6/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

Moving on and it’s night time.
We see a suburban street we don’t recognise – but a car we all do: the vette! Stem I.avi_000745845
Next, we see Amanda crouched down in I guess the vette, listening to some soft music from her headphones. Huh? maybe not.. what is she listening to?
Stem I.avi_000746846
[looks like maybe Amanda is recording as well?]
Uh oh. We cut to where this soft music is coming from and.. what else Amanda is listening to! We see candles! gah!!! we all know what that’s smk code for!!! Hanky panky! And a single red rose? whoooo that’s serious hanky panky!
Stem I.avi_000748048
Um wait. I don’t want to go on! gah!!!
The camera slowly pans across the room. Nooo don’t pan!!! I don’t want to see it!!!! Not looking!!! Not looking.. focus on the candles.. or the err silverware! Whooo pretty lampshade! Whoooo lovely Degas!
Stem I.avi_000752052
Uh oh.. I think I’m going to be sick!
Thank goodness Amanda didn’t have to watch AND listen!
Sonja pulls herself out of their errr embrace (gag).  At least they spared us a close up!Stem I.avi_000762862
Lee: What’s the matter? [What a first line. Lee is asking us in the audience what’s the matter right?! because this is seriously awful to watch!]
Sonja: Mmm… nothing…  Everything…
(We cut to Amanda)
Stem I.avi_000763763
… I’m very nearly eating you alive. [ewww Sonja is quite insightful! Sonja= the flesh eating Russian bacteria resulting in necrosis, deformity and death (of my eyeballs)]
Stem I.avi_000766066
(We see Amanda react to this.)
Stem I.avi_000767567
[She’s such a trooper! I hope Lee has some strong antibiotics he can use!]
Amanda: Oh, damn it.
[Poor Amanda! this really can’t be easy!!]
(We cut back to a close up of the two of them kissing. Ugh I spoke to soon about close ups! Ohhhh look at the pretty drapes.. and errr the pretty cushions! ahem.. )
Stem I.avi_000768268
[Drat. A close up of Sonja eating Lee alive.
‘Oh damn it’ is right!]
(Sonja pulls away again)
Lee: Wait. If it’s what we both want, what’s wrong with it?
Stem I.avi_000773273
(She pulls away and moves off the sofa)
[What is that top she is wearing?! Bit like Leslie wore no? Massive shoulder pads!]
Sonja: It’s not that simple for us.
Stem I.avi_000779079
Lee gets up and walks around the room..
Stem I.avi_000792292
Lee: Sonja… uh…  For people like us, every day is… complicated. It comes with the territory… Stem I.avi_000796796
(Lee pours himself a drink)
…Besides, as good as it is… I haven’t spent six nights in a row over here for the food.
[Six nights???!!!!!!! Six??!!!!! Lee you need some antibiotics stat! Thank goodness we were spared from watching that! But.. Amanda has been in the car like that for six nights in a row?! Nooooooo!!!!! When Lee says it comes with the territory- I wonder if that is a message meant for Amanda also – as he knows she is listening.. and this is tough!
Anyone else at this point thinking- dang. Couldn’t Lee accidentally leave his briefcase with the radio frequencies in it unguarded while he uses the men’s room?! enough already!]
Stem I.avi_000802502
Sonja: I haven’t had you over six nights in a row so I’d have an excuse to cook, either… Stem I.avi_000806806
…I’ll tell you a secret. I bought it all, anyway… Stem I.avi_000810410
(We cut back to Amanda)
[LOL I’m guessing she’s thinking – ha! she probably can’t cook! I would have cooked! 😉 ]Stem I.avi_000810610
….Once I discovered America’s greatest treasure:
Stem I.avi_000812612
(Amanda reacts to this line.)  [Ugh!!!! ROFL at Amanda’s reactions!! It’s ick, but Amanda’s reactions are pretty funny!! Or.. is it just me? haaaa quite possible! ]
…-the gourmet supermarket.Stem I.avi_000815115
[Thank goodness she didn’t say America’s greatest treasure was this hunk of spunk she’s been ‘cooking’ for!]
Stem I.avi_000815815
Lee: Then what can possibly be wrong, huh?
(Sonja gets up and joins him.)
Sonja: It’s my superior. His name is Rostov. I don’t know, he… dislikes me… Stem I.avi_000827827
…Perhaps because I’m young…
Stem I.avi_000830230
(Shot cuts to a close-up of Sonja’s right hand; she’s flipping a gold-colored coin back and forth across her fingers)Stem I.avi_000831831
[KC notes-  as Alexi did in Scene 2.
Iwsod notes- only this time we cut to a close up so it’s done with much more skill by someone probably other than this actress!]
aggressive… a woman? Uh, who knows why? But he’s threatening to send me back to Russia.
[All this seems pretty obvious – The approach, identifying herself as a Russian with her freezing vodka drink, it seems too obvious that she is wanting information before Lee even had a chance to ‘fall’ for her. but maybe it’s just me. I guess her charms were suppose to be powerful enough that Lee would desert his country to get some. Ugh! ]
Lee: What?Stem I.avi_000840040
Sonja: To convince him that I’m worthy of staying, I need something… substantial.Stem I.avi_000843443
Lee: Listen, I don’t wanna lose you. Maybe I can help.Stem I.avi_000845445
[rofl! Is it just me or was that really really easy??!!!]
Sonja: You mentioned Stemwinder…
[Ohhh he did did he?!]Stem I.avi_000851851
Lee: Yeah, it’s the hottest ticket in town.Stem I.avi_000854554
Sonja: I’d be a hero.  Then Rostov would have to let me stay. 
Lee: I can get access to Stemwinder’s radio frequencies.  Front row… center seats.
Stem I.avi_000866166
(Lee ups the tenderness here.)
[Gag. You know this Lee Stetson is awfully good at acting like he really is into someone!!]
Sonja: You’d do that for me?
Lee: Yeah.
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(We cut back to Amanda)
[I think she’s about to scramble for her sick bag!]
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Sonja: Can you get it by tomorrow? I mean, I know that’s fast.
Lee: Don’t you worry; I can get them.
[Yep! It was very fast!!! and IMHO way too easy to get Lee to betray his country – six cooked dinners is the price huh?! lol..
this is all so easy. Seems Sonja knows this was what Lee was wanting to do all along, and it’s all some elaborate way for information to be passed without saying so- she’s doing to him what he’s supposed to be doing to her. but.. I’m not sure what this all has to do with Alexi. Still have that game within a game going on that I don’t understand yet!]
Sonja: And then we can mix business with pleasure.Stem I.avi_000882982
[Uh oh… the hanky panky starts up again. Looks like the mixing is already well underway! Please, no more mixing business with pseudo pleasure! Noooooo!
Iwsod refuses to publish another flippin photo of this Russian Bacteria eating Lee alive!]
but.. poor Amanda has to listen to the kissy kissy noises. ew..
Amanda (very flat): This is a real drag.Stem I.avi_000889255This scene ends here. 

Oh Amanda.. I’m right there with you!!!! [Anyone else?]
Amanda is a very strong woman! I’d be in tears I think! Or I’d be off my food for a week!
I wonder if Alexi or Rostov is listening to this whole evening also? separately of course.. Maybe they both are! It’s the hottest ticket in town! 😉 

Ohhhh I cannot wait to hear what you all think!!! 

I can see that this is part of the spy biz, Lee is playing a role, it means nothing.. but why the heck does Amanda have to be the one to have to listen to it?!!!! Personally, I think it’s asking too much!! 😉  How is Amanda going to cope with this?????!!!!

What’s the plan once Lee has handed over the information? Is he suppose to continue to be an asset for this Russian spy? If he just broke it off wouldn’t that lead the Russians to suspect he had just been stringing them along to hand over info without making it look like he was handing over info they wanted to?

I’ll pause here to give us all a chance for our anti-nausea strategies to kick in.. Anyone feel strong enough yet to share their thoughts? 🙂 

53 responses to “6/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

  1. So, I just watched both Stemwinders this weekend for the first time in 20 years and figured I will jump in here with my first episode comment! Stemwinder Part 1 was my favorite episode of SMK and I was eagerly looking forward to finally getting to see it again.

    The thing that strikes me after reading all of the previous comments is how much hate there is for Sonja, and for the Lee-Sonja “peacock dance” in particular. When I watched this episode in my early teens, and then again in my mid-20s, I can honestly say that this aspect of the plot did not upset me in the least. I thought it added an element of sexiness and glamour to the show that was unexpected and delightfully different than a “normal” episode. I really appreciated the entire plot of the episode, loved its complexity, and loved that it was a two-parter on top of everything else.

    As I watched this time, I was caught aback when my immediate gut reaction to watching Lee with Sonja was quite different, and much more along the lines about what so many here have already said. I found myself feeling very sorry for Amanda and thinking that she must feel absolutely gutted by this. I guess I am becoming softer as I get older! So I took a step back and tried to figure out why it didn’t bother me as much before, and to put myself back in that mentality. And I think I have now sorted it out in my head fairly well.

    We have to remember, the entire time Lee is with Sonja, he knows that Amanda is right there “with him,” listening to every single word they say. They are doing this operation on Sonja TOGETHER. Not only that, the entire thing is being tape-recorded and this will likely be played back for Billy and who knows how many other people. This is in no way an “intimate” encounter for Lee. It is acting, and there is an audience present. Amanda gets this – indeed, she is an actress herself. So while of course it is irritating and disconcerting for her to have to listen to him being all “kissy” with Sonja, it fundamentally has nothing to do with the relationship that she has with Lee – which is real, and deep, and grounded in tremendous trust and love (even if the love has not yet been spoken in words, it is unquestionably there, between them).

    This assignment is a drag for both Lee and Amanda, neither of them enjoys it, but it has to be done. Like it or not, this distasteful element of the work is something that a spy has to do from time to time. Amanda knows this, she is serious about becoming an agent, and so when given a choice – she was up for it. I really enjoyed the “argument scene” in Emelios, because it shows off how nicely they can put on an act together. I think Lee and Amanda would have talked in great detail before each meeting with Sonja about the plan for the evening, etc. I’m sure they have signals worked out, keywords that would tip her off if he runs into a problem. I like to imagine that they even have some inside jokes to lighten the mood and take away from the unpleasantness of it all, something like, “If you hear me tell Sonja ‘your earlobes are irresistible,’ just know that I am thinking how much I cannot wait to get the hell out of there.” Things like that. And I believe that they would have spent time together after each of the Sonja “encounters” to let the “ick” feelings wear off and be “themselves” again before having to get ready to do it all over again the next day.

    Anyway, that’s enough rambling for now. I just thought I would offer this different perspective, because I am a little sad to see how upsetting many people seem to find these parts of the episode!


  2. LeeLovesAmanda

    This scene makes me so sad for Lee and especially Amanda. The poor thing had to listen to her man flirt and make out with that fungus! I know I could not have done it. Amanda is so brave and loves her man.

    How awkward were the car rides home after one of these dates? I wouldn’t have been able to kiss him until he showered…


  3. LeeLovesAmanda

    Oh this is such a painful scene! Poor Amanda!!! I don’t know how she can stand listening to Lee with that Russian fungus! Omg you are perfect in your description of that… other…. woman.

    Overall, this episode plays out in such a sad way… I just want to tell Lee to leave that slime and run to Amanda and envelop her tightly in his strong arms and tell her how much he loves her…

    Can you even IMAGINE how awkward the car ride home is every night??? Again… poor Amanda!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gag, gag, gag. Hate this part. Eyes closed, fingers in ears, la la la. Nothing worth seeing here.

    Amanda’s and all of your reactions are by far the best part of this scene.

    I’ve always wondered how Lee would have handled having to be the one in the car listening to Amanda play a role like Sonja’s. I don’t think he could have done it at any point in their relationship, and it amuses me to imagine his reactions at different points in their relationship. That’s where my mind usually goes during this scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sonja:… I’m very nearly eating you alive. [ewww Sonja is quite insightful! Sonja= the flesh eating Russian bacteria resulting in necrosis, deformity and death (of my eyeballs)]

    🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Iwsod, THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTARY!!!!! It makes this horrendously terrible scene that I have always wanted to erase from my memory bearable!!!!!!! 😂😂😂😂😂

    I want to take Amanda back to Birchwood and help remind her of the future and a happy place. Bless her sweet heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hate this scene— as others noted I felt mad at the writers for jipping us on passionate kisses with Lee and Amanda but laying it in so thick here.
    I did begin to see it differently when someone commented that it is very over the top kissing, like they both are playing the spy role — that made me feel better.
    I love Amanda’s face and comments— KJ did such a great job here. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This scene was absolutely painful to watch. I’ve always felt a little cheated about the kissing scenes in SMK. Lee and Amanda have shared kisses with others that seem deeper and more involved, at least physically. With Lee and Amanda we get near misses and a quick peck on the lips. The best ones between them have been Ship of Spies and ATWAS. This is when I wish we had gotten to see more of them dating.

    Even though Amanda knows this is all an act, it’s still got to be difficult to have to sit and listen to all of this nonsense. In my mind I’m thinking that all six nights weren’t spent like this one. There had to be some getting to know you somewhere in there. Hoping there was more talking, less face sucking.

    Gone are the days when we got to see Amanda try to explain to Dotty where she was going to be. I wonder how she explained six nights in a row.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Still haven’t watched. Waiting for more comments! Yep: Amanda took those pills from (new) 4×01 Unfinished Business, and c’mon, suddenly Joe is looking MIGHTY. FINE. right now —and he’s a bum father!

    But as long as Billy “Pimpdaddy” Melrose is happy, what could possibly go wrong?! (Heh, think I remember 🤣 )

    The few screencaps (thanks for sparing us what I have tried to block out!) remind me that I STILL think Lee was into it. He’s a hooker. I tell you he’s a hooker, and worse than that, he’s hooking jailbait. (But I’m still not watching yet; just dippin the toes in, looking at this page!)


    • rofl hooker?! I think the spy term is honeypot 😉

      He doesn’t have to actually consumate things here.. though the show does hint that spies often do as a job perk. Now that I find pretty sickening! More so than Lee playing tonsil hockey.. I cut Lee more slack than you do clearly- lol!

      Jump in when you are ready Trebuchette 🙂


  9. Question: iwsod, you have Amanda written as the one who says, “Oh, damn it.” But I always thought it was Sonya, who said the yucky, “I’m very nearly eating you alive,” and then followed that with “oh, damn it” expressing her sexual frustration. I had one of my kids (as an unbiased observer) watch the scene, and then asked who she thought said it, and she also thought it was Sonya. What do you all think?

    Liked by 2 people

    • whooo I went and tortured myself watching that scene again? and.. I agree with Xiolaperry that it is Sonja who says this, not Amanda.
      Anyone else able to confirm?
      If so I can add a little note to the post to update that the line is Sonja not Amanda.
      Actually now I think about it – not something Amanda would really say is it lol! Oh drat would be more like it 😉

      thanks for this xiolaperry! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I promise you that I fast forward thru the part of the moaning and slobbering and eating each other alive; it literally makes me.sick…Oh gag

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Ewwww I can not look.
    Can someone please tell me when this is over.
    I need chocolate, lots of chocolate.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Every time I see this scene, it feels like dementors have been sucking on my soul. Chocolate is a good call.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Or may be a glass of wine to go with it. On second thought, maybe a few glasses of wine, to take away the pain and suffering of having to watch this as well as a toast to Amanda for having the strength and courage to put up with having to listen to those lines and show us how professional she has become.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Oh yeah! I agree with Cindy – good call Sandra!!
        I’ve been in a daze for days after having to sort through all these tonsil hockey images!!
        We all need some chocolate close at hand I think – one of those break in case of emergency chocolates! I’m breaking it!!!!!

        [Aussies, Kiwis and brits will get the cadbury thing!]

        here’s one North Americans will maybe prefer:

        I like that it has two levels of emergency.. and the worst calls for Wodka!
        I’m going to eat the chocolate at this point, and hold on to the Wodka for now..

        [Acknowledgements: there are loads of versions of these on the net – I didn’t create them – the first was by Cadbury.. the second I found here: https://au.pinterest.com/Asland15/in-case-of-emergency-break-glass/%5D Maybe you can find one that’s just right for you! 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

        • We get Hershey’s and Cadbury in Canada (and Bernard Callebaut for when things get really bad, or really, really good).


        • When not even marshmallows and peanut butter will cut it. Or would Amanda choose all of the above? 😉

          Liked by 2 people

          • Thanks for the quick help but it is also a real emergency! CLINK
            Nothing helps better than chocolate and Wine!
            Slightly drunk and soothe the soul with treats, so I can possibly look at it. I have only watched this scene in fast forward. With tight eyes.😖

            But now….😁
            Cheers for Amanda! And on you! 🤗

            Liked by 3 people

  12. It’s interesting watching this in slo mo (as it were) as to me it looks so obvious that both Lee and Sonya are acting a part and neither acting it particularly convincingly. (Kudos to BB and Sonya). Obviously Lee is losing his touch as Sonya is not at all smitten but maybe Russian training is that good😀.
    I hate this whole plot but I am trying to be objective here. I still think it is stupid to expect a man to sell out his country after 6 dinners (and not even home cooked). It’s not as if Lee was short of female company. The whole thing rings plot contrivance to me. And yes I do appreciate that they both knew it was just as a way to pass the frequencies but honestly, they could have gone through this farce after the first one of those dinners.
    I don’t think it’s natural for Amanda to sit there listening, professional perhaps but really too much to expect of anyone. It feels cruel watching it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Michele, I was able to change your name for you no worries 🙂


    • Obviously Lee is losing his touch as Sonya is not at all smitten but maybe Russian training is that good.

      🤔 Hmmmm… 🤔
      Perhaps Lee doesn’t want to have a touch – well, at least not with Sonja!
      We all know he prefers to be with Amanda and even Sonja knows it.
      It’s just what it is in the spy world: A game (within a game?). 🎲🃏

      Liked by 1 person

    • “I still think it is stupid to expect a man to sell out his country after 6 dinners (and not even home cooked).”

      It WOULD be extremely stupid; except that Lee is NOT selling out his country. In fact, what he is doing lets the Soviets entice from him a small piece of Stemwinder, in order to keep the top secret portions of Stemwinder technology safe. I agree, both Lee and Sonja are acting a part and find it just a bit hilarious because it is such an over-the-top, pathetically amateur performance. You labeled it a farce and that’s exactly true. I wonder, for an accomplished actor like BB, how difficult is that to pull off? Or do they need repeated takes because they’re laughing hysterically?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ugh – watching this scene is vomit inducing. That’s all I have to say. Now please excuse me while I run to the bathroom….

    Oh, one other thought – I wonder if Lee and Amanda have been giving good night kisses to each other after Lee leaves Sonja’s. I’m thinking not. I’m thinking neither would be interested. My husband lets our dachshund lick his face when he gets home from work. If she gets to him before he sees me to kiss me hello, I politely limit his homecoming to a hug 🙂 And Sonja is sooo much worse than a dachshund.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. …but why the heck does Amanda have to be the one to have to listen to it?!!!!

    Because Billy gave this assignment to her.
    Lee already failed to get out of his assignment to Sonja.
    I guess they couldn’t try to get Amanda out of hers without telling Billy what’s going on between them.
    They’re both not ready to do this… ☹


  15. I think a few of those paintings/pictures on the wall are from Lee’s apartment. Warning Lee… She’s not just a baddie, she’s a thief too!

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I hope Lee has some strong antibiotics he can use!]

    As long as it’s no Penicillin… 💊
    He is allergic to that stuff. 💉

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I see Cindy has beaten me to ICK, ICK, ICK which was pretty much what I’m feeling about this scene as well.

    The best part about it is that all of Amanda’s reactions are to what Sonja is saying, not Lee’s responses. It was once pointed out to me that the reason there are Daddy’s little girls and Mommy’s little boys is that parents of the same sex don’t fall for the tricks kids use to try and charm us and this is exactly what Amanda makes me think of here. She simply cannot believe that any guy would ever fall for these transparently awful lines.

    On the other hand, I think Amanda knows Lee’s acting voice pretty well. You know the way you can always tell when your mum was on the phone with someone she liked or someone she didn’t because of what voice they were using? I think Amanda can hear that in Lee’s voice because – and I’ve think I’ve said this before – BB is a great actor, Lee not so much. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • …BB is a great actor, Lee not so much.

      Although Lee’s performance now is really good; so his acting skills improved since the last time we saw him acting.

      When I first saw this (way back in the 80s), I was a little late watching this SMK episode, so I didn’t know anything about this game and the peacock dance. Watching Lee doing with this woman what he should do with Amanda instead, my first thought was to kill him (or even better her??). 🔫🔪🗡🏹
      But knowing SMK and trusting Lee and his feelings for Amanda I hoped that this wasn’t real so I continued watching although I really disliked it. URGH!! 🤢

      Liked by 3 people

      • Oh, I can’t even imagine watching this without the peacock dance context explained! Way worse than Karen/Amanda making out with the agents in the beginning of Odds on a Dead Pigeon.


        • It’s interesting really how little kiss time Lee ever got on screen before this: Eva and Leslie.Meanwhile KJ is kissing multiple Alans, Bela the football player, James Delano, the guy Karen murders, Dean (albeit slightly off screen, but what were they doing behind that couch on the floor in The First Time?)… even Joe gets a peck on the cheek. No wonder BB went off to make Passionflower between seasons. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • On the other hand, I think Amanda knows Lee’s acting voice pretty well.

      This makes me feel better 🙂

      YI enjoyed your point here Clagjanet – re Amanda’s reactions..
      It was edited so Amanda was reacting to Sonja, not Lee.. phew.. a little sign they are gonna be alright 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh ICK, ICK, ICK! My heart hurts for Amanda. What an understatement “This is a real drag.” I wonder if the quick peck on the lips between Lee and Amanda at Emilios at the beginning of this episode is supposed to ramp up the jarringness of Lee playing tonsil hockey with Sonja. Just ick!

    Liked by 3 people

    • “Lee playing tonsil hockey with Sonja.”

      Hahaha tonsil hockey! So which shot, exactly, is Lee executing … slap shot, wrist shot, backhand shot or … must be the deke, eh? Getting serious, Lee’s been to supper at Sonja’s apartment for 6 straight evenings now and things APPEAR cozy, but take note of their attire. Sonja wears a high neck blouse buttoned up to the top and Lee is still wearing his jacket and tie. That gives me the impression neither one of them is actually comfortable with this; aka, not so hot ‘n bothered as their conversation implies. Also giving mega credit to Lee: while necking on the sofa, look at how he angled his body away from her, using his knees to keep her from getting too close and his feet are poised for a get-away!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tonsil hockey?! rofl!!!!

      Hope we can all help each other through all this ick to get to the pay off – smk better give us a pay off or I’m gonna be mad! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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