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article imageReview: X Company 2.07: 'La Vérité Vous Rendre Libre' Special

By A.R. Wilson     Mar 10, 2016 in Entertainment
X Company 2.07: With team divisions deepening, Aurora heads to Paris to meet with Sabine. Meanwhile, Neil makes a mistake that costs many lives.
"Do you think it's unhealthy to never talk about the things we've done?" - Sabine, "La Vérité Vouse Rendre Libre"
X Company continues its exceptional second season with "La Vérité Vous Rendre Libre," or "the truth will set you free." Written by Adam Barken, it finally lets the team's secrets bubble to the surface, like rotting corpses buried only inches deep. The truth telling leads some to understanding, some to an impasse, and others to their deaths, and all of it is beautifully captured by director Amanda Tapping, who has a special gift for composition and elicits especially layered performances from the actors.
The episode begins and ends with Aurora. Or rather, it begins with Aurora fraying at the seams and ends with her alter-ego Helene apparently finding solace in her friendship with Sabine. In "Sein Und Schein," René told Aurora the key to great leadership is hiding self-doubt from the rest of the team, and she has taken this kernel to heart, never telling Alfred, Harry, Neil, or Tom that she is struggling with the fact that she had to kill René with her own hands. She's trying to protect them, but her aloofness sets a tone in which everyone battles their demons alone. Only Tom, absent for weeks, can see the fractures in the team, telling Aurora that she was too hard on Harry for his insubordination last week, claiming the kid has been through a lot. "Everyone's been through a lot," she coolly replies before grabbing Alfred and running off to Paris. René's advice may be as reliable as his loyalty, but it isn't all to blame. The constant pecking at Aurora's authority is enough to drive anyone out of the forest and into the big city.
In the City of Lights, Alfred begins to illuminate some of Aurora's trauma, nearly getting her to tell him what happened the night René died, but Sabine calls and breaks the spell. When he demands "Are you too close to Sabine?" for the millionth time, it sounds a lot like, "Why aren't you close to me?" (Probably because you've been a bit of a tool this season, Alfred.) But it's with Sabine that Aurora, protected by fiction, can really open up. The Aurora/Sabine storyline has been magical this season, and the church scene where they each confess their merciful crimes to each other — gorgeously awash in candlelight — is remarkable. While them hopping a train for the coast is a welcome surprise (every second this glorious arc continues feels like a victory) and Aurora's connection with Sabine is obviously real, there is a glint in Aurora's eye that suggests she is still doing her job. Regardless of her intentions, I'm completely on board for this train ride. (I'd say more about the lovely performances by Evelyne Brochu and Livia Matthes, but I'm saving up my gushing for next week.)
Meanwhile, Neil and Miri also have a moment of truth, but instead of it bringing understanding, it places them at a crossroads. Neil finally admits that his bad dreams are caused by his memories of the young German radio operator he killed last season. Warren Brown is the rock of this series. He brings credibility to every scene he enters, and he is especially good as Neil confides that he used to help people when he was a copper, but now he fears he's just a weapon. Viewers may be touched, but Miri is not. The Nazis murdered her entire family, including her baby brother, whom they smashed against a stone well. She can't understand his regret over killing a Nazi. As is admirably common on X Company, neither of them is right or wrong in their disagreement. They're just two people dealing with unimaginable trauma the best way they can.
However, the couple's opposing philosophies are put to an immediate test when, in a moment of compassion, Neil lets frightened teen Martin leave the camp only to have him lead a German patrol to their hiding place and wipe out most of the Dieppe training team. Miri tracks down Martin and drags him back to camp for retribution. Martin admits he was afraid and ratted to the Nazis to save his own skin, and Neil does the only thing he can: He puts a bullet through the kid's brain. Again, the show makes no moral judgments, only lays out the limited options that make good people into killers, whether reluctant or proud. As they dig graves, Harry — who still hasn't told anyone he watched Siobhan die back in the season premiere — says the best way to cope is to imagine that everyone in the war "already dead." Perhaps burying bodies together is better than burying secrets alone.
Untitled
Courtesy of CBC Television
X-tra observations
Last night, Torben Liebrecht won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Peformance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Series for his work as Franz Faber in Season 1. They could have saved time by simply handing him next year's award while he was up there. What a find. And what a nice guy. Interview coming next week.
Speaking of Mr. Liebrecht, Faber had two particularly intense scenes in this episode. The first with Sabine, as he finally gave her that looted necklace and the couple had another confrontation about Ulli. "We have no son. We've never had a son," he spits at her. Oh, Franz. The second involves poor Kruger, who inadvertently signs his execution papers by cluing in Faber that Sabine unknowingly supplied the intelligence that allowed the spies to kill Brandt last week. "He just wants to protect his wife," Faber says as he hands over Kruger's confession (?) to Brigadeführer Oster (the wonderful Pierre Kiwitt). Oh, Faber.
The naughty glee that Sabine flashes when she realizes that "Helene" has taken her to a forbidden black market for an orange is delightful.
It's always fun to see Tom talk his way out of a jam. Nice bluff telling the auto plant manager that the RAF would bomb his plant if he didn't let Tom go.
Aurora uses Alfred as a human Siri when she casually asks him for the location of the church Sabine wants to meet at. He spits out the info just as quickly as an iPhone, too.
Alfred overhears Aurora telling Sabine that she killed René. The look on his face is closer to Season 1 Alfred than Season 2 Alfred. Is it just me, or has Alfred been angry at Aurora for having too many feelings for him to kill him (thus forcing him to endure 37 hours of torture) but not quite enough to recognize his pining for her? Oh, and Alfred looks really good skulking around in a suit and fedora.
Scubaman is back! And he's just landed a job giving TB shots to the German POWs. As Alfred discovers by rifling through Faber's safe, things are about to go down in Ontario.
The Germans destroyed Harry's radio. How much more loss can that kid take?
RIP Jacob, you brave boy, and goodbye to actor Samuel Gomes Da Silva.
'X Company' airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC
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