3/14 Season Three, Episode 05: Welcome to America Mr Brand- Scarecrow and Mrs King (Blog order- Episode 01)

Amanda walks into the dining room to meet Mr Bean err I mean Brand –
Amanda: Hello. I’m Amanda King.
WTAMB.avi_000334934Brand: AH! Brand. James Brand
[ Bond, James Bond he wishes Winking smile ]
WTAMB.avi_000339439He proceeds to get up and shake her hand.. but the table cloth is tucked into his pants. Oh dear..
Amanda: how do you do – Ohhh!!
Brand doesn’t seem to care.. he just takes it in his stride and motions for her to join him at the table. If it had been me? I would have hidden under the table after doing that Winking smile
James  asks:
Something to drink?
WTAMB.avi_000346946while he motions to the waiter to take an order..
Amanda: ahh please. uh, maybe a glass of white wine.
James: Yes and ah, I’ll have a martini, vodka.
(at this he starts absently struggling to get his cigarette case open) …very cold, uh stirred not shaken, with a twist.
WTAMB.avi_000356956[ Okay LOL.. so I think he’s try to order James Bond’s  drink here.. I’ll add some comments to this below] Is it just me or does the waiter respond to the order: jolly good Sir! ??
WTAMB.avi_000359959Amanda notices he is fiddling with his cigarette case unsuccessfully.. and I think she takes note of the choice of drink Smile
Amanda: It’s funny, you know, you seem awfully familiar. Have we met?
WTAMB.avi_000363963
[nah.. it’s all those Bond movies Amanda! do you think she immediately wonders if he is trying to emulate him?]
At this, Brand’s cigarette case suddenly opens and all his cigarettes fly out.
WTAMB.avi_000364964
He doesn’t miss a beat. James points to them asking: cigarette?
WTAMB.avi_000366966WTAMB.avi_000367467
Amanda: uh no, thank you. Don’t smoke.

James: uh, London? (Amanda shakes her head making noises that isn’t it.. though come on Amanda – you did go to London twice!)
… Monte Carlo!
Amanda: uh I don’t think so, heh..
[whoooo I think this is some fabulous foreshadowing for a scene in an upcoming episode.. we’ll get back to this!]
WTAMB.avi_000373473James: Istanbul?
Amanda: no I really doubt it.

As Amanda replies Brand lights his cigarette and makes
WTAMB.avi_000378478the mistake of actually inhaling Winking smile
WTAMB.avi_000378978Tee hee.. Amanda is very kind and offers him a drink of water.. eventually his lungs stop screaming that they don’t want to act like James Bond..
WTAMB.avi_000384484
I’m surprised Amanda didn’t offer to take Brand out on the balcony and teach him how to breathe (I guess after Whitsett in 3 Faces of Emily she’s inclined not to! Winking smile )
LOL.. as Brand drinks and coughs, Amanda actually picks up his cigarette and stubs it out – rofl!! I never saw that before!! Amanda adds:
You probably shouldn’t smoke either.
LOL there is the nurturer we know and love Winking smile
WTAMB.avi_000388988
Next thing.. we hear Brand chuckling and see him stubbing out another cigarette in a tray already WTAMB.avi_000391991containing many cigarettes.. seems there has been quite a passage of time while these two talked.. and LOL Brand never finishes a cigarette! he just likes to light them, look like he smokes them and then stub them out. tee hee.. [so he isn’t really smoking them Smile]
James: Ohh!! yes!!! Mother. Housewife. And Agent.
That’s absolutely marvellous, it’s it!
WTAMB.avi_000396496
Amanda: well I’m not really a real agent. I mean, I don’t even own a trench coat.
WTAMB.avi_000403503WTAMB.avi_000404004
WTAMB.avi_000404504Amanda and James laugh at her joke.. but James is also looking around the restaurant suspiciously..


James: Uh, Mrs King, I’m rather a good judge of WTAMB.avi_000410010character. In our business, uh, one has to be to stay alive.

WTAMB.avi_000414514[What do you make of Amanda’s expression here in response to this?]
.. I think you have what it takes.
WTAMB.avi_000415515James: can I trust you?
WTAMB.avi_000416516Amanda: Well, I guess you probably can, yes.

[lol James checks the little lamp on the table for bugs!]
WTAMB.avi_000420020WTAMB.avi_000427527James: well, for the last seven years I’ve been following a soviet agent who’s penetrated the highest echelon of the British government.
WTAMB.avi_000436036

Amanda: Uh excuse me. Mr Brand. Um aren’t you in the money? I mean, pensions?


James: ah yes, pensions..
WTAMB.avi_000439539ha ha haaa!

[James laughs and winks.. I love how he says this like- yeah! that’s where the action is!!! Smile or.. is this him hinting that maybe he isn’t in pensions? I prefer the former..but I don’t know!]
… Anyway, this um dodgy scoundrel.. he’s he’s here now in Washington and he’s up to something very big. [ oh
WTAMB.avi_000453053gee.. it’s not the guy Lee is checking into is it?! Clayton-Dobbs?! lol!!]
.. it’s a perfect opportunity to catch him in the act.

James fiddles with his briefcase.. and then warns Amanda: Um you’d better duck, just in case.
WTAMB.avi_000455555WTAMB.avi_000456056
Amanda: I better duck?
James: Yes, it’s armed with a tear gas canister if it’s not opened correctly.
WTAMB.avi_000461561WTAMB.avi_000463563
Amanda is happy to duck Smile
LOL James looks around once Amanda has ducked.. I think he might be believing it as much as Amanda is..
WTAMB.avi_000476076WTAMB.avi_000478578

[although at this stage us the audience could think it’s true also] James pulls out a large and worn looking folder that is full of documents while Amanda sits up again Smile
James:
I’m going to need some help on this. Someone with a fresh view of things. Like you.
WTAMB.avi_000483583Amanda: you want my help?
WTAMB.avi_000487587WTAMB.avi_000487087(Amanda quietly laughs and gives one of her head tosses)
WTAMB.avi_000489089WTAMB.avi_000493593
why?
James: Because you and I are kindred spirits. We march to the beat of the same drummer.
WTAMB.avi_000498665

WTAMB.avi_000499165WTAMB.avi_000499099WTAMB.avi_000501167At this, Amanda reaches for her glass of alcohol.. a quiet look of determination on her face. [‘scotch thoughts’ for Amanda Morley??!!]
Amanda: you know actually, I was told to help you.
WTAMB.avi_000504671Love it!!!! Amanda’s just following orders Winking smile
Amanda shuffles over to James’ side of the table to look at the folder contents.. ready to do what she can to help.. ahh bless her!
WTAMB.avi_000513680
WTAMB.avi_000514180The scene finishes here..

Iwsod’s comments:
-Welcome to SMK Mr Brand!
Table cloth tucked into his pants… struggling to open his cigarette case.. spilling the cigarettes and then practically choking himself to death on a cigarette?  One clumsy moment is enough.. no wonder people get annoyed by Brand! We get that the guy is clumsy.. a bit of overkill here! Move on!

-‘Stirred, not shaken’?
Here we see James Brand trying to order JB’s drink.. but how did it go? I’m pretty sure it’s ‘Shaken, not stirred’ – yep!
there’s even a wiki page on it. [lol like Wikipedia is always right! Winking smile ] haaaa..
So already we can see Brand is trying to be Bond – but he’s sooo not! This wiki page tell us that in You Only Die Twice – James Bond’s host gets it wrong and says he likes it ‘Stirred, not shaken’ – just like Brand says – interesting! Either this is a huge coincidence or someone really is trying to allude to You Only Live Twice in particular. Still I’m pretty sure the twist part is not JB??!]

– ‘You have what it takes’
I use to find this dialogue meh.. now I find it fascinating and loaded with meaning! this to me is more than Brand just trying to sound like he is Bond.. I think there is some truth in what he says here, and in what he sees in Amanda – and this is going to play out throughout this episode.
I know Brand rubs some smk fans the wrong way, but I like him, (in spite of the annoying over the top portrayal of a snooty stereotypical Englishman.. I just try to over look that!) and Amanda likes him too!

Already, we see Brand and Amanda share a special connection. And this gives us some really unique insights into Amanda’s character, her professional choices etc. This in SMK is a rare thing.. so I think this episode is really valuable!
I think James is a good judge of character- he’s on the money with this baddie and with Amanda!  [maybe he is agent material after all Winking smile ] James sees Amanda’s potential and looks beyond the surface.. and I think Amanda does the same with James. Smile Maybe James came along at just the right time for Amanda.. Hmm.. this episode is going to be so interesting to discuss!

Amanda: Uh excuse me. Mr Brand. Um aren’t you in the money? I mean, pensions?
Amanda is a bit sceptical but she still treats him kindly and hears him out. She doesn’t just automatically discount or disregard him as others do.

-‘Kindred Spirits’
Hmm.. how are they kindred spirits? this may not be immediately obvious to us.. or Amanda! .. because she doesn’t know much about James yet. But.. he knows about her.. She’s not really an agent, she’s a mum a housewife, and she is underestimated and overlooked.. Not unlike James.. people judge them both based on their outward appearance – James and his socks, clumsiness and ‘accountant’ status (and bad haircut). Amanda and her life as a mother of two boys, her part time secretary status and well.. in the beginning she was prone to clumsiness and bumbling too.. [A class Act anyone?? ‘ERA’ button anyone??!!] Amanda  certainly didn’t come across as professional. So IMHO James and Amanda are similar. Both trying to earn a reputation and be taken more seriously. Amanda doesn’t want to be babysitting an accountant, being tricked into it by Lee (grr) -she wants to be doing meaningful work. (not that I think she would not have done the job had the agency been straight up and asked her)
Ah.. can you see why I enjoy this episode?? I love this aspect of Amanda’s story! [How is your post on Amanda’s professional journey going BJo? – no pressure.. just wondering]

For Amanda.. I think this sets up things really nicely for what’s ahead for her in season 3! Smile Lots of foreshadowing in this episode.. hmm maybe that’s why it could have been written as the original season premiere.. but.. we can come back to this..

I’ll hold off discussing James’ attachment to the James Bond identity until we know his character a little better..
As always, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.. anyone else at first brush over this scene?? and now find it to be full of meaning?? Okay, byeee for now!

37 responses to “3/14 Season Three, Episode 05: Welcome to America Mr Brand- Scarecrow and Mrs King (Blog order- Episode 01)

  1. Oh gosh. Mr. Brand. After working with Lee Amanda has just got to be marveling a bit at this man. I know she’s nice and all and always believes the best in everybody, but even this guy is a bit odd to her. The look on her face when she ducks says it all to me.

    She does fall for his line though about being kindred spirits, so she must have also noticed some sort of parallel between to two. No one really takes her seriously, so she knows what he must feel like and therefore wants to take him seriously because it isn’t completely preposterous that an accountant could have uncovered something – sort of like a certain housewife did in TFT? She ordered a white wine when she first sat down and then by the end of their conversation she is holding a glass of red wine or perhaps a dessert cordial or something? It’s not a normal red wine glass, I don’t think. So they’ve been together for a while and Mr. Brand has “smoked” – tee hee, iwsod – several ciggies. She’s shared enough for him to see that she’s probably treated similarly as he is and I do think he is a good judge of character of other people.

    Ahh, I see iwsod that we are on the same page here! I just read your comments after I typed the above. My post on Amanda’s professional journey has temporarily stopped. I need a new deadline! 😉

    There are certain things about Mr. Brand that I do find very annoying but they are all on the surface and I really only am annoyed when he is trying so hard to be like JB instead of himself. As a whole, this episode is much better when you really look at it and consider what it is trying to say. I think that is why I don’t mind this episode despite the fact that it is Lee-lite and we have to put up with Mr. Brand.

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  2. What I like about Brand is actually his line of investigation is probably more realistic. Sure spies gather intelligence but it’s probably less glamorous than Lee would have it portrayed. Number crunching. Examination of data. Paper trails. Attention to detail. The bad guys don’t all run around wearing black hats or sipping tea 😉
    But oh SMK did you have to make him such a bumbling fool with illusions of being James Bond? The excessive clumsiness is just overkill…IMO. Detracts too much and just leaves me cringing with embarrassment on his behalf. I accept that says more about me however 😉

    Love the belt Amanda is wearing but not so with the plaid :/
    Thank goodness better hair is here 🙂
    Am so glad she didn’t let Lee off the hook……grrrrr misleading her. Again.

    I have never had a martini, either shaken or stirred. Methinks I need to change that 😉

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    • so very true Jenbo! James is probably the more realistic type investigator than dashing Lee Stetson! but then again.. we probably wouldn’t have shown up every week to watch James sort through papers rofl 😉

      then again.. If Lee did that.. in a tux?? I’d still show up every week! 😉

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  3. Okay, count me as one oddball who really does enjoy this episode. This is how I see it and why I enjoy it:

    Mr. Brand’s bosses see him as a little over-enthusiastic. He has probably mentioned in passing that he finds the job of a secret agent to be exciting. Maybe he’s mentioned that it was something he would like to do. When he notices something that needs their attention, they don’t respond as he hoped. He then is compelled to address it on his own – to prove he is worthy of their respect and attention. His clumsiness is both an eagerness to prove himself and part of his natural personality. He senses Amanda can be an ally, maybe because she is housewife/agent and started as low-man-on-the-totem-pole, too.

    Amanda sees every person with an optimistic nature – part of what makes her so likable, why people respond to her so willingly. She does the same with James. She sees a bit of herself in the early agency days. She has instincts which Billy recognized. She was second-guessed often by Lee, who found out she was better than he gave her credit for. He is now beginning to fully see her as the asset she is. Naturally, she would reach out to someone in a similar situation. Her kindness and motherly-ness kick in immediately in response to James’ bumbling behavior. This is her opportunity to show Lee and Billy that she can take on assignments and follow her own instincts in dealing with them. She doesn’t see this right away, but works it out as everything progresses.

    I see growth in both characters here, and that’s what I like so much about this episode.

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  4. well I’m not really a real agent. I mean, I don’t even own a trench coat.
    LOL! But she does have one–doesn’t she? Or did she borrow one from Dotty in TFT when she meets Lee at night at the Civil War monument(?)?

    James laughs and winks.. I love how he says this like- yeah! that’s where the action is!!! *”
    I always thought he laughed here ‘cos Amanda initially asks whether he’s in the money–which means that he has money, rather than works with it… and then she corrects herself. *shrug

    I like Brand’s character too–he’s a sweet, well-meaning, trying-too-hard-and-needing-to-chill-out-and-accept-himself guy. And yes–very reminiscent of Connie Barnhill as others have said.

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    • Yeah.. she had a trenchcoat in The First Time – I figured it was just something she said for a joke.. but she didn’t have to literally mean it. I found it interesting that she was joking that she ‘really isn’t a real agent’ – given what this episode is about.. I think it sets up the episode nicely – she isn’t seen as a real agent. Not even by Lee.. who has grown in his respect for her, but well.. within limits.. but we’ll see this play out in how Lee reacts to Amanda and James I guess..

      Whooo cool comparisons to Connie Barnhill!!! I had forgotten all about him! Amanda does have a real talent for seeing the best in people, and looking beneath their surface to the good qualities beneath. IMHO this is one reason why she persists with Lee – he was rude, petulant and didn’t want her in his life.. but this was on the surface – underneath- Amanda could see a different Lee underneath the surface appearance 🙂 Lucky Lee! 🙂

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  5. I wonder if Brand reminds Amanda a little of Conrad Barn…hill, was it? Remember the soft spot she had for Connie? I think she is looking past his bumbling exterior and taking seriously the underlying seriousness of what he’s saying. He’s on to something people who should know better are ignoring. Amanda has visited that place lots of times. They are kindred in that sense. This isn’t one of my favorite episodes, but I’d rate it more middle of the road. It does make some pretty good use of allegory, and the muddled Bond nods are kind of funny.

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    • I thought of Connie as well. Amanda sure does have a soft spot for people like that, doesn’t she.

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    • Yeah, I thought that may be one of the reasons Amanda took Brand seriously. How many times throughout the series did Amanda have some half baked theory that turned out to be right? She is not always right, but she’s good instinct. Maybe that is part of the reason she believes Brand just good instincts.

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    • Good thinking Paula!!! Indeed.. yes Amanda can totally relate to being overlooked and not listened to!

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  6. Did someone say they liked Amanda’s outfit here? The belt is nice, the parachute skirt in neutral colour – okay I guess. But that plaid shirt!! 😯 Way to frump down the rest of the outfit Amanda! Fashion felony in progress, call the Fashion Police right now. I bet that’s the first time anyone has worn plaid in that classy club/restaurant since the 1970’s (and maybe not even then!). Has plaid ever been elegant or classy? The closest example I can think of is Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not but that was not really plaid, more of a checkered suit. Lauren Bacall could make any outfit look classy, as KJ normally can. But every time she wears plaid it’s a real challenge.

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    • The outfit’s okay, but it looks kind of casual to me. I think she should have been a little dressier for the place they were in. Still better than some of the frumpy close we saw towards the end of season 2. That was the worst the hair don’t and frumpy clothes.

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      • Yes, plaid is a challenging look but you’re right Misty it does look too casual for the setting. At least Amanda’s hair is getting back to a good length. I really noticed when I was reviewing episodes for my house and neighbourhood post that Amanda’s casual and work clothes were usually not so frumpy in S1 as they were in S2. Perhaps someone new in wardrobe was fixated on taking the stereotype just a bit further in S2. Just like the make-up artist with the guy-liner in S1 Lee – just taking it a bit too far off the spectrum. 😉

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        • Even in the beginning of season 2, especially European episodes I thought Amanda had some really flattering outfits on. It was especially after that hair don’t I noticed the outfits had gotten frumpy too. I don’t know if someone had decided to play Amanda up a little more as a plain housewife rather than letting her become too much of an exciting spy at that point, but it doesn’t really make sense. She should have been becoming more sophisticated as the series progressed and she became more and more of a professional, not less. Her outfits here and throughout season 3 are still pretty wholesome, but at least she looks feminine. She didn’t look very feminine to me in a lot of the scenes with the short hair and the frumpy clothes. Way to put a damper on the sexual tension SMK. Oh, well I still really enjoyed most of the hair don’t episode because of the character growth we get to see and at least Lee’s side part is long gone by season 2 and he is looking good.

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          • Ok, so I tend to look at the changes as intentional and a part of the character development (even though they might not be, I have become quite proficient at the mental gymnastics that makes this work for me at least). So when I look at the hair don’t and the wardrobe change I think it had a lot to do with Amanda trying to figure herself out. Maybe trying a new style, maybe more trendy. Maybe she was trying to deal with her relationship with Lee, the Agency, even herself. What I like to notice is that as we near the last few episodes of season 2 her old style, not just her hair, comes back. I like to watch for the necklace. It seems as if even though she tries to reinvent herself she returns to the basic essencs of who she really is.
            I do like her wardrobe for the European episodes, but I think during them she is trying to take herself more seriously and then she has some set backs. I think SOS was a bit confusing as well.
            I like her shirt here, mostly because of the way it wraps. That is a different look for her. I do really like her clothes in season 3 the most I guess.

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            • hear hear Morley.. I’m on board with this.. I see the costuming as being part of her story, and not incongruent at all.. are you going to be doing another costume post sometime Morley? no pressure! 🙂

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              • I would gladly take the miraculous insertion of a few more hours into a day in order to spend on SMK. Anyone know how to get that done? If not we may have to wait for our summer break before I can look at costumes again (at least SMK ones, right now I am looking at Persian and Renaissance costumes until I go bleary eyed, at least they are better than the tutu I have to wear this weekend!)

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        • I think I said I liked Amanda’s outfit. I do!
          I think it suits her. plaid or not, I think it works and is a great improvement!!!

          I especially like that waistband on her.

          Soooo yeah.. in the state of Iwsod, I’d say Amanda’s outfit has not broken any fashion laws and therefore would not warrant a fashion arrest 😉 tee hee..
          but hey.. feel free to disagree. I’m loving the new handbag too.. less mumsy!

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  7. I notice that people bumble more when they are trying to be something that they aren’t. I love the way the actor does the bumbling though, he does it so well and gracefully. But Brand is trying t be more than he is and that creates chaos. I think Amanda recognizes this. I wonder how much she feels sorry for him and so her nurturing nature comes out, and I wonder how much she identifies with him either as she was or still may be a bit? I think Brand knows he is trying to be like JB but with a “twist” I think that is a fun piece of self awareness for the character.
    I am glad that Amanda gets to spend some time with Brand. I think it might widen her own view of how far she has come. And it will be fun to watch her watch Lee as he reacts to Brand, I think that could be kind of informative. I also think it is interesting to take a reading of Amanda’s frustration level in this one. Maybe her reactions to Lee and her job coming up soon aren’t so out of the blue, in fact maybe Lee’s reactions aren’t so out of the blue either?

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    • Yes, I think by the end of S2 Amanda has acknowledged that she has feelings for Lee and maybe allowed herself to think that there might be the possibility of a relationship as she sees him maturing and his lifestyle becoming more stable/normal. S3 is off to a rocky start though, and about to get rockier in OTL, throwing her off kilter and resulting in some maybe not so typical Amanda behaviour. But sticking with this episode, I think she has grown in knowledge and confidence in her work, and perhaps she feels Lee doesn’t appreciate her fully yet. Not only is she keen to continue to prove herself capable but her emerging feelings for Lee might be spurring on her to trying to impress him as well. Lending weight to decision to involve herself in whatever it is that the bumbling yet intriguing Mr Brand might be up to.

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    • I notice that people bumble more when they are trying to be something that they aren’t.

      I think that is a universal truth, Morley. You can apply this to just about anyone in any situation where they are trying to be something other than what they are. The only place this is really successful is in Hollywood where you get multiple takes to get it right and the bad ones/bumbles are cut.

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  8. At first I think Amanda is just humouring Brand. Having seen him open the cigarette case I’m sure she doesn’t want the contents of the briefcase, tear gas canister or not, ending up in her lap.
    Does she then begin to believe his half-baked storey? I know she’s a trusting person but I think she’s not so gullible at this stage. Having said that, she is following orders. Amanda is a little annoyed at Lee so some of than irritation may be urging her along here, and she knows this guy is her “assignment” anyway whether she believes him or not. At this point Brand’s probably piqued her professional interest enough for her to want to find out whether he’s telling the truth about his status or whether he’s just a fantasist. Amanda’s no newbie anymore, so maybe she’s got in the back of her mind that whatever this character is up to might be worth finding out, just in case it becomes important down the track for the Agency. Perhaps her irritation at Lee is also driving her on to prove that she’s capable and can handle these minor assignments, and to show Lee doesn’t need to tell half-truths or withhold info from her until the last minute.
    I haven’t watched this show since last year so I will assign myself that odious task tonight. Perhaps it won’t be so odious if I keep in mind the commentary and comments so far.

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    • Okay, I have re-watched this episode and found a whole lot more meaning to it than before. It makes a huge difference to watch this episode as the season opener and to have these events occur before OTL, etc. It is a good set up episode for OTL. Some previously unnoticed good stuff to come in this episode. Cool! 😎

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      • whooo hoooo!!! Indeed kiwismh! There’s good stuff ahead! I agree.. watching this as the first episode makes a big difference to it’s enjoyment.. I’m looking forward to exploring this with you all in this order 🙂

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  9. I was thinking about the first post where Iwsod mentioned appearances and assumptions and also mentioned how it was an accountant who was finally able to bring Al Capone down. I remember watching The Untouchables and those were government agents that were involved in trying to get Capone. In the movie when the accountant wants to go after Capone for tax evasion it is not immediately considered. It didn’t seem like a viable way to take him down. And the accountant’s idea wasn’t considered at first. In real life the guy who ultimately does get Capone was a former accountant who eventually became an intelligence agent. I would have to check to see if he struggled with getting someone to take his idea seriously, but the comparisons of the Capone situation to Brand are pretty obvious.

    I like Brand and don’t think they needed to make him so bumbling, but maybe what we are seeing with Brand is trying to show how Lee (and Francine) initially saw Amanda. To us she was not that bad, but maybe that is how she was seen by them. The stereotypes of who Amanda (or a housewife) was were firmly in place and sometimes mocked. I’m thinking of Filming Raul where Francine decided to “frump” it up and wear curlers. Amanda was treated as a caricature of a housewife and Brand is being portrayed as a bumbling caricature of JB. He’s more Inspector Clouseau than Bond. So many times Amanda and some of her ideas were dismissed. And Brand and his ideas have been dismissed. I think Amanda is hoping to show others the way in which she should have or would like to have been treated. And of course, she is hoping to show just what she can do (especially on her own) if given the opportunity.

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    • I agree with all of what you say here, Valerie. This idea also reminds of Tom Cruise’s character in The Firm where in the end the FBI gets the bad lawyers on something as mundane, but “with teeth”, like overbilling and mail fraud (or something like that). TC wasn’t a bumbler, but he was not an agent.

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  10. Yeah, it is definitely shaken not stirred. And there is no twist. I watched enough James Bond movies growing up to last me a life time. My mom really liked them for some reason. I wonder if James needed the twist because while he was trying to feign James Bond likeness he couldn’t handle the taste of the pure alcohol that is a martini. Just like he couldn’t really handle the cigarettes. Hey. I couldn’t handle either. It amusing to watch Brand try so hard to be Bond who I don’t like, when I think Brand is actually sweet and relatable. Sure I think Brand is bumbling and geeky, but at least that makes him more real.

    Amanda and Brand are definitely kindred spirits, but the only time I saw Amanda as being bumbly or clumsy was A Class Act, and we don’t need to go into how I feel about that episode again. I always thought Amanda had great instinct and was very resourceful from the pilot. Who else could get grabbed by some strange man at a train station and not only know to trust him, but end up saving both national security and the life of a top spy. Gorgeous as the man may be I would have screamed my head off if he had grabbed me like that. Gorgeous people can be psychos too. Okay maybe that wasn’t all instinct. I think there just always was something about Lee for Amanda. To me the pilot and IANNNHIEBAS are 2 great examples that there is always was some sort of connection between Lee and Amanda, trusting each other was almost instinct.

    Still connection or no connection Lee never would have accepted Amanda as readily as Amanda accepts Brand. I think that is big part of what is playing out through the episode. Amanda does see herself in Brand and she remembers how hard it was for her to get Lee to take her seriously. I think it took her until BO to really get Lee’s respect in a lasting, deep way. I think she got it on a different levels before that but it wasn’t until BO and MBF that it was something that was really present between them. I don’t think Amanda even gets Lee respect 100% completely as a professional until after stemwinder, but that is jumping way ahead so I won;t get into that.

    Anyway though sometimes I think Lee could be a jerk in the way he expressed to Amanda she didn’t entirely have his respect or acceptance, I didn’t really blame him. I think Amanda so readily and easily believes in James throughout this episode because she knows how it feels to be in his place, and because Amanda always sees the good in everyone, but I wonder if Amanda really was doing James a favor. The two of them would have been over their heads is some real hot water if Lee hadn’t gone along with James for Amanda’s sake. I actually think Lee would have been doing Amanda a disservice if his respect had been easily gained. Lee is the agency’s top operative and I am sure getting to that position and gaining the respect he has didn’t come easily. Part of what helps create the competent and capable professional Amanda eventually becomes IMO is having to strive to earn Lee’s respect. Like Brand points out we are talking about a business where it is hard just to stay alive.

    To sum it up, though, I like Brand I and I am glad things work out okay in the end here I always wondered how well things really went for Brand after he leaves. I am sure he is going to want to continue to do something besides just crunch numbers, and I think it is great he figured out something critical and was a tenacious enough stick with it for 7 years but he just doesn’t have the training and experience Amanda gets working with Lee. If I were Amanda I’d worry about him.

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  11. Tangent here — apparently the proper way have a martini is ‘stirred not shaken’ because shaking will ‘bruise’ the gin. Huh? Since martinis are not my area of expertise, I will trust the experts on this one.
    Score one for Mr. Brand!

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    • Building on your tangent … perhaps the only funny thing Seth MacFarlane did for the Oscars last year was his promo where he was a bartender waiting on James Bond. Bond says (naturally), “Shaken, not stirred.” To which Seth replies, “Nobody stirs a martini; that’s not how you make a martini.” Then he looks at Bond and says, “Is this your first martini?” Heh.

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