‘Masters Of The Air’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: Is Buck Dead?


In the third episode of Masters of the Air, we saw that the 100th were assigned the task to drop bombs on factories in Schweinfurt and the assembly plant in Regensburg. It wasn’t easy an mission, as the Germans seemingly sent every fighter plane they had to take down the U.S. Air Force, and they faced heavy casualties. Many of them had to abandon their planes. Quinn jumped off after failing to save Baby Face after he got stuck in the ball turret. He found himself in a village in Belgium, where he was given the choice to surrender and be tried in a Nazi court or go on the run with a small group of rebels and risk dying. Curtis died while trying to pull off an emergency landing. The rest, which included Buck and Bucky, somehow managed to reach Algiers. Let’s see what trials and tribulations the 100th faces in today’s episode.

Spoiler Alert

The Air Force Throws A Party For The Survivors Of Bremen

Episode 4 of Masters of the Air opens with Buck, Bucky, and the rest of the survivors being rescued from Algiers, just like that. I admit that it’s my fault for assuming that the show (which is a work of fiction based on a true story) is going to extend this period of being marooned in a remote place in Algiers to test the mettle of these pilots when they aren’t in their element. The showrunners clearly don’t have the intention of doing anything remotely interesting to make these characters do something that doesn’t involve talking endlessly about meaningless stuff or spewing technical jargon about planes. Well, the hyper-enthusiastic fans of Austin Butler get to see him half-naked. So, that’s something, I guess. Anyway, the focus shifts to Flanders, where the Belgian girl takes Quinn to meet the rebel leader who is going to take him back to England. While waiting for his call at a pub, Quinn reunites with Bailey. He introduces Quinn to another survivor named Bob. All three of them go through a very grueling Q&A session to prove that they are indeed Americans and apparently pass with flying colors and go for a hike to get to the next hiding place. But while going there, the rebels kill Bob because he is an “infiltrator,” i.e., a Nazi.

The rebels never explicitly state how they found out that Bob is a Nazi, but if you listen closely, you can hear one of the three “survivors” humming The Star-Spangled Banner while the other two sing the lyrics. So, I am guessing that hints at the fact that Bob is a Nazi. The episode then goes back to England, where everyone is waiting for Dye and his crew to return, and, well, they do. That leads to a full-blown party. Some of them say that making it out alive during a war is no cause for celebration, while others think that if they don’t celebrate the smallest of wins, then they won’t be able to win the war. Four characters—Rosenthal, Nash, Pappy, and Speas—are introduced because they are the new members. Nash romances some girl called Helen, which pretty much means that he is going to die. A supporting character romancing another supporting character is a death warrant in TV shows and movies. There’s some more yapping about the thankless nature of being bombers. And then Col. Harding comes in, drunk out of his mind, and talks about destroying Hitler’s hiding hole. The only good moment in this whole, overlong scene is when Austin Butler shuts up (I hate the stupid Elvis voice) and dances with Meatball, the husky.

Bucky Goes For A Vacation In London

The rebel leader takes Quinn and Bailey to meet Michou, who is tasked with guiding them back to England. But before getting there, Quinn lies to Bailey about Baby Face by not saying that he left him on the plane to die. Quinn also lies about having a letter in his possession. Again, the episode doesn’t explicitly reveal what the letter is. I guess if you understand French, you’ll be able to decipher what Michou says, which causes the rebel leader to burn the letter. Since he mentions Louise (the Belgian girl whose family gave shelter and food to Quinn), I am guessing that it was a love letter. He says that if the Germans got a hold of it, they’d torture Louise and her family and then kill them. If you are wondering why these Belgians are risking their lives for these two Americans because the show doesn’t underscore the intentions of these rebels, well, it’s because that’s the right thing to do during fascist times. You never give in to fascism if you aren’t a bigoted piece of garbage. You help those who are helping you get rid of the fascists. If rebels don’t ally with rebels, then what’s even the point of fighting a war? You might as well give in and live in misery forever.

The focus goes to a Polish cafe in England, where Bucky meets a woman named Paulina, who is played by Joanna Kulig. She talks about how her husband died in combat and that she wants to get intimate with Bucky. Eventually, they talk about the horrors of war and partake in intercourse while the war wages on in the background. The following day, the woman leaves, and Bucky sits on his bed, naked and sad (a big win for fans of Callum Turner, I suppose). I think this whole scene is there to irk the “sex scenes in entertainment are pointless” crowd because it “doesn’t serve any narrative purpose.” But I guess that’s the whole point. Bucky takes a detour because the narrative is weighing down on his soul. However, taking the detour doesn’t mean that the war is over or isn’t visible anymore. It’s right there, taking countless lives. Should that stop you from enjoying the simple (or slightly complex) pleasures of life, even if you can’t feign ignorance? I don’t know, and maybe if this whole scene had been lit better, I would’ve given it a lot of thought. Sadly, the lighting is so bad that that’s the only thing I could think about. If you are making your actors do fake intercourse, at least light them properly.

Is Buck dead?

Buck and his crew prepare for a bombing run on the U-boat pens in Bremen. Nash and Helen get a sweet scene to remind the audience that he is, in fact, going to die. Buck’s plane shows some early signs of malfunctioning (which is apparently fixed by Lemmons). So, that’s a hint that he and his team are either going to die or get stranded behind enemy lines, like Quinn and Bailey. Talking about Quinn and Bailey, they enter Paris with Michou, who advises them to shadow her and not act out of character. Michou goes to the loo, and Bailey uses this opportunity to question Quinn about Baby Face, and Quinn admits that he is the reason why Baby Face is dead. Bailey says that he shouldn’t blame himself like that because anyone would’ve done the same thing if they were in that situation. Again, I am naive for thinking that Quinn allowing Baby Face to die is going to haunt him throughout the show, and he would’ve had to do something substantial to get absolution. No, nothing of that sort is going to happen, evidently. Bailey has given him a pat on the back, and all is well for him. I understand that there’s already a lot on Quinn’s mind, and he probably needs that assurance that he shouldn’t feel guilty for letting Baby Face die. Wouldn’t it have been better, though, if the process of absolution was a little longer? There are so many episodes, and all of them are way too long. And yet, the material is being used in such frivolous ways.

Despite getting the weight of Baby Face’s weight lifted off his shoulders, Quinn acts very weirdly when he faces the ticket checker. He literally makes a run for it, thereby risking his own life and the lives of all those who are helping him and Bailey get to England. Luckily, a rebel named Manon helps Quinn calm down and takes him back to Michou. She advises him that, no matter how tight things get, they mustn’t act out. It makes sense because they are trying to survive. Nervousness isn’t an option. If one doesn’t want to survive, then they can get nervous, get caught, tortured, and then killed. However, if one wants to survive, they have to use all their energy to ensure that they are one step ahead of the enemy. At the end of Masters of the Air, episode 4, it’s revealed that the second hit over Bremen is a success, but at a great cost. As expected, Nash doesn’t return, and even Buck is a no-show. When Bucky learns about it via the newspaper, he calls up the Air Force and says that he’s going to lead the next bombing run. I guess it’s also going to be a rescue mission, unless Buck is rescued by a group of rebels. I hope this part of the plot lasts longer than their emergency landing in Algiers. And yes, I do think that Buck is alive because we’ve seen him going through some rough terrain in the trailers and the opening title sequence. So, even though the show wants us to think that he’s dead, it’s obvious that he is alive. In the subsequent episodes, we’ll see him make a return to the U.S. Air Force base, or he’ll die trying.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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