Lee and his car go for a drive.. We see him pull into a service station. LOL at how the lady almost dances up to the corvette.. Awhhh yeah! I’m havin me some fun!
Lee: Hey Rhonda… (she smiles to acknowledge him while she fills up the vette) …What do you hear?
[Oh if only Lee had said: Help me Rhonda.. help help me Rhonda!]
Rhonda: Well, Super’s gonna be down 10 cents a gallon by next Summer. [haaa atta girl!]
Lee: Come on.
Rhonda: And there was a big slumber party at the Russian Embassy last night.
Rhonda: A confab about codes, cyphers. Their guest of honour was a heavy dude on the subject.
[Umm and how does Rhonda, as fabulous and fun as she is and all, know this?!]
Lee: That’s great, that narrows it down to every third person in DC.
Rhonda: This one isn’t the American he’s pretending to be.
Lee: Nationality-change operation? [why does this crack me up?! Because it’s like calling filling the car with fuel a Fuel recharge operation?! ]
Rhonda: No, he’s still a Russian. He just dresses up like an American
[Is this the head baddie Teapot? don’t tell me! You know, not knowing what’s ahead makes it easier to pay attention when the dialogue is less than sparkling.. know what I mean?! ]
Lee: Did you get this from your friend at the Soviet Embassy motor pool?
Rhonda: No, they were in here the other day getting a fill up. From the way they were talking you would have thought I was deaf.
[lol… I think the friend in the motor pool sounds more plausible than they pulled in there for fuel! lol well..I guess the agency has their ways! And Rhonda must be on that barnstorm list.. ahem.. ]
Lee: Well, how many DC pump jockeys speak Russian, huh?…
[Haaa she’s too funny! Love the way she enjoys her hidden talent! Yeah. Take that Russia!
whoo hooo! I’m liking Rhonda. Go Rhonda.. Rhonda govorit po russki (Thanks google translator!) I see she has a heart necklace and heart earrings! And she is debunking the gender stereotypes here.. fun!]
(Lee’s tone and body posture get serious.. )
…Listen— they say anything about bagging one of our people in Kabul? [Help me Rhonda!!]
Rhonda: No, nothing like that but if I hear anything I’ll let you know.
Next thing.. we see the station wagon pulling up in front of a lovely massive home. lol (so guess that’s normal size in the US?!)
Sonia: We’ve got plenty.
(the lady motions to the Chinese takeaway as if she’d like Amanda to join them)
Amanda: Oh no, thank you, I’ve already had my lunch.
All-right how, Dr Towne, could you tell me the percentage of your work that you’ve found involve matters of national security.
Towne: Nothing so far. But all my papers are scrutinised by your Agency before they’re published, just in case.
Amanda: Yes sir, I wish all of your colleagues were as co-operative as you are… [awh shucks.. he’s a good guy!]
…We do need to classify as much of this material as we can, you understand.
Towne: Well, I can’t agree with you there. I think sometimes we’re too hung up on secrets.
[whoooo whoooo red flag! he doesn’t like secrets!]
Amanda: Really? Well, do you object to the reviews?
Towne: No, no. Not the reviews. I think you never know when a relatively innocuous formula is actually the basis of someone else’s intricate cyphers.
[Oh okay. so he just thinks the secrets are ineffective at preventing people from creating intricate cyphers. Fair enough]
Sonia: Uh oh, honey, guess what? I’m having a reaction. What’s in here? Peanuts?
(Sonia wanders off to find her meds)
Towne: No, no, no peanuts. I was careful. The cortisone is next to the sink.
Amanda: It’s probably the MSG. My son Philip has the same reaction.
Towne: Oh no, I know I forgot something. It’s the MSG honey, I forgot to tell them.
Sonia: Oh Will, how could you forget? Chinese restaurants always put MSG in their food unless you ask them not to.
[those glasses!!! those glasses!! very reflective!]
Towne: I know, I’m sorry. I forgot…
(Will gives her a kiss as he heads for the door)
…Listen, we’re out of beer anyway so I’ll go get you a burger.
[This guy seems to be a good guy! If not a little forgetful his forgetfulness certainly adds veritas to what he is portraying to Amanda for this security check. Oh and lol love the ‘we’re out of beer anyway’!]
(they share one more kiss.. in case we missed it: these two love each other )
Sonia: Oh thanks.
We cut to a real estate guy in a front yard hammering in an open house sign.
then, back to the front of the Towne’s home.. we see Amanda leaving as she talks to Will.
Towne: How involved is this security clearance business?
Amanda: Well at this stage it isn’t really much more difficult than establishing good credit. However, if I haven’t asked you a question that could lead to an answer that I might need to know, now would be a good time to tell me.
[Lol I love it ]
Towne: Oh no, you were very thorough. I just hope it all works out. [Aha! famous last words! ]
Amanda: Well, so far so good. [More famous last words! this has uh oh written all over it 🙂 ]
Amanda: I’ll talk to you in a couple of days.
(Amanda gets in her car- we hear the constant hammering from across the road..)
[My my that sign is having some trouble getting into the ground! ]
Towne: All right.
Towne: Bye bye.
In the wide shot we see Amanda starting to pull out of the driveway and cut back to hammering dude.. totally not looking at what he’s hammering. lol I was waiting for him to hammer his thumb or wrist or something..
Amanda drives off – but looks up to make eye contact with real estate guy.
As Amanda waves at real estate guy.. [Um does she wave at every random person she drives past?! lol!!]
There’s another real estate guy behind him. I guess we are to assume Amanda didn’t see the face of the second guy?
The second guy doesn’t smile or wave.. he just watches her drive off.
Uh oh… It’s Gregory!!! Or is this the actor who played Gregory now playing another baddie?! Kiwismh has called him Gregory. I guess it’s Gregory – He’s back!!!!
Gregory: That was her Edgar. Not that I could hear everything. The bug you put in that house appears to be in the wrong room.
Edgar: She didn’t look much like an agent.
Gregory: Well, perhaps agent is the wrong word but I know what she does and she does it quite well… [ahem. yes.. technically she isn’t one! grrrrr – but love to hear the compliment nevertheless! ]
…Mrs King and I are old friends…
…She ran afoul of a pretty little gambit I was playing that would have turned the whole Agency inside out…
[whooo some sparkling baddie dialogue!]
…Thanks to her and an agent codenamed Scarecrow I spent six months in Lubyanka Prison for my troubles…
[Hey Gregory: Thankher for Lubyanka!]
Grrrrr if not for pesky Scarecrow and Mrs King his gambit would have worked!
…Perhaps we can even the score.
[it’s official! Amanda has made it to the big time!!! A Russian agent has a grudge against her and wants to make her pay!!!! oh wait.. no.. I probably shouldn’t be too thrilled at that haaa]
Edgar: You’re going to give Slide rule the green light?
[Operation slide rule huh!]
Gregory: As soon as I get all the bugs out of it…
…Your sign’s still not straight Edgar.
Bugs huh.. Vengeful Gregory walks off to straighten out those bugs, leaving Edgar to sort out his sign. And the scene ends there..
Whooooo Amanda has made herself an enemy! You’d think someone who is being vetted for clearance would have had their place swept for bugs no?!
At this point, it’s all a massive mystery how Francine is involved in any of this.. but.. I guess Billy did say the KGB had been the ones to kill the local contact.. hmm.. Maybe that baddie was a Russian Teapot baddie.. we shall see!
Alright – is it just me who is relieved Lee’s little meet with Rhonda had zero flirtations going on??!!
LOL yep, I had to look up what a slide rule was. I had no idea.. but I see it is used in mathematical calculations and logarithms.. like what Will is expert in.. but if he was with KGB wouldn’t they have made sure the conversation took place in the room where the bug picked it up? or LOL why would they even need a bug?! Me thinks Will is a goodie.. Hmm is the wife?! lol.. no idea if we see her again! Hope my ignorance is not too annoying or distracting for ya!
Any thoughts you’d care to share? Thanks so much for stoppin by and reading!!
Rhonda is adorable. I wish they’d used her more often instead of Auggie.
I’m so embarrassed! I never put it together that this was THAT Gregory! 🤦🏻♀️
You are forgiven. He shaved his evil beard so I didn’t recognize him either.
Is it just me or does Mrs. Towne look like she could be related to Jamie?
I love seeing Amanda with that briefcase and the way she talks to Towne, smooth, pleasant, knowledgeable. She has got this thing. And I do love the way Gregory knows that Amanda is very good at what she does. He has no doubts that she could mess up an enemy operation. I am not sure if Lee is as sure, yet. And, yes, glad to see Lee not flirting. He has really changed, even in the way he relates to get info. I think that is a thorough re orientation with women and that shows me that he is refocused in terms of what he wants… and who…
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Like this, Morley. I agree – Lee is not so sure that Amanda could mess up an enemy op. At least not on purpose. By luck or accident is more likely what he’d think or attribute it to.
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Perhaps Gregory is not aware of Operation Sandstorm, yet for Lee it is still firmly lodged somewhere in his memory?
I agree that Amanda with a briefcase is a nice thing to see!
Ah, SMK humor, Operation Slide Rule…haha…
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LOL! Just when I think I can’t feel any older in this fandom than I already do, someone has to look up what a slide rule is. dear God, I am so ancient!
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Whahahahaaaaa Janet this cracked me up!! 🙂
Hey it could be I don’t know what is a slide rule because my memory has diminished because of my old age 😉 You can think this if it makes you feel better 😉
Sorry I haven’t had a chance to respond to comments for a while.. Real Life has hit a busy patch again.. deadlines stink!
I’ll get back here when I can but meanwhile love reading all your comments! bye!
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Now, Janet, don’t say that! Those of us who also know what a slide rule is would then be old too. So let’s call it selective memory, okay? Now I can get back to coloring my grays and thinking about Lee with his shirt unbuttoned. :D.
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Speaking of feeling old, James Cromwell sure looks a lot younger here!
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Of course when I hear slide rule I think of the Sam Cooke song, “What A Wonderful World”. That should give an indication of my age.
Two baddies trying to be real estate agents – matching ties and all! Guess underling baddie is setting up for an open home. He doesn’t look particularly enthusiastic about the prospect (I can relate 😉 )
Loving seeing Gregory back – a real baddie! My favourite kind. 😈
This looks like a really upmarket neighbourhood. Agree with you Iwsod about the huge home. Seems way too big for just two people (unless they have kids that we haven’t seen yet).
Lee looks good – the spikey hair suits him but it’s still way too long at the back… imagine European Lee hair, kiwismh. 😉
Meanwhile, I can’t help but think he had last epsiode’s bed linen made into a shirt! 😀
It’s getting late here. I shall endeavour to come up with something more profound in the way of commentary tomorrow.
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Thanks for the realtor’s perspective, kiwismh. I hope Iwsod was tongue-in-cheek saying this home is normal size in the US. I checked on the median home price in Arlington now and it’s about two-thirds of a million. My cousin sold a home in Arlington years ago at around that price and her home was probably comparable to Amanda’s sizewise although a different style, so I’m guessing this one would be at least a million now. And I agree, seems way too big for two people to rattle around in.
Properties around DC are very expensive. My sister lives in Silver Spring. Her house is smaller than mine (in New England) but hers is probably worth twice what mine is. Location, location, location.
I always thought that the building Will Towne lived in had been turned into apartments or condos…
Although Rhonda’s overwhelming cheeriness would probably irritate me in RL, I find her quite charming in this context. And she could give both Francine and hair-don’t-Amanda-with-ear-buttons a run for their money which that twee and too shiny ear-button/necklace set. It’s interesting that SMK is both endorsing (with the jewellery) and running counter to (with the outfit and occupation) one of it’s favourite stereotypes (“what women are like in the 80s”)
Speaking of SMK stereotypes. I spot the “I am a nerd and maths genius” SMK stereotype a mile away (the glasses, the matching shirts, getting takeaway instead of going out to to a restaurant). But they’re kind of sweet. (And my mom had that pair of glasses in the 80s 😀 )
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Being a math major in the early 80’s, I can attest to math professors being an eccentric lot. Towne actually looks and acts pretty tame compared to some I remember. The beer line seems especially appropriate in its nerdy situational inappropriateness! Towne seems the type who is caring but may have difficulty conveying it.
Whacking my head that I didn’t notice the “Operation Slide Rule” reference by the baddies until just now. Reminds me of “Operation Pinocchio” way back in The First Time, mentioned at a point when the baddies were accusing Lee of lying. SMK does love to give its operations some offbeat names!
With being a math major also, one of my professors had the 3rd highest IQ in the world, but literally he could not tie his shoes.
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Sounds about right!!
I like the dynamic here of seeing Lee and Amanda each off doing their own little assignments. While we’re given the impression that these are completely different things, we know how SMK works and we know that with Amanda, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, so to speak. I like how it shows Amanda being able to be less dependent on Lee to handle some things. And it shows Billy as well that Amanda could do this on her own. He doesn’t have to send someone or Lee to take care of her because she gets so enthused. And I think that’s one of the reasons Amanda wants to make serious recommendations.
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(Random, off topic thought — Whoa! Very excited when I figured out why Towne seemed vaguely familiar to me — He was also Londo Mollari on Babylon 5. Brilliant, underrated actor. And another BB connection – he also had a role in TRON.)
Back to the episode. I thought everyone was pretty casual about Sonia’s allergic reaction (it’s actually classified as a sensitivity or intolerance) to MSG. ‘I’ll pop some pills, while you get some beer.’ LOL. In my understanding, reactions to MSG aren’t as immediate so I hope Sonia wasn’t reacting to some wayward peanut sauce or shellfish. I guess I shouldn’t quibble compared to the hospital scene and bandaged, non bleeding head wound we got last episode, this one is not bad.
This part of the plot doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me. Since it’s an early scene full of non-regulars, it is probably laced with significance and nuance, but it is lost on me.
I do enjoy the 80’s throwbacks here — those big glasses that we have seen before in S3, non-digital gas pumps, someone actually pumping the gas rather than do-it-yourself. And yep, so glad to see Lee is not being the least bit flirty. As for Rhonda, I’m not sure if she is flirty or just bubbly. After all, how could someone not feel a little bubbly when Lee and his vette pull into your gas station? I like Rhonda even if she does seem a little overacted. I like how she is a buoyant personality, but then smoothly shifts gears and gets down to business.
I notice the “Gift Horse in the Mouth” posture here of having a discussion without making eye contact. Still seems odd to me. Wouldn’t it seem more natural to look at the pump jockey and maintain a casual smile as though discussing the weather rather than staring into the distance and talking to no one in particular? Maybe they weren’t really avoiding eye contact but rather scanning for potential spies? By the end they are looking at each other as they speak.
Your comment about waving made me think, Iwsod. I wave to people if I make eye contact in a neighborhood setting. I’m not sure most New Yorkers would but I grew up in the midwest. I can imagine that southerners and midwesterners would be wavers, northeasterners not so much, West Coasters — who knows! Social behavior is very regional in the US, which I imagine is true everywhere outside of the US as well. But KJ being southern and Virginia being a state with a strong southern feel, the waving seemed very natural (and Amanda-like) to me.
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Raffle, I was going to say the same thing about the waving. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary to me, but I’m a midwesterner with southern parents. We were raised to always speak to people, whether you knew them or not. We would actually get into trouble sometimes if we passed by someone and didn’t “speak” as my parents would call it. You would just basically be acknowledging someone’s presence.
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