‘A Gentleman In Moscow’ Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: Did The Count Want To Kill Himself?


You could argue that the narrative hinging so much on time jumps was a rather safe bet by Ben Vanstone for A Gentleman in Moscow. You could even term it uninspired that the Ewan McGregor-starrer is so faithful to its source material. However, the simple fact that the Count’s story is effective nonetheless makes me see it as a well-planned yet risky gamble. A Gentleman in Moscow episode 3 could’ve taken it a bit easier with the metaphors; I’ll give you that.

Spoiler Alert

What news does Mishka have for the Count?

Other than Lenin’s death proving Anna’s sacrilegious claims true and a few more souvenirs of nobility tumbling down around the Metropol, not much had changed in the Count’s life by 1926. The news Mishka brings to him probably makes him ponder the uncomfortable thoughts he hasn’t had the time to address yet. The Countess is dead. The Count is the last remaining Rostov. It’s not just the confusing responsibility that overwhelms him, but also the thought that there won’t be another Rostov to carry on the bloodline. The Count might’ve inadvertently associated the very idea of hope with his grandmother. And now that she’s gone, he hasn’t just lost the last of his family; he’s also lost his last real connection with the world outside of Metropol. 

Why does the Count risk planning a service at the Metropol?

His grandmother’s influence on the Count’s perspective of life also makes him a little stubborn when it comes to hope. It’s like he is back in his childhood, throwing a tantrum over losing a game. Nothing’s actually gotten any better for his kind since Lenin’s death. If anything, being in a battle with Trotsky has made Stalin more aggressive with the reforms. Going over a lavish menu with the kitchen staff, gliding his fingers over the china, and getting a suit made to his father’s likeness—everything the Count’s doing for his grandmother’s service at the Metropol is a cry for help. But inviting 20 people who loved the countess was more of a desperate quest for hope. Is it still alive? Can things ever really go back to the way they were? 

Do the Count and Anna make up?

He’s spent over 1600 days cooped up in the Metropol. And through these endless days, the Count has longingly gazed at Anna, whose career is soaring thanks to the shrewd Nachevko. She doesn’t waste the champagne he sends. But she’s certainly waiting for a bigger gesture of his desire for her. It’s not until the Count shows up with the room service trays that he gets to know she has no bone to pick with him. Now that he’s basically come down to his knees for her companionship, Anna likes the Count enough to give him another chance. Maybe only to let him know it’s going to take way more than just conversations for him to truly get to know her. 

Is there a change in Nina?

Well, to be fair, she’s a teenager now. A worldly young girl latches on to the ideology that aligns the most with her idea of social improvement. We can imagine that the Count’s been telling Nina all sorts of stories from his treasure chest of knowledge. And it would be fair to assume that Nina’s mostly seen eye to eye with the Count, as long as it didn’t pose bigger questions. But Nina, who finds Secretary Stalin’s heavy-handed approach to be the only cure to capitalistic imperialism, is someone the Count doesn’t know yet. The Count tells the story of black moths crushing white moths in the game of survival, hoping that Nina will catch the metaphor. But Nina only sees the pragmatic truth of it all. Adapt or die. In a way, the Count misses a point in his own metaphor too. The white moths thrived when the circumstances allowed them survival by crypsis. But the black moths weren’t so lucky back then. 

Why Did The Count Want To Kill Himself?

Call it a bad luck streak or just the way things were meant to go, but ever since his grandmother’s death, the world hasn’t been kind to the Count. Befriending Abram, the friendly old beekeeper, was a sweet addition to his list of secret joys in the Metropol. Nothing makes the Count happier than finding an interest he has in common with someone. And with Abram, he could probably go on talking all day about the honey that tasted of apples at his family’s estate in Nizhny Novgorod. So it comes as a note of hopelessness to him when the Bolsheviks’ demolition of the Imperial Gardens messes with the bees, and Abram loses his queen. 

The Count practically dangles his life in front of the predator by going through with his grandmother’s service. Considering he’s been warned repeatedly by friends and well-wishers who know that the party is against everything the service entails, the Count holds on simply out of adamance. He’s lost enough. Even Bishop, the Bolshevik waiter who has the ear of someone influential in the party, has made it so that all the labels are removed from the wine bottles. Everything is just red and white. The Count feels as though his back is to the wall. And by going through with the service, knowing it clashes with Stalin’s visit at the Metropol, he’s practically going on a suicide mission. 

He should have expected a disappointing turnout. Mishka and Nina are the only two by his side. And even with the latter, he loses to their conflicting ideals. The Count may be of use to Osip in keeping an eye on the Trotskyists, but something tells me the former Colonel has come to care about the prisoner beyond his usefulness. Osip’s words come off as a reminder of the current state of Russia and the nobility’s death. But you could also see it as Osip’s characteristically ominous way of keeping the Count out of harm’s way. 

In the ending sequence, when the Count faces the ground from the edge of the roof, it’s his way of letting the world know that he’s accepted defeat. His grandmother has taught him to be a gracious loser—to back away quietly when nothing more can be done. But his decision to end his life is certainly fueled by his guilt over Helena’s death, too. Maybe there was more to it, but his disapproval of her love for Mishka was one of the reasons Helena jumped from the roof. Thankfully, though, Abram’s bees made a trip to Nizhny Novgorod, and the honey now has the note of apples the Count misses so dearly. Now that he’s been handed the responsibility of the hive, whether he takes it as a sign of hope or not, the Count can’t back away from it. While he changes his mind about putting an end to his life, Stalin’s rejection of Anna’s movie effectively ends her career, giving him a kindred spirit with which to share his sorrow in the process. 

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Lopamudra Mukherjee
Lopamudra Mukherjee
In cinema, Lopamudra finds answers to some fundamental questions of life. And since jotting things down always makes overthinking more fun, writing is her way to give this madness a meaning.

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