‘SEAL Team’: David Boreanaz Breaks Down the Questions Set Up By That Intense Season 5 Finale

David Boreanaz as Jason Hayes in SEAL Team
Spoiler Alert

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the SEAL Team Season 5 finale “All Bravo Stations.”]

The good news: Bravo’s omega op in Venezuela was a success. The bad news: They’re in some serious trouble by the end of the SEAL Team Season 5 finale.

First, upon arriving home, the members of Bravo take care of personal matters: Jason (David Boreanaz) and Mandy (Jessica Paré) are seemingly trying to make a relationship work after he’s honest about what he’s been dealing with; Clay (Max Thieriot) gets to hold his baby, and he and Stella (Alona Tal) bring Brian home; Sonny (AJ Buckley) apologies to Clay — with Leanne’s hand-me-downs — and to Davis (Toni Trucks); Ray (Neil Brown Jr.) and Naima (Parisa Fakhri) get back on track for their veterans center; and Davis’ paper gets some positive attention.

Then, Bravo must head out again, this time to Mali, to capture a high-ranking SGS member. Before they touch down, Clay reveals it’s his last mission so he can spend time with his family. But once on the ground, the team is ambushed, and last we see them — in a montage with Stella’s baby shower — they’re trapped and under heavy fire.

Boreanaz, who is also an executive producer on the Paramount+ military drama, breaks down the finale.

That last sequence in the finale was insane.

David Boreanaz: Yeah, it was. Chris [Chulack] did such a good job at that. He’s such a good director at putting these montages together towards the end and the sequence, it was sad. There’s such beautiful imagery in the contrast between war and what goes on at home, it’s so interesting to me and it’s so impactful, and I think he hit that really good.

David Boreanaz as Jason Hayes, Neil Brown Jr as Ray in SEAL Team


Is there anything you can say about what could be next and the chances of everyone surviving?

I don’t know. I wish I could give you the full-on answers to a lot of those questions. Look, it’s war and everybody, including myself, is open to an X on their back and in the line of work that they’re in could be killed or injured, so it opens the [door to] who may survive, who may not survive, who’s gonna be injured. Is that injury gonna be of significant value? Is it gonna be for significant time? How does it impact the team? What does it do to Bravo? There’s a lot of questions that’ll come out of this season finale.

We see Jason was shot in the arm, but he couldn’t even think about that.

You gotta stay in the fight.

Considering his TBI is the more concerning part: What is this going to do to his head?

I don’t know. [Laughs] What’s it been doing to his head for five seasons? That’s the other bigger question, right? I think that it’s something that he will always have. I don’t think his TBI is gonna be miraculously healed. I think people [who do] what they do, it puts them in that category, right? Whether it’s PTS, TBI, it’s a lot going on for all of them, and furthermore, especially for Jason, because that was kind of spotlighted this season.

Max Thieriot as Clay Spenser, David Boreanaz as Jason Hayes in SEAL Team

Cliff Lipson/CBS

Speaking of Jason’s journey the season, why do you think he’s in a better place to deal with his TBI and everything than he was when we first met him or even a couple seasons ago?

For him, it’s pockets of how it affects him and, when he’s going along or he is on a mission, how it hits him, how he gets triggered, how it gets triggered really. ‘Cause it’s there and it gets triggered a little bit more and then a little bit more, and then you see him kind of slipping and falling and really this season taking it to a degree of offing himself, which is pretty intense to see. It’s just how it’s triggered regardless if it was in the pilot or if it was really not touched upon or it was his sacrifice and how much he missed out on — missing out on his daughter’s graduation or the musical recital we saw on the pilot and how it affects him mentally, how he goes home to nothing, how he lost his wife. There’s just so much to it that I think it just gets triggered in different seasons as it did. We saw that and then we examined a little bit more this year.

Speaking of what he missed out on, that’s why he understands Clay’s decision.

Yeah, and I think that’s an instrumental part. Look, when Clay came in, he picked him and saw a lot of himself in Clay and he admired that, but he also was very wary of his spontaneous, just go off the cuff kind of action that would just put the team in jeopardy. But Jason was like that too — in the pilot, right? He just went for something and found himself digging deeper into a hole he should not have been getting himself into, but he has that understanding, yeah. He understands the family aspect of it and where Clay is and where his head is and where his heart is, too. That plays a good relationship there as we folded that out towards the end of the season.

Jessica Paré as Mandy in SEAL Team

Erik Voake/CBS

It looks like Jason and Mandy might finally make a relationship work, especially since he’s put himself out there and is now being honest with her. What makes them both in the right place for that to be possible?

I don’t know if it’s possible. God, it’s such a struggle to really define happiness for this guy in a way. It touches upon it, I know, a lot in the season finale and even more so in this season. But how is that gonna unfold? I don’t know. How is that going to change? It’s very interesting with this character, how he can be so all in, and then all of a sudden, just get blown up really fast, right? And like, hey, well this is your job. This is my job. This is what I’m doing, and it’s a big sacrifice and the stakes are extremely high here. So for these characters, it wears on their minds. And when they leave it and then they go out and do what their job is, then it breaks down to, Jesus, man, I can’t go back to that or something happened or I’m triggered again. So there’s hope, but you just don’t know with these characters.

You even have to look at Jason and Mandy’s homes. They’re so different. His is fine for him and Cerberus, but if he’s actually going to be trying to build a life with Mandy, you’d think he’d have to move.

Oh yeah, move out of this place. I said to [executive producer] Spencer [Hudnut], gotta get him out of that apartment. He’s living upstairs or somewhere. [Laughs] I always think he needs to be closer to the water on the beach, that’s where his soul is.

This season more than any other one, especially these last couple of episodes, put Jason’s trust in his team on display. And that came after they’ve lost a couple members this season and the end of the last.

Full Metal [died at the end of Season 4], [and] Trent [Tyler Grey], that was a detrimental hit, the fact that [Jason] almost put the whole team down, That was scary, for his head and where he was and how he made that choice and not knowing his reflection of how serious this situation is and was at that moment. Coming out of the ayahuasca, obviously he felt a sense of understanding the groundness of — I talked to a couple of these guys who have done these ayahuasca journeys, and one of the things they always say to me is, it’s like really, you understand death a lot better. You come to accept it rather than fight it or be fearful of it, if that makes any sense to you. It’s a real sense of them saying, OK, I’ve confronted those deeply rooted fears in my life and what that means. And these characters go, wow, I understand it. I’ve seen death or I’ve seen the dark side, and I understand it and I’m not scared of it anymore, but these characters have to continuously work on themselves and that’s hard to do with what they do for a living.