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Friday, November 16, 2018

The Romanoffs 1.6: Panorama: The Royal Disease

The connections of the stories in The Romanoffs to the actual Romanovs vary widely, and in some cases is very thin.  In The Romanoffs 1.6, the connection is hemophilia.  The Tsarevich Alexei suffered from this lack-of-blood-clotting condition - many of Queen Victoria's descendants did - and in this episode we meet a boy, Nick, afflicted with the same problem, inherited from his mother, Victoria, who is a descendant of the Romanovs.

The action all takes place in Mexico City, where the mother and son, desperate (the conventional treatment has failed - Nick developed antibodies) go to a quack medical facility for treatment.  There they cross paths with Abel (standout performance by Juan Pablo Castañeda), a reporter posing as someone with a serious illness, attempting to do an undercover story on the quack.  This doesn't lead to much - the quack quickly realizes that Abel isn't suffering from any illness - but the story takes off wonderfully in two interlocking ways.

First, we get a gorgeous, historically vibrant tour of Mexico City, as Abel takes Nick and Victoria to museums and Aztec (Mexica) pyramids.  Nowadays, I'm always sensitive to how any drama relates to Trump and his demonization of people south of our border, and the civilization and beauty spoken in this tour is one good answer to the culturally bereft American President.

Meanwhile, this episode also tells the story of the budding love between Abel and Victoria.  This is handled in a tender way.  When Victoria declines to sleep with Abel after he tells he loves her, she asks him if knowing she wants to might be enough.  He says he'll take anything he can get.

In many ways, I liked this episode the best so far - a breath of fresh air that made me want to go to Mexico City on my next vacation.

See also: The Romanoffs 1.1: The Violet Hour: Compelling, Anti-Binge Watchable Comedy of Manners ... The Romanoffs 1.2: The Royal We: A Walk on the Dark Side ... The Romanoffs 1.3: House of Special Purpose: Ghost Story ... The Romanoffs 1.4: Expectation: Unfulfilled ... The Romanoffs 1.5: Bright and High Circle: Music and Abuse  ... The Romanoffs 1.7: End of the Line: The Adoption Racket ... The Romanoffs 1.8:  The One that Holds Everything: Writer on a Train

It all starts in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn walks off the set
of The Misfits and begins to hear a haunting song in her head,
"Goodbye Norma Jean" ...

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