**SPOILERS** So, here I am, with five episodes behind me and five (or maybe only four?) ahead. In Canada, Episode 6 airs on Monday. (Sorry… couldn’t resist the cheesy title… “right” in line with those of the show.) Averaging out my scoring of the episodes, also brings me to a middling rating. Would I continue watching if Richard Armitage weren’t in it? Doubtful.
I had hoped to get my husband interested in watching it too, but apparently comments like, “The best thing about it is the opening sequence with the Bowie song” and “I was so bored that I went to bed halfway through episode 3” just didn’t make him want to watch it! Go figure!
I really think the show suffers from a lack of consistency, due to the constant changes in writers and directors. They’ve added some female writers/directors, which is good to see, although I’m not sure how much difference it’s made, except maybe in Episode 5, where there were more emotional scenes and even BB Yates seemed more realistic. I’ve found overall, though, that there is little depth to most of the characters, and some of the personal details the writers have added are just not very interesting or don’t seem plausible.
For easy reference, I decided to list the writers/directors so far as noted by IMDb, along with my overall comments on the episodes:
Episode 1: Everything’s Going to Be Alt-Right: Directed by Christoph Schrewe; written by Tony Basgallop and Bradford Winters. The season started out fairly okay with this episode, other than some issues with plot, dialogue, and the BB Yates character, as I described here.
Episode 2: Right Here, Right Now: Directed by John David Coles; written by Tony Basgallop. I liked this episode a lot, with the focus on the tense interactions between Daniel Miller, Hector DeJean, Lena Ganz, and Otto Ganz. There is also some exciting action thrown into the mix.
Episode 3: Right to the Heart: Directed by John David Coles; written by Kiersten Van Horne. I found this episode to be extremely boring for the most part, and I did actually go to bed halfway through, picking it up the next day. Richard Armitage is only in one scene, as most of the action apparently occurs simultaneously with the previous episode.
Episode 4: Do the Right Thing: Directed by Bronwen Hughes; written by Larry J Cohen. Again pretty boring, but maybe a bit less so than Episode 3, in large part because Richard Armitage reappears. But the whole BB Yates new age yoga cult thing? Ridiculous and not believable (even though I get that this is supposed to be a spy mission as well) — to me this doesn’t connect at all to her personality as presented in the current timeline.
Episode 5: Right of Way: Directed by Bronwen Hughes; written by Lara Shapiro. If the whole series had the pacing, excitement, and emotional scenes that this episode does, I would be watching it on its own merits, instead of just for Richard Armitage. The emotional scenes with Otto Ganz (Thomas Kretschmann) in the truck and with Lena Ganz (Emilia Schüle) are very well-acted. Nice to see those actors getting a chance to really shine. I even appreciated Ashley Judd’s acting in this one.
Based on what I’ve seen so far, my thoughts on the characters are:
The script makes it difficult to really get a handle on Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage), as it is hard to see the line between the spy and, his cover, Trevor Price. At least this season, Armitage has a bit more to work with in the script and can make use of his expressive face and eyes. And I enjoy the scenes with Esther Krug (Mina Tander), although I’m not sure yet where they are leading. For me, Armitage certainly makes the show visually interesting, but he is sorely missed in some of the episodes. In Season 1, I had the impression that Daniel Miller might not be all that great a spy, and that seems to be proving true in Season 2 as well. He makes mistakes and things seem to go wrong for him. He acts quite nervous and not ruthless enough, in my opinion, and I’m not sure that his superiors would always be pleased with his performance.
I am really enjoying Valerie Edwards (Michelle Forbes) this season. She is an agent in control and is mentoring the less experienced but smart April Lewis (Keke Palmer), whose character (and acting) brings some freshness to the show. I like the interactions between Valerie and Joseph Emmerich (Heino Ferch), her asset and love (?) interest. There is chemistry there…
…Unlike between BB Yates (Ashley Judd) and Robert Kirsch (Leland Orser). I don’t find their drinking together and sleeping together believable, on a number of levels. I see no chemistry there whatsoever, and I don’t believe that a station chief would sleep with her second-in-command. Mind you, I don’t find much about BB Yates to be credible, except for her obvious distress as the mission is going all wrong in Episode 5.
I still am enjoying the Robert Kirsch character, though, but there is questionable scripting, with the BB Yates thing and Kirsch’s ongoing connection with Steven Frost (Richard Jenkins). While I didn’t mind the Frost character in Season 1 and even at the beginning of this season, it has deteriorated to ridiculousness, with weird dreams and pointless “spying”. Oh and of course playing video games with Kirsch’s son, Noah Kirsch (Brandon Spink), who doesn’t seem to have much other purpose so far.
I still like Hector DeJean (Rhys Ifans), although the best episode so far for his character has been Episode 2, plus the scene where he confronts Robert Kirsch in Episode 4. I can at least see the point of him being brought back for Season 2, which is more than I can say for the Steven Frost character.
I am trying really hard to like Berlin Station, and some of the episodes are pretty engaging, but when you have to try this hard, it’s a sign. I haven’t heard anything about a third season, but I’m really hoping this season will be the last.