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Giant Misfit

S01.E06: Episode 6

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Airs April 20, 2020 / Series Finale

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As riots and conspiracies spread across the country in the lead up to election day, Herman takes measures to keep his family safe; Bess does all she can at a great distance to help a small child caught in a maelstrom of anti-Semitism in Kentucky.

 

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Herman and Bess do the right thing for Selden, because they know Evelyn sent him and his mother to KY, where the Klan openly killed people.

For all of Herman’s faults, he risked his life and Sandy’s life to get Selden out.

I was surprised Mrs. Lindbergh gave that radio address, calling for end to martial law and for Wheeler, presumably the VP, to step down.  That address was the one Lindbergh himself should have made.  He flew to Louisville to say 3 or 4 sentences?

Thing is, at least on this show, Lindbergh didn’t seem to say racist things or give dogwhistles so would racists have believed that he condoned these racist attacks?  Maybe the book is different?

Mrs. Lindbergh was committed and rabbi was arrested by the FBI.  Really didn’t expect her to  get out and call for Wheeler to step aside and for them to move up the election by 2 years.  Again maybe the book shows how this happened better.

 

Guess Alvin is the unwitting hero.  Pulse navigation to eliminate Lindbergh — he didn’t know until the morning after.  Now he’s a business mogul of sorts and getting married, living large.

He can’t brag about his role but it had cost him his leg.  Though he had already gotten over it by the time he was recruited for the mission.

 

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Evelyn, word of advice: you're an idiot. You sold out your family for nothing, and you got exactly what you deserved.

Poor Seldon. At least he's being cared for.

It took you long enough to see the light, Sandy, you dumbass little shit!

This was a great miniseries.

Edited by Spartan Girl
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30 minutes ago, scrb said:

Thing is, at least on this show, Lindbergh didn’t seem to say racist things or give dogwhistles so would racists have believed that he condoned these racist attacks?  Maybe the book is different?

Mrs. Lindbergh was committed and rabbi was arrested by the FBI.  Really didn’t expect her to  get out and call for Wheeler to step aside and for them to move up the election by 2 years.  Again maybe the book shows how this happened better.

I knew what was coming, the blackmail angle (because, you know...book...) but I think they wrapped the series up so fast, cramming way too much into the last 1/2 hour.  Should have stretched it into 90 minutes or even 2 hours.   I was sitting there halfway through the hour, wondering how they were going to get everything in!  Well, I have my answer.  Poorly.

Poor Seldon!  And poor Philip, because he's got to live with the guilt of getting the Wishnows sent to Kentucky, and of course he can never tell anyone.

Too quick wrap-up or not, it's a chilling story.

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yeah they crammed a lot into this last episode, another episode or two would have helped the pacing. Still a pretty great series.

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2 hours ago, scrb said:

I was surprised Mrs. Lindbergh gave that radio address, calling for end to martial law and for Wheeler, presumably the VP, to step down.  That address was the one Lindbergh himself should have made.  He flew to Louisville to say 3 or 4 sentences?

Thing is, at least on this show, Lindbergh didn’t seem to say racist things or give dogwhistles so would racists have believed that he condoned these racist attacks?  Maybe the book is different?

Lindbergh's 3 or 4 very short, meaningless sentences were absolutely a dog whistle.  He chose not to condemn the murder of Winchell, chose not to condemn the fires and racist murders of Jews, and chose to say no words of comfort or unity to the Jews.  The racists see lack of condemnation as approval.  

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I am completely confused. The Brits wanted to assassinate Lindbergh but then that resulted in something worse. So they did not know this would happen?  It was a stupid idea?  
So Mrs. L was given that speech to make so that there would be a special election that would make Wheeler a duly elected official?  Done by destruction of votes?  Please help!  

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2 hours ago, GussieK said:

I am completely confused. The Brits wanted to assassinate Lindbergh but then that resulted in something worse. So they did not know this would happen?  It was a stupid idea?

well they can't predict the future, Lindbergh flying alone in his own plane was probably an easier target than his VP.

 

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 So Mrs. L was given that speech to make so that there would be a special election that would make Wheeler a duly elected official?  Done by destruction of votes?  Please help!  

no it was explicitly about the opposite of that. She was urging congress to remove Wheeler as president and to hold a new presidential election.

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3 minutes ago, MrWhyt said:

well they can't predict the future, Lindbergh flying alone in his own plane was probably an easier target than his VP.

 

no it was explicitly about the opposite of that. She was urging congress to remove Wheeler as president and to hold a new presidential election.

Sorry, but I'm still baffled.  The Brits wanted to assassinate Lindbergh and I suppose knew nothing about this other underlying plot.  So they ended up with something much worse?  So how was Mrs. Lindbergh allowed to be freed and to make this speech? 

That said, it was a good series, and that last episode was very scary.

Edited by GussieK

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10 minutes ago, GussieK said:

So how was Mrs. Lindbergh allowed to be freed and to make this speech? 

she said in her speech that elements of the military and law enforcement still loyal to her husband freed her and arranged the broadcast.

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2 minutes ago, MrWhyt said:

she said in her speech that elements of the military and law enforcement still loyal to her husband freed her and arranged the broadcast.

Thank you.  I heard that but after hearing about the kidnapping, I was thinking it was fake.

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They really raced through events in this episode. In fact I was surprised that this was the series finale, I thought so much more of the story would be told but I have not read the book. Would there be a season 2? 
Poor Selden, I was was tearing up when he was talking/crying on the phone with Bess. 
Great acting and cast, I really enjoyed this series. 

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1 hour ago, GussieK said:

Sorry, but I'm still baffled. 

I am pretty baffled myself.  They zipped through far, far too much without dialogue or explanation.   Does anyone know if there is a recap somewhere? 

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5 hours ago, GussieK said:

I heard that but after hearing about the kidnapping, I was thinking it was fake.

Charles Lindbergh's son really was kidnapped and murdered (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindbergh_kidnapping). However the tale that Evelyn and the Rabbi were telling about Lindbergh being blackmailed by the Nazis who faked the kidnapping doesn't really have any support within the show.

edit: got a character name wrong

Edited by MrWhyt
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2 minutes ago, MrWhyt said:

Charles Lindbergh's son really was kidnapped and murdered (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindbergh_kidnapping). However the tale that Bess and the Rabbi were telling about Lindbergh being blackmailed by the Nazis who faked the kidnapping doesn't really have any support within the show.S

I do know about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.   But are you saying there was not a fake kidnapping in the show?  Just a story the Rabbi was telling?   It's an interesting theory since the real kidnapper was German.  I am getting more and more confused!  Sorry to keep asking questions. 

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4 hours ago, GussieK said:

But are you saying there was not a fake kidnapping in the show?  Just a story the Rabbi was telling?   It's an interesting theory since the real kidnapper was German.  I am getting more and more confused!  Sorry to keep asking questions. 

I'm saying that there's no evidence of it, at the end of the series it's just a story told by the Rabbi and Evelyn. It's veracity is up to the viewer to decide.

edit: got a character name wrong

Edited by MrWhyt
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10 minutes ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I'm confused at the beginning. Did Herman just quit his job and is working with his brother? 

that happened last episode. He quit to avoid the transfer to Kentucky.

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Dear God, Herman, can you ever just not offer an opinion?  Why would you invite Alvin to your home, confront him and then fight him?  How old are you?  That whole scene just bothered me so much. 

The scene with Bess and Seldon on the phone was rough.  Zoe Kazan did an amazing job.  You could feel her terror, but also her desire to be a mom to Seldon and keep him from just losing it entirely.  Also rough was the scene where they drove by Seldon's mom's burned out car.  Heartbreaking. 

9 hours ago, MrWhyt said:

I'm saying that there's no evidence of it, at the end of the series it's just a story told by the Rabbi and Evelyn.

I viewed the story as the Rabbi and Evelyn essentially having a mental break with reality.  Their reputations are destroyed, the Rabbi has lost his post in government and his job with the synagogue.  Evelyn's family is now estranged from her.  All they have left to cling to is a conspiracy theory so they can pretend they were actually right about Lindbergh, and that he wasn't just an anti-Semitic monster who helped unleash anti-Jewish riots.   

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20 hours ago, izabella said:

Lindbergh's 3 or 4 very short, meaningless sentences were absolutely a dog whistle. 

Even the Rabbi and Evelyn looked a little 'oh shit' about the speech. 

Why did they need to only do 6 episodes? This went sideways way fast and was really jarring in relation to the other 5. 

Can a president just declare martial law?

The actor playing Bess was MVP of the series for me. 

Edited by DoctorAtomic
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I'm actually disappointed Herman threw in the towel and wanted to go to Canada. 

You can call me the Rasputin of anything though. 

Edited by DoctorAtomic

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23 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

It took you long enough to see the light, Sandy, you dumbass little shit!

I know, really. At least he did. He wasn't mouthing off in the store for sure.

Edited by DoctorAtomic
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1 hour ago, txhorns79 said:

I viewed the story as the Rabbi and Evelyn essentially having a mental break with reality.  Their reputations are destroyed, the Rabbi has lost his post in government and his job with the synagogue.  Evelyn's family is now estranged from her.  All they have left to cling to is a conspiracy theory so they can pretend they were actually right about Lindbergh, and that he wasn't just an anti-Semitic monster who helped unleash anti-Jewish riots.

It was kind of sad that she lost it, but you sure liked talking about your trip to the White House. She even couldn't admit she did anything wrong after Bess told her to leave. 

I didn't know there was a succession act from the 1880s. I thought the amendment came after Wilson had a stroke and his wife basically ran everything. 

It's not clear on why Mrs. L gave that speech either. Unless she was just like, ok, enough is enough. I would have liked to have seen that development. 

I don't really have a problem with Alvin feeling like telling off Herman, but you can't spit in someone's face. Come on. I mean, Herman did go to Kentucky. That wasn't nothing. 

Who was FDR running against?

 

Edited by DoctorAtomic
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1 hour ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I'm actually disappointed Herman threw in the towel and wanted to go to Canada. 

You can call me the Rasputin of anything though. 

For the sake of his wife and kids, he should regret not going.

He got beat up.  Now imagine having to worry about protecting his family from physical violence.

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1 hour ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I didn't know there was a succession act from the 1880s. I thought the amendment came after Wilson had a stroke and his wife basically ran everything. 

The amendment you might be thinking of came in 1947.  Truman asked for it after FDR died in 1945, and it put the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate back into the line of succession, and gave them precedence over Cabinet Secretaries.   

1 hour ago, DoctorAtomic said:

Who was FDR running against?

Henry Ford and Robert Taft.  Taft was an isolationist Senator from Ohio. 

As an interesting trivia point, they showed Herman voting at Weequahic High School.  It looks as though they filmed at the actual school.  That was the school from which Philip Roth graduated, and it comes up in a few of his novels. 

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I don’t get what the ending was supposed to mean. People were destroying votes so  that FDR wouldn’t win? Why was the First Lady able to say “Hey let’s have a new election and get rid of the VP”? They never even said who he was running against so that whole thing was really poorly edited.

Why did Mrs Lindbergh suddenly do a 180 after the US version of kristallnacht and give a radio address against her own party? Was that supposed to show that she was against her husband from the beginning? I don’t remember seeing anything that would give that impression. 
 

So the rabbi’s story of the kidnapping was fake and was to show that he and Evelyn were delusional and in denial? I honestly didn’t know if that was what actually happened and the pulse thing with Alvin was a misdirect. I couldn’t follow what the British guy even wanted him to do or why he was supposedly the only guy who could do it. He fiddled with some dials and sent an electronic pulse into the sky that caused Lindbergh’s plane to crash? 
 

So many plot lines in this episode seemed rushed though that half the time I had no idea what was going on. 
 

And I wish showrunners would understand that there is a difference between endings that are ambiguous, and stories that end prematurely. 
 

I had been recommending this show to a colleague but I didn’t realize it would just stop like that. Now I’ll tell him not to even bother.

ETA: I do have to say that seeing Evelyn get kicked to the curb, literally, was very satisfying. 

Edited by Cotypubby
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I think one more episode would have been helpful to fill in a few blanks. As it is, I'm left questioning whether Mrs. Lindbergh's relationship with the rabbi and Evelyn may have had enough impact on her to lead to her speech; maybe actually being friendly with people who are so vulnerable to being killed by extremists made the violence a little more relatable to her??? I don't know if that had anything to do with her speech, but it's the only thing I can figure. I previously thought she was tolerating or humoring the rabbi and Evelyn for her husband's sake, but maybe she felt more for them than I perceived.

It's interesting to me that in the end, Sandy was far more mature about his misplaced trust in Lindbergh than Evelyn and the rabbi. I'm sure at such a young age that it was tough for him to rip up his pictures and have the epiphany that his hero was such a let down, but he was wise enough to know that when you're wrong, you're wrong and there's no re-writing the past.

Evelyn and the rabbi, on the other hand... maybe their age and place in life actually got in the way of admitting the mistake. There was no acknowledgement that their actions may have put her sister's family at risk and in fact, Evelyn was more than ready to put them at further risk by hiding out with them. It underscored that Evelyn and the rabbi were able to twist whatever good was happening to them into being good for the community and the cause. Whatever, I was very gratified to see Bess turn Evelyn away. I guess in the end it was good Sandy went to Kentucky because otherwise, poor Seldon would probably be dead.

That phone call between Bess and Seldon was one of the best things I've seen on television in a long time. It was gut wrenching. Despite the rushed pace of the episode, I felt it was very well done - I was terrified during Herman and Sandy's drive to Kentucky and felt visceral fear like I've rarely experienced on a tv show.

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39 minutes ago, Maysie said:

That phone call between Bess and Seldon was one of the best things I've seen on television in a long time. It was gut wrenching. Despite the rushed pace of the episode, I felt it was very well done - I was terrified during Herman and Sandy's drive to Kentucky and felt visceral fear like I've rarely experienced on a tv show.

I agree.

Is it terrible that I keep finding myself singing the Lindbergh song?  It's so jaunty! "And the road is open again!"

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41 minutes ago, Maysie said:

I think one more episode would have been helpful to fill in a few blanks. As it is, I'm left questioning whether Mrs. Lindbergh's relationship with the rabbi and Evelyn may have had enough impact on her to lead to her speech; maybe actually being friendly with people who are so vulnerable to being killed by extremists made the violence a little more relatable to her??? I don't know if that had anything to do with her speech, but it's the only thing I can figure. I previously thought she was tolerating or humoring the rabbi and Evelyn for her husband's sake, but maybe she felt more for them than I perceived.

I was telling myself that Mrs. Lindbergh had a change of heart after being forcibly committed to a mental hospital against her will for a "breakdown" she hadn't had because of the "undue influence" Bengelsdorf had on her (which she knew was not true), and would have died there had she not been freed by military and other people still loyal to her husband.  I imagine one has a new respect for the rule of law and civil rights protections when one has personally suffered being forcibly stripped of that by others.

13 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

Henry Ford and Robert Taft.  Taft was an isolationist Senator from Ohio. 

I believe Ford was an anti-Semite, a huge Nazi supporter and supplied them with war materials.  If he ended up getting elected, it would have been Lindbergh on steroids.

16 hours ago, DoctorAtomic said:

The actor playing Bess was MVP of the series for me. 

I completely agree.  I thought she was amazing throughout the mini-series.

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13 hours ago, Cotypubby said:

 Why was the First Lady able to say “Hey let’s have a new election and get rid of the VP”?

 

the same way I'm able to say "hey lets have a new election and get rid of the VP", it was a use of her right to free speech, not a command.

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So the rabbi’s story of the kidnapping was fake and was to show that he and Evelyn were delusional and in denial?

there is no evidence in the show that this story is true, in fact the only people we see repeating it are Evelyn and the Rabbi, make of their motivations what you will.

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He fiddled with some dials and sent an electronic pulse into the sky that caused Lindbergh’s plane to crash

the mission that cost Alvin his leg was to capture some new Nazi navigational equipment, he was trained on it's operation and theory. As we saw the conspirators got their hands on some equivalent US technology and used it to mess with Lindbergh's navigation

 

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For my money this was probably the only episode of the series I found compelling. The whole premise was full of potential but I never felt like they did much with it. There was just a lot of yak-yak-yak-ing about political views and it all reeked of metaphor about as subtle as an sledgehammer. 

However, the trip through Kentucky with Herman and the kids was pretty riveting, in fact from the moment Bess heard about Winchell's assassination to the time jump was sort of the mood I had been waiting for in the first five episodes.

Again, the open end with the vote tampering was not subtle and not a satisfying ending. Clearly meant as a cautionary tale, the show ended on a note emblematic of its overall problem. It was too didactic in what it was trying to do, to the detriment of telling a more interesting story.

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1 hour ago, meep.meep said:

I agree.

Is it terrible that I keep finding myself singing the Lindbergh song?  It's so jaunty! "And the road is open again!"

The song and accompanying video at the beginning of each episode should win an award for best theme song.  They show exactly what the series did: The slow movement from FDR's recovery programs to end the depression, the start of WWII, up to the dominance of Hitler and anti-Semitism and violence.

And it's a real song!

https://slate.com/culture/2020/03/plot-against-america-road-open-again-credits-theme-song-dick-powell-fdr-wilson-washington.html

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On 4/21/2020 at 8:09 AM, Robert Lynch said:

You know the Seldon actor is from that Netflix Mulaney special, right? 

I didn't know that, but I know he's one hell of an actor.

As for the fake kidnapping story, my take on it is the same as @txhorns79. Rabbi and Mrs. Bengelsdorf were delusional and desperate to get anyone to buy their exculpatory story. It wasn't "left up to the viewer to decide," at least IMHO. It was clear as clear could be.

I thought the show was absolute perfection.

 

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1 hour ago, buckboard said:

The song and accompanying video at the beginning of each episode should win an award for best theme song.  They show exactly what the series did: The slow movement from FDR's recovery programs to end the depression, the start of WWII, up to the dominance of Hitler and anti-Semitism and violence.

And it's a real song!

https://slate.com/culture/2020/03/plot-against-america-road-open-again-credits-theme-song-dick-powell-fdr-wilson-washington.html

It's OK to sing it; it's actually a New Deal (FDR!) song.  From 1933, long before the events of the series.

And it is jaunty!

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40 minutes ago, Milburn Stone said:

I didn't know that, but I know he's one hell of an actor.

As for the fake kidnapping story, my take on it is the same as @txhorns79. Rabbi and Mrs. Bengelsdorf were delusional and desperate to get anyone to buy their exculpatory story. It wasn't "left up to the viewer to decide," at least IMHO. It was clear as clear could be.

I thought the show was absolute perfection.

 

It is called John Mulaney and The Sack Lunch Bunch. It's on Netflix.

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Never mind, I found the answer out by Googling.

The HBO podcast about this episode answered so many of my questions!

 

Edited by Cotypubby
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21 hours ago, Cotypubby said:

I don’t get what the ending was supposed to mean. People were destroying votes so  that FDR wouldn’t win? Why was the First Lady able to say “Hey let’s have a new election and get rid of the VP”? They never even said who he was running against so that whole thing was really poorly edited.

Why did Mrs Lindbergh suddenly do a 180 after the US version of kristallnacht and give a radio address against her own party? Was that supposed to show that she was against her husband from the beginning? I don’t remember seeing anything that would give that impression. 
 

So the rabbi’s story of the kidnapping was fake and was to show that he and Evelyn were delusional and in denial? I honestly didn’t know if that was what actually happened and the pulse thing with Alvin was a misdirect. I couldn’t follow what the British guy even wanted him to do or why he was supposedly the only guy who could do it. He fiddled with some dials and sent an electronic pulse into the sky that caused Lindbergh’s plane to crash? 
 

So many plot lines in this episode seemed rushed though that half the time I had no idea what was going on. 
 

And I wish showrunners would understand that there is a difference between endings that are ambiguous, and stories that end prematurely. 
 

I had been recommending this show to a colleague but I didn’t realize it would just stop like that. Now I’ll tell him not to even bother.

ETA: I do have to say that seeing Evelyn get kicked to the curb, literally, was very satisfying. 

Agree with you.  I asked similar questions upthread.  Still baffled. 

3 hours ago, Cotypubby said:

Never mind, I found the answer out by Googling.

The HBO podcast about this episode answered so many of my questions!

 

Oh, I will seek this out.  Thanks!

7 hours ago, meep.meep said:

I agree.

Is it terrible that I keep finding myself singing the Lindbergh song?  It's so jaunty! "And the road is open again!"

That song has become an earworm for me!  Stop!

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On 4/21/2020 at 9:24 PM, TV Anonymous said:

I understand the bologna, I understand the mayonnaise, but what is the issue with Jews and white bread?

The line in the show was a bit of a stereotype, but it has a basis in reality.  We usually ate real bakery rye bread when I was growing up.  It was hearty with a crispy crust and caraway seeds.  Or we might eat challah or pumpernickel.  My father had a disdainful Yiddish expression for packaged white bread.  He'd call it "kvotchy," which meant it was too soft and mushy.  We would keep white bread around for toast or French toast.

Edited by GussieK
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On 4/21/2020 at 10:47 AM, Straycat80 said:

Poor Selden, I was was tearing up when he was talking/crying on the phone with Bess. 

Listening to the podcast, Simon said they did the scene in one long shot.  The little boy who played Seldon was fantastic. 

I had to FF thru the last half hour of this episode before I could watch it, just to be sure Herman and the boys made it home. And the last scene of them burning the ballots. Holy Mother of God. 

I was terrified they were going to show Seldon's mother's body charred in the wreckage of the car.  That would have been too much to take. As if the whole idea of what happened to her wasn't terrible enough. 

Evelyn. What a selfish stupid bitch.  I wanted to slap her too, Bess. How dare you come home and beg to be forgiven and taken in. 

Did anyone else have flashbacks of the  personal belongings of the victims of the camps, when they showed the pile of shoes outside the store? 

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I thought by the end that Bengelsdorf would realize the error of his ways, but nope, he just could not face his failures of judgement. He had to construct a conspiracy theory that would allow him to continue to believe he was on the right side. I got the sense that Evelyn, at least, wasn't really buying it, but felt compelled to continue her support of her husband. To the point that she would allow herself to be hoodwinked again, just to maintain her sanity. After all, he is now all she has left.

Sad.

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1 hour ago, Starchild said:

I thought by the end that Bengelsdorf would realize the error of his ways, but nope, he just could not face his failures of judgement. He had to construct a conspiracy theory that would allow him to continue to believe he was on the right side. I got the sense that Evelyn, at least, wasn't really buying it, but felt compelled to continue her support of her husband. To the point that she would allow herself to be hoodwinked again, just to maintain her sanity. After all, he is now all she has left.

I agree with your analysis of the rabbi, but I don't see the evidence for Evelyn "not really buying it." She was in just as much denial of her terrible foolishness as the rabbi was.

If the show gave us any evidence to the contrary, I need to be reminded of it.

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15 hours ago, GussieK said:

The line in the show was a bit of a stereotype, but it has a basis in reality.  We usually ate real bakery rye bread when I was growing up.  It was hearty with a crispy crust and caraway seeds.  Or we might eat challah or pumpernickel.  My father had a disdainful Yiddish expression for packaged white bread.  He'd call it "kvotchy," which meant it was too soft and mushy.  We would keep white bread around for toast or French toast.

Ah okay, thank you. I used to live in Montreal and the popular Hebrew cuisine there was the Montreal smoked meat sandwich. Rye bread, smoked meat and mustard. That was until French Canadians came to visit and add mayonnaise to the sandwich. 

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I enjoyed the series for the most part. Some of the stuff was beautifully and powerfully portrayed, such as the trip to Washington, Bess dealing with a terrorized Seldon, and Herman and Sandy's trip to rescue Seldon. I just think a lot of it was too preachy, heavy-handed/trying too hard. A little subtlety goes a loooong way.

Edited by Norma Desmond
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Giant Misfit

This is an episode thread. Do not use it to discuss the book or anything else that didn't happen in this or the previous episodes. Do not use any of the subject matter as a jumping off point to draw parallels to any modern-day politicians, political parties, or movements. 

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