Berlin Station 3.3, first impressions [spoilers!] no #richardarmitage

Continued from here. These posts will 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 becomes legally available in your region.

Reminder:  SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.


So, sorry, Richard Armitage — I wouldn’t be watching this show without you, which I realized tonight when I was kind of tuning out just before a significant implied plot development regarding your character. It’s not subtle enough about the situation in “Estonia” to be interesting otherwise, and it looks we’re heading for a repeat plot line with Frost, except we are supposed to be intrigued by the new twist, I guess. Oh, and again, many minutes of filming in the mostly-dark where you can’t see anything, and plenty of not very credible violence.

There was a lot of very casual scene-dropping in this episode — like casual things happening that you know will be important later. They seem to be hinting strongly (or aggressively holding open the likelihood) that Daniel is still alive. However, he doesn’t appear anywhere in this episode except on his passport. The thing is, though, they don’t really create the impression he’s actually gone. The loss has no time to resonate before they are already think he’s alive. It all feels very manipulative. I don’t know if I’m that curious about how they save him, as I don’t believe he’s dead. It’s going to make continuing to watch a little dreary. Shrugs. I just have a hard time watching without Richard Armitage to care about.

This should be shorter snark tonight, no? On the upside, I did finally finish my grades this afternoon.


The episode opens with Steven in the water, which we know after two seasons means he’s dreaming. This time, however, he’s swimming with a huge blue head. Lenin, maybe?

Is Steven (Richard Jenkins) dealing with the end of the Cold War in his subconscious? The Fall of the Wall in his own personal life won’t leave him alone?

He wakes up in Berlin …

in an expensive apartment with a view directly across to the Brandenburg Gate. Wow. Oh yeah we movin’ on up …

Cut to the titles.

Richard Armitage’s face is still in the titles but his name’s been erased. No wonder he looks so grief-stricken.

Rhys Ifans is still in the titles with a scene from season 2, but they removed his name.

So, the episode starts. In Tallinn, Torres has taken Sofia Vesik to the airport and booked her on a flight to Berlin via Oslo. He instructs her to call a number on her phone as soon as she gets there. She doesn’t believe she’s in danger, but he does. (This plot-line is completely dropped in this episode after that; I wonder if they forgot to pick her up at the airport?)

In Berlin, April (KeKe Palmer) has beautiful eyelashes. I mean, she’s worried about Daniel.

Kirsch is debating April’s concern with her (he doesn’t want to try to call Daniel now because it’s against protocol) when he encounters this beautiful young thing, who sounds a little bit Eastern European.

“Hi, I’m Nina.” (it’s when she says “I’m new” like “nyu” that I think she’s not a German, fwiw. That vowel feels unusually palatalized. Actor is Anja Antonowicz.

This is what I mean by conspicuously casual. He’s a CIA agent, of course he’s suspicious. OTOH if she’s an FSB agent, she will know that he’s going to be suspicious. He casts a long look after her: romantic interest? In any case, I don’t remember her from the previous episodes, and we don’t see her again tonight.

Then — ring! — Robert is walking away from his apartment (appears to be roughly in the same place as last season), and he’s on the phone with Torres, who tells us that Sofia is boarding (so, will she make it to Berlin? Or will she get hijacked?). He also tells us that the sniper from the last episode is someone he recognizes — he uses a “Russian rig, the ORSIS T-5000,” but for this job he used a Centennial 550 and “this wasn’t a kill shot.” He wanted to scare people in order to start a civil war. Also, Torres informs Robert that he saw the foxgloves in the waitress’ apartment and she saw him seeing them, i.e., the waitress killed Henryk. Male posturing about who’s tougher and who’s smarter and who’s a bigger asshole. Yawn. Torres hasn’t seen Daniel.

Somewhere else in Berlin, Valerie’s watching a little girl at a ballet lesson.

So Michelle Forbes gets to exploit those many years of dancing lessons she had. (Wish they’d do this with Armitage.) Also, they found a little Hungarian girl (Brigitte Szabo) who has a perfect US accent.

It’s not Valerie’s long lost daughter, apparently, but the daughter of a friend who’s visiting.

This is Robin Weigert, whose name is in the titles, so she must be a recurring character. (Another one??). She’s Valerie’s college friend and she didn’t know Valerie knows ballet, and it’s a bit strange because she’s “saving Euros” by staying with Valerie — but her child is enrolled in ballet? Is the overall code for “lesbian” or something else? Will Valerie switch teams?

This casual encounter kind of stinks of setting up a future hostage situation or something. Anyway, Valerie’s very distracted by the news from Tallinn which she is watching while talking to her friend.

Back at the embassy, April’s lashes are still beautiful.

The Berlin Station people are worried about Daniel as the digital clock strikes ten, when he’s supposed to call by. Valerie and Robert are in a secure room, conveniently reviewing the plot from last time for our attention, and arguing over whether NATO would really invoke Article 5 to defend Estonia if Russian were proven to be agents provocateurs. Valerie says yes, Robert thinks this could be cast as a civil war (implication: NATO wouldn’t intervene in that case). April interrupts them to tell them that Daniel’s late and it’s atypical. Valerie says they have to wait another two hours. April and Robert talk her down into proceeding with “failsafe” in one hour. Then April reminds us all of the incident at the café last time with the threatening onlooker, which is convenient because she has a date with the guy, Dove, again tonight.

Steven Frost (Richard Jenkins) and Robert Kirsch (Leland Orser) drinking up a storm just outside the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. The Adlon (the umbrellas) is right there, too, and nowadays the Akademie has a wine bar near its entrance. Very convenient for Robert as he just has to leave the embassy and he’s right there.

Robert meets Steven for a chat at a reception that turns out to be in celebration of Steven’s new vineyard or something. (Dumb joke about how he bought a vineyard next door that’s the German word for “frost.” The German word for “frost” is der Frost). Question: if Steven’s throwing the reception, why does he only talk to Robert at it? Anyway, Steven’s got lots of money to spend now (he’s going to vet a Russian business partner for the second biggest energy company in Germany — does he know Gerhard Schröder?) and he wants Robert to get on board. This feels like a mashup of plotlines from season 1 (Robert and Steven need money so they embezzle and season 2 (Steven needs Robert to help him do his intelligence). In the course of Steven reminding us of the political background in Estonia (this is the second time during this show, honestly, do they think we have no brains? or that we need to be reminded that the Russians are the villains in the show? I’m no fan of Vladimir Putin, but it’s only the most superficial picture he paints here), we learn that he unexpectedly knows Daniel is in Estonia — and Robert admits he isn’t back. (Shouldn’t Robert be more worried about Steven knowing that?) Steven suggests asking SUPO and Robert demurs. Robert also says he isn’t quitting his job.

This is “Langley” for season 3. Langley, thy name is “Jason”.

Valerie is on a satellite call with her boss in Virginia — who says her info about Estonia is just “a series of unfortunate events.” Jason tells her that there’s a retired Cold War-era agent in Berlin who’s podcasting and telling stories. This feels like a very coded conversation. Jason tells her the most recent story is a lie (then why do you care?), Valerie suggests getting a lawyer (is this code for “hit man”?), Jason says that they’re beyond lawyers but “I’ve been told that 40 years merits at least a courtesy call” (which seems to be warning for “tell him we will kill him to shut him up).

Next, Esther and Valerie meet at an art auction.

Fighting international moneylaundering, doncha know, but I think it’s just an excuse to show the fancy-shmancey interior.

Esther seems to have suggested the meeting place but not the meeting. Valerie asks about Estonia. Valerie thinks it’s serious enough to justify invoking Article 5 of the NATO charter. Esther notes that Russia provides a big chunk of Germany’s energy. She asks whether Valerie is speaking officially. Valerie apologizes for erratic US policy, and Esther slips in one of those neat German words, “Backpfeifengesicht,” — a face that makes you want to punch it. Esther agrees to support Valerie but notes Valerie will have to take the lead.

Then, just as Valerie wants to go — bang! Esther asks about Daniel.

I have no idea why Valerie is so surprised about the question, but Michelle Forbes does have a striking face.

Esther tells Valerie Daniel was distressed about his past the previous afternoon, and Valerie sort of brushes it all off. It’s probably fair to say that if I were Esther, I’d be undertaking my own search at this point, even though that isn’t hinted at here.

Shift to Tallinn / Sopron. Maret the Waitress and Basarov are observing a developing clash between Estonians and supporters of Russia in the square, where it looks like that monument is coming down after all.

Basarov is there and you can tell he’s thinking about murdering Maret the Waitress. The flowers are her undoing — because Basarov knows that Torres saw them. However she insists they were only snapdragons. Honestly, the level of flower lore among people in this show is outstanding — they could almost be hobbits.

As the violence grows, Basarov urges Maret the Waitress to go out into the brewing riot to defend her grandfather’s memory. He then gets in the truck that’s going to pull the monument down, throws out the driver who is in there, and starts forward. Maret the Waitress is part of a human chain standing in his way. You see that she realizes what is going to happen about a second before he runs her and several others over.

Back to Berlin about twenty minutes in, where the Valerie / Robert / April triad is watching events in Tallinn on the news. An agitated Robert recognizes Maret the Waitress’ body on the news. Om, my god, talk talk talk talk talk. They remind us that the Russians needed to kill her to prevent her from speaking and also that she makes a martyr. They once again rehash the question of whether NATO can intervene if it’s a civil war. DO YOU THINK WE ARE NOT LISTENING????? Valerie decides to go straight to extracting Daniel, but the hostage team is busy elsewhere. April thinks the Navy SEALs can rescue him but Robert thinks it will take too long. Then he fricking repeats what Daniel did in the last episode



Anyway, Valerie wants to send Torres in, and Robert will be Torres’ handler. Valerie thinks this is good because Torres believes in “no man left behind,” and sets off to do the favor for Langley which she thinks they will need.

Now, the scene with James Cromwell, who it turns out is the podcaster from episode 1, i.e., Gilbert Dorn.

He refers to Diver as the factotum for Bush I, before returning to a story about DARPA trained dolphins traded for information about the Russian negotiating strategy at the 1989 Malta summit.

The podcast host tries to get Dorn to say that Diver is a composite of different people, but Dorn says, according to you, i.e., wrong!

Clever camera work switches us back to a view of Steven that we are acquainted with from episode 1.

Of course now he’s older. He’s listening to the podcast as Dorn claims Russia is mad that the US extended NATO into the Baltic. (I think Russia territorial ambitions in the Baltic are a bit older than 1989, but okay, I agree that it sucks to have diplomatic agreements violated.)

Steven is having a chat with Valerie — he agrees to try to get Dorn to shut up. (This is a weird moment as we know that Steven is Diver, but I guess Valerie doesn’t even know Diver is a thing.). Also, it’s hard to believe that these people were at each other’s throats in season 1. This is kind of a galling conversation as Steven takes “paternal pride” in Valerie’s appointment and skills. He hints she’d like to be more in the field. She warns him off of recruiting Robert. And when her phone rings, he digs for information about Estonia and Daniel, and she admits she hasn’t heard from him.

(At this point, my vague memory of the Tourist novels by Olen Steinhauer pricks my brain — I feel like there was a senior CIA person in those novels who was supposed to be a good guy and wasn’t.)

Brief reference — Torres is on the move toward Daniel’s last known coordinates. That’s his little put-put car. Is it a Ford Fiesta? (Inside joke there)

Now Steven is visiting Dorn, with a bottle of Macallan.

His apartment is full of mathoms, including the “proof of WMDs in Iraq,” allegedly made from a tennis ball machine.

It’s not a comfortable conversation. Dorn suspects Steven has come to kill him; Steven tells him to stop talking; Dorn expresses feelings of under-appreciation and of not being anything like Steven, who he says “sold out”; Dorn quotes an abbreviated version of Wilfrid Owen; Steven says the next person who comes knocking will be there to kill him. Dorn makes a gesture that implies he’s going to stop talking. Steven leaves.

Back to “Estonia”. We see Torres at the site of the immolation last week, reciting the Lord’s Prayer. He takes pictures of the body, finds Daniel’s passport, and sends them back to Berlin, where Torres informs them the evidence is mixed (no way to identify scars or teeth) and this is Spetsnaz distraction. After a short discussion, Valerie tells Torres to leave the body there. Robert is torn up, and agrees to “start the paperwork.” At the last second Torres changes his mind and walks back out toward the body.

There’s a lot of emphasis here on how torn up Valerie and Robert are — at least they want us to believe this — but I am not convinced that Valerie even thinks Daniel’s dead. This felt like cynical manipulation to me.

OK — finally back to April’s plot line with her date. They show up at his dad’s office with dinner, but his dad doesn’t want to let them in. Outside, Dove complains about his father’s horrible behavior and notes that his mom left because his dad ignored her. He’d have gone to the U.S., too, except that he’s from a “shithole country.” The threatening guy from last week shows up and beats up Dove, before threatening him again.

and April holds him off with a broken beer bottle!

She helps Dove back into his father’s office, and his father lets them in but insists that April leave. She complies, but not before sees these things:

Clue 1! The tech!

Clue 2! The application of the tech! Looks dangerous.

Cut back to Tallinn, where Torres is carrying the body back to his car. Then he goes back to the underground site where Daniel was — cue lots and lots of darkness so I am not capping all of it. I guess this is supposed to be the most suspenseful part but I can’t tell because I can’t see it. (I couldn’t see anything on dad’s big TV, either.) I’m not sure what we’re supposed to see here. The floor is wet with something. Is it that the stuff that was there last time is gone?

In Berlin, lots of subdued music and thinking. They’re upset about Daniel.

In Berlin, Robert is filling out the MIA form. He is extremely torn up that he doesn’t know Daniel’s middle name but luckily Valerie saves the day — it’s “Adam.” I mean, they practically never have a scene together so why would Robert know his middle name? Orser can’t even pronounce “Armitage.”

Back in Turba / Tallinn, Torres scales a fence into an area around what looks like two nuclear reactors. It goes on for minutes and minutes. He sneaks into a building with a ton of what could be munitions but we can barely tell. Then he sneaks into a barracks. Then they notice him, and there’s a shoot-out, and then they chase him with their big armored vehicles and rifles as he frantically steers his tiny little put-put car. Cut to black.

~ by Servetus on December 17, 2018.

41 Responses to “Berlin Station 3.3, first impressions [spoilers!] no #richardarmitage”

  1. Re Sofia Vesik: In season 2 lots of people should have boarded a plane and never did, so picking someone up at the airport might not be top priority for these folks 😉

    Re Anja Antonowicz: She is polish but works for years now in Germany and is well known for her role in ‘Lindenstraße’

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think I wasn’t watching Lindenstr. anymore after 2006 — which information kind of stuns me. I wonder who’s running her.

      I was thinking last night that maybe there’s a flight lounge somewhere for all of the characters who should have gotten on a plane over the course of the series.


  2. Thank you for the recap Serv. We’ve been getting the episodes streamed on a free to air channel soon after Epix screens them, but I don’t think I’ll bother with this one. Without Daniel, there is nothing and no one to interest me.


    • what’s weird to me is how slow they are in getting the Diver thing off the ground, and the Diver / Dorn conlict — we’re a third into the series now. That would potentially be interesting.


  3. obviously not watching due to my location in the UK…but teeth….they do generally survive a body being set on fire-it’s one reason we need to accurately chart them on patient records so bodies can be identified-it’s the only part usually left after airplane crashes


  4. As I have not been watching this show, I will tune into you Sev to get any updates regarding. To me it was boring, poorly written and without Daniels character why would I watch it? Even with Daniel I did not enjoy the show.


    • Basically the last ten minutes are cross cuts between Val / Robert looking sad and Torres walking through the site where Daniel was killed in the dark.


  5. Thank you for the run-down, Serv. With RA gone, I am definitely not watching this anymore, and shall be looking to you for summaries of the plot – or unexpected (…) resurrection (…) of DM.


  6. I’m sure Daniel isn’t dead, so there’s that… but when was it said that Steven is Diver? I got a mini heart attack when I read that, it didn’t seem to be revealed yet.


    • Many of us thought it was pretty obvious from episode 1, but it hasn’t been stated explicitly.


    • My favorite Ukrainian fan just pointed out to me on Twitter that this may be the reason that Steven has these recurring water dreams as well.


      • his code name is Diver because he dreams of water? Or he dreams of water because his code name is diver? I thought the writing was lame but wow, that’s so ‘clever’ (lame!)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I watched it this morning. For me, the “suspense” of whether Daniel is alive or dead is nil. I may have been on the fence during the week, but this episode convinced me he’s alive but won’t be seen again for many episodes, if at all. This was a tedious hour for me. I can watch on demand, so I may keep up with the show from time to time, but like Guylty, I also may just be relying on your recaps – or watch it after I read them, along with some Spider Solitaire. What is it about all these dark scenes – not just in this, but in so many films?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see so many holes here in the writing, plot that I feel a bit disillusioned by the series b/c I liked S1 and S2 and not just for Richard’s “starring” role in it. I think all that darkness is to cover up a crappy plot and try to create movie like suspense. I’m in it to see what happened to Daniel’s mom and I may have been in the minority of Daniel and Esther (I liked their relationship and how it evolved) but Esther not really worrying and asking as an afterthought about Daniel epitomizes a lot of what is wrong with S3..


      • I didn’t think Esther was really satisfied with Valerie’s response, so we’ll see. At least they know he’s missing and are looking for him.


        • Yep and the two who really showed any level of alarming concern as they should have were Robert (his co field agent) and April (his handler). Esther has 1 scene in that episode and she doesn’t grill Valerie about Daniel’s whereabouts the minute they meet nor is there a follow-up scene of Esther trying to get intel herself after Valerie gives her the brush off… ugh…


          • there’s the piece that Esther has never really officially acknowledged her relationship with Daniel to Valerie, so she’s making a big concession by broaching the topic. The line about Valerie never saying anything unguarded (paraphrasing) applies to ESther, too, presumably.

            Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s worth distinguishing between how Armitage fans feel about the relationship vs how general viewers feel about it. Armitage’s fans almost never love or even especially like a female co-star, Daniela Denby Ashe being the big exception.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Despite my best efforts, I did get spoiled well before seeing this episode, which is frustrating, so I spent some time thinking last night about whether I would find this suspenseful had I not been spoiled. I think I wouldn’t … because they only let you have about 20 minutes of thinking Daniel is dead before Torres says “it’s a Spetsnaz tactic.” Given that they’ve decided they’re not going to wait anyway (in Berlin) to pursue countermeasures (no idea what those would be), I didn’t really understand why he took the body with him unless it’s some kind of “no man left behind” thing, or he really doesn’t believe the body is Daniel. Plot-wise it’s just an excuse for that last ten minutes of creeping around and shootemup in the dark.

      Anyway, they don’t give you enough time to process that Daniel might be dead, and they show you the main characters’ grief only after they’ve already undermined the likelihood that he’s dead. But even so — I think the real problem for me is that I’m not sure why I should even be sad that Daniel is dead. I mean — I was upset about Lucas North for weeks. We’ve seen almost as much or even more of Daniel as we had of Lucas at the point he’d died, but I don’t even have enough information about him as a person to really grieve him. I mean — I was more upset about Clare dying in season 1 than I am about allegedly dead Daniel at this point. So the flipside is that even if they had allowed time for real grief, I wouldn’t have had the necessary sentiment to mourn.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I thought I responded to this, but my comment disappeared. There were potential spoilers that I never mentioned here – but I think Epix’s last week’s silly tweet, (Has Daniel Met his match? ) was the most revealing spoiler. It’s difficult to think that even with their odd marketing strategy, BS would make fun of the supposed death of their supposed series star.

        Liked by 1 person

        • it’s made me wonder (not for the first time) if their marketer suffers from borderline personality. I mean — if we’re drawn in enough that we keep watching week after week, that means identification with the characters and concern about their fates– so joking about it is really counter-productive if they want us to be involved. Yes, we know it’s a soap, but why would the marketer make fun of the show? (Armitage’s reply didn’t exactly help things in that regard either — and it marks a pretty strong divergence in his own strategy toward publicity, he was always very careful in how he talked about previous characters.)


  8. This is looking, and sounding, like a Glen-and-the-dumpster situation. People who watch the walking dead know what I mean.
    If it is, you will see steam coming out of my ears.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL. I don’t watch it.


      • Not a problem. In a nutshell, Glen supposedly fell off a dumpster, with another guy, and got devoured by walkers. The next two or so episodes, actor Steven Yeun’s name did not appear in the credits. Needless to say, Glenn not dead due to other dude. Steven Yeun actually had to keep out of site and his mouth shut for the ‘twist.’ It drove me bonkers and I am seeing this again.

        Liked by 1 person

        • yeah, I think it’s pretty much exactly like that.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I think this Glen in the Dumpster business is Berlin Stations Jump the Shark for me. As Servetus pointed out, and made me just realize, I have known Daniel now about as long as I had known Lucas. And yet, I don’t really know Daniel at all. So, at this point in time I cared very much for poor Lucas, but I really have no real feelings one way or another for Daniel. I find it stupid of me for almost 2 and a half years to keep wishing for this show to be better than it unfortunately is – character development wise.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m a bit confused about the “monument coming down” part. What was that about? (haven’t seen the series, so I can only rely on this blog post)

    It actually happened in Tallinn 11 years ago and it was not a nice scene:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I really learn a lot from this blog and from people who read and comment on this blog.


    • I hope I am giving you the right information, but this is how I believe the plot unfolded regarding the statue. The statue was part of a war memorial to fallen Russian soldiers who died defending the country against the Nazis. We saw a couple of kids defacing it with graffiti in a previous episode. The statue is being pulled down by Estonians protesting Russian influence (and a possible takeover) in their country. The bad guy pushes the driver out of the truck and runs over the crowd conveniently killing the girl who poisoned the (can’t remember his name) president? Anyway, the bad guy mowed down the pro-Russia demonstrators to implicate the Estonians in killing innocent
      peaceful protestors, thereby making tensions between the two groups escalate further. This is what I think happened after mutiple viewings and could be wrong. I have to say this show has more plot holes than a gopher convention.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. All the speculation about Daniel being dead also reminds me of the Monty Python dead parrot sketch. Instead we substitute the parrot for Daniel Miller.

    The things that pop into my head sometimes.


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


  12. Thanks for the recap Serv. I watched Ep3 & Ep 4, one after the other as I’d fallen behind in my viewing. I obviously missed a few ‘subtle’ details. The ‘Daniel’s dead’ plot and Richard Armitage’s absence reminded me of Robin Hood Series 3 (can’t remember the eps, and Guy hadn’t died at that point), but Richard Armitage had a commitment elsewhere (Spooks filming in Moscow?), and the writers had to contrive with Guy out of the two episodes, so given that I knew his Mum was unwell, and he was also committed to My Zoe at the same time, I was prepared for ‘no Daniel’. I’m also not particularly invested in Daniel, (I struggle to feel anything for him tbh), so his absence doesn’t bother me. I will continue to watch as I’m interested to see where the writers are heading, and I quite like Valerie, Robert & April. (and Torres, if I’m honest).

    Oh, and I agree about the darkness … I had the same challenge on our TV.


  13. Yeah. Thank you for sacrificing yourself by watching this. I think I’ll just stick to reading your spoiler posts. Should Richard reappear, maybe I’ll tune in again.


  14. Thanks lovelots Serv. I’m not watching these episodes without RA. Just relying in your spoilers to understand the ongoing Story. Keep it up! Looking forward for more , even though it’s quite boring without our favorite spy.🤗


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