At the beginning of the 3rd episode, Douglas Archer (Sam Riley) attends a Nazi ceremony. During the event, he spots Barbara Barga (Kate Bosworth) on a nearby ledge. Then, he sees Sylvia Manning (Maeve Dermody) and follows her. After the intro, we jump back in time and see a meeting between Archer and Fritz Kellermann (Rainer Bock). The couple speaks about Huth (Lars Eidinger) and his Olympic competition. Archer talks about the photograph of Professor Frick and his colleagues. He explains that there is a possible atomic connection with Spode’s death. Both agree that the atomic bomb could potentially explain Huth’s arrival. After the conversation ends, Archer returns to his desk and prepares to investigate the sign that was found with Jimmy Dunn.
He is interrupted by an angry Harry Woods (James Cosmo). Harry blames Archer for his death and also ridicules his decision to work with the Nazis. Archer determines that the sign has no fingerprints. Nevertheless, he seems to be under the impression that the Resistance is responsible for Jimmy’s death. Their conversation turns to Sylvia. Archer tells Harry to warn Sylvia and instruct her to escape to the non-occupied zone. Instead, Harry gives Archer her location. Archer tracks her down and speaks with her directly. Archer tries to convince the woman to flee, but she doesn’t seem worried. She also refuses to provide any helpful information regarding Jimmy’s death. When Archer leaves, a man enters Sylvia’s place and attacks her. She pleads with him to leave Archer alone. The man eventually leaves and pursues Archer.
Archer heads to the subway station. He stops and makes a call before continuing on his way. He notices he is being followed, so he jumps on the tracks and ducks away. A train passes by and Archer returns to the tracks. He is attacked by two men, but manages to bring them down. In one of the man’s pockets, he finds a newspaper article about his exploits. Archer returns home and allows Mrs. Sheenan (Christina Cole) to nurse his bloody ear. They also discuss music. Archer explains that the Nazis banned the music, but secretly love it. The next day at work, Archer receives a letter from Jimmy. It contains the picture of the doctors and information about Professor Frick. On the bottom, he finds a note about Spode being at the general detention camp.
Seconds later, Archer is interrupted by Huth. Archer is told to create a wanted poster for the men in the picture. Huth insists this move will force the army to admit that these men are under their protection. Afterwards, Archer heads to the detention camp. There, he meets with Hans Hesse (Ronald Zehrfeld). Archer makes it clear that he is there to arrest Spode. They disagree on the details of the arrest. Archer eventually agrees to arrest the man inside of the camp. Archer returns to his car and waits for Spode to show. He gets a visit from Hesse, who has brought a sandwich. The men wait for an undisclosed period of time, before Spode arrives. Archer chases down John Spode (James Northcote) and offers to help. Hesse catches up with them moments later.
John Spode is taken to a private interrogation room. Spode makes it clear that he had no intention of hurting Archer’s son. He admits he wanted to get Archer’s attention and eventually his help. Spode is given a cigarette. Then, he is allowed to see the pivot for his arm. He looks at it and then convulses and passes out on the floor. Hesse refuses to get the man any help. Archer informs Huth moments later. He is ridiculed for allowing the man to die. We also see that Archer has kept the potentially deadly cigarette. He hides it away. Then, Archer calls Harry and asks for intel. Later that night, Archer follows Hesse to a brothel. He enters and runs into George Mayhew (Jason Flemyng). Archer knows he has stumbled onto something bigger, since George is there.
Seconds later, a man enters and requests Hesse. Archer asks George whether or not the men are German Army Intelligence. George admits Barbara Barga has told him that he can trust Archer. George lays out a scenario about the King being free and confirming Connolly’s rank publicly. He suggests that would change Britain’s position in the world. He also admits a few German Army members are willing to do everything to help the cause. A few seconds later, the man returns and informs them that the General is ready to meet them. Archer tries to play hardball with the men, while using his knowledge of Spode’s murder as leverage. Archer is asked whether or not Spode made copies of the calculations his brother stole from Bringle Sands. Archer admits he believed John when he denied it.
Archer is told he will be held responsible should a copy fall into the wrong hand. He is also told to keep Hesse’s name out of his reports. Archer agrees to the arrangement. Then, Archer is given instructions to find an airfield for the King. On the way back, Archer and George discuss the King. They contemplate ways to get the King out of the country. Once George is dropped off, Archer takes a closer look at Spode’s arm piece. He manages to open it up. Inside, he finds some undeveloped film. Archer then heads to Barbara’s place. Archer admits he doesn’t know if John killed his own brother. Archer asks Barbara if she happened to meet the men before the war. He suggests Barbara was a part of their plans to get atomic calculations into American hands.
Barbara admits she is deep in the Resistance now. Archer also suggests she smuggled a reel of film into the country. She quickly changes the subject. They hit the bedroom. Barbara admits she has heard about the plan to move the King to America. However, she admits she doesn’t put a lot of credence into it. She insists the King would be a liability to America, so she doesn’t believe the story. In the morning, Archer turns the film over to the German army. Then, he runs into Kellermann at the ceremony. He spots Huth and then Barbara, before following Sylvia. Before he can reach her, an explosion happens directly in front of him.
The biggest problem plaguing SS-GB is the story’s complexity. The show does a poor job of making everything clearly understandable. Even after watching through the episode twice, I am still not entirely sure what is going on. However, it is clear that there is an internal struggle between the SS and the German Army. Also, it seems the two sides are eager to get their hands on an atomic bomb as quickly as possible. While things are clearer after a second viewing, most people won’t have the time or energy to sit through each episode twice.
The episodes are so slow that they’re nearly grueling to watch. Toss in the fact that everything feels like a jumbled mess and what you end up with is a major disappointment. SS-GB hits some high notes here and there. The acting is definitely right on the money, despite a few cheesy accents. Also, the material does a decent job with the Nazi figures. Thus far, it hasn’t gone overboard and hasn’t transformed them into cartoonish villains.
The episode deserves a 5 out of 10. Catch up with previous recaps of SS-GB now.