One of the things that always strikes me about the character of Willie is
that he wants to protect people. He is always trying to protect Neil. He
also volunteered to go to Berlin for Laura. There are several moments when
he volunteers for assignments, to help his fellow workers. It is indeed the
final irony that he is protecting the Russian when he meets his end.
I am fascinated by the Neil-Willie relationship. It was obviously forged
during their stint as co-Sandbaggers. Normally I would not think Neil was
the kind of person Willie would even want to associate with. But he
evidently found qualities in him worth his loyalty. I think he senses that
Neil needs him. Of course, Willie himself must have a strong need to be
needed or he wouldn't do the things he does.
That is what makes this such a great series. Every time you watch you see a
new angle. This discussion has made me decide to pull out the tapes and
watch again. There is no better viewing.
>In what, I think, is the last scene between Willie and Neil they refer to
>each other as "an old married couple". One of them says that they've gone
>through more together than any couple ever has. This, to me, suggests the
>depth of the loss that Neil is going to feel (or try not to feel). Not to
>mention the guilt.
>The poignancy of the end, for me, is that Neil's obsession about "protecting
>the service" necessitates that Willie die trying to save a KGB agent; a
>really wonderfully sick irony that may well push Neil over the brink.