‘Masters Of The Air’ Episode 9 Recap & Ending Explained: What Happens To Buck, & Bucky?

Let us start by getting the obvious truth out. Masters of the Air, Apple TV’s magnum opus, has failed to reach the heights of HBO’s Band of Brothers or The Pacific, even though it comes from the same Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks war epic stable. However, it is still a solidly made, very watchable series. The performances by the very talented cast are what make it soar high. Anthony Boyle, who plays Harry Crosby, is clearly the best performer of the show. Boyle is the breakout star of 2024, and he’s also starring in another of Apple TV’s historical epics, Manhunt. Austin Butler, who’s getting rave reviews for his performance in the blockbuster Dune: Part II, shines here as well, justifying his star status. And the ever-so-charming Callum Turner is fantastic as well, which of course has a lot to do with getting to play the most flamboyant character in the show. In fact, it’s Turner’s Major John “Bucky” Egan who gets the most heroic moment in the series finale, which is not quite action-packed but very satisfying as a conclusion. 

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens To Rosie?

The year is 1945, and the Germans are now very much on the back foot. It’s the Americans, along with the Brits and Russians, who are running the show in the air, and the end of the war is on the horizon. Rosie, the star of the 100th, is doing one after another successful mission. But the finale begins with Rosie suffering a setback during a mission in Germany. He’s skilled enough to make sure that he lands on no man’s land instead of falling prey to the Germans.

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At Thorpe Abbott, though, tension brews with Rosie not returning. We see a very different Crosby, who’s all business and has no tolerance for the soldiers chit-chatting and lazing around in a time like this. Months have passed since we last saw him, and Crosby 2.0 is clearly not the man who would mope over Sandra. Speaking of Sandra, we never really get to know who she was, although that hardly has any relevance, I suppose.


Does The Great Escape Happen?

Meanwhile, the POWs are being moved from Stalag Luft III to Stalag XIII, which is at the heart of Germany. The Germans are clearly paranoid, and the reason they’re moving Buck, Bucky, and co. further deep in the country is to use them as potential leverage against their enemy. Stalag XIII is in Nuremberg, a place that is considered the Nazi HQ, and certainly not good for someone like Solomon. At the camp, Buck gets to see a former friend, and Bucky is at least happy to find out that Buck’s friend is a football fan. I believe the reason Bucky gets elated is that all he was looking for was a sense of familiarity in the middle of all the hopelessness. 

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The Germans soon decided to move the POW from Stalag XIII as well. They are so paranoid that they would make the POW march through Bavaria during the night as well. Colonel tells Simoleit that his men are not going to walk beyond twenty miles, to which the commander agrees. During the nightmare, Bucky tries to convince Buck that this is their last and final opportunity to get going with the plan, as a river is nearby, as per Alex’s map, and once they cross that, it becomes impossible to escape. Realizing his best friend is actually right, Buck decides to make a run for it, along with George and Bill. He makes sure George and Bill get away first and jump over a wall. Once that happens, Bucky tells Buck to go while he keeps an eye on the German guards, who are busy handling the chaos created by the POW regarding the tiring walk. This is clearly an intentional move in order to make the great escape successful. Buck soon gets away the same way George and Bill did, but when Bucky tries to follow, he gets noticed by a German guard and fails to make the great escape. The guards can’t harm him, though, thanks to the Colonel intervening and literally ordering the German General not to harm his major. Bucky might be their prisoner, but the Germans wouldn’t dare harm him at a time when they know they’re losing the war.

Following Alex’s map, Buck, George, and Bill try to find safety while moving carefully around the wild terrain of Germany. Unfortunately, they face a group of German soldiers, one of whom stabs George from behind and kills him instantly. Bill and Buck soon take care of the soldiers, but they ultimately let two of them go after realizing they were mere teenagers with no bullets in their guns. They soon run into a group of American soldiers, which effectively means the great escape has been a success—at least for the two of them.

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Does Rosie Come Back?

Of course, our favorite Major Rosie comes back! But before that, he has to witness the horror the Nazis have inflicted on the people in many POW camps in Poland. While traveling with a group of Russian soldiers, Rosie is appalled to see the number of dead bodies in an abandoned Polish camp! This is where Masters of the Air shines the brightest as a show as well, showing us what a war can do without uttering a single word.

Rosie finally returns to Thorpe Abbott, and Crosby is overjoyed to see him. Rosie also gets very happy to know that Crosby is going to become a father soon. The two of them have a conversation where Crosby introspects about their actions, killing many men and turning into monsters while fighting them. But Rosie reassures him that they’re still good men, and all the horrific things they did absolutely needed to be done. He does make a lot of sense, not to mention.


What Happens To Buck, Bucky, And The Others?

Buck returns to Thorpe Abbott, getting the hero’s welcome, especially from Rosie and Crosby. They talk about how Bucky was always hopeful about Buck being alive, even when everyone thought he was dead. Rosie also asks him to accompany him on a routine mission of food drop in the Netherlands, where the Germans are not supposed to fire at them, thanks to a truce. But things can always go wrong as well; Rosie doesn’t forget to mention that. Buck, however, can’t wait to get back on the plane. Buck, Rosie, and Crosby getting back inside the plane is one of the most rewarding moments of the finale of the show. And the mission goes very smoothly as well, where the Dutch people wave at the airmen and cheer them for playing pivotal roles in ending the war.

At Stalag VII in Moosburg, Germany, the POW gets crazy at the sight of a P-51 in the sky, realizing freedom awaits them. As the P-51 starts the bombing, the POW takes over control of the camp. They’re not prisoners anymore; they’re heroes of the war. To signify this glorious moment, Bucky takes down the Nazi flag and gives it to his men to tear it down, while he hoists the American flag at the German Concentration Camp. This is clearly the most epic Masters of the Air could ever get.

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Through Cosby’s narration, we get to know about the ending of the war and everyone finally getting to go home. Buck and Bucky reunite at Thorpe Abbott, and they return to America together. As the credits roll, we get to know that Buck did marry Marge, and Bucky was his best man after all. Sadly, for Buck, Marge didn’t live long. Rosie and Crosby say goodbye to each other, while Rosie jokes about bringing Crosby’s infant kid to a jazz club, which is fitting enough for Rosie. We get to know about what happened to both of them in the credits as well, along with Alex and Macon. Masters of the Air concludes its story with beautiful images of a bunch of planes flying harmoniously in the sky. The world below them was finally at peace, at least for the time being. 


Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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