15/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

So Dr Smyth is putting pressure on Billy to sweat the housewife, and bring him Lee’s beating heart.
We find Lee walking down a street. Phew. Guess he got rid of the breakdancing gang!
Stem I.avi_001822122
Lee’s struggling a bit, and leans on a shopfront for a moment while he catches his breath, but he continues on. Stem I.avi_001824624
We see Alexi sitting down reading a newspaper and watching Lee. Stem I.avi_001829929
Lee finds a public phone booth.
[I must say, aside from homeless Lee, this Lee is the dirtiest I’ve ever seen him!]
Stem I.avi_001833333
[I guess this was the closest phone booth to where Alexi dumped him so he could have guessed Lee would get here eventually.. I don’t know.. what do you think?]
We cut back to IFF. And Amanda’s in Billy’s office beginning to get pretty worked up..
Amanda: No, Sir!…Stem I.avi_001837671
…Sir, you don’t really think Lee stole those secret radio frequencies?Stem I.avi_001839973
(Amanda is close to tears. The shot widens and we see Francine is also present.)
[Referring to them as ‘secret radio frequencies is helpful. the dialogue around these has been pretty unclear IMHO!
Watch Francine while Amanda talks. I think she’s struggling a little.. but with what exactly?! Maybe it’s a no I don’t really think Lee stole those frequencies but I’ve got to?!]
Billy: The important thing to do is to bring Lee back in, safe and sound, and then!-… find out what he did!Stem I.avi_001844978
[Interesting, maybe Billy is hedging his bets and thinks Lee isn’t a traitor, he just screwed up?!]
Amanda: He didn’t do anything, Sir. Somebody’s just trying to make him look bad.Stem I.avi_001848081
(Francine responds to this in a huff, she reaches forward and presses play on the tape player.)
We hear the recording of Lee undercover saying:
  … just like… falling into bed.Stem I.avi_001850183
[I see, Francine is a total cow to do this! ]Stem I.avi_001851985
(Amanda rushes over to turn it off). Stem I.avi_001853687
Amanda: He was undercover!
Francine: So to speak.
Stem I.avi_001855188
[Wow. That’s low. Really low. Even for Francine. So Francine is going to hold Lee to account for what he says when he is playing a cover of someone who is a traitor as evidence he is a traitor? I’m gonna need the Francine fans to talk me around. Right now, Francine is wiped off the friends of Lee and Amanda list! And it’s gonna take something pretty dramatic to make up for this! This Christmas, Amanda can buy Francine the scent ‘Betrayal’ great for this female spy!

Francine knows what a peacock dance is, she should know that those lines may be Lee just playing  a part! Since Francine doesn’t know about Lee and Amanda, she may still be  hanging on to the old Lee – she may think the peacock dance turned into something more, and he had a real fling with this woman… but he then betrayed his country for her! And- all on tape! And- all while Amanda accompanied him to Dart’s office! Rofl! It’s ludicrous!

Leaving the detail aside, I’d say Francine doesn’t know Lee half as well as she thinks she does IMHO! I don’t think old Lee would have done this either.

Kudos to Amanda here for not snapping back at Francine. I’d say Francine is not her concern. Lee is. Good for Amanda. I don’t think Amanda sees Francine as a friend! There’s no shock here at her Francine’s behaviour. beware! ]
Stem I.avi_001856489
: All right; all right. Now, let’s start with Phillip Dart.
Amanda: Yes, Sir.
Stem I.avi_001858692
Billy: You saw him just before he was killed-Stem I.avi_001859693
Amanda: No, Sir! Stem I.avi_001861494
…You said he was killed at four o’clock; we left at 2:30.Stem I.avi_001863997
(Francine interjects and holds out a piece of paper)Stem I.avi_001865398
Francine: Ah, 80 percent confirmed… Lee Stetson’s handwriting.
[Oh rofl. at such an intense moment we see this piece of paper which doesn’t even match what we originally saw – so it’s 100% a forgery Winking smile this list has female names on it – shocking!! But.. it does have Lee’s name immediately followed by C.Kurtz. And LOL there are no times we can see!
Stem I.avi_001865999
And interesting.. 80% certainty is enough for Francine to convict Lee huh. yep. she’s totally off the friend list!]
Amanda: Has to be a forgery.
Stem I.avi_001867400
(Francine has more evidence for the prosecution.)
[curse Francine! She’s the traitor!]
Francine and Amanda’s voices begin to raise!
Francine: Well, this isn’t a forgery; Lee’s prints were found all over the safe.
Amanda: He never went near the safe, Francine; I was there!
Stem I.avi_001871671
Francine: Well, then, explain how the copy of the secret frequencies ended up in Lee’s lover’s apartment-Stem I.avi_001869669
(Amanda cuts her off and really yells at Francine!)
Amanda: She is not his lover!Stem I.avi_001876576
[Oh my gosh! I don’t think we’ve ever seen Amanda yelling ever at this kind of level. I’m so glad it was at Francine! Winking smile ]
(Billy has to yell to put a stop to this..)
Stem I.avi_001877377
Billy: All right; all right…
Stem I.avi_001878078
…Now, just… just hold it. Now, we have to clear up some curious things here.
Amanda: Yes, Sir.
Stem I.avi_001881681
Billy: Now… why did you and Lee meet with Soviet station chief Rostov?
[Phew. calm again.. now actual questions are being asked rather than accusations being tossed around!]
Amanda: We weren’t meeting with the station chief, Sir. We were having dinner; he came up to the table, he said something about a limousine, he said he’d made a mistake and he left….
Stem I.avi_001889889
…Sir, you have to believe me.Stem I.avi_001898898
[wow. if it is so easy to get an agent into trouble for approaching their table to talk to them, why aren’t KGB agents randomly approaching agents all over the city to ask if they’ve booked a limo? Then, all agents will be in trouble!]
Billy: Amanda, we want to believe you, but it’s awful hard!.. [who is this ‘we’ I don’t think Francine is included in that we! I think Francine wants to believe, but also doesn’t want to believe. To me she’s mixed up!] …
For instance: Lee’s report says that Sonja made her first contact with him while he was having a drink on the way home… but he wasn’t! He was having dinner with you!
Stem I.avi_001907907
[oh boy. Ah! but Lee didn’t say he was having his drink alone! Smile And.. how does Billy know Amanda was there the first time Sonja approached Lee? that was before this case had even gotten started? [Norman blabbed!]
Given what we are learning about the precarious nature of the spy bizz, I don’t think Lee and Amanda should ever meet in public ever! and their dinners at Emelio’s in hindsight were pretty reckless! And LOL. I guess I could even say a secret love affair is extremely reckless! ]
Amanda: Yes, Sir.
Billy: Is this some new habit?
Stem I.avi_001912112
Amanda (very quietly): It’s not exactly a habit, Sir.
Stem I.avi_001913513
[lol you all notice the ‘not exactly’?!]
Francine: Oh, well, the bartender says it is;Stem I.avi_001916916 he calls you regulars. Five nights in the last two weeks. [Boooo to Norman!]Stem I.avi_001917317
[She is awfully quick to add this. Almost like she is enjoying it.. Francine does enjoy catching someone out.
(I’ve since come up with a theory about Francine.. in comments of previous posts of this ep I’ve theorised about her internal struggles) But where does this fit with the end of ATWAS?
It’s like Francine has no inkling there’s anything between Lee and Amanda? Aie! And lol I don’t think 5 nights in two weeks is that big of a deal! Winking smile
So in the spy bizz a little fib about who you ate dinner with can lead to you being a traitor. What a crazy mixed up world this is. All the years of saving the country, saving both Billy’s and Francine’s butts at various times – all counts for nothing because Lee and Amanda had eaten dinner together regularly and lied about it. Yes clearly there is no reasonable explanation for this lie other than they are both traitors! rofl!!! I mean maybe they just want to eat dinner with their friend without facing an inquisition!
In post 6 Lee said he had spent six nights in a row at Sonja’s for dinner.. so this really doesn’t make sense anyway! That means the case would have started well over a week ago! So the 5 nights in two weeks was a week ago.
And if Lee was a traitor, why would he have done the right thing and filed a report on being approached by Sonja in the first place?!!! ]
(Amanda doesn’t respond. The buzzer goes off..)
Billy (answering the phone):
Melrose, here. Scarecrow!
(to Francine): …It’s Lee; get a trace.
Stem I.avi_001925925
Francine nods enthusiastically.. and runs off..
[Yes so keen to track down Lee turned bad. Gag. If only she’d rushed to find alternative explanations that could help Lee and Amanda. I see Francine as not a very creative thinker – she’s very literal. Picking up a set up? I don’t think she’s ever done that! she always believed the worst. Like in spiderweb! [Gregory wouldn’t need a doppelganger Towne to fool her. The straight up set up would have been perfectly adequate Winking smile ] I’m thinking Francine is not a terribly critical thinker.. but she thinks she is. A pretty lousy combo for  spy IMHO. And I think she is quick to think the worst as a form of self-protection. (As I expounded on in previous comments) But for me, her behaviour here has crossed a line – I don’t care if the show tries to tell me later that Francine is Lee and Amanda’s friend. I wouldn’t buy it]

And what’s going on with Billy? I think they are giving hints he hasn’t given up on Lee (and Amanda). But.. there are questions that need answers.

Poor Amanda this has to be one of the most scary situations she has ever been in. Amanda has always been able to rely on Billy, and if she hasn’t -she doesn’t know about it because Lee stepped up anyway.. It must be a relief to her to hear Lee has called. Thank goodness he’s alive!!!! If Alexi’s plan was to kill him, he would be long gone by now. Good thing Russians like complicated and Alexi seems to be going for some big set up here!

I’m going to pause here.. this post is getting big! I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on this one!
What are you all making of Billy and Francine? And what about Lee and Amanda and this whole spy bizz? Anyone else thinking maybe Lee and Amanda should get out of IFF?!!! Smile 

23 responses to “15/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

  1. LeeLovesAmanda

    I loved The perfume Amanda should give to Francine is called Betrayal. Lol!!!

    I’ve often wondered if Francine is in love with Scarecrow and that’s why she’s so mean to Amanda. She sees what Amanda and Lee have together, and she’s jealous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Iwsod said: This Christmas, Amanda can buy Francine the scent ‘Betrayal’ great for this female spy!

    Bwhahahaha! That will get her!!! 🤣🤣🤣

    Genuinely, what is going through Francine’s mind right now? Are she and Billy playing good cop/bad cop (guess which one she is)? Does she really, actually think Lee turned sour? Is she at a major crossroads in her perception of people and what they are capable of (commitment vs abandoment; good vs bad)? Interesting noodles to ponder.

    Speaking of noodles and Quidd half-quid, what happened to Pfaff? Perhaps he went on a T.P. sized quest for ice cream…

    I’m loopy. I need to call it a day for your all’s sakes!!!! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure I can talk you around, iwsod, but I am a Francine fan. Not such a big fan of her so far in this episode, but to be fair, Francine and Billy do not know what is going on right now and it is their job to find out and to fix it pronto. I don’t think Billy really thinks Lee and Amanda (especially Amanda) are guilty, but he’s got to figure out how to explain everything so that everyone else doesn’t think that – given the situation that is a very tall order. I think Francine is less magnanimous to Lee and Amanda given her shallow work relationship with Lee and her bias against Amanda. I think Lee and Francine are friends in the context of the spy biz, which is not anything like normal people would consider friends. I think Francine doesn’t think Amanda is capable enough of pulling off a crime like this and when she is not being mean to Amanda is nice because she may feel sorry that Amanda can’t see that Lee may be guilty. I think what is happening here in Billy’s office is Billy and Francine sweating the housewife per Dr. Smyth’s orders. I don’t like it, but it beats the psychological torture that one doctor was talking about in an earlier scene. So I see Francine acting this way because she has to as part of the job. I don’t like it, but Francine has a responsibility to find out what is going on as quickly as possible by whatever means possible. And if she has to be mean, then so be it. This is not the time for friendship to get in the way. Friendship must go out the window. I think it is all part of the job. Plus, plot holes aside, you’ve got to admit that Lee is looking really dirty right now anyway – pun intended. Billy and Francine HAVE to go after Amanda because they have her. Lee is nowhere to be found.

    I also don’t see Francine relishing being mean to Amanda here – not like she was in S1 when she hurled her zingers at her. Even Francine sounds a little emotional to me when she asks Amanda how the frequencies ended up in the hands of Lee’s lover. I think Francine doesn’t want to believe Lee is a traitor either, but she can’t let any emotion get in the way of her doing her job.


  4. It’s so hard to either explain or even understand Francine here. I’m reminded, Iwsod, of what you said in an earlier post about pseudo and genuine relationships. Throughout this series I have assumed that Lee and Francine had some sort of relationship that went deeper than just being colleagues. As this episode has progressed I’m beginning to reassess that assumption. Lee has mentioned several times about having these friendships at the Agency, but we’ve seen that they are not what many of us what classify as a true friendship. Part of it may be due to the fact that maybe Lee hasn’t truly understood what it meant to have friendships and connections until he met Amanda. And at this point it’s obvious that Francine either doesn’t understand it either or doesn’t care. She really bothers me in this scene. And I think it’s heinous that she refers to Sonja as Lee’s lover.

    Poor Amanda is really on her own here. She is still in her clothes from the previous day, so she has not had time to go home and has probably been up all night. Amanda has had to keep so many things quiet for so long. She can’t tell her family about either her professional life or the private aspect of Lee and she can’t reveal anything more to the Agency about Lee that is more than her partnership. It’s sad that the comment of being called regulars brought some joy to Lee and made Amanda wish that they were, is now being used against them.

    I wouldn’t put it past Francine to have cued up the tape at just the point where Sonja is talking about falling into bed. I question the Agency’s abilities if they’ve actually been searching for Lee and haven’t found him. Where are they actually looking?

    In Unfinished Business and I think a few other cases, Billy has said he has needed more evidence or more to go on before he acts upon a case. Francine, Dr. Smyth and who knows who else have decided that Lee has become a traitor, based on some pretty flimsy evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. All I have to say is, “Francine is a witch”, she should have warts and snaggly teeth. Not one spark of trust or consideration was given to her friend and former partner, she is ready to convict and hang Lee right there in Billy’s office, and she’s feeling pretty darn good about hersself too. I can’t stand her or her Big Bird blouse that she is wearing.
    Poor Amanda, having to relive all that peacock dancing again….let it go already!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think that Billy knows the walls of IFF have ears and he’s “minding his manners” so to speak, LOL. Francine, IDK … part of me wants to believe that she is also watching her P’s and Q’s, but the other part of me suspects she’s sensing impending blowback from Lee and Amanda’s situation and distancing herself :(. Maybe she sees this as an opportunity to move up in the rankings and / or get on Smyth’s good side? who knows.

    I found Amanda’s vehement defense of Lee both endearing, and saddening, because at this point even she doesnt know for sure whether or not Lee really betrayed his country, or if he was really having an affair with What’s-her-name (sorry her name escapes me at the moment!), she is going on blind faith alone.


  7. I can’t really add much to the profound comments of others, but I think that this is one of the scenes that makes this episode so good. Amanda’s emotion is so genuine (great job, KJ!) I feel a bit tearful when I watch you. It’s like one of those nightmares where you’re accused of a crime which you had no part of, land up in jail and can’t prove your innocence (hang on, that did happen to Amanda 🙂 ). You’re locked into this nightmare. With a Nightmare (called Francine). Amanda’s personal and professional journeys are truly intersecting here….her respect for Lee as a colleague and her …?affection for him as a man at both at the front of her mind here. Which is why I think it’s even harder for her to face this situation where his integrity and loyalty to his country (and hers) are questioned.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Amanda’s emotion is so genuine (great job, KJ!) I feel a bit tearful when I watch you.”

      So true learjet1! KJ brings us right along with her … I second your great job kudos.

      “Amanda’s personal and professional journeys are truly intersecting here….her respect for Lee as a colleague and her …?affection for him as a man …”

      For me, the personal and the professional journeys first intersected at that Arlington train station, but I would agree they are amped to the max in this episode. Previously, in the “Burnout” episode, she still had access to Lee even in the darkest times when he rejected her. Now, she has no idea what Sonja and The Sorcerer did to him, how badly he is injured or even where he is at the moment. Add to that, she is in love with him and has every reason to believe Lee loves her, too.


  8. So Lee’s not only ‘bad’ he’s also sloppy. Why would his fingerprints be on the safe? He’d have a pair of gloves on him.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Poor Amanda.IS really scared and the 1 person she trusts (beside Lee) is letting her down. I’m pretty sure she never trusted Francine. Yes she works for the agency but she’s obviously pretty shallow. Francine never liked Amanda, has been out and out jealous of her and i think she’s always looked out for #1. Back to Amanda, you can feel how desperate she is and how exposed she feels. She and Lee have been growing their new relationship, trying to keep it hidden and protected. And all of a sudden, it’s being tested, first by the peacock dance and now
    Billy and Francine are questioning her about it.
    She knows she can’t admit the truth but she has to do whatever it takes to protect her self and Lee. This time, she has to keep him safe. Will Billy believe her? It’s beginning to dawn on her that Billy can’t help her.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Love this natsned! you’ve conveyed beautifully the current state of Amanda in this scene! What a desperate, terrifying time for Amanda. Then, on top of it all – she’s beginning to see in front of her that the two people she knows the best are considering Lee’s guilt!

      We cut the scene off (sorry it was getting long) – but I can imagine it was at least some comfort when Amanda heard Lee is on the phone – he’s alive!!!!!!!!
      Phew. The timing of this discovery is a real blessing to Amanda, and exactly what she needed in these awful moments.

      She knows she can’t admit the truth but she has to do whatever it takes to protect her self and Lee. This time, she has to keep him safe. Will Billy believe her? It’s beginning to dawn on her that Billy can’t help her.

      Two great points here.. 1- can Billy do anything to help her and Lee, and… would he?
      2- Amanda as Lee and Amanda’s defenders and protectors!

      A super brief think back on previous events in the smk story – and I can think of a number of times Amanda has stepped up and protected Lee, and fought for him.
      If thoughts could kill, Burnout, Savior… [I’m sure my little list is incomplete].
      But- I’m thinking what’s new here is the official role and responsibilities Amanda has. Previously, Amanda has been outside the official structure of IFF – here, she’s at the centre of this official structure and she is being squeezed!!!! She’s not just a plucky courageous woman helping her friend, she’s an agent now. She has responsibilities and has to answer for it. Uh oh. She is even now known by Dr Smyth- so there is a new level of intensity, scrutiny and accountability here.
      And.. all the while she’s stuck at IFF with their processes when she just wants to be out there looking for Lee – from the moment she phoned it in, she wanted to look for Lee and Billy ordered her to come back to IFF. So this is all a new experience for Amanda. A real test for her in terms of her professional role and future…
      I’ve always been very interested in Amanda’s professional journey!

      So if I treat the plot craters as distractions from the main event here: there is so much interesting stuff going on in this plot with every character that I think we could probably walk through the double episode 4 times, each time focusing on a different main character [Lee, Amanda, Billy, Francine]!

      What do you all think?

      Liked by 4 people

    • Love this, Natsned 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • “…. This time, she has to keep him safe. Will Billy believe her? It’s beginning to dawn on her that Billy can’t help her.”

      Great point and we must remember what Amanda has going for her by now: implicit trust in Lee; 3 years of on-the-job training and experience with Lee and The Agency; well-honed natural instincts; and THE TRUTH. As for Billy, he was the first to see her unique qualities so he ought to believe Amanda. As for Billy helping her, it will be dicey with Dr. Smyth (who doesn’t approve of Lee) hanging over his shoulder, but I believe he will at least try covertly. Foremost, Billy also ought to believe Lee. After all, Lee’s worked for him about 10 years now and Billy has successfully sent Lee on “purposefully traitorous” AND SUCCESSFUL missions (Savior and Burnout).

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m not sure I’d go as far as saying Dr. Smyth doesn’t approve of Lee – the only other time we’ve seen him before he was pulling Lee aside to find Billy in Reach for the Sky while he kept the heat off them both for 48 hours, so he not without good intentions, I suspect. That said, in a world of “the buck stops here” he is the one in the most hot water at the moment and is definitely looking for the cause – and all the evidence so far points to Lee. Is he being a nice understanding boss? No, but neither would most men in his position. Even Billy is having a difficult time keeping his temper under rein.

        All of which leads us to this scene, where we get to see how the pressure affects everyone differently – the superego Amanda rises to the occasion, the ego Billy shows why he is so highly regarded but sticks to reason – and the id Francine… Ugh, Francine dissolves like a lump of coal – even I cannot come up with a reasonable explanation for her snarky move with the tape and I write corrective fanfiction practically for a living! What a cow!

        Liked by 2 people

        • You are kind toward Dr. Smyth, clagjanet. I just can’t be … his style really rubs me the wrong way.

          “Dr Smyth is putting pressure on Billy to sweat the housewife and bring him Lee’s beating heart.”

          Who does he think he is? The hung, drawn and quartered executioner in Braveheart? Dr. Smyth is nails screeching on a chalk board. He comes across as a self-serving pompous ass …

          From the previous blog post, Amanda states, “We should be looking for Lee.” To which Dr. Smyth responds in a Boris Karloff sinister tone, “Oh, we are… rest assured….”


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