Spy/Master – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

An alert goes out from the Romanian team in Bonn that Comrade Godeanu is missing as episode 3 of Spy/Master begins. Popescu and Sorin discover that Godeanu isn’t in his hotel room, and a soon as the alert is sounded there is panic in the highest ranks of the Romanian communist regime. Godeanu is being taken to a CIA safe house by Frank.

John Miller, his inexperienced understudy, will be his anchor while they are in hiding and Frank negotiates extradition with Camp David. The safe house is a dilapidated building with just one other occupant; a deaf old lady who hates Russians. But she isn’t a threat, yet.

Godeanu isn’t sure about John as he is young. Even though the American is highly qualified, Godeanu’s comments echo the sentiments of veterans who have lived through the Cold War in real time, not through history books or television shows. Frank’s personal life is struggling due to his work. Delilah, his wife, is unhappy with him for missing another social event with her friends. A professional hazard of being with the CIA.

Scott, Frank’s friend at Camp David, isn’t sure that Carter will sign off on Godeanu’s extradition. He asks Scott to do more and get it done in any way possible. The next morning, Godeanu expresses his dissatisfaction with Frank’s assurances and the reality. He feels the world is catching up and they do not have long. Popescu meets with Commissioner Steinbruch from the German police and asks him to keep Godeanu’s disappearance discreet for now. Someone at the hotel saw Ingrid leaving Godeanu’s room earlier but her identity is yet to be ascertained by the police.

Upon hearing her description from Steinbruch, Sorin confirms her as Ingrid, attracting Popescu’s ire as now Steinbruch wants to take the information public since Ingrid works at the Ministry of Interior. Ileana and Adela are also worried when Felix, Godeanu’s associate and friend, delivers the news. Gustav, Ingrid’s husband, proposes the family take a vacation to get away from their stressful lives. But Ingrid’s unresponsiveness to the idea irritates him.

Safiya, her Egyptian helper, lives with her husband Omar in a dingy apartment. There is some sort of conspiracy unfolding beneath the surface as we see Omar quickly grab a bar of soap from the grocery bag that Safiya just brought to take out a key from inside. Godeanu is getting angsty with every passing minute that Carter stalls the signing off and Frank knows this.

His bosses at the embassy don’t know about Godeanu. Steinbruch meets Ingrid at the Ministry. She is able to navigate the situation well but calls his Stasi controller in a fit after he leaves. Unbeknownst to her, Popescu has been following Ingrid. She sees her meet the controller and overhears them talk about Godeanu.

The news of the disappearance has gone public on German radio. Instead of panicking, the wily Romanian suggests they “let the authorities find him.” He gives his passport to Frank, who throws it into the Rhine. Elena suggests to Nicolae that “his enemies took away his most trusted advisor.” They do not think Godeanu can defect or betray them. When Scott tells Frank that Carter “will not sign off on a missing guy (referring to Godeanu),” Frank sets the bottom line. He is bringing Goideanu to the US with/without permission.

Frank stays the night with Godeanu to assure him how much his defection matters to the US. Jabare, Safiya’s brother, has come back from Egypt and is planning something with Omar. But it is not made clear in this episode what exactly. Popescu meets Ingrid at her house and threatens to reveal her real Stasi connection to the world. She is forced into revealing that Godeanu might be defecting to the US as she saw him at the embassy (in episode 1).

Popescu is taken aback by the revelation as, until then, the Romanians felt that the Russians had him. Ingrid also points Popescu in the direction of John Miller, who got intimate with Ingrid at a party. Popescu follows her to the old building and slips inside by picking the lock. The old lady gives a tip-off to the police about Godeanu and Steinbruch leads a team. Before, Mircea, the head of Romanian counterintelligence, indicated to Popescu that “killing Godeanu” is a possibility.

The police and Popescu knock at their door. John greets them as Frank and Godeanu hide outside on the window ledge. The danger is averted and they decide to relocate that afternoon. Little do they know that Popescu is hanging around the building and sees them leave, confirming Ingrid’s theory.

The Episode Review

If everyone did their job as well as Ms Popescu, the world would be a much better place. The counterintelligence agent has been relentless in her pursuit of Godeanu. He was almost caught in this episode but his time is running short. The Americans’ indecisiveness is surprising but also symbolic of the shambles the White House was in during Carter’s regime.

Seeing Elena and Nicolae’s reactions really drills into you the parental affection they had for Godeanu. For them, Godeanu represented closeness and trust, showing the vulnerability and isolationism of such highly-ranked political dictators. It also earmarks how easily they could be manipulated.

The fallibility of human bonds is well-recognized in the show and episode 3 was no different. One cannot help but admire how well Spy/Master has been adapted into a television show that is respectful of the complexities of espionage but also not boring.

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