‘Special Ops: Lioness’ Episode 3 Review/Recap: Where Does Aaliyah Take Cruz?

Taylor Sheridan’s newest crime thriller featuring a majority female cast, Special Ops: Lioness, premiered its third episode today. Starring Zoe Saldana and Laysla De Oliveira in the major roles, the story follows a secret agent named Cruz, who strikes up a friendship with an oil tycoon named Aaliyah to extract information about her family’s business. In the previous episodes, Cruz had been subjected to severe torture by Joe, on her boss’s orders, to test her limits, so she’ll be wearing the bruises from last week. In this episode, Cruz arrives at Aaliyah’s home following her invitation. Here’s what happens next in Paramount’s Special Ops: Lioness Episode 3.


Spoilers Ahead

 Why Does Kyle Need Joe’s Help?

The episode opens with Cruz driving a Mercedes Benz down a bridge, heading to Aaliyah’s palatial estate for the weekend getaway she was forcibly invited to. On the way, she’s coached by Joe about the things to say and the ones to keep mum about while extracting copious amounts of information from the Amrohi princess. As Cruz makes her way to Aaliyah’s after throwing her phone away, Joe is warned about the situation by her boss, Kaitlyn Meade (Nicole Kidman). Apparently, the Amrohis are far more dangerous than Joe can comprehend, and they’ve got their hands in a lot of illegal pies in the US. On her way out, Joe is stopped by a former colleague, Kyle, who needs her help urgently.


Kyle has a sleeper agent who’s keeping track of a drug trade between Iraq and Mexico, but he’s gotten himself arrested. Unless this plant is rescued, the mission will be a bust, and he can’t even get federal help because the entire mission has been off the books. The only way to extract the man will involve getting someone’s hands dirty, so he needs Joe’s help. Joe reluctantly agrees to provide three of her guys, sacrificing her own manpower.

What Happens To Cruz At Aaliyah’s Place?

Meanwhile, Cruz is taking in the grandeur and obscenities of the extravagance that the Amrohi weekend getaway house is when Aaliyah offers to get her a different swimsuit. However, the brutally bruised body of Cruz alerts Aaliyah to send for a doctor, while Joe realizes that her agent’s cover may be blown, as she listens in through the secret comms on Cruz. The doctor immediately realizes that the bruises on Cruz wasn’t caused by any car accident, but she quickly comes up with a story of domestic violence and begs for the doctor to keep quiet because she wishes to be friends with Aaliyah. With this issue sorted, Aaliyah invites Cruz to sit with her on the sandy beach, where she tells her new friend that she has very little independence in the company she keeps and the life she leads. Apparently, her friends have a major say in every decision about Aaliyah’s life.


At night, when Cruz gets up for a glass of water, Sami, a friend of Aaliyah’s husband, Ehsan, tries to make a move on the secret agent. Cruz declines his attempts initially, but when he repeatedly tries touching her, she jabs him squarely in the throat before heading to her room. Humiliated, Sami tries forcing her door open before the security guards escort the unruly guest away. The next morning, Ehsan makes Sami leave because of his behavior, while Aaliyah is apologetic that her new friend had to face such treatment.

How Is Joe’s Personal Life Troubled?

On the other hand, Joe’s own life isn’t free of problems either. When she goes home at night, she walks in on her daughter, Kate, exploring the physical aspects of teenage love with her boyfriend. Joe wastes little time throwing the brat out of her house before trying to discipline her daughter. Kate retorts back with the usual: Joe doesn’t get to have a say in Kate’s life if she can’t bother to be home half the time. Joe is further insulted when her husband, Neil, tells her that he had a pact with his daughter that she was free to explore as long as things didn’t go below the belt. She learns that her position in her house is that of an afterthought because of her scanty presence and that her eldest daughter makes no bones about hiding her disgust for her mother.


What Happens at Kyle’s Mission?

Three of Joe’s men, Two Cups, Randy, and Tucker, have been waiting for quite some time with Kyle in an ancient vehicle for Kyle’s agent to arrive. When the sheriff’s car carrying the agent appears, the four men pursue the truck, and Kyle uses his EMP charge to neutralize the modern police transport vehicle before extracting his man. There’s also an elaborate truck collision, and some of the people on the other team are killed, but Kyle considers that simple collateral. Soon afterward, the men have their car rammed by another vehicle that wants the agent back before Tucker and Two Cups kill the pursuers as Kyle takes them to a safe house and changes cars. However, this mission significantly delays Joe’s men, who’ll be late in arriving on the scene when they’re needed.

What Does Errol Tell Kaitlyn About The Amrohis?

In the morning, Kaitlyn’s businessman husband, Errol, tells her that Qudrah, the oil company the Amrohis own, produces 12 million barrels per day. An organization with such a massive turnover on one of the most precious resources on earth is bound to have an immense amount of power at its disposal. Hence, Errol warns his wife that she needs to be extremely careful if she plans to tango with the Amrohis, but by then, a series of events have been set in motion that is about to change the lives of everyone involved.


Where Does Aaliyah Take Cruz?

Back to Cruz’s story, Aaliyah suddenly informs her that in order to apologize for Sami behaving like a swine, she’d like to treat Cruz to a surprise trip to someplace new for a change of scenery. One of Aaliyah’s friends pipes up in the middle that they’ll be taking the Amrohis’ private jet, which alerts Joe that they won’t be able to keep immediate track of her secret agent. It’s thanks to Cruz’s quick wit, though, that Joe is alerted to the plane Ehsan has organized for the people when she reads the plane’s registration number out loud for Joe to hear. As Cruz boards the jet, she looks back with concern on her face because she realizes if something goes wrong mid-air, there’ll be no one to come rescue her. As Joe rushes to find a plane that can be used to follow Cruz, her men are stuck on the road on their way to Kyle’s mission. To surmise, things are really looking bad for Cruz and Joe at the moment.

What Does The End Mean?

It’s not clarified where Aaliyah is taking Cruz, but she says it’ll be a surprise. Aaliyah, by the looks of it, doesn’t seem like a woman who can turn cruel or vicious, but in case Cruz’s secret might be exposed, who can guarantee that Aaliyah won’t take this betrayal personally? Besides, Cruz won’t have any contact with Joe while flying thousands of miles up in the air, so if Ehsan or his brother Kamal decides to punish Cruz, she’ll be at immense odds. Hopefully, she’ll be able to keep her wits about her and brace herself for the plane ride until she reaches land and re-establishes contact with Joe. But to know what happens next, we’ll need to tune in next week at the same time.


Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.


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