In Netflix’s ‘Operation: Nation’ or ‘Kryptonim: Polska,’ director Piotr Kumik and his team blend satire with romantic comedy to create a quintessentially Polish story. The plot primarily follows Staszek Sulkowski (Maciej Musialowski) and Pola Ratajczyk (Magdalena Mascianica), two young people who are the Romeo and Juliet of Polish politics. While Staszek becomes increasingly involved in far-right politics, Pola is a hardcore leftist. The two meet and there is an immediate attraction. After realizing Pola’s political leaning, Staszek decides to hide his own political affiliation. But as the film progresses, that becomes quite impossible as Pola decides to do her M.A. thesis on the right-wing group he is part of, and the group leader hatches an insidious plan to establish his outfit on the national stage. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of ‘Operation: Nation.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Operation: Nation Plot Synopsis
As a film, ‘Operation: Nation’ has a surreal undertone, and it’s quite similar to Taika Waititi’s ‘Jojo Rabbit.’ The film opens with the Radical Youth Association (ZMR) or RYS, a Nationalist organization, celebrating Hitler’s 132nd birthday. Its members are not necessarily the most fear-inducing representatives of the European far-right. If anything, they are average bigoted people who have found an outlet to vent their frustration. The problem is that the transition from verbal to violent is quite rapid for these people. Most of them, including their leader, Roman (Borys Szyc), are arrested by the police, only to be acquitted of their crimes by the court later.
Staszek, a resident of Białystok, was bound for soccer greatness, but a knee injury ended his career abruptly. Now, he is forced to share a room with his K-pop fan sister at his parents’ home. He has a dead-end job with no real prospects for the future. Staszek feels horribly stuck in his life and doesn’t know how to free himself from his current circumstances. Meanwhile, Pola decides to move back home to Białystok after catching her boyfriend, the pretentious Kajetan, in bed with another girl.
Roman is Staszek’s cousin. To pay him back for picking him up from practice all the time, Staszek comes to get Roman and his friends from the court. And this effectively becomes Staszek’s introduction to the ZMR ideology. He never seems interested in what Roman preaches about culture and gender, though he does seem to want a big traditional Polish family someday.
Staszek and Pola meet at a bar when a drunken leftist hits on the latter, and Roman sends Staszek to beat up the said leftist. Immediately, there is chemistry and planning for the future. Pola envisions the two of them tied to a tree during a protest, while Staszek daydreams about being married to Pola with children.
It doesn’t take long for Staszek to realize that Pola is a leftist. Embarrassed by his current political affiliation, he decides to hide it from her. Meanwhile, Roman plans to bomb a synagogue and moves the group to a church property, where the well-meaning priest takes them in. None of them have any prior experience with explosives, so they find an Italian fascist to help them with it. Ironically, the man gets severely beaten up by Polish racists for his darker skin color and is admitted to a hospital. Roman starts crying when he visits the man, as he realizes that his plans to blow up a synagogue are over.
Roman’s three lackeys — Mariusz (Karol Bernacki), Brajan (Mateusz Król), and Mieszko (Karol Kadlubiec) — get into a fight with people running a kebab shop over a Syrian song playing on the radio, during which Mieszko inadvertently gets stabbed. Although Mieszko is admitted to the hospital and survives the ordeal, protests, and counter-protests begin in front of the kebab shop, and soon, there is a riot.
Operation: Nation Ending: Do Staszek and Pola End up together?
Yes, Staszek and Pola end up together in ‘Operation: Nation.’ Directionless as he is, Staszek begins hanging out with Roman and his lackeys, even though he doesn’t agree with them. His parents think that he is gay, and he has to tell them about Pola. When Pola starts doing her thesis on ZMR, it becomes tricky for Staszek to hide the truth. She eventually finds out during the riot. During the subsequent confrontation on the back of a police van, they call each other hypocrites and seemingly break up.
The pink-colored “White Pride” t-shirt Staszek showed up at the protest wearing is misconstrued as a show of support by the local LGBTQ community, who invites him to a gathering. Sensing an opportunity, Roman encourages him to attend. Mariusz convinces the others to let him join Staszek, and it becomes quite apparent that Mariusz is gay.
Roman decides to plant an explosive device at the upcoming Pride parade, and Staszek tries to stop them but gets beaten up. They tie him to a chair and leave Mieszko behind to watch over him. Staszek manages to call Pola, who returns to Białystok, knocks Mieszko out, and frees Staszek. They rush to the parade but fail to find the explosive. However, when Roman attempts to detonate it, he fails. It turns out that Mariusz has decided to embrace who he really is and disarmed the bomb. Staszek and Pola reunite, and toward the end of the film, she gets her Master’s degree, and they move in together.
Why Does Roman Become a Minister?
Despite the reunion of Staszek and Pola, the film ends on a depressing note. Brajan takes responsibility for all that happened and goes to jail, while Roman and Mieszko are freed. In the final scene of the film, a recently promoted minister, Wojtas, comes to the group’s hideout and tells Roman that he wants him as his deputy. When Roman asks what about everything he has done, Wojtas dismisses them as youthful discretion.
The film ends right after Roman turns and looks directly at the camera. This scene is likely meant to be a critique of the current government in Poland, controlled by the right-wing political party Law and Justice or Prawo i Sprawiedliwość. Even though Staszek and Pola won the battle and helped prevent a massive disaster, they lost the war, with Roman now becoming a deputy minister.
Read More: Is Netflix’s Operation: Nation Based on a True Story?