colonel Al-Barzan is fascinated by the strong-willed Meg Austin, leading to a discussion (and dismissal) of this trope:
    Colonel Al-Barzan: How can work compare to the caresses of a man you love?
    Lt. J.G. Meg Austin: I wasn't comparing them, Colonel. You were.
    Colonel Al-Barzan: A woman like you needs a strong hand.
    Lt. J.G. Meg Austin: I already have a strong hand. My own.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Colonel Ahmad Al-Barzan obviosly works for Saddam Hussein, but for plot purposes he is the highest ranking official the heroes have to deal with.
  • Fake Nationality: Iraqi Lieutenant Dumai is played by Yugoslav-born Natasha Pavlovich. Colonel Al-Barzan is played by Turkish-born but ethnic Iraqi Nicholas Kadi.
  • Genre Savvy: Harm suspects their rooms are bugged, so he has Meg join him in the bathroom and turns on the shower so they can talk without being listened in on. When the shower mysteriously stops working later, he turns on the TV instead. When the TV stops working, he resorts to using a battery-powered radio in his suitcase.
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  • Great Escape: Assuming the trial turns out to be rigged, Harm's backup plan is to find him and bust him out of prison.
  • Gunship Rescue: When the heroes are being chased across the desert by a Iraqi Soviet-made Hind gunship, an U.S. Army Apache gunship pops up to intervene.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Iraqis put Corporal Anderson on trial for espionage. Harm and Meg are invited to act as legal council, but have sufficiently little faith in the Iraqi justice system to have a Jail Break backup plan ready to go.
  • Men Use Violence, Women Use Communication: The US military's plan has Harm acting to bust Corporal Anderson out of prison, while keeping Austin entirely out of the loop and believing their primary goal is to get him acquitted at the trial. Meg isn't thrilled when she learns of this. This neatly mirrors the relationship between Lt. Dumai and the male Iraqi officers.
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  • Nonviolent Initial Confrontation: The Harm and Meg are officially there to act as legal counsel, so the Iraqis, including the villain, treat them as welcome guests at first.
  • Not So Different: Commander Lindsey states that in theory, the Iraqi constitution guarantees defendants most of the same rights in a trial that the American constitution does. He goes on to mention that in practice, the courts do pretty much whatever Saddam Hussein tells them to do.
    • Similarly, the way Lt. Austin is kept out of the loop on the secret mission to free Corporal Anderson mirrors the dismissive attitude that the male Iraqi officers have towards Lt. Dumai.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Meg is not let in on the secret part of their mission and is left to improvise when she discovers that Harm is in danger.
  • Reverse Mole: One complication is that Harm and Meg do not know who the Reverse Mole with codename scimitar is, and they must find out without revealing themselves. Scimitar's identity is finally revealed when Lt. Dumai arrives at Harm's room and turns on the shower so they can talk in private.
  • Run for the Border: In an armored limo, chased by an Iraqi gunship helicopter, assisted by a US Army attack helicopter. It's that kind of show.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Lt. Dumai tells off Lt. Austin for her attitude towards Iraqi gender attitudes:
    Lt. Dumai: Your country is like a child who has learned nothing yet thinks it knows everything. Let your civilization survive its first thousand years; then perhaps we'll begin to listen.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Lt. Dumai is not terribly well respected by her male peers, and does her best to keep her head down rather than draw their ire.
  • Stock Footage: Harm and Meg are edited into stock footage of meeting Saddam Hussein.
  • Tap on the Head: Scimitar refuses to go with them to Kuwait, and intends to stay behind to help fix the problems in Iraq, and insists on this to make it look like the heroes took them prisoner before leaving them behind. Harm balks at this, so Meg does it instead.

As you were...

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