'The Little Drummer Girl' Review [SPOILERS]: Final episode disappoints with too many loose ends in an otherwise exciting show
We were rooting to see more of the deadly criminal that Kurtz was talking about but he soon turned out to be a blue-eyed beautiful boy and not the villain we were told about.
Park Chan-wook's BBC One adaptation of John Le Carre's 1983 novel, 'The Little Drummer Girl', has been in one word, beautiful. However, the show's slow-burning nature has been a matter of disappointment for several fans who were hoping to see Le Carre's only female protagonist take the screen by storm. If not by storm, Florence Pugh (starring alongside Michael Shannon and Alexander Skarsgard) as the young, aspiring actress Charlie Ross has been a treat to watch. Yet, the character is left on a loose note in the finale episode.
Following the incidents of the fifth episode, which was probably the best episode in the mini-series, Charlie has now entered the deepest core of the world of terrorists, where Khalil (played by Charif Ghattas) is the leader. The show has kept Khalil under wraps since the beginning and we, along with Charlie, were given the impression of this apparently deadly terrorist from a man who is intolerant of Palestine and its activities. Mossad agent, Marty Kurtz (played by Shannon), goes on to address Khalil as a genius as brilliant as Mozart, and that his brilliance is being put to use to terrify humanity.
To Kurtz, Charlie was always that bridge that would help him reach Khalil. Kurtz's ambitions piqued when he discovered that his plan to put Charlie as a pawn in front of Khalil has succeeded, and he immediately stretched it out planning to track down every terrorist until they reach the main cell. However, he was certain that he would keep Charlie as his bait throughout, in spite of his accomplice, Gadi Becker (played by Skarsgard) objecting to the idea. Gadi was responsible for luring Charlie into Mossad's plot, however, not for once was he not feeling guilty about what he had put her through. When Charlie is taken by Khalil's people, Gadi grows impatient and persuades Kurtz to let him protect Charlie.
However, Gadi's impatience did come at a price which was that Kurtz's plan to track down the organization failed, and along with it, the show's grand finale failed to wrap up what could have been an iconic spy-espionage. It was expected that the finale would probably incline a bit more toward the crisis than the character dynamics but it failed to bring out the aftermath of Kurtz's plans. Charlie was left to deal with her own trauma when Gadi shot Khalil at point-blank range, however, the show seemed to hurry through her character's mental decadence making it all look like just a bad memory, whereas it clearly was not.
Charlie will never be the same again, we don't know if she will go back to acting, or if she will seek refuge someplace else. All we see her do is get back to Gadi, who welcomes her into his home. With the little back information that the show has provided for Gadi's character, it is difficult to fathom what might happen next. It was necessary to build up Gadi's character alongside Kurtz's story about war since Gadi himself is a war hero. However, for the most part, Gadi was left in the shadows without any true depiction of his past except for the scene in the fifth episode when Charlie and he share one last moment together before she sets off on her mission.
The finale failed to stay up to the expectations of the audience but it did not fail to bring Charlie's character to a complete circle. The love-smitten actress finally gets back to her recluse after being a part of a terrorist organization. Charlie was one character who was on both sides. She heard Khalil's description as a cold-hearted criminal from the equally unsympathetic Kurtz who portrayed Khalil more as a blood-thirsty hound than a human. Charlie meets and understands Khalil for the first time, and it does not take her long to realize that "he is beautiful". Yet Charlie's ultimate reconciliation with Khalil has been left on loose grounds.
Being the deadly terrorist that he is, it is odd to see Khalil almost fall on his knees when he discovers the betrayal. This revealed Khalil as nothing similar to what Kurtz had said, instead he is a human with his own past, and some desires to fulfill. The one good thing about the finale episode is its ambiguity. It is difficult to sympathize with Khalil after all that he has done, and yet we feel bad when he discovers that he was betrayed by Charlie. Gadi does come in at that moment to rescue Charlie but probably, by now Charlie was no more looking for rescuing. She had probably crossed the line and gone to the other side because when Gadi shot Khalil, the look of angst on her face was prominent.
With the finale episode the tables turn, and we soon find Kurtz on the hateful side. Charlie no more responds to his jokes or appreciations but maintains a professional disguise when Kurtz comes to congratulate her on the mission. Although his idea to use Khalil and Charlie to track down the rest of the terrorists blew up when Gadi made the calls, Kurtz continued to value the two for their dedication in the quest. That is what happened in the finale. It seems like we left the spies way behind in the fifth episode, and the sixth was just a highlight on what kind of people these spies are.
The character dynamics keep changing, and in the sixth episode, it completely overshadows the basic statement of the story- Charlie's journey in and out of the terrorist world. Extremely less screen time was given to Khalil, and even lesser to Fatmeh (played by Lubna Azabal) who could have acted as the perfect foil for Charlie. Being completely opposite to Charlie, Fatmeh does hold the similar political ideologies as Charlie but hers aren't scripted. Unfortunately, we did not get to see much of Fatmeh, who was the second strongest female character in the show, just as we do not see much of Khalil who is the actual villain in the story.