The Sandbaggers: Decision By Committee
April 22, 2016 6:21 PM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Burnside receives his annual report and finds that his career prospects have suddenly dimmed. Willie Caine and Karen Milner returning from a conference in Sri Lanka when their flight is hijacked by terrorists and forced to land in Turkey. Burnside struggles to put together a rescue mission when the rest of the government has decided not to act.
posted by Grimgrin (2 comments total)
Burnside is increasingly on a ragged edge. After everything he's done in the name of the Service and the special relationship he finds himself staring at a future with no prospects at all. I think what Diane said last episode about the Sandbaggers last episode, and what Bob Ross said about Burnside this episode are both very true. He's put everything he has and is into this job. He has absolutely nothing else. Now he might loose that. It's an interesting point about this show that while it's not serialized, actions do have consequences.

Karen Milner is great in this episode, even if she has the same weird pseudo-American accent thing that Jeff Ross seems to have going on sometimes. The moment where she faces down a very nervous hijacker by threatening to piss on the floor made me think about this series and how it portrayed it's female characters. While you could never accuse it of being progressive with it's women, they are all portrayed as competent, intelligent, and above all, distinct characters.

The ending is characteristically brutal, as they saved a VIP at the cost of an old man getting shot in the back and a young girl getting shot in the head. Oh, and there was no bomb. I don't know any other shows that undercut themselves so ruthlessly. The scene where Karen and Willie take back the plane was the climax of tension that had been being built all episode. It ends with them having to walk away uncomfortably while a woman who's husband they got killed calls them bastards.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:11 PM on April 22, 2016

But that was a bit facile on the writers part. Terrorists take control, issue demands, don't refuel, and there was no bomb? What was their end game then?

Backing up a bit, the British government doesn't want to send in the SAS because it fears a botched rescue will make them look bad--and I think this was before the botched rescue attempt of the Iranian hostages which doomed Carter's reelection, so the writers were prescient there--so the government is shifting the blame to Turkey. No one wonders if Turkey will go along with this, such arrogance.

To me, the brutal part was Burnside having to lie to Willie that the SAS were being mobilized.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:44 AM on April 24, 2016

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