Close this search box.

Masters of the Air: Episode 8 Review

Branden Cook, Ncuti Gatwa and Josiah Cross in Masters of the Air episode 8

In episode 8, Masters of the Air sees its main characters – and a few new ones – making plans that never really come to fruition.

I’m of two minds with episode 8 of Masters of the Air: I appreciate finally getting to meet the Tuskegee Airmen, but I have issues with some of the storytelling decisions. It’s kind of amazing that, in an episode where D-Day is a central plot point, nothing really happens. But there is some interesting character development from both our regulars and the newcomers that ends up salvaging the penultimate episode of the series.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. I’ve been wondering since I saw last week’s episode why the show decided to hold off including the Tuskegee Airmen until episode 8, and this hour didn’t exactly provide any answers. We first meet them celebrating their 500th mission, so presumably, there would be some drama worth exploring. And the few characters we meet seem compelling enough to warrant more than two episodes of screen time. We have Alex Jefferson (Branden Cook), Robert Daniels (Ncuti Gatwa), and Macon (Josiah Cross), who are given memorable introductions and look to factor into the rest of the show significantly. Nevertheless, I appreciate the way Masters of the Air weaves them into episode 8 thematically.

Almost everyone we spend time with is going a little stir crazy this week, making plans that never really come to fruition. Most notably is Bucky (Callum Turner), who spends his days in the POW camp playing imaginary baseball with himself, much to the chagrin of Buck (Austin Butler). Buck’s keen ear to the war effort gives him the wherewithal to know the German’s days are numbered, so he takes it upon himself to get the other prisoners mentally and physically prepared.

Adam Long, Matt Gavan, Callum Turner and Austin Butler in Masters of the Air episode 8
Adam Long, Matt Gavan, Callum Turner and Austin Butler in episode 8 of “Masters of the Air”, now streaming on Apple TV+. (Courtesy of Apple TV)

I had a feeling the show would save the Hundredth’s involvement in D-Day until the finale, but I kind of like how it was handled here. Rather than spend precious minutes in yet another redundant bombing run with characters we mostly don’t know, episode 8 shows it through Crosby’s (Anthony Boyle) very tired eyes. He’s responsible for planning and charting each of the routes, and refuses to let himself sleep before it’s all done. It’s a clever trick to have Crosby, one of the chief architects of the most important modern military event, literally sleep through it, but it continues his upward trajectory throughout the show. I’m less enthusiastic about his affair with Westgate (Bel Powley), as I’m not sure whether I’m still supposed to root for him or not because of it. It’s likely true to life, and makes him a complicated character in a show with a dearth of them, so I suppose I can’t complain too much.

In spite of the “next week on” clip at the end of episode 8, I’m not sure what the future holds for the end of Masters of the Air. Will all our heroes be reunited at the end of the war? Will the show even deal with the final days of the war? No matter how it ends, it’s been fun watching this show evolve in its back half from a repetitive war story to a more character-driven story about survival in all its forms.

Watch on Apple TV

Episode 8 of Masters of the Air is now available to watch on AppleTV+.

Thank you for reading us! If you’d like to help us continue to bring you our coverage of films and TV and keep the site completely free for everyone, please consider a donation.