May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Masters Of The Air “Part Six”

Episode Six

So, here’s my lack of surprise face.

I said with an earlier write up that I did not for a moment believe Buck Cleven was dead.  I said as much because I didn’t see him die, the actor is probably the most famous face in the cast, and it just didn’t feel like he would have died at that moment.  I know the Cleven character was a real guy who probably really went through these things.  That could have meant he died because, well, so did the real guy.  But the mini-series set his and Bucky Egan’s friendship at the center of the narrative, so it made little sense for the story to kill him off.

See, if the real Buck had died, I would imagine there would have been more of a focus on Egan than the more even-handed style that if anything favored Cleven as a character.  Granted, they still could have killed Cleven off under this scenario, perhaps making him more sympathetic to the audience if he died around the halfway point of the mini-series.  But instead, there was just something about the way that the story was being told, where it was about these two guys–and to a lesser extent Crosby and, from the looks of things, Rosenthal–and how they essentially supported themselves and each other through some truly harrowing moments.

Seriously, there’s not a single air combat scene that doesn’t look like it is sheer dumb luck that gets anybody back to base in one piece.  Heck, this episode shows there’s danger on the ground to the Americans from German civilians who might not take too kindly to their homes being bombed all the time.

But as I see it, most TV shows and the like wouldn’t have killed Cleven off in such an unceremonious fashion.  And sure enough, he and a bunch of other guys are alive and well (possibly) in a German POW camp at the end of the episode.  Egan had survived his own plane’s being shot down, but he’s soon caught by a German farmer and manages to avoid answering questions to a seemingly friendly German interrogator who wants to know an awful lot about Cleven, information that doesn’t seem to be of much use to anyone if Cleven is actually dead.  But get something out of Egan about Cleven, and that can be used in any interrogation Cleven might undergo later the way I figure it.

Egan doesn’t fall for it and resists, but the pressure isn’t that great from where I was sitting.

So, what may have been intended as a real surprise actually wasn’t.  Granted, I watch enough of these things to recognize a trope when I see one, so I do wonder if other people would be so surprised, particularly after the equally unceremonious death of another character played by a recognizable actor in the form of Barry Keoghan’s Lt. Biddick.