‘A Gentleman In Moscow’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: What Happens To Mishka?


Despite the initial outbursts of revolt and even the thought of suicide, the Count in A Gentleman in Moscow has settled into life at the Metropol quite nicely. There have been hiccups aplenty; tragedies and the heartwrenching condition of the country to mourn. But the Count holds out hope for things to change. When he’s without purpose, he waits. And it’s only when there’s something or someone who needs him that he truly comes alive. 

Spoiler Alert

Whom does Osip want the Count to keep an eye on?

A Gentleman in Moscow‘s habit of time jumps persists. And it’s been a while since we’ve seen the Count this content. The Count’s been a prisoner in Metropol for a decade now. Some things have remained the same. The Count’s signature mustache, which I bet you’ll find a few grays in, the beehive that he adopted from Abram. But a lot has changed, too. Labels are put back on the wine bottles; the Metropol’s elevated state of luxury stands as a radiant distraction set up by Stalin. There’s a shift in the Count’s life in Metropol, too. His abundance of knowledge about food and wine has gotten him the head waiter job. And who better than Alexander Rostov to make a good impression on the foreign guests? I don’t think that Osip knows that he’s somewhat replaced Nina in the Count’s life. The high society etiquette that Nina was once eager to learn is now being taught to Osip. I’m sure there’ve been many books that came between War and Peace and Les Mis. But the Javert in Osip still hasn’t quite figured out how the Valjean in the Count could be anything more than a criminal. Fortunately for Osip, this criminal is the perfect spy to set on Nachevko. Evidently, Stalin was a bit paranoid about the Minister of Culture. So despite his protests, the Count’s asked to keep an eye on Nachevko. 

How did Mishka anger Stalin?

The time has come for Mishka to have a painful realization. The revolution that he so earnestly believed in and worked so hard for has been a lie. He didn’t quite see the flaw in it all when the party cracked down on the aristocrats. Now that Stalin’s jingoistic policies have forgotten about the people the revolution was supposed to help, Mishka can’t help but recognize that the revolution was more about establishing totalitarianism than socialism. He’s been tasked with transcribing Chekhov’s letters. But the foul truth about Stalin’s rule, Mishka learns in the process, is that it will rigorously silence any praise given to any other country. He’s asked to leave out the parts where Chekhov’s tipping his hat to the gloriousness that is German bread. Apparently, it’s tantamount to saying Russian bread is subpar. Even someone as headstrong as the Count knows that Mishka shouldn’t protest against the regime if he knows what’s good for him. But the sight of Mishka’s swollen face when he comes back says he chose not to play it safe after all. 

Are the Count and Nina going to be friends again?

It’s an awkward reunion after all this time. Nina’s been in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) for the last five years. She’s just making a quick stop at the Metropol on her way to Donetsk. She’s brainwashed enough to still be blind to how atrocious Lenin’s collectivization project actually is. Blind enough to think the common land will serve the common good and in a hurry to be a part of it. There’s a look of disappointment on the Count’s face. His choice to stay silent only goes to show that he’s accepted that he can’t force her to see the truth. The same truth now agonizes Mishka. The collectivization project has plunged the country into a terrible famine. And the people Mishka’s revolution was supposedly a mouthpiece for now die of hunger. Something about Nina’s way of reaching out to the Count to reassure him of their friendship says that she’s not beyond hope. And the Count loves her too much to not communicate that he’d rather she didn’t go to Donetsk. 

What Happens To Mishka?

If there’s one thing that is not quite convincing about A Gentleman in Moscow, it has to be how unperturbed Anna and the Count’s dynamic is. We’re to believe that, in all these years, through all these personal and broad chances, Anna and the Count haven’t had trouble maintaining a strictly casual relationship where each of them knows the other cares deeply about them. Neither of them has ever dared to slip a little? The thing is, the Count seems like the kind of person who’d burst if he kept an intense feeling a secret. So there’s that. Anna’s gone a bit volatile in her pursuit of resurrecting her career. She keeps her hope alive to be able to get through the futile meetings with producers and filmmakers. Seeing her with Nachevko and General Belsky is a matter of concern for the Count for one sole reason. Stalin’s paranoia about being surrounded by traitors has now found a target in Belsky. And Osip hands the responsibility of finding evidence against him to the Count. 

I doubt that the Count would’ve even entertained the idea of spying on Belsky and Nachevko had Mishka not poked the bear. But even without feeling like he owes one to Mishka, the Count can’t just let his friend die. Mishka’s gone ahead and made things a lot worse for himself by going on a very anti-Stalin rant. But he’s still too righteous to let the Count practically kill two men to save him. There’s a singular thing both Mishka and Osip use to pull the Count to their sides. The Count once killed a man to protect his sister. The blurry gunshot that recurs in the flashbacks is the Count shooting Pulunov. The thing the Count regrets the most—separating Mishka and Helena—pushed her into the arms of a man who couldn’t digest the fact that she was still in love with Mishka. As the Count chooses his friend’s life over Belsky and Nachevko and looks through their room, the secret he finds is not one he expected. Nachevko’s little sketch of Belsky tells the Count that what they’re hiding is their love in a country that’d kill them for being gay. He couldn’t possibly snitch on these two and be the reason for the death of another relationship. But it’s already too late. People being picked off over baseless suspicions has become increasingly frequent. The kitchen staff had to silently watch their colleague and friend being taken by the secret police. And now they’ve come for Belsky. Nachevko’s number may be up next. 

The Count may have seen the last of his closest friend, Mishka. The fact that his choice to take the high road couldn’t save Belsky and Nachevko anyway will likely add to this excruciating pain. Doing the right thing proved to be of no use in a country ruled by terror. Even Freya, the American journalist who’s been after the Count to write a piece on him, knows the risk of challenging Stalin’s lie about the country’s condition. Places like the Metropol maintain the pretense of abundance for foreigners while the country starves to death. The Count’s journey so far has gotten one thing right. Even when all seems to be lost and going on feels pointless, life can surprise you with a whole new purpose. And purpose is what the Count finds in the ending sequence of A Gentleman in Moscow episode 4. A few years down the line, Nina has come to find the ugly truth about Stalin’s Russia the hard way. Her husband, Leo, has been arrested and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Nina couldn’t possibly leave Leo alone. But before she can follow him, she’s come to the only person she can count on to drop off her little daughter Sophia. There’s no doubt that the Count will find it overwhelming to care for Sophia in her mother’s absence. But he now has a new friend to take on his adventures. And it’s almost like he’s gotten little Nina back. 

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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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