NOTE: this post contains spoilers for Special Ops: Lioness episode 7, "Wish the Fight Away."
Things have hit overdrive as Aaliyah's (Stephanie Nur) pending nuptials give Joe (Zoe Saldana) and her team their best chance ever at a financier of terrorism, but Cruz (Laysla De Oliveira) is struggling with the relationship she has formed with Aaliyah.
A world within a world
Knowing Aaliyah's wedding is going to be in Majorca, Joe, Kaitlyn (Nicole Kidman) and Westfield (Michael Kelly) set up their operation. With the White House looking over their shoulder, Westfield wants to play things by the book, but Kaitlyn and Joe convince him things are too far along to change course; success or failure, the only option is their way. He relents, ordering a destroyer to nearby waters, but he wants Kaitlyn onsite to make sure it looks like they did what they could if things go sideways.
Meanwhile, Cruz and Aaliyah are on their way to New York City. With Joe's team unable to track them as they prepare, Joe loops Kyle (Thad Luckinbill) in to provide surveillance.
Aaliyah and Cruz are going to have a shopping day, as Aaliyah says this "world within a world" allows her to forget about the realities of her life — her impending marriage and the inherent dangers because of who she is related to. The pair have a ball at Mindels until Aaliyah brings up their kiss. She says it's all she can think about. Cruz reciprocates, with the two caressing each other. However, the hustle and bustle of Mindels is not the best place for this.
They go to a hotel. Once Aaliyah's guards are out of the room they embrace and quickly wind up in the bedroom. At the end of everything, Cruz is crying. All the while, Kyle has been listening to what is going on from a few floors below.
Kyle calls and tells Joe that Cruz and Aaliyah are a couple. Joe then gets a text from Cruz confirming it, forcing Joe to hurry to New York to talk with her.
Before Cruz can leave to meet Joe, Aaliyah wakes and asks where she's going. Cruz explains she needs time to process things, worried there is no future for them. "It has the future we make it," Aaliyah pleads, but Cruz says "then it has on future." She leaves. When Aaliyah's bodyguard asks if everything is alright, Aaliyah lies and says yes, it's just a small fight between friends.
Cruz quickly admits to Joe she can't go on with her mission because she is in love with Aaliyah. Joe knows Cruz's past with relationships and the effects of this job, so she empathizes with her, but she says Aaliyah is not in love with her; Cruz is a last hoorah before Aaliyah becomes only a wife and mother.
Joe explains their target is the biggest they've had since Bin Laden. Would Cruz stop herself from doing anything to kill Bin Laden? She admits she wouldn't. Joe needs her Marine back so they can achieve their ultimate mission, asking her to give them seven more days. Cruz will try, but she reiterates she doesn't think Aaliyah is pretending. Joe doesn't care, she only cares that Cruz is pretending.
Cruz goes back up to Aaliyah's room, with Joe and Kyle listening downstairs. However, Cruz turns off her transmitter, which instantly worries Joe that she is going to out herself. Cruz asks her not to bring her to the wedding, saying she can't witness her father give her away. But Aaliyah says her father won't be at the wedding, knowing the potential dangers. With this new bit of info, Cruz turns the transmitter back on just before Joe and Kyle were about to head up to stop her.
Cruz asks Aaliyah to stop their relationship or cancel her wedding to give things a real chance. But Aaliyah knows canceling the wedding would get her killed. She opines it would have been better to not know love with Cruz, so she wouldn't know what she is missing.
Aaliyah is leaving in the morning and invites Cruz one last time, hoping she can have at least one friend at her wedding. Cruz accepts.
Fight or flight
Cruz returns to base with Joe, where she gets grilled about why she turned the transmitter off. Cruz says she is not blown, but needs to have Kaitlyn coax it out of her that Aaliyah's father is not going to be at the wedding. Joe doesn't buy it. Cruz stresses she is not trained for this and may not be able to go through with the mission.
Kaitlyn wonders if they should scrap the mission to save the Lioness program, but when they find Cruz got an official invite to the wedding, they know the opportunity is too good to pass up. Joe reiterates she needs the soldier Cruz is; that this is a battle, the difference being instead of the guilt coming after, it's with her the entire time. Cruz tells them with some rest she thinks she can get her head right. They plan for Cruz to miss her flight and fly with them to Barcelona. From there she'll travel on her own, with Kyle tracking.
Kaitlyn is nervous, but Joe is confident she reached the Marine. Kaitlyn still thinks a missile strike is their best bet, which would sacrifice Cruz. Joe knows that is likely the case, but she doesn't want to do it.
Joe is home when Kate (Hannah Love Lanier) arrives from the hospital. She tells her she has to leave. Kate is not happy about this, wanting to have her mother there. She asks if Joe is going to kill someone, which Joe can't answer, but Kate knows that means yes. She asks her mom to promise she'll come back, but Joe says it's bad luck to do that, so she promises she’ll try. Before Joe leaves, they say they love each other.
The moment wrecks Joe. When Neal (Dave Annable) talks with her, she says this is her last mission.
It's less of an emotional goodbye for Kaitlyn with Errol (Martin Donovan). Errol warns that her mission could create a situation in the Middle East that threatens the people in power, and by extension the US. Errol thinks everyone worried about climate change should be worried that they’re nearing World War III and no country is capable of navigating it without nuclear war. He warns Kaitlyn to be careful. "Careful is why they send me," she says.
Everyone arrives at the airport. Bobby goes over the details of the location the wedding is going to take place, which is a logistical nightmare. Meanwhile, Joe has homework for Cruz — video footage of all the terrorist activities Aaliyah's father financed. As Cruz watches the horrible footage, it seems her resolve is hardening.
New episodes of Special Ops: Lioness are released exclusively on Paramount Plus on Sundays.