Netflix’s Pine Gap season 1, episode 6 recap


Who is the traitor? Will war break out between two of the most powerful nations in the world? The big questions are answered in the season finale of tense Netflix show, Pine Gap.

China had shot down an American army aircraft in retaliation during episode five of Pine Gap, but the pilot was able to eject in time. Now, the Chinese agencies are jamming the pilot’s signals, making it impossible for his country to locate and rescue him. The American President makes it clear that if Captain Pearson is not returned unharmed, he will need to take ‘swift and decisive’ action.

Though Moses Dreyfus (Mark Leonard Winter) was able to cancel the malware download before completion, one file was leaked. Kath Sinclair (Jacqueline McKenzie), Ethan James (Steve Toussaint), Jacob Kitto (Stephen Curry) and Rudi Fox (Lewis Fitz-Gerald) are unable to track it so they hope that it doesn’t fall into enemy hands. In the meantime, Moses’ bank records show he made a $12,000 transfer to an unknown account – meaning the possibility of blackmail is back on the table. With little else in the way of leads, Ethan suggests they bring him in.

When Ethan and Rudi leave the room, Jacob reveals to Kath that along with the six A-crew members who entered the collections room on the day the malware was uploaded to Pine Gap servers, one other person was in there as well – Rudi. Kath never double-checked the list because she trusts Ethan and Ethan trusts Rudi. But Jacob makes a compelling case – Rudi has been the one feeding them all the information; it was him, in fact, who suggested they would find the trigger phone in the cafeteria as well as him who discovered said phone fried to a crisp in a microwave. Kath discloses her new-found knowledge to Ethan, who takes it calmly. First, they will interrogate Moses, then Rudi.

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Moses is shocked at being accused, mostly because the malware was outdated and he would have done a better job. He divulges the reasons for his odd behavior – he was helping out his new friend Marissa, who needed money to pay back the money she owed to welfare. There was nothing more to it than a shared love of math. The four of them are stunned by this revelation – I think they were hoping for an easy win.

Gus Thompson (Parker Sawyers) has got the job at Fort Meade and he calls Jasmina Delic (Tess Haubrich) to celebrate with him. While he still hasn’t accepted, it is obvious to Jas that he will choose it over her. ‘It’s still not easy’, he tells her, but she continues to be bitter about how their relationship has panned out.

Kath, Ethan and Jacob confront Rudi about omitting to tell them he was in the collections room. He confesses that had he come clean he would have been disqualified from pursuing the investigation. Rudi owes a lot to America, especially since they allowed him to continue being an agent in the 1970s even when they found out about his sexual orientation. He couldn’t abide the thought of sitting idly by while a traitor was betraying his country. Rudi deflects any further accusations by again pointing a finger at Jas, but before they can continue, Kath is informed that the missing file from the servers has been leaked.

The encrypted file was the shift-log of the Pine Gap A-crew launching a counter-strike against the Swadhinata rebel Adib in the pilot episode. Gus had fired under the assumption that Adib had brought down a plane in Myanmar, even though Jas had voiced several concerns regarding this. In subsequent episodes, it became clear that Adib and his group were not responsible, but neither America nor Australia corrected the story to the public. Now, the Australian public have been made aware of what’s really taking place on home soil.

Belle James (Simone Kessell) and Zhou Lin (Jason Chong) have been consistently seeing each other, but in this episode they finally make a move to solidify their relationship, that too with a breath-taking view of the Australian outback as a backdrop.

The identity of the person who leaked the shift-log has been discovered. Immy Dupain (Madeleine Madden) has appeared on the show infrequently as a basketball player who plays alongside the A-crew, but mostly as a vocal advocate for the indigenous people who have been robbed of their lands. Immy discovered someone had taken her phone during a recent game and sent a message telling her to pick up a USB. She emailed the contents to a blogger who then leaked it to the news.

Ethan informs his bosses that the only people who were at both the basketball game and in the cafeteria when the trigger phone was destroyed were Jasmina, Eloise Chambers (Edwina Wren) and Deb Vora (Alice Keohavong).

A-crew locate Captain Pearson, but he can only be rescued by helicopter. Trouble is, the Chinese military have surrounded the place, so the POTUS is getting ready to launch another attack. Meanwhile, Kath has been informed that the Australian Prime Minister has signed off on Lin’s investment, meaning he is unlikely to act against Chinese interests. Kath orders A-crew to stop their operations; the Australian government cannot allow them to continue their attack.

Kath tells Ethan that she overheard a conversation with the Chinese Chairman where he revealed he would not launch a nuclear attack; if America attack now, then peace in Asia will be impossible. Ethan explains that any military act by America is a show of dominance, but Kath believes that is an old-school approach. They won’t win if they begin a war with China. Now, it’s up to Ethan to convince the POTUS.

When the President grills Ethan about the possibility of China launching a nuclear attack in retaliation, Ethan confirms the same so that America will not start an all-out war to rescue one pilot. Instead, the President negotiates with the Chairman for the safe return of the pilot. Ethan is devastated at having lied to his President, but it was the only way to save lives.

Gus is still in two minds about transferring to Fort Meade. While looking over his acceptance letter, his father calls, telling him that everyone he knows heard the leaked shift log and believes the person in charge saved the President’s life. Though Gus pretends he doesn’t know anything about it, his father heavily implies that he picked out Gus’ voice from the recording and is proud of what his son is doing in Australia. Looks like that is all the incentive Gus needs to stick around and try and make his relationship with Jas work.

Simon Penny (Sachin Joab), who was fired in the previous episode of Pine Gap is brought back to the facility to help find out who sent Immy the message. He uses this as a way to get his job back, and succeeds. So, who is the traitor? We see officers knocking on a door ready to arrest the suspect – it’s Eloise Chambers (Edwina Wren).

The first season of Pine Gap ends with Immy and Zhou Lin sitting side by side, looks like these two have set the wheels in motion for a bigger plan.

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As someone who doesn’t regularly consume fictional political media, this show has been a revelation. There are so many cogs that keeps the system working, it’s fascinating to watch. However, some of the beats and arcs of the show felt a little clichéd and many of the characters were underutilised. Having said that, series creators Greg Haddrick and Felicity Packard have established an intriguing story that could be well-worth a sophomore return.