Review: Has X Company’s Alfred already been captured?

Thanks to Ellie, who wrote me last week to suggest the blue, jail-like room Alfred is in could literally be a cell to keep him safe in case the Germans attempt to kidnap him. He does, after all, have the British and Canadian plans inside that skull of his. I’d originally thought the cell was a representation of his head being a cell that he felt trapped inside of.

Turns out it looks like Ellie was on the right track; by the end of “Sixes and Sevens,” a loud clang outside Alfred’s cell would seem to hint he has already been captured by the Germans and is being held prisoner. That would make all of Season 1 Alfred’s recollections, which would make sense thanks to his near-perfect memory. And those scenes were he wasn’t around? Those could have been gleaned from reports read over at Camp X.

There’s still lots of season to go, but if this angle turns out to be true, it’s not only a unique way of storytelling that I haven’t seen done since St. Elsewhere (Google it, kids), but very effective too.

Written by Denis McGrath, “Sixes and Sevens” gave a nod to both Josephine Baker and Canadian writer Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues. That novel centred on Sidney Griffiths, who recounted his experiences touring through Europe as a jazz musician prior to the First World War where he met Hiero Falk, one of the greatest trumpet players in history. In the case of X Company, the story dealt with a Baker-esque Hallie Duvernay (Cracked‘s Karen Leblanc), a jazz singer with a killer voice and her trumpet player, Marcus (Dwain Murphy). The duo were to play an important part in helping provide safe passage of a British soldier whose father was a higher-up politician with help from Alfred and Aurora. Of course, things didn’t go according to plan and Aurora, Alfred and Marcus were arrested. Marcus, addicted to heroin and going through withdrawal, threatened to expose the whole ruse.

What I like about X Company is contained within a storyline like this. Rather than resort to a shoot ’em up riddled with hackneyed dialogue, “Sixes and Sevens” instead focused on Marcus’ addiction and what it meant for the mission. The decision to smuggle in a lethal dose of the drug and have Alfred give it to him was unique and important step in Alfred’s growth as a spy. His recollection of a key, magical note Marcus was able to play on one of Alfred’s favourite records was sad and sweet. Marcus knew the only escape for him was the heroin and he exited riding a wave of pride.

No less dramatic was Harry’s storyline that found him helping deliver the baby of a woman who was injured—and her parents killed—by an Allied bomb. Harry is quickly becoming my favourite character on the show, equally able to access a situation quickly and come to a solution, and show his human side. That scene of him walking down the road, cradling the baby in his arms? Well, let’s just say it got a little dusty in my basement right then.

Notes and quotes

  • “As a rule, we like to stay away from anything burning. And Germans.” — Neil
  • Karen Leblanc has fantastic pipes. I’m thrilled her singing talent, which wasn’t able to be showcased on Cracked, was embraced by X Company.
  • No, Krystina! What are you doing?!?!

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


2 thoughts on “Review: Has X Company’s Alfred already been captured?”

  1. I haven’t been able to watch the last two episodes yet but am looking forward to them, even more so since it’s been renewed for a second season.

  2. Another hint: in the previous episode, in the blue “cell”, Alfred tears up and eats a passport photo of Aurora that he had foolishly kept on his person (sort of lying to his boss about having disposed of it) after swiping it from a german intelligence file during a break-in. He would probably only do that if having that photo on him was a liability, i.e. he was captured…

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