18/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

We cut to Billy watching 2 monitors. LOL. Identical! Why I don’t know! One for each eye maybe?!
Stem I.avi_002236770
Male agent voice: Subject turning onto Pennsylvania Avenue. Pick her up, Blue Team.
[LOL they are filming Amanda’s station wagon?! And LOL is she popping in to have a chat with Ronald and Nancy?!
Wait. Pick her up?! Oh nooo!]
Male agent voice : We’re on her-
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: She knows just exactly what she’s doing….
(We hear Francine let out a big sigh.)
[Amanda knowing what she is doing? That must have been tough for Francine to listen to! Winking smile rofl!]
Stem I.avi_002244744
…What did Aquinas say?
Francine: Oh, the same. We’re trying to confirm if Alexi Makarov really is alive.
[what’s ‘the same’? maybe this means Aquinas knows what he is doing? anyone?
Great to hear they now know about Alexi being out- well the possibility that he is out, we can’t assume he is…we base things on facts!…. Ahem…We only make assumptions when referring to Lee and Amanda’s guilt! Smile Yes Iwsod has tongue firmly planted in cheek! I need an emoticon for that!]
(Francine hands Billy a piece of paper)
Francine: It’s a tip from a small-fry snitch I use at the TASS Bureau. He says that Lee is in a grocery store in Georgetown.Stem I.avi_002249349
[LOL! she wrote a note about it?! isn’t that kind of urgent? could it be she doesn’t really want to catch him? Nah.. this is Francine!!!! I think she doesn’t believe it.. What do you all think? ]
Billy: These Russians are always muddying things…. [Exactly! So how so many assumptions could have been made, and two perfectly good agents thrown to the wolves is beyond me! Good on Billy for remembering this though.. I guess he is part of a big machine that is unstoppable.. so he does his best while keeping his place in the machine? What do you all think at this point?

Hey this is about where I wonder if Gregory is also a part of this plot! haaaaaa.. but then I think both Alexi and Gregory like to run the show, so they wouldn’t be sharing the lead! ]
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(Billy collects his gun from his desk drawer and heads out of his office to check the grocery store)
….Ah, I guess it’s better than watching Amanda King lead us around by the nose.
(Francine follows Billy out.)

[Why is the boss going to the grocery store? Hmm.. maybe this time it means – ‘I want to be there and deal with it personally if Lee really is there, which he probably isn’t’?
And uh oh.. I guess the gun tells us Billy means business! I think it’s to keep us on our toes and wondering whose side Billy is on… and if he has bought the set up hook, line and sinker. What do you all think? ] 

We cut to the vegetable section! Smile
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Lee has his trolley..
[LOL. Lee this is no time to be shopping!!! You can’t worry about your five a day now!!! 😉 ]

(Lee strolls around.. He looks tired.)
[Which is quite realistic. but also determined!
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Only maybe the tiredness isn’t great because he just walked straight past Alexi. it’s only been 9 years he’d recognise him wouldn’t he? I guess Alexi followed him from the phone booth?]
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Alexi sniffs a lemon.
[lol. Random. whoooo what does it mean? why a lemon? rofl. I don’t think it means anything, but if you do- do tell!] 

Lee’s trolley is much fuller.. seems he’s been there a while.. [uh oh. Long enough for Billy to arrive..]
Lee spots Sonja, in the cosmetics section!
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Lee dumps the trolley, and goes to make his move.
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Whatever that is.
Uh oh. Billy and Francine have arrived too!
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They split up.
Lee reveals himself to Sonja grabbing her by the arm.
Lee: Lets head for the door.
Sonja: The pasta. You remembered.
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Lee: That’s right.
[yeah, well don’t flatter yourself honey!]
(They slowly head to the door.
They see Bill roaming.. )
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Lee (to Sonja): Well, as long as I’ve got you, this could work out. Stem I.avi_002331831
(Yelling to Billy): Did Jeanie ask you to pick up a few things on your way home?Stem I.avi_002334634
Billy: Scarecrow? [lol Billy can’t see over the top of those cans Winking smile]Stem I.avi_002337437
[Billy seems unable to see them yes?]Stem I.avi_002338438
Lee (to Sonja): Back up. (Lee and Sonja move back)
..That’s it. Back up.
(A full shopping trolley is rammed into the back of Lee sending him flying. Sonja hits the meat display.. but she seems okay.) [Drat.]
Stem I.avi_002347447
(Lee cries out in pain.)
[Maybe Billy heard this? Not sure..
But we don’t see who was responsible for the trolley. Alexi? or Francine? ]

(Lee recovers quickly to find Sonja gone.) [Drat!!!!!!]
Ah it was Alexi.
(We find Alexi pulling Sonja by the hand out of the store and to an exit for their escape.)
Alexi: Quick! This way!
[Ah yes. Yet again, Sonja is being jostled around by men.. a second ago – Lee, and now her grandfather Alexi. Sonja’s character seems to be a useful prop for the men in this story so far, when’s she going to get her story?! So far her character makes my skin crawl. Then again, being a Russian spy, maybe this is her life? – she has no agency, no power.. and is just a pawn. Afterall, the Russians supposedly love chess!
Is this Amanda’s experience as a female spy? Gosh.. what an interesting thing to ponder given the current situation of Amanda within IFF!

I guess to Dr Smyth she is a pawn.. but will she acquiesce? Seems not!!! Go Amanda!! Smile 

Whoooo and Francine? the other woman in this story? she’s totally falling into line with IFF also – even turning against her friend Lee, and well her sorta not really friend Amanda.

I wonder if this is a message in the story or if I’m just reading into things, but it is fascinating to explore the women in this story and their choices.. or lack of… Sorry I digress!]

Back to the grocery store!
(Lee rushes to the back of the store but can’t see Sonja.
Ugh. But.. he does see Francine round a corner.)
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[I think she actually looks a little afraid when she has to confront him here. What do you think?]
Lee: Francine, where’d she go?Stem I.avi_002367167
Francine: Who?Stem I.avi_002368468
[The suspenseful music kicks in. Oh man, like – is Francine about to shoot Lee?! Lee doesn’t seem to worry. Is he wrong not to?]
Lee: You know who. Sonja. I had her.
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Billy: Scarecrow… maybe I can help you figure out how they built this frame around you.Stem I.avi_002374374
Lee: Nah. No. I trust you, Billy… I just don’t trust the stinking system!..Stem I.avi_002376476
[I so agree, right now I’m thinking this system really stinks!!
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Hmm I notice he doesn’t say he trusts Francine! Winking smile ]Stem I.avi_002382482
(Billy and Francine exchange some eye talk, they’re gonna try and bring Lee in.)Stem I.avi_002383483
[No way! !]Stem I.avi_002386586
(Lee goes to back up but sees Francine and – blurry Duffy [–is he Clark or Peterson today?!] blocking that way out)
…Not until I can back up my side of it. Uh-uh.
No, I’m sorry, man.
(Lee shoves some groceries in Billy’s path and makes a run for it.)
[I’m sorry, peace man.]
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(The agents call after him.)
[lol as if Lee will listen! Lee has probably led these agents at various times. sheesh..]
Agent voice 1: Hold it, Scarecrow!
Agent voice 2: Come on—he’s running!
Agent voice 3: Cut him off! Cover the exit!

Lets cut to the chase. Stem I.avi_002403203
Lee jumps through a pane of glass and escapes. Well I’m assuming he escapes.
The scene ends there..
It’s not like the agency let him go. No, Lee knows the stinking system and never expected them to.

Man! this episode is intense! Fascinating.. but intense! We are 40 minutes into part 1 – phew!! Why didn’t Lee try his hiding behind the milk technique? would have been great for not being spotted!!

Okay I need to pause here… so much action! so much drama!!! the net is closing in on Lee! gah!!!!!
– can’t wait to hear from ya!

32 responses to “18/21 Season Four, Episode One: Stemwinder I

  1. The biggest things to me here are:
    1. OUCH, Lee, that jump through the window had to HURT!!!!!
    2. Billy talking about the frame around Lee – I think he does so genuinely want to help him figure it out. And Lee’s response, that he trusts Billy but not the [stinkin’] system…IMO, these men are both being sincere in what they say to each other here. It makes me sad for them both.
    3. I’m only going to say this one nice thing about Sonja. Her braided hair is so pretty in this scene.
    4. But she should really shop at a drug store for makeup. Buying it at a gourmet supermarket? She must have some $$.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my heck that is funny – the sticker shock of artisan makeup is quite real. I guess Moscow pays soviet agents way more than their counterparts (doesn’t explain the cheap, ill fitting suits the other KGB wear)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alexi sniffs that lemon because dirty Lee just walked by…. 

    I don’t think Francine wrote that note herself. I think the snitch called and a phone operator took it and wrote it down for Francine.

    Yes, I agree, Billy is playing his part in the machine – but trying to play it two ways so that he can nail Lee is he’s guilty or help him if he’s innocent.

    Is it just me or does Billy have a really big gun?

    I’d like to point out that Francine does use body language to tell Lee which direction Sonja went in after the cart rammed him from behind. It’s not in a screencap, but it’s something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am SO glad to see I am not the only person who reads Francine’s body language the same way in this scene! Lee says desperately, “Francine, where’d she go?,” Francine replies in an expressionless voice, “Who?” while staring at him intensely, and Lee replies, “You know who, Sonja … I had her!” And in response, Francine silently turns her head and glances in the direction that Sonja disappeared, then makes eye contact with Lee again. To me, it has always seemed clear that she was saying “Who?” for the benefit of the other agents, while silently answering Lee’s question with her eyes and the turn of her head. Now I see from reading all the comments that pretty much no one else sees it this way. I guess the majority view is that Francine is acknowledging a signal from Billy or one of the other agents with that glance, and probably didn’t see Sonja at all? I have thought about it hard, watched and re-watched the episode, and I am sticking to my guns on this one. Francine is showing Lee that she is on his side and wants to help him.

      Indeed, I firmly believe that Francine is every bit as much on Lee and Amanda’s side as Billy is. At this point in the episode, neither she nor Billy have not been as verbally supportive as we would have liked (as demonstrated by their tough questioning of Amanda) – but fundamentally, both of them KNOW that Lee and Amanda are being framed. Of course they do – from everything we have seen in this series up until now, how could it be any other way?! They want to help Lee and Amanda in the best way they can, which is from the inside. Lee is Francine’s good, deeply trusted friend. And here, when he asks for her help, she does so without question.

      Also, when Lee says to Billy, “I trust you, Billy. I just don’t trust the stinking system!” – that “you” means Billy and Francine together. I think this is proven in the second part of this episode, and I will comment on that at the appropriate point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love that you got into words what I’ve felt about Francine for a long time! I think a lot of her seemingly cruel commnets were meant to get Amanda to realize how serious this all was; she wasn’t saying she thought Lee was guilty, she was saying that it looked like he was guilty. Thank you from one Francine fan to another!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So, did Alexi not tell his granddaughter that she needed to lay low once they did what they did to Lee? Lee mentions that the Agency was all over her apartment and that she probably wouldn’t go back there. So, now she’s just nonchalantly strolling through a grocery store?

    Maybe Francine’s comment about TP saying the same is based on something Amanda told them. It’s sad that Lee knows he can’t come in to the Agency until he has some evidence to back up the frame. He is right not to trust the system.

    I’m trying to remember the episode where Amanda expressed a bit of consternation about how things operated at the Agency and how people were treated. I think it was in the first season. I’m going to have to find some time to check it out.

    Based on what we’ve seen of Francine in this episode, I find it telling that Lee doesn’t say anything about trusting Francine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To save you some time, valeriejw, take a look at Dead Ringer (Lee brought the Hungarian defector to Amanda’s home and “took over”) or Savior (Amanda came into The Agency to find Lee was “replaced” by Fred Fielder).

      I suspect Alexi used his granddaughter as “bait” to wander around the Georgetown neighborhood (site of Lee’s apartment) looking for Lee Stetson. Alexi’s clever little tracking device under Lee’s shoe stayed at the phone booth.


  4. With the 2 monitors, given the technology at the time(showing my age here) both monitors were recording the live camera feed. In the event they saw something and needed to see it again the cassette tape could be stopped, rewinded, and played while the other monitor image continued recording.
    With the ‘Gourmet’ or ‘Upscale’ supermarket, well for a Russian circa 1980’s that place is Heaven with well stocked shelves, and the having Alexi sniff a Lemon is a very nice touch. Lemons were a special treat back then!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Gilby! Thanks for explaining the 2 monitors! makes sense now – somehow it tickles my funny bone that they would not only be following Amanda around in her stationwagon, but filming it too! 🙂

      Lemons were a special treat back then? that’s cool!


      • “Lemons were a special treat back then? that’s cool!”

        For those of us living in a colder climate, Alexi included, the tropical fruits were a delicacy. We got an orange in the toe of our Christmas stocking every year when I was a kid. It was the only time we had oranges until the following year! Christmas, being a time for purchasing special gifts, was the time of year a northern grocer could stock oranges and they would sell out. Lemons, limes and pineapples were also rarely stocked because shipping perishables by air was so expensive.


  5. I can never here that “stinking system” comment without hearing the oft-misquoted “We don’t need no steenkin badges!” from Treasure of the Sierra Madre (and a few other movies…) I’m sure it’s supposed to be very dramatic but it cracks me up every time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my gosh! clagjanet this is hilarious!
      I’m going to show my ignorance here – I don’t know anything about Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but I do know the line from Vidiot-UHF [Weird Al yankovich] where a guy says ‘We don’t need no stinkin Badgers!’! I didn’t get it but I’d laugh anyway because it was still funny and random!

      Anyone wanting to comment on Vidiot UHF? Head on over to Nedlindgers to share!
      I’ve created a thread in the public section of Nedlindgers titled: ‘Not SMK_off topic and random and random stuff that’s come up on JWWM’
      I started it because newbies have no access to the restricted section.
      Thanks! [btw- miss ya Jenbo aka bitsybeans!]

      Would you guys like me to add a link in the side bar to this thread to make it easier to move off topic discussion in future? Open to ideas! bye!


  6. For an upscale market, that store could use some serious merchandising help. Within about 10 square feet I see freezer cases, a random box of KoolAid, panty hose, a messy pile of charcoal briquettes, a carton of some kind of bottled beverage on the floor and paper towels. I can’t tell what those red and green bottles are in the foreground…one carton looks like it says “aloe vera”. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • rofl! 2 goldens I love it! I had forgotten Sonja said it was a ‘gourmet supermarket’

      Ummm maybe compared to Russian supermarkets this is considered gourmet? 😉

      I confess the sign with ‘Breasts’ alone in large letters caught my eye and had me snigger away! 😉


      • “Ummm maybe compared to Russian supermarkets this is considered gourmet? 😉”

        You’ve got that right, iwsod. Don’t know first-hand the condition of grocery stores during the mid-1980’s while it was still the USSR, but I did visit Russia (St. Petersburg aka Leningrad) in 1994. Went into several groceries during the week I was there and saw a dozen cans of one item and the rest of the shelf was completely empty. On another shelf would be boxes of tissues, but zero toilet paper or paper towels. That was condition throughout the stores. It made me sad to see that and I understood why, three years earlier, Raisa Gorbachev insisted on stopping, without notice, at a “Mom & Pop” corner grocery while she was in San Francisco. So, perhaps that is why Sonja assumed this was a “gourmet” grocery. Doesn’t look gourmet to me!


  7. I love how you call the carts trolleys…in the states we either say cart, basket or if you’re from the south, buggy. Back to the scene.:)
    I just hate that Billy and Big Bird(Francine) are teaming up on Lee. I think Billy wants to give him some space, but because there is an agency wide bulletin out on him, he has to do what a section cheif would be expected to do. I think if he thought he could talk him in, he would but he knows Lee all to well and he knows that Lee is not going for it. Francine on the other hand, I can’t figure out. I can’t tell if that look on her face is a look of I,m going to get you Lee, or if she is scared of what she might have to do to bring him in. She just gets too much satisfaction from backing Lee in a corner and pointing fingers at him for being dirty.
    I just don’t like this entire scene, too much disloyalty and suspicion on all of them, Lee, Billy and Francine

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yep! A trolley! A shopping trolley! 🙂

      In Australia we don’t refer to them as carts or buggies..

      Yeah maybe Billy thinks if he can be the one to bring Lee in, he can bring Lee in safely…

      Francine on the other hand, I can’t figure out. I can’t tell if that look on her face is a look of I,m going to get you Lee, or if she is scared of what she might have to do to bring him in. She just gets too much satisfaction from backing Lee in a corner and pointing fingers at him for being dirty.

      GruvyGranny I’m with you I’m not on the Francine friendship train at all! These events have shown she can’t be counted on. She’s a fair weather friend.
      Maybe before this double ep is over, she will have turned a corner and redeemed herself in some way!
      Or.. Who knows, maybe after all this is over – she will regret her actions, and have learned a lesson, and in future we’ll see some changes.
      Ahem. Right now I doubt it! But.. I’m open to seeing it – if we see evidence of this. And if anyone is a Francine fan and wants to champion her point of view please do. I may very well change my mind about her.

      Hmm.. I’ll have a go trying to view this all positively for Francine..
      Given I think she is full of internal contradictions when it comes to loyalties at the agency – maybe this whole experience will help her resolve that internal struggle?
      Seeing how brutal IFF is to it’s employees, I can understand why Francine feels she must protect herself, and not listen to that little voice saying she should trust her old friend.
      Okay, I can understand that – but no excuse! Lee has never given her reason to not trust him, and time and again he has come through for her. So lol I haven’t quite managed to talk myself into viewing Francine more positively haaaa but maybe I am just a little more open to it now!


      • Yes, we were never shown anything for Francine to doubt Lee’s character, however, we don’t know how their break up went down after their fling ended. Yes I am grasping at straws.


        • Whoo Cindy! I wouldn’t say you are grasping at straws! maybe this is spot on?
          Who knows. Maybe Francine was more hurt that she lets on.. maybe all her banter with Lee in the past has hidden deep hurts.
          I don’t know. At this point, I don’t think I would rule out anything.. and this is an intersting idea!
          Regardless of wherever this comes from – it seems evident to me that Lee and Amanda can’t trust Francine to be there for them…


      • Well, I feel the need to speak on Francine’s behalf :smile:. I do think she is just doing her job. This is not a court of law where a suspect is proven innocent until found guilty. Here Lee is the chief suspect with no other evidence to the contrary or other really viable potential suspects. Dr. Smyth has clearly stated to bring Lee in and Billy issued an order to throw a net around him to bring him in. Billy is her boss and she is more of a rule follower than Lee. The last time Francine did a favor for anyone, she ended up being kidnapped by Gregory. I think she is doing what she is told/expected to do. It may be crummy, but I don’t think Lee would fault her. I think this because I agree with Learjet when she says that Francine just isn’t that important to her. He’s a spy with a tough exterior and probably expects nothing less. It may be disappointing to him personally, but he doesn’t have time right now to even think about that.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. We cut to the vegetable section! 😀

    lol… Lee is not a vegetable. He might be fresh though. 😉

    (sigh) If only those 80s prices were real. And no kids in the store? Interesting. I’ll concur with Learjet about the carts in the back of the shins. They seemed to get my mom a lot.

    It’s a shame if Francine and Billy missed seeing Sonja and Alexi. I can’t fault Lee for not trusting ‘the system.’ Billy seems like he wants to trust Lee, but knows it’s out of his hands. Lee, ever-focused, manages to get away from that swarm of agents. That is one focused butcher in that last scene! lol.


    • Whahahahaa!! Hilarious Sara!

      Yeah a real shame they didn’t see Sonja and Alexi – but it makes sense for the plot.. this way it really does provide a measure of Billy and Francine’s trust in Lee. Billy yes. Francine- meh!


  9. ” Yes Iwsod has tongue firmly planted in cheek! I need an emoticon for that!]”

    Instead of the round, yellow thingamajigs, how about really making an emoticon just for us: BB clenching the masseter muscle in his cheek. That would surely draw our attention — easy on our eyes, too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL now wouldn’t that be an incentive to comment tongue in cheek! 🙂


    • (Iwsod:) ” Yes Iwsod has tongue firmly planted in cheek! I need an emoticon for that!]”

      (Nancy:) …how about really making an emoticon just for us: BB clenching the masseter muscle in his cheek….

      Well, I’ve got neither the ‘tongue firmly planted in cheek’ emoticon nor the ‘clenching the masseter muscle in his cheek’ emoticon – let alone a BB emoticon ( 😊 )
      I can come up with this little guy… 🤠 (Does he wear a Stetson?? 😉)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Has anyone ever had the back of a trolley ram into them? Especially into the Achilles Tendon area? Oh, the agony! I’m not surprised that Lee was thrown off his stride. He recovered remarkably quickly, IMHO (On a side note, the minijets used to use those mini-trolleys in the supermarket occasionally and lose control and ram into old ladies’ shins. Oh, the embarrassment of having out of control offspring! Only the truly sleep-deprived can understand why I let them use those mini-trolleys in the first place).

    Francine looks just like Barbie here, down to the facial expression fixed on her (somewhat plastic-looking) face. Poor MS in that nonsemble of clothes, make-up and hair. ( I doubt if Sonja, who looks much better, gets her cosmetics at the grocery store – I’m thinking she’s got more upmarket, non-socialist tastes in cosmetics 😀 )

    I gave up trying to follow the logic (illogic?) of the plot many episodes ago so the plot doesn’t bother me here. But I do enjoy Lee’s statement to Billy about trusting him, not the system. I feel sorry for poor Billy, trying to work in the system, but pulled by his loyalty to and trust of Lee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess one of the benefits of an upscale, gourmet grocery store is no kids. Very tempting indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Awh don’t worry Learjet, you are in good company!

      and Amanda was a finalist in the mother of the year awards! 😉

      on-socialist tastes in cosmetics 😀

      rofl I love it! She’s gotten a taste for that evil American decadence! 😉

      I gave up trying to follow the logic (illogic?) of the plot many episodes ago so the plot doesn’t bother me here. But I do enjoy Lee’s statement to Billy about trusting him, not the system. I feel sorry for poor Billy, trying to work in the system, but pulled by his loyalty to and trust of Lee.

      That’s cool! I love your honesty 🙂
      Sounds like you are pulling out of the ep the character plot and doin just fine 🙂
      Yes same here I think it sits well with what I know of Lee and Billy to have Lee not just come in, but to also trust Billy while acknowledging Billy’s limitations.
      I think Lee is not learning something new about the agency and how it operates. But Amanda is.. I don’t get the vibe that Lee is shocked at all by this turn of events – I think he expected it.. and that’s why all Amanda had to say on the telephone was that IFF had been grilling her for hours.
      I think Lee is such a vetran, he knows what IFF’s methods are well.. (even the psychotic whatever stuff half-quid was referring to). This is all standard operating procedure at the agency and Lee knows it.

      He doesn’t expect Billy to be able to deal with the system on his behalf.
      But.. hey what do you make of Lee not saying anything about trusting Francine?!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m going put it out there that maybe Francine just isn’t that important to Lee anymore, now that he’s got Amanda. He values Billy’s opinion but Francine less so. He’s too wrapped up in what he’s going to even think about she thinks of him….

        Liked by 1 person

        • So true! If Francine were really important to Lee it would be heartbreaking.. but like you- I don’t get that vibe. Good call!

          It would have been heartbreaking for Lee to see Francine distance herself from him in Burnout – Lee wasn’t surprised by it then, and I got the sense he expected it.. and found her predictability almost amusing 😉 So he certainly wasn’t going to expect her to stand by him now!


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