Amazon Prime’s The Romanoffs arrives at the finish line in “The One That Holds Everything”. If you were hoping that this would be the one that really brings into focus Weiner’s thesis for The Romanoffs, you’re probably walking away disappointed. An ambitious story framing device that doesn’t quite work leads to a surprise ending that doesn’t feel earned, and we’re still left at the end of it all confused and asking “why?” What is so fascinating about the Romanovs and their lives of various levels of privledge and quiet desperation that justifies the time and expense that went into making this, or watching it? We don’t have great answers, but we’re relieved to see this particular line of Romanoffs brought to an end.
This, by our estimation, is the second best episode of Amazon Prime’s The Romanoffs, but unfortunately, that’s not saying much about “End of the Line”. It features fairly engaging material involving a couple desperate to have a child engaging in grey-market adoption shenanigans in Russia, and the man and woman in question are appealing and sympathetic as leads. The script also approaches “crackling” in places, as these potential parents begin to fight over how far they’re willing to go and what compromises they’re willing to accept for their child, as the adoption environment itself plays on their paranoia and prejudice. Unfortunately, all this is betrayed by what has become as much of a Romanoffs trademark as it’s nebulous connection to the titular theme; uninspired directing and editing.
Jim and A.Ron think this latest episode of Amazon’s The Romanoffs, “Panorama” is a mess. At best, it’s a mildly interesting yet gorgeous travelogue for Mexico City. At worst, it’s a poorly, written, directed, acted, and edited mess that seems to have no idea what it wants to say, and doesn’t know enough about the topics to offer any depth to the things it reaches for. The only thing that kind of works is the relationship between the two ridiculously photogenic protagonists, but they are also the least interesting of the premises. Our hope for this series is now that Weiner can make one really exceptional episode out of the next two, or the finale episode is truly “The One That Holds Everything” and somehow ties this all together.
The fifth episode of Amazon’s The Romanoffs has something to say, but we’re not sure what it is, if it’s worth saying, and if Matthew Weiner is the right spokesperson for the message, which seems to be; the worst thing you can be accused of is accusing somebody else of something they didn’t do. Regardless of how we felt about the themes at play, the presentation left a lot to be desired as well, featuring clunky dialog and either stagey acting and/or bizarre editing choices or both. You know, hallmarks of Mad Men, the series that made Weiner famous.
Jim and A.Ron have a split decision on the forth episode of Amazon’s The Romanoffs, “Expectations”. A.Ron found it pointless and borderline unwatchable, where Jim was drawn into the human element of Amanda Peet’s Julia struggling to deal with a secret that has been weighing on her conscience for 20 years. Regardless, the episode does feature engaging performances from very likable stars (the previously mentioned Peet, and John Slattery). What did you think? Tell us using the contact info below!
Jim and I watched an unexpectedly spooky episode of Matthew Weiner’s The Romanoffs, “House of Special Purpose”. Starring Christina Hendricks, Jack Huston, and Isabelle Huppert, it’s a tale that asks us whether we believe in ghosts or if one or perhaps more people are actually losing their minds. Does the spell work, and what is Weiner saying about coercive / abusive directors and set environments? Perhaps Hollywood’s legacy of sexual abuse is the spookiest story of all? And despite the super serious subject matter, we also find time to pitch a sequel to Twister, somehow, because of Paul Riser? Perhaps it is us losing our minds after all.
It’s been three years since Don Draper and Peggy Olson left our televisions, and now Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is back with something to say? Is it good, is it bad, is it something even worth saying? After seeing 180 minutes of his new series, The Romanoffs, we’re still oddly divided on answering those basic questions. It’s beautiful, and thoughtful, and at times absorbing, but are the disconnected lives of eight (perhaps delusional) offspring of the fallen House Romanov interesting enough to merit our attention? Over the next seven weeks we’ll see what we make of it together!