Special Ops Lioness Episode 2 Recap: Cruz Takes a Beating

Paramount+’s ‘Special Ops: Lioness’ is an action-thriller series loosely based on the US Armed Forces’ Lioness Task Force and follows Joe, the station chief of the Lioness program under the CIA. The second episode sees Joe dealing with some personal issues and family drama while continuing to train Cruz through her unconventional methods. On the other hand, Cruz nearly reaches the breaking point under Joe’s grueling tests. However, ‘Special Ops: Lioness’ episode 2 ends with Cruz making a breakthrough with her mark, progressing Joe’s operation to neutralize a suspected terrorist. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Special Ops Lioness Episode 2 Recap

The second episode, titled ‘The Beating,’ opens with Joe meeting Kaitlyn Meade (Nicole Kidman), the CIA Agent to whom she reports. The two discuss Joe’s latest operation, targeting Kamal Amrohi, a businessman with ties to terrorist organizations. Joe reveals that her new asset, Cruz Manuelos, successfully established contact with her mark, Aliyah Amrohi. Joe has since moved Cruz to Paris, France, and she is presently in New York City. Although Meade gives Joe free rein over the operation, she warns the station chief about keeping her asset in such close proximity to the mark.

Later, Meade also enquires about Joe’s family and their well-being, implying a tragedy in the family. Elsewhere, Joe’s elder daughter, Kate, gets into a fight at the school after she is racially abused. On the other hand, Neal (Dave Annable), Joe’s husband, who is a doctor, is dealing with a four-year-old girl diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer. After a physical altercation with the daughter’s father, Neal is forced to pick up Kate from school since she is suspended. Neal scolds Kate for her actions and takes away her phone.

When Joe returns home, she learns of the situation and diffuses the tension in the household before having a romantic night with Neal. However, the couple is soon forced to part ways because of professional emergencies. Meanwhile, Cruz is abducted from her apartment in the middle of the night when she goes for a run. She is held hostage and tortured by a group of men. After the men brutally beat up Cruz, Joe reveals she is behind Cruz’s abduction. She is conducting a SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) test for Cruz.

Joe explains that the mission she is assigned will eventually result in Cruz’s cover being blown, at which point she will be held hostage and tortured for information. Therefore, Joe wants to deduce Cruz’s breaking point to know how much time she will have to mount a rescue operation. After discussing Cruz’s past briefly, Joe leaves her for another round of torture and physical attacks. However, the test is cut short by one of the officers overseeing the spot. Joe argues that Cruz will be on a suicide mission, making it important to know her breaking point. However, she later gives up on the test and drives Cruz to the safe house where the rest of her Lioness program team lives.

Special Ops Lioness Episode 2 Ending: Why Does Aliyah Call Cruz?

In the episode’s final act, Cruz is assigned to live with the rest of the task force led by Bobby. After Cruz arrives at the house, she is battered and bruised, losing faith in Joe’s methods. Cruz cleans up and shares a drink with her new teammates before revealing she was put through a SERE test. The brutality of the test and its unsanctioned nature anger Bobby, who decides to stand up for Cruz. Bobby and her squad track down the officers who conducted the SERE test and find them at a local bar. Bobby and her group start a bar fight with the officers before one of them reveals that Bobby’s boss, Joe, has already signed off and authorized the test.

The group is forced to leave the bar fight when Cruz gets an unexpected phone call from Aliyah, her mark. Aliayh reveals that she is in Atlanta and wants to meet Cruz. However, Cruz tries to avoid the meeting by claiming she got into a car accident. Nonetheless, Aliyah convinces Cruz to meet her, and they decide on a meeting spot. The brief phone interaction suggests that Cruz has maintained her cover well and got close to Aliyah. Cruz’s mark has started trusting her, and it could lead Cruz to interactions with Aliyah’s inner circle. However, Joe’s extreme methods could hinder the mission, especially if she keeps testing Cruz to her limits.

The second episode’s ending implies that Cruz is likely to get close to the team’s target, Aliyah’s father, Kamal, in the near future. However, the episode’s ending also reinforces the strong bond of camaraderie that is forming between Cruz and her new teammates. The episode firmly establishes that Cruz is on a suicide mission, and much like Joe’s previous asset, she is likely to die in the field if her cover is blown up. While Joe seems determined to protect her assets, she also recognizes their target’s threat, making the operation dangerous. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the bond Cruz has formed with Bobby and the others will aid her in her mission or prove to be a hindrance.

Read More: Special Ops Lioness Episode 1 Recap and Ending, Explained