BERLIN STATION Review: “Winners Right the History Books”

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The season finale of Berlin Station, “Winners Right the History Books,” comes with a lot of surprises, including the episode ending. I have a lot of thoughts on it.

First, let’s discuss how the season wrapped up – or rather, didn’t wrap up – this season arc. It was a divergence from last season, which tied itself up pretty neatly in a little bow, conflict, solved mystery and all. This season, however, took a different plot route, effectively changing the entire format of the show from relatively isolated season arcs to multiple season arcs.

It’s a bit of a strange move for the show, moving from an isolated story to one that is open-ended and catapults us into the next season of conflict. It’s risky, as viewers expect answers and resolutions where they discover there is none.  And it certainly cements the feeling that season two has taken an entirely new direction on the show. Rather than solve the ever-growing case of the far-right terrorist movement involving both CIA and German operatives, the show peels back layers of the story, culminating in Hector being shot – call back to Daniel last season – and the revelation that this movement is probably larger than just the two government operatives.

Despite undermining audience expectations, the show manages to make up for any unresolved dissatisfaction by replacing it with enticing complications that will propel our spies and their stories forward, while they navigate the tightrope this alt-right terrorist cell has left for them to deal with. In other words, even though this finale episode leaves us wanting with a lot of questions that have yet to be answered, it manages to ease our frustration with promises of an intriguing third season to look forward to.

Besides, the show still offers us some conclusions. In fact, it balances the personal conclusions nicely against the open-ended action. For one, Robert finally tells his son what he does for a living – more on that in a second – two, Valerie contends with being used by the man she had actually developed feelings for, three, BB makes her way back into play for the station, four, Frost finds himself back at the station – if not in the way he was hoping or expecting – and finally, five, Hector grapples with his impulsive nature and desire for raw, black and white justice, and agrees to pay his dues.

Okay, let’s take a moment to discuss the absolutely lame side story of Robert and his son. Now, before you start getting angry with me for having no soul and no ability to relate to a father trying to connect with his son, let’s talk about the purpose behind having Robert have a (ex)wife and a son in the first place. Because, if you haven’t noticed, he’s the only spy out of all of them (except Frost, who has a wife he cheated on) who has an immediate family and someone who depends on him. His family operates purely as a character device to demonstrate the stress that Robert feels on all sides, and to make his character more sympathetic. Particularly when he starts going on his sailor-mouthed tirades against people he thinks are idiots or being unfair or just walking past him down the hall at the wrong time.

Okay, so that last one wasn’t really a thing that’s happened in the show, but still.

And, when you acknowledge the fact that the conflict between Robert and his son never really got more fleshed out or dynamic than his son believing Robert didn’t really work at the office of regional affairs, you have to admit that Robert’s son feels a little flat and engineered solely to occupy C or D story arcs to help episode feel fuller.

So, it shouldn’t be surprising that Robert finally revealing his true occupation to his son is absolutely anticlimactic. For one, he just randomly decides, “Hmm, okay. I guess today of all days is the day to say something.” Who does that? And for another, his son is just like, “Okay, cool, dad. Now I’m going to go get on a plane to fly home.”

Also completely unsurprising is the fact that (SPOILER) Hector lives. Maybe I’ve just seen too many twist endings like this, but honestly, the only thing surprising to me was the funeral scene. I never truly believed they’d kill Hector off. Of course, Daniel also lived after last season’s finale so maybe I was just a bit skeptical because of that. Either way, it was sort of a strange thing to see the show repeat – is this going to become a pattern for every season ending? Will the joke of the show become “Who’s getting shot this finale?” My bet is on Robert for next season.

But, the good news is, I do hope there is another season.

TB-TV-Grade-A-

Season 2, Episode 9 (S02E09)
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 . Originally from Kansas, when she’s not about or watching , 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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