Apologies to those who are waiting for more details of the Love Love Love play. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a bit more about it before heading off to see parents for Christmas. It’s been a bit hectic lately but I did want to just say a few things about Berlin Staion ep 9 before the finale.
I’m borrowing riepu’s amazing gif to illustrate the reason why I have kept watching the series 😉
I have to say there have been less surprises in the series than I would have expected based on reading Steinhauer’s books. Or at least I have not been very surprised, including in episode 9. I hope some twist has been reserved for the finale otherwise I would be pretty disappointed with the overall plot and it’s predictability.
Don’t know about you but I didn’t think it was in the least bit shocking that the Germans were one step ahead of the game. It has been clear all along Esther knew more than she disclosed and they/she had been onto at least Daniel from very early on. And let’s not forget they are the ‘home’ team. They would be doing a very poor job of it if they weren’t at least as smart as they appear to have been. I also never thought Hans was quite as innocent as Frost seemed to believe. And wasn’t it Kirsch who actually warned Frost at some point about Hans and trusting him too much?
Speaking of which it seems to me where the spy-business is concerned Hans and Kirsch were the most professional all along and reasonably good at their job and mostly getting their priorities straight. Well, Kirsch might still turn to Mossad but I don’t really think so at this stage.
Sandra would probably also make a better spy than most in that section, I hope she stays. Otherwise that station really does seem in a bit of a mess. I am really tired of Valerie’s chips on the shoulder. I don’t think anyone with that much baggage and prejudice could make an effective and competent agent. The least an agent could do is listen to what others say, even if only to factor all information into the equation. If the series really would have wanted to shake things up from traditional settings they could have switched roles between Kirsch and Valerie. That would have made for interesting dynamics. But the way things have gone for both Frost and Valerie I could only say good riddance.
I mean Frost bumps into Kirsch and gives his wife an envelope for Sandra?? Really? I have to say Richard Jenkins played Frost really well, but the level of incompetence and bumbling around stretched the imagination for somebody who is supposed to be really experienced.
I’m not sure the CIA had to be quite such a mess in comparison to the German team, all the way more composed, professional, etc. Too big a contrast really.
I do have a niggle about Esther though 🙂 She dresses way too flashy for a spy! All that red in winter in Germany? But I’m willing to close an eye here because she’s a really interesting character and obviously a good spy. I’m not so willing to forgive her all the furs! In this day and age that is laying it on unnecessarily thick! It would stand out way too much. As se generally does, she’s a bit too much of a head turner to be a discrete spy 😉
There is one thing that really bothers me about the German team operated. They knew Julien had killed Clauda from the very beginning but let the game play out to catch out the entire CIA station. It doesn’t bother me from a plot element perspective. It’s just a cold calculated move, which was necessary to achieve the other goals of course since catching Julien at such an early stage would not have given them the CIA station but still… it’s cold. Poor Claudia, who I really liked died for nothing 😦 And of course Ingrid was used in the process, she just doesn’t realise it. But as much by the home team as she thinks by the Americans… sad view of freedom of press. But that is within the scope of the series so well done on that. I wonder though if these side effects which are however very important are evident enough? I would have liked for Ingrid to get a bit of insight into it or somebody to reflect on the lives of the completely innocent lost with no purpose at all. (Yes, there have been many deaths but Claudia’s was the most innocent one).
I was sorry Julien had to die but I didn’t see another solution for that plot line either, it was more a question of when rather than if. I am doubly sorry because I think Sabin Timbrea did a great job with the character and its multiple sides and he was really interesting t to watch. If I have enough reasons to watch S2 I will miss him.
Hector still is an interesting character as is his ‘friendship’ with Daniel, as much as 2 spies can be friends. I thought the dynamic between those two took a while to develop but there is something there (though it could have been so much more though had it been given some more attention). I do think Hector got progressively less interesting though and turned less complex in the end than initially anticipated. Some things were hammered home way too often and way too much, to the point where I didn’t feel the whole detail about what happened in Morocco in visual detail was necessary at all. At the point where it came we had already figured out what had happened there. To me it was completely superfluous.
I’m also not quite buying Patricia. I don’t think her being so calm while with Julien actually made sense since nothing indicated Julie was particularly stable or reliable on his actions. The tiny video from ep 10 only made things worse (like a lot of these previews have… ) she appears to judge Daniel for things that attracted her to Hector?! How does that make any sense at all. By the way I also didn’t buy that chemistry at all. The only way that could turn out making any sense at all is if she herself turns out to be a spy, a German one for example. Otherwise al her actions and words are a bit silly really.
Lastly Daniel – the character who seemed to mostly be around but not do much, whose actions seem to have limited consequences, other than when he just lets Hector do his thing. He seems to have been relegated to being the eternal observer, more than a character he is a collection of reactions. Those reactions have been well acted but I can’t help feeling very disappointed with the lack of meat on the bones of this character. And the fact that he has been used quite a bit as ‘meat’ at the same time. I am not saying those scenes have not been well done, but they didn’t actually take the character anywhere. At least Daniel had enough spy sense to not reveal anything either. Nothing the Germans or Esther got was from Daniel directly. It was just that, cat and mouse games.
What do we know about Daniel at the end of 10 episodes? That he thinks more than he acts, in fact that he seems largely reluctant to act, that he has some compass of right and wrong, that he has some family and that he does his job. None of it out of the ordinary, in fact he has been exceedingly ordinary. Just on that side of competent to not screw up – though that can be debated as every time he actively did not stop Hector a massive screw up happened. Is that enough after 1 episodes? If he was played by anyone else and I didn’t indulge myself in wordless minute acting would I care about the character? I doubt it. If he were to return I’d want a lot more for the character! Evil, good I don’t care at this point, just more to sink acting teeth in. Less of walking around being beautiful scenery.
I don’t think Hector will be killed off, Daniel would not have let him go if that was the case and there is potential to continue that story line further if both stick with S2 – one outside the system and the other inside (? But with doubts I guess?). That could certainly open things up.
Where do we go from here? No idea, the station is an unprofessional mess, I guess they need to sort that out in S2. I think it is fair for the home team to win, that is their job after all. I’m still I think with Hector/Ingrid thought it is not as black and white as they think and I’d wish Ingrid to be the third in the game if you will with much more awareness of everything that has gone on and less one sided view of events. I’d like there to be a link between her and Daniel , but that is wishful thinking and investing in a character that I don’t think will evolve that way and who, if he was to stay what he is in his job also wouldn’t evolve that way.
If Daniel’s role should stay exactly as it is and nothing more I think I’d rather he be killed off and move on to the next project. I can see some potential but it’s been a long shoot and a lot of time investment for something that as a character has yet to really pay off for RA. He can do so much more and I have difficulty understanding why the writers would choose to underuse him.
Mixed bag all along with positives that I really needed to draw out and which were mostly either in actors who were given too little time or have been killed off. Not nearly as engaging a watch as I had hoped for and with the major flaw that the characters one could most closely engage with and sympathise for were killed off while too many of the remaining ones are simply annoying or too one dimensional.
I’m rooting for a big clean up in the season finale.