Berlin Station 3.6, first impressions [spoilers!] still 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.

***

I was trying to get my students’ philosophy homework done while I was watching this, so I apologize in advance for any non-clarity or lack of inspiration. We’re doing epistemology at the moment. I was thinking about the Meno and the Theaetetus and Gettier problems. (Is knowledge justified true belief, or not?).

I felt like this episode was better than the last one in terms of tempo — lots of moving the plot forward as opposed to the total detour last time, and I only twice found myself thinking “this scene is in here because the boys will like it.” They don’t really sell the sense of urgency over Estonia very well, though. And they’ve added yet another series of baddies / characters that we have to take time to get to know, etc. I don’t know why they can’t just fricking concentrate on their own main characters.

But I will also admit that the Daniel problem is contributing to my sense of boredom. The whole bar thing would have been interesting to me if Armitage had been in it (and I remember a really great one he did for Spooks 7.7 where we just followed his eyes everywhere). But Torres and Hector? Whatever. And it looks like the next episode will be devoted to their exploits, too.

***

The episode opens with a little girl having a nightmare.

Lana has a nightmare.

Her “uncle Roman” comes in to check on her (this is the “evil lieutenant” of Krik that Bardman told us about in 3.5, I guess). She’s Krik’s daughter. He doesn’t find any of the monsters she’s afraid of, but when goaded to read her a story, he tells a nasty story about an impoverished family who ends up eating its own little daughter in a stew. OK, yeah, we get it, he’s a monstrous guy. The little girl is terrorized. Immediate cut to the titles.

The obligatory cap of Richard Armitage, from the titles. He’s starting to look resigned.

At the station, April, Valerie, Robert and BB are discussing Estonia. This has the double effect of reminding us of the plot (war in Estonia!) although we haven’t been there to observe any actual events in quite a while, and won’t get there this week, either, which is explained as a “strategic pause,” although apparently Estonia has asked for Article V to be invoked and the summit’s in 48 hours. BB doesn’t think the US will want to intervene and Valerie reminds her of, oh yeah, NATO. They’re going to need to get votes of the responsible intelligence group, and for whatever reason, BB volunteers to meet with Leo, who represents France. BB and Robert have a sadly nostalgic moment as she volunteers to hook him up with sushi reservations in Tokyo.

At Berlin’s Olympia Stadium, BB meets up with Kolya to threaten him — Russia needs to tell Krik to pull back, because the US will not hesitate to intervene on Estonia’s behalf. Kolya denies that Russia is responsible or that it has any influence over Krik.

The Gulfstream has wifi. Incidentally, there’s a Gulfstream service center not far from our house. My cousin worked there for a while after he got out of the Marines.

Back in Berlin, Robert videolinks with Steven’s laptop to explain Torres’ new legend, which he will pick up ID for in St Petersburg: Manuel di Santo, investor from Puerto Rico. Robert is worried Torres won’t have enough time to learn his cover. He gives Steven the address of Piotr Mikhailov, Krik’s lieutenant in Afghanistan, who lives at 17 Nevsky Prospekt, a street name anyone who’s studied Russian history or literature would definitely recognize. Robert describes it (sarcastically I assume) as “a sketchy suburb.” It’s right across the street from the Stroganov Palace and maybe a half mile from the Winter Palace. The other people from his unit live in the Primorsky District, which Steven describes as “oligarch adjacent” (and which is apparently the home of all of those Russian troll factories we’re always reading about these days). They want to get dirt on Krik from Mikhailov, and then use it to get Krik to let go of Daniel.

Hector’s not that excited.

On the ground in St Petersburg, it turns out that Steven’s contact to Krik is Hector (“Christian Blake” — well, there’s a code name that would turn Richard Armitage on). Torres recognizes him as Hector. Hector does not want to help — he says if Krik has Miller (he uses the last name), he’s as good as dead.

Torres and Steven want an introduction to Krik, or rather to Roman, so they can gamble and drink with him and make contact that way. Hector refuses to help them. His life is too difficult. It emerges that Steven rescued Hector from Johannesburg, where we saw him headed at the end of 2.9. (I’m wondering if they didn’t get the film subsidy for shooting there and that’s why he’s in Russia?). He’d “outstayed his welcome.” Steven pressures him in another classically whiny Steven scene. I never know what to think about Richard Jenkins’ acting — I guess I’m starting to be convinced that Steven is just a whiner, but it doesn’t feel credible. Hector points out that he’s given Steven plenty (Sokolov, I guess, the mineral rights owner from last time), but Steven wants Hector to help Daniel, if not for Steven’s sake, then for Daniel’s. Hector still brushes him off.

In Berlin, BB and Valerie try to persuade Esther to get on board re: Article V, but she’s non-committal. I don’t totally get this because foreign affairs aren’t the remit of the Verfassungsschutz, but I suppose she’s a character we know so they don’t have to complicate things even more.

Ouch, that shiner is strangely purple.

Also in Berlin, April and Sofia meet up again. Tervik was hacked, and that probably allowed Basarov’s people to find Sofia when she called into the firm to have her image projected on the building last week.

Look, it’s Brother Geraldus from Pilgrimage! I mean, it’s Stanley Weber.

And Valerie goes to a bar to meet the French intelligence official, Leo, who says that he won’t try to swing the vote in Estonia’s favor unless he has a promise from the US not to leave them hanging. Oh, and he’s on his way to vacation. From a cafe in front of the Brandenburg Gate, BB assures Valerie that the US will mobilize the 5th Fleet and the 75th Rangers. (I kinda think she’s lying, but Val seems mollified). BB says she will contact the Joint Chiefs of Staff directly.

In St Petersburg, Torres sort of bluntly asks for Platov in a cafe where they are waiting for someone else — a Mr. Jardovsky — and when the bouncer becomes threatening, Hector materializes out of thin air, calms things down and tells Steven they’re even. (LOL, even Steven!). Hector fixes it by giving Roman some special ingredients that the sanctions are making it hard to get.

That’s supposed to be Platov making the sausage, which is a bit disturbing in light of his earlier cannibalistic fairy tale. This is his “homemade biroldo.”

Roman comes out into the dining area and meets Steven, Torres / di Santo and Jardovsky (who he has told Hector he thinks poorly of). They shake hands and I guess Roman still has blood on his or something.

Steven and Torres / di Santo are selling investment opportunities in Puerto Rico and offering 45 percent return. Jardovsky doesn’t want to be in competition with Platov and Platov humiliates him into leaving and invites Torres to join him in the evening to discuss another investor. When they leave the restaurant, Hector / Blake starts driving crazily through the streets with Torres / di Santo in the passenger seat, I guess because it’s been too long since we’ve had a pissing match on screen. When he hits someone, Hector gets out of the car and beats him up. It’s an insurance fraudster. So then Torres joins in the fight, just to be friendly. Hector pulls out his blue siren and continues his wacky journey.

Next: more violence.

Sadly, in one of my favorite places in Berlin, the State Library. I used this collection twice a week for a whole year. The building is famous, too — designed by Hans Scharoun.

Basarov just happens to be sitting outside — he is listening to Sofia’s phone calls and can use his lap to triangulate where she is based on cell phone signals / towers. When he gets there, it turns out he’s been lured and there are CIA people waiting to take him down. April gets bruised again, but Kirsch takes a Polaroid picture of the gunman. April informs Sofia that they got Basarov; Sofia’s been digging in her Swiss backup cloud and has found an earlier non-contaminated version of the Samokart software. April tries to talk her into taking over the Estonian revolution. Sofia is neutral about being the instrument of the CIA and not so excited.

So this is supposedly the apartment at 17 Nevsky Prospekt. Hmmm.

Steven seems to be selling himself as writing a book about Afghanistan (after being a newspaper stringer there during the Russian Afghan war — really? were there stringers there at that time? Seems a bit sketchy as an explanation). He takes a picture of Mikhailov’s unit, dealing on this explanation. Mikhailov is troubled — drinking vodka straight, threatening Steven with an automatic rifle — and he tells Steven that what Krik says about his time in Afghanistan and taking a rifle off a mujahadin fighter is a lie. Rather, Krik got a bunch of his men massacred unnecessarily and then retreated rather than saving them. Mikhailov buried his medals and ribbons with his fallen comrades. It’s not immediately clear why this scene is part of the plot.

Next, Steven and Robert are telephoning. Robert tells Steven about Basarov’s capture — they are going to try to trade him if he won’t talk — and Steven says he’s on his way to Afghanistan to get dirt on Krik in order to use it to free Daniel. Just while he’s casually walking toward the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.

A nice angle, admittedly.

And then I’m finally happy that this show explains every plot point three times — the point is apparently that if Krik’s heroics in Afghanistan were unmasked as cowardice, that would be a lever on the Kremlin to pull Krik back.

In Berlin, on Valerie’s orders, April makes an offer to Professor Adeyemi to buy his sound device thingie — it seems that the guy who beat up Dove back in 3.1 is working for a private company, Aquinas, with HQ in Malta, that is trying to buy it as well. Dove said he was suspicious because April was out of his league.

April makes her offer. She also tries to quote Robert Oppenheimer (she wants to say “I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds,” but Prof. A cuts her off).

Apparently there is also a Chinese offer in play. Prof. A tells April she will need to triple her offer. She offers to get him a visa to the US and protection from the people who will now want to control him. This last is apparently the thing that convinces him, and Prof. A shakes her hand, although Dove is obviously still put out.

In St Petersburg, Hector and Torres meet Platov in a bar. On the way in, Hector warns Torres that this has gone badly for Platov’s friends in the past — Plator killed one of his creditors with cocaine and alcohol. Platov encourages them to do some cocaine. Hector first encourages Torres, then criticizes him for being out of control. Predictably they get into a fight when Torres tells Platov he’s trying to hard to impress. The fight coincides with an assassination attempt from one of Jardovsky’s minions, so Torres pushes Platov out of the way.

So maybe Platov really is a cannibal. Uncomfortable intertextuality with Hannibal here.

Seeing as how Torres saved Platov, they leave friends, planning to do some business the next day.

In Berlin, Robert meets Kolya (on the actual Glienecke Bridge or something that looks a lot like it) and tries to arrange a swap — Basarov for Daniel. It’s a conversation all over the place — Kolya says they won’t get support for Estonia’s attempt to invoke Article V; he implies that Robert would give up proof of Basarov’s activities and thus the evidence to make an Article V invocation stick, just to get Daniel back. In any case, Robert sets a deadline — “tomorrow at midnight.” Dare we hope Armitage will be back next week? And dare we hope that he will come in from the cold with the amazing esprit of Lucas North in Spooks 7.1?

And then an important plot point drops — Kolya calls Krik. He’s concerned that Basarov’s been captured — but affirms that if NATO fails to invoke Article V, then Krik will be fine and the Russians will come in after him. Lots of cow herding metaphors here and a western film reference that didn’t mean much to me. (Hope it’s not significant, but I mentioned a few episodes ago how obscure this will be to the average viewer.) Krik says Daniel Miller “is a tiresome guest” and “no fun” and accepts the swap. Krik promises to send Daniel off “with a memorable farewell,” which sounds ominous. And right after that he kisses his little girl (Servetus rolls her eyes here). Platov arrives at Krik’s and we see Rodion (from 3.1), who admits to taking Miller alive at Platov’s orders. Krik says it was “willful initiative” but that Daniel is just as valuable as Platov said he’d be.

Hector meets up with Steven at a fountain in St Petersburg to report that they’d meet up with Krik the next day. Steven announces he’s going to Afghanistan for the info on Krik.

I kind of doubt there’s an Afghan film industry subsidy available, though, so not sure where this is.

Steven parks his plane, meets up with someone who knows him, supplies his own blindfold, and drives off into the sun and the dust.

~ by Servetus on January 14, 2019.

15 Responses to “Berlin Station 3.6, first impressions [spoilers!] still no #richardarmitage”

  1. Oh man, is it just me or is that show seriously convoluted? Thanks for taking one for the team, Serv. I am glad I don’t have to watch this…

    Liked by 4 people

    • This summary is also something like a thousand words shorter than they usually are. The episode could be summarize as: Steven and Hector go to Russia and meet an oligarch’s cannibalistic aide-de-camp; the Berlin people try to drum up support for an Article V defense of Estonia, without much response; Steven discovers some dirt on Krik that takes him to Afghanistan; Sofia is still a question mark; April tries to buy the sound weapon thingie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the recap. So glad I stopped watching after episode 2; it sounds as boooooring as it felt when I used to see it and it has nothing to do with your writing skills.

        Here’s hoping it truly is Richard ‘s last season.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Another 50 or so minutes saved by reading your review. Thanks Serv!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. My summery would be: no Armitage again…pah

    Like

  4. Wow! Like Spooks in where we first saw the Luminous Lucas North. “He kisses her little girl ( Servetus rolls her eyes here) was the highlight!🤗

    Like

  5. I’m gonna watch only again until the time RA appears. Period.

    Like

  6. I liked this episode. Lots of interesting locations. The head baddie’s dacha was wonderful. Looked like a palace, including the little girl’s room. I thought her bedding was an interesting fabric choice. I realize that my interest in the decor means I am not too involved in plot or character development. But I will take what I can get. I think Daniel will appear soon, but with no lines, just a glimpse. Hope I am wrong. I usually am.

    Like

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

    Like

  8. […] music in the car chase scene in Berlin Station 3.6 comes from a Russian […]

    Like

  9. […] Hector offers him access to Krik’s art treasures in order to get him to lower the pistol. Oh, right, and Timur’s the person who planned the hit in the nightclub in 3.6. […]

    Like

  10. I actually like the the show and find it more action packed than Homeland. However, what I’m trying to figure out is if Daniel is really dead. I mean Armitrage IS the main character. no?? Or is he really dead and they’re replacing him with Torres (who is SOOO much better in this than Ray Donovan. …….SO……….IS DANIEL DEAD???

    Like

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