3/3 Season Four:Episode Twenty–Suitable for Framing –Scarecrow and Mrs King

Next up we see Lee is meeting with McCaslin.. not sure what the point of this scene is really! Only thing interesting here as far as I can tell is – Lee finds out there’s video evidence, and that the Press are going to make the story public the day after tomorrow or sooner.

Soooo you know Lee, no pressure!

Back to the agency, and Lee has a little present for his friend ‘Stamps’.

He joins her at her desk…

Let’s go to peacockdancer’s transcription for this scene!

Stamps (smiling): If you’re gonna bribe somebody, I say do it up right. Bondelli truffles… It must be Scarecrow.
Lee (leaning down close to her, smiling back): That’s no bribe, Stamps. Just old times.
Stamps: Yeah, I’ve heard the bad word. It’s true, huh?
Lee: Yeah, too true… I’ll just bet the lock-out order is somewhere…
(he lays his finger on a huge pile of folders on the corner of her desk) … right in here.

Stamps: I always said, didn’t I, you were too cute for your britches?
(Lee starts rifling through the folders at the top of the pile. Stamps looks at him fondly.) I’m gonna miss ya. Is it too late for a mad indiscretion?

Lee (playfully): Oh, I don’t know…
(He checks his watch.)

…It’s after nine… You tell me.

Stamps (laughing affectionately): Give me that. [Stamps has the best smile err okay maybe second to Lee’s 😉 !]
(She takes the folder Lee is holding, opens it, and starts reading. Her expression turns serious.)

…Oh, Lee… (Lee reads over her shoulder, concerned.)

…They’re wiping you clean, son, the full ride…
(She flips pages in the file.) You and Desmond are zipped out of the security web from Delta Green to your parking passes. (Lee looks up, thinking.)

[Good thing the establishing shot showed Lee’s corvette was parked out front on the street!] …Better get up to Supply and grab all the paper clips and ballpoints you want before I punch this into the system… (She shakes her head and closes the folder.) Because when I do… (She hands the folder back to Lee and looks at him.) You can forget the words “top secret” for good.
Lee (disconsolately): Hmm. Thanks a lot, Stamps. (He looks at her for a beat, then leans down next to her flirtatiously.) What d’ya say, can I have a semi-sweet?

Stamps (smiling warmly): Hey!
Lee: Yeah?

(Stamps puts a chocolate in her mouth and holds it in her teeth.)

Stamps: Last one!
Lee: Hmmm…

(He leans down as if to eat the chocolate out of her mouth, but at the last second, kisses her on the forehead instead.

Stamps laughs, and Lee laughs back.

He stands up straight again, and while still looking at her, slips the folder back into the huge pile – but somewhere in the middle this time.

Lee starts backing away as Stamps spins slowly in her chair. She knows what he has done, and smiles at him.)
Stamps (affectionately): I sure am gonna miss you, toots.

Lee (turning the doorknob, smiling): Yeah? I’ll miss you too.

(They blow kisses at each other.. and Lee leaves.)

[LOL I used to eye roll at this scene and found the addition of a frisky granny to be cringe.. but today watching this? My reaction is completely different!! I’m enjoying Lee and Stamps hamming it up!!  and I like Stamps! Go Her!! haaaaa..
I don’t know why lol. I guess humour is mood dependent. Hey I’m allowed to be inconsistent with a tv show am I right?! 

How are you guys experiencing this scene?
It’s quite bittersweet (semi sweet?!). You can tell Stamps has a genuine affection for Lee and there is a backstory here… and I appreciate how Lee doesn’t guilt her or ask her to do anything that might compromise her own position. really sweet (not semi sweet!)! I wonder if this also suggests this right here might be one of the reasons Lee will do the right thing by the agency- because of friends like Stamps he has made over the years.. I still don’t want him to though lol. I want him to leave 😉 

Anyway, I can’t help but wonder what Ephraim Beaman would do with Stamps! I think he might have an aneurysm! He would have been verklempt – is that right Clagjanet? haaaaa]

Back at Lee’s place.. he’s getting ready for something that’s risky… Francine is getting ready in his living room, while Lee calls Amanda.

Lee (into phone, firmly): You’re not going.

Amanda’s voice (frustrated and upset): I just wish that there was some way I could help you and Francine…
Lee (impatiently, checking his watch): Amanda, I don’t have time to argue. McCaslin’s office is in the Alexandria Station, they’ve got full security there and I may be locked out of the web in less than an hour.
(…Francine is around the corner, in Lee’s dining room, wearing a powder-blue suit. She can easily hear everything Lee is saying…

And he surely realizes this, as she is only a few yards away from him. Francine is carrying a black briefcase (the proverbial “black bag”?). As the next bit of dialogue takes place, the camera remains on Francine.)
Lee’s voice: Now please – stay put?..
(Francine sets the briefcase on the dining room table and looks up, slightly surprised, listening – perhaps reluctantly. She opens the briefcase and pulls out some kind of electronic device. Lee’s voice becomes more serious.)

..You know, Amanda, I may be ending both our careers here, but I’m not sorry – not sorry one bit.
(Francine takes a breath and concentrates on calibrating the device she is holding.)
…Especially for the last four years.
Amanda’s voice: You don’t have to tell me all this stuff.
[lol Amanda if he wants to talk let him talk. haaaa she’s certainly grasped the need to know concept at this point 😉 ]
Lee (soberly): You know, I was thinking … no matter how this turns out… This may be something that we both need. A reason to live like normal people.
[Lee! I think you already have a reason! You don’t need another at this point]
(The camera is back on Francine, who reacts to this by closing the briefcase loudly – perhaps to make sure that Lee realizes she is standing right there.)

Lee: Bye.
(Lee hangs up the phone and looks at Francine, who is walking out of the dining room carrying the briefcase.)
Francine (businesslike): Traffic in Alexandria can get pretty heavy if there’s a game in Georgetown, maybe we should, uh, head out?
Lee: Yeah. Listen, Francine, I’m asking you to do a hell of a favor for me.

[Whaaaa?? Hold that thought.] (Francine scoffs at this.)
…You can tell me to go jump in the lake if you want to.

Francine (lifting a hand to cut him off): If I don’t help you, your chance of success is less than half. If you blow it, we’re out on our ears! And, like you said … you just might have to live like a “normal person.”
(She shakes her head.)

…I can’t let you be “normal,” Stetson.

(She lets out a small laugh.)

…Not you and Amanda both.

(Francine walks toward the door and Lee can’t help smiling. He shakes his head slightly and turns to follow her out.)
I can’t wait to hear what you all make of this!!! I’m glad we got some kind of inclusion of Amanda. A voice on the phone.. I won’t turn that down. 
At the same time – this is like they are re-doing the conversation in the Q bureau where Amanda agreed to stay out of it, which was supposedly earlier the same day. The more I think about it the more it feels to me like that Q bureau scene between Lee and Amanda was inserted as an afterthought. Maybe to give KJ a scene sitting down but still being involved. We really didn’t need to have that scene but of course I can’t say no to an actual Lee and Amanda shared scene! 

So, what do you think of Lee’s speech to Amanda on the phone??
“..You know, Amanda, I may be ending both our careers here, but I’m not sorry – not sorry one bit.”
ummm how is Lee putting Amanda’s career at risk with what he’s about to do?
This sounds like he is trying to fix a problem Amanda and he are in trouble for.
I’m left confused, then Lee goes and adds in something super romantic and I’m distracted from my confusion for a moment awhhh swwoooooon awwhhh haaaaaa… 
My confusion returns 2 seconds later though when Lee decides to thank Francine for the favour of helping him. When she’s the reason for the problem and really he is helping her and his career is down the drain too now thanks to her and her actions. She should have said that line! Ugh. 

It seems like this scene was written when Amanda was sidelined after handing over secrets to a random dude like Lee once did to her, and now Francine is taking a risk to help them. Like one of those moments we’ve had a few times now- where Lee is in trouble and Francine steps in to help as a favour!!

The line from Francine about not letting him be normal? haaaa it’s funny and all.. and a lovely Francine dig! I enjoy those references back to the whole normal joke. But.. It makes no sense to make that joke when Lee is helping Francine with a problem she created. Aie. I’m so confused by this all that I can’t laugh, I’m just scratching my head thinking: what the heck?! 

Oh well… I’ll try and hang in there and keep going… 
Lee and Francine head to McCaslin’s office.. I’m going to save you the details..
They break in, (McCaslin seems to be a modern art fan!),

They find a hidden tape in McCaslin’s office, which is him and Sergei talking and great proof that McCaslin is McDodgy and the Russians have set them up. 
Lee and Francine take the tape, go to leave and are intercepted by security. So Francine throws the tape into a nearby pot plant to stop it’s discovery, aiming to come back later.

I like to think  Francine has learned her lesson – stop with the handing stuff over to random people in the public. Hand over to random plants in pots instead. That’s better! 😉 haaaaaaa. (They don’t sleep in on Sundays and they don’t create fake histories to cover their status as Russian spies. Am I right?!)

Before we move on one final thought. The timeline is all wrong in this episode. All in the one day: We see a daytime IFF establishing shot, Billy and Lee met with Dr Smyth, daytime establishing shot of state department, Billy and Dr Smyth attended the state department hearing, daytime shot of IFF exterior, Billy and Lee met in his office in the dark with few people around (Lee adjusting the blinds, a cleaner cart out in the bullpen cleaning), daytime shot of IFF exterior and Lee met with Amanda in the Q bureau, Lee met with McCaslin, then, Lee stopped off at the chocolate shop, returned to the agency that night (we see a night time exterior shot) to meet with Stamps  and then went back to his place that evening. He met Francine there (for the first time that day), then Lee and Francine drove to McCaslin’s office… and got arrested. All in one day. 
So how was the office so dark with Billy? 
The Billy and Lee scene could have been first thing in the morning  – except they already did 2 meetings in 2 different locations before that scene on the same day.
Moving on! 

Next, back to Billy’s office the next morning, he bailed them out. Mr hey Dr Smyth wants your resignation now and I can’t help you. Whatever.
Billy is in huff and puff mode.

Billy: Oh, I’m a great bailer… [Agreed! Billy is bailing on Lee and Francine!] Sometimes, we forget what else I do around here.  I’m the boss! I okay the plan! And your job is to DO WHAT I SAY!
[This is gold… and about 80 episodes too late in the saying haaaaaa]
Lee: She was just giving me an extra pair of eyes, Billy.
[Wha?? It was Francine’s case, she’s the agent of record!!!]
Billy: Dr. Smyth cut your eyes out last night, Scarecrow, you don’t work here anymore!
[So then you can’t call him Scarecrow anymore!] And I spent a considerable amount of time tap dancing around that particular fact with the security guard who caught you!
[-Ummm I continue to be pretty confused… to the point of discombobulation!  Shouldn’t Billy be saying you both don’t work here anymore? eh? Why is it only Lee?! Maybe it’s ‘you’ plural.. Hmmm but this is petty confusing.. like the script was only partially re-written!]
The scene goes on to outline that the source of the leak of the European Roster is a European agent Carla Price…and she is linked to McCaslin.

Billy (still furious): Damn it, Scarecrow! Dr. Smyth buried you and Francine with a bulldozer.  Your resignation is only the beginning of his scramble to show the Russians that we’re doing something! He can’t back up! And I can’t even get you into a latrine in a post office!
[Ah. so we are back to it being Lee and Francine? I’m so confused. I should stop trying to make sense of this. I should have stopped that about 10 scenes ago right?!] 

Time for a baddie catch up.. Sergei and McCaslin meet in a park. Seems McCaslin murdered Carla Price because she was a link to him and could point him out.
Sergei pulls a gun on him, because McCaslin is a link to him and can point him out too.

but! McCaslin has an insurance policy.. his audio tape..
McCaslin admits Lee has stolen it from his office, but he’s hidden it somewhere as it wasn’t on him when he was arrested. So Sergei should help McCaslin get it back and they can save each other. Me thinks Sergei will try to get it and kill McCaslin lol. Why would’t he? I have no sympathy for the guy!  

Time for a good guys catch up! This time, it’s TP and Lee down by the water on a houseboat..

what? TP is not eating? well this is unusual..

TP does have the compulsory quirky prop though with the remote control ship. Whatever.

Anyway, Lee asks for TP’s help getting into the CIA.
Lee: I’m running out of doors to open. Carla Price has disappeared. The Agency’s closing files faster than the White House shredded the Watergate files. McCaslin?  He’s getting away with political murder. 

[Literal Murder too!]
TP has an in…
..he can get Lee a cover with the government maintenance workers. Sold.

Next thing, Lee Mr Maintenance Worker drives a van to the CIA office building.

He gets past the gate and heads to the pot plant.
[Good to see Lee has already moved into new employment after leaving the agency. So quickly! He’s getting the hang of this being normal thing already.] 
The security at the gate has phoned to say Lee is there.
Soooo uh oh. they knew Lee was coming.. and boooo – Lee hasn’t decided to embrace life after the agency taking up a new career in overalls? double booo!!

Maintenance Worker Lee heads straight to the pot plant to tie his shoe lace/pick up the tape,

and then heads straight back to his van to leave.
Quickly, he finds he’s being followed, and a tracker has been placed on his van. Seems Lee has fallen yet again into one of their traps. Muahahahahaaha.

Lee drives around being followed and chased,

[Where did those mountains come from in DC? Anyone see the Hollywood sign?! I’m running out of episodes to find it!!! gah!!!]
Lee ends up driving into a warehouse. He abandons the van..

Out come the guns.. foot chase, bullet chase, insults chase… a dodgy stunt double thrown in for Sergei to do the physical stuff…  blah blah.. time for the baddie to mouth off!
Lee (shouting back at him): You set us up, Sergei!

Of course I did!  I had to fight like hell to get the sweatsuit! [I don’t even know what this means?!]  … There will be other games. My country would love new players.  Why don’t you consider Moscow?  We would be worthy allies…

The scene ends up with Lee being held at gunpoint, and having to hand over the tape and gun to the baddie driver, who hands the tape to Sergei.

Uh oh McCaslin. you lost your insurance!
Sergei: Get his gun. (The driver takes McCaslin’s gun, as Sergei starts pulling something out of his pocket. ) I’m afraid your conversation with me concerning “Trojan Horse” … never took place. (Sergei sprinkles some lighter fluid on the tape.) Your “insurance policy” … (Sergei pulls out a matchbook) … is terminated.
Sergei burns the tape.
I think McCaslin’s feelings are hurt. haaaaaa..
Lee watches on seemingly unfazed..
Sergei mouths off and spells out the plot here.

He’s so clever! he’s got to brag about it!!! blah blah. I won’t include his brag. It’s really just a summing up of the most basic part of the plot without adding anything new! 

Sergei is about to shoot McCaslin when Billy arrives with back up…

and Francine seems to have been positioned to get a great camera angle with audio!

How smart!!!! soooo it all was a set up!!!!! Lee handed over fake tape. hoorah the real one is safe and sound. Lee put it in his shoe when he was tying his shoelace I guess..

Oh and that stupid scene with Lee and Billy earlier, where Billy tells him I can’t help you – that was there to fool the audience? Really he was on Lee’s side the whole time?? There was no other reason for them to be saying what they said they were alone. This is truly lame, and really unfair to the audience who have just been plain tricked!!
I don’t think we are supposed to be tricked with people like with objects. Unless that cranky Billy earlier was a different Billy who was put in Lee’s top pocket to fool us but really helpful Billy was hiding in his shoe all along. Errr Something’s not right here. rofl. 
I think my experience of this episode is just ongoing confusion with no real pay off and I’m starting to feel gaslighted. Almost finished! Gosh it might be another 6 years before I watch this episode again!!! 

So we have the tag back at the Q bureau, and Amanda is still nowhere to be seen.
Let’s go with peacockdancer’s transcription to finish up..
Smyth: Time off?
Francine and Lee are standing next to each other in front of Lee’s desk.

Francine (diplomatically): It has been a very stressful couple of days, sir. I think a little R&R is in order.
(Dr. Smyth pauses a few feet away, his back to them. He looks a bit troubled.)
Smyth: But you will be returning to the Agency, I’ve torn up your resignations.
Lee: Now wait a second, we never submitted our resignations. You fired us, remember?

[Ohhh is this Lee just making this the new reality here like a let’s just say you fired us and not talk about the resignations kinda deal? 
The episode has been so confusing at times I question everything at this point. Aie. It’s the biggest mystery of all  – why am I still trying to figure out this episode??!!! gahh!!!]
Francine: Of course, if this means that you’re re-hiring us…
Smyth (shrewdly): Week’s vacation enough?

(There is a momentary pause as Lee glances at Francine, then back toward Dr. Smyth.)
Lee: A month.
Smyth (turning to face them): Two weeks.
(Dr. Smyth exhales some smoke and takes a step toward them.)
All right? I expect to see you in about two weeks.
(He turns toward the door.)
Lee: Uh, one moment, sir.

(Dr. Smyth turns back to face him. Smiling, Lee tosses a chess pawn to Smyth, who catches it reflexively. Lee and Francine look pleased with themselves.)
Lee (to Smyth): Checkmate?

(Dr. Smyth looks at the pawn with mild surprise,

Lee looks pretty pleased with himself.. 

Dr Smyth nods in acknowledgment, and exits the office.

Billy follows and turns to wink at Lee and Francine as he closes the door behind him.
Lee and Francine look at each other with big grins on their faces.)

The episode ends there.. hoorahhhhhhhhh.

Before I go on to share my thoughts now the episode is over – have you guessed how long Amanda is in this episode for? and/or how long we see Amanda for??
I’ve added it up… have a guess.. I’ll share my thoughts then come back to the answer!!!!

So the episode ends with Lee having a little dig at Dr Smyth giving him a pawn back. Who is a fan of this?
I don’t know what I thought of this the first time I see it, but I find it kind of petty. Stooping to Dr Smyth’s level!  I don’t want to see Lee doing anything Dr Smyth would do.
I think I would have enjoyed it more if Dr Smyth accidentally burnt himself with his cigarette trying to catch it. haaaaa.
Or if he caught it and then tried to take a puff from the pawn. Whahahaaaaa. 

Two weeks? Personally, I think Lee should have said:
I want time off – forever. Now my reputation is cleared, I want out. I’m tired of being a pawn you can just use up and spit out, and having to put my life on the line for what? To have the agency turn it’s back on me whenever convenient? forget it!!
Hmmmm maybe I could convince myself it’s 2 weeks to line up what’s next while on vacation. So he can return to work and RESIGN! Yes yes that must be it. cough. 

I would have liked to see Mischa in the finale, there is zero mention of him once he is revealed. I would have liked to see Francine fool him too!!! I still don’t understand how Mr Andropoulos’ call could have come from the agency or the USA, that just got dropped but I thought maybe Andropoulos implicated Amanda because she took his call and transferred it.

Well, I was hoping that I would find with Suitable for Framing that walking through it I found my memory of the episode was maybe a little too harsh, and there were some gems in here that I had forgotten. Umm I guess the whole call with Amanda as he prepared to go and ruin his career was meaningful but bittersweet because we can’t see Amanda..
I think my fave part of this episode is Stamps!! What do you think? 
As always though, walking through the episode with others helps me to find it more interesting and enjoyable so I’m looking forward to hearing from people who’d like to share their thoughts. 

If you really like this episode, I’m especially curious to hear more about how you see this episode! 

To finish up here – Let’s take a look at Amanda’s presence in this episode..
Given she is on the phone twice..
I’m weird, so while I was walking through this episode… I added up the time for Amanda in person or on the phone (3 minutes, 22 seconds)
or Amanda in person only (1 minute 51 seconds).
She was talked about a few times, but wasn’t there at all 😦
So, it’s even less than the previous episode.
No wonder she was sooooo missed!!! Thanks KJ for the time we did see you though!!! What’s up next? A Matter of Choice! Will we find a Hollywood sign in this episode??!!! 
86 episodes down… and 2 to go!!

41 responses to “3/3 Season Four:Episode Twenty–Suitable for Framing –Scarecrow and Mrs King

  1. I just noticed how visible Lee’s cheek muscle is when he’s ticked, even in the photo! Wow!


    • Yeahhhhhhh When I see that I miss BJo (no pressure BJo, but if you can ever come back pls do!) BJo loved to point out the flexing Masseter! 🙂

      BB can do that move right on cue. It’s amazing! 😉


  2. Re the cranky Billy scene: Two ideas come to mind:

    1) It is highly possible there are surveillance cameras and microphones in place so Dr. Smyth can monitor things in a situation like this. He knows Billy has helped Lee before. Maybe this scene was for his benefit.

    2) We didn’t see the end of the conversation. Maybe what we missed was Lee talking Billy into it? And maybe Billy just needed to cool down. Don’t forget his tirade on Unfinished Business after Lee and Amanda went to Blackthorne’s estate. He also tore a strip off Lee for the arrests on Need To Know. They’re really establishing these kind of incidents as something Billy doesn’t have patience for.


    • peacockdancer

      It is definitely your option number 2. I’m frankly surprised that people think there is any question about it. The writers weren’t trying to “trick” us into thinking that Billy wasn’t going to support Lee and Francine. He was mad at them, and he really wasn’t planning to help them at this point (which I don’t like, but I think it’s quite clear) — UNTIL the very end of the conversation. Billy yells, “I can’t even get you into a latrine in a post office!,” and Lee replies, “What if that latrine contained a tape of McCaslin running down Trojan Horse with Sergei?” And THAT is what finally gets Billy’s attention. Billy tips his head at Lee as if to say — “Okay. Tell me more.” That’s when he realized that there actually might be a way out of this.


      • Right — I was relying on IWSOD’s summary and couldn’t remember how it ended. I haven’t watched this ep in ages.


      • Frankly, I’m surprised you are suprised! 🙂
        I totally missed this, so glad you shared this.
        I’m so uninvested in this episode I’m not going to go look I’ll take your word for it. lol.

        Reminder: I makes mistakes 😉 so pls feel free to mention when things get missed or overlooked. I’m always up for learning, heck especially if it makes me less ticked off at billy. I can easily forget that I felt gaslighted for a bit there. was all over nothing! I’m happy to go with that. Because SMK is afterall = fun! 🙂


        • peacockdancer

          Oh my gosh, I hope my comment didn’t come off as criticizing anyone — that was not my intent at all! I was just genuinely surprised that there seemed to be some general confusion, expressed by several people, about what was going on with Billy here.

          I had to watch this episode a gazillion times in order to transcribe it, so I have to remind myself that I have a huge advantage in remembering the details! Especially because most people didn’t like it very much.


          • Peacockdancer, I didn’t get that at all! I like your comments about this episode. It had so much potential, but so much was missed. I think they needed our input on some of these. These days, I think show runners are getting input from social media. SMK crew had nothing except the ratings. But I’ll admit, like Iwsod, that I may have glanced over some parts and not caught some of the intricacies. Believe me, I’m very glad you’re in this group. Your insight is helpful. My Like button isn’t working for some stupid reason, so I haven’t reached out to like as many as I used to. As for Iwsod, I think she’s managing so much and trying to keep up with the blog and catching things on these episodes is an art form that she’s amazing with. She’s just admitting that it’s hard to catch as much as she’d like when putting this together.

            I’m still trying to figure out what’s wrong with my ‘Like’ button. But I like what people have shared and the different angles and perspectives.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Don’t worry! I didn’t take it as criticism at all. Your surprise was a compliment! Such that I felt I needed to remind anyone here that I will make mistakes! 🙂
            And I love the brains trust soooooo all good & im really glad you said something. I’m pleased billy didn’t gaslight me at all! Haaaaaa

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I just wanted to add, the name of of MacCaslin drove me nuts. I kept thinking of Aslan, the Great Lion in the Chronicles Of Narnia. Using a last name that was so similar for a villain was downright agitating!


  4. After all the episodes where it was patently obvious that everyone everywhere knew about Amanda’s connection to Lee, I do like that this rewrite meant that some long-suffering Russian obviously stood in front of a bunch of Russian intelligence officers and said (please add your own Russian accent here) “We will take down the mighty Scarecrow by hitting him in his Achilles heel… Francine Desmond!” Off – not just wrong end, but wrong stick!


  5. I’m loving hearing from others who find things to love in this ep, as I’m needing a little help with this one! 🙂
    At the same time, good to hear it’s not just me lol.


    • In response to the script peacockdancer posted. That would have been a beautiful ending. Amanda really did keep Lee alive both physically and emotionally. To be fair, Lee helped Amanda grow more confident. In the beginning Lee had too much confidence and Amanda not enough. They really did balance each other out.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do like this episode, which apparently puts me in a very small minority! I guess I’ll also put out another contrarian opinion: I think this episode could have been a very good one if they had filmed it with Amanda, as originally intended. But – only if Kate acted the part with the spark, energy and cheer that she brought to the role of Amanda before mostly losing those qualities in the second half of season 4.

    I actually think it could have been a great final episode for season 4 (and as it turns out, the series). A way to bring things full circle. In the original script, the first time Amanda meets “Brian Benedict,” he is wearing pajamas under a raincoat with a red baseball cap. A little too “on the money” perhaps, but I think that would have been neat! She was also supposed to have her second meeting with him at a burger restaurant (which makes me think of the pirate restaurant from The First Time), and he was supposed to hedge and babble and remind us of how Amanda would “ramble” when talking to Lee in the first episode and early seasons.

    In the confrontation in the parking garage, Sergei was supposed to call out to Lee, “I had to fight like hell for the raincoat and pajamas!” (This would undoubtedly have led us all to question – does the KGB actually know how Lee and Amanda met?? All the more reason to give up the secret marriage, as their enemies obviously know almost everything about them! Or maybe it was supposed to be a giant coincidence.)

    A great line from the original script that we missed out on, in the scene in Billy’s office:

    BILLY: Lee, you’re the finest agent I’ve ever worked with. And, I knew the first time you brought Amanda through my door, she had what it takes to keep you alive.

    In the tag as originally conceived, it was supposed to be Lee and Amanda demanding more time off (not Francine). Amanda says she and Lee “need to think things over,” and they “need to consider all our options … neither of us knows what the future holds.”

    And finally, the tag was supposed to end this way:

    AMANDA: What are you thinking?

    LEE: I don’t know. These past few days have been interesting.

    AMANDA: Yeah, they have been interesting.

    LEE: I mean, it made me realize something. All this – the Agency, the spy game – means a lot to me, but there’s only one thing that really matters…

    (He kisses her.)

    So in sum, it seems like they were really intending to play up the idea that Lee and Amanda are going to rethink the secret marriage. It would have been a great way to end the season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like it a lot too. I wish they’d left that line of Billy’s in — not sure why they had to cut it.

      I think the fact that they had to take out a lot of the connection to how Lee and Amanda met made it a more realistic plotline. Some of those coincidences would have been a bit too much.

      Another idea that I think would have made an interesting idea if we could have had Kate for the whole ep is having Amanda work harder to clear Lee and Francine. We got references to the security clearance being expired, plus what Lee had said on Photo Finish about not being able to see each other. I think that could have made an interesting twist as well to take advantage of.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The interesting thing about the original script is that I don’t think the raincoat/pajamas/red hat were supposed to be a coincidence. I think they were part of Sergei’s mind game – the idea being that when Amanda, in a moment of extreme stress, would need to find a way to save her package, seeing a “civilian” with a raincoat, pajamas, and a red hat would subliminally make her more inclined to trust him and pass it to him. There are a couple of places in that original script where Lee and Amanda speculate about how these “coincidences” are so odd, they might not be coincidences after all. And Sergei’s full exchange with Lee in the parking garage was supposed to be:

        LEE: You set us up, Sergei!

        SERGEI: Well of course I did. I had to fight like hell for the raincoat and pajamas.

        The Soviets did have a mole in the Agency around the time when Amanda started working there – that guy David Benson – and we know that the KGB has files on Lee and Amanda. Maybe Benson gave the KGB the information about how Lee and Amanda met! None of that was actually explained, though, so it’s just my speculation – on an episode that was never filmed.

        So in the end, I am straying way off topic! I guess the bottom line is, this episode could have worked well with Lee and Amanda and the plot could have made a lot more sense. As it was, they did a very poor job of rewriting the script for Francine. It makes me wonder whether the decision to have Martha step in for Kate happened very last-minute, and there just wasn’t time to adequately “fix” the script.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re probably right that it was intended but it still would feel too weird for me. And that would have made it even worse for Lee and Amanda to have that wonderful memory tainted and used like that. Plus like you say, how the heck would he even know? I’m glad for the characters’ sake they couldn’t go that direction. If that had been the last ep I think I would have thrown something at my T.V. set.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dotty's Favorite Sweater

          Oh, I like that. I like the idea that the last episode would call back to the first. Because I’m sure they write every season-ender with the possibility of not being renewed and I think the idea of everything coming full circle and the two of them still coming out on top — with an entire future together, whatever it is — is great. I’d have been happy with that. I don’t feel it cheapens the way they met at all. For me it underscores how Lee made this split-second decision that changed his life, but his character arc is basically complete here. He’s not the closed-off loner he was at the beginning of the series. And Amanda has grown here too (I’m talking original script) and isn’t the wide-eyed civilian she was at the start. She’s grown into her role as an agent. It’s too bad they were never able to film it as originally written because with Amanda in her usual role it works so much better. All the symbolism and parallelism fails when Francine is in that part.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Hi Dotty’s favorite sweater! Sorry seems your comment went into moderation, not sure why when you are not new here..but all approved now so others can see it 🙂


          • I’m not feeling well today so I’m hoping I’m responding to the right comment.

            I hadn’t meant it would cheapen their first meeting. I just felt like if it were Amanda who had done it and things turned out the way they did, it would taint the memory for the characters.

            Think of it especially from Amanda’s POV: You have this beautiful memory/story of how you and your spouse met and became working partners. You even followed in the footsteps of his parents and all because in both cases, someone dared to take a chance and trust an innocent civilian who happened to be there at the right time. And then you try the same maneuver and it very nearly costs both of you your jobs and you’re blamed for treason. That would be horrible! How could you not think of that for the rest of your life?

            In a sense, making it Francine also keeps the mystique and specialness of how it happened. It’s like that maneuver only works when it’s a Stetson doing it and if anyone else tries it, it ends up being trouble. I love that!


            • Dotty's Favorite Sweater

              Think of it especially from Amanda’s POV: You have this beautiful memory/story of how you and your spouse met and became working partners.

              I think it depends on whether you see Amanda as sentimental. By this point, I see her as someone who knows anything attached to the Agency is fair game. So I don’t know that she’d put all that much weight on a memory being ruined, or if she’d still have that memory but be annoyed that darn it, another one of those KGB agents dredged up something else to use against them. She does a pretty decent job overall compartmentalizing. Look at her life! I’m sure she could separate the two and just think “Sergei, what a rat. Here we go again.”


        • I don’t think the raincoat/pajamas/red hat were supposed to be a coincidence. I think they were part of Sergei’s mind game

          When I read what you shared that was my first take on it too. It’s not the first time events have appeared serendipitous but turned out to be engineered.
          A red hat, raincoat and PJ’s might have been maybe one coincidence too many though rofl. what are the odds!! haaaaa


    • Nothing specific to add here, but I really like these ideas!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing the insights from the script peacockdancer, soooo interesting!!!
      Thanks also for sharing your take on the ep. I find it helps me look with fresh eyes!

      I guess I’ll also put out another contrarian opinion: I think this episode could have been a very good one if they had filmed it with Amanda, as originally intended.

      You know, I don’t think I would disagree with this myself. It could have been a good episode if the whole Amanda trying Lee’s original move plot had remained. I don’t discount this could have worked.
      At the same time, if it was going to be executed poorly, I’m glad it didn’t go ahead too.
      Would it have been amazing or a dud? We’ll never know.

      I find myself quite intrigued with this revisiting of the accidents/coincidences that aren’t to be a really cool plot in general!

      Sergei was supposed to call out to Lee, “I had to fight like hell for the raincoat and pajamas!”

      For this line alone I am sad the episode couldn’t go ahead as planned. this line for me is such gold!!!! haaaaaaa… even though it’s not in the episode as it turned out, I think this line is my favourite part of this episode (tangentially!).

      This would have also been a lovely reminder of Spiderweb, where Amanda and Bryce Topping were given the flyer to the new restaurant and just happened to be there when Russian Shenanigans went down.
      So it would have been not only a call back to the first time, but to Spiderweb – an ep I remember as being biiig in terms of showing us how Lee’s trust in Amanda was not only unshakable, but it was core to his own wellbeing and view of how the world is. Amanda is his North Star. awhhh..

      So in sum, it seems like they were really intending to play up the idea that Lee and Amanda are going to rethink the secret marriage. It would have been a great way to end the season.

      I also love the previous version of the tag, and as you say- clues there of where their attitudes and views on their secret marriage were headed that are comforting to me as someone who is not a fan of it. I agree it would have been an awesome season finale!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My very favorite part of this episode is the scene in Lee’s apartment where he talks to Amanda on the phone while preparing to head out on the mission with Francine.

    First, it’s nice to hear Lee actually acknowledge to Amanda that the two of them may want to get out of this business at some point and “live like normal people.” Hearing Lee voice the realization that “this may be something that we both need” is, in my mind, a huge step toward facing reality. At bottom, their “mystery marriage” is a sort of fantasy. It is the opposite of accepting reality and dealing with it. A secret marriage was never going to be a workable, long-term solution to the “problem” of keeping Amanda’s family safe. At some point, they have to face the reality that the best way to do this would be to CHANGE JOBS and “live like normal people.”

    In this episode, we saw that the secret marriage is making Lee unhappy (the Beef Wellington conversation), and now, we hear him voice the idea that living like a normal person is actually something he desires. With this simple acknowledgement that “normalcy” is desirable, I feel like Lee and Amanda are finally starting to take baby steps toward giving up the secrecy and resolving this huge problem in their lives.

    Second, and the thing I like the most, is that Lee is making no effort to hide his conversation with Amanda from Francine, who he knows is standing only a few feet away. I love that we get to see the conversation from Francine’s point of view. Finally, there is truly no doubt whatsoever that (1) Francine knows Lee and Amanda are a serious couple, and (2) they (or at least Lee) are no longer trying to hide that fact from her.

    The words Lee uses – “I’m not sorry… especially for the last four years,” and “what we both need … a chance to live like normal people”… these are words that make him sound like a person who wants to be married. If, in the moments after he hung up, Francine had asked him if he were planning to marry Amanda, I believe he would have said yes. He might even have admitted the whole truth to her – that they have already exchanged vows. He and Francine are about to undertake a mission that could have career-ending consequences. She is taking that risk with him, and he is not in the mood to lie to her.

    Actively deceiving people who care about you is not a nice thing. I think Lee is losing his appetite for deceiving Francine about the true nature of his relationship with Amanda. That alone is enough to make me like this episode.


    • Actively deceiving people who care about you is not a nice thing. I think Lee is losing his appetite for deceiving Francine about the true nature of his relationship with Amanda. That alone is enough to make me like this episode.

      Oh I can totally get on board with this take!!! 🙂


  8. Just wanted to add that that little face Lee makes when Stamps is talking about their parking spots is too adorable for words!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have to say that if we absolutely HAVE to have Kate absent, I did think it worked better in this episode than in Playing For Keeps. That was more of a regular “team” case so the lack of Amanda involvement felt weird. Because this was more focused on Lee (and Francine) personally, I was naturally more drawn to what was happening with him so the absence works a bit better.

    And I said this before really am glad that they couldn’t make this about Amanda passing the Intel. I really think that would have been a horrible memory for her and Lee and would kind of “taint” the way they met. This way, there will always be that separation. The other may have been more interesting from a writing POV for some fans but this was definitely better for the characters.


    • I’d have to go back and re-watch both episodes, but Amanda being ‘sick’ in Playing for Keeps actually worked, although we missed her there too. It’s clear Lee missed working with her in each case, and those scenes that acknowledge this definitely helped. Until we found out here about the ‘plan’ to make it look like Francine and Lee were being let go, it felt so disorganized. Like the agency had more agents, but wasn’t using them. So I’m undecided. With the L/A relationship developed, it’s nice to see the change in Lee’s character here (vs. Playing for Keeps).

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ll be back on here next weekend to reply, hope everyone is well!


  11. I never liked or understood this ep. In a favourite ranking it would be one of the last 5. Lack of Amanda sure is a reason but even with her instead of Francine the story wouldn’t do it for me. Maybe would be worse if A instead of F handed a message to a stranger. Kind of making TFT L/A meeting unimportant/random.
    Now that we are through ATG/SFF I would like to come back to my thoughts of OFE belonging later. These 2 eps with nearly no Amanda on scream might better fit in her recovery time with only light office work. Maybe SSF before ATG. I might come back to this after the next ep. seeing where it fits in for me.


  12. The Stamps scene was cringy back in the day. Today, it’s just okay. I think it’s the episode itself that isn’t doing it for me. Stamps should have been in another episode. I completely forgot about how this episode wrapped up, but there was something lost in the dialog. It could have worked, if done differently. It was great to see TP again. I’m in DC area and I haven’t found mountains or Hollywood signs (lol). I usually like Lee in different uniforms, and I guess that service guy outfit isn’t bad. I laughed a little at the image of the two bad guys in front of the van. With their legs apart and hands out, it almost looks like they could be doing a dance. lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Stamps is so endearing and her and Lee’s interaction is the cutest thing ever. I hope they would have brought her back had their been a fifth season.

    Lee looked so good in his workman’s coverall!

    That phonecall in his apartment often gets me crying too. I think what would have ended “both” their careers is because they’re both married. Lee implied something similar when Amanda’s security clearance was getting downgraded on Photo Finish. In theory she could stay and see him secretly, but once they were discovered she would have been fired in disgrace too.

    I question why Lee sticks with them too — other than we need the show! And “doing what’s best for The Agency” when The Agency screwed them over like that.

    Love the chess scene at the end! That was perfect.

    This is the first time I realized we only got Kate in person in one scene on this ep. I know we’re not supposed to walk ahead but I’m sure that’s a record.

    Can’t wait to do our last two! Still holding out hope of starting the walk over again on the 40th anniversary on October 3!


    • Can’t wait to do our last two! Still holding out hope of starting the walk over again on the 40th anniversary on October 3!

      I can’t wait to go back to season 1 too. Hopefully I will have organised myself adequately that we can restart the walk with more consistency.


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