Berlin Station 2.8, 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.

***

We did at least get this: Richard Armitage as Daniel Miller in Berlin Station 2.8.

TL;DR summary: at this point I wasn’t expecting we’d see much of Richard Armitage that involved actual acting, and I was correct. There continues to be little of artistry worth extended comment in this show. What I wasn’t expecting was that after an assassination attempt that would have put all of Germany in an uproar, it would be possible to SLOW the story down even more.

Never underestimate the disaster that the writing on this show has been. Tonight, every time the energy seemed to be building, they inserted a scene in a hospital waiting room. We’re now a week later than we were last year when they announced the renewal, and counting. I found myself wondering if the reason it’s all so short is that they learned they were going to be canceled before editing was even complete, that they had actually had an ongoing plot with Daniel Miller and his past both in Germany and with Hector, and once they were told they were canceled, they just edited all of that out in order not to leave any loose ends.

Anyway, another snooze fest.

Upside: No Steven Frost in this episode. Richard Armitage in bed in a funny scene.

Review posted quickly because for some reason this episode was visible on Spectrum on Demand several hours early. It’s not not that I object to early delivery so much as to the fact that from week to week both last year and this, it was impossible to figure out what the optimal way was to view and then cap the episode for review. For $15.99 / month, a consistent, reliable delivery mechanism that drops the episode at the announced time should not be too much to ask for. Particularly important because I have been traveling during some of this. Tonight, I blocked off the TV to watch live when my father would have rather been watching the Packers game.

***

Almost three minutes of “reminder” scenes this time around. Not that we’ve forgotten anything. Last season there was too much story; this season there’s not enough. When the episode finally starts, it also recapitulates stuff from the previous episode — Hector up on the roof, taking aim at Katerina Gerhardt. But he’s flagging and it’s clear he’s suffering from a clear case of the I don’t wannas.

Hector (Rhys Ifans) retreats from his assassination plans in Berlin Station 2.8. Gee, it’s almost like he finally realized that since Lena blew him off, HE doesn’t actually have any credible motive to kill Gerhardt.

As he’s getting ready to pack up he glances over to the roof of the Ibis Hotel nearby and realizes he’s not the only guy up on a housetop on this occasion, aiming at Katerina Gerhardt.

There’s another assassin!

Hector takes a picture of him, then shoots at him and wings him. The guy takes a shot anyway. (I didn’t find it convincing, that someone would get shot in the hand with a rifle like that, manage to hang onto the rifle, and then just shake it off and immediately take his own shot.) Of course, we’re not surprised because last week’s “scenes from next week” had already told us that Hector wasn’t the shooter.

Emmerich rushes to Katerina, who’s lying on the ground. Valerie and April also storm the barriers. We see their faces. They are sad, so sad.

Valerie is sad.

April is sad.

Hector runs away, with the gun he bought Lena. In full view of everyone. This was also not especially credible, that no one would notice him. There would have been police and security at an event like that and this is the sort of thing they’re trained to look for.

Meanwhile, on the ground:

Emmerich is sad, too.

Between the rooftop and the group, Hector has ditched his gun (why? wouldn’t it have his fingerprints all over it?) and is trying to blend in to the crowd fleeing via the U-Bahn.

So he decides to pick up a German flag — which would actually make him look more conspicuous in Berlin anyway …

But it’s hard to hide Hector even so.

(They did not hire enough extras for this scene to be convincing, IMO.)

Back at Esther Krug’s apartment, Daniel and Esther are following up on their reboot agreement, when her phone rings.

Ah, modern love.

He tells her not to look at it, but she ignores him, and his rings a second later, and they both pick up.

Hard to pick up your phone when there’s a woman on top of you. I’m glad Armitage has described her as a person with a sense of humor.

Eventually they both pick up and both get the same message. It’s a cute staging if a bit clichéd.

Wasn’t there a scene like this in When Harry Met Sally? Richard Armitage and Mina Tander in Berlin Station 2.8.

Cut to Valerie driving Emmerich to the hospital, following the ambulance. (As we will find out later, they take Gerhardt all the way to Steglitz to the “Benjamin Franklin Campus” of the Charité. There are at least three closer hospitals with an emergency room, but I suppose this was where filming demanded they go. Then again, I can imagine that the average German emergency room physician doesn’t have much experience with gunshot wounds, so they took her to the university hospital for that reason.) She is warning him that the police will be asking him questions. He seems very calm.

Back at Esther’s, they’re watching the news on her laptop. In English.

Back at Esther’s apartment, they are engaged in some solid, healthy postcoital snark. Esther suspects Lena and reproaches him for not handing her over; Daniel wants her not to jump to conclusions. Esther says if she doesn’t find the responsible person she’ll be fired “by tomorrow morning” (note that it’s already very late afternoon) — this is not credible at all, scriptwriters. Sorry. Saner minds are still in charge of Germany — and coalition negotiations typically take weeks if not months. No one is getting ready to fire Esther at this point. They weren’t last week and they aren’t now.

Cut to April knocking on Hector’s black transgender friend’s apartment. Surprise, Lena’s here. (Honestly, not very smart for a neo-Nazi, and honestly, why would all these people be so supportive to a neo-Nazi? If you were black and non-traditionally gendered and discovered a neo-Nazi in your living room, would you not call the police?). Lena is watching the same news report (again in English). April says Lena has to get out of Berlin that night because she’ll be tracked back to this apartment. (Not clear how.)

Next, we see Valerie and Emmerich entering the emergency room. I’ll just note here that although Germany in general is much less security-conscious than the U.S., it’s not credible that they would just let people walk in and out of the waiting area at a time like this. You have to suspend disbelief over that issue basically for the remainder of the episode as Valerie walks in and out unhindered several times. People standing there inform Emmerich that Gerhardt is in surgery and they can’t give a prognosis. Valerie wants Emmerich to sit down, but Emmerich wants to talk to Gerhardt’s husband.

Just then, Valerie gets an anonymous text message to go to the basement in five minutes. So, of course, she goes!

No one will be very surprised to learn that the anonymous texter is Yates, who says “I missed my plane.” (Like no one would have noticed this. Honestly, the writers may be okay assuming that the audience has a short memory, but I’m pretty sure the CIA doesn’t. The other thing is the status of these people’s residence is usually tied to employment; they don’t have regular residence permits. That was kind of a fuzzy thing last week with Valerie. It’s not clear to me that either of them are in Germany legally at this point.)

Yates (Ashley Judd) has news and a job for Valerie, in Berlin Station 2.8.

Yates wants to know what Valerie thinks about Emmerich (she wants him to be clean), how he’s doing (shaken) and if he still trusts her (yes). Then Yates drops a tidbit of information: the police (which police?) have searched “an address frequented by Otto Ganz” and found a stash of burner phones (okay — how come the BfV didn’t find them earlier?). “One recurring number” got calls from Spain securing payment for the explosives — “we tie that number to Katerina, and we finally have our link to Ganz.”

This doesn’t make a ton of sense. How come Yates has this information but Esther Krug didn’t? This show has a really poor understanding or at least depiction of how German law enforcement works. I can’t imagine that if the Berlin Landeskriminalamt had search results, it wouldn’t share them immediately with the BfV.

Valerie looks a bit confused — because they already have a link to Ganz. The line is just badly written, I guess.

Valerie points out that it’s a little late — but Yates says that it will be a moral victory and “it will help me square things back home.” Ah, yes, so it is about careerism and not about the law or any detail like that. Yates needs the phone, which she thinks is located in PfD headquarters, but she needs the keys to get into HQ. This also didn’t make sense to me: how would they know about the recurring number if it wasn’t the stash they already discovered? Maybe it’s just scripted badly. Valerie volunteers to break into Emmerich’s home safe. Don’t ask me why, exactly, she would obey orders from her fired COS. I guess this is feminist solidarity at work. Or something.

Daniel brings us back to the CIA office.

Back at the station, Daniel walks in as Kirsch is watching the news. Do they ever spy in this office, or do they just watch cable television twenty-four hours a day? Kirsch makes one of those wonderful statements from the Susan Sarandon school of international politics, where he smiles as he notes that the State Department was backing Gerhardt so whatever happens it will be bad. A phone call comes: it’s “Chevalier,” waiting outside for Daniel.

There he is, looking all spooky against the night park background. Rhys Ifans in Berlin Station 2.8.

Kirsch goes out to meet him and tells him to get bent (in several dozen more words than that), but of course, Hector knows who shot Gerhardt and offers to tell. He says he’s “just being a good American” and Kirsch, skeptical, invites him inside. Hector doesn’t want to go — duh. “Isn’t that why you came back to Berlin in the first place?” — “No, no, you’ve got me all wrong.” (So the subtext of this season is apparently that everyone who quit the CIA after last season wants to join again. Too bad the plot of this season doesn’t really square with that for Hector, since Daniel was the one who got him involved again.)

Kirsch (Leland Orser) notes that if the CIA wanted to punish Hector, “we could have fucking done it already,” in Berlin Station 2.8. Yes, indeed, Kirsch — drawing our attention yet again to one of the larger implausibility factors of this entire season, which is that there’s no way the CIA wouldn’t have assassinated the “Thomas Shaw” perpetrator last year already.

Hector’s all conflicted about the return — the camera spends many frames on this — and then when he gets back in no one notices him. They hadn’t been told the real story of his departure.

Just noting that Daniel (Richard Armitage) has a really convincing saunter just at this point.

Queried about Lena, Hector tells Daniel he doesn’t know — hopefully far away. They enter the meeting room and look at  Hector’s cell phone photo of the shooter — someone with a German military rifle, a professional. Daniel wants to know why Hector was there, and after some dithering, Hector explains he was supporting Lena’s desire for revenge. Kirsch wants to know why he was even there: the second time he articulates a meta-question the audience has as well. Daniel wants to share with Esther and Hector doesn’t want to. Kirsch agrees with Hector; Daniel says “her job’s on the line over this” (since I don’t believe this, I am still left wondering if Daniel’s main motive here is to keep himself in her pants, and if so, for operational reasons or because he’s in lurve). Kirsch’s reason for not wanting to share (“Gerhardt’s enemy is our enemy since the DOS is funding Gerhardt”) doesn’t make a lot of sense either. Sigh. Anyway — they’ll ask the NSA to ID the guy.

Doesn’t he look nice in the meeting, though? Richard Armitage in Berlin Station 2.8.

Daniel jabs that Hector can’t keep away and Hector — accurately — points out that Daniel brought him in. Oops. (So yeah, the whole “spies can’t quit” plotline isn’t really plausibly uniting this plotline with the Steven Frost one. Whatever.)

Cut to Westkreuz transit station and April trying to help Lena escape. (This is a bizarre choice — there are security cameras all over the Berlin mass transit system, and Westkreuz is a major transit hub. I still think the best way to flee Berlin is probably on a bus, but I also am not sure it wouldn’t have made sense just to stash Lena someplace in Berlin for a week or so.)

Bizarre moment here — when Lena tells her she likes who she is, April says she can keep the parts she like. HELLO??? She’s a neo-Nazi. Shouldn’t she get rid of that part? Which got her into this mess.

Cut to Valerie re-entering the emergency care waiting room.

Where she sees Emmerich with Bradford Winters’ brother, I mean, with Nick Fischer.

I couldn’t remember if she knew who Fischer is, but apparently she does. Anyway, Nick flew in to celebrate “Katerina’s win” (again, election law error much??). Emmerich notes that Fischer is an opportunist — Americans: “take, take, take” — but then he apologizes to Valerie. Valerie, so concerned, offers to go back to his flat and get him some clean clothes because now he’s the PfD leader and he needs to show the world who he really is. He gives her his keys. (This has a low plausibility factor for me, because he knows she’s a former CIA agent and that she disagrees with him politically, and now he’s at the head of the PfD. Is he really this gullible? But anyway, that’s what happens.)

Cut to the NSA, where Tim, April’s techy friend, has identified the shooter as Thomas Beidl, a KSK veteran (sort of like the Green Berets or the Navy Seals). Daniel is going to “pay him a visit,” as it turns out, with Hector. Kirsch gives Daniel an unauthorized firearm, but doesn’t unauthorize one for Hector.

Meanwhile, back at Westkreuz, Lena disobeys April’s advice to play it cool and is apprehended by some police officers. Since my questions a few episodes ago, I looked it up — the BfV have no police authority. So if they want arrests they need to get someone else to cooperate. (Have we not seen Esther with a gun? I’d have to look it up. She’s certainly always authorizing use of them.)

April is sad. So sad.

Now equipped with the keys, Valerie and Yates go to Emmerich’s apartment, where Valerie has conveniently installed a camera in just such a position to capture Emmerich’s combination for the safe. (This is so idiotic. Like he doesn’t know a working CIA agent is going to try to bug his apartment in various ways? Like he really has a home safe with a four digit combination?) They open it and get the keys …

… and a phone …

They call the phone number associated with the Spanish phone calls and this phone rings. (Isn’t that a bad idea? Won’t it leave a record if that’s not the phone they’re looking for? Why not just hit the information button on the phone to find out what the number is?)

Valerie is stunned, stunned, I tell you!

It is not plausible to me that she’s this upset. I pointed out in my episode 3 recap — when they were first discussing the operation — that some agency could be running him as well. Only now they realize that Emmerich handed Gerhardt on a plate to him, there was never anything directly connecting Gerhardt to Ganz (and all the info Valerie has about Gerhardt came through Emmerich’s facilitation)? Am I really that much more suspicious and cautious than the CIA station whisperer? Emmerich set both Ganz and Gerhardt up, Valerie says.

Cut to Daniel and Hector in a leafy suburb, possibly even Brandenburg, breaking into a house at night.

Look, contract killers are people too. Part of the Berlin Station “let’s normalize all the bad guys” story line pattern.

Daniel finds some blood spatter in the bathroom, and a little kid, unaccompanied in a bedroom.

Fans of Armitage sweet and Armitage speaking German will LOVE this sentence. Richard Armitage in Berlin Station 2.8.

I didn’t find this superplausible either but apparently the little girl is being supervised via nannycam. They take the girl to the neighbors, or so they say anyway.

Daniel looks deeply into the eyes of the digital teddybear. Richard Armitage in Berlin Station 2.8.

 

There’s also a bit of a kindly smirk here but you have to double the exposure on the frame to see it. Richard Armitage in Berlin Station 2.8.

Hector takes a picture of the little girl.

Cut to Yates driving Valerie back to the hospital. Yates warns Valerie that Emmerich probably ordered the assassination. Valerie is going to pursue it “to the end.” She just waltzes into the emergency room again without anyone noticing. Emmerich isn’t there because he’s gone out for some fresh air.

This is maybe the slowest point in the entire series so far. I don’t get why just as they should be ramping up the tension, they start inserting these down-tempo scenes.

Back in the leafy house, Daniel gives Hector the gun so he can surprise the little girl’s father, or as I prefer to call him, Gerhardt’s assassin. They apprehend him.

Speaking of apprehensions, Lena Ganz is in a BfV interrogation room! (To me this is not likely. At the very least she should be in a Berlin police interrogation room, even if Esther Krug is there. With a high profile case like this they would follow every rule of criminal procedure.)

Also, Esther has this strange skirt on that looks like it’s made of vinyl.

Krug is also speaking to Lena with the “du” (informal you used for close associates or children). Hmmm. Esther knows she didn’t do it alone and “all you have to do is tell me his name.” The subtitles are a bit inaccurate here, but nothing that skews the meaning of the scene. We don’t find out what Lena says.

Just as Robert is arriving (to interrogate Gerhardt’s assassin), he gets a call from his son, who wants to know where he is. They put exactly a version of this scene in the last episode at a place where it slowed down the action significantly, and here they do it again. I’ll add that the dialogue is extremely stilted. You already know my objections to this, so I’ll leave it. Anyway, Noah is angry and a bit worried, and Robert gets off the phone.

In the interrogation space, Hector threatens Gerhardt’s assassin’s child with the picture he took — in a way that is not very convincing. I can’t believe the assassin believed it, actually. Anyway, he spews: he was paid “Friday” — which was “about the time Katerina Gerhardt’s polls took a massive spike” and he got €30,000 for the whole job — half up front. (As Kirsch points out, this isn’t very much; it seems like it’s not in the realm of the sums of money being laundered in Norway, anyhow.) The assassin never met the contract-giver.

Back at the hospital, Valerie’s bored … and me too.

She learns that Gerhardt has died. She calls Emmerich, who still hasn’t appeared, to tell him, and gets shuttled to voice mail. Walking back into the station, Hector and Daniel learn it from the news. Kirsch asks April where she was, and decides to accept her reply “car troubles” even though he doesn’t believe it. (I mean, really — how much mass transit is there in Berlin? She couldn’t try a little harder?)

But Daniel (Richard Armitage) has really great boots on, as usual. I guess he kept Trevor Price’s pair.

Time for a meeting — but not before Hector and April debrief. She tells Hector that the police have Lena and he tells her he didn’t shoot Gerhardt. She’s upset over her involvement. (No doubt. Still, it’s near inconceivable to me that a new CIA agent would have done something like this anyway. Hector says: “we weren’t thinking straight, but we got away with it. This time.”

In the meeting, they discuss what to do next — and decide not to turn the shooter in, but use him to get the funder. Meanwhile, Kirsch gives Hector a squeaky clean “Hector de Jean” passport. Hector is pleased. I’m suspicious, because there’s no way there wouldn’t be some kind of alarm at the border if he tried to use that passport. Esther has been looking for him for something like five episodes at this point. He declines the opportunity to help them but “will use a free desk to book my travel.” (CC necessary to understand what he says.)

I felt like it was time for another picture. Richard Armitage in Berlin Station 2.8.

At 39 minutes, plot wrapup begins. Daniel, who’s about to start the baiting operation to catch whoever paid for the operation, calls Esther to tell her it wasn’t Hector. Wow, if he was going to go rogue, he waited an awful long time. Just long enough to allow the plot to work. She (and her trusty sidekick) don’t believe him. She tells him Lena named Hector, and she hangs up.

The assassin gets in a car as the spies watch, and a (mildly suspenseful) car chase begins. It involves a parking garage, which slows them down because German parking garages are small and cramped.

Daniel is following this car. It’s amusing because this is really close to the CINEMAXX (Sony Centre), which long-time Armitage fans may remember as the location of the 2013 Berlin The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug premiere. They blur the neon sign slightly but you can kind of see it in the background.

Daniel loses his quarry and his cell signal for a second and in that space of time, the driver of the car kills the shooter and switches vehicles. Daniel runs out of the garage in time to jump in with Robert and April and they give chase.

Switch back to Valerie, now bored at the water cooler. We’re ten minutes from the end of the episode and they’re slowing it down with this stuff?

Back in the chase, they don’t have far to go as the car stops at the Grand Hyatt Potsdamer Platz. It’s being parked and Kirsch gets the room number of the guest by bribing the valet parking service person. (Low probability of this actually happening, again.) He’s in room 641. They break in. It’s empty. They find a bar phone (implication for the viewer: connection to Ganz / Emmerich, as it’s the same kind of phone found in Emmerich’s safe). The room occupant comes back — so they hide in the bathroom — is anyone surprised that it’s Bradford Winters’ brother, I mean, Nick Fischer?

Back to the hospital: Valerie is still waiting as Emmerich returns.

“No time to mourn!” He looks a bit like the cat who swallowed the canary.

Cut back to the hotel: Fischer leaves and they discover he had changed out of a blood covered shirt. (And left it on the bed.) Daniel wants to turn the guy in — he obviously didn’t recognize Fischer. Kirsch says, “he’s one of us.”

Cut to the station: Hector is strutting through when he sees the news — the German authorities have named Hector de Jean as a suspect. Why is anyone surprised? Whatever the German equivalent of an APB is out, and he’s described as “armed and dangerous.”

Cut to the hospital: Emmerich heads a press conference to inform them that Gerhardt is dead. This is poorly scripted, since everyone including the news people has already known this for hours.

Cut to the station: as Hector tries to leave the embassy, he sees the flashing blue lights of the police.

And back at the hospital, we end with the chilling statement from Emmerich that Germany will not tolerate this sort of officially ordered attack on it by the USA.

So, the episode tried to confuse as to whether the assassination was motivated by Hanes / Fischer, or Emmerich, but it seems like the phone in Fischer’s suitcase may suggest that they’re all wound up together somehow.

***

For once, the scenes from next week don’t give the whole thing away. However, what’s clear is that (as with the last two episodes of season 1) we will spend the last episode figuring out to do with Hector. Why do I feel like I’ve seen this plot before?

Continues here.

~ by Servetus on November 27, 2017.

29 Responses to “Berlin Station 2.8, first impressions [spoilers!] #richardarmitage”

  1. I never would have thought I’d have reason to say this, but Robin Hood was waaaay better written than the disaster of writing on this show. What a let down this has been for the most part.

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  2. “Valerie looks a bit confused” because she can’t remember why she agreed to be in this mess of a show. I never thought that I would ever say this, but Robin Hood had way better writers. This show has been really disappointing. And no offence, but I really don’t think the writers were clever enough to have “had an ongoing plot with Daniel Miller and his past both in Germany and with Hector, and once they were told they were canceled, they just edited all of that out in order not to leave any loose ends.” I think this only because they seem incapable of an ongoing plot and remembering what great thoughts they had from one week to the next; nor do they seem capable of having an ongoing storyline/character arc for anyone that is consistent. But it would have been nice to know more about Daniel other than a) he looks good with a beard (season one) and without a beard (season two) and b) he looks really good with clothes on and with clothes off (season one and season two – they stuck with this one for both seasons cause they know a good thing when they see one).

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    • Oops, got my beard/no beard seasons mixed up. I like your idea of the plot with Daniel and Hector and would have liked to have seen it. This show is beyond stupid.

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      • I’m mostly just trying to come up any idea of how the show could have gotten into this condition. The tempo is all wrong. The plot is full of holes. Some very basic things were apparently never researched.

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        • I blamed it on Olen Steinwhateverhisnamewas last season but obviously I was wrong. The writing problem ran much deeper. Maybe he left because he was the good writer and couldn’t deal with it anymore. lol. Who knows. It’s soooo poorly written it is a shame. It had glimmers of good but just went nowhere.

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  3. […] Continues here. […]

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  4. Looks like I’ll be giving the fast forward button a workout when the chance to see this comes around. I’ve been reading your reviews and it seemed as though the writing/plotline couldn’t get any worse and yet it has. I truly hope Richard has moved on from this, even if there is a third series. It’s back to Spooks for me 😉

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    • I know we used to grouse about Spooks but it was really palate cleansing most of the time compared to this. At least the characters behaved credibly.

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  5. Well, I still really like the opening credits montage with the Bowie music. So that’s something.

    I really think they should do a spin-off show featuring Esther’s sidekick. (When he comes on I often giggle at his pointlessness.)

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    • He has a name, Stefan, but I didn’t put it in here because it seemed so pointless and now there’s only one episode left. What would we call it? “German bureaucrats in love?” He could have an unrequited love affair with Esther Krug.

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  6. Just noticed he didn’t tweet at all today, not even a RT of an ad or anything. Huh.

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  7. Thanks for the detailed recap. I watch this streaming and I ended up skipping that snore of a car chase and this recap told me everything I needed to know, much appreciated.

    I don’t believe for one second that Josef trusts Valerie enough to give her his keys, let her have that access, without having set her up somehow, just like he did when he confronted her about being in front of Katarina’s house two weeks before the election. I’ll be waiting for that shoe to drop and hope/pray that Valerie doesn’t really let him fool her twice.

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    • Thanks for the comment and welcome. It’s amazing how this show can make things could actually be frightening, boring. What’s interesting about German parking garages is the sharp angles and the many blind corners in them. That could be exciting even without speed but they don’t manage it.

      If Emmerich were in fact in cahoots with Fischer / Hanes / the DOS, that would explain how he was able to identify and locate Valerie so quickly — something that had never been explained in the show.

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  8. What is bothering me is what bad spies they are! Every operation goes profoundly wrong.

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    • it’s true, and it’s a big contrast to Spooks.

      Then again — in this episode, when they were opening the safe by getting the combination from the hidden camera, I was really skeptical that it could possibly happen that quickly. It seems that their tech works better than normal. I suppose it’s all gauged to the needs of the story, anyway.

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  9. The bed/ mobile scene was great 😀 soooo reminded me of Banksy’s “mobile love”
    and actually I thought ep8 was one of the better and more suspenseful episodes so far – but that’s how perceptions vary 😉 I also think Hector’s an interesting character and from what I gathered from your posts I see him in a completely different light than you. more like in this fanfiction: http://archiveofourown.org/works/12512144/chapters/28489212
    re: Spooks – reading so much about it in the comments I got the DVDs of Season 7, 8 & 9 and so far I have watched ep 1-7 of season 7. Personally, I couldn’t say if Berlin Station or Spooks is the better show because they both have elements that I find really annoying and other things that I enjoy. Berlin Station supposedly is more realistic and has a lot of potential in terms that there is a more complex world view, not just good and bad which I like better than the gadgetry in Spooks with those really strange looking colorful computer graphics and all the characters taking time to explain everything to each other verbosely in the middle of the most stressful ops for the “benefit” of the audience (I hate it when writers think they need to take the audience by the hand…). So I think it’s kind of OK if not every mission is a success in Berlin Station, but then again I had at least one (and often more) moment(s) of “oh, no what on earth are you doing there?!?” in every episode of BS 2 so far. Like: April “hiding” the bug in the most obvious place, Valerie giving Josef Emmerich much too much inside information when he’s supposed to be her informant not the other way round (I’m sure a CIA operative should stick to the “need to know” principle…), Daniel being – for obscure reasons – all concerned about handing over Lena, etc., etc. And both Steven Frost and BB Yates are just so annoying. In comparison it’s much easier to identify with Ros Myers in Spooks for example, even though the viewer doesn’t get much backstory. But the one scene where she demolishes the hotel room and then talks to Harry all calm and collected made me feel like I know her and shows “what she’s made of” much better than the whole unneccessary subplot of BB Yates undercover in the Swiss Alps with her soon-to-be-killed-in-a-car-crash fiancé. On the other hand, I think the camera work and imagery on Berlin Station is much better than Spooks, with those strange frames where they zoom in on someones face probably to emphasize that he’s saying something important but making him look completely ridiculous in the process.
    So now we know everything we would make better we just need to go ahead and create the perfect spy drama series ourselves 😉 with lots of historical references and stunning locations and a really thrilling and complex but not too complicated storyline and a no plot holes and of course with Richard Armitage as the lead role!

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    • I had somewhat more sympathy for Hector last season, although I didn’t find him very compelling; my issue now is that the character ran its course in season 1. We’re still being forced to live out his trauma.

      re: Spooks: I’m always surprised when someone hasn’t seen it! I got very tired of the “we’re saving lives!” thing and to some extent of the fact that their tech always worked, but the thing it just did so much better was characterization. Ros gets a lot of backstory in one of the earlier seasons, I think it’s series 5-6. She is one of my favorite female characters in any Richard Armitage production. I loved Ruth, too. The women on that shoe just seemed so much more real (with the possible exception of Valerie). re: camera work — i agree with you. But in general (although Spooks was one of the most expensive things ever on UK TV), the production budget for Berlin Station was probably several times higher. There are so many continuity errors and bad shots in Spooks, in part because they only did like three takes of a lot of scenes.

      At this point, I’d totally be up for creating a new spy drama series with him in mind. At least that way we’d get to see him ski.

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      • A skiing spy – reminds me of Roger Moore somehow. And that makes me feel old as dirt 😉.
        Another remark to this episode: I really wonder where the BfV interrogates people. Probably the most modern item in this room was the copier and even that seemed to be 20 years old. But in that context Esther´s skirt was fitting 😉.

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  10. […] from here. These posts contain spoilers. PLEASE do not read them if you are not watching concurrently with […]

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  11. […] At the station, Torres calls Valerie and Robert to report that he’s leaving Tapa. They deduce that he’s got the corpse as he’s headed for “the U.S. Army Hospital in Frankfurt.” Valerie and Robert agree that they didn’t want Daniel’s body abandoned in the field, but Robert will go to Frankfurt to make sure Torres doesn’t “go rogue.” Robert also asks about the meeting with Kolya. Valerie reports Kolya’s denial of Russian involvement and says she believes him [DISTRACTING PLOT COMPLICATION: I’m worried this is all too predictable given Valerie’s behavior with Josef Goebbels last season — she didn’t believe he was dirty until 2.8]. […]

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  12. […] loading a body like this. Hopefully they went to the nearest one instead of driving all over town like they did last season. I’m also wondering how you explain the injury to a doctor. However, the cabbie does pass on […]

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  13. […] that Berliners can see it at the same cinema where Armitage attended the Hobbit premiere (and near where Daniel Miller was busy in season 2 of Berlin Station). Here’s a solid, brief review of the film that very much summarizes my reaction to it […]

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