Spy/Master – Season 1 Episode 5 “The Bomb Maker” Recap & Review

The Bomb Maker

Episode 5 of Spy/Master goes for the jugular and establishes as many as five concurrent conceits in the plot, all coming alive in fantastic fashion. Ileana is made to suffer after being apprehended by the Secret Police in the previous episode. She knows nothing about Victor’s defection plans but her word is not believed. Felix has already been broken by them for whatever information he had on Victor. Nicolae is uncomfortable with Ileana’s torture but Elena believes it will hurt Victor and he might make a mistake.

Victor is made aware of Ileana’s condition and he is livid. He records a tape for her, assuring Ileana that he will get her to America with him. John Miller, Frank’s deputy, is requested by Victor for this favour. Ingrid is panicking as her Stasi handler is not picking up her phone. She decides to pack a bag and run, bidding an emotional farewell to her son. She also advises Safiya to do the same and take Achmed, Safiya’s son, with her. Victor once again leverages his knowledge of probable terrorist attacks being planned under the Americans’ noses. But, in return, he wants a guarantee from President Carter of safe haven in the US and that Ileana will be extracted from Romania by Christmas.

Frank makes a call to George Riley to convince Carter to sign off on this. According to Victor, the attack could vitiate the peace talks at Camp David between Israel and Egypt being brokered by the Americans. That forces Carter to agree to the plan to green-light the extradition. Meanwhile, Romanian counterintelligence is planning its own mission. They want to kidnap Victor from the Embassy with a huge conference being occasioned in a few days’ time. Victor finally gives up Omar’s name to Frank.

He was trained in one of the camps in Romania. Along with Jabare, he is planning an attack somewhere in Bonn that the German authorities are immediately made aware of. The BND (State Police) gets into action mode, while there is unrest among Stasi (German Secret Police) ranks as well. The Stasi is following Ingrid and keeping tabs on her whereabouts. We see Jabare and Omar make the bomb to be used in the attack. Ileana comes back home, humiliated and heartbroken. She hangs Nicolae’s portrait that she made outside her house as a rebellion.

She also burns a photo of Victor, understandably angry with him. Victor and Frank discuss the impending attack and who might really be behind it. When Victor mentions Ingrid, Frank theorizes that the Stasi is behind the attack. But why? We get confirmation soon as we shockingly learn that Klaus, who works in the Ministry of Interior, is an undercover Stasi agent. Ingrid did not know this and Klaus meets with her handler. They agree on making Ingrid the scapegoat since she has escaped and it would be convenient. They provided Jabare with guns and ammunition.

The Stasi is hot on Ingrid’s tail as she heads over to the border. Once she crosses it, she will be alright. Romanian counterintelligence sends an agent dressed as a waiter to scope the place and get the best possible estimate of where the Americans are keeping Victor. General Shakarov calls Jabare and tells him that the attack must happen sooner rather than later since the authorities are already aware of it. Victor hands over the tape to Frank to give to Ileana. He assures Victor he will find a way. But in private with John, Frank keeps the tape inside his drawer since the house is guarded 24×7 by the secret police.

Adela meets with Boris, whom we only saw in episode 1 meeting Victor, indicating that he was his KGB handler. It turns out that the two had an affair before Victor. As part of their arrangement, Adela “delivered” Victor to Boris. Now, in return, she wants him to guarantee a safe passage for Ileana out of Romania. She creates a distraction in front of the house as Ileana is sedated and extracted by Boris’ men. She is placed beneath a casket and smuggled out of the country. Nicolae loses his mind and there is panic among his closest aides.

Jabare places the bombs in different places, including a church. Ingrid reaches the border crossing into West Germany. The Stasi is close behind her. She panics and gets out of her car. But the guard says that her passport is expired. She quickly goes beyond the crossing and lands right between the two intersections. Both sides aim guns at her. She puts her hands up in the air and advances toward the other crossing. We hear shots as the screen goes black.

The Episode Review

With every episode, Spy/Master gains even more intrigue and respect from its viewers. This is simply breathtaking storytelling, the highest level of television. This episode, especially, had several subplots that unravelled and contributed to the overall cinematic universe. Victor’s defection has each different camp making their plans and viewing the situation differently.

Although we know that Camp David was a huge success, it remains to be seen how the bombs are located and dealt with. Adela’s history was a big revelation and it reminded us that Ileana was safer with her than Victor, who actually abandoned her. Ingrid hadn’t done too much wrong to be at the receiving end of German gunfire.

But that is just one glaring reminder of Spy/Master’s bleak world. The counterintelligence team has been relentless in their pursuit of Victor. They are the closest they have ever been to extracting him. Will they succeed or will Victor defect and spill vital communist secrets to tilt the Cold War?

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