Although the Netflix action-adventure comedy series FUBAR is mostly about CIA agents Luke and Emma trying to bring down the criminal mastermind Boro, it also puts equal focus on the drama elements in the plot. After all, Luke and Emma are father and daughter, and they are also involved in similar situations in their personal lives. In numerous different ways, Luke and Emma are indeed quite alike, as they are supposed to be, and this is also the reason why the CIA admittedly hired the daughter. Emma was an agent with all the qualities of Luke, except for his growing age, and so she was a great fit for the intelligence agency. But internally, too, Emma is truly Luke’s daughter, and that gets more evident even through the similar mistakes they commit in their own personal relationships.
FUBAR Season 1 begins with father and daughter meeting each other in the most unexpected place—at the enemy camp in Guyana. Luke and Emma first have to spend much time and effort coming to terms with this secret. Throughout her childhood and even adulthood, Emma knew her father to be a businessman who dealt with bodybuilding equipment. The whole world knew Luke to be the owner of such a shop, and his wife Tally could never accept the man’s having to frequently travel around for a business that did not perform as well. Luke’s trade only did meager business, and Emma had taken this as a sign that her father was terribly bad at running a business. Even then, she believed him to be an honest person who at least tried his best to do his job.
On the other side, Luke had always been proud of Emma because of her exceptional skills in activities from a very young age, be it academic pursuits or playing musical instruments. He held her in the highest regard because he knew she did not smoke, drink, or use cuss words—three instant signs of a bad child, according to the conservative-minded Luke. Along with that, he knew Emma to be settled in life at her job at a water engineering company, which takes on the noble responsibility of ensuring water supply in the farthest corners of the world. The only qualm Luke has with Emma is in regard to her choice of partner, for he does not like Carter for his personality. There is no doubt that Luke and Carter are characteristically opposite people, and the protagonist does not want his daughter to ultimately settle down with him. From the gift that Luke gives Emma for her birthday, a stand-up mixer, it is evident that he believes her to be a woman involved with domestic chores and the pastime of baking.
Therefore, when these two characters are made to meet each other inside the camp of a terrorist group, and they learn that they are both CIA agents, nothing can be more shocking to them. Emma is immediately upset for having been lied to for her entire life by her own father, while Luke’s complaint is that his daughter had been smoking, drinking, and literally living a secret life behind his back. But as FUBAR Season 1 progresses, there is clearly more reason for Emma’s being upset, and the fact that she really cannot digest her father keeping his profession a secret is linked to her childhood as well. As a child and also in her teenage years, Emma had seen her mother, Tally, get immensely hurt over and over again because of her father’s inability to stay at home on occasions or keep any commitments in his personal life. Luke had missed far too many family events to have been forgiven any more, and Tally finally divorced him and moved on with life.
As Luke now dreams of a retired life, his real intention is still to win his wife back and establish their old romantic relationship. In fact, he intends to travel around the world in his boat, which he constantly keeps calling a ship, along with his wife, even though Tally does not show much interest in such a dream. The woman now has a new man in her life, Donnie, and as it happened, it was actually Emma who had gotten the two together. After having noticed Donnie’s interest in her mother, and because Tally was already divorced and lonely in life, Emma encouraged Donnie to propose to Tally. This really did work out, and at present, the two are in a loving relationship, with Donnie even thinking of marriage. This is a matter of great irritation to Luke, and although he pretends that he is only concerned about Tally’s safety, the man gets Donnie spied on only because he is jealous of his proximity to Tally.
Pretensions and lies are something that both the father and daughter continue partaking in, and it is in this regard that Luke and Emma are most similar to each other. When Luke finally gets a chance to get back close to Tally, he grabs the opportunity with both hands, and the two eventually start an affair. The man even boastfully tells his daughter about this, and the latter starts to only shame him for this. Emma is convinced that her father is beyond any change, and so he will end up hurting her mother once again. Finally, towards the end, Luke is also convinced of this, and when Tally calls him up, saying that she is considering breaking up with Donnie, the man asks her not to and suggests that he does not trust their relationship anymore. Tally is obviously most heartbroken by this, and she responds by impulsively calling up Donnie and asking him to marry her.
There is obviously a clear difference between the two men that Tally has to choose between. Luke, on the one hand, is more adventurous and overall brings a sense of uncertainty to life. On the other hand, Donnie is much more settled and calmer in life, and living with him would also make the rest of her life quite settled. But at this juncture in the plot, the choice that was to be made by her is indirectly taken away from her once again by her stubborn and, to some extent, self-centered ex-husband. But the truth of the matter remains that Tally is still deeply in love with Luke. The reason they separated fifteen years ago was not due to them falling out of love; it was only because of misunderstandings. Now that he showers her with attention and also brings in the extra spice of making love secretly aboard Luke’s boat or at his fitness store, Tally is very quickly able to imagine a future with him.
Finally, when Luke is made to realize that Tally also loves him dearly, it is once again Emma who does so, making her a very crucial element in her parents’ relationship. Emma has, of course, always looked out for her mother’s happiness, and now that she realizes that Tally perhaps genuinely wants to be with Luke, she convinces him to admit his feelings and to give her mother a chance to make up her mind for the final time. Luke now thankfully understands that he cannot admit anything unless he comes clean to Tally about his real identity as a CIA agent. This finally makes up for the horrible lies he had continued to tell her, and as FUBAR Season 1 ends, it seems like Tally will be choosing Luke over Donnie. Whether she suffers because of this decision again or finally finds peace in marriage will be revealed only in a possible season 2.
On the other side, Emma also seems to be stuck in a similar situation of having to choose between two men. Beyond her problems with her father, Emma has issues regarding her love life as well and has to go through grave dilemmas. Before being revealed to be a CIA agent, Emma had already been in a long-term relationship with Carter, who is really just a very humble and gentle character. Carter always looks out for the needs of Emma and her family members, and he also tries to toughen up to make himself worthy of his girlfriend, signifying how serious he is about being with her. But after joining this particular team of the CIA, Emma has also been introduced to Aldon, and sparks of romantic attraction and chemistry have flown ever since the two first met. It becomes apparent quite early on that Aldon is interested in Emma, while her attraction towards him seems to be something that develops over time and through the missions that they take part in together.
Emma is also clearly faced with a similar kind of choice as her mother with respect to the personality traits of her two lovers. Carter is a calmer and more sensitive man, with the promise of a quieter but more warm life. The man’s determination to be with Emma is commendable, to say the least, as he is even ready to change his ways and principles to make room for her in his life. But Aldon is definitely more adventurous and exciting, perhaps even more suited to the profession and life of Emma, as she does not have to go through the most difficult part of informing her partner that she is a CIA agent. Despite talking about how easy it was to keep himself away from any attachments in life, Aldon does genuinely fall in love with Emma, and he does not shy away from expressing it either.
Although Carter is willing to do things for Emma until a certain point, his resolution ultimately breaks down when he gets to know that his girlfriend has indeed cheated on him. He breaks up with her, stating that even though he still loves her, there is no trust in the relationship anymore, and therefore he cannot go on with it. At the end of FUBAR, Emma does away with her cover of being just a normal civilian, as she has to pull out her gun and fire back at the terrorists to protect her family. Just like with Tally, this information might also change Carter’s perception of Emma, but whether she will choose to bear her guilt and reunite with him is something that is not yet known.
Interestingly, both Emma and Luke end up playing major roles in each other’s romantic relationships, initially in a negative manner, but they also ultimately end up guiding each other. While Emma nudges her father in the right direction by telling him to confess his love to Tally, Luke finally lets his daughter choose after initially being averse to both her suitors. Both of them started out their relationships based on lies and continued to make such false promises to their individual partners. Although Emma kept pointing out Luke’s mistakes with her mother, she herself kept lying to Carter in a similar manner, pushing him away in the process. While Emma did keep up with the tall claims of her loving and trusting relationship with Carter, it eventually all fell apart when she found herself drawn to Aldon. After all of this, Emma learns the extreme difficulties that life as a CIA agent brings to one’s personal relationships, and she becomes more accepting and warm towards her father, Luke.