Is Your Journey Really Necessary?
'A few photographs, a slight bending of
the truth, and it’s nothing short of blackmail.'
episode opens with nervous people in the Ops Room. Jack Landy
is inside the USSR illegally. He is also late and out of communication.
His colleague, Alan Denson is waiting for him in Iran.
When Landy is caught at the border, Burnside orders Denson to
kill Landy. Jake Landy's final moments - undignified and bloody,
in sharp contrast to the dapper fellow in First
Principles - are
difficult to watch.
Landy decides to quit the SIS and marry. Burnside can't afford
to lose two officers at once.
Burnside sends Landy to Munich and starts manufacturing evidence
of her infidelity, attempting to force her to abandon Landy.
As if life isn't over-full for Burnside, a British official is
being wildly indiscrete in gay Paris. The foreign office demands
that Burnside send an officer to investigate.
After the first two episodes, a Sandbaggers viewer is likely to
assume the regular cast includes Jake Landy and Alan Denson. What
a shock it is when both men perish in this episode.
It's unusual enough for a television drama series to kill off
a regular character, even more so to kill one in only the third
episode, even more so to kill two characters in the same episode,
even more so to have one character kill his friend! (And some
people think Babylon 5 was daring!)
The depth of Burnsided's cynicism and ends justify the means
philosophies are revealed here when he browbeats an employee's
girlfriend. The unpleasantness sets down the floor for more of
Burnside's double-dealing in the future. Burnside isn't the classic
workplace bully who builds himself up by pushing others down.
Our character merely believes that the destruction of the KGB
is a lofty enough goal to merit any expense.
wonderful book called The
Fifties by a gentleman called David
Halberstam has a wonderful chapter about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover
containing the remark 'He fit perfectly, Victor Navasky once
noted, the authoritarian personality as defined by Fred Greenstein.
He was obsequious to superiors, absolutely domineering to subordinates.'
This more accurately describes Peele than Burnside,
but it does identify a point of interest: Burnside is not the
typical bully boss who backstabs employees he can't emotionally
abuse; he is however, thoughoughly ruthless in the fulfillment
of his oath of service.
And that's his problem.
In the first two episodes, although Burnside doesn't always get
his way, missions are pretty successful in the end.
episode is where things start to go really wrong for him - leading
to his nightmares later in the series. Another returning theme
is Wellingham's confessed desire to keep the present government
in power in A Proper Function of
Government. This episode sees
him make overt efforts supporting that desire.
Burnside's assertion that 'Times are changing - not all homosexuals
are vulnerable to blackmail' is the closest thing to a progressive
sentiment he expresses in the whole series.
This is one of only two episodes in which Matthew Peele does
not appear, the other being Sometimes We Play Dirty Too. Note
the Cold War politics dating the show: Iran was pro-west
at the time. The shah's government did not fall until January,
1979. Also, consider taking a look at this for a free to download
film about the roots
of trans-national Islamicism in the 50s.