Berlin Station 2.6, first impressions [spoilers!] #richardarmitage

Continued from here. These posts contain spoilers. PLEASE do not read them if you are not watching concurrently with the U.S. broadcast but still want a fresh look at them when the show is available in your region.

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[Leftover note — because I just saw the “closer look” or whatever about “Do the Alt-Right Thing,” which I had somehow missed before, and Ashley Judd says with a straight face that the operation is a “site of resistance.” Just think about that for a second. Please, Ms. Judd. Interfering in a foreign election is not a “site of resistance” unless you’re a terrorist. Demonstrate in the U.S., help shield an undocumented immigrant, gum up the paperwork somewhere — there are plenty of sites of resistance, it’s true, but they don’t include politically questionable operations in foreign countries. Om, no.]

So: advance notice: Daniel is in a whole three scenes of this episode, one of which is not credible, and one of which is disappointing.

This is from the disappointing scene. But Richard Armitage is beautiful.

My advance suspicion about this episode: lots of Scandinavia. Too much Scandinavia. Not that I have anything against it — although I’ve never been to Norway, for some reason, which is odd, because I have Norwegian friends. Anyway, having been to Sweden and Denmark, I have a lot of admiration for Scandinavia. It was just that knew that the Scandinavian story line wasn’t going to involve Daniel. It was only mitigated by my inadvertent stumbling over the synopsis spoiler for this episode, which mentioned that Daniel would be dealing with the psychological effects of last week. Whew.

Well, that was stupid of me. There were like six beautiful shots of Scandinavia and that was it. Richard Armitage, if Berlin Station is not cancelled after this wretched season, I’m begging you to get yourself written out. Please put me out of my misery and save me the $48 it now costs to see this legally. The script of this show pretty well put it into the territory of “shows I do not watch.”

Wow, was this episode slow. And bro-ie. Half of it was a cynical roadtrip with the two characters I liked least. Oh, and tell me again about the whole feminist aspect of this how.

TL;DR — Upside: Norway is beautiful.

Downsides: scripting of Daniel’s character is not credible given his character arc. Really stupid Norwegian jokes. Brad Winters’ brother can’t act. That’s not how you gut a fish or demonstrate its quality. Fish references in general. That metaphor is way too obvious to be in the least ingenious or amusing.

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Episode opens with a series of shots of Berlin political symbols (Brandenburg Gate, etc.) and a voiceover about the election and Gerhardt.

This is the Reichstag.

The news has a report on Gerhardt and Lena is watching it from her hotel room.

Gerhardt is speaking about Otto Ganz.

Hector bursts in and tells Lena she has to go. Lena refuses unless he tells her why he’s helping her. He admits that she’s his bargaining chip, but points out that he is the only person who can keep her alive and out of jail.

Meanwhile, Frost and Kirsch touch down in Oslo.

This week’s version of Switzerland two weeks ago.

They are following the trail of the PfD funds, which Hanes gave Frost and Frost shared with Kirsch at the end of the previous episode. Kirsch has requested “Oslo station clearance,” so Nick Fischer (from several weeks ago) knows Kirsch is in the country, so they split up before he can notice.

In Berlin, Yates, wearing the most modest dress we’ve ever seen on her, enters Hanes’ office and gets fired — she’s on the next morning’s flight to Dulles in Washington. She begs for Kirsch’s job before returning to her office.

Back in Oslo, sure enough, Brad Winters’ brother, oops, I mean Nick Fischer, does meet Robert in the airport and wants to take him to lunch. Cue “trouble music” — you’re supposed to get a feeling that Kirsch is being watched.

Hector and Lena start their adventures. For some reason Hector has rented a Trabi to avoid notice. (And despite what Hector says about this, there’s nothing inconspicuous about driving one nowadays.)

Here’s a Trabi.

Trabis — the mass manufactured vehicle of the East German state — are really interesting cars, but I don’t have the patience to get into it tonight.

Lena (Emilia Schühe) tells Hector (Rhys Ifans) she wants to kill Gerhardt before the evening, in Berlin Station 2.6. Honestly, between this outfit and the Trabi you almost think the German crew were having a joke on the American crew.

Hector takes Lena to the apartment of his transgender friend from the racetrack a few weeks ago, who doesn’t really want to take Lena in but does, as well as a satchel Hector gives him. This person is, of course, the opposite of anything a neo-Nazi would hold dear.

Cut to scene one with Armitage, showering:

I saw this and thought, beautiful! and then, that shot must have been a pain in the ass.

Daniel, as it turns out, is messed up and having flashbacks to Otto Ganz’s death. If they had left it here, I would have found it credible. This was the best of the three scenes with Armitage in them this time around.

Esther Krug shows up and he lets her in before covering up.

Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage) puts on his shirt. OK, this was a pretty moment as well.

She needs his help in locating Hector and Lena, because of all of the PfD loyalists in the BfV. She’s searched Otto’s office but not found anything. Also, she notices that Daniel should clean out his Otto Ganz pictures, but he says he can’t. She wants to know about their final conversation. The paraphrase he gives is so abstract that I almost wonder if dialogue was cut from the previous episode, but anyway, it’s about legacy. Krug says she’s trying to protect her country but things look “pretty shitty” now.

Daniel (Richard Armitage) tells Esther (Mina Tander) that the German election will always be on his conscience, in Berlin Station 2.6. And what the hell is up with the lighting — you have to edit all the caps to see the expressions on their faces.

Daniel insists Lena doesn’t know anything and can’t help. (He’s said this so many times now that I’m starting to wonder if that’s going to be the source of a plot twist coming at us, too.) She tells him to get some sleep. It looks for a second like they’ll kiss, but no.

Cut to Valerie in bed with Emmerich.

Emmerich (Heino Ferch) apologizes to Valerie (Michelle Forbes) for being so tense, in Berlin Station 2.6. Is that code for something?

They’re pillowtalking about what’s up with Gerhardt — Emmerich is worried till he gets a call from her, asking him to appear on a BBC talk show for her. This is reassuring except maybe she’s waiting until after the election to torch him. They talk over the prospects of whether they can still catch her; Emmerich says it’s too risky for him to continue and he can’t be in the bed of an American spy. As he leaves, he makes regretful noises, and Valerie says, ‘well if you change your mind you know where I am’ or something like that.

Yates is still in the office (is this the previous evening?) and she calls in April to do a meeting Kirsch was supposed to do with Hector. April is supposed to talk Hector into giving up Lena without assurances as to his ability to leave Berlin. April is thrilled at the increased responsibility.

Back to Norway. I guess someone thought all of this stuff was funny. If you wonder why midwesterners despise liberal California elites, crap like this is the reason. Message to the Berlin Station producers: almost no one in Norway eats lutefisk anymore, not even at Christmas. All the people who ate lutefisk immigrated in the nineteenth century to the Upper Midwest, where their descendants eat it it church basements about three times a year. Midwesterners think lutefisk jokes are funny if we tell them to each other; we don’t like to hear them from outsiders; Norwegians just look at you blankly.

Robert enjoys some lutefisk, in Berlin Station 2.6.

Honestly, he went for lutefisk but turned out the brunost (brown sweet cheese, often made with goat’s milk), which was pretty stupid because while I agree lutefisk is at best an acquired taste, brunost is excellent. But it doesn’t matter because it’s just the pretext for a racist joke about the whiteness of Norwegians. Honestly — could they have written a stupider scene?

(don’t answer that question yet)

Although I don’t think of it as a dessert. More of a breakfast thing or something to eat on crispbread.

Kirsch tells his lame cover story; Fischer wants Kirsch to go on a tour with “Lars” (who was already following Kirsch earlier on), but Kirsch turns him down. Fischer refers to how Frost tailed him in Berlin; Kirsch says “sadly we’ve had a bit of a falling out.” Of course, Fischer knows this is a lie.

Meanwhile, Frost is following the money. I guess it led to a fishing fleet, at the office of which someone is demonstrating the quality of the catch in this weird way:

Maybe this is some special Norwegian thing, but in my world you look at the eyes and the gills, and when the fish is gutted you can look at the flesh from inside. Weird. This is a salmon. But honestly — this is also not how tuna is graded for sale either — you stick a long pipette into the fish. I also think she tells him lutefisk is their third bestseller — but lutefisk is not a fish species, it’s a method of preparing a stockfish. But perhaps I misheard her. ADR on these episodes continues to be miserable. Then he wants to try her fish? At a loading dock?

Anyway, a sort of twitchy woman takes him into her office and he sneaks into her desk and takes cell phone photos of a bunch of ledgers while she’s outside for a minute. We see the names Larsen and Andersen over and over again.

Back in Berlin, April meets up with Hector at a café on the canal. She wants to know where Lena is and tries to guilt Hector into giving her up. Hector isn’t budging. If I were feeling more patient about this episode, I’d point out that KeKe Palmer is doing a fantastic job of playing eager beaver April. This scene is the classic clash of the overzealous newbie and the jaded veteran. At this point, April is still arguing that if they can get Lena, they can change the result of the election. I wish: but German bureaucracy doesn’t move that quickly and people still have rights in Germany. If they took Lena in, they would put her in Untersuchungshaft (custody for interrogation — usually called provisional detention in English), announce what she’d been alleged to be charged with, and then the press would go silent. The results of the interrogation would not immediately be public, as they seem to be in the U.S.

Back to Oslo — Frost meets up with Kirsch, who seems nauseated (message to scriptwriters — it’s hard to get sick from lutefisk when it’s properly prepared, but if you did, nausea would be the least of the symptoms). Frost shows Kirsch the photos. Frost has matched the amounts to transfers to PfD accounts. And yet again, another script low. “Kinda fishy,” Frost remarks. FFS. And yet again, we get a description of a villain as religious: Bjorn Larsen “goes to the Lutheran Church.” Again, total cluelessness — Norway may be 71 percent Lutheran, but fewer than 3 percent of Norwegians go to church any given week. (If you remember, we had this with Emmerich, who also “goes to church.” Well, at least the attendance figures for Germany are more like 10 or 12 percent). Anyway. Grrr. Anyway, all this gratuitous idiocy to make the point that Bjorn Larsen doesn’t eat all that fish.

Frost (Richard Jenkins) tells Kirsch he’s not excited by scenery, in Berlin Station 2.6. Too bad. I’d have loved to have seen Richard Armitage’s Viking profile framed against this scenery.

A minute or so of beautiful shots of the Norwegian landscape, and a ferry the men board — only for Frost to say, “I wish I was one of those people who could be satisfied by a view.” Perhaps another peak of cynicism in this script, after just showing us all this scenery. Frost is bored with Provence. Kirsch is unsympathetic as Frost is retired and comfortable. He still looks kind of queasy. he also criticizes Frost for working for Hanes, which Frost denies doing (?) as the fact that they are chasing the lead proves they are not working for Hanes. (OK??? That just makes no sense.) Kirsch admits to “really liking” Yates.

Rather swift cut to Valerie in a pool. She gets out and sees Emmerich on the BBC, who says that he’s just learned from someone he’s met, who doesn’t share any of his views, that “sometimes we must double down to achieve the desired results.” She looks thoughtful.

Hector arrives back at his friend’s apartment; Lena has assaulted the friend and left, along with Hector’s brown satchel.

Cut to second Armitage scene — this is the one that pissed me off. It seems that Daniel has decided to check out the neo-Nazi bar.

Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage) uses his lock-picks, in Berlin Station 2.6. It is implausible that this site would be unwatched within 24 hours of Ganz’s escapades. Just not believable. And you can’t hide that you’re in a building like this. The door has to stay up.

He goes in and decides to toss Ganz’s office, but doesn’t find anything.

Richard Armitage’s old canonical distress signal. Not employed very well. Sorry, Armitage, I can tell you were indicating here.

He sees a picture of a Nazi symbol on Ganz’s desk, breaks it, and of course slices up his hand.

Daniel’s hand after its encounter with the Nazi symbolism. Heavy metaphor much?

And then he turns as he sees that Hector has entered the office.

Looking very Proctor-like here.

This is my issue — apparently we’re supposed to think that within 24 hours of his failed mission, Daniel is now suicidal? Forgive me if I find that totally implausible. If they had left it at place where it was the past scene — that Daniel kept repeating events in his mind, wished he could have changed things, feels like he has the outcome of the German election on his conscience — okay, that would have all made sense. Even though, and this is key for me, we have seen almost no genuine human feeling that lasts more than fifteen minutes from Daniel in the fifteen previous hours of television. And allegedly his father was an abuser so he’s used to being treated badly. But this pushes it way too far, too fast. His responsibility in this situation was minor. Compare the situation in Grozny from the flashbacks in season 1. No negative consequences from that apparently, although that was directly his fault (or so we were supposed to believe). The previous depictions of the character, and the character trajectory more generally, don’t yield this result.

Hector disinfects Daniel’s hand with the same vodka he drinks a shot of afterwards, in Berlin Station 2.6. They discuss briefly whether revenge is satisfying and Hector refers to the Iosava plotline last season.

However — I also don’t get why this scene is even here as it barely advances the plot. The point seems to be that Hector thought he could find Lena there. I could see it if there was some kind of motif going on throughout of “the jaded spy, Hector, initiates Daniel into the art of dealing with trauma,” but there isn’t enough supporting narrative to support this either. Hector gets a call from an illegal gun dealer where Lena has magically washed up with Hector’s satchel. She wants to buy a weapon. Hector tells Daniel things could be much worse and he should pull himself together.

This scene is cut through with the scene back at the CIA. Valerie wants to talk to Yates (who is still there?) about Emmerich. Cut away to Hector and Daniel. Cut back, to April observing Valerie and Yates having a very public fight and Yates throwing Valerie out of the embassy.

Back in remote Norway, the ferry lets our friends off in a bucolic setting: Bjorn’s house.

Kirsch and Frost trying to find Larsen, in Berlin Station 2.6.

Bjorn isn’t home, so they go the neighborhood pub to meet a real Norwegian.

Seriously?

The real Norwegian, who’s the bartender, shows them a picture of Bjorn Larsen with a huge grouper and Nick Fischer (you can’t tell this from the lighting, so everyone in the scene agrees that yeah, that is Nick Fischer). More annoying fish puns in the script.

In Berlin, Hector walks into the gun dealer’s and Lena realizes, just as we have, that every illegal arms dealer she’s met in Berlin works for the CIA. She’s bent on killing Gerhardt although the weapon she’s firing is not suited to the task. She is darn well going to avenge her father. (I’ve been reading a lot of Greek tragedy lately and I’m wondering if this is going to end in an Antigone plot line eventually.) Hector says, no, we’re not doing this, etc., etc.

Back in Norway, Frost and Kirsch have now put together what you and I realized about five minutes into the episode — if Larsen’s money is coming from Fischer (the US embassy) and Hanes gave them the information about this ,then: they have been entrapped by Hanes! OH MY GOD! And they can’t say anything about it because exposing it would make the US look even worse on the world stage.

I honestly can’t believe that Frost isn’t acting here, when he indicates his shock. He must have known this. Or Richard Jenkins is a horrible actor.

So first of all this is just dumb. I tell my FIRST SEMESTER STUDENTS: Cui bono? Who benefits if you believe what this source is telling you??? It’s inconceivable to me that two career CIA employees would not realize that they should ask why Hanes wanted this tracked down, much faster than Frost and Kirsch have here. But even worse: here we are back to: the ambassador to Germany is funding the German alt-right. Please. That’s seemed like a stupid plot line for nigh unto a month now.

They want to let Yates know but — the deus ex machina of the current moment — there’s no cell signal. They go back to Bjorn’s house, and a light is on and the door is open. They go in, and Bjorn is hanging from his neck, dead, dead, dead. Robert says we gotta get out of here! Frost leaves but Kirsch is distracted by the sight on analog landline and calls the operator (this interested me — there isn’t really an operator in Germany, so I was surprised to find there’s one in Norway, but who knows), who doesn’t understand English. This is a bit surprising, as Norwegian schoolchildren learn English and all of English-language TV in Norway is subtitled rather than dubbed, but maybe she went to high school in North Korea and missed the English lessons. While he’s calling the operator, “Lars” appears from the shadows and roughs him up with some heavy fishing equipment. They both call Fischer, who says, “I didn’t want to hurt you.” Only then does Frost come back in and beat up Lars. It turns out that they’ve missed the last ferry, so they decide to escape in, like, a canoe.

Okaaaaay.

Back in Berlin, Valerie shows up at Emmerich’s and tells him she has refused to go back to Washington. He invites her in and they embrace. April, meanwhile, undaunted, is talking to her NSA listening station friend — who finds a way to bug Hector’s phone. He will send it a text and when the text opens, April will be able to listen to everything going on in Hector’s immediate environment.

Daniel is beside himself — he did everything wrong and now Germany will suffer — in Berlin Station 2.6.

Third and final Armitage scene. Daniel shows up at Krug’s apartment; he’s upset and out of control, reproaching himself. I felt that this scene was wildly overacted — which in turn made me suspicious. This kind of behavior wasn’t in the Miller character palette, and it’s a bit extreme even for Armitage.

Esther listens to him for a while and then decides to shut him up with a kiss.

Given that this episode is short and ends abruptly, they could have extended this a bit. I’d have enjoyed seeing this sex scene.

Back in darkest Norway (where the sun never sets this time of year, although it’s morning, apparently), Frost and Kirsch are on their canoe trip.

Kirsch has a line here about how anything is possible in a post-facts world. I felt like it was a veiled statement about the script. Why should any script be even marginally plausible? This one wasn’t.

They say that they have Hanes where they want him (? they’re in the middle of a huge lake or fjord or something), but also that they have to find out who is funding Hanes. They glimpse an A-frame cabin in the distance — it turns out the guy has much less facial hair than the other Norwegian, AND a satellite phone.

Cut back to Berlin, where Yates enters the embassy one last time and leaves — I kid you not — a Casablanca DVD on Kirsch’s desk. Gawd. Spies in LUV.

Cut back to remotest Norway, where Frost and Steven are learning that Yates’ phone has been cut off and no one answers the CIA station phones. (Also not really plausible; I’m pretty sure the CIA has 24 hour answering.) They drive back to Oslo and Frost is waiting for Fischer on his sofa when he rises the next morning. Fischer admits to Frost that Hanes brought him into the operation, but he doesn’t know where the money was coming from.

A last moment for Yates and Valerie in Berlin, apparently.

In Berlin, near the Oberbaumbrücke, Yates and Valerie have one of those sisterly moments where they compliment each other and Valerie tells Yates that without her, the bridge would have blown up. Also Yates is happy Valerie is doubling down on Emmerich — although the dialogue is written to imply that it’s just as much because Valerie is now a woman scorned, as it is because of her suspicions. Valerie agrees to look out for April.

Because we haven’t been in enough weird Berlin scene clubs this season, April’s in one next. It’s really not clear why she’s there — if you were waiting for a bug to go on, would you go someplace where you couldn’t hear it? — but anyway, it goes on, and April hears Lena telling Hector she’s going to “do it.” I think both April and we know this is about another attack on Gerhardt. Lena asks Hector what he would do, but after demurring, he says, he would want to do it in a way that would make a statement. Lena says again, “help me, help me do it.” And Hector, with a calculating look on his face, says, “someone has to.”

So, “scenes from next week” thus are pretty obvious — there’s going to be another push to stop Lena and Hector, and of course, Hanes or whatever.

~ by Servetus on November 13, 2017.

61 Responses to “Berlin Station 2.6, first impressions [spoilers!] #richardarmitage”

  1. […] Continues here. […]

  2. CC says the fish lady’s third best seller is klippefisk,dried and salted cod (yummy!) Enjoyed your summary. I didn’t mind the fish jokes. But to me the funniest thing was two city slickers wearing ties paddling a canoe in a fjord. It probably seemed cool on the page, but in reality, not so much. Maybe it was meant to be funny.Comic relief?

    • I think it was meant to be funny. Just missed the mark by miles for me.

      Thanks for the CC — I should have thought of doing that.

      • Re: “could they have written a stupider scene?” – it turns out yes – a lot of them, unfortunately: Frost and Kirsch traipsing around Norway in suit and tie and taking a canoe (!!!) instead of just paying one of the local fisherman to take them back to the mainland in a motorboat (I know, this would have been wayyyyy to fast…) uagh! This episode was really painful to watch. “fremdschämen” is not even strong enough (is there an english expression for this?)

        • The usual translation for Fremdschämen is “secondary embarrassment” but you’d have to explain what it meant.

          Thanks for picking up on my rhetorical question about the stupidity of the scene. The episode was one long, slow repeat of the perception, “just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse …”

  3. Esther/Daniel sex scene vs Kirsch/Frost canoe jaunt – it’s a no brainer! 😉

  4. I haven’t watched yet, but follow your summaries closely. This one had me laughing out loud. I’ve also got a bit of inside information on Norwegians, and…Good grief. One would’ve hoped they’d done some research beforehand. Also, the weird remorse arc – Is Daniel supposed to suffer from post-traumatic stress? – How good a spy is he then really?

    • Norwegians: yeah. (I know only one good joke about Norwegians, but it’s not in here.)

      re: Daniel’s reaction. I intentionally did not put the PTSD word in here (although I see fans are throwing it around on Twitter) because what Daniel experiences here is a reaction to trauma, not PTSD. (For one thing, PTSD is not diagnosed until symptoms have been experienced for a month.) Figures are different depending on which traumatic event(s) one experiences, but most people who have reactions to trauma do not develop PTSD. (It’s actually something that war veterans get very angry about it, b/c the assumption is all veterans come back with PTSD when that is very much not the case).

      re: does experiencing an intense traumatic reaction make one a poor spy? I think it depends a bit on what the traumatic reaction is about. If one regularly experienced guilt in response to failed attempts to interfere in the national politics of other countries, yeah, one wouldn’t want to be a spy as that is a significant aspect of what the CIA does. If one experience a few days of intrusive thoughts or sadness in response to a failed operation, that would not make someone a bad spy unless it made them unable to function.

      I want to stress that I don’t find it implausible that Daniel might be somewhat upset about the events of the previous episode (although I don’t buy that he is all that worried about the greater arc of German history all of a sudden). And I’m slightly disturbed by the way this played in the episode — as if Daniel was somehow friends with Otto Ganz and misses him. What I find implausible is that he’s so upset about it that he can’t sleep, or is suicidal.

  5. The “Dupont and Dupond” are Kirsch and Frost, aren’t they?

  6. He has mentioned in the pre season 2 interviews that he was trying to get the writer to put in things so the audience didn’t think the character represented him. At the time I thought how ridiculous of course the audience knows he is playing a character. Maybe what he was really trying to do was send the message that he knows this show is ridiculous.

    • It hadn’t occurred to me that maybe Armitage was somehow responsible for this weird character twist … uch, it’s unthinkable. He’s emotionally smarter than that.

  7. I was hoping that his input hasn’t been seen yet and he was trying to straighten out the mess we see now.

  8. The shower scene and sweatpants were worth the 58 minutes. I didn’t get the impression that Daniel was suicidal. I don’t buy that. The Norway plot was silly and didn’t fit in with the vibe of the series, such as it is. It was like a take on comical buddy film, poorly done. ( Canoe scene was funny just because). I agree with you about Richard Armitage’s “canonical distress signal.” ( used twice this episode). I groaned. I’m confused now about Lena as Hector’s bargaining chip. I’m not sure what Daniel meant when he broached it or what Hector intends. Daniel wants Lena to get away. If she gets away, where’s the bargaining chip for Hector? Helping her assassinate Gerhardt will get Lena killed. She has no skills as a sniper.
    I’m pretty sure the average American viewer had no clue what they were talking about when Lena made a joke about the rented car. It went over my head, anyway.
    I am interested in finding out what’s up Josef’s sleeve.
    How bad it lutefisk? Humans have been drying cod for centuries. Why mess it up with lye and yuk?

    • He intentionally smashes a glass picture frame in a way that gets blood all over him? If that’s not suicidal, it’s certainly self-destructive (and heavy handed story telling).

      canoe scene: I did laugh when Kirsch said that they had Hanes where they wanted him.

      bargaining chip — that already didn’t make sense at the end of the previous episode, i.e., why is Daniel pointing this out if what he really wants is to help Lena escape? (not entirely clear why he would, but okay) It seems designed to put Daniel and Hector into a conflict over Lena of which we have, however, seen to sign as of yet.

      I do not even know what I would do if there’s a real assassination attempt in this show at this point. Smash the cable box?

      You’re probably right about the Trabi.

      Lutefisk: it’s not a German thing, so I’ve only eaten it five or six times in my life, at a lutefisk supper at a church, usually as part of a fundraiser or a craft fair. The way I’ve had it more often is the Norwegian-American way with melted butter and fresh lefse and the melted butter and lefse are the reason to go. If you eat it at a Swedish church it often has a creamy sauce instead of butter. IMO this is not as good. At both dinners you might also get little peas and potatoes. It has the consistency of jello, except that it comes off in flakes. I think what’s alienating about it is that you don’t expect that consistency to taste like salt cod. But if you eat fish aspic it shouldn’t bother you. Or if you eat bacalao — what is that rehydrated cod that the Portugese make? And, I mean, my grandmother made her own head cheese, so …

      The thing is you don’t really get sick from it. It has to be prepared to get all the lye out, because it is extremely caustin, but that’s not hard. It wouldn’t give you the usual illness from bad fish (nausea, vomiting). I don’t really know how it would feel to ingest lye, but I imagine it would be worse than nausea.

      • Bacala in Italian and Spanish – very popular and available in NY supermarkets as well as at fish mongers. Needs lots and lots of soaking in cold water to rehydrate. You have to wonder who thought of the lye approach.

        • if you read the wikipedia article, it discusses the various theories.

          • I’ve tried ludefish in the south of Sweden (Skåne) with a mustard sauce. Not bad. We (Danes) do not prepare dried fish like this, and if it were not a regional dish, I would most likely not have tried it.

          • Pour moi, une brandade de morue, faite à partir de poisson salé, est une recette d’hiver facile et pas chère. Mais cela n’est pas très diététique et il faut prendre son temps pour bien dessaler le poisson. Certains cuisiniers ajoutent des olives, moi j’ajoute de gruyère et des oeufs ( bonjour les calories).
            Entre le boudin blanc aux galas ( variété de pommes- fruit) ou la brandade de morue, vous me donnez des idées pour les prochains repas familaux 🙂

        • Quand on dessale la morue, il apparait des bulles en surface, comme avec un pain de savon dans l’eau. Encore un sujet de biophysique et biochimie: l’osmose ou les tensioactifs.

          • All salted cod or just that dried with lye?

            • Only my salted cod.
              When I pour pure water on it and wait for a few hours then I can see bubbles on the surface. Osmosis brings salt out of the fish with a production of bublles and fish tissue debris. Perhaps because the fish grows when pure water comes in it or because salt and debris make a surfactant that helps bubbles to appear?
              But no lye no soap in my recipe!

            • Mais autrefois 1795 en Hollande, certains savons étaient faits à base d’huile de poisson (morue, baleine…) et d’alcali ( le carbonate de soude pouvait être extrait du sel marin)! Avec la morue la couleur du savon obtenu était grise.

  9. I enjoyed your review — I laughed out loud several times. Sometimes I wonder what on earth these writers are thinking (or if they think their audience is completely dense). For example: bright orange oversized ball cap as a “disguise” for someone trying to escape the police? Was that supposed to be funny? Could Lena be more annoying? I thought the whole Norwegian story line was completely boring and stupid, and the two clowns trying to paddle that canoe properly was ridiculous (I guess it was supposed to be). I was kind of sad to see some truly disappointing acting from Armitage. He needs to get out of this show and fast; it’s not bringing out the best in him. The question I kept having was: is he really upset, or is he just pretending to be? I was hoping it was the latter, because it would excuse the over-acting.

    • I think what Perry said about this is right on — it might have been funny in a different setting but it doesn’t fit with the tone of this show. (Also, since I’m suppose to care about who is funding the destruction of the German political system.)

      Interesting point about whether the character is pretending — that’s the question I’m constantly asking about Frost. Maybe there’s something about the direction that just went wrong this season. (?). But there’s definitely a level on which I’m starting to find so little about the show believable that I’m constantly wondering if this or that plot element is real.

  10. I enjoyed your review too and the stills. Plot issues aside, the questions running through my mind are (i) what is RA’s likely waist measurement, and (ii) has he gone commando style under the sweatpants?!! 😈

    • 30?

      • No, I would say he’s more like a 34 inch waist, if not more. He has a relatively chunky trunk.
        Good to see he’s got a bit more meat on him IMO.

        • If he had a normal weight for someone 6’2″ I would agree with you. But 34 is more in the range of someone who weighs 200 lbs or above. I don’t think he’s ever weighed close to that — even in the N&S days his stated weight was around 180 lbs, and he’s trimmer now. Most of it his bulk is in his thighs. So while I agree he doesn’t have the classic V-taper, I don’t think his waist is 34, either.

        • I just checked. He stopped updating his Spotlight in 2011, approximately, but his last update put him at 83 kg. This would have been Porter weight (assuming it’s accurate). So maybe he got close to that for Proctor, but I don’t think he weighs that now.

          • My husband is the same height, but he’s really slender (resembling the Richard we saw in Berlin in 2013. Mr Mermaid weighs 83 kgs, i.e. ca 183 lbs. He uses a size 32 jeans. If Richard is bulkier now (which I believe he is in these shots), a 34 inch waist would be about right.

            • I just don’t buy 34. I dithered between 32 and 30, looked up some statistics about men’s weight v/ height ratios … not that it matters. But I don’t think he’s a 34.

            • (and I also think he doesn’t weigh as much as he did in 2011, although he weighs more than in 2016)

            • I agree. My husband has 30 inch waist now but used to be 32 inch but he is shorter than RA and has a tapered torso. Given RA’s torso build in comparison to my husband’s, I would estimate RA’s waist at around 34 inches. Upshot, there’s plenty of girth around the waist to wrap your arms around!!

  11. I hope RA didn’t have much input into his characters behavior and words. It is so hard to comprehend that from the first season of a man who has to me been emotionally cold it was just so unreal and unbelievable. I have not been pleased with this show from the beginning and it continues to rub me the wrong way. Even RA can’t seem to be able to save the writing for this show. He has always made his characters stand out despite bad writing, however, this is definitely a loser. Wish Daniel would go off the deep end and realize he is Lucas North and end up back in a show worth watching. If they only knew the number of people who stick with the show because Richard is in it.

    • I feel like my perspective on this is skewed, because I don’t follow the general social media for Berlin Station very closely. I know that the FB page is full of people who hate Ashley Judd. I wonder what percentage of the audience is constituted by Armitage fans. He and Palmer are the only artists in this show who have audiences who are organized in that way.

  12. Finally getting to comment here after having posted my own review.
    Is there a name for this sort of “Stockholm Syndrome” for angsty spies who regret that they were unable to save a criminal they were spying on? I totally don’t get this weird guilty conscience that Daniel is suddenly developing. Sure, hasn’t he been in failed ops before, with equally lethal results? Why the sudden conscience – for a Nazi of all people? Imo the writers are not familiar enough with their own creations. (No wonder – they never developed Daniel anywhere.) And are completely overdoing it on lame clichés, from trenchcoat-wearing Steven Frost (oh please), to the ‘tough station head who will sacrifice herself in order to save her colleague’s job’, to a traumatised agent. The only characters who feel genuine, are the Germans, oddly enough. Maybe because they were never meant to be anything other than supporting characters. (Or maybe I can understand them better, who knows…)
    In any case, I have enjoyed reading your review more than I have had watching the episode.

    • Yeah, I think given that they have given Daniel practically no emotional profile thus far, why not “sudden emo Daniel”? It makes as much sense as anything else they could write.

      Judd is sometimes accused of being a “white feminist” (this has a specific meaning, which means, the viewpoint about feminism and civil rights being constituted as if the interests of white women were the only valid considerations, at the expensive of the different possible intersections in the movement) and tbh, this show has a lot of the self-congratulatory turn-off moments of white feminism. Oh, let’s gather at the bridge and congratulate ourselves of this giant fiasco. Very clichéd and everything about Judd’s character reads like a parody. Then again this whole episode felt parodic.

      re: genuine characters — I think Valerie isn’t bad. Kirsch has his moments. but in general, I agree with you. Although Lena oesn’t really make sense, either, to the point that I’ve started to wonder if her whole shtick is just an at as well.

      Thanks for the compliment! I always enjoy reading your stuff, too.

      • “Sudden emo Daniel” – LOL. Yeah, maybe the writers are thinking that they are providing a twist by making cold-and-distant Daniel suddenly human… Or they just don’t care about the character very much…
        Interesting comment re. white feminism. The meeting at the bridge (honestly, are there no other bridges in Berlin?) was really weird. I also thought that they really had nothing to celebrate, yet there they were happily praising the havoc…
        The writing in BS is all over the place – as if different people wrote for different characters and then swapped places half way through.

  13. I loved the episode. I thought it was a good episode. I like not seeing as much of Miller as I did in the last season. I thought it worked. I love RA . I also love the other characters especially Hector. One does not have see RA’s characters showcased in every episode. I have been a fan of Richard Armitage since 2007. I can also say his performance as actor improves when he is around talented actors like in Berlin Station they keep him on his toes.

    • Thanks for the comment and welcome. I don’t totally get why a fan of Armitage would want to see less of him, but that’s up to you. Probably most fans like the Hector character more than I do. I agree that some of the actors in this show are talented. I don’t think, though, that they are raising his standard of acting at all, but in any case, the actor most widely acclaimed as talented in this show, Jenkins (Frost), is very rarely in a scene with Armitage. In this season his most frequent scene partner is Ifans. Armitage is not bad but I see no evidence for his acting being better in this series than in his other work and I see some clear evidence for it being not as good.

      As far as the show and episode goes, I have been giving evidence and argument now for almost two seasons about my opinions about it. You’re free to like it. But “I like it” isn’t an argument as to why those who don’t think it’s good should change their opinions.

  14. One comment – snapping pics of a ledger in a desk drawer? Is this 1952? Wouldn’t this be on a computer file?

    • You’d think. I also thought it was amazing that the top file in the first place he looked was the information he was looking for. If only real research were that easy.

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