Netflix’s Pine Gap season 1, episode 5 recap


Tensions escalate between nations as well as lovers and colleagues in the latest episode of Netflix series, Pine Gap. When facing dire circumstances, how far are people willing to go?

Gus Thompson (Parker Sawyers) has applied for the Program Director job at Fort Meade (an army intelligence installation similar to Pine Gap). He’s excited about it, especially now that his name has been cleared after the missile attack incident in the pilot episode. He asks Jasmina Delic (Tess Haubrich) if she is ready to move to Maryland with him. She says she will think about it. I think it’s rather presumptuous of Gus to make a decision like this and take it for granted that Jas will follow. Or could their actions and reactions belie some deeper motive?

Jacob Kitto (Stephen Curry) is the one who had told Gus about the vacancy, but he has inadvertently thrown a spanner in the works of Ethan James’ (Steve Toussaint) investigation into who planted malware in the Pine Gap servers. He, Kath Sinclair (Jacqueline McKenzie) and Rudi Fox (Lewis Fitz-Gerald) can’t have Gus running off to Maryland while he’s a suspect, so they will have to up the ante. Their most urgent suspect is Moses Dreyfus (Mark Leonard Winter); he’s an eccentric sort, so the only person Kath can think of to tease the necessary information out of him is… none other than Jacob. But first, Jacob needs to be told why he’s investigating Moses in the first place.

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As per the previous episode of Pine Gap, there is a very real threat of China declaring war in the South China Seas. With this knowledge and the fact that China has already begun allying itself with Australia, Ethan tries to confront Kath about the truth. She doesn’t relent, but she reveals interesting details about how influential China is in Australia – they provide 90% of the aviation fuel, as well as a large amount of farming trade. The question remains, would Australia abandon America during a war, with so many resources at stake?

Kath essentially confirms that yes, her government would side with China, but what could this mean for the global political playground? Ethan and Kath conjecture that if America let Australia go, then it would shake the foundations of their other global alliances; this could lead to a new nuclear race! If only the people in charge would listen to them.

Jacob has extracted Moses’ bank records and it shows no unusual transactions that could suggest blackmail. With only two days left before A-crew are moved to doing night shifts, Ethan, Kath, and Rudi need to think fast. Kath thinks they should remove the malware, but Rudi insists they’ll never find the culprit if they do. Jacob continues suggesting the culprits – and all of A-crew – get transferred, but no one can come to an agreement. Finally, Ethan says that if they don’t succeed within the next couple of days, they’ll shut down the malware and close the case. Jacob asks how that will help, since the culprit will chalk up a win and then move on to Plan B, whatever that may be.

Simon Penny (Sachin Joab) is extremely excitable in this episode. First, he buys Gus and Jas a meal and then he brings giant muffins for his colleagues. This from the guy who always complains about being in debt? Something is not right here.

Tensions have escalated between America and Australia ever since a secret audio recording of the American President insulting the Australian Prime Minister was made public. It was a Japanese blog that shared the recording, but Pine Gap was convinced that Chinese intelligence had leaked it to them. Jas – who is a very thorough investigator – found out that it was the people at the blog that contacted China, after they had received a call from Australia. Someone from Pine Gap, with access to comms and phone numbers, told the blog about it; someone who needed money. Jas tells Simon that if she was able to connect the dots, someone else will as well.

Jas goes to Kath’s house to ask her advice about moving to Maryland. Jobs for Australians at Fort Meade are rare because it isn’t a joint base, and Jas only just got the job at Pine Gap, so a transfer would be hard. Would she still move without any job prospects? Kath tells her that Gus will never put Jas before his job; she sees so much potential in Jas, it would be a shame for her a squander it. When Jas continues to dither, Kath reminds her that Jas was instigated to get close to Gus for intelligence purposes, it’s very possible he was asked to do the same with her.

Simon comes clean to Kath, Rudi and Ethan about his part in the audio leak. He was unable to pay his daughters’ school fees and afraid that the school would kick them out he made a drastic decision. Since the President’s rant wasn’t connected to any intelligence cases, Simon believed it was the safest bet to leak the information. Kath is kind enough not to have him charged, but he is asked to resign.

In a show of military strength, America launches a pre-emptive strike on China, attacking an empty base. This act aggravates the tense relations between the two countries, but gives the POTUS an opportunity to rally America’s allies to their side.

At Pine Gap, Jas confronts Gus about Kath’s suspicions and they both end up revealing that they have been manipulated into starting this relationship. It seems like the two of them have sincere feelings for each other, but how can they tell truth from lies any more?

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Ethan’s trigger alert about the collections room finally rings; not so surprisingly, Moses also has an alert on his system and he runs to stop the malware download, instructing Kath, Ethan, and Rudi to locate the phone that activated it. While the download is in progress, China launches a missile attack on several American planes, before anyone can act, one of the aircraft is destroyed. Moses is able to stop the download, but by the time Rudi realizes that the culprit probably triggered the download from the cafeteria, they find the phone has been destroyed.