The episode begins with contrasting news reports of the Soviet Union shooting down a Korean passenger plane. The West German news reports focus on the devastating death of innocent lives, while the East German news reports say the plane was invading their airspace.
Martin doesn’t want to go back to the West. He has no idea who is in the right or who is in the wrong anymore, and wants to stay in the East and be a good father to his child. Martin notes that while the geographical distance might not be far, it might as well be another planet. He never knew his father, and he doesn’t want to only see his child during holidays and to be “some phantom who shows up at Christmas with a present”. Martin asks Schweppenstette if he has any children. He replies that he does, but doesn’t see them. Schweppenstette says they believe the West are planning to attack the East. Martin replies that from what he’s observed, the West don’t want a war. Schweppenstette then mentions Able Archer, and that they need to find out what it is.
After hearing this, Martin decides to go back to the West. Ingrid tells him she thinks that he is being used by the government, but Martin still decides to go back.
Alex storms into a brothel wearing a mask and holding a gun. After shooting a gun out of a guy’s hand (which takes his finger off!) Alex goes to the room General Jackson is using. Jackson recognises Alex through the mask, and tells Alex to remove it and face him. Alex then sets cameras up.
Lenora and her team have been listening to all of this, having bugged the brothel for ages knowing that many of the West German generals and officials regularly go there. Lenora then goes to meet Tichsbier and tells him Alex came into the East German mission and gave her a list of ideas which she found laughable, and even if they were workable Alex is useless as an ally given that he walked right in the front door of the mission, and the West photograph everyone who comes in and out of there. But now he has put one of his plans in action, it could be traced back to the East, so they need to sort it out before it gets out of hand.
The whole thing with Alex’s siege is farcical, and there are a lot of funny moments in the early stages of it. He holds cue cards for Jackson to read a speech – which he has to hold closer as Jackson doesn’t have his reading glasses. The prostitute who Jackson was using interrupts filming to say she’s cold and is it all going to be finished by 4.pm as she has to pick up her son up from school. Alex then tells Jackson to read it with more conviction and raise his hand “like in the movies” – which he can’t as he’s handcuffed!
Kramer picks up Martin, who as he’s in the West goes by the name Moritz again. Kramer tells him they have to go and stop Alex. Alex plans to give the video to a TV news station, but he and Jackson end up fighting over the cassette and the gun, and the poor prostitute is caught in the crossfire and killed. Kramer and Moritz arrive, and they say its best if everyone pretends this never happened. They run out, but someone has called the police, and Kramer ends up being shot dead by them.
Alex freaks out, but Moritz tells him to pull himself together, as he is in a lot of trouble and if any of it gets out he will be jailed for life for treason.
Military intelligence have come to question Alex, having photographed him outside of the East German mission. Wolfgang had found out about Alex going AWOL, but Moritz and Alex get back in time for Alex to be questioned, and he pretends he has been ill in bed all this time.
Yvonne tells Moritz she has got a gig as the backing singer for rock star Udo Lindenberg, and the tour is going all over Germany, including the East. They kiss.
Meanwhile, Tichsbier is in a car with Felix (Florian Bartholomai). Felix and Tichsbier have been seen together at various points throughout the series, and they have slept together. Felix tells Tichsbier he has been diagnosed with AIDS and has been given six months to live. He says Tichsbier has to get himself tested too.
The East have been decoding the NATO report. Intelligence have found that it includes SIOP-6, America’s operational plan in the event of nuclear war, and a summary which concludes clearly that the US has no intention of striking first. Schweppenstette says they should just translate and type up the SIOP-6 bit and ignore the rest. This version of the report is given to the superiors Fuchs and Alexj Stepanov (Merab Ninidze), and it makes them worried, as they see it as evidence of America being eager to strike first.
‘Brandy Station’ was an intense episode that had two on-screen character deaths, one a semi-regular, Karl Kramer. It also showed that political and nuclear threats looming. This episode definitely felt like building up to a climax. The threat of it all becoming catastrophic is in here more than ever, and it all seems more personal as we have got to know these characters at this point.
On a lighter note though, Martin/Moritz reminds me a bit of Billy Liar in some ways. Like at one point he technically had three different girlfriends! Obviously the circumstances he is in aren’t normal, but he doesn’t have much problem juggling a few girls around! That said, Annett was cheating on him too, Yvonne seems like a “free love” sort, and Linda had an affair with a married man. I suppose the saying “All’s fair in love and war” fits in this programme.