#BerlinStation Season 3, Episode 1 – Ouch Concilio, Ouch Sense [Review/Spoilers]

I am tempted to just leave this blog post blank under a headline that says it all. But I have got plenty of screenshots, so I better write some text to fill the space between them.

I can’t really say that I was looking forward to season 3 of BS. “Waiting for it” is more accurate – the trepidation about the fate of Daniel Miller in season 3 of the Epix Original series initially caused by Armitage’s suspiciously short time on set and his presence limited to filming in Hungary, was recently fuelled by the latest trailers for the show. Following a similar strategy as pre-season 1, Epix has now released both episode 1 and episode 2 of BS season 3, so finally time to check whether Danny is finally getting the leading role he really deserves.

Recap

Mind you, episode 3×01 starts without Daniel – and in the past. It is November 1989 and the Berlin wall has just been opened. While half of East Berlin is trying to squeeze through to the West, a beige trench coat is going the other way, ostensibly liberating a prisoner from the MfS. We see the MfS being torn to shreds, and the beige trench coat picking up a file and destroying it on his way out. His prisoner is saved, though, and kisses the ground pope-style upon his arrival on the Western side of the wall. Cut. And we realise that what we have just seen is actually a dramatisation of what Daniel is listening to on his iPad. And now the show proper starts – with domestic bliss á la Dansther in a comfy double bed and with some comfy double entendre. Dan and Esther are still an item.

And the beige trench coat in the opening scene is probably the agent responsible for Mama Miller’s death in 1980/whenever. Thus season 3 is set up, hinting at the long longed-for back story of Daniel Miller.

But the action is not happening in bed Berlin this season. Apparently the Russians are planning to invade Estonia, so off go Daniel and Robert (on his last mission before he finally gets to lead his own station in Tokyo) to liaise with their local CIA colleague, called Torres, as well as the Estonian president, Henrik Someone. Sorry, no picture of president but plenty of lashes:

Torres needs to be reined in. And Daniel looks beautiful, doing so.

Right?

Anyway, the Estonians need to be persuaded not to react to Russian provocation. But no sooner have Daniel and Robert have had tea with the president, but the latter tragically collapses. Luckily Robert and Daniel are completely in control of the situation and take him to the hospital where the president is pronounced dead. Suspicious that Henrik may not have died of natural causes, Daniel manages to gather evidence. And then the trouble starts – Daniel is taken by surprise when a stranger (a Russian special ops man whom we have seen in earlier footage) attacks him. Daniel manages to escape to the train station where Robert is waiting for him to board a train back to Warsaw. But at the last minute Daniel decides to stay in Tallinn and sort out the mess – even though he could be in danger.

Phew. Sounds pretty thrilling.

Review

At this stage the makers of BS – although constantly changing (now run by producer Jason Horwitch) – have a knack for initially hitting my expectations and getting me quite excited. Well, ok, letting the third season start with a flashback to 1989, felt a bit lame at first. And was way too long and detailed. But followed up by Dansther domestic bliss actually ticked a big box for me. It was nice to see that the two of them had indeed walked hand-in-hand into the sunset. And woken up together the next day, too. Unlike in previous seasons, their relationship now seemed like a proper relationship rather than the cynical and mutual tapping-of-sources. They seemed comfortable with each other – and maybe that was also a reflection of the comfort of familiarity for the two actors. If this was a ruse to keep the fan girls happy (I doubt that, of course), it certainly did the trick.

Especially so as the beginning of the show also finally promises the resolution to a story arc that I have been waiting for since season 1. Length of the 1989 East Berlin sequence apart, I thought the intro was actually really interestingly done: What looks like a flashback turns out to be actually what Daniel is currently listening to on his iPad. What a clever idea – it certainly reconciled me somewhat over my gripe with the depiction of the events of November 9/10, 1989. Because there was no such thing as immediate looting of the MfS (“Stasi”) premises, whether for files or for prisoners. (In fact, the MfS was largely untouched until several months later.)

On the whole, the first episode seemed exciting in that it was evenly paced, alternating between explanatory scenes and scenes that would push the story forward: the old crew is still in Berlin, now looking to the East, dispatching Daniel and Robert to keep the peace. And new characters are being introduced: Agent Torres in Tallinn seems to be interesting – although I am getting a bit tired of all these rogue agents. Are there actually *any* agents in the CIA who do what they are told and who are not suffering from PTSD?

I was also delighted to see Daniel take up so much space in this episode. He was really front and centre of the action. It raised a few questions for me (because it still hasn’t really been resolved how the supposed desk agent ever got so proficient in field-work spycraft), but on the whole I was glad that he was definitely the starring role.

However, I wasn’t fully convinced that his actions were all that logical. Why insist on remaining in Tallinn after having been targeted by that Russian paramilitary guy? How does it make sense to stay behind and continue investigating when there is a local agent available who knows much more about the circumstances? Well, at least it meant screen time for Daniel.

On the flip side of what I liked, I was annoyed to see Steven Frost pop up in the (newly adapted) trailer again, as well as Hector de Jean. Jeepers, when are these two finally done? What else can Steven Frost possibly add to the whole scenario, and why TF does Hector continuously come back into the fray? For someone who desperately wants out of the service, he must be easily convinced to come back in…

And what is it with pretentious episode titles? I already thought that BS‘s season 2 tic of making every episode title a pun containing the word “right” was rather gimmicky. And now “aut concilio aut ense” – do we now need Latin language proficiency in order to follow an espionage thriller? If the rest of the episodes also get Latin titles, I’ll scream! *ouch*

Finally, a last rant on taking liberties with history. Sure, the true events of November 9/10, 1989 may be details that most of the audience of BS do not know. Since the show is not primarily aimed at the German market, I’ll give the show that they are maybe not as meticulous with the truth as they might be if they knew they were playing to Germans. However, we have yet again a showrunner who touts his own horn and emphasises that BS supposedly is soooooo accurate and relevant and real. Honestly – if Steinhauer, Winters and now Horwitch weren’t such condescending and hubristic arses, I’d forgive the show that it takes liberties with facts. But as is, I find it nothing but annoying to be told how “real” the show is – and then to be disappointed again and again. The whole “looting” and “cover-up” scenario in the MfS just pissed me off. Especially details such as burning rubbish bins – really? Those orderly Germans picturesquely lighting a few bins to conveniently burn the most damning files in? IDK, it’s just yet again a little detail that I find annoying, unconvincing and off-putting.

So yeah, a bit of a mixed bag here. Happy to see so much Mr A on-screen (he’s such an increasingly rare sight… I am content with almost any glimpse I can get!). Disappointed that we are leaving Berlin behind. Glad to see Dansther alive and romping. Worried about the future of DM, though. Because he really took a nasty beating already, and the hints seen in previous trailers, have been upsetting. I’ll write about ep 2 separately.

 

 

209 thoughts on “#BerlinStation Season 3, Episode 1 – Ouch Concilio, Ouch Sense [Review/Spoilers]

  1. Eyelash porn galore!!! *huge contended sigh*

    Reading your “waiting for it” immediately made my mind go “waiting for the other shoe to drop” and that’s how I feel about this season.

    Things I loved:
    >> The Dansther love fest. My shipper heart is overjoyed.
    >> Mr. A from every possible angle, especially the laugh lines around his eyes. He needs a definite filter ban on all photo/video now and forever.
    >> The amount of screen time for DM. It showed me how much I had been craving feasting my eyes on his acting. Now imagine if the man had superb material to work with.

    Likes: Beautiful Budapest (?)masquerading as Tallinn; blood ranking for the St. George goons—a touch of reality; April’s haircut

    Liked by 4 people

    • Is there something missing here? I only see things you loved and liked. Nothing you disliked???? o_O
      But totally agree with you on exposing the laugh lines. They did well, doing that. However, I was wondering whether there was instead something happening on top of the head… That hair just irritated me…
      BTW – I think that wasn’t Budapest masquerading as Tallinn, but Sopron.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Ah, I wasn’t sure about the location but it sure is pretty.

        No, it’s not that I didn’t dislike anything. My brother stopped by and I cannot trust the WP app not to crash on me (it’s pretty shite) so I figured better safe than sorry, before I have to write all the above again.

        Yeah, the hair is a bit hmmm… I hope that’s the role and not a personal choice. 🤭

        As for the dislikes, should I even go there? You summed it up pretty well. And I’m simply not invested in the show. I liked season one (as far as I remember; I might have to rewatch it), watched two just so I knew what was going on (and lamented the abysmally skimpy screen time for DM throughout) and now I’m just preparing for the (seemingly) inevitable.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, I see now, you were just taking a break.
          Yep, I also hope that the hair was merely the hair and costume dept – and not RA’s insecurity speaking.
          You are absolutely right – don’t go there and simply enjoy as far as you can. It’s just entertainment, anyway.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know where to start here. Thank you for the comic relief. I needed it this morning along with LoLo’s RA in RL convo about messy RA pampering her. I could use that about now too. I love your Danesther reference! I wanted some real S-E-X with them. I miss the wall sex or dragon pose as I found out yesterday. Sorry knowing some things makes me more upset watching Danny and Esther have a real relationship. I think Richard has just checked out of this series. I didn’t see any real spark in his eyes, his body language seemed stiff and bored… I liked the opening with the Wall in 1989.. I think Danny and Robert went to Talinn totally unprepared and very un CIA like. Daniel was in Chechnya so his radar should have been way up about anyone following or hunting him. I’m depressed so I will stop now.. My flight buddy text me upset at me for calling her an extrovert so that is now upsetting me. I’m a People Pleaser so any time someone is upset at me it stings… let me crawl back into my hole now…

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    • IDK, I didn’t really think that RA played any less professionally than he usually does. Well, certainly in episode 1 I didn’t notice anything. (Might be a different story when I get to episode 2…)
      But yeah, there are a few plotholes there, and the complete unpreparedness of Daniel and Robert one of them.
      As for your flight buddy texting you – seriously? People are getting upset about being described as “extrovert”??? Since when has “extrovert” become a swear word? Why is it so upsetting to be called an extrovert? To me extrovert doesn’t have any qualitative connotation – it just describes somebody’s attitude and approach to interaction with others. – Honestly, don’t let that person ruin your day. You quite obviously did not use that word as an insult, so she should just pipe down and stop making a mountain out of a molehill.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I do realize I’m letting this show really mess with my head.. I’m not trying to be dramatic here.. it just tore me up how he was treated like really? This character means that little to you writers?

        Like

          • I wonder if someone unwittingly got the cat out of the bag or if they’ve just realised they were giving away too much too soon.

            I wonder if they have a different cut of the episode to air in two week’s time- I’ve heard they changed certain important details from Season 1 before they released it on DVD.

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              • They may want to come across as smart, but there’s ample proof to the contrary.

                Come on, Epix guys, you don’t fool anyone! We can tell what you’re up to from a mile off.

                Liked by 1 person

            • I don’t really think it was an accident. Remember, they did the same pre-season 1. And this kind of thing does of course feed the general curiosity.
              As for changing details – did they? I didn’t know that. Very interesting!!! And if that was the case, well, then maybe we need to continue making noise if we want Daniel to survive past episode 2…

              Liked by 1 person

                  • Well, I hoped they wouldn’t go down that road but I watched a ‘inside’ clip from EPIX re the new guy and there was evidence for the return of DM, at least in some way, so…..Bulls**t Bingo strikes again it seems

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                    • I’m basing my feelings on the fact that it’s [spoilers: pummel, pummel, pummel… cut away to other scenes and people… cut back :🔥]
                      It just seems a weird pacing decision if it’s all supposed to be one continuous event. Of course it doesn’t mean there’s anything to it, it’s just a weird gut feeling I have about this.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Spot on, Kate! And I have just watched the last 50 seconds of the episode just to clarify the whole thing… If I ever get round to writing my review, it’ll be… damning. Or inconclusive 😂

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Herba not to throw water on your hopes here but remember Ep 4 synopsis says they bring a fallen comrade home.. fallen to me means D-E-A-D but I cling to a morsel of hope I just don’t think he shot enough over there to make that a reality..

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • They could easily kill off some throwaway character we haven’t even met yet in some later episode to justify those words, knowing full well that throwing the words out there will of course lead everyone to assume that it’s a main character biting the dust. I’m just not sure they’re that clever. 🤓🤨

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                    • But didn’t the synopsis on the website say in Ep4 they bring home a fallen comrade so my guess Ep3 somebody discovers his body or the remains unless he scoots away from the fire but isn’t he beaten to a pulp ? I don’t think the whole BS “creative team” is that smart at all. How could Steinhauer do this to this character in this fashion
                      That is what I am struggling with

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                    • Tbh, I don’t really know with them. So far they have never surprised me as such. The show has only be unpredictable in its predictability – as in: shooting Daniel Miller in 1×01; disclosing who Thomas Shaw is in 2×01; killing the protagonist in 3×02. Judging by the footage, it really is meant to be DM though. There is no mistaking him. Except for that one, last cut…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Those look like his hips!! I thought so in the trailer a few weeks ago that scene was him on the ground but my wall has gone up now and I ranted yesterday extensively about it so whatever now…

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                    • Guylty he barely filmed this year never posted about his time in Budapest like in and out lickety split. I know he is the consummate professional but he looks
                      checked out to me may be in his eyes or far off look in his face. I thought ok give it the benefit of the doubt but after the atrocious whole Ep2 bs I only am watching for an explanation why? Also Mina may lose time or a place on that show also what will Esther do w out Daniel

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                    • Hehe, I think I will let other people watch from now on – I’ll just close my eyes and wait for others to tell me whether anything important is happening.

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                    • Maybe some flashbacks or missing scenes that explain, for instance, his fidgetting when Robert and he talked to the Marine. His discomfort when the military man was checking his passport was weird. Although, it wouldn’t surprised me if they didn’t explain a thing; this show’s know for leaving loose ends all over the place.

                      Liked by 1 person

              • Considering how underwhelming this show’s turned out to be and how little room they’ve given Richard to stretch his acting muscles, I don’t think I would be in favour of their pulling out an ace (?). I’d have preferred a better scripted send-off if that’s what it was but still…

                Liked by 1 person

                  • Taking into account the appalling death record when it comes to his characters, if DM is actually dead, it wouldn’t be a real shocker. I agree with you that having him walk away would (have) be(en) a much preferable farewell. However, that would leave a window open for him to pop up yet again and I do wish hin away from this show. What I object to is the manner in which they’ve written him off. Jeez, a John Porter execution was more than enough and it pales in comparison to being roasted!

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                    • Lilianschild yes exactly I may be scarred now for life after having seen that and then dreaming it all over again
                      It’s gruesome and totally unnecessary
                      and for what? Did they do it b/c Daniel was American? B/c he was a spy?!b/c he was wondering around at night looking clueless instead of protecting Sophia? Just handled wrong in my opinion. At least S 2 Daniel as Trevor had a purpose

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                    • Well, I’d rather have the possibility of the character coming back than completely annihilating him. Especially when done in such a violent way, and not even making much sense… A bullet would’ve been quicker and cleaner…

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                    • Certainly. I much preferred the ending he would have got in Season 1 if they had gone with the alternative they’d shot. A hell of a lot more dignified and reasonable.

                      No, I don’t like the way they’ve written this storyline but then, they lived up to my expectations. I’ve never expected them to do any better judging by their past choices and the general direction of the show so far.

                      Like

  3. Oh wow, thanks for the review Guylty🌻 Been too busy with work to try and watch new season, plus hubs will want to watch it as well . . . So, a good wife would wait until we can watch it together? Right? Well maybe, will see how long it takes for us to get time together first. After all, I’m not a patient wife. Heh 😊

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  4. Ja, die 2. Folge wurde entfernt. Ich habe sie mir noch anschauen können und war über die letzte Szene gar nicht amused und hoffe, dass es nicht das ist, was ich denke.

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  5. Pingback: Und es ward dunkel… meine groben Eindrücke von den ersten beiden Berlin Station-Folgen der dritten Staffel (Vorsicht, Spoiler!) | nellindreams

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