12/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

Things are getting serious! Brace yourselves again! Billy, having just got off the phone from talking to Amanda, is joined by Francine out in Dart’s hallway. Stem I.avi_001507774
Francine: Billy… Dart wasn’t expected home, so his body wasn’t found until Stemwinder countdown began…
[Okey Dokey.. dead body wheeled by was Dart. Uh oh uh oh uh oh!!!!
I thought stemwinder was the operation to leak the radio frequencies. Not the name of the war games that everyone was assuming would be a success! Did anyone else get confused by this?!]
Stem I.avi_001519786
…I just talked to the medical examiner; he said his neck was broken, probably late yesterday afternoon. Lee and Amanda were the last ones on the log to see him alive.
Billy: What about the Stemwinder frequencies?
Francine: Well, they’re still in the safe—but they could’ve been photographed.
Billy: Or not!
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[Hmm Francine seems pretty open to their guilt! I’m curious to see if Francine will side with Lee and Amanda and help and protect them (from the agency I guess)– she’s never actually done that-or has she? help? And.. has Billy ever done that?]
Francine: We found two different sets of prints on the safe; we’re running them, but, uh… would you care to hazard a guess?
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[Wow. I might be getting the answer to my question pretty quickly here!
I kinda hate Francine right now! I get that she’s an agent and needs to be objective etc.. but this is less like objective and more like – I’m not fooled by Lee! ugh!]
Billy: Francine, would you stop with the looks!..
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…I put my money on Lee and Amanda. They can explain! [oh bless him!!! Go Billy!]Stem I.avi_001537904
Francine: Maybe, [Maybe?!] but you are going to call off Stemwinder, aren’t you?
Billy: You give me too much credit… [and Lee and Amanda not enough!]Stem I.avi_001542609
[LOL why would Billy be running stemwinder?! he’s running the side gig to create a window and make the Russians work for information so they believe it. This dialogue seems pretty clunky to me.. However, it has been successful in taking my breath away at how easily Francine believes Lee could have killed Dart and photographed stemwinder frequencies!]
…Let’s just say: I’m gonna make a suggestion… and hope like hell that somebody listens.Stem I.avi_001544611
(Billy starts violently tapping on that brick of a telephone of his…) Stem I.avi_001546913
The scene ends there.

We move on to a warehouse district..
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Uh oh… Lee is rolling around in the trash.. he comes to… At least he isn’t dead!!!
Lee mumbles: Amanda.  [Awh!!!]
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There’s a street dude watching Lee.. [Uh oh.. lol at the 80’s breakdance portrayal of gangs!
Kudos to KC for getting the homie’s names!]
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Dupe: Hit him upside the head with his bottle, man. He’ll wake up. If a wino grabs you, it’s like a vise.
(Another dude moves closer to Lee.. who seems to be waking a little more)
Stem I.avi_001559626
Howler: I been rolling juicers longer than you, Dupe. [Err I guess Lee is a juicer?!]
(I’ll again go with KC’s description here:
Lee kicks his feet upwards and hits Howler on the head.
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Howler falls backward (probably howling as he falls 😉 ) and Lee stumbles to his feet groaning, he puts his back to a wall, and looks around.
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[Hey everyone – it’s West Side Story Time! Lee’s not liking being in America!
Not okay by Lee in America!
Not everything free in America!
*slap* snap out of it iwsod. This isn’t west side story. Focus!]
Dupe launches himself down the stairs that he was sitting on. Lee throws a large piece of litter and makes an attempt to escape past another young man with a knife.
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[Stunt] Lee ducks back as the knife is thrust toward him then grabs the man’s arm and punches him in the face. Lee ducks behind the stairs to avoid another youth who swings a metal chain at him then kicks the youth in the stomach and starts to run away.)
Howler: Grab him!
(Lee pulls a runged piece of metal away from the wall and topples it toward the youths then begins to run and trips over a wino sleeping on the sidewalk.
Stem I.avi_001586219
[The graffiti throughout is umm interesting PG – hilarious!!! I see ‘Billy Be Bop or something there.. is this about Billy the bopper?! He’s famous with the homies?!
Err yep.. that’s how riveted I am by this fight scene! Oopsie..Focus Iwsod.. will Lee be okay?!!]
Lee scrambles up and runs down the alley.
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One of the youths runs after him and knocks into the wino who’s stood up. The five youths chase Lee; there are muffled sounds of shouting. Lee throws himself over a wooden gate buried under cardboard boxes and an upended sofa. Thanks KC!)

Okay, I’m gonna summarise the end of this scene: Lee runs, the homies chase him. lol!
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The scene ends with them still pursuing him but we didn’t see where Lee went. Go Lee!

We’ll pause here..
Things are looking pretty grim for Lee.. The Russians didn’t kill him at least, but… seems they must have some pretty awful plans for him! uh oh!!!
Any thoughts you’d like to share??

I don’t know why, but I thought Francine would be less cold that what we see here. Maybe because of the events of the end of season 3.. With Friends like Francine, who needs enemies.. Not much loyalty shown for two people who were instrumental in rescuing you from the Russians! (…Twice? were they Russians in Double agent? Magda was Russian wasn’t she? I can’t remember and don’t have time look – help?)
I guess this is only the start of a long journey in this two-parter.. Finally all the set up is starting to play out!

I’m looking forward to seeing how Francine’s loyalties play out here..
I’m impressed Billy stood by Lee and Amanda at least to start.. we’ll see if that holds – being the boss I am guessing he can’t take sides.. but maybe he can help Lee in other ways. Or maybe he will choose a side? We’ll see!

I also found the whole idea of Lee stealing frequencies when Dart was to voluntarily hand them over to give them to the Russians quite convoluted! The only explanation I can come up with is that Lee was to share some, but some were to remain secure. The initial dialogue didn’t make this clear.. Anyone else grapple with that confusion?

Lee can really use a friend about now..
And thank goodness Amanda is now an agent in her own right – he needs her!
So sweet how her name was the first thing he mumbled as he came to..
Can’t wait to hear from you!

59 responses to “12/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

  1. The way Francine and even Billy almost seem to believe the setup actually had me crying the first time I watched this. The thought of what that would feel like for Lee and Amanda was just so heartwrenching.


  2. LeeLovesAmanda

    Best part of this sequence was Lee waking up and mumbling Amanda’s name. Sweet!


  3. Oh, Lee, you should’ve never said you felt a headache coming on!

    I, too, love how Lee calls Amanda’s name upon first coming to. I have always assumed it was a response to her being his first thought out of being in love, but I also wonder if it is also that he’s so overwhelmed by his love for her that he calls her name to make sure if she is with him, is she ok? He’s out of it and is probably pretty fuzzy, but before he even becomes aware of his surroundings, he wants to know she is ok. Does that make sense?

    Perhaps Francine thought Lee could’ve fallen for Sonja’s charms to the point of betrayal to the agency? I think that’s a stretch. But… she does assume everyone is going to leave, at some point, as she said in FFFT. And she was certainly reading the tape in Billy’s office that Lee was pretty into Sonja. Perhaps thinking along this line is more familiar and comfortable for her than thinking that Lee has changed and that he and Amanda have something extremely special going on between them. Just thinking while typing. Not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. First of all, love hearing Lee say Amanda’s name as soon as he begins to revive. Whether it’s being concerned about her safety or because of how he feels about her, in either case, I love it, because she’s his first thought. Secondly, the whole 80s breakdance gang comment cracks me up.

    Francine always seems to be Francine. She is mainly focused on herself and seems to be of the mind that whatever needs to be done regarding her job comes before friendship or loyalty. In TFT she doesn’t show much, if any, regret for being the one with the loose lips that caused several agents to lose their lives. When she messes up, she moves on pretty quickly from it. She was fairly rude when she stepped in for Billy in RFTS, and then apprehensive when she had to answer to him for screwing up some paper work. She got whiny in DMLNT when her work was questioned, but doesn’t want to give consideration to others when it seems like they are messing up, like Lee in Burn Out.

    But Francine occasionally has moments that show some consideration, loyalty, and brief friendship. She did confess to Lee about some of her behavior in The Mole and it showed a more personal side to her and yes, she defended Lee early on in TFT. Also, in SBTB she gave Amanda a heads up about Lee when he made the trade for the other Rostov. Francine went to Amanda’s house as sort of a way to skirt the Agency. She told Amanda that no one could help him and hated to say that Amanda would probably be hearing from him before she would.

    So, Francine has seen and known for some time that there was something different with Lee and Amanda. Maybe it’s just now becoming a reality for her. She is seeing more and more of their connection. However, I don’t think that’s necessarily an excuse or rationale for her not supporting them, especially when they have been supportive of her. I think that in the world of SMK there has to be that one person that expresses their doubts or be the fly in the ointment and I guess Francine has become the chosen one for that role, even if it makes her character seem wishy-washy and disloyal.


    • Love your revisiting of some of Francine’s history Valerie!

      I think that in the world of SMK there has to be that one person that expresses their doubts or be the fly in the ointment and I guess Francine has become the chosen one for that role, even if it makes her character seem wishy-washy and disloyal.

      Oh I’m so glad you raised this again Valerie! I had wanted to come back to this! Now we are nearly at the end of the episode (I’m about to publish post 20/21) I can share my reason why I said I thought it wasn’t necessary for Francine to play the fly in the ointment role (great description!).
      I think Dr Smyth fulfills that role very well all by himself in this episode.. Dr Smyth and the agency as an institution. I don’t think Francine needed to doubt Lee, as we have seen her doing, for the plot to progress..
      and it’s disappointing to see her responses to this situation Lee/Amanda are in.

      I do agree that someone needs to play the role of the opposing view – in this situation though it has really thrown Francine’s character under the bus and put back her development in my eyes!

      Billy often plays the role of the opposition because of his role as the Boss, There needs to be a stumbling block or a tension story wise I think that’s very true.. we saw this in Unfinished business – where Billy seemed to be so strangely anti Blackthorne being a baddie – even once they presented loads of evidence, that it just seemed like a plot contrivance. (to me!)

      I think Dr Smyth is just what the show needed – and I hope we see more of him. Having Billy or Francine play the foil gets in the way of the team of four dynamic – I think having a big bad above Billy who has no connection to the team at all and is quite ruthless is a great idea to throw into the mix! Maybe this also explains why the agency is getting so much darker.. Hmm I’ll have to ponder that one!
      Thoughts anyone?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree! And it might be artifact of the times, many shows of the era seem to fall in the same trap of only the protagonists can be completely good and everyone else has to get in their way. Which is unfortunate. With decent writing, you don’t diminish the awesomeness of your main characters by having the supporting cast well, supportive.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Melissa Robertson

    At least he mumbled Amanda’s name and not Sonja’s…it was only a job to him!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I personally can’t understand why Alexi didn’t kill Lee, just dumped him somewhere. Later he clearly wants Lee to die so why not just do it now? Perhaps he wants to have Lee experience what Alexis went through, being discredited and on the run?


      • HI Callyhua, yeah I think at some point in this ep I was pondering the same question.. and concluded he really wanted Lee to suffer! death was too easy..

        Liked by 1 person

      • That was what I was thinking. He wanted to pay Lee back in the exact way Lee had brought him down originally. Death would have been too quick, plus he’d have been considered a hero who died in the line of duty. He probably would have killed Lee eventually, but first he wanted him completely disgraced in the intelligence community.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve always thought that Lee before Amanda and Francine were very much alike. Francine is seeing how Lee is growing and changing becoming a more grounded and real person, and I think this scares her, and that this really influences how she acts. Though Francine has never been my favourite character sometimes I dislike her more than others, and this is one of those times. I must admit I love the 80’s gang look. And that phone of Billy’s would have been so modern in its day. The fact that the first thing Lee says when he wakes is “Amanda” has always been a aww moment for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “… The fact that the first thing Lee says when he wakes is “Amanda” has always been a aww moment for me.”

      Yes for me, too, because it reveals Lee’s inner feelings for her.


    • The fact that the first thing Lee says when he wakes is “Amanda” has always been a aww moment for me.

      Hmm… Lee also doesn’t know that she’s out of harm’s way. Maybe he’s thinking the same person who zapped him and tossed him in the dumpster also got to Amanda.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Insightful, sara, you are so right! Lee had to assume it was a possibility, but that never occurred to me. Darn it! The batteries in my thinking cap must have died … again. LOL!!


  7. I’ve never understood the radio frequency scenario anyway it seemed like there were better government secrets Lee could have divulged to the Russians.
    Francine was all too eager to lay blame on Lee and Amanda, there was no loyalty whatsoever on her part. That condescending tone and smug look on her face was typical Francine but not what I would have expected in this particular scenario.


  8. I’m going with Francine detecting a change in Lee, maybe even Lee and Amanda. She was clearly enjoying (as usual) remembering old Lee perving on these types of assignments; maybe (likely) she sensed some real pushback from Lee about not liking this role anymore, and later she sees him with Amanda “socially”, I suppose, while following her guy. I’m afraid that’s a legit sign of trouble to Francine because Lee’s uncharacteristically not excited about this particular mission. 2 red flags, then Dead Dart. Well, I’d guess that’s what the show was trying to pass off, anyway: a sincere fear that Lee was “cashing out”, and maybe potentially with eternally-broke Amanda?

    Regardless, I have to agree that the storyline itself just doesn’t make sense. Someone else pointed out how easy Dart’s logs would be to see if there were white-out changes, but worse yet: Stemwider was supposed to gauge “how we would fare in nuclear war?!” Really, show? (I’m doing a paper on Reagan/SDI and his own administration/Congressional opponents who wanted to keep the Cold War going). —And how well we would fare were the radio frequencies.

    Between the terrible concept of “Stemwinder” to begin with, and wanting to pass “we’d win nuclear fallout guise!” frequencies to the Soviets (making them MORE paranoid), ISWOD pointed out pages ago that one could easily slip the “results” (of nuclear fallout!) without an agent having to hook up with some agent.

    Hope the original Alexi guy has more game than the title of the episodes. And I am not sorry seeing Lee and that mullet winding up in the garbage. Go Alexi! 😂 (tongue-in-cheek, guys!!! 😂)

    (Oh, heh: GOOD seeing Lee dumped like garbage!)


    • I have to say that I was very upset seeing poor Lee dumped in the garbage. I have always wondered why the gang were so hostile to him. He looked like someone hung over (or drugged) and not a likely victim of a gang. I am sure that they could have already robbed him. Of course, Alexi could have set this up as well!


      • I have to say that I was very upset seeing poor Lee dumped in the garbage.

        I took it as a sign of what time with Sonja does to a person 🤣

        (Seriously, imagine if Amanda, or even Francine, had been in his shoes but with a Soviet guy… they’d feel like garbage, too. I thought that’s what they were going for with that imagery.)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Honestly, my only explanation for Francine’s behavior in this is really lazy writing. They needed someone here to fill that position Dirk had in S1 where they always think the worst, and lacking imagination, they decided to use the snippy blonde. Granted, she did see them with Rostov earlier that evening, but it is weird that the same woman who leapt to Lee’s defense against the aforementioned Dirk in TFT would be instantly on board with selling him down the river three years later. Or that she would think Lee would just break someone’s neck – he’s good in a fight but that seems like an unlikely Scarecrow move.

    Alternately, this could be interpreted as her seeing a set-up and guessing that it will be Lee or Amanda’s fingerprints on the safe along with, I’m guessing, Dart’s? She does say “the last ones in the log” so she might be qualifying there at least.

    Still, as much as I like Francine most days, this one is a new low for her – or at least for the writers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay, I will go with your interpretation that she is sensing a set up even though I suspect it is very lazy writing (too bad MS didn’t have the same clout as Kate when protesting script lines). Heaven forbid a supporting character is more than one dimensional.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m inclined to agree with you. Apparently Francine can’t recall how Lee ‘died’ in Remberance of Things Past and ‘burned out’ in Burn Out, not to mention all the other many, many times both Lee and Amanda saved her and proved their loyalty to their country. I just can’t see her ever believing that Lee would break someone’s neck. I think it is very lazy writing. (And I am far from being a Francine fan. )

      Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting thought clagjanet!

      it is weird that the same woman who leapt to Lee’s defense against the aforementioned Dirk in TFT would be instantly on board with selling him down the river three years later.

      Oh yeah! she had stood up for him! Good one!!

      She was very quick to give up on Lee and bad mouth him during Burnout – and Lee seemed not a bit surprised by it!
      With Francine’s enjoyment of the awkward let’s listen to Lee do his peacock dance moment still fresh in our minds – this Francine is not at her shiny glowing best. a new low is spot on.

      I can get on board with the bad writing idea, that’s always potentially a good reason 🙂 But.. if they were thinking they needed someone to act as a road block I don’t think they needed that here.. [more on that to do with future events so I’ll say no more]

      I’ll share a few thoughts I have on Francine, for what it’s worth.. just my thoughts! 🙂 and.. I can only base this on what I have seen of Francine so far..
      As I briefly suggested earlier if I can put the bad writing to one side, I have a picture forming of Francine and how she deals with stressful situations.. her relationships etc.
      I think Francine prides herself on her lack of trust of others. She’s got some massive protective wear on that means she can quickly adapt and throw out the window a long standing and solid friendship with Lee at the first sign of a bad situation with fingerprints. I think she views loyalty as a weakness, she feels it – but she fights it.

      I think she is freaking out, and has shut down her emotional connection to Lee (to Amanda? well I wouldn’t like to say!), I don’t think I can even say she has gone purely logical – because she isn’t sounding objective, she’s jumping to the worst conclusions straight away. I think Francine doesn’t want it to be true – but to protect herself, and not get surprised or hurt by someone’s guilt, she’s already made the adjustment mentally to Lee and Amanda going bad maybe.

      I remember in spiderweb (another ep with Russians and a fab plot) Francine was able to consider Amanda as the traitor in their ranks very easily- which considering Francine thought she was a little nobody was quite striking! Nothing seems to be beyond possible for her.. And that’s about as deep as I can get about Francine first thing in the morning. lol.

      Maybe clagjanet is right, and she senses a set up? though, I’m not seeing any sign of that (yet) but who knows! I look forward to discussing as the story continues 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Its an interesting theory, that Francine was so lacking in trust that she would not use loyalty, past history or even logic when confronted with some evidence of betrayal. And that she thought this was a strength? I can buy that as a psychological profile of her, its sad, but it explains a lot.


      • Francine, Francine. How can you turn on Lee and Amanda so quickly? I guess the show needed a foil to Billy’s supportive stance. I like what you say here, iwsod, about how Francine views loyalty as a weakness. I can buy that. I could never have come up with it on my own though 😉

        I can only add that perhaps Francine is a little miffed that Lee and Amanda were having a nice cozy dinner together and she possibly was a little surprised to see this? Maybe she is somehow angry with the two of them for having a relationship and still managing to keep it on the down low at work? I’d like to think Francine is too much of a professional to act based on emotion like this, but getting woken up at 12:30 (wait, she does not look like she went to sleep yet…maybe she was with a ‘friend’ herself 😉 ) to have to go see a dead body may have made her quite cranky such that she’s willing to believe the worst about Lee and Amanda.

        I’m not sure any of that makes any sense, I’m sort of brainstorming right now and “thinking out loud”. Just putting my thoughts out there to see if anything sticks. I agree with you in that I think Francine trusts no one 100% – only herself. As much as Lee and Amanda have kept their relationship on the down low, maybe Francine has noticed them being more secretive or keeping to themselves at work (to her exclusion), and with Dart’s death, Lee being the last one to see him alive according to the log, and the extra set of fingerprints on the log perhaps Francine’s mind has just leapt to the first and obvious conclusion. Who said that the sometimes the right answer is the simplest? (or something like that).

        Liked by 1 person

    • “… Or that she would think Lee would just break someone’s neck – he’s good in a fight but that seems like an unlikely Scarecrow move.”

      So true clagjanet. It’s not his M.O. The ONLY way Lee would break someone’s neck is if they asked him to demonstrate Mr. Brand’s THE COBRA DEATH GRIP and it somehow went awry. Remember how that move had such an impact on Dr. Pain? That incident surely ran like wildfire through The Agency; so it’s possible, Phillip Dart heard about it while there for the Stemwinder briefing. HOWEVER, that would be an accident; tragic, but not premeditated and Lee would take the blame … not flee!


  10. I’m curious to see if Francine will side with Lee and Amanda and help and protect them (from the agency I guess)– she’s never actually done that-or has she? help? And.. has Billy ever done that?]

    Nope, as far as I remember this wasn’t necessary, yet.


  11. “Magda was Russian wasn’t she? I can’t remember and don’t have time look – help?) ”

    In S1’s Dead Ringer, Magda Petrak was Hungarian. Hungary threw in with the Axis powers, placing them on the losing side in WWII. Shortly after the end of WWII (about 1946-47), Hungary became a part of the USSR for over 40 years. They threw off the yoke of communism in 1989 to become a free, constitutional republic. That event is a scant 2 year’s time AFTER this Stemwinder episode.


    • Ah thanks Nancy, so Magda was soviet just not Russian..
      So Francine was twice rescued from the communist block with Lee and Amanda’s help! Shame on Francine!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • …Hungary became a part of the USSR for over 40 years.

      Sorry to disagree, Nancy, but Hungary NEVER became part of the USSR. It’s been a sovereign nation ever since it parted from K&K Monarchy with Austria after WWI.
      Hungary indeed was part of the eastern (communist) block, as East-Germany (GDR) was, too.
      So, Magda Petrak was Hungarian, not Russian nor Soviet or anything else.


      • thanksL&A.. so Magda was Communist just not Russian.. and Francine was twice rescued from the communist block with Lee and Amanda’s help! Yep, still major shame on Francine!! IMHO! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yep and yep to Francine.
          If Magda was so much of a communist… I’m not so sure. Remember, she deflected. Her political system wanted her to be a communist, but she prefered the western lifestyle much more. So, she wasn’t a communist either.


          • LOL Yes agree re Magda 🙂
            I was referring to the communists who had kidnapped Francine and left her fish rotting away in the boot (trunk) of her car.. the kidnappers that Lee and Amanda had a hand rescuing Francine from! Not that she seems to be remembering that right now. Booo to Francine!

            Come on Francine fans – do feel free to give your viewpoint here.. I’m really curious how people who love and really connect with Francine’s character view this attitude of hers.
            [I’ll guess – this is a coping strategy of Francine’s in action? maybe a form of protection? a defense mechanism?]

            Okay I’ve really got to shut down JWWM and get back to my day job. LOL if only JWWM could pay my bills 😉

            Bye all have a wonderful day/afternoon/evening/night wherever you are in the world!!


            • Wasn’t Francine rescued three times from the Russians by Lee and Amanda?

              1st in ‘Dead Ringer’ (S1)
              2nd in ‘Double Agent’ (S2) *
              3rd in ‘WrongNumber’ (S3) **

              *Well, actually ALL US agents were rescued then by Lee and Amanda, weren’t they?

              ** That was really a BIG rescue. Gregory’s plot was nearly perfect… 🕵

              Liked by 1 person

              • Gregory’s plot was nearly perfect…


                Yeah there are so many times Lee and Amanda have saved anyone and everyone 🙂

                Gosh double agent.. double agent.. I’ve seriously forgotten who are the baddies. I’ll have to get back there and check it out!


      • “Sorry to disagree, Nancy, but Hungary NEVER became part of the USSR. It’s been a sovereign nation ever since it parted from K&K Monarchy with Austria after WWI.

        Hungary was not one of the Republics (U.S.S.R. = Union of Soviet Socialist Republics aka The Soviet Union). However, Hungary was clearly NOT a “sovereign” (meaning: acting independently without outside influence) nation from WW2’s end until 1989.
        From Wikipedia History:
        “On 18 August 1949, the parliament passed the Hungarian Constitution of 1949, which was modeled after the 1936 constitution of the Soviet Union. The name of the country changed to the People’s Republic of Hungary … Socialism was declared to be the main goal of the nation. A new coat-of-arms was adopted with Communist symbols such the red star, hammer and sickle.”
        Mátyás Rákosi was Josef Stalin’s hand-picked dictator in Hungary. After Stalin’s death in 1953, U.S.S.R. Premier Nikita Khrushchev hand-picked Imre Nagy to run Hungary and later replaced him with János Kádár.
        1955 The Soviet Union and seven of its European satellites signed a treaty establishing the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense organization that put the Soviets in command of the armed forces of the member states. The member states: Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania
        1956 Huge uprising for freedom from Soviet rule in Hungary was squashed brutally by the Soviet Army.
        October 1989 U.S.S.R. & Warsaw Pact crumbles as Hungary becomes a sovereign nation: Parliament amended the Constitution, establishing a multiparty system and they changed the name from the “People’s Republic of Hungary” to the “Republic of Hungary.”

        The character Magda Petrak clearly did NOT embrace the politics of her home country nor the politics of other communist nations because she defected to the USA. If Hungary were truly a sovereign nation, I doubt she would defect because she would be free to work toward political change. However, that was impossible until 1989.

        SORRY this got long, but it’s relevant because Scarecrow & Mrs. King scriptwriters clearly used some of the politics of this time.


        • If I’ve understood correctly, the only difference is L&A stated they were sovereign, and Nancy you are stating they (maybe technically) were not.
          Glad we sorted that one… I hope L&A and Nancy are still around when we get back to Dead Ringer! 😉


          • I will, Iwsod, I promise.

            And I hope, Nancy and I will still be fine – I for my part like her! 🙂


            • Oh LOL sorry I probably wasn’t very clear- when I wrote: “I hope L&A and Nancy are still around when we get back to Dead Ringer! 😉”
              I was referring to how you both enjoy discussing the political history – it will be great to have that input when we get back to Dead Ringer again.

              however, I’m glad all is well 🙂


            • No worries, Lee&Amanda, we are absolutely fine. I enjoy your comments and perspective since you appear to live closer to that history. To my mind, such conversations add relevance to the S&MK episodes, which all took place during the last decade of the 4 decades-long Cold War.

              A few years after the USSR’s demise, I (at age 38) spent a year traveling by myself in Europe. I had many eye-opening conversations with adults, who lived behind the Iron Curtain. That they considered themselves to have lived in an occupied country during the 40 years between the end of WW2 and 1989, was a recurring statement. Some were angry that the UK and USA allowed the USSR to occupy their country and control virtually all aspects of their life. They were pleased because they lived to see the freedom of their beloved nation; yet worried about the damage done to the younger generations, who were raised during those 4 decades when their country was not their country.

              I wrote the above paragraph to clarify that firsthand knowledge, bolstered by learning the details, is why I phrased my statement: “Hungary became part of the “USSR” and did not state that Hungary was a Soviet Republic. I apologize for not being clearer in making that distinction.


        • Sorry, I’m still not a native English speaker, my choise of words might not have been the best, Nancy.

          Actually NONE of the eastern block states where sovereign in the true meaning but they where as sovereign as the leader of the USSR allowed them to be. Of course all of them had to follow orders given by the big Soviet Brother – that’s how the eastern block worked…

          Your sentence ‘Hungary became a part of the USSR for over 40 years’ just implies Hungary was one of the Republics (U.S.S.R. = Union of Soviet Socialist Republics aka The Soviet Union) as e.g. Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and all those other states witch really became part of the USSR. But Hungary wasn’t that much part of the Soviet Union and tat’s what I tried to clarify.


      • “So, Magda Petrak was Hungarian, not Russian nor Soviet or anything else.”

        Yes, I agree. I also doubt she was a communist, but her worldview clearly showed evidence of being influenced by it. For example, Magda told Amanda’s son that first place is all that matters.


  12. I’m not wild about Francine’s quick response to the Lee, but then she does look completely exhausted and stressed out. Maybe she’s just not thinking clearly??? Her reaction isn’t the normal snarky reaction to Amanda, and so seems a bit out of character.

    LOL about the West Side Story scenery. Where is Maria? Oh yes, that was in the last episode (screening order 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I originally thought Lee was giving over fake frequencies to a fake simulation but I think he was to pass over a frequency where the Ruskies could only hear a little bit of what was going on and couldn’t interfere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just try to not think about those frequencies. It’s one of those plot points that I ignore because the whole Stemwinder thing just never quite made sense to me. (I realise this makes me rather stupid, but I prefer to think of it as self-preservation to avoid getting lost in plot holes)

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are very wise indeed.

        Liked by 2 people

      • rofl yes I had the same thought as Cindy in response to your comment Learjet: sound wise to me! 🙂

        From time to time I dig where maybe the wise wouldn’t 😉 In the hopes that I might have misunderstood something. or, maybe together we can come up with a plot fix! Or.. if all else fails we can have a chuckle over smk and it’s plots!

        I’m still hopeful this one might come out as one of the better ones. I just might need to do a little mental gymnastics along the way. [yep sounds like i’m being foolish haaaaaa]

        I can see this ep’s complicated scenario is going to mean plot comes up quite a bit as this rather complicated story unfolds! 🙂
        Maybe.. Lee and Amanda’s love story won’t be quite so complicated, and it can be our little oasis!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I try and ignore it as well. I feel as if there was an explanation somewhere, and it was edited out or got lost in a script change. Or perhaps I am just a bit stupid


    • I understood it as Lee was handing over real frequencies to a real simulation. But only SOME frequencies, not ALL of them ‘where the Ruskies could only hear a little bit of what was going on and couldn’t interfere’ as Cindy said.


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