5/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

Moving on to Emelio’s. On the menu is the peacock dance with a side order of the Lisbon variation. Meh. I don’t like the menu! Winking smile
We hear the fight has already started!
Lee: Come on, it is only 10:15.
We find Lee and Amanda sitting together – much like their initial scene at Emelio’s…But.. not..Stem I.avi_000550583
 Amanda (extra loudly): I would really rather go home.
Lee: And do what?
Amanda: Sleep!
Stem I.avi_000554287
Lee
(Lisbon variation mad!) : Now, don’t you start on that again.Stem I.avi_000555188
Amanda: I am not starting on that again;… Stem I.avi_000557090
(Amanda is so loud and cranky she’s starting to draw looks from other diners.)
[Oh my.. look at Amanda go! If only she had thrown in there a ‘sex with you was always a major disappointment’ and flung a drink at him!- what a fabulous throw back! (frankly Ricky Joe)]
…it’s either you’re just too busy, or too tired, or you’re coming, or you’re go-Stem I.avi_000558591
Lee interrupts: Just keep it down!
Amanda
(quieter):
I’m sorry. I would like to spend a few quiet moments with you, alone.
Stem I.avi_000562395
[Umm eating dinner together is not alone enough? So then why say she wants to leave and go home to sleep?! me confused.. okay okay arguments don’t have to make sense right? Everyone is worked up, and logical brain is on hold! I gotta stop trying to make sense! It’s enough that they are not happy and they are not resolving things. Hmm a great contrast to their earlier dinner huh! Interesting though, the topic of the argument is not dissimilar to their earlier exchange – wanting more time together… very interesting… ]
Lee: All right, then let’s go- let’s go to a club. Have a drink. Listen to a little music, or something.
Stem I.avi_000565699
[rofl. anyone else reminded of Remembrance of things past and Lee’s wishes to go out? while Amanda was happy to stay home? It’s like they are drawing on their old selves here, which are no longer relevant, but it can make it real- ish.]
Amanda: Oh, well, that would really be quiet and we would certainly be alone, wouldn’t we?
[just what is the deal with the massive flowers?! ugh!!]
Stem I.avi_000568902
Lee: Well, it would be a lot of fun, wouldn’t it? Fun? Do you remember that?…
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{at the same time}
Lee: We used to have it a couple of years ago!
Amanda: Oh, this is ridiculous! I’m leaving!
Stem I.avi_000574407
(Amanda throws her serviette onto the table and gets up)
Lee: No. You are not leaving. Now-
Amanda: Oh, yes I am!
Lee: …come back here!
[Whoa! Now Lee is yelling across the restaurant!]

Off she storms.. and the other patrons notice. How could they not! Stem I.avi_000580814A waiter comes and clears the table. Lee tells him: Give me a check, will ya? I’ll be at the bar.
Lee heads on over.

Nosey Norman noticed the whole show.. no doubt in great detail and gives Lee a look.
Stem I.avi_000593727
Lee: C’est la vie…
Stem I.avi_000596629
…Give me another brandy, will ya?

[ugh I think it’s quite sad that Lee and Amanda have to put on this little performance at their usual comfy place – where they have just recently been labelled ‘regular’s’ by Norman. And..This has now in a sense been taken away from them! Then again, since this is a location where a Russian agent can be trolling and make an approach, it seems nowhere in public can really be a comfy safe place for them to let their guard down. Regular or no. I think this is a rather sad aspect of this spy life… There isn’t really anything ‘regular’ about it!]

(Lee shakes his head and takes a deep breath while Norman gets the brandy. Stem I.avi_000602736We see down the bar and – ta da! There’s Sonja, ready and oh so willing.)
[I loathe this woman already!
Stem I.avi_000606439
Nice dress though.. for the 80’s! The shoulder pads are of course massive, but balanced nicely by the massive hair haaa..

I wonder if that big breath from Lee we saw was as much about what he was about to do with Sonja – a peacock polka!]

(Ugh! Lee sees her. Stem I.avi_000606740
He looks to be giving Sonja a window – yep. A smile!)
Stem I.avi_000607440
ugh… I know this is not for real for the character, but I still hate to watch it! How about you?!

The scene ends here. Thank goodness!

The next scene we find Rostov and Sonja walking in the park. Stem I.avi_000608742
[Because the spy bizz is no walk in the park?!]
Rostov: And… after the bar?
Sonja: We walked along the river. Talked.
Rostov: Talked? About what?
Sonja: Nothing, really. The words were unimportant. It was how they were said.
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Rostov: How did he seem? His attitude, his… mood?
Sonja: Upset. Hungry. The relationship with the woman is troubling him.
Rostov: Or so he wants us to believe…
Stem I.avi_000637771
…Hmph. In this game, we are like mirrors on mirrors. One never knows what is real, and what is not.Stem I.avi_000642976
(Rostov motions to Sonja to sit down)
Sonja: Apple? (Sonja takes an apple out of the brown paper bag. and offers one to Rostov. Random)
Stem I.avi_000649983
Rostov: No… [LOL is this a hidden message or something?  Rostov doesn’t want a bite of Sonja’s fruit?!]
..Stemwinder is activated in less than two weeks. We must have access by then. When do you see each other again?
Stem I.avi_000658358
Sonja: Tomorrow night.
Rostov: Work Stetson. Find out if he’s a mirror… or a man. You understand?
Stem I.avi_000668568
(Sonja indicates she understands.
Rostov leaves.)

Hmm.. mirrors, men and windows – what it could mean I have no idea!
So Rostov is the boss of Sonja, and it seems she is being led in the spy ways…

Interesting that Rostov suspects Lee is playing a game and not for real. But the statistics!!!! Winking smile tee hee..

Who knows what Sonja thinks. she only reports on the events, and doesn’t give much away herself.
So glad I didn’t have to see the walk and talk along the river!

Two seconds later.. she’s joined by a guy in the communal sweater! Stem I.avi_000677477
[Remember this sweater? Worn by Lee in Mr Brand, and Tony Martinet in All the world’s a stage? Is the Warner Bros budget so tight they can’t find another sweater?!]
Ah.. It’s Alexi. So… Sonja is working with him and is his contact in DC huh!
This is all a bit brazen isn’t it? Is it okay for Rostov to see this meeting? I’m guessing no. 
Stem I.avi_000682282
Alexi takes a seat. [I can’t make out what the photo is- can you?]
Alexi: Rostov has not changed. So little imagination…
[how did Alexi hear their conversation?]
Stem I.avi_000688788
…Keep playing the innocent. He will buy it all the way. As will Scarecrow. You got his prints?
(She moves the brown paper bag so it is now sitting next to Alexi. Neither look at each other.)
[Ah! so she was keeping secrets from Rostov!]
Sonja: On the glass in the bag. Grandfather, we only have two weeks…
[Grandfather? Ugh.. can you imagine asking your grand daughter to do what she’s doing? this Alexi is pretty awful!
And that explains the random offer of the apple.. to justify the bag! How did she get a glass with Lee’s prints on it from the bar? that was fast work!]
Stem I.avi_000708708…Maybe Stemwinder isn’t our best opportunity to get to Stetson?
Alexi: Stemwinder? Heh… perfect game within a game…
Stem I.avi_000726326
…It’s gonna be the noose with which Scarecrow is going to hang himself.Stem I.avi_000729929
[Whoooo cue the intense zoom in on Alexi!] (Hearing this, Sonja turned and looked at Alexi..
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Alexi turns to Sonja.
Stem I.avi_000734934
He gives her smile at his cunning plan as we fade to black for a commercial break.)
Stem I.avi_000735635
I think the smile is: I can take his sweater!!!! I can take his life!!! Muahahahahaa!!

Hmmm.. I wonder what Sonja thinks about this plan and the hanging of scarecrow?! She is questioning whether this is the right plan…. so who knows. Is she playing innocent with her grandfather too? Hmm.. Well the upcoming events of this episode are sounding ominous!

Seems Sonja is surrounded by men wanting to use her. Lee, Rostov and her own grandfather. Get out now while you can Sonja! The whole ‘spy games taking place between men, and women being their pawns’ thing is something I find rather tiresome. I hope the women in this ep get a much more active role!

So we have the agency playing a game within a game, and Alexi and Sonja playing a game within a game. Heck. Rostov probably is too. He may be plotting to go back to his butchery business Winking smile 

Looks like SMK is going all out in the plot department with this two part episode.. the simplistic plots of early seasons are making way for a much more complicated story. I’ll be interested to see how this goes! What are you all thinking?!

16 responses to “5/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

  1. Loved the call back to Ricky Joe…

    It’s interesting Iwsod, how you commented about Lee and Amanda’s argument not making much sense and in the next scene we see that Sonja says pretty much the same thing about her talk with Lee. When Rostov asks what they talked about Sonja says the words were important, but how they were said was.

    The argument between Lee and Amanda is a bit hard to take. I don’t think I’m going to be able to be as professional as Amanda. I really don’t like the look Lee gives Sonja.

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  2. Can I just say, never made it past this episode LOL. Or rather the upcoming scenes, but Imma try. Oh I skipped ahead and watched *************, but I’m really glad you guys did Unfinished Business first because it was new to me and while it wasn’t riveting television, it REALLY helped explain this awful, terrible entry into SMK. Not just the cheating stuff, but Billy pimping Lee just as hard as Sonja’s pimps were doing to her. I remember after watching that awkward, stupid Agency scene a few pages back, that the Agency seemed like it had turned into an escort service with King Billy “Pimpdaddy” Melrose.

    You won’t like the “why” I appreciated Unfinished Business, though: I loved seeing Lee look like a loose canon nutjob in Unfinished Business who needed to be pulled out of the field head-first and put in Gitmo for murder. Yes, I think he murdered that guy, Blackheart or whoever, because SMK S4 Lee must be a broken half-man and showed signs of severe mental problems here — UB actually explains this awful episode. Also, I can now fanwank that Amanda hung on to those pills she juiced Lee up with in Unfinished Business (YAAS!), and swallowed a fistful to get through this junkfest, then unfortunately became a junkie. (She and Billy are sitting by a fire barrel in a crack den somewhere; everyone thinks they’re hallucinating, and they WISH they were. I finally feel some closure!)

    Or I need to know why A didn’t dump this guy (Lee), “professional” or not. Because Amanda, girlfriend, your bae is a HOOKER! And I ain’t talking about fishin’. No, I haven’t moved past this scene in my rewatch (LOL it’s eternally paused!), but my recollection is thinking that Lee would have been able to enjoy himself a lot more if the ole ball and chain weren’t listening. (Sorry for breaking the rules; it’s just an old impression I got before turning the show off for good.)

    For this “inching into the Stems” so far, though, I’ve got to admit that I actually like (and understand) the Russian girl here. I’d hate being pimped by my granddad, and understand “family principles” (you honor your elders or else… sums up many life stories). Sonja’s beautiful; Sonja’s smart; and Sonja [so far] is in a tough position. And this won’t be a popular opinion either probably, but I honestly feel bad for her having to try to hook up with this older man (“Dad!” much?). I’m almost pulling for Rostov (though he’s no better than Billy).

    This scene tells me Lamanda have trouble brewing in their ‘real’ future. Hope that changes, but I’m going in blind. Maybe tomorrow (LOL) I look at the next page and hope there aren’t too many screencaps.

    BUT I honestly thank JWWM recappers and posters, and think if you all can get through it, I should (wo)man up and try. (It’s either that or go back to the S2 rewatch I was trying, at the post-haircut ones.) I’m obviously behind, reading the comments before watching the snippets. Btw I really think regular adultery is a circle of Hell deadly Sin, and this scene could really be from their future. (Yeah I’m ready for a re-walk through S1 with expanded pages and screencaps!!! Yes yes yes!)

    [iwsod: I edited out reference to a future episode-but Trebuchette’s comments are otherwise fully intact 🙂
    Sorry Trebuchette- this blog doesn’t jump ahead of where the walk is and there are people here wishing to approach the walk as spoiler free as possible.Thanks!]

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    • Hiya Trebuchette!
      LOL I enjoy reading your take on things 😉 you let these characters have it 🙂

      I’m really glad you guys did Unfinished Business first because it was new to me and while it wasn’t riveting television, it REALLY helped explain this awful, terrible entry into SMK.

      Glad you liked it! oh? how does it explain stemwinder?

      Billy “Pimpdaddy” Melrose.

      LOL! It is pretty awful what gets asked of agents.. this is the gritty reality! And… there is a long history of sexy times being used as a weapon/tool in the spy biz… I think it was quite brave of smk to go there! and I’m curious to watch how this all plays out – and discuss it with you all!

      Sonja’s beautiful; Sonja’s smart; and Sonja [so far] is in a tough position. And this won’t be a popular opinion either probably, but I honestly feel bad for her having to try to hook up with this older man (“Dad!” much?). I’m almost pulling for Rostov (though he’s no better than Billy).
      Gosh I can’t remember if I said it yet, but I’ve also noticed she’s being used by men men men! Though at this stage, I’m not sure if she is also playing them all – I’m not spoiled or jumping ahead Trebuchette so we’ll see. But.. I actually agree with you! it seems more ick for Sonja though – I guess because it’s her grandfather using her for a personal grudge – whereas Lee is ummm being asked to do this for national security or something.. ahem..
      I’m still thinking through all this – and hope we’ll keep coming back to all this! 🙂

      BUT I honestly thank JWWM recappers and posters, and think if you all can get through it, I should (wo)man up and try.

      you can do it Trebuchette! 🙂 [err just keep your sick bag handy 😉 ]

      Like

  3. I’m having a hard time getting into this episode here because it is confusing at face value. At least it was when I remember first watching it. Francine has Rostov as her target, yet here he is talking to Lee’s target and Francine is nowhere to be found. This is not normal SMK plotting IMHO. And Alexi is Sonya’s grandfather? How does he fit in? I know I was trying to figure out what the heck was going on when I first saw this. The only part I probably understood was the implied meaning of the Lisbon variation to the peacock dance.

    And having to watch Lee and Amanda fake argue is painful and watching Lee smile at stunning Sonya is sickening. Amanda may well be beautiful, but in this episode Sonya’s hair and clothes are much better looking than Amanda’s IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “… Francine has Rostov as her target, yet here he is talking to Lee’s target and Francine is nowhere to be found. This is not normal SMK plotting IMHO. …”

      Excellent observation! Francine being MIA during that meet just doesn’t ring true. She usually dresses to be noticed in a crowd! Then again, maybe she was undercover, but I agree, the S&MK camera should have caught her anyway.

      “… Amanda may well be beautiful, but in this episode Sonya’s hair and clothes are much better looking than Amanda’s IMHO.”

      I’m thinking Amanda deliberately dressed down as part of the deception. What cracks me up (because I believe she did it on purpose) is that she wears white, which is a symbol of purity, wholeness, marriage and, curiously, it’s also the symbol for calling a truce. Though their current case requires they pretend to fight, does this indicate that a truce exists privately between she and Lee?

      Sonja is in blood red because men find it a sexually provocative color and it was the color of the flag of the U.S.S.R. at the time this episode was first aired. She must think Americans are really stupid, so here she is AGAIN advertising that she is from the Soviet Union. Uh-oh, Lee, the color red symbolizes both passion (that is reserved for Amanda only!) and danger (you know who: the ice cold vodka drinker wrapped in her flag).

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    • Yes, I found their fake argument sickening too- because it does seem like something they could possibly disagree on down the road. And Sonya looks like a sexy predator waiting at the water hole for her prey to wander by. And Lee just smiles & heads right for it! I remember being disappointed that their ‘regular people’ place was ruined so quickly by work.

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  4. This part of the episode is really not feeling the love from any of us, is it? Then again, what’s to like? Lee and Amanda fighting, and as you say, that element of truth in the argument adds to the ick factor. And Sonja, if she wasn’t off-putting enough already, also seems to be acting the poor little innocent while simultaneously playing three men at the same time. I bet all three of them are going to live to regret underestimating this little hussy.

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    • This part of the episode is really not feeling the love from any of us, is it? Then again, what’s to like?

      True! But I’m really glad people can stop by and share that there’s not much to love!
      it’s true.. this viewing is not enjoyable! and.. there’s not much to love!! Lee and Amanda are experiencing a really awkward ick situation.. and we experience it along with them!

      Sonja playing the poor little innocent – interesting comments! I’m not sure what to make of her yet…
      At the moment it just seems men want to use her – what’s her game?
      I’ll keep watching to find out.. except when she’s eating Lee alive.. I might just look away for that bit 😉

      Like

  5. My first boyfriend had a jumper just like the one worn by Lee, Tony and Rostov. That would have been in the early 90s. Maybe the jumper made its way to a thrift shop after SMK had used it on several characters too many. Both the jumper and the boyfriend were a mistake, but I was only 18 so I forgive my taste 😀

    Sonja is just way too attractive for my liking. Except for those shoulder pads, she looks downright gorgeous in early scene. And I find Lee’s easy ability to come on to her very uncomfortable. The element of truth in Lee and Amanda’s argument make me even more uncomfortable – because I see it as a disagreement that could conceivably have in their RL (or SMK-non-spy-life) relationship. I know that you are supposed to keep your cover story as simple as possible but it’s a bit too much for me. The Russian spy within a spy within a spy story passes me by because I find the Lee/Amanda/Sonja fake subplot too distressing…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sonja is drop-dead gorgeous, I agree, but so is Amanda. Let’s all recall what happened when Lee fell for that Soviet KGB agent Eva. Remember her? The lying, back-stabbing, conniving witch, who was toting an empty (compliments of Amanda) pistol at the slimy used car lot? I’m POSITIVE Lee has not forgotten! Ain’t no way he’s dipping his pen in that poisoned KGB inkwell EVER again!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sonja is drop-dead gorgeous, I agree, but so is Amanda.

        Goooo Nancy! And Amanda has the added bonus of not being a threat to national security! 😉

        Who could forget Eva… lol.. I should go back and re read that walk through… Lost and Found was an ep I found tough to watch – it is hard to watch Lee pretend to dump Amanda for a younger russian import, but it was even harder to watch Lee fall again for Eva and get his heart stomped on 😦 at least here, it’s likely Lee’s heart is now in much better shape 🙂

        I’m POSITIVE Lee has not forgotten! Ain’t no way he’s dipping his pen in that poisoned KGB inkwell EVER again!

        Love it!!!!!!! Amen to that!!! 🙂 bye!

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    • rofl re the communal sweater Learjet!

      okay okay it’s true. Sonja is gorgeous- to look at!

      The element of truth in Lee and Amanda’s argument make me even more uncomfortable – because I see it as a disagreement that could conceivably have in their RL (or SMK-non-spy-life) relationship.

      I wonder if this unease at the argument being a possibly realistic thing they could argue about, is deliberate..
      I think they are trying hard to insert risk into this situation [risk to Lee and Amanda’s relationship] – and there is an overall risk going on that Lee and Amanda don’t know about yet – Alexi!!! muahhahahahaha!!! It’s the risk within risks game – who knows what is real?!
      [mind you I’d say they ultimately fail because us fans who love Lee and Amanda would not really believe they will split up. it’s like moments were either’s life is in danger – we don’t really think its going to pan out that way.. but.. their life is actually in danger 😉 I hope I’m making some kind of sense..

      The Russian spy within a spy within a spy story passes me by because I find the Lee/Amanda/Sonja fake subplot too distressing…

      I don’t enjoy watching this unfold but not sure I find it as distressing as you – I hope Learjet that our discussions will ease your distress – hopefully some good discussions will arise from the distress and it will all have a pay off!
      But – the whole peacock dance with the lisbon variation is ick, ewww and not enjoyable to watch!!! I hope it doesn’t last for too long! Sonja’s already got Lee’s prints for Alexi (though what for i don’t know).

      Anyway.. I better stop ranting and get on with my day!

      Like

  6. Maybe sleep is code for you know, “sleep” where very little sleep is had. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • I had the exact same thought, Cindy. Now she could have said “sleep” with a hint of something else in her voice, which technically should have ended the argument then and there. Like any man is going to turn down “sleep” for going to a club, listing to music, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

    • LOL. I thought the same thing Cindy!
      …but figured. nah.. sleep is sleep – Or I figured Lee would not have felt the need to remind Amanda of what fun is haaaa 🙂

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      • I’ve always thought “sleep” meant real sleep. She is saying it in anger here – meaning she’d rather just sleep for real than go out and have fun like Lee is talking about. I think we missed the earlier part of the argument where Amanda wants Lee to go back home for “sleep” but he is not interested because he’d rather go out and have fun at a club. He’s losing interest in “sleep”. So to get back at Lee, Amanda would really rather sleep than go out for fun. Her kind of fun is “sleep”.

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