‘The Brave’: Natacha Karam Breaks Down the Thrilling ‘Desperate Times’ Fall Finale
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers about “Desperate Times,” the Nov. 20 fall finale episode of The Brave.]
Monday’s fall finale episode of The Brave was titled “Desperate Times.” That title seems to be a play on the famous phrase “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” and indeed, the team—particularly Jaz (Natacha Karam)—found themselves having to engage in some desperate measures in their quest to take out Jafir in Iran. And in the cliffhanger ending, Jaz in particular found herself in an even more desperate situation.
The team’s plan, which was already dangerous to begin with, went awry when Jaz missed her shot at taking out Jafier due to concern with potentially hitting a child who was in the way. Although she was at first concerned, she quickly became determined to pursue Jarif in another way, despite Dalton’s (Mike Vogel) orders.
Ultimately, Jaz’s daring led to her accomplishing her mission—but also led to her capture, and the episode ended on a cliffhanger as she is dragged away by Iranian guards, and we’ll have to wait until the series returns in January to see what happens to her.
“Desperate Times” effectively, and subtly, used its Iranian setting and that country’s cultural biases against women to say things about women in general, and Jaz in particular, and we certainly learned much about the character.
What did Natacha Karam learn about Jaz? TV Insider got some thoughts from her about that topic and other elements of “Desperate Times” as The Brave goes on hiatus until January.
By the end of “Desperate Measures,” Jaz is captured. Will we see the fallout from that when the series returns in January?
Natacha Karam: You will 100 percent be seeing the consequences of Jaz being captured. Things won’t be quite the same ever again, especially for her. Times do indeed get very desperate.
Have you been able to read ahead in the scripts to see what happens to Jaz after her capture? If so, were you shocked? Earlier in this episode one character expresses concern about having a woman on this operation due to what may happen to her should her be captured, which Jaz, in fact, is.
I received the script for episode 10 only a few days after episode 9’s script came through, so thankfully I didn’t have to wait in suspense for too long. I was very shocked at what comes next because it’s unlike anything that’s been done on our show before. It also wasn’t a predictable choice, there’s something very unique being done in episode 10. My skin was crawling and my eyes were tearing just reading the script. So brace yourself.
The episode makes references to the Iranian culture where women are not perceived as equals to men—the phrase “cultural bias is real” is used at one point—and that ironically seems to help Jaz get close to her target, since he doesn’t necessarily see a woman as a possible threat to himself. How interesting was it to play upon those cultural notions, and then to have Jaz see the terror on Jarif’s face when she started kicking his ass and telling him that he won’t go to heaven because a woman killed him (per his belief)?
There are many reasons for Jaz being on the team that are non gender specific, e.g her shooting skills. Then there are other reasons which are totally specific to the fact she is a woman. She and the team embrace her gender and capitalize on it when it comes to settings where women are all too invisible. This is a perfect example of that. And the irony of Jarif’s death was certainly a fun thing to play.
When Jaz misses her initial shot at Jarif for fear of hitting a child, she at first seems flustered but quickly becomes more determined to pursue Jarif again, even despite Dalton’s orders. What do you think was going through Jaz’s mind at that point—was it pure instinct and commitment to the job?
That was the first time in Jaz’s professional life that she missed a shot. She didn’t know how to process that and almost immediately decided to try again. It wasn’t a particularly calculated decision. It was instinct, and certain elements that informed her decision were more personal than professional. She was there on the beach, people she knew died. She was not going to be the sniper who missed the shot. She didn’t know how to be.
Do you think Jaz found it difficult to play a more subservient type of woman, per how she is expected to be in Iranian culture, versus how truly independent and forceful she actually is? We can see some of that conflict in her when she is posing in this role; did you purposefully play her in that way?
I did indeed purposefully play it that way. She does finds it difficult and she certainly has to bite her tongue a lot, but it is something she is very used to doing. It’s a guise she uses a lot …’the invisible subservient woman.’ Little do they know. Ha.
When Jaz determines to go undercover to get close to Jarif, she and Dalton reflect on the earlier beach attack, and she vows that she doesn’t want there to be any more victims like that. What does this say about Jaz to you and the audience?
To me it proves just how resilient and selfless Jaz can be. More importantly, just how selfless the people who do this in real life are. Day in and day out, sacrificing themselves so that the rest of the world can sleep easy. Jaz does this job for all the right reasons. So, if an opportunity this huge presents itself, she is going to take it. She cares, a lot. That’s the bit I think we forget sometimes.
“Desperate Times” had a lot to say, even in subtle ways, about women in general, and Jaz in particular. What did you take away about your character from this episode, and how do you hope it propels your character forward in the series?
I had many things I already believed about Jaz reinforced in this episode. She is resourceful, strong, resilient, compassionate, and, of course, lethal. From this episode onwards I am looking forward to exploring the softer, more vulnerable side of Jaz . Just because she’s badass doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her broken bits…everyone does, that’s what makes us human. To me that’s what makes characters even more compelling. We know Jaz is strong. We know she’s earned her place. Now, what else can we find out?
The Brave, Mondays, 10/9c, NBC. New episodes return Monday, Jan. 8.