BERLIN STATION Review: “Oratorio Berlin”

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Okay, before I dive into this week’s , “Oratorio Berlin,” can we discuss how stupid I feel for having watched this entire season and never realized that Richard Armitage is Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit? Yeah, try to watch Daniel Miller the same way again. It’s impossible.

But speaking of impossible things, let’s talk about how incredibly slow the buildup to this finale episode was, and then all of a sudden everything came out in this one episode. I gotta say, all in all, I enjoyed the meat of this show – the characters (as frustrating and flawed as they were) and their stories/motivations – but for goodness sakes the pacing of this show is just all over the place. And honestly? That’s my biggest critique of this particular episode. It was great – probably the best episode of the entire season, simply based on content. It had everything the rest of the nine episodes had been begging for: mystery, intrigue, action, stakes. But the pacing! That’s the flaw with waiting to stuff all of the juicy reveals and catching all of your characters up into the final episode; you don’t get any time to revel in the pay off. Instead, as an audience we’re given eight and a half boring to sort-of-interesting episodes to build to this one point where we rip off the mask of our mystery and then pull the curtain down, roll credits. Where’s the emotional payoff? Where’s the tension?

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Unfortunately, we aren’t given enough time to dwell on the stuck-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place mentality that the eyewash – as those CIA kids are calling it these days – really called for. Instead, we’re led through a series of climatic reveals that fall flat because before we really have time to register the new development, we’re on to the next story point. It’s like listening to a speech where the orator doesn’t understand dramatic pause. I mean, this certainly isn’t daytime television, but a little more soap never hurt anyone.

In terms of actual story, though, the episode was pretty strong. As promised in our first episode, we find out what actually happened the day Daniel Miller gets shot. Turns out that on top of the German Intelligence director getting Thomas Shaw to do his bidding, the head of American national security is trying to cover his own tracks. When Daniel calls back to the Station for help to get him and his sister out of the country safely, the national security director shows up at his safe house, where Daniel tells him that the Germans had Thomas Shaw under their thumb. Armed with this knowledge, the security director strikes up a deal with the German intelligence director. They both agree to “take care of” their sides of the bargain: for the American director it’s Daniel, for the German director, it’s Steven Frost. By getting rid of both, they each are covering their own tracks.

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Getting rid of Daniel Miller isn’t so easy, though. He comes together with Kirsch, Valerie, and Sandra, and they piece together what’s happening: the national security director is covering his butt for an eyewash-gone-wrong in an attempt to smoke out Thomas Shaw. Turns out none of the stuff on the kidnapped terrorist whose wife killed Clare was true. It was just a way to try and sniff Shaw out. And instead, all it did was cost an agent her life.

Meanwhile, turns out Kirsch’s little foray into espionage was actually above the line the entire time. Unfortunately for him, the Tel Aviv director realizes she’s been played and rats their operation out to the German intelligence officers. Lucky for Daniel, he gets to the jump drive hidden by Hector before German intelligence can get to him. In the drive is incriminating evidence that needs to be publicized in order to clear Frost and Berlin Station. Daniel gets it passed off to Sandra right before he gets shot by German intelligence officers.

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Luckily, Daniel doesn’t die and things wrap up nice and neatly. Well, except for the German intelligence director, who gets shot in the head by a sniper while walking his dog. Can’t say he didn’t deserve it after all the backstabbing and blood he was willing to get on his own hands to cover his tracks. I’ll be curious to know how the show goes about building up its second season, with everything wrapped up so nicely in the first. The show feels more like a mini series to me than an actual show with the longevity to span multiple seasons, but that wouldn’t be the first time Berlin Station has surprised me with what it has up its sleeve. I guess we’ll all just have to wait to find out.

TB-TV-Grade-B

Season 1, Episode 10 (S01E10)
Berlin Station airs Sundays at 9PM on Epix

Read all of our reviews of Berlin Station here. 
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.


Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
Keep up with all of Tasha’s reviews here.

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4 Responses to BERLIN STATION Review: “Oratorio Berlin”

  1. But who was Faisal?

  2. I believe in an early episode, Faisal’s help to Berlin Station was alluded to, but sorry, I can’t remember what that was. – Which brings up my main complaint about this show – too many subplots, which dispersed my attention. I was continually trying to figure out the main storyline but was only occasionally fully successful. The main impression I came away with is that I loved watching Rhys Ifans.

  3. A good and eminently fair review, with the point about pacing especially well taken.

    That said, what are “climatic reveals that fall flat”? Is global warming a hoax after all?!?

  4. You say Daniel gets shot by German Intelligence officers; are you sure? It looks like the CIA assassin who shoots him….

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