Review: X Company explores both sides of the story

When I’d first heard that X Company—then called Camp X—was being developed by the CBC, I was excited. A history buff, I was champing at the bit to learn about Canada’s super-secret role during the Second World War.

And while I’ve certainly been educated in that all-important task, I’m even more impressed with the story surrounding the German soldiers and Nazis. Almost every program or film I’ve seen centred on the Allies, but X Company is delving deeper into who we’re taught are the villains. It’s easy to put the Nazis into a box and label them as murderers, but the reality is not everyone felt that way. That was certainly driven home during Wednesday’s “Kiss of Death,” where The Bleeder was unmasked—and dispatched, literally—by a poison pill kiss from Aurora.

The Bleeder’s affect on some of his fellow officers was very interesting. The man who so wanted to sleep with Celeste and had to settle for Aurora at first came off as a cruel, unfeeling jerk who was only interested in sex. Minutes later, he was shaking and afraid, confessing to Aurora that he was gay and therefore a target of The Bleeder, who wanted to stamp out homosexuality and other “deviant” sexual behaviour. The scene started out dripping with tension but ended with tenderness as Aurora promised to keep the weeping officer’s secret safe. It instantly put a human face to the enemy for both viewers and Aurora, and left me pondering my longtime thoughts.

I felt even more deeply about that when Oberführer Faber hid his son from view of the other SS officers. Anyone with a disability—in the child’s case, Down’s syndrome—was viewed as a fly in the ointment of the perfect race and would not have survived either.

I was, of course, touched by what was happening with Aurora and the team—Alfred’s combat training saved his butt and the atomic scientist extraction mission was a success—but the German side of the story really struck me this week. And has made it harder for me to cheer against them.

Notes and quotes

  • Brilliant move giving Alfred earplugs to wear so that loud noises don’t phase him. I hate it when he, you know, freezes up in a life or death situation.
  • It was great to see Maryam D’Abo back on the small screen as Madame Sournis.
  • I need to learn Morse code so that I understand what’s being transmitted in the opening credits. Is it SOS?
  • Am I to assume the blue-tinged prison cell Alfred is trapped in represents his mind? Can someone help a symbolism-stunted fellow out?
  • Is it weird that one of the most compelling characters for me is Harry? He’s got the innocent face but is able to be a cool killer too.

X Company airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.


One thought on “Review: X Company explores both sides of the story”

  1. I’m enjoying the show, but a couple of tiny things bother me a little. One: I find it unrealistic that the spy team is regularly dropped in and out of France and returned to Ontario like they just hopped on a red-eye jet (which only Nazi’s had back then) out of Paris. C’mon. It, thankfully, sounds like they’ll be on their own in the field for a while now, though.

    Another thing? Where are all the other villagers in these towns? When Neil, Harry and Alfred were creeping around the streets in ep 103, it was just them and the Nazis. Kind of hard to blend in and hide when you’re the only one around. Hire more extras next season!

    But I’ll quit complaining now! The cast is very good and I love that the Germans aren’t cookie-cutter baddies.

    As for Alfred, I thought his blue jail scenes were metaphor at first, but they keep getting more detailed and the team was told Alfred could never fall into enemy hands alive–which means that’s exactly what will happen. So, I think the scenes are meant to play both as a look in Alfred’s mind and as foreshadowing.

    Enjoy the website!

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