Looking At The Moon From Below
Episode 5 of Gloria Season 1 starts with a woman called Otilia giving birth in Miguel’s office. Unfortunately the child is born without arms, which sees Otilia let out a shrill, pained cry. When Anne shows up, she hears the bad news, although it seems this is a regular occurrence in Gloria. As fate would have it, all the women seem to be blaming the antennas for this.
Joao is given another assignment at RARET. Dr Dassaev was the head of a Soviet space project and for two days he’ll be Joao’s responsibility. He has a reputation for being difficult and he needs a good host to keep him comfortable… but not too comfortable. As it turns out, Dassaev used to be part of the V-2 rocket mission in German.
Joao cleverly broaches the subject of the whiskey here too, which Wilson walks right into willingly. Apparently this particular brand is reserved for Directors but James is confident he can get more for Joao. This is just what he needs to break into James’s office that night and check the tape recorder.
When Bill and James Wilson show up in the latter’s office, Joao hides out and listens to them discussing the space race. “We have to get to the moon before the soviets” Wilson demands. Now, this is linked back to Dassaev, who’s only passing through before being flown out the country to the US.
Given this was conveniently left out during Joao’s mission briefing, Joao inevitably tells Irina while she’s out for a smoke later thar evening.
Carolina, sporting some nasty bruises and cuts across her back from the whipping, is dressed up and prepares for her marriage to Fernando, without Fernando present. While the vows are read, we cut across to Fernando who’s forced to rape a poor girl in an African village that his platoon are stationed at. It’s a harsh contrast of fortunes, and one that shows that war really does bring the worst out of people.
Despite James Wilson’s assessment of Mia, PIDE are not convinced this is the real cause of death. They’re suspicious and given they’re doubly not happy with the appointment of a new president off the back of Salazar’s hospitalization, James and Anne realize they’re in hot water.
Bill is sent to question Miguel in the midst of this, reminded that he needs to be on the ball and make sure he doesn’t slip up. With PIDE sniffing around, Miguel could be the weak link in all this. “If you believe it, it won’t be a lie” Bill says sternly before leaving.
Dr Dassaev eventually does show up, looking pretty shaggy with his curly curtained hair. At a party that evening, Irina slips something into his drink. Despite being handed a glass, he in turn hands it to Anne. This obviously wasn’t part of the deal so Joao spills the drink to save her life – and prevent his cover from being blown.
The next day, James Wilson speaks plainly to Dassaev, telling him he needs to board the plane to the US with or without his family. In a cloud of disgusting smoke, deliberately exhaled in Wilson’s face, Dassaev sneers and realizes his family aren’t coming.
“Humanity always advances in the midst of a tragedy” He says nonchalantly to the good doctor. Dassaev mutters in Russian and heads into the bathroom. Bill follows though and this disgusting Russian urinates on the floor, on Bill’s shoes and then leaves the bathroom without washing his hands.
It’s probably for the best then when Dassaev is thrown off the balcony to his death moments later. Only, there’s a problem. He’s not actually dead but in a comatose state. This not only puts his move to the US on hiatus, it poses a problem for the KGB.
This botched assassination then falls to Joao to finish the job, with Alexandre demanding he make sure the man is dead. So off Joao goes to Red Cross Hospital.
Gloria has had a knack for well-shot camera sequences up until this point, something we haven’t really spoken about a lot in these recaps. However, this final section of the episode is a perfect example of how to use a one-shot sequence to heighten tension. Within this, Joao sneaks into the hospital, evades guards and eventually stands over an unconscious Dassaev, left with a difficult decision to make.
The Episode Review
That one-shot sequence in the hospital though *chefs kiss* What a great way to end the episode and it’s a brilliant example of how this can help heighten tension and make things exciting, even if it’s the simplest of scenes.
Gloria has used a lot of last-ditch escapes when people enter offices or other rooms, which is a little cliched and a big mainstay in this espionage genre. The Fernando/Carolina subplot is another element of this that doesn’t quite hit the right notes either, unfortunately. However, the main espionage story is interesting, well written and fascinating to see Joao’s allegiance shifting as the season progresses.
The line is not a clear black and white, which is something Gloria has captured gloriously across the various episodes. The ending does leave things resting precariously on a knife-edge though, so we’ll have to wait and see what Joao chooses to do next.
You can check out our full season review for Gloria here!
1 thought on “Gloria – Season 1 Episode 5 “Looking At The Moon From Below” Recap & Review”
There is a scene in Episode 5 with Jao and Alexandre in a garage or empty warehouse building where it looks like Jao is training for his upcoming hit on Dassaev. Alexandre is standing next to Joao while Joao is fighting with another man. It looks like Joao and the other man are training, but at the end of the fight sequence it actually looks like Joao has killed the man. This seemed particularly cold blooded even by KGB standards – so I am wondering if I misinterpreted the scene.