Wednesday, November 21, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Little Drummer Girl' - Charlie's Resolve Is Questioned as Everything Comes to a Destructive Conclusion in 'Part 3'

AMC's The Little Drummer Girl - Episode 1.03 "Part 3"

Charlie trains in Lebanon. Now deep undercover, no one can save her if she is exposed as a spy. As she prepares for her grand finale, it is unclear who's side she is fighting for.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on the final two episodes of AMC's The Little Drummer Girl.

"Episode 5" was written by Claire Wilson and directed by Park Chan-wook

Charlie is completely on her own now. She has been taken to Lebanon in order to train. She no longer has Becker giving her information for how to survive in this environment. She isn't being manipulated by Martin in the hopes that he can get the outcome he has always wanted. Now, all of that training and her cover identity are being put to the test. She continues having to answer questions about her relationship with Salim. She is perpetually in a state of having to prove herself and her convictions. The Israelis wanted to know if she could be trusted with this job. She was never really given a choice in that regard though. And now, the Palestinians are testing her resolve as well. They want to know that she is committed to this mission as well. She has to fight alongside them for the values that they hold dear. She has to stand on her own. When a gun is pointed at her head, only her quick thinking will lead to her survival. She is very strong and empowered in that way as well. She is put in a dangerous situation by one of the other soldiers training at this facility. She has to turn on him in order to save herself. She is the one tasked with killing him. In the end, she is protected from having to make that decision. She still fires at him. Her bullets just aren't the ones that actually kill him. That's enough to prove her devotion. After that, it's all about acclimating to the culture of the area. She is able to bond with the Palestinians much more easily than the Israelis because they are being truthful with her. They can make fun of her not being able to pick up the language quickly. She is still lying. She runs the risk of growing too personally attached to these individuals. She runs the risk of telling them who she really is and the game that the Israelis are playing. She doesn't crack though out of fear that it will quickly lead to her death. She is always just making the right decision to ensure her own future survival. That is the most telling aspect of her throughout this hour. She gains the trust of the Palestinians and returns home to England for the latest mission. During all of this time, Martin's team has been working to break the code and get ahead of whatever the next attack may be. There weren't able to understand what was happening before the first attack. And now, they are readying for another. They believe they have the code broken. And yet, they are relying solely on Charlie as well to ensure that another bomb doesn't go off. She finds herself in such a vital position. She gets to meet Salim's brother, Khalil, who is the one actually running this entire terrorist organization. That's a special privilege extended to her because of the performance she has given. In the heat of the moment, she'll need to continue to act quickly to earn his confidence as well. She already sent out a warning signal to Becker saying that she's in trouble and needs to be removed from the situation. But Martin is so desperate for all of this to work. It's all or nothing now. He has complete faith in Charlie because she has survived everything that has been thrown at her so far. However, he's been absent from her for a month and never really strived to understand her on a human level. He hopes this will all work in his benefit. But this hour also highlights just how destructive and damaging all sides of this conflict have been with their actions for a long time.

"Episode 6" was written by Michael Lesslie and directed by Park Chan-wook

Was this entire convoluted gambit going to pay off for Martin? If so, what were the personal costs going to be for everyone involved? The audience understands that nothing that anyone does here will put an end to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. That war continues to be fought to this day. Everyone is passionate about their side prevailing. And yet, it does become clear that all of this is inhumane as well. Khalil is the latest figure to test Charlie's resolve and courage. He wants to know how it felt for her to kill someone. She hated it. She has absolute remorse. She wants to know why innocent people have to die for this cause. He sees that as a good thing because it proves that she has a conscience. She has always known that none of this will end upon death. Both sides hope that to be the case. They continue to just respond to the latest act of violence committed against them. That's what makes this all such a vicious conflict. Charlie has seen the humanity on both sides of the issue. She sees that everyone is more than capable of violence in order to advance their agenda. It's ultimately up to her to decide what the fate of everyone is going to be. She still delivers the bomb that is bound to kill this well-respected professor who is advocating for peace in the region. She hands over all of the information that she has to Martin and his team. She remains loyal to them. And yet, that is mostly out of a sense of professional responsibility. They were the ones who recruited her to this cause. She went deep undercover. Her morals and values were tested. She doesn't have any appreciation or sympathy for Martin. But she still completes this mission for him. Of course, it doesn't go how he wanted it to go. He sees her as an invaluable resource. He doesn't want to kill Khalil now that he is operating out in the open. He wants Charlie to forge an even more personal relationship with him in order to be an ongoing source of information. He sees the value in fleshing out this source for years to come. He knows that Khalil still has so much farther to go with this movement. His leadership will represent an opportunity for the Israelis because they can exploit it. If they just kill him, it's just solving the immediate problem without addressing what will happen in the aftermath. That's what makes all of this so tricky. Charlie doesn't give the signal that she is in immediate danger and needs to be rescued. She weighs that decision in this moment as well. She has sex with Khalil because she believes she is ordered to do so. She doesn't have any choice regarding her identity whatsoever. That has been a key component of this entire story. And now, she mourns Khalil's death because she doesn't see the value in him needing to die. She doesn't quite feel in danger when he realizes that everything is done for him and his work. Becker killing Khalil insures that his legacy will go on. Martin even confirms that the bombings are still playing out across Europe. As such, that may render all of this completely pointless. The Israelis are able to strike. But that only further showcases just how vicious and destructive they are. They believe in their righteous cause as well. But they ruined lives and destroyed homes. Charlie and Becker emerge from this not wanting to be associated with any of these barbaric acts. That may be them choosing to be willfully ignorant. And yet, it's the only way where they can figure out who they are as well. That's absolutely necessary when it comes to the decision making needed for these kinds of conflicts playing out on the global stage. It just comes after they've made choices that carried significant consequences to them.