A Gentleman In Moscow – Episode 2 Recap & Review

An Invitation

Episode 2 of A Gentleman In Moscow begins in 1922 with Ivan Milovic giving a speech about Russia’s future. However, he’s usurped by a man called Mishka, who believes they must build a world of equal opportunity for all. With the rich still taking everything, he tells the people they need to show love to their fellow man and band together to tip the scales in their favour.

Alexander Rostov happens to be listening to this from the vents, alongside Nina. He speaks to Mishka in the hallway afterwards and questions his betrayal to the family. Rostov believes that he treated him like a brother but Mishka is mired in bitterness, believing that “everything that happened is because of you”. When he leaves, Osip happens to be watching this talk transpire. He speaks to Rostov in his room and brings up that Mishka has influence within the Party. He wants Rostov’s help to understand him better, and it’s not like he has much of a choice here.

At dinner, things take a surprising turn. A couple of dogs rush in and begin racing about, one of which eating the contents of a plate before a startled woman. These mutts belong to Anna Urbanova, a Russian actress that’s in town. She’s delightedly surprised when Rostov manages to control them with a whistle. The pair flirt a little and there’s definite sexual tension here. Nina chirps up when the young woman leaves, pointing out that she’s a film star but she’s not very good.

Later that day, Rostov manages to find a secret passage leading to the adjacent room. It’s pretty run-down but they work together to fix the place back up again. When they sit down to tea, Rostov explains that Mishka and Rostov’s sister were pretty close, and flashbacks show that too, with Mishka painting her portrait.

That night, a big fight breaks out at the bar when one of the punters tries to push ahead and get served first. It may seem like an exaggeration but take it from someone who spent 5 years working in nightclubs, this is actually a standard Friday night.

Anyway, in the aftermath of the brawl, Mishka and Rostov find themselves toasting to their health while nursing their wounds. Mishka is surprised that the Count got his hands dirty like that and they clash over ideologies once more, albeit with less tension compared to the opening of the episode. Rostov brings up Petrov’s death and how he wasn’t a threat to anyone but the ideas Mishka is now riling up.

When he leaves, Rostov is encouraged to meet Urbanova. Nina chirps in and decides they need to resume their meeting and essentially cock-blocks him from the actress. They do eventually convene at the bar, but Nina joins them, hopping up on the barstool. Rostov is not happy about this and his quick outburst sees her disperse in a huff, and Anna asking Rostov to show up at her door in 20 minutes.

Rostov believes he’s getting lucky and he hands over a rose for her. As they sit together, Anna questions Rostov about his past, but he turns the tables and talks about her. Specifically, how she’s a fisherman’s daughter and her dad died when she was young. The pair verbally spar and the sexual tension ends up so great that they ditch dinner and end up in the bedroom and have sex.

In the morning, during the glow of post-sex euphoria, Rostov returns to Nina and apologizes for his rudeness the night before. He once again brings up education and the desire for her to better herself. After this meeting, Osip returns to see Rostov in his room. He wants to talk to Rostov about the “incident” from a few days ago. Specifically, the brawl at the bar.

Rostov shrugs it off, claiming he had no idea that these were factory administrators. Osip keeps his attention trained on Rostov and wants to know more about Mishka. He knows that he’s loyal to Rostov to the point he would sacrifice his standing in the party. But why? Well, we know it’s because of Rostov’s sister and Osip sorta knows too but the conversation turns sour when the subject of death is brought up. Before he leaves, Rostov hands over a book to Osip and claims it’s a Christmas present. “Christmas is outlawed,” He returns. But he does take the book all the same.

At dinner, Anna decides to head off with another guy, right in front of Rostov and playing games with him. To make matters worse, that shifty waiter, Bishop, throws backhanded remarks at Rostov regarding his position at the hotel. Interestingly, this scene juxtaposes another dinner, one far more homely and intimate. This does feel very reminiscent to the one in Titanic with the first and third class dinner parties.

Anyway, Rostov joins Mishka as they head downstairs where all the other workers drink, eat heartily and end up dancing. Rostov gets involved too, dancing with Marina, the maid we saw last episode feeding her daughter with scraps.

Afterwards, Rostov sits with Mishka in his room and they stare at the portrait of his sister by the fire. Rostov wonders whether she’d still be alive had he not got between her and Mishka. Rostov feels awful for this, and even more so given his old friend wrote him the poem and helped save his life. Mishka and Rostov hug it out, dissipating their earlier tensions, and Mishka agrees to come visit again.

As for Rostov, he opens a gift left behind for him, which includes a key leading all the way up to the rooftop. He looks out at the beauty of Russia and takes it all in.


The Episode Review

The second episode of Gentleman in Moscow slows the pace down considerably as we’re introduced to a new character, Anna Urbanova. Her inclusion is an interesting one, and she’s certainly a multifaceted character. She knows what she wants – and exactly how to play with men’s hearts to get it. I’d imagine we’ll see more of her in the episodes ahead.

Meanwhile, we see more of Nina and Rostov’s friendship blossom, which has developed into a rather amusing encounter between the pair. It’s a clever way of adding more depth and character to Rostov, while simultaneously allowing natural exposition to be delivered.

In the middle of all this, the drama involving Russia as a whole is just starting to hit fever pitch. We’ve finally seen Mishka and understand he’s a big part of Rostov’s life – and this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him and the conflict with Osip either.

Either way, everything is geared up for a very interesting second half to this tale!

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