Valor – Pilot
By: Paige Zinaman
The series premiere of Valor was a highly anticapated premiere, in the opening we see Pilot – in – Command CPT Leland Gallo (Matt Barr) playing a game with his crew members – Crew Chief SGT Jimmy Kam (W. Tre Davis), and Pilot CW3 Nora Madani (Christina Ochoa). Their game comes a stop when Nora tells them they are two minutes out. The crew that unboarded shut off their coms which didn’t concern Gallo because he was just the “taxi driver.” While the men were off doing their mission, Nora, Gallo and Kam were talking about his son and his birthday he just had when they spot sight of their men and the “package” they notice someon driving up the path. This didn’t give time for Jimmy to have a clear shot this resulted one of their men being shot while take off resulted in Nora being shot in the leg, to make matters worse they had an RPG inbound. Before it hit their chopper we discover Nora jumping awake showing that it she was experiencing a nightmare, it’s a month later and she’s stationed at Fort Dabney, GA. Nora goes into the kitchen to find her boyfriend Ian (Charlie Barnett) who had a meeting that morning; they joke about how he would always stay for breakfast and how she would always make breakfast.
Gallo is running late for his PT session after a run night of drinking and sex; he rushes to get out the door saying that anyone can run eight miles. Jess Kam (Corbin Reid) is in the kitchen getting things ready when Max (Drake Strickland) comes through singing a song that Jimmy would always sing with him. When Jess suggests he sings another song Max tells her that she could sing it with him like Jimmy did then proceeding to ask his mom when his dad was coming back from his trip to which she answers soon as she pushes him out the door. Nora makes it to formation with time to spare, when Gallo tells her that the last time they saw each other they looked a lot worse they were cut off by Haskins’ (Nigel Thatch) arrival. Haskins awards Gallo and Nora The Flying cross for Valor and their outstanding work when their chopper went down and until rescue was able to get to them. He then proceeds to take a moment to remember those who are still missing including Jimmy. When they were dismissed, Nora tells Gallo that the manver they did was wrong and ever since then that’s all she could think about; before they could continue their talk they were told that Haskins wants to see them in his office. Haskins informs Nora that for the next three months she will be grounded under the excuse that after everything she went through a break would be best while Gallo will have a new flying partner in that time. As they leave the office.
Nora goes to see Jess and apologizes for not being able to come sooner. She asks Jess if there is anything she can do when Jess tells her that she needs answers and that no one will even tell her what country it happened it. Nora tells Jess that the mission is classified which causes Jess to get upset saying that it’s always classified and asked Nora if she knew what it feels like to be married to someone who can’t tell you where he’s going or when they are coming back. Nora apologizes again when Jess says that it’s not fair, but not before adding that she and Gallo don’t have families and why are they the ones who got to come home. Jess tells Nora that she doesn’t mean it, but Nora tells her that she’s right that it’s not fair. That night Nora goes to see Gallo and tells him that what they did was wrong and that the lied in their reports; she tells him that she joined the army to be one of the good guys and that is not how it feels right now. Gallo tells her that it’s too late and that they are fine if their stories match up to which Nora tells him that she said everything they agreed upon before telling him that she wants to come clean. Gallo tells him that this is what war is now, covert ops because nobody wants boots on the ground and that it’s not going to bring Jimmy home.
In the Golis Mountains of Somalia, Jimmy is shown being lead back to an underground hideaway blind folded and hands binded with guns at his backs, Hindrix (Mac Brandt) asks Jimmy what happened. Jimmy tells him that they handed him a cellphone and made him call his wife and that they would shoot him if he didn’t when Hindrix asked him if he called their bluff he told him that he justed wanted to hear her voice. Jess comes comes in and tells everyone what the men wanted, fifty ISIS prisoners in exchange for the two of them and then the line went dead. Thea (Melissa Roxburgh) tells them that they believe where they are being held are in the Golis Mountains by Khalid Samatar (Jaiden Kaine). Haskins tells the group that a prisoner exchange is off the table and the only way to get them out is to break them out. He tells Gallo that and a few other men that they will be flying while Nora and another group will be flight planning which does not make Nora happy. When she tells him that she was cleared to fly and she doesn’t understand why he won’t let her Haskins tells her it’s because Ian asked him to ground her because he knows her better than anyone and he doesn’t think she’s ready to fly. Nora tells him that they all know how he got his Silver Star because he went back in a fire fight and got an injured soldier who was left behind and that all she’s asking is he let her do the same. Haskins tells her that she will have to prove she’s up to it, which Nora tells him she’ll do whatever he wants. He tells her that she will do the exercise scheduled for Thursday only she will do it as Pilot-in-Command.
Nora gets herself prepared and heads out to the chopper, Gallo tells her he doesn’t know how she changed Haskins’ mind but he’s impressed before stepping aside for her to get in so they can practice. Before Nora turns the coms on Gallo tells her that it’s not normal for CIA to step in like they did and that there is something bigger going on and if they are going to get Jimmy out safe they need to know what is going on. Nora tells him that the first step is to ID the prisoner they had that night to which Gallo says he knows someone who can help and he’s on it. As Nora is training she seemed to be doing okay until she takes a turn and the flashbacks start from the night she was shot in the leg unable to pull up, Gallo takes control and pulls the chopper up before they crash.
There’s once again a flashback to the night the chopper was hit. Their engine starts to fail and they tell everyone on board that they are going to hover over the water and everyone can jump out before they try to get as far away as they can from them. Nora tells one of the men that their prisoner will drown if they keep the hood on which he makes it noted that the hood will not be coming off the man’s head. Gallo couldn’t hold the hover and starts to move as he loses control of the chopper, which results in the chopper going down when Nora looks to the man behind her that’s bound and has his mouth taped. She notices a tatttoo on his neck right as Gallo annouces that they were going down. It’s the next morning when Nora meets with Gallo again apologizing for being late that she slept like crap, to which Gallo tells her that it’s the guilt of almost killing them the day before Nora tells him that she wants to hit the simulator harder before the flight test and that she will do better. Anna (Heighlen Boyd) shows up with the personnel files about the “802” when Nora asks how he knows her he tells her that they go out once in a while and that she’s into some pretty kinky stuff. Going throught the boxes Nora says they told them they were targeting a Somali national instead they get an American Soldier.
Jess asks Nora what OGA was, to which Nora tells her it’s what they call the CIA when Jess told her that they made her sign something that said she’s not allowed to tell anyone about Jimmy being captured. Nora tells her that if this gets leaked the situation because a lot less stable, which causes Jess to get angry telling Nora that this whole thing is insane because she can’t talk to anyone and can’t know anything. Nora tells Jess that she’s going to get herself on the team that goes in to get Jimmy back but she needs Jess to promise her something, that she won’t give up. There’s a cannon fire which everyone stops and slutes as the flag is lowered to half staff. Meanwhile, Gallo is still looking through profiles when he finds something that makes him stop completely.
Thea asks to see Ian, when he arrives she tells him that she knows he and Nora then asking his thoughts on Gallo and how close he and Nora works together while also asking why Nora left base on her own; Ian tells her that he believes Nora went to see a movie and that he could ask her which one before she dismisses him. Meanwhile, Hindrix and Jimmy talk about what he heard up there and how close they are to a village and an exit and plan to get out which Jimmy refuses because he doesn’t think it will work. Gallo shows Nora what he found of a man who was announced dead in 2014 but who they saw alive a month ago, Gallo tells Nora that they can’t do anything until they have a lot more to present as evidence. Gallo shows Nora a way to release anger by beating at the wall but when she starts to lose it he stops her; which leads to the two of them engaging in an intense make out session. Nora stops them before it could go any further and getting them both in more trouble. When Nora arrives home Ian is there wanting to talk to her, and tells her that OGA has their eye on her and tells her that it’s is job to know when someone is hiding something and he knows she is. Nora smashes a pill and snorts it before going to take her flight test. Gallo tells her it’s time she tells him what the little doll was she always puts up before flying, she tells him it was from a little Afghan girl who told her that before her she didn’t know women could be soldiers and it’s kept her alive since. Jimmy and Hindrix’s plan comes into plan as Hindrix hides a chicken bone as Jimmy gets beat for singing, Hindrix is able to get his hands free and goes to get Jimmy who is trying to not pass out. Nora passes her tests and is welcomed to operation Perseus. A flashback shows Nora killing CIA Officer Richard (Brian Stapf) when he goes to shoot Gallo who refused to let him shoot the prisoner that was on the chopper.