13/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

Back to the agency..
Quidd: She’s struggling with a post-perceptive avoidance reaction.
[Ugh. Yep. We have another kooky psych moment in smk world!]
Billy: Spare me the psychobabble.
Quidd: That’s not babble; I could give you babble.
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Billy: Don’t.  I need something solid now; this is Amanda King in here. I know her. I can get through to her.Stem I.avi_001617450
Quidd: Just my point. You have a bias…
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…You side with her and Scarecrow.  You owe it to her, Billy, to let us be as rigorous as possible. I don’t like it, but… there could be questions later on.Stem I.avi_001629863
(Billy considers this.)
[Billy owes it to Amanda? Oh purlease!
I’m going to call Quidd half-Quid. This probably doesn’t translate for Americans.. but in Australia when someone is half quid they are stupid! ‘Quid’ being another name for a pound (money not weight). Or, some say someone is ‘not the full quid’- get it?
So… Quidd is half-Quid! I usually avoid aussie slang – but it’s so appropriate for half-Quid I have to use it!]Stem I.avi_001630764
Quidd: Murder and treason do raise them.Stem I.avi_001633667
(Billy doesn’t answer.
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Instead he turns and switches the speaker on so he can hear Amanda’s errr ‘interview’)
Operator: Now, Mrs. King, concentrate, please.Stem I.avi_001635669
Amanda: I’m concentrating, but I should be out looking for Lee.
Operator: Mrs. King, please, just answer the questions.
Amanda: All right.
Stem I.avi_001643276
Operator: Now, Scarecrow found himself in a dynamic situation… yet you say he set a time limit, correct?Stem I.avi_001645378
: He felt he could attain his objective by then.Stem I.avi_001651685
(We see a close up of what I guess is a lie detector.) [eek!]Stem I.avi_001655088
[There’s a few lines there off the page! lol that doesn’t look good! Must have been an earthquake 😉 oh wait.. no something is not right here! 😉 ]
Operator: Mrs. King, I know what his objective was.
I’m looking for a yes or no answer here. Did you believe him?

Amanda answers firmly: Yes!  He promised.
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Quidd: ‘Promised.’ That’s a noodle we can work on…
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…Field agents trust facts, not promises. Stem I.avi_001669502
[What the heck is this half Quid going on about?! Field agents are human beings. Not robots. And, why is Amanda being interrogated about whether she ‘believed’ him? I thought only facts were important.. Seems bias is present in these questions!]
Billy: Noodle? [lol!]Stem I.avi_001670103
Billy turns the speaker off.
Quidd: Put the pressure on her. Come on, Billy—you know how it goes… [No! that would be bias! Winking smile ] …Better we succeed now; compared to what comes later, this is a pat on the back… [Why is the assumption that she is lying? and that Lee is dirty? They haven’t even done a proper investigation yet! It’s early days!! Plenty of bias here – close minded half quid!]
…First, the debilitary drug series, then… sensory deprivation… and, finally, induced psychotic phobia.
[What the heck is this agency Amanda has gotten involved with??!!!!!]Stem I.avi_001686519
(Well. Half-Quid’s threats jolt Billy into action! He storms into the interview room.)

Amanda: Sir! Any word on Lee?
(Billy sets to work unplugging Amanda)
[Phew. Billy puts a stop to this, to avoid what Half-Quid described is ahead for Amanda… unless she gives the responses they are after because….. they have no bias! Winking smile ]
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Operator: Uh, just a minute—we’re not quite finished.Stem I.avi_001695528
[Billy doesn’t respond to her. He just continues to unhook Amanda]
Quidd: Maria…Stem I.avi_001696529
(Half-Quid motions to Maria to stop..)Stem I.avi_001696629
Billy: Nothing, yet.Stem I.avi_001698231
Amanda: Thank you, Sir.
Billy: Come on.
(With Amanda unhooked, Billy rushes her out of that room and out of the clutches of… Maria and half-Quid!)
Who doesn’t love papa Billy in this moment?!!!

Phew! this episode is really starting to get intense.. We’re off to see the wizard intense! Everything is on a knife’s edge intense! I don’t remember there being this ominous tone in this ep.. but then, earlier viewings all I probably cared about was Lee and Amanda lol.

Half-Quid’s reasoning that Billy is unsuitable to talk to Amanda is some strange logic. Half-Quid seems to regard ‘relationship’ as all liability and no asset… It’s automatically assumed that if you know someone you will be biased [which in itself is biased] and okay maybe you could be… But that doesn’t mean the relationship would be of no assistance when seeking the truth! This is rather black and white thinking for a trained psych, who is supposed to be a character who understands the nuances of the human psyche [even the Lisbon variation Winking smile whooo]. I’m thinking this is likely the agency’s view of relationships – they are a liability/complication /weakness. Unless they are being used to pull off some kind of operation. Maybe this is how Francine views relationships too? It fits IMHO.

The pseudo relationships and genuine relationships on display in this episode so far are interesting to me. I wonder if that whole idea that one must be careful because one doesn’t know what is real and what isn’t is a big part of this story being told.. There seems to be a contrast developing – between real relationships and fake.. at an interpersonal level, and an organisational level! This is fascinating to me! I’m looking forward to exploring this!

Billy seems to be banking on his relationship with Lee and Amanda.. Francine seems to be open to anything.. maybe they are dirty. IFF? Seems to automatically assume someone is dirty – there seems to be zero concern for Lee and his well-being so far. Cold!! I remember this came up in the Pharaoh’s Engineer.. I was not comfortable with the concept of the agency being ‘family’ –this is a pretty ruthless ‘family’ – okay maybe it’s like being in the mafia! lol.

One last thought, interesting that in reach for the sky, Amanda and Lee work outside the agency to rescue Billy from his own interrogation by Cyclops..

I wonder if Amanda has a mantra!
Was Billy at the psychotic phobia stage when he was rescued?!

Okay now I’m just rambling! I better pause here.. Can’t wait to hear from you!!

11 responses to “13/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

  1. Quid/half-quid annoys me. All those words that he tosses around: ” rigorous”, “bias” etc. Please SMK don’t use those kind of terms if you don’t know what they mean. This is one of those moments when my RL knowledge makes me want to hit the screen. * Post-perceptive avoidance reaction*? 😡

    Love how Billy behaves here – but then Lee and Amanda were there for him at his worst moment too. Frightening how everyone else at the Agency seems to have turned on Lee so quickly. Surely it’s quite common for “the enemy” (ie Russia and allies back in the day) to try to twist a situation to implicate an American spy? Shouldn’t the Agency take this into account??


  2. I’m working myself up to comment properly but first I have to get over the nausea that hits me every time I watch this scene. Not sure if TPTB decided to emphasize the nitty-gritty of spy work this season but they are really heaping on the skin-crawling stuff in this episode.


  3. While I do think the SMK writers are ratcheting up the reactions of Francine, Quidd and the Agency for dramatic effect, I could also see that in the super-spy business an agent under investigation would necessarily be deemed guilty until proven innocent. This is not to say that everything in this scene makes perfect sense to me, but as an overall motivation for what’s happening, I get it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It doesn’t seem like a family to me. Billy, Amanda and Lee being the exceptions. I wonder if it was more like a family when Harry Thornton established the agency and under Smythe it has gotten colder and colder. Threatening somebody who still has a visitors pass with what half a Quid wants to do seems so over the top. It always struck me how Amanda’s first thoughts are why aren’t we out looking for Lee, why am I in here going through this when I should be out there searching and you should be too. That absolute trust is something that is lacking from all the others but very real to Amanda and Lee now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Half-Quid the psychiatrist, sounds like he gets way too much joy out of making others uncomfortable, it’s almost sinister. He should be curling his long black moustache while glaring thru squinting eyes…. just creepy. I’m thinking he’s the one needing a psychiatrist…. Bravo Billy, for getting in there and coming to Amanda’s rescue.


  6. Yes, I think Half-Quid sounds accurate. 🙂 🙂 There’s also the old American slang “noodlehead” which also means stupid person. Half-Quid apparently likes ‘noodles.’ 😉

    Wondering how much Amanda’s emotional state (i.e., Where’s Lee?) is contributing to her response on this test. Billy ought to know this.


  7. “I’m thinking this is likely the agency’s view of relationships – they are a liability/complication /weakness. Unless they are being used to pull off some kind of operation. Maybe this is how Francine views relationships too?”

    I am in agreement with you on this, iwsod. I think Billy is the only one at the agency (other than Amanda, obviously) that can see relationships as more than a liability/weakness. I was going to include Lee with Billy too, but that remains to be seen in the episode so far. This will be a real test to see how everyone handles relationships when things get really complicated. Lee made huge strides in ‘Unfinished Business’, but it would be very easy for him to go back into lone wolf mode.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Half-Quid, half a quid, indeed. I am in total agreement, I know nothing about espionage and how they think, but other than Billy, at The Agency/IFF, they seem to assume the worst. Even as they did with Billy in Reach For the Sky, Lee in Burnt Out and Amanda in Spiderweb.


  9. “Now, Scarecrow found himself in a dynamic situation…”

    Found himself! Seriously? As I recall, Scarecrow was ordered to PD with the LV by The Agency powers that be. He had to keep at it till they were ready to give him the frequencies to pass to Sonja (the Soviet carrier pigeon).

    “…First, the debilitary drug series, then… sensory deprivation… and, finally, induced psychotic phobia.”

    I feel horrible for Amanda. IMO, Half-Quid is a creepy borderline sadist, who assumes she and Lee are guilty. WAY TO GO BILLY for springing Amanda!! Score one for the presumption of innocence.

    Liked by 1 person

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