The latest episode of The Romanoffs tells the story of Simon and the trials and tribulations he faced growing up. After the loss of his mother (Deirdre Mullins), and being packed off to private school, he starts to go a little off the rails.
This recap of The Romanoffs Season 1 Episode 8, “The One That Holds Everything”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
I hate The Romanoffs. It’s a smug, self-satisfied turd of a program that thinks it is being oh so clever, but in reality, it’s tedious. This week’s eighth and (mercifully) final episode, “The One That Holds Everything”, is exactly the kind of pretentious concept I’ve come to expect from the series, as we have a dizzying array of flashbacks, within flashbacks, within flashbacks.
The story begins on the Eurostar from Paris to London with Candace (Adéle Anderson) being the very worst travelling companion in the world. First of all, she’s sitting in Jack’s seat (JJ Feild) and won’t move because she needs a window seat, then when he relents and lets her take the seat she just won’t shut up and let him read his book. It felt like a perfect metaphor for how I felt about every episode of The Romanoffs that I’ve had the displeasure of watching. I desperately want to ignore it and get on with something more productive but it just keeps going on and on about the most inane s**t you can imagine and manages to spin what should be a 10-minute anecdote into over an hour of television.
I’m not sure if this week’s episode is objectively worse than all of the others that I’ve seen or whether I’ve just reached my capacity with The Romanoffs, but I really did not enjoy myself.
The story starts on the train with Candace boring Jack with her tedious story; seriously, in his position, I’d have rather stuck my head out of the window and had it taken clean off by a passing telegraph pole or something. Then we delve into Candace’s story to follow a young boy named Simon (Hugh Skinner), which in turn morphs into Simon telling his own story at a group counselling session. As if that weren’t enough layers of poo during Simon’s story he tells the story of his former friend and lover Christopher (Christopher Goh). It doesn’t stop there, because within that flashback, within a flashback, within a flashback Christopher then tells his fiancee a story about Simon’s childhood and we get another layer to wade through.
You know how some comedians will start telling a story and disappear off on a hundred tangents only to tie it together at the end? Billy Connolly and Eddie Izzard used to do this brilliantly. Well, it was kind of like that, but instead of entertaining jokes and stories, it’s a tedious, cliched tale being told by the worst narrator in the history of speaking. I didn’t really engage with any of the characters on any level. There seemed to be no logic to proceedings with things just happening apparently for no reason other than “because story”.
I imagine the makers thought it’d be brilliantly clever to do this story within a story setup because it’s like Russian Dolls, you know from Russia? Like the Romanovs? Get it? The only problem with that is every time you open a doll here it’s not an intricately painted wooden doll inside, it’s a beige lump of plastic. Nothing particularly exciting to look at, no hidden depths, and on some level you know that its very existence has pushed us further towards global warming.
Still, as I mentioned last time, at least the creators of The Romanoffs have managed to find the formula to bend time to their will. I felt like I’d been watching this for at least an hour and was nearing the finish line. When I checked the timer it had only been 30 minutes.
I never want to hear, see or think about The Romanoffs ever again. You win, Matthew Weiner. You’ve absolutely broken my spirit.