‘Masters Of The Air’ Recap Summary: Did Buck Die On The Mission?

Gale ‘Buck’ Cleven and John ‘Bucky’ Egan had made it this far in the war, and we were given confirmation that Biddick died in the previous episode. The fourth episode is especially about this sense of impending doom hovering over the lives of those involved in the Air Force. Every time the planes went up in the air, there was a very high chance that they would get shot down. Earlier, we had seen Biddick’s plane go down, but the mission had been a success, which could be seen as compensation for the lives lost. Yet Buck and Bucky were getting wary of the kind of dread the new crop of soldiers would have to face as they were preparing to get into those planes once again, trying to cheat death through their skills. Quinn had his own troubles, and we see how he survived after having parachuted down to stay in a Belgian farmer’s house.


Spoilers Ahead

Why Did Quinn’s Helper Kill Bob?

Quinn was lucky to have landed and stayed in a good man’s house who didn’t hand him over to the German army. That was an act of courage, as anyone caught helping the soldiers of the Allied forces was going to pay the price, either by immediate death or, worse, by being sent to try their luck in a concentration camp. A group of Allied spies must have contacted the Belgian farmer, and it was their task to check Quinn’s background and ascertain if he truly was an American and not a German spy, trying to infiltrate the group.


Quinn had a lot on his chest as he had let his friend remain trapped in the bomber plane, but that had not made him do something stupid like try to escape. There were German spies all over Belgium, and it was going to take some doing to get him to Spain, which was the only route to get him back to the American base in England. Quinn relaxed when he saw Bailey, a fellow American who was also being assisted by the same helper who was helping Quinn. There was a third fellow named Bob who introduced himself as being part of the 306th bomber group. The three were tested and, in fact, interrogated, and it seemed like they had passed and were going back home. But Bob was killed because he was deemed to be a German spy. Perhaps it was the overconfident way he sang the American national anthem that gave him away. Quinn and Bailey were disturbed by the incident, as they were convinced that they had just seen an American soldier get killed in front of their eyes. They had to trust the helper, and given the circumstances, they didn’t really have any other choice.

Why Was There A Party?

You wouldn’t think that anyone had time to celebrate a festival during times of war, and you would be correct. There was, however, a kind of celebratory mood in the American camp, as someone had just defied the odds and completed 25 missions in the air. Why was this important? Well, Major Dye had managed to fly in 25 missions, and as unbelievable as it was, he had managed to do so without a scratch and was eligible to go back home. This was according to the American War Policy, which stated that after 25 missions, a soldier was eligible to go back home. This must have been applicable only to the airmen, as they risked imminent death each time they took flight. A full-fledged ball was organized, and everyone, including the veterans and the newbies, was allowed to join. However, there were mixed reactions to the occasion. The reason is too obvious if you think about it.


Biddick and countless others had lost their lives, and the party was being organized for just one man who had reached the elusive 25th mark. Buck and Bucky were happy for Dye, but seeing the newer recruits, their hearts were sinking, and they were being beguiled by the celebratory mood. The war was certain to take their lives, and they weren’t counting themselves out. However, they decided to meet some of the newer members: Rosenthal, Nash, Speas, and Lewis. Nash had a great time at the party, even getting a date for the night. Bucky almost got into an ugly row with Harding, his superior, when, in a drunken state, he mentioned bombing Hitler himself. The jokes were disturbing Bucky, and he went out to meet a date of his own.

How Did Quinn Reach Spain?

Gale ‘Buck’ Cleven was assigned the mission—the original one—that had been a disaster. The German U-boats in Bremen had been his first mission, and now the bomber group was going at it a second time around. At the same time, Quinn was trying to stay alive, trusting Michou, his guide, to take him to Spain. The fact that Bailey was with him reassured Quinn that the two could survive together, but they had little trust in Michou, who seemed like a 17-year-old. The girl spoke French, and according to the spy in Belgium, it was Quinn’s best bet if he was to get past the Nazi checkpoint in Spain.


On the one hand, Quinn was trying to escape from the Nazi forces, while on the other, Buck was trying to get to them. Bucky was aware of Buck’s mission but was so drowned in his own pitiful condition that he had no interest in giving him a send-off. He was with the woman he had met earlier, and only later did he find that the Bremen mission was a success, but Buck was MIA. His plane had crashed, and the only hope was if he had parachuted down to a safe location. In a state of utter disorientation, he seemed to have made a rash decision, asking himself to put on the next mission, whatever it happened to be. It looks like he wanted to take some sort of revenge against the Germans for Buck’s death. The guilt of having survived longer than his best friend was also clearly visible in his tone. The juxtaposition of Quinn’s or Dye’s journey to Buck’s asks the question of whether one officer getting safely back home is the same as one dying in the war. Michou had managed to get Quinn to Spain and warned him that ‘stupid means dead’ in such times. Quinn is still in Spain, though, and it isn’t a guarantee that he will survive.

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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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