Park Chan-wook’s gorgeous and stately adaptation breaks out the rocket-shaped lollipops for some spy-craft in The Little Drummer Girl Episode 2.
This recap of The Little Drummer Girl Episode 2 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Almost nothing happened in The Little Drummer Girl Episode 2.
Well, that’s not entirely true. There were lollipops and baumkuchen, and various Israeli Mossad agents in pastels grimly discussing the intricacies of espionage. Lots of 70s stuff, too. Charlie (Florence Pugh) was recruited rather easily by Kurtz (Michael Shannon), who mostly got her on-side by poking some holes in her made-up tragic backstory, and was tasked with infiltrating a Palestinian militia cell by posing as the squeeze of a presumed-missing member who spent the entirety of the episode being worked over in a cell. The part of the Palestinian will be played somewhat predictably by Alexander Skarsgård’s man of many aliases, Becker.
But that’s about it. It’s a good job that Park Chan-wook’s BBC adaptation of the John le Carré novel is so gorgeous, because the elliptical nature of the plot leaves the visuals doing a lot of the heavy lifting. And then there’s the general circuitousness of how the characters dip in and out of their other characters, constantly in a vaguely flirtatious battle between the real and the imagined. That leads the audience on a few tours past the same old scenery.
It’s a le Carré thing. Spying is like that. You never know who’s who and what’s what, which is the point. Retired agents are lured back into action and conflicting ideologies are pitted against one another and pretty women in glam dresses are convinced to drive cars full of Semtex. It’s all fairly standard stuff, but with an auteur’s panache and various actorly flourishes that are nonetheless rare for television. It keeps The Little Drummer Girl watchable, even if it remains a little inscrutable.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.