Last season I wrote the penultimate episode, and it was fun this time around to kick off the final third of the book, rather than laying out the pieces for the big finale. There was a lot more setting up to do in episode 10, despite the fact that I also got to end with a huge cliff-hanger. Never before had I felt so George R. R. Martin-y!
But more than that, I enjoyed writing episode 10 because it let me focus in on two of my favorite characters: my perennial favorite Zerena, and my annual fave, Edith. I actually think the two characters serve as really neat contrasts, which is why it made me happy that the episode was able to really involve both of them. Both women are fiercely intelligent and know how to navigate the world of the privileged. They also, perhaps not coincidentally, know how to navigate through male-dominated quarters as well, with Edith rising her way up through the ranks of the CIA, and Zerena subtly controlling certain aspects of the diplomatic scene in Prague. I like to imagine in another story, another world, these two would have been best friends. I can certainly imagine them meeting for lunch at a cafe, sipping espresso and plotting the most subtle of world dominations.
Alas, this is not that story, and Edith and Zerena have used their similar skills for vastly different purposes.While they aren’t at direct odds in this episode, it was interesting to have a chance to contrast their goals and techniques. Zerena is much more keen on manipulation than Edith is, and Edith is far more inclined toward classic tradecraft. And yet both are aware of their unique positions within their respective organizations, and both know how to subvert people’s expectations to their own advantage.
So let’s lift our espressos cups to Edith and Zerena, the mirror universe versions of each other.