12/19 Season Four Episode Two: Stemwinder Part 2

Back to Chez Van Der Hoosen.
Amanda: Okay. How is this? Can you hear me?
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We hear Lee over the mike: Loud and clear.
Stem-II.avi_001690523_thumb_thumb(We see dreamy t-shirt clad Lee enter from another room..)
Lee: Save it.
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Amanda: Right.
Lee: What’s the range?
(Lee joins Amanda at the table)
Amanda: Up to half a mile.
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Lee: Ah, that’s optimum. We won’t need more than… 200 yards.Stem-II.avi_001708641_thumb_thumb
Well, here we are… this quiet dinner in our cozy hideout, cleaning our guns. Another typical evening with the spy family. [who it just called them a  family Smile nice!]
Amanda: I don’t know how you can be in such a good mood.Stem-II.avi_001710343_thumb_thumb
(Amanda’s working at something as she says this)Stem-II.avi_001711444_thumb_thumb
(so is Lee)
[bit weird how neither is looking up. Not sure I like it.. Even if Lee does look super gorgeous in that t-shirt! Ugh.. maybe Amanda should put those massive fugly sunglasses back on again!!!]
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Lee: Well, I’m not. Just the way I handle my nerves before a big operation. Believe me—tomorrow’s as big as they come.
Amanda: If Alexi shows.Stem-II.avi_001718852_thumb_thumb
[well well. finally someone looks up!]
Lee: Well, Rostov sighted him near the Soviet embassy today…
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…He’s watching…
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[whoooo it’s jaw clenching time! In that t-shirt? double swoony! or maybe I should say it’s pearls clenching time!]
…He’ll be there.
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(we hear some clicks.. like Lee and Amanda have been cleaning their guns during this conversation)Stem-II.avi_001726059_thumb_thumb
[Okay, I can get the idea of wanting to portray them getting ready and all but would have been better had we seen them actually dealing with the guns, and had them look up from time to time. This feels unusual to me – I notice this as writing the walk I’m regularly looking at screen caps – it’s very rare to have such a conversation with so little eye contact..]
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Amanda: I hope I don’t have to use this.Stem-II.avi_001729062_thumb_thumb
(Lee looks up) [hoorah!]Stem-II.avi_001730363_thumb_thumb
Amanda: I’m not very good at 50 feet; at 75, forget it. Stem-II.avi_001732565_thumb_thumb
[lol I love that she’s so honest.. and that they haven’t tried to have Amanda be suddenly expert 🙂 ]
Lee: Well, if you need it, it’ll be a lot closer.Stem-II.avi_001734768_thumb_thumb
[Lee is also honest and realistic Smile And.. just lookin mighty fine – so glad he’s taking the time to fix his hair. When you look good: you feel good! – lol why can I hear Dotty’s voice saying that??!!!]
(Amanda reacts silently)
[looks like an ‘eek!’ facial expression!]
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Lee (gently): I hope you don’t either.
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(Lee finishes with a sad little smile..)
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(Amanda again reacts silently..)Stem-II.avi_001738071_thumb_thumb
Awh!!
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[I’m really pleased there is no apologies talk or regret talk or anything like that.. they are just focused on what they need to do.. There is no babying Amanda going on! Smile Stem-II.avi_001740373_thumb_thumb
Maybe it’s just me but it seems strange to have no had a wider shot of the two of them in the same shot – Not a fan of it.]
The scene ends here.

We cut to Alexi shivering and coughing in a bus shelter.
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[Oh goody. He’s not well! the weather is on Lee and Amanda’s side!]
Sonja joins him..
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Sonja: Grandfather… drink some of this… It’s all I could get in an American shop without a doctor.
(Alexi drinks up the medicine.)
[LOL no checking the dosage for him- Swig!]
Alexi: Ugh.
(Sonja fusses over him a little stroking his hair.
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Alexi motions across the road)Stem-II.avi_001765398_thumb_thumb
Alexi: Rostov has been in the embassy three hours.Stem-II.avi_001768401_thumb_thumb
Sonja: You’re sick and freezing… I can get visas and tickets for you. You can go south. Montevideo is safe.Stem-II.avi_001774207_thumb_thumb
Alexi: No. I have to get Stetson. You have to help me.Stem-II.avi_001780213_thumb_thumb
[I think nothing is more important that ‘getting Stetson’ ]
Sonja: It’s not working.
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Alexi: It is working. Rostov is gonna give him to me. I’m gonna kill him.Stem-II.avi_001787520_thumb_thumb
Sonja: When?
[Sonja seems close to tears here.. at her grandfather’s choices?? why exactly? thoughts?]
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(Sonja is silent a moment.. trying to get a grip on some suddenly strong emotions. Alexi doesn’t seem to notice.. or care.)
Sonja: I mean, you can’t ask me to keep running with you. An outlaw against my own government?!!..
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…I’m 22!!Stem-II.avi_001806573_thumb_thumb
[Okay, Alexi finally notices she isn’t happy!!!]
Sonja: I have my whole life to live…
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Please.Stem-II.avi_001809876_thumb_thumb
Alexi: I’m gonna kill him.Stem-II.avi_001812379_thumb_thumb
Sonja silently nods..
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[She’s done what she can.. and she has her answer.. he cares more about killing Stetson than about his own granddaughter.
Aie this is one sad and broken man. So selfish, obsessed and does not care what it does to his granddaughter!
Why didn’t he just kill Lee when he had him blacked out? I guess he wanted Lee to suffer? thoughts?]
Alexi points across the road..
Alexi: Rostov.
Sonja: Go on. I’ll track him.Stem-II.avi_001822188_thumb_thumb
(Alexi gives Sonja a stroke of her hair.)
[As if to say ‘good girl let me ruin your life because Stetson has to die!’ ugh..
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Sonja seems to have a tough edge here. I’m not sure if she’s going to give up her future for this.. Hmm.. we’ll see! ]Stem-II.avi_001824491_thumb_thumb
They watch Rostov’s limo pull away.. Alexi leaves, and Sonja puts up her umbrella..

This whole two parter is a great big: I don’t know what’s going on.. but I’ll stay tuned to find out! What do you all think? Anything you’d like to share? How do you read Alexi’s and Sonja’s relationship? Do tell! 

17 responses to “12/19 Season Four Episode Two: Stemwinder Part 2

  1. iwsod, your thoughts made me think of an interesting comparison…Sonja and Francine. We don’t know Francine’s back story, but I think in ROTP we learn about her mom being sick and being far away don’t we? We see Francine as the lone higher up female at the Agency – all the others are secretaries, stenographers, or low-level agents as far as we know. I wonder if Francine feels manipulated by the men around her, no one looking out for her, or championing her?

    I think both Francine and Sonja must have some sort of internal strength to enter into and succeed in their respective environments. Sonja must have had some sort of success or trust or something to be an agent in a foreign country at just 22. I’m also wondering if the KGB environment is much more difficult for women than the Agency’s environment is given the Soviet form of government and culture? I think both Sonja and Francine must also have an incredible sense of loyalty to their respective countries and a drive to succeed or ambition.

    Like

  2. Xiolaperry, I like what you say about the contrast between Lee/Amanda and Sonja/Alexi. I like the juxtaposition between the warmth and cold and light and dark. It’s a bit of foreshadowing I think.

    I also like how in the previous scene Dr. Smyth says that Lee is no longer an agent and Amanda never was, but here they are considering themselves a spy family. Amanda’s handling of the gun and know how far and how good her aim is shows us how far along her training is coming.

    Alexi really has been through the wringer on this one. He must have had a truly wonderful life (from his perspective) and truly hit rock bottom for him to be this obsessed with getting Lee. He reminds me of a mix of Captain Ahab and Khan with his sole focus on revenge, no matter what the cost. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Alexi would know having been sentenced to Siberia.

    I do feel a smidgen of sympathy for Sonja. I wonder if her parents were spies as well. Her loyalty to her grandfather has led her down a path she doesn’t want to be on.

    Like

  3. Another typical evening with the spy family…

    Can I just say, this joke is another in the long list of why these episodes fall after “Unfinished Business”? Lee has settled down to a comfortable domesticity of cleaning guns around the kitchen table with his beloved, realizing perhaps that his parents probably did the same?

    As for the lack of eye contact, I’ve always thought that this really augmented the undercurrent of two professionals prepping for battle, focused on their work but comfortable with being able to read each other’s emotions without having the need for a visual check. But a big awwww for Mr. “I can’t baby you” admitting he hopes she doesn’t get too close to the action.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree, clagjanet! So … what number are we up to now on the long list of reasons? Ashamed to admit I’ve lost count.

      Their lack of eye contact didn’t bother me, but you gave some very insightful reasons for WHY it didn’t bother me: “a comfortable domesticity” and “two professionals prepping for battle” and “able to read each other’s emotions without having the need for a visual check.”

      Then, we get to the phrase for which there are no adequate words (“YES!” and “perfection” are the closest) to express how much I love: “his parents probably did the same?”

      Like

    • Can I just say, this joke is another in the long list of why these episodes fall after “Unfinished Business”? Lee has settled down to a comfortable domesticity of cleaning guns around the kitchen table with his beloved, realizing perhaps that his parents probably did the same?

      whoooo this is so awesome! I’m glad someone is keeping an eye on this.. RL is too busy for me and I’ve just lost sight of this whole idea right now!
      Which is really sad – because this is so interesting!!

      As for the lack of eye contact, I’ve always thought that this really augmented the undercurrent of two professionals prepping for battle, focused on their work but comfortable with being able to read each other’s emotions without having the need for a visual check. But a big awwww for Mr. “I can’t baby you” admitting he hopes she doesn’t get too close to the action.

      Well this idea makes it better for me! 🙂 I think I would not have minded if I could have seen what they were doing with their guns – but that would have meant BB and KJ mastering it in RL i guess..

      Yep- big Awwww I love it!!! 🙂

      Like

  4. I never felt sorry for Sonja because I always thought Sonja should have defected to the U.S. and that the Agency was aware she was a newcomer with potential. Perhaps she didn’t because she had other family back home? Regardless, Rostov thought she was only a pretty face. Her own grandfather, Alexi, considered her a pawn. She wasn’t safe personally or professionally as a Russian spy, surely she would have value if she turned? Then Lee and Amanda could have rounded up Alexi and Rostov while also bringing over a valuable Russian asset.

    Her interaction with her grandfather doesn’t ring true on an emotional level. Just like with Lee, she seems to desire a certain outcome but either doesn’t expect the desired result or is content with just going through the motions. She never seems vested. I get the feeling she had no real options in Russia except to be a spy.

    Like

    • I never felt sorry for Sonja because I always thought Sonja should have defected to the U.S. and that the Agency was aware she was a newcomer with potential. Perhaps she didn’t because she had other family back home? Regardless, Rostov thought she was only a pretty face. Her own grandfather, Alexi, considered her a pawn. She wasn’t safe personally or professionally as a Russian spy, surely she would have value if she turned?

      yeah interesting thoughts katjielee.. I’m not sure what to think of Sonja.. except that she conveys a vibe to me of being trapped with no way out..

      Maybe Sonja didn’t want to be turned because she too loves her country. Just like Lee and Amanda do..
      Both nationalities are patriotic… but with Alexi he puts revenge on Lee ahead of his family and country..
      Rostov? he seems to put himself ahead of his country..
      Sonja? she isn’t putting herself ahead of her country or her family at this point..

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I like the contrast made between the ‘cozy spy family’ and the cold, miserable family of Sonya & Alexi. The difference in the two relationships, and the what I see as insincerity in the the granddaughter/grandfather conversation versus the genuine love with Lee & Amanda is a very interesting thing to compare.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Back in Stemwinder Part 2 blogpost 3/19:
    “Lee: Cute place—you come here often?
    Amanda: At least it’s something.
    Lee: Yeah. Well, it looks like a bad place to get surrounded in.
    Amanda: Is there such a thing as a good place? Huh?”

    A contrast to now in 12/19:
    “Lee: Well, here we are… this quiet dinner in our cozy hideout, cleaning our guns. Another typical evening with the spy family.”

    Besides getting a kick out of Lee’s elevated eyebrows when he says “spy,” it’s gone from a sarcastic “cute place” to a “quiet dinner in our cozy hideout.” Why the improvement in his attitude? Could it be that anyplace looks better to Lee with Amanda in it? Or could it be because they found … the bathroom? [Note the background in the third screen shot from the top: we see a sink and bath tub with shower curtain!

    Agree with learjet1 about the family comment. Gives a warm feeling! Also like that dark blue t-shirt on Lee here and in the food truck earlier. Not sure it’s my #1, but it’s in the single digits.

    iwsod: “How do you read Alexi’s and Sonja’s relationship? Do tell!”
    Self-serving, two-faced Sonja is playing for and against both Alexi and Rostov. Seems to me she hopes whoever wins acknowledges her help. As the trap closes, she does seem to favor Rostov helping Lee defect versus Alexi killing Lee, but who knows? It’s all just a big round robin because Alexi and Rostov are each using Sonja to play against each other. What did T.P. say … something about Russians need poetry? Well, American Lee Stetson has one better — his partner “riding shotgun!”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Swoony, swoony, swoony Lee! Oh my heck, I have the vapours!

    To your question. I think Alexi needs Lee to suffer. His payback would have been complete if Lee had been hunted down by his own and killed or imprisoned as a traitor. Killing Lee was too easy and not nearly satisfying enough. Now that it looks like Lee is going to defect and be treated like royalty, Alexi has decided that killing will have to do for his Russian sensibilities.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Swoony, swoony, swoony Lee! Oh my heck, I have the vapours!

      Yes!!! I’ve needed a few days to recover after watching Lee in this scene with that t-shirt 😉

      I like your take on Alexi and his motivations… it’s time for Alexi’s plan B! The agency are so inept they can’t finish Lee off, and it’s possible Lee may escape to the luxuries of life in Moscow… so Alexi has to go for plan B.
      hey, at least Lee has suffered somewhat up to this point good enough! 😉

      Like

    • I agree completely with your take on Alexi and his need for Lee to suffer. Earlier in the episode Lee said something like he beat Alexi by getting the KGB to turn on him.

      Like

  8. “…Well, here we are… this quiet dinner in our cozy hideout, cleaning our guns. Another typical evening with the spy family.”
    Not sure why but this is one of favourite SMK quotes ever. I love the dry humour. And the fact that Lee sees him and Amanda as a family. It’s funny and romantic and not too obvious. And Lee is still wearing my favourite Lee shirt of all time as well. What’s not to love….. ❤

    Somehow I don’t feel too sorry for Sonja here. Nor do I feel sorry for “sick, old” grandfather Alexi. He just looks to young and well for me to feel for me to feel that his life has been ruined by Lee.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do feel a little sorry for Sonya here. Men!

      Like

      • Yeah I see it the way you do Cindy – so many men trying to manipulate and use Sonja… even Lee was using her too.. all sides are using her!
        I wouldn’t say she is blameless in all this, but I do see the difficulties of her situation!

        Like

    • Not sure why but this is one of favourite SMK quotes ever. I love the dry humour.

      Me tooooooo learjet!!! 🙂 And we have the sweet reference to Lee and Amanda being a family while we are at it. awesomeness right there! Exactly!! to top it all off – it’s delivered in a delish t-shirt 😉 [me like 🙂 ]

      Somehow I don’t feel too sorry for Sonja here.

      I’m surprised at myself.. but I do feel sorry for Sonja in all this.. Growing up in Russia, being 22 and in the spy biz in ‘enemy’ territory with men all around you, using you, manipulating you and no one looking out for you? I am not championing for Sonja, but I can’t help but wish she would fly to Montevideo and say so long everyone!
      But what stops her from doing that?
      From this scene – I think she has a genuine connection to her grandfather.. though I think it probably has it’s limits.. we shall see..
      I’m going to hold on to these thoughts as this plot all comes together!

      Like

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