Masters of the Air – S01E06 – Part Six | Transcript

Rosie and his crew are sent to rest at a country estate. Crosby meets an intriguing British officer at Oxford. Egan faces the essence of Nazi evil.
Masters of the Air Part Six

Original release date: February 23, 2024

Season 1, Episode 6 of “Masters of the Air” explores the harsh realities of war juxtaposed against moments of rest and budding romance. The episode centers on Bucky’s perilous situation behind enemy lines, presenting a stark contrast to the 100th Bomb Group crewmen’s brief respite. Bucky’s ordeal starts on a hostile farm and leads to his capture, cruel mistreatment by German civilians and soldiers, and a narrow escape, only to be recaptured and interrogated, where he remains defiant against giving up his comrades. Back at base, the crew grapples with dwindling hope and the psychological toll of war, engaging in drinking and brawling to cope. Crosby’s trip to Oxford for a conference introduces him to Sandra, sparking a connection through shared war experiences. Their developing relationship offers a glimpse of solace amidst the backdrop of war.

* * *



[grunts, panting]

[crows cawing]

[child 1] Hans.



[child 2] Amerikaner!

[child 1] Amerikaner!


[child 3] Amerikaner!

[in German] He has a gun.


There’s an American. He has a gun…

Get in the house and call the police. Go, go, go!

[exhaling deeply]


[farmer 1] We don’t want to kill you.

We don’t want to kill you.



[Bucky breathes shakily]

[gun clicks]


[breathes shakily]

[in English] For you, the war’s over.

[Crosby] When a crew went down, they disappeared. No more than four months at Thorpe Abbotts until 32 of the 35 original crews were among the missing. We did not talk about such crews. Those of us who continued to fly mission after mission had to tiptoe around their ghosts. Some of the men were coming undone. They’d seen too many planes blow up in front of them and too many friends killed. Some people drank. Some people fought. Some people slept around. If you got a chance to forget, you took it. Me? I was heading to Oxford University. Bubbles’s death hit me pretty hard, and Colonel Harding thought it would be good for me to represent the 100th at a conference between the Allied nations. So he signed me up, and I was happy to go.


Have you ever been to Oxford, Captain?

Uh, no. But I’m excited to be here.

Well, you may not have the time to see much of it on this trip. Between the lectures and the social events planned, it’s very unlikely you’ll have a moment to step off campus. We’re just through here. … There’ll be representatives from nearly all the Allied countries and territories. You’re sure to meet some fascinating people. It arrived for you two days ago. I hope it’s nothing urgent.

My wife. [chuckles] She, uh, couldn’t stand the idea of a week going by without sending a letter.

How thoughtful.

Oh, uh, has “sub-altern” A.M. Wesgate arrived yet? My roommate?

Not until tomorrow, I believe. And we call them “subalterns.”



Right. Well, James, thank you for the tour.

Of course. Have a good night, sir. Enjoy the conference.


[imitating James] “Subaltern.” “Subalterns.”


[Crosby] Münster was only Rosie’s third mission, but it was so horrific that Colonel Harding ordered Lieutenant Rosenthal and his crew to spend a week of R & R at a place we called the flak house.

They got horses.

You ride horses, Rosie?

Jews from Brooklyn don’t ride horses.


[soldiers whistling, chuckling] Wow.

[cyclist 1] Morning. Hello.

[soldiers] Ladies. Ma’am.

[cyclist 2] Hello.

Oh, look out. Here comes the cavalry.

[officers chucking]

[host] Welcome to Coombe House.

We have all the sports and activities you could ask for, all right here.

There’s tennis, bicycles, volleyball, croquet, riding with hounds.

And if it rains, because this is England… [chuckles]

…there’s billiards, cards, chess, and badminton in the ballroom.

Relaxation is the order of the day here.

Michael, can you show these men to their rooms?

[Michael] Of course, ma’am.

Right this way, gentlemen.


How long do I have to be here?

I’m afraid that’s not my department, Robert.

Really, it was up to your CO when he sent you here.

But that’s something you can discuss with Dr. Huston.

We have baths here and hot water.

Take advantage while you can is my advice.

[train rattling]


[train brakes screeching]

[guards speaking German]

[speaking German]

[in English] Where you from?

381st. We fly together.



When we get a chance, you think you can run on that ankle?

[prisoner] I don’t think so.

[speaking German]

[speaking German]

[guards speaking German]

[in English] Think our boys did this?

Looks like it just happened. RAF.

Shit. Brits actually hit something for once.

[guard speaking German]

[Bucky] All right, all right, all right.

[guards speaking German]

[citizens screaming, crying]

[citizen screams]


[citizen 2 shushing]


[baby screaming, crying]

[in German] What’s going on here?

What are they doing here?


Terror flyers!

[citizens clamoring, shouting]

[clamoring, shouting continues]

Damn Americans!

You bastards!

[shouting in German]

[shouting in German]

[shouting in German]

[in English] It’s okay, it’s okay.

Guards! Back up!

[citizens shouting in German]

[in English] Keep your shirt on.

[shouting continues]

Hey, stop! Don’t protect them! What are you doing?

Let them fend for themselves!

[in English] Guards! Guards!


Hey! [stammers] Whoa! Whoa!

[both grunting]

[grunting, shouting]




[gun clicking]


[speaking German]


Doctor Huston?


May I come in?

Yeah, come in, come in.

Um… Robert Rosenthal.


How did you sleep last night?


Can be a strange adjustment.

Most men need a… a day or two.

Uh, well, that’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about. Uh…

I don’t think this, uh, environment is helpful for me.

I’d like to return to base.


Why do you think your CO sent you here?

What did he say to you?

No, I’m curious what you think.

There was a mission to Münster.

It was rough, but I’m fine.

Three missions in your first three days.

120 men dead in one afternoon.

And I wasn’t one of them. I’m fine.

Hmm. That’s the third time you’ve used that word, “fine.”

You’re not gonna let me leave, are you?


Sure I am. In five days.

Thank you, Doctor.


[mumbling] “Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done… on Earth as it is in heaven, for thine is the kingdom and the power…”


[driver, in German] I’m looking for a place to bury these dogs.

[prisoner, in English] “And lead us not into temptation… but deliver us from evil…”

[in German] One of them is still alive.

[in English] “Our Father…

[in German] Finish him off.

[prisoner mumbling] “Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name

Thy kingdom come…”

[mumbling stops]

[driver] Klaus. I found a spot.

[Klaus] Good. I’m coming.


[driver] Get digging. Help me.

[Klaus speaking German]

[Bucky grunts]



[driver] Hey, look one’s getting away.

[Klaus] Let him go! He won’t get far!

Freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of a tyrant.

This is what the Magna Carta, or the Great Charter of Freedoms, laid the foundation for.

Signed in 1215, it is an important symbol of liberty even today.

Of course, it took you Yanks more than 500 years for your founding fathers to produce a similar bit of paper.

And now we find in wartime that our collective…

Yeah, maybe if we weren’t under the tyranny of your king for 500 years, we could have popped it out sooner. [sighs]

[speaker] We must be rigorous in our examinations of previous conflicts and the resolutions of those conflicts.



[imitates Spencer Tracy] “It’s nice to have a little fire.

It gets cold up there.”

Captain Crosby, I presume?

[normal] Oh, my God.

Oh, don’t worry. I’ve seen men in much… [chuckles] …less, Captain.

Big family, small house, few doors.

[stammers] And you are?

Subaltern Wesgate, your roommate.


Oh, dear.

You expected a man, didn’t you?

No, no, I didn’t… I just… It was…

[inhales sharply]

Yes. I did. [stammers] I’m sorry. I expected a man.

The ATS encourage us to conceal our feminine names, hence A.M. Wesgate.

The A is for Alessandra… Sandra for short… and the M is for a middle name I shall take to the grave.

We should report this to the bursar.

Well, I’m not bothered if you’re not.

I can see that you’re married.


Hopefully your wife trained you to leave the toilet seat down.


Oh. In the mirror, was that Tracy or Gable?

It was Tracy.

Oh. I would’ve thought Gable.

[breathes deeply]

[croquet players laughing, chattering]


[player 1] Get it out in front.

[bombardier sniffling, crying]


[crow caws]

[footsteps approaching]

[police officer speaking German]

Come on. Get up.

[camp guard speaking German]

[British officer] This chap turned to me and he said, “You know, sir, there are three problems with these bloody Americans.”

Excuse my language.

He said, “They’re oversexed, overpaid, and over here.”

[people laughing]

[Sandra] Ah, Captain Crosby.

What is it the Yanks say the trouble with we Britons is?


That’s okay. I remember now.

We are undersexed, underpaid, and under Eisenhower.

[all chuckling]

You Americans are a bit zestier in your approach to the opposite sex.

As young men, we would never have dreamt of trying to tup a debutante.

We turned to chambermaids and barmaids for our excitement.

These Americans coming over would invite a duchess to bed before even taking her to dinner.

I must respectfully challenge you on that.

Chambermaids and barmaids feel they have no right to say no to their employers, but American men are persistent regardless of class.

And forgive my language, but they’ll pretty much “tup” anything that moves.


[chuckles, clears throat]


It’s beyond how you treat our women.

It’s your spitting in the streets, getting sloshed, brawling in our pubs.

Perhaps if you simply taught your chaps a little moral discipline, they wouldn’t always act as if they’re away from home for the first time, living it up.

Well, with respect, sir, each day could be their last chance to live it up.

So, I won’t be giving them a lecture before they go on their weekend pass.

[Sandra] You’re not cocky enough to be pilot, but you are a captain.

So, what? Navigator? Bombardier?

Navigator. [chuckles]

Uh, what exactly do you do, Subaltern Wesgate?

Promise not to tell anyone?

I pinkie swear.

Not entirely sure what that means but sounds official.


I’m a punter.

A punter?



What’s that?

Been punting since my days at Cambridge.

Oh, really?

You went to… [whispers] …Cambridge?


They don’t give actual degrees to women though, if you can believe it.

What did you study? Besides, uh, punting, of course.

Oh, no, that’s it. We’re very specialized.

[punter grunts, shouts]

[boat passenger] Oh, be careful!


Oh, dear. [chuckles]

Are you all right?

[groans] I’m all right.

Amateurs. Took me years to master the pole.

It’s all in the wrists, lad.

[punter groans]


You’ve never actually punted before, have you?

What gave me away?

You’re a terrible liar. [chuckles]

[chuckles] Mmm. Well, give me time.

I’ll get better. Promise.

That’s not a good thing.

[owl hooting]

[breathing deeply]

[big band music playing]

I see you’re still sleeping well.

You said it takes a day or two to adjust.

What’s your excuse?

Doctors can’t have nightmares?


Why not?

You got some good stuff here.

You mind if I put something on?

Oh, have at it.

Don’t know much about music.

I’m just working my way through the collection.

Oh, this… this is what you’re missing.

[Dr. Huston] You play?

[Rosenthal] No. Can’t play a note.

Mother and sister got all the musical talent, but I know what sounds good.

[jazz playing]

Where you stationed, Doc?

Norfolk. I’m a flight surgeon with the 96th.

Your group was on the Bremen raid with us.

We lost three forts.

That was your first mission?

Lost a good friend.

His first mission too.

This war… [sighs]

Human beings weren’t meant to behave this way.

You disagree?


But you see people being persecuted, subjugated, you have to do something, right?

They can’t fight for themselves, can they?

So, what do we do?

No, you’re right. We had to do something, and… here we are.

No, no. This? This, right here?

This is exactly what you don’t do.

Croquet. Riding with hounds, whatever that is.

It’s foxhunting.

You don’t go foxhunting.

And you don’t go talking about it. You don’t go crying about it.

You get back in the seat, and you finish the damn job.


I was in a rhythm, you know?

Three days, three missions, three wheels down. Boom, boom, boom.

It’s like Gene Krupa.

You don’t stop Gene Krupa in the middle of a drum solo, do you?


But two weeks later ask him to dip right back in where he left off without missing a beat, do you?

Maybe not. But, uh, Gene Krupa’s gotta think about more than keeping his own rhythm.

He’s responsible for the rhythm of his whole band, isn’t he?

Never had it without rocks before. [chuckles]

[chuckles] In Scotland, we believe whiskey should never be diluted.

Cheers. Okay. [chuckles]

Cheers. [chuckles]

Big family. [coughs] If you don’t polish it off, someone else will.

You, uh, keep in touch with your family?

[sighs] I’m terrible at writing letters.

I visit when I can.

Geographically speaking, they’re much closer than yours.

But they still feel very, very far away sometimes.

Right. There’s just so much we can’t tell them, you know?

Because we’re not allowed, and because even if…

How could they possibly understand?

Uh-uh, just… [stammers] just go easy. [chuckles]

I’m not much of a drinker. [chuckles]


Last time, I ended up on the floor of a hotel room with no boots.

Oh, do tell.

[groans] Yeah. Well, we were in London… [sighs] …on a weekend pass, and Bubbles invented this game with quarters and boots.

And basically, I ended up with no quarters and no boots.


[chuckles] I mean… Well, look.

From there, the story gets a little blurry.

But the last thing I remember is spewing in the bathroom with Bubbles, and there was only one toilet.

Ugh, sounds very romantic.

Maybe I should just move this over here.


Is Bubbles a lady of the night?

No, no, no, that’s my best friend.

Bubbles is just a… [stammers] …nickname.

Well, what we all need in life is someone to heave with, shoulder to shoulder.


He must be a good friend.

Ah, he was, yeah.

He went down last week.

I’m so sorry.

Ah, that’s why they sent me here.

Give me a little time away.

It was my fault.

How so?

I replaced Bubbles as group navigator.

If he had been there to plan the missions, then maybe all those planes wouldn’t have went down.

Maybe Bubbles would still be here and…


Your friend was on that plane for one reason and one reason only: Because Adolf Hitler and his gang of thugs decided they should rule the world.

That’s it.

That’s the only reason anybody dies in this war.

[inhales sharply, sighs]

Well, it’s… [exhales sharply] …been quite a day. [chuckles]


Should we call it a night?

Mmm. [chuckles]

[breathes deeply]

[door closes]

[knocks on door]

[interrogator speaking German]

Major Egan, come in.

I am your interrogator, Lieutenant Haussmann.

Please, sit.

Can I pour you a whiskey?


Here’s, uh, mud in your eye.

I don’t know that one.

Here’s mud in your eye.

So… [sighs] …where shall we begin?

How about I was in a town and, um, someone shot four of the guys with me.

Oh, my God. What town?

“Rüssheim,” something. I don’t know…


That’s tragic. I will add it to the report.

Your colleagues, the ones who were killed, if you give me their names and rank, I can pass it on to…

I don’t know their names.

We just happened to be put together.

Look, I appreciate the drink and, um, would really appreciate a thicker blanket, but as far as what you’re gonna get from me, it’s gonna be name, rank, and serial…

And serial number.

Yours is O-399510.

Yes, I already know that.

I also know you were born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.


From what I hear, definitely not.

Squadron, 418th.

Group, the 100th Bomber Group. H for Heavy.

Headquartered at Thorpe Abbotts.

Are you a baseball fan, Major?

Certainly that’s not a national secret.


Sorry they are not as good as your American brands.

Lucky Strike is my personal preference.

Baseball is still a bit of a mystery to me, with all the sticks and bases, running in circles.

There was the big championship last week, wasn’t there?

Yeah, the World Series.

Yes, the World Series.

The New York Yankees versus the St. Louis Cardinals.

A rematch, yes?

We were up two games to one when I went down.

So you are a Yankees fan?

Would you like to know the outcome of the World Series?

Was Buck Cleven a Yankees fan?

No? Yes?

I hear he was quite a flyer.

I read of his exploits in the Regensburg attack.

He was your friend, wasn’t he?

It seems we’re shooting down all the good pilots.

Did you know that on your Münster attack, only one of your planes returned?


But back to you, Major Egan.

I regret to inform you that you are, as you say, in a bit of a pickle.

We know you were originally apprehended near Ostbevern… but we don’t have you in any record as a crew member on any of the planes from the Münster attack.

The Gestapo would say that makes you a spy.

They would be mistaken.

One thing I can tell you, Major, the Gestapo is never mistaken.

So, I need verification of your group, your squadron, and your plane so that I can confirm to them that you are indeed what you say you are.

[breathes deeply]

John Egan. Major.


Major… [inhales sharply] …may I say that you’re not doing yourself any favors?

The Gestapo, they are different than me.

Me, I’m like you: A flyer, a man of honor.

And I can understand things in a way that perhaps my colleagues from the highly indoctrinated security forces might not.

I’d like to talk to you about Buck Cleven, John… but I’d like you to talk to me as well.

The number of replacement B-17s expected at Thorpe Abbotts next week, for example.

John Egan. Major. O-399510.

I see.

[lock clicking]

[breathing heavily]


[inhales sharply]


I would love some coffee. [chuckles, sighs]

Just don’t tell anyone.

I can’t bring all the boys breakfast in bed now.

I’ll take it to the grave.

I’m glad you slept.

[laughing, chattering]

[boater] Fighters, 12:00. Take ’em out, Pappy! Let’s go!

[boaters clamoring, shouting] Open fire! Open fire!

[guards shouting in German, clamoring]

[shouting in German]

[guards speaking German]

[speaking German]

[people on train shouting, crying]

[shouting, crying continues]

In! Now! In! In!


[shouts in German]

[dogs barking]

[German sergeant] Get in! Now! [shouting in German]

[Bucky] Let’s go, let’s go. Quick. Come on. Come on.

[shouting in German]

[train departs]

[Crosby] I can’t get over everything in this town being so old.

You know, the state I’m from was founded in 1846.

It isn’t even a hundred yet.

What state is that?




Well, surely something was there before 1846.

Nothing that’s still standing.

Yes, well, we will see what’s still standing here when this mess is all said and done.

Now, is there a reason you won’t tell me where you’re stationed or what you do?

Yes. And if I wanted to think about work tonight, Captain,

I would have gone to sherry hour with Professor Goodhart.

[both chuckle]

Looks like a party.

Shall we investigate?

Yeah. Yes.

Uh, yes?

[both chuckling]

[partygoers chattering, laughing]

[shouts] Come on, come on, come on.

[partygoers cheering]

[chattering continues]

[partygoer 1] Ooh, I love this song.

Come on, Charlie. Join us.

[singer] Thank you. Thanks for supporting our cause.

[announcer] Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Ella Walsh.


[singer] ♪ There’s a great and a bloody fight ♪

♪ ‘Round this whole world tonight ♪

♪ The battle… ♪

To Bubbles?

♪ …The bombs and shrapnel reign ♪

To Bubbles.

♪ Hitler told the world around He would tear our union down ♪

♪ But our union’s gonna Break them slavery chains ♪

♪ I walked up on a mountain In the middle of the sky ♪

♪ Could see every farm and every town ♪

♪ I could see all the people In this whole wide world ♪

♪ That’s the union that’ll Tear the fascists down, down, down ♪

♪ That’s the union That’ll tear the fascists down ♪

[indistinct shouting]

[dogs barking]

♪ I walked up on a mountain In the middle of the sky ♪

[shouting continues indistinctly]

♪ Could see every farm and every town ♪

♪ I could see all the people In this whole wide world ♪

♪ That’s the union That’ll tear the fascists down ♪

♪ So I thank the Soviets And the mighty Chinese vets ♪

♪ The Allies the whole wide world around ♪

♪ To the battling British, thanks You can have ten million Yanks ♪

♪ If it takes ’em to tear The fascists down, down, down ♪

♪ If it takes ’em To tear the fascists down ♪



[chuckles] Well, I, uh… I guess this is good night.

Uh, you’re… Are you not coming in? [chuckles]

Did you forget that we’re roommates?

Oh, yeah. You know, I think I did actually.

Subaltern, we’ve been scouring the college for you.

An urgent message.

[Crosby] What is it?

I have to leave.

What, now?

Indeed. Uh…

Next time you’re in London, ring me.

We’ll go dancing.

If you’re lucky, I might even teach you to punt.

You know, I hear it’s all in the wrists.

What about your things?

Oh, they’ll send them.

That’s not your bicycle.

Well, I’m borrowing it.

Fortunes of war.

Don’t you sleep?

After we win!

[bicycle bell ringing]




[Milburn] There he is.

[Pappy] Hey. [chuckles]

Well, to what do we owe this honor?

We’re almost out of this joint and, uh, I’m after your cash.

[Ronald] Oh, wow.

Ooh, Rosie.

[Pappy] Big spender.

Hey, this is the guy I was telling you about.

Is he telling stories again?

Yeah, I’ve got a story.

Our last mission over Münster.

One by one, we see everybody go down until we’re the last bird in the sky.

Sitting ducks.

We know they’re coming for us any fucking second.

And then we hear it.

[humming “The Chant”]

[imitates trumpets]


[humming continues]

[imitates trumpets]

Is that what I sound like?

We’re about to get our balls blown off when this guy here, this crazy bastard, starts humming Artie Shaw.


Out of the blue.

And it was the strangest thing.

But I gotta say, hearing his voice over the radio, that was the first time that I didn’t feel scared shitless.

Even though he’d clearly lost his fucking marbles.


I knew that I wasn’t alone.

None of us were.

[humming continues]

Oh, come on. Who’s dealing?

[soldier 1] Let me tell you about our last mission.

We were in this shot-up fort, limping over the channel on two engines.

Someone on the plane radios the tower, “Hello, Lazy Fox. This is G for George, calling Lazy Fox. Will you give us landing instructions, please? Pilot”…

“And copilot are dead. Two engines feathered. Fire in the radio room. Vertical stabilizers gone. No flaps, no brakes, no chutes. Bombardier flying the ship. Will you give me landing instructions?”

So, the tower hears all of this, they put their heads together and they think.

And they think as fast as they can because this thing wasn’t going to be staying up in the air for very much longer.

Flying control officer is thinking and thinking until he finally figures it out.

Picks up the radio and says, “I hear you, G for George.

Now here are your instructions.

Repeat slowly after me: Our Father, who art in heaven… [chuckles] …hallowed be thy”…

[soldier 1] Please.

Ah, you wanna hear it again. Come on.

[Douglass] We don’t wanna hear it again, so why don’t you drop it?

[Milburn] You heard it before?

[Douglass] Heard it a million times.


[Crosby] We told each other all kinds of stories.

Some of them were true.

Most were not.

It didn’t matter.

Tall tales, music, laughter, good Irish whiskey…

We all needed something to help us climb back into that plane and do it all again.


[ground crew, soldiers chattering]

[breathes deeply]

[tapping rhythmically]

[rhythmic drumming]

[jazz music playing]

[guard speaking German]

[alarm blaring]

[guard 2 speaking German]

[prisoners clamoring]

[prisoner 1] Johnny! John!

[prisoner 2] Egan!

[prisoner 1] Hey, Johnny! John!

[clamoring continues]

Jimmy! Jimmy, did Frankie make it?

[prisoner 3] Bucky! Bucky! Over here!

Bucky! Over here! Over here!


You made it! [laughs]

Murph! [chuckles]


[prisoner 4] What about O’Neill?

Hey! Any of you know if Buck made it?


I said if Buck…

[Buck] John Egan! Your 2:00.

What took you so long?

[prisoner 5] Welcome to Stalag Luft III, boys.

Where you’re gonna spend the best years of your wives.

[Bucky] What do you say if you and I, we made our move?

My plan is to get home to Marge in one piece.

Well, you’d die here in one piece.

Hey, hey! Whoa, whoa!

That what you wanna do?

[newcaster] …while Allied troops remain pinned down on the beaches.

Morning, gentlemen. I’m Captain Robert Rosenthal.

Welcome to the 100th.

[Jack] Rosie’s the best pilot I’ve ever seen fly a B-17.

You pray to God you can fly half as good as him, you might make it to 25 too.

[siren wailing]

They don’t care if they kill us all, do they?

It’ll be good for you to show the new guys that 25 can really get done.


[guard speaking German]


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