One of Canada’s most critically acclaimed television shows, CBC’s X Company, seems to be in no danger of a sophomore slump. From what I can tell, the espionage drama from Flashpoint creators Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern, is firing on all cylinders and has returned back and better than ever in Season 2. With an increased episode order, bringing its total to 10, viewers will get an even longer thrill ride as they follow the team of spies, trained at Camp X on the shores of Lake Ontario, through various World War II adventures leading up to the Allied invasion at Dieppe.
Duncan Sinclair (Flashpoint’s Hugh Dillon) brought together this unique team of five agents, and Season 2 has seen him head out into the field and away from Camp X. Aurora (Orphan Black’s Evelyne Brochu) is the team’s leader in the field and specializes in speaking different languages. There’s also the British Neil (Warren Brown) who is good with weapons, Tom (Dustin Milligan, Schitt’s Creek) an American, the brilliant young Harry (Connor Price) who’s really good with radios and explosives, and last but not least, Alfred (Jack Laskey). Alfred is the team’s secret weapon, as he boasts a near-perfect memory thanks to a condition called synesthesia which fuses all of his senses together.
So maybe you’ve not checked out the show for yourself because you don’t think old school historical dramas are your bag of tricks. That’s certainly an understandable concern, and indeed, the show may not be for everyone. However, I also think that those who may have dismissed it based on that initial concern may want to rethink and have another look. After viewing, and immensely enjoying, the first few episodes of Season 2 it’s clear to me that X Company is not your typical television show, and it’s far from being some boring old history show that would only interest your grandfather. In this time where we see so many programs worthy of your time and attention, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why you should hurry up, catch the first two episodes of this season (available online at CBC), hang on tight and get on board as the X Company train barrels on through Season 2.
A team you can really root for
As a viewer you will become quickly attached to this team and each of the actors play brilliantly off one another. That’s something that’s especially important given that they are constantly behind enemy lines and are often thrown into the most unpredictable of circumstances. While Alfred definitely has his special abilities that make him an important asset, it’s also really great to see each team member take turns at proving why they are all equally important and that without each other they’d never be able to succeed.
Women who take charge
Do you love when your female characters are complex, multi-faceted, courageous and brave? Well then X Company is definitely the show for you. First up there’s Aurora Luft (excellently played by Brochu) who isn’t just going against social norms at the time by being a spy out in the field, but she’s also leading up the team that’s made up of four men and struggling with the hard decisions that come with that leadership role. Aurora can get into fights, shoot guns and mix it up in the field with the best of them, then turn right around, put on a fancy dress and go undercover as a fair maiden to get the intel she needs. Aurora may excel at speaking different languages, but I’ve found that Brochu is often most effective when she’s not saying a word, letting every internal struggle she’s facing instead just be written all over her face.
Aurora’s not the only one though, back at Camp X is Krystina (Lara Jean Chorostecki) who oversees an all female communications staff and is tough and knows what she wants. While she also has her own streak of heroism in her, Krystina is known to show a humourous and vulnerable side as she struggles with feelings for her ex Tom (Dustin Milligan).
Watching makes you smarter
While each episode of X Company does serve as a really interesting history lesson, you’ll be so engaged in the story and what’s going on with the characters you’ll forget that you’re actually learning. The show focuses on some really important moments in history, especially Canadian history, that aren’t talked about nearly enough–moments such as the Battle at Dieppe, which the entire season is leading up to. When one takes into account that we are losing more and more of the WWII veterans and storytellers who actually experienced the moments the show depicts, such X Company lessons begin to take on even more significance.
A deliciously evil villain
OK, we all know that the Nazis themselves always make good villains. It seems that just when you think you’ve heard the most horrible thing that the Nazis did, you find out something MUCH worse. However, X Company’s Franz Faber is the team’s biggest enemy and he’s excellently played by Torben Liebrecht. As bad as the team thought he was in Season 1, killing his own Down-syndrome son, he’s proved in Season 2 to be that much worse and hell-bent on making the team pay. You may want to absolutely hate Faber as a viewer, but Liebrecht is so good in the role that I often can’t help but smile when Faber comes on screen because of the way he takes command and steals every scene he’s in.
You CAN jump in with Season 2
Are you thinking that you don’t have time to go back and catch up on all of X Company’s episodes? I’m here to tell you first hand that’s not a problem. Hopefully Mark Ellis, Stephanie Morgenstern and the gang won’t hold this one against me, but I actually didn’t see all of Season 1. I had the best of intentions and always meant to, but sadly Peak TV won out and I never made it back to see every episode. If you find yourself in a similar boat don’t let it stop you from just going ahead and jumping all in with Season 2. The “previously on” segments will give you the information you need and after watching the first two episodes of Season 2 you will be caught right up with the action and fully understand the stakes. Sure, it’s not ideal–and not as I intended–but don’t let not seeing Season 1 stop you from becoming a X Company viewer in Season 2.
Edge of your seat intensity every week
Do you want to watch a show where you will get so emotionally invested in that you’ll literally be screaming at the screen or right on the edge of your seat each and every week? Welcome to X Company! These are spies on the ground in enemy territory having to lie and tactically maneuver in order to get what they want. Being that it’s set in WWII means these spies can’t take advantage of the latest technology. That means that the team is often having to put themselves on the line physically to gain information and follow their targets. There are many sacrifices that have to be made along the way, and many moments where you think their covers and the mission will be blown to pieces at any moment. It makes each week a thrill ride and one I can only hope more will get on board for in Season 2.
Have we done enough to convince you to tune into Season 2 of X Company? If you do, make sure you stop back and let us know your thoughts and what you enjoy most about the show! X Company airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC. All episodes are also available online on CBC’c website.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.