'The Little Drummer Girl': Charlie finally learns the truth in Episode 4 before she sets off on her odyssey
Charlie, played by Florence Pugh, will soon meet the people she has always idolized but will they truly live up to her expectations?
With every episode of 'The Little Drummer Girl', the Park Chan-wook-directed show is picking up the pace, and the fourth episode unravels some of the most vulnerable sides of the characters which have finally made them relatable. The first three episodes of BBC One's adaptation of John Le Carre's 1983 novel have slowly established the mystery surrounding the Mossad agents and their plot. Unlike the third episode where Charlie (Florence Pugh) gets to know for the first time what Mossad agent Marty Kurtz's (Michael Shannon) plan is, the fourth episode is about acceptance followed by action which leads to the final clue about the villain.
Charlie finally accepts the fact that she was not part of the script because of her talents. She realizes that she is nothing more than a scapegoat for Mossad and when the time comes there will probably be no one to rescue her. Although she will soon find herself in that position, as one last attempt for closure, Charlie and Becker (Alexander Skarsgard) spend a moment together considering that this might be the last time they will ever meet. Charlie does return to London, but nothing is the same anymore. She knows that she is being watched and soon Michel's people will come to take her as a recruit.
The entire episode is like a long wait. It is one of those pauses where the director wants the audience to take a step back and contemplate all that has happened.
Charlie's boldness, her smooth lies, and her skill to switch between characters in the flash of an eye could have led her towards something concrete, but instead, it has led her to a purpose. Charlie probably never thought that the political ideologies she so admired but never really understood would become her motivation to carry on with the plan. Throughout the act, she is scared, anxious but not once do we see her considering quitting.
She is as ordinary as a girl can be, but the moment she is thrown into a situation that is unfamiliar, Charlie does not look for an escape — she adapts. However, the consistent act of adapting has led her to a point of no return.
She is no more the person that she was, she now has a purpose and a plan to execute it. She knows that she can be killed at any moment, yet there is the dwindling hope that at the end of the day she will return a hero. This is what Charlie always wanted, to be recognized, be under the limelight, and have something to say. For the first time, she is with people who do not see her as a brilliant actress but just another girl they are working with.
All of this is completely new to Charlie, and with time she manages to understand the whereabouts of the people she's looking for. However, a lot changed as she began adapting to the environment and the fourth episode has subtly hinted to the fact that this is the end of the Charlie we know.
Throughout the episode, Charlie awaits the arrival of Michel's people, and in between, she has her own moment with Becker — something she has always been craving her. That moment between Charlie and Becker was like a last call of the act before the play shifted to the next act.
Serving as a dramatic pause, the fourth episode also brought out some of the extremely vulnerable sides of the characters. For the first time, we actually get to know who Becker is.
Although it is still doubtful if he was telling the entire truth, Becker opens up to Charlie revealing his true identity as a widowed-soldier. He does not say anything about working with Mossad but explains to Charlie that whatever they were doing was the right thing to do. At that moment, for the first time, Charlie realizes that this script was more than just a story. It was an entire plot happening in the real world — as Becker would call it, "the theatre of the real".
We can hope that in episode five Charlie will emerge as a completely new being. In fact, Chan-wook added his signature style of symbolism to depict shifts in character dynamics. In the fourth episode too, he uses certain visuals and flashbacks to depict the transformation in the characters. Charlie's thought skips back and forth, but it is entirely clouded by Michel's memories.
She begins to feel the frustration of losing a lover even though she never met him until Kurtz exposed his body to her in the third episode. When she gets to know that he has been shot, Charlie is infuriated because she was not informed about it before.
The gradual pacing up of the episode depicts the turmoil that Charlie will soon be trapped in. She is about to embark on a journey that will entirely change her perspective on this war.
Kurtz did prepare her with everything he had but, in the end, he couldn't have prepared her for the little things that often gain prominence under scrutiny, such as the way she would walk. This is for Charlie to improvise on, and so far she had done a pretty good job at it. Every now and then she has added her own little acts into Kurtz's script making it only more original. She has been the perfect heroine of the theatre of the real.
While the fourth episode is a transitional phase for the characters, the fifth episode will see the beginning of a new conflict with some old bruises. Charlie has no idea what lies ahead, but as of now, she knows that Becker was never dishonest. She is assured that what she believed in was right, and that is more than enough for anyone to take up the biggest risk. Charlie's odyssey has just begun!