Berlin Station, episode 7, first impressions [spoilers]

[Episode 6 thoughts are here. Squirrel.0072, don’t read this.]

I moved into the camp of “don’t care if Richard Armitage wants to continue in this series or not” last week, and more or less stayed there this week. Not many key Daniel scenes, but lots of gorgeous closeups of his face, especially on our big television. Dad was too tired to watch (last day of hunting).

TL;DR summary — I realized that I was going to have to suspend all of the disbelief generated last week to watch this, and I did, I said, okay, just believe all that crazy stuff just happened and move on, but even given that, I thought the plot was, frankly, cheap — when it wasn’t weirdly confusing. I was okay until about 35 minutes in, when the Claire plotline began to feel manipulative and then turned out to be. At this price level we should be able to do better than the damsel on the train tracks. Also: honestly — why doesn’t someone just assassinate Hector?

On the other hand — lots of watching various reactions flit across Richard Armitage’s face. That was cool.

***

I still love the titles. Even if the mass transit seems to be going to Kreuzberg all the time, too.

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Episode opens with Claire in the hands of Ruth Iosova, who threatens her if she doesn’t tell her where her husband is.

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Zahra Ahmadi is great in this episode.

Next, we see Hector puking / having a flashback.

Note that this is a German two-button toilet and Hector is pushing on the

Note that this is a German two-button toilet and Hector is pushing on the “Number 2” button for solid waste. Always the environmentalist.

Hector's flashback.

Hector’s flashback.

Daniel comes to tell him that Ruth Iosava’s made contact.

Every spy's dream: Daniel Miller peaks in just you've finished vomiting.

Every spy’s dream: Daniel Miller peaks in just after you’ve finished vomiting.

Steven briefs the station about an upcoming call with Iosava and “reassures” them that he will get Claire back.

It's all about me me me! [Damn, I have to get this sarcasm under control]

It’s all about me me me! [Damn, I have to get this sarcasm under control]

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller evaluating Steven's statement while Hector wipes the vomit off his mouth.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller evaluating Steven’s statement while Hector wipes the vomit off his mouth.

Valerie doesn't believe him.

Valerie doesn’t believe him.

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Hector doesn’t believe him.

Then we see some neat camera work — Robert watching Hector, Daniel watching Robert.

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Hector questions Steven’s grasp of the situation, Steven says, “I thought you would have learned your lesson after your recklessly inserted yourself in the mall with an unapproved weapon.” (Steven is more optimistic than Servetus.) Hector calls Steven geriatric, Robert defends Steven, Valerie looks guilty. Steven tells Hector get out and Hector agrees. Daniel runs after him and tells him they need him.

“There is no fucking we anymore, Daniel,” Hector says. Well, no. Not in any station that incorporates Hector.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage) looking upset.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage) looking upset. More seriously, though, this is a micro-expression moment and should be looked at in slomo.

Daniel tells Steven he wants to follow Hector, and after some resistance, Steven agrees.

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“If Hector’s out there, acting on his emotions, snoopin’ around, the next to expect where we find Claire [?], she’s as good as dead.” Foreshadowing.

Next, the call with Ruth Iosava. Steven takes it but Valerie and Robert are standing to the side of the screen, out of her view. We learn that Steven can barely speak German and that his name is “Paul.” (This is a little implausible to me. One chief place that unemployed history PhDs go to find jobs is the CIA and most of them are at least decent linguists. And German is a heavily studied language.) After some palaver, we learn that Ruth wants her husband back and safe passage to Syria in return for Claire. Steven says they need confirmation that Claire is alive. Ruth Iosava wants the same — and cuts off the call, promising to call again in two hours.

We spot Daniel buying cheap vodka (here’s a funny review of the brand, in German — the only reason to buy it is the price and the amount you get, and you should mix it with something), and one of the main groups who buy it are people who patronize Berlin kiosks that are open late. He’s accosted by Daniel, who wants to help. Hector accuses him of being sent by Frost, which he denies, and then urges him to go away: “You’re a company man, so was I once, but tonight you’re in bad company” (clever line, I’ll give you that). Daniel accuses him of wanting to get drunk first. Hector says they need to look at the van. Daniel says Robert didn’t find anything. Hector says of Robert, “One fucking car chase and he thinks he’s Vin Diesel” (great line again). Hector wins.

At the station, Robert, Steven and Valerie have a call with “Clay” at Langley. Clay says they can’t trade for Claire because they don’t have Iosava; Romanian intelligence did it. Valerie doesn’t know why they would do that. Clay says Iosava is involved in the Bucharest black market. They can’t provide “proof of life” but they have “reached out” to the Romanians. Johnson (the bugger, i.e., the guy who places the bugs) tells Valerie they’re not going to figure out Ruth Iosava’s actual IP or location anytime soon. Sandra brings Steven some headache pills and Sandra says she can’t understand why anyone could be leading a happy life and then turn to ISIL.

Steven:

Steven: “Guess she fell for the wrong guy.”
Sandra: “Right. Because women can’t fall for bad ideology, only bad men.” OUCH. Then Steven looks down at her breasts.

She’s going to go out and get kebab because it’s all that’s open. Steven finds this amusing.

Next, the BFV are tossing the Iosava apartment, looking for clues. Esther Krug meets Hans Richter there. This is an important scene.

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Esther says that Steven Frost desires to avoid a rendition but was just waiting for the right time. Richter corrects her: the Americans. She points out that Frost would have to okay a rendition ahead of time. Steven calls Richter just then and asks if they have any leads. Richter says not yet.

“And now I must meet with Chancellor Merkel to convince her that the gunmen who shot up a mall aren’t linked to the refugees.” Good luck, Hans; I’d like to point out that I mentioned LAST WEEK that this flimsy excuse would create a political problem if it ever had to be used.

Esther shows Hans footage of the kidnapping; next to the truck was another vehicle registered to Zoltan Vasile, big guy in sex trafficking and the Romanian mob. Hans thinks the Romanians did it. Esther is smarter than he is.

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Hans tells her he needs definitive proof, as he’s known Steven a long time. (Like he wouldn’t otherwise?)

Next, the impound yard. I include this cap in light of our discussion of hard to pronounce German words.

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KFZ is the abbreviation for Kraftfahrzeug (essentially, “machine powered vehicle”) and Sicherstellungsgelände is a compound word: “secure-placing-area”. I’m guessing there’s an easier way to say this, but I don’t know it as I never owned a car in Germany and I’ve never had any car impounded.

Claire left a message that everyone else has overlooked:

Understanding this section relies on realizing that

Understanding this section relies on realizing that “Wedding” is the name of a district of Berlin. However, it’s pronounced “Vedding.” It’s either clever or very silly, depending on how you see it.

Daniel and Hector call from a waiting line at a roadblock, which the German police inexplicably let them through, but it’s not entirely clear why the scene is here anyway, except to indicate the Germans are looking for the kidnappers, too. I find the German police generally cooperative but they’re not marshmallows. Anyway, Hector wants access to “brown bear.” Valerie agrees. The men stop to get cigarettes and Daniel calls Steven to tell them they’re headed for Wedding. Not clear why Hector doesn’t notice / overhear this conversation. Steven wants them to come in for a debrief; Daniel says they don’t have time.  Cut to Robert meeting with Golda (the Mossad agent). Golda gives Robert the pictures of the kidnapping, which she says she got from Hans Richter (and implies more). She asks for a file labeled “Antoinette.” They argue about the timing of the request.

Next scene is a woman entering a sex club. I did not realize this was Esther Krug until she starts speaking English with the Romanian sex worker whose time she buys.

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The sex worker makes her as a cop and points out that she’s working legally (a topic I won’t get into here, but official sex work is legal in Germany. We ran into a Romanian prostitute a week ago — a lot of the sex workers in Berlin are Eastern Europeans but I would venture to say most of them are still trafficked.) Esther wants an introduction to Zoltan Vasile. Valerie visits Bora / “Swingset” in the hospital, asking him for clues as to where in Wedding Claire might be held (Bora is Turkish; a nationalist Turkish political group is said to “run” Wedding. I lived in Wedding for several months in 2007 and would definitely agree there are a lot of Turkish people living there. As well as a decent number of African Africans.)

Robert gives the kidnapping photos to Steven just in time for the next call with Ruth Iosava. Interesting camera work with perspective. Steven reminds me of Jerry Lundegaard in Fargo in this scene. Ruth decides to accept his excuses and let him speak to Claire.

Hector and Daniel are driving through Berlin and Hector is singing the words to The Mercy Seat.

Many beautiful shots of Daniel Miller in profile; potential eyelashgasm.

Many beautiful shots of Daniel Miller in profile; potential eyelashgasm. We’re supposed to notice that Hector is nuts and Daniel is thinking here. That’s all that happens.

Back at the sex club, the sex worker introduces Esther to Zoltan Vasile. Esther gets him on top of her, then holds a knife to his balls so he admits that he did the Iosava kidnapping.

Cut back to Claire in captivity. Ruth asks whether Claire is really a Muslim and Claire says she is, and they get into a discussion about Islam, the West, how Claire justifies what Ruth sees as her disobedience to Allah, the “drive through mentality of the West,” and so on.  Richard Armitage tweeted that this is a serious challenge that we have to meet, and I’m willing to entertain that, but as in portrayals of Muslims in so much of Spooks, here it feels more like shorthand than anything else.

Ruth:

Ruth: “I was like you, once.”
Claire: “And then you saw the light, and you thought … Allah wants us to suffer?” Great line.

I agree, it would be a worth a conversation, but I’m not going to have it over Twitter with strangers with varying knowledge levels via a celebrity who himself never participates in the conversation. Anyway, Claire ventures her name as step towards changing things. Ruth is dismissive.

Esther arrests Vasile and calls Richter — it was “the Americans.” Richter says he wants to hear it personally.

I'm going to say idiom error here. If what Richter wants to say is Ms Krug, that would be

I’m going to say idiom error here. If what Richter wants to say is Ms Krug, that would be “Frau Krug.” Germans don’t use Fräulein to refer to adult single women any more and haven’t in several generations. Also, I don’t get why he’d use “Du” as address in the first half of the sentence and “Sie” in the second half. Just strange.

At the station, Robert is fishing through the files, but we don’t see what he sees. Valerie gives the guys access to “brown bear,” which turns out to be a stash of weapons (she asks why Daniel is there). She tells them to get in touch with Metin in Glasgowerstr 97 — just off Schillerpark. I lived literally four blocks from this location in 2007 and I had no idea any of this stuff was going on. Like, maybe it’s a hotbed of radical activity under the surface, but I mostly experienced it as a sort of rundown and cheap area of town with a lot of Turkish markets and places to eat kebab and junk shops. I guess it’s changed … anyway, the guys pick up some guns and establish they are untraceable.

Back to Claire’s captivity. A guard wakes her up and she knocks him over, strangles him with her chains and escapes. Shit, Claire. I’m impressed. Ruth learns of Claire’s disappearance only minutes before her next scheduled contact with the CIA. She runs and runs — through a really interesting abandoned factory building, the sort of structure there are many of in Wedding — and gets all the way to a rooftop but she’s trapped and thus gets captured again.

At the station, “Clay” is talking to Steven, Valerie and Robert again. He tells them Iosava is in a camp on the Romanian / Hungarian border. They need a million dollars to do a live feed to talk to him. The US President needs to be involved in any exchange. The Romanians are having technical difficulties. This sounded to me like excuse after excuse. Immediate segue to the next call from Ruth Iosava. Steven insists on seeing Claire, who’s been apprehended in the meantime. Claire makes another reference to “wedding.” When Steven has to delay contact with Alexander Iosava, Ruth starts whaling away on Claire. They all watch and Valerie asks Steven to do something, revealing his real name and also that they’re not alone. Ruth gives them an hour or Claire will die.

Valerie calls Daniel and Hector to tell them time is of the essence. They conduct a home invasion in the Glasgowerstr. Hector catches Metin, the guy they want in flagrante, shoots him through the shoulder and tells Daniel to shoot his girlfriend if they have no results in three minutes.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller reacting to Hector.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller reacting to Hector.

Next, Hector’s in the bathroom, with a straight razor in his hand, pontificating about his training, and torturing people and how rough it is.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller reacting to what he overhears Hector saying.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller reacting to what he overhears Hector saying.

Hector’s talking about removing fingers and ears. Visual implication, although it’s not shown on screen — Hector slices the guy’s ear off with a straight razor.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller reacting to Hector slicing the Turkish guy's ear off.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller reacting to Hector slicing the Turkish guy’s ear off.

Hector emerges from the room, makes a joke about getting the address, and they leave. On the stairs, Hector has an episode. Remind me again of why they let him work for the CIA in the first place? And why he seems to be the only person from the CIA who is actively doing anything on the ground in Berlin?

At the embassy, the live feed is ready, but Clay tells them for an exchange they are still waiting on the President. Ruth calls and shows them Claire. They they let Iosava talk with his wife, but oops:

He was supposed to be in Romania. No plane necessary.

He was supposed to be in Romania. No plane necessary.

Steven is flabbergasted.

The guys are running toward the building where Claire is being held.

Ruth is understandably confused by what her husband is telling her and says, essentially, it might be time for us to say Lebewohl — this is an extremely elevated way of saying goodbye that sometimes implies permanence. She thinks she’s been lied to. Steven keeps saying “no.” And it gets worse:

Not so many palms in Romania, either.

Not so many palms in Romania, either.

Ruth gets angry and decides to take it out on Claire.

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At this point, I started to feel exploited as a viewer, because yeah, what we’re starting here is the classic “Perils of Pauline” plot line. Claire became my favorite character last week and they were counting on that because they wanted to manipulate me emotionally. Okay, whatever. Then Ruth apparently fires at the screen to put us all in the dark (equally manipulative — on a broadcast channel we’d have cut to commercial break).

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The guys run toward the shots and we’re in a classic standoff.

Smoking forbidden by the police! (Guns are fine)

Smoking forbidden by the police! (Guns are fine — suddenly Wedding is feeling a lot like the U.S.)

Ruth has Claire by the throat and is aiming at her and the guys, advancing out of the darkness, are aiming at Ruth.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller trying to reassure Ruth.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller trying to reassure Ruth.

Claire elbows Ruth to break free and Ruth shoots her in the back, slightly below the heart. Daniel tackles Ruth and Claire dies in Hector’s lap. It’s very hard to avoid the conclusion that although he did not shoot her personally, Hector triggered all of this. He’s really the reason that Claire died. Of course, he’s going to blame it on someone else.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller, reacting to Claire's death.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller, reacting to Claire’s death.

Hector threatens Ruth, and Daniel tries to talk him out of it. Hector then does some artsy weird acting stuff that no CIA guy would do, including playing with Ruth’s tears, then executes her by manually breaking her neck. The way this is executed makes me suspect that the script writers thought it was shocking and creative; I resented it as I knew he was going to kill her all along.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller reacting to Hector's snapping of Ruth Iosava's neck.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller reacting to Hector’s snapping of Ruth Iosava’s neck.

It’s almost like Daniel is Hector’s own personal Greek chorus.

Daniel calls into the office to get the bodies picked up. He tells Valerie Ruth got away as Hector stows the body. He then tells her that Claire is dead.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller telling Valerie about Claire.

Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller telling Valerie about Claire.

Valerie cries with her whole body. This is probably the most affecting moment of the episode.

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Daniel goes to a kebab place.

Beautiful shot of Daniel in the kebab joint.

Beautiful shot of Daniel reacting to the table in the kebab joint.

Hans calls to tell Steven he knows that the Americans were behind the Iosava kidnapping. Steven is confused.

Daniel is still in the kebab place.

Beautiful shot of Daniel reacting to the super-sweet hot tea they sell in kebab places.

Beautiful shot of Daniel reacting to the super-sweet hot tea they sell in kebab places. Or maybe it’s booze, but you can’t always buy alcohol in those places if the owner is devout.

Actually, they’re trying to show that Steven and Daniel both get the same news from the television (although it’s not clear why the tv in a Turkish restaurant is on an English channel): the latest Shaw leak, which makes Steven the man responsible for the kidnapping and rendition of Iosava. Krischan Ganz (from last week, one of the Cologne BFV guys) announces that a warrant has been issued for Steven’s arrest.

This is just stupid. In no dictionary on the planet does

This is just stupid. In no dictionary on the planet does “Meine Damen und Herren” mean “Good morning.” FFS.

Now Daniel has some obtrusive flashbacks — probably contagious after spending so much time with Hector.

Beautiful shot of Daniel reacting to his own flashbacks.

Beautiful shot of Daniel reacting to his own flashbacks.

Beautiful shot of Daniel realizing Hector is Thomas Shaw.

Beautiful shot of Daniel realizing Hector is Thomas Shaw.

Three more episodes of Hector. Blerg. Also, the plot — hmm. The Americans took Iosava, but it wasn’t Steven? (I would totally believe he would stage this for promotion, he’s such a careerist, except he appears way too incompetent.) And then this “Clay” guy at Langley stalls forever and allows this huge fuckup phone call? That kind of implies that “Clay” either wanted to mess Steven up or prevent Claire from being recovered (don’t ask me what the reason for that would have been) or manipulate the station into offing Ruth Iosava. Anyway, the Germans think it was the Americans and the Romanians think it is the Americans and the Americans are not the same as Steven Frost and what “Clay” allowed to happen is fishy. If the script is trying yet again to create sympathy for Steven … uch. Huge swathes of this show make me want to vomit myself, and our toilet only has one lever to flush with. A lot of this stuff makes up the reasons why I don’t watch much tv.

Well, the name suggests there are palm trees in La Palma. Maybe we’ll finally get some more “Panama.” Although the scenes from next week didn’t look that way.

~ by Servetus on November 28, 2016.

60 Responses to “Berlin Station, episode 7, first impressions [spoilers]”

  1. Around here we still use ‘Fräulein’, but in a mocking kind of way so that doesn’t bother me but the ‘mein Herr(?)’ from the german police man sounded really weird in my opinion.

    • yeah, that was odd, too.

      I think if I’d have wanted to use that way of mocking, I’d have stuck with “Du.” Bring ihn rein, Frl. Krug. To me the switch in address is really jarring.

    • Or he could have used that weird archaic third person that salespeople use in old movies. Frl. Krug wolle ihn reinbringen — isn’t that how that went?

      • You mean: ‘Bringe sie ihn herein!’ (or something like that…). Yeah, no, this was used to illustrated that the person who was spoken to was ranked before the person who spoke and that’s completely out of use nowadays. I only know it because my grandmother used this when she spoke to her father in law…

        • I’ve never heard anyone actually say that, either, lol. (It shows up in Lotte in Weimar, incidentally … my favorite Mann novel).

          • This got me really confused when I was a child (my great-grandfather died 1992 and after that my grandmother had no reason to use that anymore) and my mother had to explain to me why Gran talked that funny with Opa lol

    • Totally agree, Herba. The Fräulein is an address used between people who are actually familiar with each other, particularly work colleagues. The “mein Herr” was completely anachronistic. I haven’t heard anyone say that – except as a joke – for decades. I am positive, though, that the German police is not usually known for their humour…

      • Well, I have honestly never heard this working in universities — at least in the settings I’ve worked in and offices i have shared, many people were per Du and some were per Sie, but calling someone Frl. even in jest would not have flown.

        I’m wondering if they got an American script to translate? In a setting like that in the US, a police officer would probably say “sir,” at least to a white driver (no bets on what they say to black motorists, though). “Put your phone away, sir / ma’am.” “Mein Herr” could be a literal translation of that. But it’s still weird.

        • It’s nothing but a joke, Serv. It’s not used frequently, but it is not unheard of, either. I have done it on occasion with my German friends on Twitter – it just makes fun of the formal address by using an antiquated form of address (Fräulein) and then combining it with the informal pronoun. A contradiction in linguistic terms. It was certainly done when I was working in uni (although that is now 20 years ago). It’s apparently called “Hamburger Sie” – read here: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamburger_Sie
          And yes – weird; and really not a good example for the German language stringently following the rules😉

          • I know what Hamburger “Sie” is — first name plus formal address and I did occasionally encounter that in Göttingen. However, I read this as a different situation as I didn’t get the feeling this was supposed to be a joke.

            • Upsi – I got it wrong. It’s called “Münchner Du”: as in „Frau Servetus, kannst du mir das mal erklären?” Apologies.

              • OK, that’s possible, and I’ve never encountered that. I would find that very strange, though!

                • Strange yes, and hence funny. IDK, I have the impression it is going to vanish from usage, anyway, as the formal address is becoming less and less used, anyway, and younger people therefore are not as au fait with the conventions of “Sie” and do not get the humour of the Münchner Du.
                  In the context of the script, it is definitely weird. Since it wasn’t written by a German, it makes me wonder whether it was a slip-up or deliberate. The latter seems highly unlikely to me.

                  • I think it must have been translated into German from English. All translations are approximations, of course. But this is really something you’d think a German would have at least asked about (“is this really supposed to be funny?”). I didn’t take humor from that exchange.

                    Too bad about formal address in German. I really appreciated the relative distance and the feeling that went with being invited to say “Du.”

                    • And the whole exchange really stood out to me like a sore thumb because I remembered immediately that Hans Richter and Esther Krug had previously used the informal du with each other. Trouble really is, that the use of Fräulein from Hans (the superior) to Esther (lower in rank) can come across as patronising. Unless there is a clear reference to Esther intended, about being young, for instance. I don’t see any of that. It probably is what you say – case of bad translation.
                      I have wondered about the collaborative atmosphere on this shoot in other respects, too, i.e. when it comes to the pronunciation gaffes of the non-native speakers. Just strange that the German crew didn’t remark on any of this. Who knows, maybe it is all deliberate…

                  • I felt like Steven’s inability to cough out a basic German sentence in this episode was supposed to be deliberate. (Then again, the sentence was sort of ironically funny, something about “geben wir die Hoffnung nicht auf,” which you think would be beyond that level of ability to formulate, so maybe not.) On the other ones, I’m not sure. Like in this episode, I would say Rhys Ifans’ German was poor, but understandable (he was clearly just reciting syllabus), but I suppose you could say he was doing the “I’m a poor foreigner, don’t pick on me” shtick (I knew people who did that, who made their German worse than it was to elicit sympathy.)

                    Other stuff is inexplicable, like the way that Forbes pronounces “Schönefeld” two or three different ways.

                    • Yeah, the level of German – I have given up hope even though there was a brief spark of brilliance thanks to Zahra Amadi. Her German was really good, two episodes ago. Of course, she is gone now – I was really shocked and disappointed about that, although it was predictable that a junior officer was going to have to provide the first victim…
                      PS: The poor foreigner shtick works everywhere. Have put that on in English, too, on occasion.

                  • According to Armitage’s live tweet, she didn’t have much prep time, either. But her English is also fantastically American. She’s apparently originally from Devon and has played in EastEnders — maybe a natural mimic?

                    I don’t know if you ever watched Star Trek, and perhaps you already know this, but that was how you knew a character was going to die — he was wearing a red shirt, you’d never seen him before, and they let him go down to the planet. Usually he was dead before the first commercial break.

                    • Yep, I looked her up, too, and was also quite impressed with her American accent. Definitely better than… coughs.
                      Was she wearing a red shirt?

                  • metaphorically, anyway. I think she had a pink one on when she was playing the shopgirl. That was so funny, and her German was right on.

          • as I understand it, Hamburger “Sie” is simply an idiomatic variant. It’s not intended to be humorous all the time (e.g., I think the newscaster at the Berlin premiere used this with Armitage — Sie / Richard).

          • Oh, and — this was also how ex-SO’s parents addressed me for about eight years of our relationship (Sie / Susan). But they never would have called me Frl.

      • Maybe Steinhauer wrote the dialogue in english and someone translated a ‘sir’ to ‘mein Herr’? I would have expected a little bit more from a self proclaimed high end tv series…or maybe my expectations are only so high because of RAs involvement, I really don’t know!

  2. There’s definitely something completely unrealistic when Hector is stopped, told to put the mobile phone away, and is then allowed to keep on using it while driving because he’s supposedly dealing with a family emergency. That’s plain and simply illegal and would result in a fine. He could use it if he wasn’t holding it in his hand, but not like this. That was jarring for me.

    And you’re right (so is the series in this regard): Being a prostitute is legal in Germany. Being a pimp isn’t. But as with so many things, that something is illegal doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get done anyway. Especially with foreign prostitutes there’s a real likelihood that they are trafficked, forced etc. But there are brothels that are run by the prostitutes themselves, and they can (and do) call the police if there’s trouble. So in a way, this does create better safety and less exploitation for sex workers, even if doesn’t work for all of them.

    • It feels to me like they needed an opportunity for Hector to say those things so they built it into this largely unrelated context that they didn’t understand fully. (How often are there roadblocks in Germany these days, anyway? I’m guessing there were more in the RAF days, but … I never had an encounter with a German police officer on a road.)

      re: sex work in Germany, the reason I said I didn’t want to get onto the topic is because the research on it is voluminous (I have a friend who studies this). Jury is really still out among researchers even on how well it works for legal sex workers. Lots of arguments there about legal sex workers being forced to turn more tricks than they would have otherwise, for instance.

      • Roadblocks around here happen but not on a daily basis. I guess it is really area dependent.

      • I’ve never seen a roadblock of this type, only the police stopping people so someone could ask them some traffic questions needed to decide on how to extend our local roads. It would make complete sense in this situation, but it’s safe to say that people would be advised to stay off the streets if at all possible. That’s what happened in Munich this summer, where public transport was also closed down for a few hours.

        re. sex workers: I’m not a specialist at all, but the local brothels have sometimes made it into the newspaper when some customer caused trouble (e. g. using counterfeit money, trying not to pay, and other relatively harmless stuff, not real violence). The police gets called and helps solve the problem. Personally I find that important since it adds a layer of protection. But I think any sex work has its (all too often very) dark sides, legal or not.

        • I agree that the end of the designation “sittenwidrig” has had lots of great consequences. Sex workers can also pay in the public health insurance scheme, which is a major advantage, and qualify for pension / retirement. But there are also complaints that in bordello situations they have to turn more tricks than they normally would, and that legalization has depressed prices.

  3. I’m surprised that they have all these German slip-ups. Surely there were enough native speakers around who could/should have helped with that?

    I haven’t heard ‘Fräulein’ to formally address an unmarried woman since the early 80s; when I got my first savings account at 10 that still referred to me as Fräulein but never again have I seen in in anything official since leaving school. (Unless it was my Dad telling me off 😉 for taking his car without asking)

    • I can see it being used in jest in certain situations but it wasn’t something I ever witnessed, either.

  4. Beautiful shots of Daniel. 😂

  5. I can’t figure out what happened to Iosova and why. This was super-confusing and non-sensical.

    Agree that they made Claire very likable just so we wouldn’t like it if she was killed. Some of the other characters could be killed, and I wouldn’t mind at all!

    • I dreamt about this last night (which I really resent). In my dream, they discovered something about the station in that CIA audit that they did a few episodes about, and enllisted Valerie to set up Iosava to collaborate with Langley to expose Robert and Steven as embezzlers. (I’m not arguing that — with Claire dead anything involving Valerie as a conspirator is doubtful — but that was what my dreaming mind came up with after writing this summary and two bock beers).

      Also this episode kind of made the German intelligence service look bumbling, which I don’t believe for a second. (You can argue that I’m definitely a Teutonophile of course. I’ve had my share of bizarre encounters with clueless German bureaucrats but honestly. Maybe the real story is that the Germans had Iosava kidnapped in order to frame Steven because they’re angry about Dieter Klaus.) In any case, Hector apparently had enough evidence to frame Steven for the action. Or maybe Hector hired the Rumanian thugs …

      It looks like that role was a step up from most of what Zahra Ahmadi is usually doing — I would not have realized she wasn’t American until I googled her. I hope this role will be good for her career. But this was just manipulative. The list of cheap dramatic moves involving her would be extensive (minor character elevated to level of major character despite not enough info on many major characters but also saving us any grief over a major character getting killed — which Spooks, in comparison, was not afraid to do; getting us to sympathize in order to kill her off for cheap tears; making it look like she triggered her own death by being active, when it was really Hector / Daniel “but at least she didn’t just lay down and die” — getting us confused about the gender politics; uch uch uch).

      • I didn’t think the Germans looked bad. I thought Steven looked really stupid and the Langley folks were either incompetent or had some very mysterious agenda. I had the impression for half the episode that Esther was doing something sneaky, but then it didn’t appear to be the case. I guess we will learn in the next episode. I’m pretty sure Hector didn’t have anything to do with capturing Iosova if he is really so in love with Claire. (Although he only seemed to be in love with her starting in the previous episode — before that he seemed to be using her.)

        • I think if you don’t know who’s kidnapping people in your own country, and you’re the head of the Berlin BFV when it happens in Berlin, you look bad. Suggests you’re not in control of your own sovereign territory. (This kind of thing is a bugbear in the US/German relationship, though, see my earlier comments about the wikileaks revelations about the US bugging Merkel’s cellphone.)

          re: Hector and Clare — couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen no evidence to contradict the argument that all Hector’s love is self-love. Clare’s statement last week “if you don’t stop interfering, we’re through” seems prophetic now. Your comment also raises the question of “just in time” plotting that seems to characterize this series. There’s so much going on and not enough space that there’s very little backstory for any sentiment that we’re supposed to accept (and for other stuff, I’m thinking about the Hector/Patricia subplot that the “scenes from next week” suggest will make a reappearance — or the very obtrusive “Robert in the files” interjection this week). So when that stuff does show up it’s like there’s a neon light flashing over it — but it never gets the fleshing in to make it feel believable on its own.

        • also in light of the US/German relationship, I thought it was amusing when Daniel said that if they were connected to Claire’s death, they’d be on the first plane back to HQ. Om, no. They’d have been on the first plane back to HQ immediately after the shootemup at the mall.

      • I didn’t think Clare was that minor a character – anyway, not compared to Patricia and some of the others who have since come and gone. The writers gave mixed signals about how she and Hector feel about each other – there was a history – because Valerie was aware of it and there was one time where I thought Clare was playing Hector, at Valerie’s urging. I just don’t know – but for now, he’s playing it like the bereaved. (He liked her, at the very least). I’m still confused about it. I thought a big plot hole and an unrealistic and incredible happenstance was Ruth Iosova immediately recognizing Clare from the mosque and having a convenient photo on her cell, just to prove it.
        Also, I’m still not sure of Esther’s agenda here, because we, the audience, never heard the brothel owner Romanian actually tell her it was the Americans who kidnapped Iosova ( or maybe I missed that first time around). I think she’s had it in for Frost for a while. And, just as an aside and something else to throw in the mix ( maybe most/many sex workers in Germany are Romanian), but after the episode (5,6?) where Robert gets oral sex from some hooker, I noticed that the credits referred to her as ” Romanian prostitute.” Not sure if there’s a meaningful connection.

        • It could be meaningful, or not. The papers suggest that most of the trafficked women in Berlin at the moment come from Romania or Bulgaria (Czech Republic and Ukraine used to be in there, too, but I think that situation has changed). But it’s legal to have a girl come to your apartment in Berlin, as long as she doesn’t have a pimp (not legal to pimp) and she has the right to work in Germany and pays the necessary taxes on her income.

          re: Clare / minor — she’s not in the main titles is she? She’s an addition. I don’t know that Hector likes her more than other people he had sex with (Faisal, whom he also seemed broken up about).

          re: Esther — don’t know, but we aren’t given any reason for her to hate Frost, unless there’s some Cold War backstory (which is possible, if Frost has really been at it since 1976).

          • No, she’s not in the main titles, but I’d have to check whether any non-station characters are ( maybe the actor who plays Hans?) But she had a lot of screen time 5/7 episodes. Hector says how he feels about her a number of times – question is whether you (0ne) believe(s) him. Yeah Faisal – for sure, but I think he felt guilt there and anger at the system. I think he’s a damaged, rogue guy now, I’m not sure of the trith of the Daniel/Chechnya story ( as we discussed before) and – this is a little funny, or was to me, when DeVoss tells him that they met on the end of his [fist] for a few minutes, I thought he meant something else entirely. Now I think Hector was forced to torture him in a black site.
            Re Esther – no reason given for her to hate Frost – but she is trying to recruit Daniel, and Frost might be in the way – but it bothers me that the writers/directors did not give us definitive proof that the Romanian fingered the Americans for the rendition. My doubt here is that Hans seems to take Esther’s word for it without double checking and – well, the writer said so after the episode.

            • yeah, I have never believed the Daniel / Chechnya story.

              I guess the question would be who is running Esther if not Hans Richter?

              re: writers explaining things — this always annoys me no end. If the writer has to explain something to be sure it’s understood, something is wrong with the writing.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed ep. 6, but the current episode shows mainly confusion and cruelty. Why didn’t Daniel step in at Hector’s acts of revenge, he’s always the silent observer…
    But he looks good, that’s true.
    I still don’t want to believe that Hector is Shaw, would be too simple.

    • I guess after Daniel triggered the PTSD of the guy in the hospital last week, I wasn’t optimistic that he would dare to interfere with Hector. He doesn’t seem like a very morally involved character.

      And he does look good!

      I think something that’s bugging me at the moment, especially after the comments about how whistleblowing is a serious political and moral issue that we should have a conversation about, is the possibility that the Shaw leaks are Hector’s revenge on Steven. (In reality, I do think a lot of whistleblowing is about partisan stances, e.g., Julian Assange’s apparent spite for Hillary Clinton, but it doesn’t seem like the show really wants us to take leaks seriously as a potentially moral activity, at least not so far.)

      • Right, I think Shaw as whistleblower is mostly shown in a neutral or negative light. Only Ingrid has presented it as something noble. From a viewer’s perspective, Hector seems completely unsympathetic. We aren’t even supposed to know why he is doing it yet.

        And I agree with the statement that Hector as Shaw is too simple. He is obviously involved, but maybe so is someone else currently unseen.

        If the writers do anything to the adorable son of Patricia I will be really angry!

  7. I think RA said in an interview that he was initially drawn to the role of Hector. I can see why. Other than numerous “beautiful shot of Daniel Miller” moments, Daniel Miller seems to not do much other than observe other characters doing stuff. I watched episode 7. Pretty confusing. I guess my only comment would be that I don’t think Steven Frost planned the kidnapping of Ruth’s husband (and I can’t even figure out why he was kidnapped) and may it was that Wolf?? guy at the party that Steven Frost’s wife had trouble with, and she totally used that ‘trouble’ as a tool to get her husband to do what she wants (climb the career ladder to the top) anyways…maybe the Wolf guy is getting payback on Frost by ruining the operation to get Claire back. But I really think so far RA is somewhat wasted in this role….so far Daniel Miller is not much of a driving force to anything that I can see unless he’s got some really incredible stuff in the three remaining episodes and if he doesn’t ….sorry …. he’s going to have strip again.

    • “Beautiful shot of Daniel Miller’s cheeks.”🙂

      I hadn’t thought about Jason Wolf. Yeah. Well, he’d definitely have a motive.

      As far as “why kidnap Iosava” i think that depends on who you are. If the problem is sponsorship of terrorism then it’s the Americans or the Germans; if the problem is human trafficking it could be the Romanians or the Germans; I suppose there could be something from the past that might tempt different people as Iosava is from Georgia, no, and it borders directly on Chechnya …

      • I’m thinking he’s going to have to put more effort in and go full frontal to make up for this mess of a a show. The female characters are really starting to bug me. Valerie comes off all strong and competent in the beginning but seems to be not so much now….Steven Frosts wife just seems to be a social climber already looking for houses for the hoped for promotion and doesn’t seem to do much but drink wine and ask him how his day was and make sure he keeps his hat in the ring and I really like Sandra but so far she is coming across as a bit of a bitter secretary who feels she wasted her best years being used by a jerk of a boss. I think the reporter at this point is the only female character I respect and feel anything for. The male characters so far are all unlikable or so poorly realized by the writers I don’t feel very vested in them. Except Robert Kirsch – he seemed such a caricature at first but they seemed to flesh him out a bit more (although I don’t know if he is ‘likable’ or not). BS had potential and is beautiful to look at but I’m not really liking the writing so much. Too convoluted and any time spent with the characters getting to know them I’m not liking (like anything to do with the Frost’s homelife, and Valerie’s homelife??? Like a two minute glimpse and then …. nothing? Nothing at all? Did the guy get vapourized? I just keep switching between who’s this guy? What happened to that guy? Should I bother remembering this new guy cause I’ll never see him again? I am just finding this show frustrating on a lot of levels. But I’ll keep watching cause damn…”that’s a beautiful shot of Daniel Miller” lol.

        • I’ll watch it as long as Armitage is in it and I’m a fan. I think at this point.

          I think we’re about to find out something about Valerie that we will not like (scenes from next week). Agree in general about the characterization.

          re: full frontal — I’d have to think of another euphemism. Guessing Armitage wouldn’t be up for that unless it would be clearly artistic?

  8. Must admit Serv, yes you did get some of the great shots of Miller and frankly that is the only reason to watch the show. RA is wasted on it. He is not being used to his potential at all and needs a much better forum to sink his teeth into. Like you, I personally do not care if he returns to the show. The show to me has not filled any great desire to watch other than RA and those “great shots” lol . I am sorry they got rid of Clare, one of the few good characters. I think the writers really need to step back and look at the circus they have created because the animals are escaping.

    • Full agreement with the sheer waste of RA’s talent. One could get a sense of foreboding while listening to the bunch of interviews around october 10th. Lots of praises for the cast and the location, but only brief comments on the plot…Was totally different for “Hannibal”, e.g.

      • Interesting comparison. I’ll have to think more about it. I think that with Hannibal people were a lot more aware of what they were getting (so to speak); they were already invested i the plot. This is a plot that hasn’t generated a lot of investment imo.

    • In general, I would say 1-2 fewer major characters, 3-5 fewer plot strands. It’s inconceivable to me that they will answer all of our questions in the next three hours.

  9. […] 7 thoughts are here. Squirrel.0072, don’t read […]

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