Perry’s Deep Dark Secret & a Referral

I’ve been making notes on Berlin Station since Episode 1. I watched the first 4 episodes from different locations, so I have notes on all sorts of pads, loose sheets of paper, some front and back because the pads were almost empty, and in my laptop.

Beginning of Berlin Station Notes using Apple Notes -

                   Beginning of Berlin Station Notes using Apple Notes –

I also have unpublished drafts, which serve as notes.screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-26-17-am
And, I have managed to get a few posts up and generated some discussion in comments.

Armitage, Del Potro and Trump

Accent on America

Whoa-BerlinStation Ep. 7

I’ve wanted a picture like this forever

And, I’ve been commenting vigorously on a few other blogs where bloggers are writing about it – there aren’t many – but there is the Episode by Episode description with some only some editorial matter, posted weekly on Me and Richard. The comment section discusses fan theories and opinions. [Find these by searching on Me and Richard (link below)for Berlin Station Episodes and they will all be listed.]

But, while I haven’t ignored the series, I also haven’t written any coherent posts that encourage general discussions of the series and Richard Armitage’s performance and role as Daniel Miller.

I question why I’ve spent so much energy on following and analyze the series and all that goes with it as a Richard Armitage blogger – yet producing next to nothing for myself or those of you who read here. Am I afraid of writing about what I think about this? I think it’s pretty safe to criticize the show itself. There is so much wrong with it – but it’s not a total loser. I’m recommending that you read this latest post from Servetus on Me and Richard Armitage, if you haven’t already. I’m only a little sorry to bootstrap my own blog onto someone else’s (I’ve been doing it for years one way or another), but, although her reasons are a little different than mine – or anyway – she seems to have reasons, Servetus is also having some difficulty with Richard Armitage’s Daniel Miller -anyway, she’s not able, so far, to treat the character the same way she’s treated all his other major characters. You can decide for yourself, but I think she’s saying, there’s not enough there. Again, my own comparison is  Gary Fuller  (Into the Storm).

I’ve tried before to have similar or joint discussions on two blogs and it never worked really well. I’m certainly happy, even prefer, to discuss this here – what’s going on with the show and the role and, really, the waste of talent. IMO – it’s not so much Richard Armitage’s fault. It’s the series, the script and the character. It is the decision to take this role after seeing the script. But I’m also suggesting that my readers take a look at Me and Richard short title : Me and Berlin Station – Why I can’t get into the show much.

I can understand why she, and all of us have to get into the show a little – I mean, there are these and Servetus is the source:

There are probably 100 fabulous screen shots of Richard Armitage, if not more. Fans are enjoying some of the best eye candy and future iconic shots that we could want. For some of us, me, for sure, Daniel Miller is so on the mark of our favorite physical version of Richard Armitage. I can’t stop looking. But, there it is no coincidence that most of Servetus’s captions start with, beautiful shot of Daniel Miller [doing or thinking something]. The disappointment is that the beautiful shots  are just about all the series has to offer us: not much to the character and not much range.

The title of this post, is from one of my unpublished drafts on Berlin Station, Perry’s Dark Secret and it starts of with the sentence,

 Daniel Miller, please be dead.

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21 thoughts on “Perry’s Deep Dark Secret & a Referral

  1. Yep. All of the above, Perry. The same here. For me, BS came with massive, MASSIVE credit even before the show began. The promo material was just so good – I was ready to be blown away by anything they would show me. And it started so promisingly, with a beautiful intro (that really is a pleasure to watch, week by week.) Only to be – literally – shot down in the first minute of the show. For me, that was the capital mistake. I simply do not get invested with a character that looks as if he is dying at the end of the season. And from what I have been shown of him so far – 8 episodes no less – *they* are not investing in him, either. For a leading character, he hardly gets a word in. And barely enough screen time.
    But ok, it’s not all down to Daniel Miller. It’s also the fact that I *still* find the show as convoluted as in episode 1, with the writers being too interested in being clever, than in being interesting. Lots of different plot lines, not enough time spent on properly establishing characters and allowing the audience to forge allegiances with their chosen favourites. I still find the Berlin presented in BS rather stereotypical, which greatly annoys me. The consistently shabby apartments and clandestine meeting points, the hedonistic bars, the generally grey and run-down feel of the place. (But ok, they filmed during the winter; weather in Germany is shite at that time of year.) The show touches and scrapes at Daniel’s back story, but every time you think they are going to finally give us an insight into the man, that particular strand of the story gets lost again. For me, this whole season seems to center around Hector, not Daniel, and Daniel feels like a support act, not the main man, as he has been billed. And yes, I find that disappointing.
    Beautiful shots of Armitage are welcome – but not enough as a redeeming feature for the show, at least when it comes to the wider public. The last two episodes really need some big reveals. Who is Shaw? What is Daniel’s back story, and what is his *real* motivation for all this? And how does the Berlin station actually get out of this mess in order to provide fodder for another season? At this time, I am watching for the plot, not the plot, if you know what I mean…

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    • I know. As an RA blogger, I really would have liked to give this all ( says the person who hasn’t written enough about #LLLPlay yet). I get your point about no investment in characters – I liked The Joker ( don’t know her other name), the asset that helped Daniel Miller in two episodes. She was someone I wished would have developed, maybe into a sort of partner. I saw more chemistry between those two than with DM and Esther – and also, that coupling would have seemed less ambiguous. As an ordinary viewer, my complaint is about the writing, the convoluted and multiple short term plots – as though they are trying a problem of the week together with a larger story- but it only serves to confuse. Example, Stephen and Kellie – we know she had an affair, he was in an episode, they have some dicey marital problems, and it’s all left hanging. IS Sandra with someone else? Do we care? Same with Robert – I am so not interested in his quest to get home to his son. Can’t figure out why he signed on with Mossad if that was his end game. And got really annoyed at how stupid he was as a father for yelling at his son about how his work was prevented him from a visit home – he handled that so wrong – but the kid was also not engaging. ( Note here- very stereotypical casting for the son and ex wife. Might as well have put a yarmulka on the kid, he looked so Jewish.)
      As you say, it did seem that there was a great pedigree for this series – but then I read two Olen Steinhauer books. Even so, I thought there was still hope for a suspenseful , engaging TV series anyway ( didn’t care much for his books – similar tricks used as in the series – imagine bowling pins lined up – they’re the characters – and one by one as the story unfolds each one gets knocked down – is a traitor -double-crosser/double agent, compared to the protagonist.
      The beginning of the series, maybe eps 1-3 were a hot mess IMO. As a fan, I was still a little giddy to see Richard Armitage in my favorite guise, weeks in a row – but he is so underused. Two eps left and this could end without any resolution of his mother’s story and his special reason for getting himself to Berlin. His character is bland. In an interview RA said we were seeing things through DMs eyes – but then, that is not the case either. He sees very little. We see more. The character, as a spy, is amazingly ineffectual. He doesn’t seem to have much insight into human nature.
      As to Berlin, I can understand your frustration. The opening credits are colorful and exciting. I thought the early sex club & restaurant scenes showed an interesting side of the city and even street people, especially the younger people, caught my eye as looking edgy and trendy – more extreme hair, clothes – something I couldn’t put my finger on, but it intrigued me and then – well, I agree. They’re kind of showing a Berlin that some Americans imagine – the settings haven’t looked as vibrant lately. Location people are bent on showing identifiable neighborhoods and landmarks ( I only know this from reading what fans with knowledge have written) but I’m not sure how many of the American audiences ID those places unless they’ve been there.
      I find that most of the scenes are too short and too much is crammed into one episode. The more successful parts are when they stay with a scene for a while. I also like the voice-overs they’ve been doing since the middle of the series – where one thing is happening but we hear about another conversation over it, or a voiceover describes what we’re seeing ( i.e. “Date Night with the Joker). We actually need some of this to follow the plots. OTOH, sometimes they tell us stuff that a 10 year old has figured out. (Don’t get me started with the after shows – I don’t know why they bother).
      All in all, big disappointment – but someone must like it, because they’re giving it a season 2 – though that may be because of what I’ve suspected for a while, that EPIX is willing to have a “loss leader” and rely on later binge watches for season 2.
      My gut tells me that he is, indeed, signed up for season 2. My heart wishes that it ends for Daniel Miller. OTOH, after season 1, it’s hard to imagine which characters could be left to move forward. Does Stephen get out of his jam? Does Robert become Station Head? Hector can’t possibly return. Valerie seems safe and Esther. Just not sure. I keep thinking about Hannibal and how it seemed impossible ( still may be true) to kill off any of the main characters. Hannibal, Will and Jack, even Alana, seemed impossible to kill no matter how serious their wounds appeared at the season finale. So, it may not even be resolved. Have you watched episode one again recently? I think the person who asks shot DM has an accent. What did he find and to whom did he pass it? Oy.

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    • nail on head! i am watching for the plot and not the plot as well.. what plot/s? with 2 eps left i already feel frustrated that a lot of the apparent plot lines i really had an interest in will obviously go to nothing.. and the ones which are being developed i couldn’t really care about.

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  2. I agree there are definite problems with the writing, but on the other hand, compared to most television, it is a quality show. I guess we all wish it was better than it is, or that at least we could experience with Daniel what we have felt for previous Armitage characters.

    Many shows get better in their second season. I’m sure the writers will take all the feedback from critics into account, and the criticisms and praise seem to align with what we are saying. Perhaps it would be better if he weren’t dead, but just less mysterious!

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    • I do hope the writers and show runners heed the criticisms, including ours, – an audience to whom they’ve been reaching out with a furor sine the beginning. If Daniel Miller can;t be dead, than let’s hope they make him more alive.

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      • the thing is the main ‘quality’ of a show comes always from storyline and good writing firstly and then from filling it with good acting and making it looks good… this only has the look good. As Perry put it so well : I find that most of the scenes are too short and too much is crammed into one episode. The more successful parts are when they stay with a scene for a while.–> writing 101.
        I found Steinauer’s books interesting read but from book to script is not such an easy road and dialogue is also not the forte in his books, but rather the descriptive , introspective passages where he fleshes characters out. And that’s what’s sorely missing in the series.

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          • well, i probably picked an odd one to start with An American Spy which was Milo book 3! But yes there were extensive passages which happened in the Chinese man’s head and later in Milo’s head, though they were not feelings/emotions , more plans and thoughts about actions, still the only way into the character if you will. Action didn’t properly take off until i’d say aprox 40% into the book (long for my tastes but i stuck with it). Then it really got going. But i had trouble connecting with all of the characters, and only connected with Milo somewhat reluctantly and late. A problem i’ve had all throughout the show too. Anyway, what works in a book is not so translatable to screen in the same way and for me they got neither character engagement and development nor plotline right in this one.

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            • yeah, maybe we disagree about the term, introspection. For me, thinking about what to do next doesn’t qualify, nor do the thoughts of the Chinese man, as they are not particularly profound and in essence, nothing he couldn’t also have said.

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              • true, not much depth to be found in their inner worlds, as much as we are able to see. But saying those things out loud, noooo. I have to give OS credit for researching and understanding that world down to the very detail. I am not particularly interested in revisiting it that much, but he is very good indeed at bringing it alive. It is/was indeed a world where nobody ever said what they really thought. Lying was second nature, in public, but also in private. And not just for people with certain jobs, everyone. (of course there are exceptions, but that’s all they are). Which is why it felt right that all those thoughts were never uttered but only in their heads. Sadly, as we’ve said it does not necessarily mean that the characters themselves have depth.
                I think i might go back and read the other 2 in the series but i don’t feel particularly drawn to him as an author after this first one. I love the genre and plot is an important part of it.. but i need more from the characters for satisfying reading experience. (i wish they would stop putting Le Carre’s name next to BS so often… doesn’t do them any favours).

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              • The first two aren’t any different than the third. It’s a kind of Dan Brown reading — one reads to find out what happened, not because one especially cares about any of the characters or there is any profound insight in it. To me he’s nothing like le Carré who was, at least, a stylist.

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  3. Strange!
    I am really caught by this series and cannot wait each Monday morning for the next episode. The story as much as all the characters I think quite engaging. Daniel is a quiet type, yes, but each screen time he has I literally see him thinking, pondering, watching keenly.

    “Berlin is beautiful in winter”. Admittedly, some days are grey in Germany, but there are quite often clear bright more or less icy winterdays! Berlin in Winter is full of lights, reflected by wet asphalt, quite a homely atmosphere.
    The interieurs, the houses, the bars, the buildings: to someone, who knows Berlin not just as a tourist, all quite familiar views.
    This series has a new way in many aspects, some may need to get used to it or reject it, but I think it is fantastic! Glad it got another season!
    (…just to add a deviating opinion…)

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    • All opinions are welcome and I’m happy that there are fans like you who like the series. I can;t wait for new episodes either, but I don’t think it’s for all the same reasons. I admit I want to know what happens from a purely plot line perspective. If there are a lot of gray scenes, I have to agree that’s out of the writer’s/camera’s control. I’m thinking they would have preferred not to have to clothe their stars in some unflattering hats and quilted coats. Haven’t seen one christmas market yet – I was looking forward to that.

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  4. I can’t watch the show. I’ve been whatever tidbits I can from blogs and Twitter. (I am particularly grateful to Servetus for her recaps). I did watch episodes 1 and 2 and found the plot quite convoluted – very hard to follow. I gather that has continued. The thing I really wonder about is what will they do in season 2 with or without Daniel Miller. If the Shaw plot line wraps up, then what? We follow the characters going about their day-to-day business? If the Shaw plot line isn’t wrapped up, how long can they drag it out before the audience gets tired of it? But this is from someone who hasn’t seen most of the episodes…

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  5. It could be like Homeland where after two seasons ( or maybe it was three), they simply go on to a different plot with some different people. I’m also thinking of shows like The Killing and True Detective, where everything changed in the second season.

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  6. Thanks for all of the kind words!

    I know that people differ on this, but I’d say (living in Berlin for a year, on the Kreuzberg/Neukölln border, for four months in Wedding, for a summer in Mitte, and making many week-long visits to use the libraries and staying in various places) the show has a fairly accurate aggregate picture of Berlin. It’s not surprising that a show like that would dwell on sort of “monumental pictures.” I enjoyed the Berlin winter and the Berlin summer; they have different qualities but each is pleasant in its own way. The thing that’s driving me crazy is showing exteriors that lead to interiors I know are not there (I’ve counted four examples of this now that I’ve noticed, so I’m guessing there are many more I haven’t), and, to some extent, although not gratingly, the showrunners’ fascination with older interiors. In some cases this makes sense to me (Esther’s apartment), in others (Claire’s apartment) it does not. There are certainly things we’re not seeing (the non-trendy parts of former East Berlin, for example, or the heavily immigrant-inhabited parts of the city apart from Wedding; or the Potsdamer Platz — but then most of the long-term Berliners I know see the Potsdamer Platz as a place for tourists.) The show has definitely made me long to be back there in a way that I wouldn’t have anticipated. For me, it is the most attractive convincing part of the whole package.

    As I’ve said in so many commentaries, I am really getting tired with all the plots — to the point that I’ve lost track of the ones I’ve forgotten. And I do not have a poor memory or a bad mind for puzzles.

    I suspect that Armitage signed a standard multi-year option contract. I can’t imagine why they’d have wanted him otherwise.

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    • That you’re longing for Berlin is really evident from your writing. As I said elsewhere, the location crew often fake it in some ways. I wonder if all those apartments are sets or actual apartments. I was really hoping ( still am) for a scene at a Christmas Market because I’ve heard so much about them. I don’t know what month it’s supposed to be in the series – but definitely winter. But when Daniel is shot at that mall, there is no hint of Christmas in the scenes.

      TV shows used to advertise for New Yorkers who would be willing to let them shoot in their apartments. My favorite example, Law and Order, (of all versions) did this all the time. Usually this was when they were interviewing a suspect or witness, because they would only ned one scene there, maybe two, and usually, short. Some plots are over, so need to worry. I count about 8 plots or subplots still outstanding.

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      • The Spooks interiors were all real London apartments, if I remember correctly. That was one reason cited for continuity problems, because they had to get all the shots in at once and couldn’t return for pickups.

        I think they are real apartments. There are still apartments like that in Berlin. Particularly the Pension Heidrun range true for me. I’ve stayed in places like that (although not in Berlin). My impression is that nowadays they are mostly in the hands of (much) older people who lack money or desire to renovate — people who have lived in their apartments for decades. But I’m sure one can still find student apartments like that. The last time I was looking to rent in Berlin (admittedly ten years ago now) I looked at a sublet in Prenzlauer Berg with East German wallpaper, coal heat and a water situation that I’m not really sure was legal (essentially there was one water conduit to the apartment, dishwasher and clotheswasher were on wheels and had to be hooked up by hand alternately). It had been bought by someone as an investment and they hadn’t gotten around to the renovation yet, but they were renting it to students and I would have sublet from a student.

        I think it’s winter, too, heading into spring, so maybe after Christmas. The spectacular Xmas market in Berlin is the one in Mitte / Gendarmenmarkt — I think some of the people who went to the Hobbit premiere visited it (O’Gorman, maybe? Wasn’t there a picture), just blocks from the US Embassy. But if they were filming while that was going on, they couldn’t have filmed on Alexanderplatz (the Berliner Zeitung building) without us seeing it. They could definitely have filmed something surreal / drug inflected there and it would have been spectacular, but I’m guessing they’d have had to have paid to have the booths open after hours. If you go to Germany, though, I’m not sure the Berlin Xmas markets are the ones I’d prioritize. Dresden and Nuremberg are both really spectacular.

        There I went again …

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        • Yup. I recall that Richard Armitage said he went to or saw a Christmas Market with his family before or after The Hobbit premiere. They were filming around Christmas for BS or naybe they were just wrapping up ( I recall the New Year’ Cruise) So one woul think during shooting we would have seen decoration arund the city, unless they went out of their way not to show them. or, also, maybe, as you say, it ws impractical and Christmas Markets are not as hot a destination in Berlin as in other cities. I don’t know. I was just hoping to see one. But then, I was hoping for a lot that I didn’t get from Berlin Station.

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  7. sorry for repeat, i posted this to your ep 7 comment but i’ll bring it here as more recent and it really applies. >> Late to the party as been up to ears in work lately. But yeah interesting episode for once, mroe watchable than others in the series but still, loads of things don’t make sense and don’t add up and stretch believability way too far. Yes, its clear Hector helped Julian escape and most likely ran some stuff somewhere where torture was involved. Daniel as a by-stander and walker by is just not credible, sorry writers. But i’ve had way too many quibbles with the writing in this to feel like really saying sorry. The main and increasing one is underusage of Richard (apart from the way too many story strands – presumably just to give fodder for s2). Never before have i felt he was there mainly for decoration and eye candy. And while he is wonderful at it, what a waste of character😦
    And yes there was some stuff with Esther there where i thought what? Why was she particularly trying to undermine him with Hans? And you have to wonder who has it in for Frost that badly and why since he doesn’t seem particularly good at his job in the first place? And yes we’ve been hit over the head more than enough with Kirsch’s recurring family drama and Jewish food. I actually like Leland in it a lot, feels like the most real character to me, the one who seems like a real person but still does the job, everyone else has a look of caricature about them😦 But how silly do they think we are that they feel the need to push the food and Jewish point so hard? Yes we got it, thanks very much the first time round and i rather believe the character stand up for himself well and won’t actually fall that easily.
    And what’s become of Daniel’s IT spy? I rather liked her and she had potential.. they seem to loose interesting women very fast in this series but none of the men. And sorry to say but the women are far more interesting. Makes one wonder. I don’t look out for it specifically but Ingrid has potential and she’s just passing through, Sandra seems to be more intelligent and somehow a better spy than most of her bosses. And the ones we do get some of, like Valery and even Esther are very heavy one or two dimensional. I’m sick of the chips on Valerie’s shoulders and Esther’s furs and Stazi attitude, more variety please!
    It’s still a confused thing, wants to do too much and manages to not do anything really well.. more focus, less distraction would be so much better. My heart is not in it supporting Daniel’s return if this is the Daniel we’re going to get. I don’t think people watching RA in this for the first time would rush to see more or book more of him and that makes me frankly very angry with the show runners. He is so much better. Gr
    PS my last thought and i’ve decided to go with it is: they seem to have wanted him for his body and his previous TV credentials. And i think they don’t deserve to use his gorgeous body so that there is some eye candy (notice it’s just him and ST getting their kit off in it and at least with ST there is some character plot reason) and use so little of his acting talent. There were some ‘joking’ comments about it in the promo which irritated me even then and do even more so now. Yes, the sex scenes are good, at least they get that bit right 😉 But they lack context and reason other than , well.. sex itself.

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  8. I’m with you on there not being enough there… Daniel just isn’t fleshed out much and that doesn’t seem right for the ‘ main character’; he doesn’t feel like a main character to me. I am 3 episodes behind now, will watch them eventually. I’m hoping that maybe it gets better with more to do for Daniel towards the end? He remains delicious eye-candy, I always love watching Richard, but I have lost interest in the story. The spy genre isn’t ‘my genre’ to begin with, so anything in that genre would have to be exceptional and this just isn’t for me (except for the titles set to that Bowie song!).

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