Close calls and subtle discoveries are made in this week’s episode of BERLIN STATION, “By Way of Deception.” The episode most notably featured Hector attempting to disable Daniel’s search for Thomas Shaw and Frost viciously and cunningly cutting down his opponent for Deputy Director. But while the drama was high, my attention span was not.
This episode did bring in a certain intrigue that last week’s episode did not. And with the stakes and tension running so high, the plot didn’t seem to take so long to keep the story moving. Yet, even with that said, I still checked my watch about halfway through, wondering how much more show was left.
I do think that the most egregious failings of this show is that it is a workplace drama about spies, when it could be a spy drama about spies! As it is, we see very little beyond random surveillance missions, which aren’t any fun to watch. Even in this episode, Daniel at the last minute decides to go inside the security building he’s attempting to hack into, to make sure that a piece of malware that will let them hack the servers is installed properly. But there’s very little to see – he gets let in by an employee he’s been blackmailing into helping him, he almost gets caught and hides behind the server towers until the employees leave the server room again, and then he leaves without incidence. There’s nothing. No action, no incidence. I mean, of course he’s good at his job, but if he’s that perfect there’s nothing of interest for me.
And speaking of how good he is at his job, how good is he, really? This episode starts out with a flashback that gives you the origin of his last in-field mission before being sent home to be an analyst – in it, he royally messes up an attempt to find a female suicide bomber, and Hector, who is on the mission with him, covers up the failure with a lie in his report back to headquarters. So there’s that. And then there’s also the fact that Daniel can’t figure out that Hector is Thomas Shaw. Honestly, it doesn’t even feel like Hector is doing that great of a job of covering up his tracks – he gets himself assigned to Daniel’s mission and and then messes it up on purpose. Daniel is still able to get what he needed done, though, despite Hector’s encouraging that they simply bail on the mission.
And what about that weird confrontation Daniel and Hector have after Daniel finishes the mission and returns to the rooftop only to find that Hector and the rest of the stakeout team have already left? Clearly Daniel is mad, but the two men argue about the suicide bomber mission, not the one that Hector so clearly and suspiciously just messed up. Daniel tells Hector he has to stop trying to protect him – what? How could anything that Hector did on the mission they just finished be misconstrued as trying to protect Daniel? It’s all so very confusing, and the only thing I got out of that whole exchange is that perhaps Hector is hesitant to expose Daniel through Thomas Shaw because he does feel some sort of brotherly need to cover for Daniel. Perhaps this is why he hasn’t exposed Daniel as of yet, even though Daniel is treading very close to uncovering Hector’s secret. But who knows if Daniel will ever make the connection, even if it’s right under his nose.
Of course, we now know that Frost’s wife can make a connection when it’s shoved right under her nose. While attending a conference where her husband is reluctantly trying to nab the Deputy Director chair, she is hit on pretty blatantly by the complete douche of a director who is the frontrunner candidate for the Deputy Director seat. When Mrs. Frost rejects his invitations, he tells her that he knows her husband has been sleeping with his secretary. She plays it off as though she’s known this forever – but has she? She tells Frost about what happened, but leaves out the infidelity part. Frost promises to take care of it – and he does, successfully killing two birds with one stone in the process. Meanwhile, Mrs. Frost finds Sandra, Frost’s secretary, and warns her that if she’s still sleeping with her husband, it’s over as of now.
So, at least, there’s one competent person in this show. I’m not sure if I’d personally want to stay with a lying, cheating husband, but more power to her for knowing what she wants and taking it. At the moment, she’s really the only truly interesting character to me in this show. Here’s to hoping next week’s episode will change that, though.
Season 1, Episode 4 (S01E04)
Berlin Station airs Sundays at 9PM on Epix
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.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor