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S01.E06: The House of Special Purpose

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The Czar abdicates, and civil war erupts. As pro-royalist forces close in on the house where the Romanovs are imprisoned, the family's fate is sealed.

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Man, that was rough. So sad how it all went wrong and the innocent kids got wrapped up in it. One of the saddest scenes was seeing Nicholas and Alex taking to each other in their room before the murders. Very wistful and a mix of where did it go wrong and what’s going to happen to us all. I really enjoyed this series, but found it extremely frustrating at times watching them make the often avoidable mistakes and steps that led to their downfall. Maybe it’s the benefit of hindsight, but there were so many chances and places they could have done better or turned things around. I also liked the ending with the post script of what happened to their family and Russia and their fate and bodies took so long to find. Did a good job of making the jump from 1918 to present day with it feeling like an exposition dump.

Edited by MadyGirl1987
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The daughters' behavior was annoying in this and throughout the episodes.  They were so giggly and naive -- teehee, we're going to be rescued.  In real life, the Romanovs were a lot more depressed, and Olga especially seemed to sense that they weren't going to get out of it alive, even before her parents.

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For something titled The Last Czars, plural, they really didn't get all that into any of the other figures, did they? Not Alexander III, not Alexei (though to be fair, he never was a czar), and not Grand Duke Michael, who had the good sense to refuse the throne but then got murdered anyway. I think Michael only got the one mention from the one talking head person. 

I'm not sure how good this was overall, but the last several minutes were effective - and eliminated my mild concern that even with all of the historian talking heads they were going to pull a final GOTCHA on the audience and have Anna Anderson turn out to be Anastasia.

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1 hour ago, quarks said:

I'm not sure how good this was overall, but the last several minutes were effective - and eliminated my mild concern that even with all of the historian talking heads they were going to pull a final GOTCHA on the audience and have Anna Anderson turn out to be Anastasia.

I was worried about that to. I don’t know if you watch Victoria on PBS but that is the kinda thing they would pull, they play so fast and loose with historical accuracy. Especially in this case, with what really happened to the family being so tragic, it would have seemed so disrespectful to have them pull a switch that one survived.

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40 minutes ago, MadyGirl1987 said:

I was worried about that to. I don’t know if you watch Victoria on PBS but that is the kinda thing they would pull, they play so fast and loose with historical accuracy. Especially in this case, with what really happened to the family being so tragic, it would have seemed so disrespectful to have them pull a switch that one survived.

And they kept going back to Anna Anderson. I mean, I kinda got it - they were using her partly as a framework for the overall story, but wow, did the show seem to spend a lot of time on her. Time that I think would have been better spent on introducing the other family members and/or clarifying their relationships with Nicholas and Alexandra. 

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I liked the series.  But my goodness, but the wigs and beards were so horrible they were distracting.  I feel like someone blew most of the wig/beard budget on cocaine and everyone ended up with beauty stop hair 

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On 7/12/2019 at 10:48 AM, RealReality said:

I liked the series.  But my goodness, but the wigs and beards were so horrible they were distracting.  I feel like someone blew most of the wig/beard budget on cocaine and everyone ended up with beauty stop hair 

Goodness yes. Rasputin's wig and beard was especially awful. 

Overall, I thought this was interesting. The assassination scene, even though I knew it was coming, was pretty brutal. 

I recently read a really good book called I Was Anastasia which is basically the story of Anastasia and Anna Anderson. Anastasia's story is told forward in time leading up the murders and Anna's story is told backwards in time and they meet in the middle. 

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I liked the scene with Nicholas and Alix but it was hard not still be frustrated at all the mistakes and mischances. 

I wondered how much of the massacre they would show. Its hard to imagine what actually happened was even worse. They left out the poor girls being stabbed with bayonets and Alexei surprisingly held on longer. They left out the attendants that died with them. The nurse put up one hell of a fight too. 

I'm disappointed they didn't show the other murders and Ella didn't die alone. She was hit in the head and shoved down the shaft with five other Romanovs  Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich; Princes Ioann Konstantinovich, Konstantin Konstantinovich, Igor Konstantinovich and Vladimir Pavlovich Paley; along with Grand Duke Sergei's secretary, Fyodor Remez; and Varvara Yakovleva, a sister from the Grand Duchess's convent. Or Michael's who was killed with his secretary a month before Nicholas and his family. 

I'm glad they ended with declaring Anna Anderson wasn't Anastasia. I had been worried about that the entire five episodes. 

Edited by andromeda331
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On 7/15/2019 at 10:55 AM, MaggieG said:

Goodness yes. Rasputin's wig and beard was especially awful. 

Overall, I thought this was interesting. The assassination scene, even though I knew it was coming, was pretty brutal. 

I recently read a really good book called I Was Anastasia which is basically the story of Anastasia and Anna Anderson. Anastasia's story is told forward in time leading up the murders and Anna's story is told backwards in time and they meet in the middle. 

his hair and beard were pretty awful in real life too. 

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On 9/1/2019 at 12:48 AM, andromeda331 said:

I wondered how much of the massacre they would show. Its hard to imagine what actually happened was even worse. They left out the poor girls being stabbed with bayonets and Alexei surprisingly held on longer. They left out the attendants that died with them. The nurse put up one hell of a fight too. 

How do know the details of what happened there? I know I'd heard some of them before, but how did this information get saved?

On 9/1/2019 at 12:48 AM, andromeda331 said:

I'm glad they ended with declaring Anna Anderson wasn't Anastasia. I had been worried about that the entire five episodes. 

Me too. It was distraction to be worried about it. I first learned about her as a kid in an episode of In Search Of... which made it seem like a real mystery. Then much later in life on a whim I looked up more about her and was annoyed at them not making it clear how obvious it was she could not be Anastasia.

But I was also tickled when the show actually included clips from that episode of In Search Of... I still remembered it so well I can practically hear her husband identifying all the Romanovs in a picture and saying "Czarina" in his thick Texas accent.

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2 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

How do know the details of what happened there? I know I'd heard some of them before, but how did this information get saved?

I've read a lot of books on the Romanovs. Despite trying to cover up information and putting out misinformation got out from those who were there and from the government. Also most people in the village knew parts of it they had heard the gun shots. The trucks were suppose to cover up the sounds but didn't work. The British had tons of papers in their archives about it as did the Soviets. Alexandra and her daughters had secretly sewn many of their jewels into their dresses. To keep from being stolen but also because they knew they would needed them all where ever they were exiled too. Which is completely true. Those Romanovs that did get out ended up having to sell their jewelry for money and ended up getting pensions from King George and the King of Denmark including Nicholas's mother who in the chaos of being removed from Russia onto the British ship one of her bags of jewelry was left behind. Unfortunately, those jewels are what kept the four daughters from dying immediately form being shot like Alexandra and Nicholas as bullet just bounced off. They ended up being stabbed to death by bayonets. Four others died with them their doctor, their mother's maid or nurse, and two others. The nurse put up a fight as did Alexi which surprised everyone given his hemophilia. Wikipedia has a page just on the Execution of the Romanov family.

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Me too. It was distraction to be worried about it. I first learned about her as a kid in an episode of In Search Of... which made it seem like a real mystery. Then much later in life on a whim I looked up more about her and was annoyed at them not making it clear how obvious it was she could not be Anastasia.

But I was also tickled when the show actually included clips from that episode of In Search Of... I still remembered it so well I can practically hear her husband identifying all the Romanovs in a picture and saying "Czarina" in his thick Texas accent.

 

I heard the story often growing up but after looking her up it seemed obvious she wasn't Anastasia.   

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I'm posting in this thread just to say I discovered this series, by accident. And I find the story about the Romanovs just fascinating.  I read about them, I think in the early 90s. It was by Robert Massie. It was in that book that he talked about DNA testing to prove that the charlatan was a charlatan. The result hadn't come out yet, I don't think. I remember a few years later that The Washington Post wrote an article, proving she was a fake-aroonie. I think she'd died and an autopsy had been done.

My first "introduction" to this family was the Amy Irving Television movie, where Omar Sharif played Nicholas. I had the biggest crush on him. Boy did that movie make him look so honorable and competent and strong. I think Angela Lansbury was in it as well, as was Susan Lucci, who played a cousin? who did believe Irving's charlatan. The movie was soooo biased in favor of her being Anastasia. 

I wonder if the scenes with the fake Anastasia in this series, with the tutor? Where they all learn she couldn't be Anastasia--if that information came to light AFTER the Ingrid Bergman movie and the television movie. Because if that information was out there BEFORE, I see NO REASON for the movies that humored the con artist. It's why, to this day, I REFUSE to watch that animated Anastasia, when it's been PROVEN Anastasia didn't survive, and it's insulting to make a movie, animated or not, that she's the "lost" princess. Plus, Ana wasn't BLONDE.

I wasn't a fan of the...dramatization in this. Especially all the orgies and showing Nicholas and Alexandra boinking, along with the moaning.

I'm trying to understand why all the actors spoke with an English accent--when they all, except for Alexandra ,were RUSSIAN. The minor characters--were shown to speak with Russian accents. I know, I know, piddling stuff, but this kind of piddling BUGS ME.

I think I'll pick up some more recent books on them, because the ones I've read are over 20 years old!

But I did like how it ended with showing Prince Phillip giving his DNA to help identify the bodies; and also to reveal the fake-aroonie to be the charlatan she was.

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8 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

I'm posting in this thread just to say I discovered this series, by accident. And I find the story about the Romanovs just fascinating.  I read about them, I think in the early 90s. It was by Robert Massie. It was in that book that he talked about DNA testing to prove that the charlatan was a charlatan. The result hadn't come out yet, I don't think. I remember a few years later that The Washington Post wrote an article, proving she was a fake-aroonie. I think she'd died and an autopsy had been done.

My first "introduction" to this family was the Amy Irving Television movie, where Omar Sharif played Nicholas. I had the biggest crush on him. Boy did that movie make him look so honorable and competent and strong. I think Angela Lansbury was in it as well, as was Susan Lucci, who played a cousin? who did believe Irving's charlatan. The movie was soooo biased in favor of her being Anastasia. 

I wonder if the scenes with the fake Anastasia in this series, with the tutor? Where they all learn she couldn't be Anastasia--if that information came to light AFTER the Ingrid Bergman movie and the television movie. Because if that information was out there BEFORE, I see NO REASON for the movies that humored the con artist. It's why, to this day, I REFUSE to watch that animated Anastasia, when it's been PROVEN Anastasia didn't survive, and it's insulting to make a movie, animated or not, that she's the "lost" princess. Plus, Ana wasn't BLONDE.

I wasn't a fan of the...dramatization in this. Especially all the orgies and showing Nicholas and Alexandra boinking, along with the moaning.

I'm trying to understand why all the actors spoke with an English accent--when they all, except for Alexandra ,were RUSSIAN. The minor characters--were shown to speak with Russian accents. I know, I know, piddling stuff, but this kind of piddling BUGS ME.

I think I'll pick up some more recent books on them, because the ones I've read are over 20 years old!

But I did like how it ended with showing Prince Phillip giving his DNA to help identify the bodies; and also to reveal the fake-aroonie to be the charlatan she was.

The mystery of Anastasia was what introduced me to the Romanovs and at first I found books that made Nicholas and Alexandra both come off very noble, happy, and made them come off very innocent. Until I read up on policies and found books that were more truthful. However much they were in love, were great parents and etc. both were completely in competent as rulers. Nicholas did nothing but in force the same crappy policies and fix nothing. True he inherited a lot of the problems but did nothing to fix them or make things worse. He refused to give the country a Duma until he had no choice after the riots and revolution of 1905 forced him to do it. Then he messed with it until he got one that would do whatever he wanted. Alexandra loved her husband, children and Alexei's condition but she banned anyone she didn't like or she thought wanted to undermine Nicholas's power. It didn't matter if the person could actually do the job well or not. If she didn't like them they were out and there were so many. That later changed to anyone Rasputin didn't like. Which only got worse when Nicholas left her in charge while he went to the front for the war. Both were really good at ignoring anyone who tried to get through to them or have any sense. Watching the scene in this episode when Nicholas and Alexandra talked. Its a good scene but also so frustrating that the two made so many mistakes.

I do wish this series was better. There's so much they could have done with it. Five episodes to show how things collapsed and explain why. They also left out a lot of stuff and people. 

The closest movie I've found so far is the 1971 Nicholas and Alexandra. It shows them in love but both incompetent. Nicholas ignoring good advice for bad advice and after the 1905 peaceful march on Winter Palace that ended with his guards opening fired he gets mad asking why he wasn't informed his advisor asks if he would have met the people, given them schools, a Duma and other stuff and Nicholas says no. The adviser asks why bother informing him if he wouldn't do anything? 

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On 2/12/2020 at 9:23 AM, GHScorpiosRule said:

My first "introduction" to this family was the Amy Irving Television movie, where Omar Sharif played Nicholas. I had the biggest crush on him. Boy did that movie make him look so honorable and competent and strong. I think Angela Lansbury was in it as well, as was Susan Lucci, who played a cousin? who did believe Irving's charlatan. The movie was soooo biased in favor of her being Anastasia. 

I find that now one of the biggest distractions for me is, for instance, in every scene where they were talking to Anna Anderson I was thinking, "Okay, so what language is everyone actually speaking here?" Because the tutor is presumably French and speaking French. People who still insist she was Anastasia (and her DNA was doctored and so were the DNA tests of those bodies because there was such a big plot against this woman!) say that she spoke all the same languages as Anastasia, but the reality seems to be no, she only knew a few words of French or English and claimed (in German) she just refused to speak Russian.

On 2/12/2020 at 9:23 AM, GHScorpiosRule said:

I wonder if the scenes with the fake Anastasia in this series, with the tutor? Where they all learn she couldn't be Anastasia--if that information came to light AFTER the Ingrid Bergman movie and the television movie. Because if that information was out there BEFORE, I see NO REASON for the movies that humored the con artist. It's why, to this day, I REFUSE to watch that animated Anastasia, when it's been PROVEN Anastasia didn't survive, and it's insulting to make a movie, animated or not, that she's the "lost" princess. Plus, Ana wasn't BLONDE.

I think the Russian royal family survivors issued as statement in the late 20s saying it wasn't her, and the German press had by that time already identified her as the Polish factory worker. The movie was in the 50s. (Of course there's still people today claiming it's a mystery despite DNA evidence etc.)

On 2/12/2020 at 9:23 AM, GHScorpiosRule said:

I wasn't a fan of the...dramatization in this. Especially all the orgies and showing Nicholas and Alexandra boinking, along with the moaning.

I'm trying to understand why all the actors spoke with an English accent--when they all, except for Alexandra ,were RUSSIAN. The minor characters--were shown to speak with Russian accents. I know, I know, piddling stuff, but this kind of piddling BUGS ME.

I think I'll pick up some more recent books on them, because the ones I've read are over 20 years old!

But I did like how it ended with showing Prince Phillip giving his DNA to help identify the bodies; and also to reveal the fake-aroonie to be the charlatan she was.

I really liked that part too. Also I didn't know about the story of the bodies being found so that was cool to learn.

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