“The Berlin Proposal” adds even more surprises and assassins to the mix in another solid, action-heavy episode.
This recap of Treadstone Season 1, Episode 3, “The Berlin Proposal”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Picking up right where we left off, Treadstone Episode 3 opens in the aftermath of the Paris car chase, with Tara (Tracy Ifeachor) and Jang-Mi (Jini Lee) clambering out of the wreckage. The North Korean assassins are hot on their heels, but they’re able to escape by the skin of their teeth and make it to the Ecuadorian Embassy and safety — for now, anyway.
“The Berlin Proposal” then nips back to the 70s to briefly check up on Bentley (Jeremy Irvine), who is breaking back into the facility he just broke out of. He runs into a woman cleaner who lets him know that the people who worked there left the day prior. They’ve cleaned out all evidence of their work. The only thing left behind is Petra’s (Emilia Schüle) watch, which Bentley finds on the ground.
In present-day Moscow, older Petra (Gabrielle Scharnitzky) has taken up residence in an old apartment, where she has the same watch. How she gets it back is anyone’s guess. She invites her friendly neighbor in for a brew and then whacks her over the head with a kettle — she’s an assassin, you see. They get into a fight — filmed with more close-ups than usual, for obvious reasons — and Petra wins about three times over, suffocating her with a plastic bag, stabbing her and finally shooting her. “Alex,” she says, “should have warned you to shoot on sight.”
In Washington, D.C., Tom (David Michaels) meets with Ellen (Michelle Forbes), who says that she can’t leave her job yet, despite the fact that they want to raise their kid elsewhere. Matt (Omar Metwally) calls from Maryland, outside the apartment of the store shooter, Stephen Haynes (Patrick Fugit). He says he’s going to break in while he’s in custody. He also asks Ellen if there’s anything interesting about his seemingly random victims. Dr. Wells (Finbar Lynch), still accompanying Matt, explains to him a little about how brainwashing international assassins is a bit of an imperfect science. Once assets are activated, they’re just as likely to do what they’re told as they are to go insane.
Matt and Wells go to see Haynes in Treadstone Episode 3. He mentions that he gets headaches, which was always brought up frequently in the Bourne films. He doesn’t know why he killed the people at the store. Wells asks him if he felt compelled to. He nods. Matt asks him if the name Treadstone means anything to him. He says the idea was installed in his mind. Further interrogation reveals he was sent a target by “Control”. Wells hypnotizes him, at which point he begins re-enacting his recruitment and training in the program. He says it was a woman who told him to kill people but offers no names. Matt continues to press him until he has some kind of seizure.
In Ashland, Kentucky, Doug (Brian J. Smith) is quite happily out of work, turning down sketchy jobs from his friend Mike (Ian Davies). When Sam (Tess Haubrich) gets home from work, he suggests they go out drinking at a bar in West Virginia. While they’re there, he asks around about the photo of the woman he has, while a creepy man keeps a close eye on him.
In a quick detour to Pyongyang, “The Berlin Proposal” lets us know that SoYun (Hyo-Joo Han) has been invited to a very hush-hush party by her husband, Dae (Jung Woo Seo). More on this later.
In the meantime, we head to New Delhi, where a new asset is activated and despatched to a monastery, where she sneakily eliminates her target with an aerosol spray. We cut to Langley, where we learn that the guy was dead 15 minutes after exposure. He had just inherited the second-largest pharmaceutical company in Germany, but his importance is negligible compared to the stay-at-home mother who was one of Haynes’s victims. As it turns out, she used to work on the Expo Oil arctic rigs and had reached out to the press with proof of labor violations. One of Expo’s biggest allies on Capitol Hill is Senator Wray (Tim Ahern), who had sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee for the Blackbriar hearings. The connection to Treadstone requires a closer look.
Back in the 70s, Bentley goes to a colleague, Frank, for help in gathering evidence to clear his name. The CIA thinks that his time away was spent murdering covert assets in Budapest. These were the three men Bentley was manipulated into killing as part of his Treadstone conditioning. It soon becomes apparent that Bentley’s friend has sold him out to their superior, who kills Frank — snitches get stitches — and tells Bentley to keep looking for Petra, starting in Budapest, where he was seen with her when the assets went missing.
Present-day Petra goes to see Max (Marek Vasut), though in less than polite circumstances. She wants to know why Yuri wants her dead. She spent the last 24 years guarding that missile so that Mother Russia could rise again, but Max says that Russia is dead now. She wants to know what Yuri has planned with Stiletto Six, but he won’t say, though he gives away that at this time of year Yuri will probably be working on his tan. Petra slashes his wrist and leaves.
At the Ecuadorian Embassy, Tara consoles Jang-Mi, having apparently lost her own parents and sister in a car accident when she was ten. She says that the people who love us always want us to keep moving forward. Someone from the embassy tells Tara that an unsanctioned group in North Korea has raised money to purchase the launch codes for Stiletto Six. General Kwon (Tzi Ma) found out and hacked their phones, discovering 500 million in crypto-currency. Tara’s given a flash drive with an encryption key to access the funds and is told to purchase the launch codes and make sure the missile is neutralized. She calls Matt and thanks him for tipping him off about the hit squad. She’s going to share some information with him: She’s heading to Ghana to hook up with a journo friend and set the record straight about Stiletto Six.
In North Korea, SoYun drops off her son Jin Woo (Minjun Woo) with her mother. A soldier approaches her and says he knows her husband works for Colonel Shin, who he wants to expose as a traitor. He has the syringe found next to General Kwon’s body, which her fingerprints all over it. If SoYun does as she’s told, it’ll disappear. If she doesn’t, her mother and son will be taken to a labor camp. Her mission is to swap Shin’s SIM card with another at the party.
There, Shin takes a liking to her and asks her to play the piano, right as she’s in the middle of swapping the cards. While she has repeatedly insisted that they need to pick Jin Woo up before midnight, Dae insists she plays. She does but cuts off halfway through the performance and legs it.
To end Treadstone Season 1, Episode 3, Doug and Sam return home, merry. The man who was stalking Doug at the bar is there and says he botched his assignment in the Arctic. He needs to come in for reprogramming, or the cleanup protocol will be activated. Doug refuses, so the men fight. As Doug’s adversary gets the better of him, genuinely shocked that he really doesn’t remember anything, he says that Doug should have asked his wife. Sam shoots and kills the man, ending “The Berlin Proposal” with another unexpected twist. Is there anyone in this show who isn’t a highly-trained killing machine?