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article imageReview: X Company 2.04: 'Last Man, Last Round' Special

By A.R. Wilson     Feb 18, 2016 in Entertainment
'X Company' keeps humming along with a prison break, a flipped German POW, and the introduction of a gun-toting nun in "Last Man, Last Round."
"I fight for my country, for my brothers. They're all I think about." - Klaus, "Last Man, Last Round"
When idealism is lost and the purpose of war becomes hazy, who do soldiers fight for? The answer, as any war veteran will tell you and as X Company's "Last Man, Last Round" beautifully illustrates, is that they fight for each other. Written by Sandra Chwialkowska and directed by Andy Mikita, this installment is slightly more talky than the first three episodes, but it's still tightly-paced, features a daring prison escape, and — bonus! — introduces a gun-toting nun.
In France, the agents are tasked with trying to build an army for the upcoming Dieppe invasion. While there is still plenty of fallout from Alfred's rescue — Aurora is understandably overprotective and Alfred seems to feel invincible — it's good to have the team proactively working together again. Their original plan is to nab some sickly British Dunkirk POWs from a work detail, but when a POW drops dead, Alfred makes the rash decision to take his place and work with the prisoners from inside the camp. The prison scenes were shot at Fort Monostor in Komárom, Hungary, and the location becomes an uncredited guest star in the episode, its menacing maze of stone walls looming over the POWs. As for Alfred, it's fun to see a more aggressive version of him, but he's a sensitive soul and he must be due for an emotional crash at some point after all he's been through. But for now, Action Alfred is a definite upgrade.
Back in Ontario, Vinzenz Wagner is introduced as Klaus Frommer, the son of the German war buddy Sinclair met with in "Night Will End." Not only did springing this guy from a Russian POW camp help with Alfred's rescue, but Sinclair hopes he can flip him to the Allied side now that he's in Canada. However, Klaus is a proud pilot who resents getting special treatment due to his father and asks to be returned to prison. Sinclair doesn't get far with him, but in Dustin Milligan's best scene of the season so far, Tom manages to win some trust by flashing his battle scar and swapping some war stories. It's a nice moment between two men who have had the shine rubbed off their war, but who — like the POWs who sacrifice themselves to help Alfred's group escape the prison — are still in it for their fellow soldiers. And although Tom flips Klaus by telling him about the Nazi death camps, Klaus's determination to stay strong for his "brothers" convinces Tom he needs to pass up a cushy training job in Virginia and head back to France to be with his team. This feels a bit like the guy who announces he's a week from retirement and then, predictably, gets killed. Be careful, Tom.
Aurora gets less screen time this week, but she makes good use of what she's given by slamming newcomer Miri (played by the effortlessly badass Sara Garcia) against a tree and putting a knife to her throat before deciding she could be a valuable asset to the team. Miri's mother forced her to hide out with the nuns for safety, but she proclaims she's ready to "hunt" some Nazis and backs it up with some impressive gunplay. One of the major knocks against X Company in Season 1 was that it was too male-heavy, despite having Aurora as the team leader. However, with Krystina being given more to do this season and the welcome addition of Miri, the gender balance sheet seems to be evening out.
Sinclair (Hugh Dillon) and Tom (Dustin Milligan) strategize.
Sinclair (Hugh Dillon) and Tom (Dustin Milligan) strategize.
With permission by CBC Television
Finally, the storyline of Franz and Sabine Faber continues to be one of the strongest arcs of the series. Seeing deliciously complex Faber at work is compelling, but seeing him at home is riveting. Overall, X Company has done a wonderful job of humanizing the Germans, but the Faber domestic tragedy is some of the finest storytelling going on in Canada (or anywhere) right now. And much has been said about Torben Liebrecht's CSA-nominated performance as Faber, but Livia Matthes is his equal as Sabine, a woman who has been left almost entirely alone to mourn her dead son. Her storyline will soon intertwine with Aurora's, and that's great news for the show.
X-tra observations
* For the second episode in a row, Scubaman pops up at the end to creep everyone out. This time he receives intelligence on Camp X and Sinclair. Gulp.
* As the prison break yet again proves, the Germans are very bad shots in this series. No wonder they lost the war.
* Aurora still has a knife hidden in her dress. Badass.
* Neil is already smitten with Miri, and who can blame him?
* Alfred looks rather dashing in glasses, and it was great fun to hear Brit Jack Laskey revert to a version of his mother tongue and then later throw out a convincing Canadian "oot." Accent master.
* This season's "Star Wars: Stuck-up, Half-witted, Scruffy-looking Nerf Herder Award" goes to Alfred for telling Aurora she is treating him differently because of what she feels for him. Thirty-seven hours of Gestapo torture is nothing compared to Aurora's death stare. Take it down a notch, buddy.
* The "Band of Brothers: Make 'Em Run Currahee After Eating Spaghetti Award" goes to Sinclair for ordering the new spy recruits to keep downing whisky only to whisper to Krystina to kick them out of bed at 3 a.m. for interrogation training. Let's hope Camp X has plenty of mops on hand.
'X Company' airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC
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