A Gentleman In Moscow – Episode 8 Recap, Review & Ending Explained


Episode 8 of Gentleman in Moscow starts this finale with an ominous message from Anna. There’s only a small window of opportunity to succeed and get out the hotel. Their destination is the US Embassy, and, more specifically, Richard Vanderwhile to give him some tapes. They’ll know it’s a success when every phone inside the Metro hotel is rung at 10.30pm. Simple right? Unfortunately, the reality is anything but.

How is Sofia going to get out?

For now, we cut back to Anna telling Rostov to sit down and be quiet. They’re waiting patiently for Sofia, who rocks up in a beautiful blue dress ahead of her big performance. All of this is thanks to the handywork of Marina, who has excelled herself here.

Up on the rooftop, Rostov speaks to Sofia in confidence. He wants her to go to the US Embassy and get out of the country. This contextualizes the plan we saw at the start of the episode. Now we know it’s actually for Sofia. After her performance, she needs to blend into the group, complete with an impromptu haircut and a new disguise. If she’s caught, then it will be the end of her. However, Sofia – much like Anna and Rostov – has her sights set on freedom.

Does Sofia learn the truth?

Down in the bar, Anna speaks to Sofia about the significance of this area. After all, this is where she first met Rostov and Nina was there to join them. Anna, with tears in her eyes, tells Sofia to go and never look back. She knows they may not see each other again, given how high-stakes and dangerous this plan is.

That night, Rostov cuts the BS with Sofia and explains that they’re not reuniting in the US. This is very much goodbye and the whole endeavour runs parallel to how things were with Helena.

Rostov never got a chance for closure with his sister, and Sofia doesn’t want him to make that same mistake. Upon hearing this, the Count explains that he made a promise to Nina and intends to do everything he can to make sure he honours that. And just like that, Sofia leaves the hotel for the last time, and Rostov says goodbye, his voice wavering as he realizes this is the last time he’s going to see his daughter.

How does Osip help?

Rostov toasts to a “life lived without regret” that night, believing that while life has its downs, it also has its ups too and without sorrow, there would be no joys. Having made peace with his fellow comrades, Rostov heads upstairs… where Osip happens to be.

Osip explains he’s seen a lot of people die and knows that his time is coming to an end. He’s lost his daughter and wife, who are both dead, and regrets the last moments he had with them – or didn’t, as fate would have it. Time is a cruel mistress and having turned his back on her, Osip is now paying the price, wishing he had more of it to say goodbye to his beloved.

Osip continues, telling Rostov that he sees him as a friend and warns that Sofia is an important asset to the State. Their fool-proof plan? Well, it’s not so fool-proof after all. Osip knows that people are going to be watching all 3 of them. Part of that stems from Sofia’s place in the performance, which is changed so she’s going to go on later than scheduled. This also means that Anna and Rostov may not get the phone call either.

What happens during the final night?

While they sit and worry, Anna and Rostov decide to try and get some of that tension out by dancing together. As they move together, Rostov and Anna discuss their chances of escape. They’re both resigned themselves to not having their happily-ever-after.

Pat of their plan though stems from two passports being left at the hotel, which Anna and Rostov can conveniently use for themselves. However, Bishop ends up sniffing about and he sees Anna leave the hotel, suspecting the worst. In fact, as Sofia plays her music, we cut back to the hotel where Rostov notices Bishop searching around the fake room, where he sees the passports and starts to piece together what’s happened.

When Bishop returns to his office, he finds Rostov sitting in his chair with two guns. He fires a warning shot next to the manager, and has clearly had enough.

Does Sofia escape?

After Sofia’s performance, she snatches up her stuff and rushes out the room. When she does, the final curtain call arrives. Sofia is immediately spotted as missing and despite cutting her hair, finds herself having to escape the watchful eyes of her teacher.

She does well, and eventually leaves while Rostov burns all the documents of Sofia and her family in the boiler room downstairs in the hotel’s basement. He leaves Bishop chained up and alone, while the plan to get Sofia out hits a big road bump. Osip shows up to see Anna, who’s waiting anxiously at the station.

What happens to Anna and Rostov?

He hands over a passport for her. He urges her to get on the train, which will get her to Finland. There’s also a note from Rostov too, and it’s a beautiful act of kindness from Osip to do this for the couple. It doesn’t undo the horrible deeds he’s done in the past but it’s at least a small sliver of redemption.

We don’t see Anna get on the train though, as we cut back to the hotel. Rostov sits in the lobby until every phone in the building rings. Sofia has managed to get to the Embassy. The sound is like music to our Count’s ears, as he realizes his daughter is now safe. After taking one last look around, he puts his hat on and leaves the hotel.

What is the truth with the ambiguous ending?

The next scene plays out like an epilogue. We’re told that Sofia never saw Anna and Rostov again in her life. However, the scene cuts to Rostov walking through the woods, reunited with Anna. Now, there are a few interpretations to this scene.

The first (and one that I personally believe is the truth) is that this is the afterlife. Anna chooses not to get on the train, with her love with Rostov too strong to abandon him. Somewhere in Russia, the pair are killed together, as lovers. This also explains the ethereal state they’re in. Finally, the camera matches the same letterbox framing we’ve seen in the visions and the flashbacks. This also reframes the nightmare in episode 7 too, as a foreshadowed glimpse of Rostov being left “in the cold” (given the scenes showed him surrounded with snowflakes) and Sofia surviving the fire (where she’s screaming while playing the piano) and making it out in one piece.

The alternate interpretation here is that Anna and Rostov escape Russia. They make it on the train together or individually, and manage to evade the authorities. Perhaps they both made it to Finland and the epilogue shows their lives together living off the land in the wilderness. For now, the ambiguity is left up to you, dear reader, to make up your own mind!

The Episode Review

The ambiguous ending to Gentleman in Moscow opens up the very real possibility that Anna and Rostov didn’t make it. Or maybe they did and the creators ran out of run-time and budget to actually give this a conclusive finish. Either way, it’s a bit of a tepid and somewhat anticlimactic end to what’s otherwise been a decent drama.

When you get past the casting and some production issues, the show has been a decent watch throughout. It’s definitely carried by the performances and the story, which boasts a fascinating blend of history and drama.

The ending is definitely going to be a point of contention though but it’s not a complete dealbreaker. But what about you guys? How do you interpret the ending? Let us know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “A Gentleman In Moscow – Episode 8 Recap, Review & Ending Explained”

  1. The ending of the series is a real disappointment for all fans of the book. Nina and Rostov do reunite and it’s a thrilling read.

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