‘SEAL Team’ Ends Its Run on CBS With a Major Cliffhanger About [Spoiler] (RECAP)

David Boreanaz as Jason Hayes in SEAL Team
Spoiler Alert
Erik Voake/CBS

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for SEAL Team Season 5 Episode 4 “Need to Know.”]

SEAL Team is about to move to Paramount+, and it’s going out with a bang from CBS with a three-episode arc. And after the first of those three episodes we definitely “need to know” what happens next. Fortunately, we only have to wait a few hours to see Episode 5. But before the team spins up, everyone has something to deal with at home.

Jason’s (David Boreanaz) daughter Emma (Kerri Medders) is visiting… with her boyfriend, Brad (Brandon Butler), who definitely has not earned the right to call Cerberus “Cerby” (and probably never will, in Bravo 1’s eyes). It’s very awkward, and that’s before they reveal they want to move in together as Jason’s heading out for the latest op. Jason laughs, then tells them to finish school first. The thing is Brad is graduating and planning to enlist. He wants to be a SEAL. “Oh God,” Jason says. His answer is no.

As for Jason’s head, we continue to worry about him. He’s taking memory aid supplements, and he tells someone else’s story as his own, stumbling over an excuse when Ray (Neil Brown Jr.) calls him on it. Uh-oh.

Clay (Max Thieriot) and Stella (Alona Tal) are just wondering how to tell people about her pregnancy (in a way “that doesn’t involve Mark Zuckerberg having photos from inside my body,” she says, ruling out a post on social media) when he spots his father Ash (C. Thomas Howell) walking down the street. Clay didn’t know he was in town, though he hasn’t heard from him in two years either. They catch him up on their wedding, Ash sees the ultrasound photo, and Clay can’t let go of the hurt from the past. But when Ash leaves and he follows, Clay discovers his dad has cancer. Ash doesn’t want anything from Clay, especially sympathy, and he won’t tell him how bad it is. “Take care of your wife and your kid, son,” he says and walks away.

Sonny’s (AJ Buckley) feeling very much like he’s on the “outside looking in” on his life: He can only see his daughter over video, then he sees Davis (Toni Trucks) having lunch with another man. Grant’s (Matthew Hancock) in the DOD fellowship program with her, she explains after they spin up. It wasn’t a date, she insists, but at some point, there will be one because they can’t sit around licking their wounds forever.

Justin Melnick, Tyler Grey, David Boreanaz, AJ Buckley, Neil Brown Jr, Max Thieriot in SEAL Team


Ray is feeling good, his therapist sees a change in him, and he’s carrying himself lighter. He’s feeling good about telling the team about his PTS last month … until he and Jason talk on the plane.

Bravo spins up when suicide bombings rock three West African tourist spots, killing over 300, including 20 Americans. The most powerful terrorist force in the region has already claimed responsibility. Ray is the acting officer in charge of Bravo. But after the rest of the team leaves, Blackburn (Judd Lormand) stops Jason. “World’s on fire again,” he says. “Yeah, it’s on fire, and it’s our job to put it out. That’s what Bravo does. We got this,” Jason assures him. But Blackburn has heard murmurs among command about Ray’s “dangerously erratic behavior” on the last deployment. Jason assures him he trusts Ray with his life.

On the flight to Burkina Faso, Jason tells Ray someone talked. Ray reminds him that he told Bravo to speak up if they had doubts, but Jason points out it could’ve been anyone. Stay frontside focused, he recommends. If the brass is watching, the best thing Ray can do is crush this op.

Max Thieriot, Toni Trucks, Neil Brown Jr, David Boreanaz, AJ Buckley in SEAL Team


But the CIA isn’t going to make that easy. The agency has its own operatives (Ground Branch) on base, and the agency chief of station, Carl Dryden (Maximilliano Hernandez), is very “need to know” about everything. For example, when asked about target packages, Carl just tells them to settle in. Then, as Bravo is feet away from taking out three high-value targets (HVTs) who had a hand in planning the bombings in safe houses in a covert, middle-of-the-night mission, Davis relays a message from Carl calling them back to base.

There’s a new plan, Carl reveals: Bravo and Ground Branch will hit an airfield at 0700, when all three HVTs are expected to be meeting. They’ll also be able to take out more members of the terrorist group. So they’ll be doing this in full daylight, when even going after them en route might be a better strategy? Yes.

The op goes about as well as can be expected. The members of Bravo are pinned down, under fire from a machine gun, until they’re able to take it down. They get two of the three HVTs. They find the terrorists’ ops center, with photos, maps, targets, and quickly get to collecting data and sending it back to Davis. Intel says that the last HVT will be on a commuter train heading for the next target: the US consulate.

But as Bravo’s moving out, Jason spots something in a photo that makes him stop: Mandy Ellis (Jessica Paré), their former CIA officer, being held captive. How?! She left the life!

AJ Buckley as Sonny Quinn in SEAL Team


SEAL Team, Sundays, Paramount+