Thomas Shaw has been found and lost again in BERLIN STATION, “False Negative.” Talk about the longest build up in a show ever, this is episode eight and I finally, FINALLY am interested in what’s happening. The Spies-Who-Don’t-Spy-Right are finally spying right, but they’re up against forces that may be able to outwit and out spy them yet.
This show is so full of despicable, incompetent characters, but I’m finding since Clare’s death I actually care about what happens to some of them. Especially poor Daniel, who is so right and yet so wrong about so many things. Thank bejeezus he finally dumped his bugged phone. It only took him discovering the jump drives containing all of the sound bytes from his phone and figuring out that Hector is the one who bugged it for him to realize it was an unsecure device.
Here’s another confusing and annoying thing proving the incompetencies extend past our spy characters: Daniel’s sister refuses to stop seeing Hector, even after Daniel tries desperately to warn her against it. And now she’s been unwittingly kidnapped by the creepy German drag queen who has been doing Hector/Thomas Shaw’s bidding, and who murdered the journalist at the beginning of the season, without Hector’s orders to do so. I have a feeling that part of this creepy dude’s problem is that he’s hung up emotionally on Hector, and his kidnapping Daniel’s sister has less to do with her as a loose end and more to do with his jealousy and possibly an attempt to get Hector to agree to do what he wants Hector to do. But I’m not exactly sure, because I’m not even sure how creepy dude knew about Daniel’s sister.
An interesting technique that was used this episode that I haven’t noticed as much in other episodes throughout the season was the use of a nonlinear narrative. We find out at the beginning of the episode that Hector is being questioned under a lie detector test. The rest of the episode is a jump back and a build to who is questioning Hector and why, with various jumps back to the questioning in between other scenes. It was an interesting way to lay the episode out, and highlighted the dizzying knot of lies and information that our characters are constantly trying to untangle. Goodness, I’m getting kind of stressed just thinking about it.
Other things happening in this episode: Kirsch is desparately trying to keep his head above water while he leads the station in Frost’s absence. He’s not doing a great job – he’s never been that suave – but he does at least one thing right. Tel Aviv wants a file labelled ‘Marie Antoinette,’ but after Kirsch finds it and discovers who it involves and what it is about, he tells Tel Aviv that he wasn’t able to find the file. This is really good for Valerie, though she doesn’t know it, because the file is actually a botched case that she was investigating. She closed it out too early because she fell in love with the bar owner who was her “in” for the mission and she wanted to be done with the lying so she could focus solely on their romance. Unfortunately she doesn’t see the good, because before Kirsch comes to address her about the file, Sandra tells Valerie it’s missing, and in an effort to head off any backlash that might turn up publicly with the file, Valerie tells her partner of now five years about the truth behind how they met, and it burns the bridge between them. Will he ultimately forgive her? We don’t know yet, but it’s not looking good and she’s clearly bitter, seeing as she doesn’t like Kirsch to begin with.
Meanwhile, Daniel locates Frost, who’s gone into hiding after being outed by Thomas Shaw and being hunted by German authorities. Daniel tells Frost of his suspicions with Hector and they devise a plan to bring Hector in for a questioning and lie detector test. He’s doing a pretty good job of beating the test until they give him a drug that lowers his self-control so that he’ll answer more honestly. Which does beautifully until they get to the actual question of whether Hector is Thomas Shaw or not. At that point he answers that he is not Thomas Shaw – Thomas Shaw is dead. And unfortunately for Daniel and especially Frost, who has negotiated a deal with the German authorities that if he can get them Thomas Shaw they will let him walk free out of the country, the lie detector test shows that Hector wasn’t lying about not being Thomas Shaw, or that Thomas Shaw is dead. How he was able to beat the test while so high? I have no idea, but the man is good. He’s really good at spying. Too good.
What’s in store next for our doomed-to-be-bad spies? I’ll be watching next week to find out.
Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)
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