Transatlantic is Your Next Netflix Historical Binge

Transatlantic is Your Next Netflix Historical Binge
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Transatlantic is Your Next Netflix Historical Binge. I’m fairly certain you guys probably love history as much as I do. Better yet? World War II historical thrillers? Transatlantic is Netflix’s latest show detailing the heroics of the Emergency Rescue Committee. The show is based on the novel The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer. But it also covers well-trod ground of the amazing women assisting individuals flee through the Pyrenees over to Spain. But more specifically, the Emergency Rescue Committee was formed specifically to save well-known artists trapped in Europe in the 1940’s.

It’s actually quite funny, I accidentally started watching Transatlantic. A month or so ago it was everywhere and all the rage, but I’d forgotten about it. But I either sat on the remote, or who knows, and it started. I was writing at the time, and over time, the writing got slower, and the show volume continued to go up. I couldn’t stop watching and when I stopped and put the show away because it was time for bed, I had watched 4 episodes. So, yeah, it definitely is worth a binge.

Episode 1 – “Hiding Hand Principle”

In the tumultuous setting of 1940 Marseille, France, we join Mary Jayne Gold and Varian Fry, operatives of the American Emergency Rescue Committee, as they tirelessly strive to help refugees escape the clutches of Nazi Germany and seek solace in the United States. Their noble mission is met with relentless obstacles, courtesy of the Vichy government, who seem determined to impede their progress at every turn. Amidst the chaos, we encounter Albert and Ursula Hirschman, Jewish siblings desperately seeking passage to America despite the lack of travel visas. Their path takes them through treacherous terrain, guided by the indomitable Lisa Fittko, as they navigate the Pyrenees mountains and venture into Spain. However, complications arise, causing them to regroup in Marseilles, where Mary Jayne and Varian eagerly await crucial information. Yet, as they strive to save lives, Mary Jayne’s family ties threaten to unravel their efforts, putting the future of the ERC at stake. It is a riveting tale of resilience, sacrifice, and the human spirit’s unyielding quest for freedom in the face of adversity.

Episode 2 – “The Angel of History”

In a whirlwind of events, the ERC’s haven, the Hotel Splendide, falls prey to a police raid, prompting Varian to turn to an unexpected savior in the form of his old flame, Thomas Lovegrove. Thomas offers his country mansion, the Villa Air-Bel, as a sanctuary for the weary souls seeking refuge. Led by the courageous Lisa, a group of refugees, including the renowned Walter Benjamin, embarks on a treacherous journey through the unforgiving mountains. Meanwhile, Mary Jayne employs her wily charms, seducing American Consul Graham Patterson in a daring gambit to sway her father into restoring her allowance. Tragedy strikes when Benjamin, in the depths of despair, takes his own life while in Spain. To compound their challenges, Vice-Consul Hiram Bingham delivers the grim news that anti-immigrant sentiments are on the rise in the US, further complicating the ERC’s critical work. Just when hope seems dim, Thomas introduces Mary Jayne to the enigmatic Margaux, a figure willing to fund the ERC under one condition: Mary Jayne must collaborate with British Intelligence. Brace yourself for a tale of intrigue, resilience, and the unexpected alliances formed in the pursuit of survival and salvation.

Episode 3 – “The Wilderness”

Amidst the chaos, Mary Jayne and Thomas find themselves entangled in Margaux’s daring mission to liberate British POWs from a formidable French prison. Simultaneously, the relentless Commissaire Frot of the Marseilles Police, applies unrelenting pressure on Patterson, hoping to uncover the whereabouts of the ERC’s precious refugees. Not to be outdone, the resourceful Hotel Splendide concierges, and the brothers Paul and Petit from Ouidah, join forces to establish a resilient resistance cell. Meanwhile, Albert grapples with a fit of jealousy after discovering Mary Jayne’s indiscretion with Patterson. As if that weren’t enough, Varian finds himself caught in a bewildering mix-up involving the renowned artist Max Ernst’s visa. To add a touch of surrealism to the mix, Peggy Guggenheim makes a captivating visit to the Villa, where Max throws an unforgettable birthday bash drenched in surrealistic wonders. However, the simmering tensions reach a boiling point when Patterson inadvertently witnesses an intimate moment between Varian and Thomas, leading him to question the ERC’s loyalty and its true intentions in a message to the US government. Brace yourself for a whirlwind of espionage, passion, and the intricate web of alliances that will test the ERC’s very foundation and challenge loyalties in unexpected ways.

Episode 4 – “No Road Back”

The thumb screws go to eleven when a nerve-wracking visit from the Nazi officers to Marseille sets off a chain of events that lands the ERC and refugees in the clutches of the tenacious SS Sinaia. In a moment of treasonous confession, Mary Jayne drops a bombshell on Varian, revealing her collaboration with British Intelligence. Definitely a risky move for a spy. Especially when it puts the currently hardened neutral United States in a hard spot. Captain DuBois, the wily master of the Sinaia, extends a daring offer to smuggle the refugees to safety, but Varian finds himself torn by hesitation. Meanwhile, Albert takes it upon himself to orchestrate the daring escape of the brilliant Walter Mehring from the clutches of Marseille. But ultimately, Mehring must return to the sanctuary of the Villa Air-Bel. As Varian and Mary Jayne emerge from the grips of captivity, they receive a devastating blow—the once-trusted Pyrenees route compromised due to the ill-fated discovery of a map provided by none other than our daring Mary Jayne. But wait, there’s more! In the midst of all this turmoil, Varian uncovers a surprising tidbit: President Franklin D. Roosevelt has triumphed for a third term.

Episode 5 – “The Human Condition”

Things start getting really tense when Mary Jayne, Albert, and Paul channel their inner action heroes and embark on a daring prison break at Camp des Milles, liberating not only the brave British POWs but also Lisa’s husband, Hans Fittko. Meanwhile, the brilliant mind of Hannah Arendt turns up the heat on Varian, putting the pressure on him to secure a visa to the land of stars and stripes. But alas, life has a wicked sense of humor, and Varian finds himself unceremoniously dismissed from his ERC post. In the midst of his own personal turmoil, Varian seeks solace in a heart-to-heart with Thomas, diving into the philosophical depths of finding one’s “compass” in the midst of uncertainty. Determined to defy the odds, Varian manages to work his charm on Vice-Consul Bingham, persuading him to toss the rule book aside and obtain those precious travel documents for the refugees. Frot though is hot on the trail of Dagobert, and the truth behind the audacious prison break is about to come crashing down like a ton of bricks.

Episode 6 – “Pure Psychic Automatism”

Varian finds himself in a race against the clock when he uncovers some pesky bugs infesting the Villa. With a mere 24 hours left on the clock, our quick-thinking hero sets out on a mission to fill DuBois’ ship with a boatload of refugees. He works Bingham left, right and center in order to urge him to land those critical visas at lightning speed. Simultaneously, Albert and Paul watch as the Nazis begin flexing their deportation muscles, sending shivers down everyone’s spines. Trouble comes knocking on Paul’s door when Patterson uncovers the resistance cell. They are in real danger now as Paul finds himself in the tight clutches of the law. As if that weren’t enough, it turns out that Patterson’s secretary, Lorene Letoret, has been playing both sides of the game, working as a sneaky spy for the Gestapo and leaving the Villa bugged to high heaven. Despite these daunting obstacles, the ERC’s indomitable spirit shines through as a whopping 257 refugees manage to escape to Martinique, thanks to their unwavering dedication. And amidst all the chaos, love is in the air as Mary Jayne and Albert hatch a plan to tie the knot and make their way to the land of stars and stripes.

Episode 7: “Fire in the Snow”

Oh, the tension is thicker than French onion soup as Germany tightens its grip on France. They close off every escape route the ERC had worked so hard to diligently create. But the ERC, as clever as always, is determined to not go down without a fight. Surprisingly, the Chagalls finally decide to hightail it out of Marseille. Which leads Mary Jayne to arm Albert, Petit, Lisa, and Hans to the teeth in order to create a minor fighting force in order to fight their way out of captivity. In so doing, they’ve set a bunch of prisoners free. Sadly, Petit and a Rabbi find their ends amidst the rescue. Varian joins the Chagalls as they escape, and Mary Jayne says her final goodbyes to the beautiful streets of France. And Albert decides he is going to join the resistance.

Thoughts On The Show Transatlantic

First off, the show is just a cool investigation into the super heroic efforts of a very small minority of people attempting to assist other humans who were professionally being attacked and hunted. But it immediately brings up an entirely different question – why exactly were “artists” being given special privileges?

Transatlantic is Your Next Netflix Historical Binge

Marc Chagall painted this painting. Apparently, this skill was worthy enough of our hunting for him, and quietly sneaking him out of France against the wishes of the local government and Germany’s wishes. “Illegally” we smuggled him out of the country because of this skill. Yes? I am good at tic-tac-toe. Why exactly wouldn’t the United States Government have searched me out and smuggled me to freedom? And we see this heartbreak early on as person after person is interviewed, and we even watch as individuals attempt to show their artistic skill in the hopes of getting out of Germany controlled Europe.

In short: it’s a moral quagmire.

But the thing I find so refreshing is the lens it provides on the fact that America was so slow to assist England, France, and the rest of Europe. Many believe that the United States to be this amazing bastion of support and help for the underdog around the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. The United States government was “neutral” til very late in the game, and England and the resistance were left to fight back on their own. At the time, the nation was wildly Isolationist, and we believed that World War II was ultimately a dispute between foreign nations and that the United States had no good reason to get involved. The best policy, we claimed, was for the United States to build up its own defenses and avoid antagonizing either side. Which makes the maneuverings of this merry band of heroes all the more impressive. Not only were they dodging, ducking, and weaving the French and German governments and troops, but they were also attempting to avoid getting shafted by the United States government as well. Well, they were supporting the artist smuggling efforts, but many of the other things they worked on were not condoned, you get the idea.

Overall, the acting was really well done, the history was compellingly riveting, and the utter chaos of the politics to be really asinine. The period depictions were just fantastic and the historicity of it seemed really accurate when I aligned it with the tech and details of the day. I just found the show to be a fascinating slice of life for a really dark and horrifying period for everyone within reach of the Germans at this time.

Interested in other THiNC. worthy WWII movies and shows, do not worry. I got you covered:

  1. The Twelfth Man
  2. Land of Mine
  3. Jo Jo Rabbit
  4. A Hidden Life
  5. Munich the Edge of War

Edited by: CY