Tag Archives: SMK

Get Ready for some Scruffy Lee!!! – A Matter of Choice starts May 2023

Hi Everyone! Get ready – the next episode ‘A Matter of Choice’ is starting the second weekend in May 2023!!

Who is walking with me??? Anyone out there?
has really come through for us in transcribing this episode – a huge thanks Peacockdancer! 🙂

This episode will be
covered in six blog posts – I’ll publish one post every weekend till its done (Saturday or Sunday depending on your time zone)…

Does anyone love this ep? Anyone completely forgotten what it is about? I know I had!!!
I look forward to hearing why as we walk through it!

Hope you can join us 🙂

edited: Typo fixed! 🙂

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!!

2/3 Season Four:Episode Twenty–Suitable for Framing –Scarecrow and Mrs King

Let’s keep going!
In Billy’s office, Lee and Billy discuss the case..
Lee: Why’d those guys in the station wagon chase us the first time, then not even go after us at the University? There’s something … very weird going on here.
[Agreed! Is ‘chase us the first time’ referring to how they chased Francine out of L’etoile? because they didn’t chase her once she handed over the papers to ‘Brian’! So while it’s great Lee is asking questions.. none of it makes sense.]

Billy: What about Benedict? [What a name. SMK does love to give clues with names.. Benedict the famous traitor.]
Lee: Francine convinced him to let her take him to a safe house…
(Billy is cranky this valuable information is floating around out there.. and Lee agrees it stinks.) 
Billy: From what Francine told me, it looks like those papers are somehow connected to Chernev’s “Trojan Horse.” It would be safe to assume, then, that the Russians want them back!
Lee: Any luck with Andropolous?
Billy: Yes. All bad. He crossed the border from Greece into Bulgaria four weeks ago and no one’s seen or heard of him since.
Lee: Well, where was he calling from, some small village in the Balkans?
Billy: Hardly. According to the computer log, the call was placed … here.
[lol I think the dialogue in this scene is full of hints of what’s really happening here.. Remember, it’s operation ‘Trojan Horse’! why would the Russians want Trojan horse back? putting it out there was key to the deception.
Then, they throw in a couple of Greek references. aie. Just when I think SMK is phoning it in, they go and deliver dialogue like this. very clever IMHO!!!]

Francine turns up… with a new theory from Brian for them to follow up…
Francine:  Benedict thinks his girlfriend may have the papers. They were in a drawer with some dissertation notes that she was typing for him.
Great. Great! Let’s send a team to pick ‘em up.
Francine: We’re it. He wants you to meet him at his girlfriend’s rooming house. Here.
(She hands Lee the message.)
[Ohhhh Brian gets to dictate where they go next yet again. Now he gets to dictate who also?]
Lee (to Billy, skeptically): We are letting him walk away from the safe house?

Billy: We have no authority to limit his movement. He’s not under arrest. However, there’s no reason we couldn’t send someone … with him, to keep an eye on him?
(He looks at Francine pointedly.)
Francine (smiling): Already taken care of.

[She looks way too happy given the situation lol. I figure this is  Francine on the verge of panic!]
Billy: Good.

Lee and Francine head over to Brian’s girlfriend’s place.. like good obedient little spies. There is this little gem of an exchange as Francine and Lee arrive there.. Francine: Lee, listen.
Lee: Hmm?
Francine: I’ve thought this over … and over in my mind, and I really don’t know what I could have done differently.
Lee: Probably nothing! Don’t worry about it …

…relax, huh? You probably got as lucky with this guy as I did with Amanda.

[Love how he tugs up his pants as he says this like: yaaaassss I am the man!]
Francine (glancing at him skeptically): Oh, no way, he’s not my type.
[lol. he’s kinda young for Francine.. and way too poor.
BTW it’s a little ironic because way back, both Francine and Lee would have sworn Amanda was not at all Lee’s type! 😉 ]

Lee (exhaling): Oh, come on. (He gestures toward the building they are headed for.) Let’s close this case, huh?

[It’s lovely to see Lee be so supportive of Francine, when he could have turned on her. At the same time, I’m not as forgiving as Lee haaaaa.
Share your thoughts – what could Francine have done differently?
I’ll play armchair spy here and suggest.. the dumb drop at L’etoile was flawed from the start. Francine had zero back up [edited to add: Or did she?? If that one guy was back up he was lousy back up!]
Francine should have had a team supporting her, especially as the information was potentially priority 1. This would have prevented the need to hide the papers in the first place.

Of course, this would mean we have no episode.. so come on Iwsod play along here… I do love that it is highlighting how Lee and Amanda started being Lee and Amanda/ Scarecrow and Mrs King!]

It’s time for the Trojan Horse to be revealed for what it is!! I’ll rely on peacockdancer’s description here..
McCaslin: Hold it folks. (He reaches into his lapel and pulls out an ID). Dan McCaslin, CIA.
(Lee pulls out his Agency badge and shows it to McCaslin. Francine does the same.)
Francine (confused, shaking her head): CIA? We didn’t request inter-agency backup.
The door to the house opens again. Two men in suits are forcefully escorting the guy we know as “Brian Benedict” out of the house against his will.

Francine (flabbergasted): Why are you arresting Brian?

NotBrian (now speaking with a heavy Russian accent, pointing furiously at Francine): She’s the one! She has tricked me! You have tried to implicate me in illegal activities!

[NotBrian? haaaaa good one peacockdancer!]
(Francine’s jaw drops in astonishment. Lee looks grim.)
Francine: Me! You’re crazy!

(Lee and Francine watch as the CIA agents force NotBrian into a car.)
[I don’t think I’ve ever seen Francine more shocked and confused as this!!)
NotBrian (protesting angrily): This is ridiculous, I know nothing, I…
Lee: What the hell is going on here, McCaslin?
McCaslin: Well, your “Brian” is really Mischa Dubinski. A Soviet student from Kiev…
[Which btw is no longer Russia! Go Ukraine!]
We caught him with highly sensitive documents detailing our agency operations in Eastern Europe…

…Which he claims you (points at Francine) planted on him.
(Francine gives Lee a “can you believe this?” look. McCaslin and the other CIA agent walk away. Lee realizes that this is some kind of setup.)
Lee (aggrieved, shaking his head): Oh, no.

[Yeahhhhhh Uh Oh-ski!!! They are in big trouble-ski!!!
Yeah Lee’s been in this position before: set up by the Russians. Ugghhhh]

Next, we see the IFF coffee room. Guarded by errrr a guard with a machine gun?! oh rofl. Oh I see Dr Smyth is in there, maybe the guard follows him around from room to room.
Seems it’s time for the bad news..
Lee, Billy and Dr Smyth discuss recent events… why Francine is not there I have nooooo idea. She’s at the heart of everything that has happened, she should be there for this conversation. Hmmm.
Lee: They planted the kid, they gave him a cover, then they tricked Francine into recruiting him. It’s all supposed to look like they’re the victims.
(Dr. Smyth is playing idly with a chess set, cigarette holder in hand.)

Smyth (coolly): Certainly! And young Dubinski – née Benedict – is our “Trojan Horse.” Delivered by your source, Andropolous. It’s a classic. “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”
So it’s now the time in the episode where Dr Smyth plays chess, while delivering brutal pragmatics and throwing his agents under the bus. I find this scene really heavy handed. The dialogue is just dumb. Mr Smyth is tedious here to me.

My take away? Lee and Francine make the agency look bad, so let’s cut our loses. Lee and Francine have to tender their resignations in 36 hours, and no Lee you don’t get a chance to fight for your job (yet again).

The scene ends with a clunky reference to losing some pawns.
When Dr Smyth threw the pawn to Lee as he made his dramatic exit?? My eyes were rolling so hard, I’m afraid they won’t roll back into place again.

So, another one of those.. you are discredited and the agency is letting you go because it’s the easy thing to do for them even if it is unjust and not true. The agency chews up it’s agents and spits them out. They are disposable… This time – Dr Smyth literally refers to them as pawns. So now, it’s time to fight for your job with everything against you and the clock ticking.
You can only play this chess move so many times before the audience starts to think: Hmmm you know Lee, maybe you are better off not being with the agency??
You start to question- is it all worth it??
Especially when there are lots of sacrifices that mean missing out on weekends and hot Beef Wellington…. with his wife! you know?
I think the writers at this point in the show have overplayed this one.
My dream end to the show is Lee and Amanda saying so long to the agency. Seriously.
Anyway sorry getting sidetracked here..
Oh noooo will Francine and Lee be able to redeem themselves? Get their super fantastic jobs back and win back the trust of the wonderful agency?

The next scene is at the state department, where there’s a hearing with crowds watching on (including McCaskin, Billy and Dr Smyth).

Sergei outlines how poor Mischa was approached by the US government to entice him to spy on his own government and have documents planted on him.

It’s a secret ‘protest’ and not public knowledge, but it’s being threatened that they might release the knowledge to the public.
Sergei has visual aids!!

How convenient to have captured all this!!!

What luck! They managed to capture when Francine framed him!

And… with close ups!

It’s weird how Sergei says Mischa was approached ‘several weeks ago’, and then ‘a week ago’ they approached him again – the time she met him with Lee.
Not sure why they changed the time frames, maybe because they portrayed the first meeting as the second meeting. Not sure, but this way, the story they are putting forward for why Mischa was being filmed sort of makes sense to me. lol. But even then, this is so convoluted I’m not confident I’ve understood it, or that it can be understood! haaaaa.

Sergei says Mischa reported to the Russian embassy he had been approached.. sooo this was the Russians entrapping the Americans lol. oh sorry no it’s ‘an opportunity to document the US policy of harassment and entrapment of Soviet citizens’’. Riiiight. 

Aie anyone want to walk us through this logic? Please. go right ahead. 

Hearing all this, Dr Smyth tells Billy he wants their resignations immediately.

Lee and Francine resigning only plays into the propaganda and makes the Soviet story more convincing, I’m really not following why that would be a good idea just on a pragmatic basis alone!

The next scene is between Lee and Billy… it’s late, dark and they are alone in Billy’s office. Billy expresses regrets at how it all has to end… they are friends, but he can’t help Lee and Francine. yada yada. Resignations are wanted now, and Lee and Francine have 24 hours to clean out their desks.

Lee gets angry.. tells Billy to straighten his badge, and then leaves.

I see they have thrown in a little ‘The First Time’ reference here.. nice try, but I don’t see the connection. Okay, this might have made more sense if it was Amanda who handed over the papers maybe. I don’t remember Lee being asked for his resignation in TFT? There’s anger here, but not nearly enough for what is actually supposed to be going on here. I think this scene has a bit of a weird vibe.

Next up.. it’s 25 minutes into this episode and we fiiiiiiinally get a scene with Lee and Amanda together!!!!! so of course I’m going to include peacockdancer’s transcription of the whole scene.. I’ll take what I can get!

Lee opens the door to the Q-Bureau and walks in, a piece of paper in his hand. Amanda is seated at her desk. 
Lee: Hi.
Amanda: Hi.
(Lee closes the door. He looks at the paper, then hands it to Amanda wordlessly. He paces back and forth in front of Amanda as she reads it.)

Amanda (reading, while Lee paces): “I, Lee Stetson, am responsible for my actions and absolve the Agency from any blame or wrongdoing resulting—” I can’t believe you’re gonna lie like this!
Lee (fatalistically): At the Battle of Bull Run, the Saratoga Light Cavalry faced five hundred Southern cannon. An order to charge had come… It had been delayed, but foot soldiers didn’t question their orders, they charged. (He glances at Amanda, then continues pacing.) Astonished Southern gunners mowed ‘em down, all three thousand men. That was their war … this is ours. (Peacockdancer Observation: Lee needs to seriously brush up on his Civil War history.)

[Is ‘ours’ referring to him and Francine? My reaction to this little speech was- huh? what is he on about? I think this is supposed to be super dramatic, Lee falling on his sword, but I just find it a lot of words and blah blah blah.. Peacockdancer is this story not even accurate?!]
Amanda (incredulous): I can’t believe you’re gonna equate this to something like that!
Lee: I know, but we can reason why all we want. The point is, when the time runs out, we are gonna both do what’s best for the Agency, right?

[Uh, is he expecting that Amanda is just going to resign too?? Apparently!
Who is ‘we’??? I’m so confused.. 
Edited to add: The impression I got from the previous Lee/Billy scene was late at night and most people had gone home?? now Lee heads straight to the Q bureau and Amanda is still there? and it’s still daylight out?
Ohhhh kaaaaaay…]

Amanda (businesslike, picking up a piece of paper): All right, look. I checked the Eastern European roster they say we planted on Dubinski. (She hands the paper to Lee, who looks at it.) It’s current.

Lee: This thing is updated every two weeks, maybe we’ll be able to find out who leaked it to the Soviets...How many requests were there?
Amanda: Sixty-one, all legitimate. I’m already checking ‘em out.
[edited to add: If you haven’t checked them out yet, how can you say they are all legitimate?]

Lee: Good. Another thing we can try to run down is who tipped McCaslin at CIA … about Dubinski?

Amanda (shaking her head): You know, ah, you can tiptoe around McCaslin forever and you’re never gonna find anything out.

Lee: Well, I wasn’t thinking “tiptoe.” I was thinking “black bag”…

…and don’t get any ideas… You’re not going.
Amanda (indignantly): Why not, I passed my Agency infiltration test!

[Awh!!!! I miss all this Amanda learning to be an agent stuff!!!]
Lee: I know, but Francine is the agent of record, and for once, I just want you out of the line of fire. (He looks truly concerned about her.) Please, Amanda?

(Touched, Amanda gives him a small smile of acquiescence.)

What do you make of Amanda’s outfit? She does look great in the bright colours, however the brightness just makes the shoulders look even bigger! It’s a lovely colour on her… 
Thoughts so far? Anyone else as confused as I am? 
Looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts!