The Sympathizer episode 2 recap: Was the Captain able to find the mole?

The Sympathizer episode 2 was filled with a few twists and turns (Image via Instagram/HBO)
The Sympathizer episode 2 was filled with a few twists and turns (Image via Instagram/HBO)

The Sympathizer episode 2 picked up exactly where it left off in the premiere of the dark comedy miniseries. Following the narrow escape that the Captain and his longtime best friend Bon made after the fall of Saigon, the two found themselves in a foreign land.

While the Captain was optimistic about the new experience in the US, Bon was still recovering from the loss of his wife and child. Nevertheless, despite his personal struggles, he acted as the Captain's true companion in the middle of such uncertainty.

While in the United States, the Captain decided to go looking for his people and got in touch with the General and a few immigrants from Vietnam. Things were going well for the Captain, but news of an infiltrator and spy shook things up a little. Attempts were made to find this mole, but they all went in vain.

Disclaimer: The article comprises spoilers for The Sympathizer


Who was the spy in The Sympathizer?

The secret spy among the exclusive group of Vietnamese immigrants was not found by the end of season 2 of The Sympathizer. The search was set in motion by the General who feared that there was a mole among them who was spreading misinformation about him.

He also thought that this person was slowly turning the others against him. An example of this was when women started blaming the General for their present condition.

The General appointed the Captain to find out who the spy was. The Captain's first instinct was that Major Oanh was the culprit, but that possibility was dismissed after no major proof was found against her. All eyes were on the Captain when, at the end of the episode, the General claimed he was also one of the suspects in the situation.


Is The Sympathizer based on real events?

The plot of The Sympathizer is based on an award-winning novel of the same name written by Vietnamese-American professor and novelist, Viet Thanh Nguyen. According to Spy Talk, some parts of Nguyen's accounts in his novel are real while some are fictionalized. The source confirms it via author Jeff Stein, who says:

"A key plot line in the novel... is drawn from true events that were described by a retired North Vietnamese spymaster in a memoir published in Hanoi several years ago—a memoir I was lucky to obtain, and a general that I was privileged to meet, in his home in 2017."

Where does the audience and critics' verdict stand after the release of The Sympathizer episode 2?

So far, the critics and the audiences have loved the show, garnering positive reviews on platforms like Rotten Tomatoes. It has an impressive 87% rating from the critics and a 79% rating from the audiences.

Melanie McFarland from Salon.com wrote about the show:

"The Sympathizer is a spy tale, a black comedy, a hazy war memoir and a coming-of-age story, to name a few genres it touches on. Park evokes all of this while maintaining an electrified focus on ordering the Captain's journey into pleasing progressions."

A fan of the show also wrote on the review platform:

"It's always hard to adapt great books into series or movies, especially this masterpiece of a book, but the show did a fantastic job, and based on my dad's description, it accurately portrayed the last day(s) before Saigon fell. And it's satisfying -- and I felt proud -- to see Vietnamese actors portraying complex Vietnamese characters on a major platform like HBO. Looking forward to the rest of the series. I thought it was well-acted and adapted well for the screen."

The Sympathizer episode 3 is scheduled to be aired on HBO on April 28, 2024.

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