Men are expected to be the backbone of families, society, and communities. While women also face much unnecessary slander, today’s focus is on the harmful ideas that men must always have it together and never crack or show emotion. While this show does not exactly reinforce this concept, it does put it on full display. In this episode, “Cover for Action” we see both Jason and Ray struggle with this. This episode positively attempts to break the cultural norm that men need to be macho.

Let’s start with Jason. Jason has been Bravo 1, the head of a seal team for many years. He has had to see so many horrible things. For starters, he is constantly tossed into a warzone and expected to come out on top each and every time, all the while making sure every member of his team does the exact same. He has experienced a tremendous amount of deaths of people he worked with in the field. On top of all of this, he rarely gets to spend time with his family back at home. When he finally starts making things right with his family, his wife passes away in a car crash.

In this episode in specific, Jason copes with this in a very unhealthy way. He takes out his feelings on his coworkers and daughter. When talking about college with his daughter he unnecessarily raises his voice and gets upset over small things. He also yells at Ray during a mission debrief over something the two of them regularly talk about.

All of this and yet Jason still stands. As viewers we clearly see this taking a massive toll on him, and we get aggravated when he does not do anything to let it out. We get to see that he feels vulnerable and weak when he opens up about these sort of things. We also get to learn of his previous coping method to “ignore and override” his problems as he says. This is an extremely unhealthy way of coping. Completely normal things that everybody feels, and Jason is ashamed of feeling them. Society has molded him to be invincible, like a stone wall on the outside, when in reality he is a mess on the inside. However, we finally see Jason go to therapy where he discusses his feelings and fears, and in the long run it helps him heal and move forward.

Now onto Ray. Ray was captured in action and tortured for weeks away from his family. After finally being rescued, he is constantly asked how he is doing. Rather than tell them how he actually feels, he lies. Jasons girlfriend asks “Have you been sleeping since the incident?” He replies with a simple “Yes.” and moves on. However, we see his wife look at him in a confused state as she knows he has not been. Similar to Jason, he feels that he can not open up about how he feels because he thinks it will pollute his “macho” image.

While all of this appears to lead to an argument that this episode was harmful by reinforcing these norms, I viewed it in a different way. I felt that it brought attention to the issue and highlighted the bad habits that men often fall into when dealing with their emotions. After viewing this episode, viewers are left with a new perspective on the harmful effects of keeping everything in.