Special Ops: Lioness Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – Who dies in “Sacrificial Soldiers?”

By Ricky Valero
Published: July 23, 2023 (Last updated: September 6, 2023)
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Special Ops: Lioness Season 1 Episode 1 Recap - Who dies in "Sacrificial Soldiers?"


Special Ops: Lioness starts with a bang featuring the perfect setup pilot that gives you a lay of the land and a sense of what is ahead.

This recap of the Paramount+ series Special Ops: Lioness Season 1 Episode 1, “Sacrificial Soldiers,” contains spoilers.

The combination of Taylor Sheridan and Paramount+ brings us the pilot of Special Ops: Lioness. Cruz is battling with home life issues that thrust her into the military while Joe is forced to make a decision that will alter the course of someone’s life.

Special Ops: Lioness Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

At the CIA Forward Outpost, Joe and her team are looking at someone crawling towards where they are when Joe’s phone rings. It’s one of her undercover girls whose cover has been blown. As Joe tells the team they must rescue her, the strange man crawling sets off a bomb leading to mass gunfire.

Who dies in “Sacrificial Soldiers?”

As things start to unravel, Joe starts to question what the next step is. After a big internal dilemma, we see that Joe is forced to make the call to send in a drone strike that kills Cruz and some enemy soldiers.

In the present day, Joe is sitting down with Kaitlyn and Byron to discuss what happened on the mission. She explains that her cover was blown because someone walked in on her showering and saw her cross tattoo. Byron asked why she called for the drone strike and said it was because ISIS had her and chose to protect her team and the operation.

Why did Cruz Manuelos join the Marines?

The series takes us back to Oklahoma four years earlier, where we meet Cruz working at a diner. We see her bring food home to her boyfriend. After an argument with his crew, he punched her in the face.

The following morning, we see her hit her boyfriend in the face with a frying pan and run. He was chasing after her when she entered a Marine recruiting office store. When her boyfriend stepped in, the man backed him down. Her boyfriend wouldn’t stop hunting Cruz, so she took up the soldier’s offer to enlist in the Marines.

READ: TV Shows like Special Ops: Lioness

We see the recruitment process that led to Joe finding Cruz. This included Cruz stripping down and Joe investigating her body to see if she had any marks on it. Joe selects her to be her undercover Lioness, and we see the transition to Kuwait, where Joe will take her to meet the team and find her mark.

Special Ops: Lioness Season 1 Episode 1 Ending Explained

The team gets a call that the “mark’s” daughter is on the move leading to them dispersing into Kuwait. On the drive over, Cruz starts to get cold feet, but Joe ensures her the time is now, and they must take advantage of it. We see Cruz enter the store where the daughter is located, and after an “accidental” bump, she and the girl become quick friends.

What did you think of Special Ops: Lioness Season 1 Episode 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Paramount+.

Additional reading:

Paramount+, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
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