A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 2 (An Invitation) Recap & Ending Explained: “A Gentleman in Moscow” is an eight-part limited series for Showtime and Paramount+ based on Amor Towles’ 2016 novel of the same name. Ewan McGregor plays Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, an aristocrat banished to live in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel following the October Revolution. The story chronicles the fictional Count’s adventures and tribulations within the luxury hotel as Metropol itself becomes a microcosm of everything that’s unfolding in Soviet Russia. 

Created by Ben Vanstone, A Gentleman in Moscow’s first episode, “A Master of Circumstances,” showcased Alexander Rostov adjusting himself to the new life in post-revolutionary Russia. He forms a heartwarming friendship with the nine-year-old Nina Kulikova (Alexa Goodall). But Alexander also becomes a witness to the grim turn of events that befall his friend, Nikolai Petrov (Paul Ready), a former prince turned outcast. “A Gentleman in Moscow” episode two, “An Invitation,” introduces a new character and also an old friend of Alexander. The episode is set at the tail end of 1922, the year the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was born. Socially and politically, the nation underwent a significant change whose impact could only be understood years later. 

Now, let’s explore the key events in Alexander Rostov’s imprisoned life at Metropol that unfolds in “A Gentleman in Moscow” episode 2, “An Invitation.” Spoilers Ahead.

A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 2 ‘An Invitation’ Recap: 

Who is Mishka?

“A Gentleman in Moscow” episode 2 opens at a meeting hall in Metropol, where people, including the party members, debate about Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP). Alexander and Nina watch the gathering from a secret place, thanks to Nina’s master key. A well-built and vociferous man speaks of building a new Russia without succumbing to the temptations of capitalism. Alexander Rostov recognizes the man as Mishka (Fehinti Balogun). Later, the two meet and greet each other in the hotel lobby. Then, Alexander sort of confronts Mishka about how his family has always treated him fairly while he is making speeches about the ‘tyranny’ of old Russia. 

The exchange reveals that there are unaddressed emotional wounds from their shared past. At the same time, Alexander’s attitude towards Mishka sounds a little condescending. Osip Glebnikov (Johnny Harris), an officer of the secret police, observes this conversation between two old friends. It’s been more than a year (Day 412) since Alexander Ilyich Rostov was placed under house arrest at the Metropol Hotel. Osip pays him a visit early in the morning to give Alexander a letter from his grandmother. The officer also wants to know about Mikhail Fyodorovich Mindich (Mishka’s full name). 

Alexander’s Princess Story

When Alexander tries to avert the topic, Osip retorts by recalling the close friendship between Alexander and Mishka at the university. It was the kind of bond that made the former Count invite Mishka to stay with his family. Osip seeks Alexander’s help to ‘understand Mishka better.’ It could very well mean that Osip is trying to find some dirt on Mishka. The chief reason might be Mishka, an influential party member, spoke on behalf of Alexander during his trial. 

During lunch at the restaurant, Alexander narrates an incident involving a princess to Nina. He tells how the princess, on her way to a ball, honored an old woman’s wish by visiting her home. Alexander dramatically narrates this event as if the princess visiting a humble worker’s home for tea is a miracle. Nina rightly questions whether the incident sounds like a marvel because going into a working-class people’s house was generally considered beneath the princess. Nina also wonders if the princess married a worker, to which Alexander says, “Good God, certainly not!” The moral of Alexander’s story is the princess’ generous behavior, whereas Nina expects a love story that’s befitting the changing times. 

What does Alexander find behind his Closet? 

A pair of bumbling large dogs interrupt their conversation. The dogs bring chaos to the peaceful gathering. Alexander brings the dogs under control with a whistle. He learns they belong to the beautiful, famous actor Anna Urbanova (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Alexander and Anna instantly hit it off. The two briefly talk about dogs’ ill-bred and well-bred nature, although it’s evident that dogs are the last thing on their minds. Later, in his cold attic room, Alexander finds some loose boards behind the closet. He examines it further to find an opening that doesn’t lead to a magical kingdom like in Narnia. But what Alexander sees is soothing enough for his confined life. 

Alexander stumbles into a larger room with more sunlight. With the help of Nina, he fixes that room’s leaky roof, rolls off a carpet, and finds a place to hang his sister Helena’s portrait. In the new hangout spot, Nina asks Alexander about his friendship with Mishka and why it has turned out the way it is now. Nina guesses a woman came between them, whom they both loved. Alexander acknowledges that they both loved her, but not in the way she is imagining. From the fragments of Alexander’s sun-drenched memories, it is evident that Mishka and Helena (Lily Newmark) loved each other. But Helena’s family, including her beloved brother Alexander Rostov, was against it. The precocious Nina points out what she believes to be the moral of Alexander’s princess story: “The princess could never marry the blacksmith’s son.”

A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 2 'An Invitation' Ending Explained
A still from “A Gentleman in Moscow” episode 2, ‘An Invitation.’

Alexander fights for his friend

Later, the maid Marina (Leah Harvey) visits Alexander’s room with her son, Yasha. He thanks her for mending his clothes. Marina invites Alexander to the hotel staff’s New Year’s Eve party. Meanwhile, Anna meets with an influential party member (Jason Forbes) at the Metropol restaurant. They speak about Lenin’s illness and who might succeed him. Trotsky or Kamenev are believed to be next in line, and the man says both of them cherish cinema and love Anna’s movies. When Anna asks about the ‘man of steel,’ referring to Josef Stalin, the man dismisses him as a ‘thug.’ 

The man offers to introduce Anna to Trotsky and Kamenev’s favorite directors. In exchange, he asks Anna out for dinner and perhaps other favors that are strongly hinted at. Anna, who looks keen to succeed in her profession, agrees to have lunch with him. Later, at the Metropol bar, a brawl erupts between Mishka and an unruly man. When Alexander sees his friend getting beaten, he joins the fight. Though Alexander himself fumbles during the fight, the gesture does mean a lot as the two friends try to bond over drinks. Alexander speaks of his losses, including the recent loss of his friend, Petrov. Mishka implores him to look forward to the future of Russia, who believes the Revolution will bring positive changes to the Russian people’s lives. 

What happens during Alexander’s rendezvous with Anna? 

After Mishka takes leave, Alexander receives an invitation to meet Anna through Vasily, the concierge. Alexander dresses up fine to meet Anna at the bar. But Nina briefly interrupts him, reminding Alexander about his appointment with her. Sadly, Alexander ditches Nina to meet Anna for a drink. However, the meeting goes well for Alexander as Anna invites him to her room in twenty minutes. Giddy with anticipation, Alexander meets Anna in her room and has a proper dinner. They question each other and make guesses about other’s lives without really answering anything. 

Alexander rightly guesses that Anna is the daughter of a fisherman who wanted to escape the place. Anna wonders why the party let Alexander live. Having had enough conversation, Anna proceeds to take Alexander to her bed, showering him with frenzied kisses. Always a stickler for etiquette, Alexander wants to remove his shoes before Anna goes for ‘furious jumping.’ The pillow talk, however, doesn’t go well between them. Anna’s sarcastic remark evokes a patronizing statement from Alexander. Subsequently, she politely asks him to close the door on his way out. 

A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 2 ‘An Invitation’ Ending Explained: 

Why Osip inquires Alexander about Mishka? 

Alexander apologizes to Nina for his inconsiderate behavior the previous day. After accepting his apology, Nina says she will soon leave the hotel and start school. Alexander reassures Nina that she will meet good people who might become her best friends. Osip visits Alexander in his room to inquire about Mishka. The officer also questions why he was involved in a fight with a factory administrator. Alexander says he didn’t know who the man was and that he fought only for Mishka. Alexander also asks why Osip is so interested in Mishka. 

The officer says despite being a loyal party member, Mishka risked his position to save Alexander. It was Mishka who brought the tribunal’s attention to a poem written by Alexander. Understanding that Osip doubts Mishka’s loyalty to the party and revolution, Alexander emphasizes that Mishka is the best humanity has to offer. Osip then retorts why he deemed Mishka unworthy of his sister, Helena. Alexander accepts that it was his shortsighted notion about nobility that destroyed the love between Mishka and Helena. Osip mildly intimidates Alexander before leaving him. Nevertheless, Alexander gifts the officer his copy of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Though he initially scorns the gesture, Osip eventually accepts it. Despite finding themselves on opposite ends, the two men are intrigued by the other, which is pivotal to their connection in the future. 

What is Nina’s parting gift to Alexander? 

At the restaurant, Anna has dinner with the influential man, who has already got her acquainted with the vital filmmakers. Anna plainly invites the man to her room instead of playing elaborate games. As Anna leaves with the man, Alexander watches them from a distance. Subsequently, Alexander meets Nina, who is all set to leave Metropol for her studies. While Nina enjoys her ice cream, Alexander toasts their wonderful friendship. They also exchange gifts. Nina asks Alexander to open her gift only at the New Year. After a warm hug, Nina leaves in search of her future. 

Alexander takes up Marina’s invitation to the staff’s New Year’s Eve party. Mishka is also present at the party. They have a great time drinking, dancing, and rejoicing in the camaraderie, hoping it flourishes in the New Year, too. In his room, Alexander expresses his regrets to Mishka for coming between him and Helena. Alexander acknowledges the risk Mishka took to save him. Reconciliation finally happens between the two, and Alexander asks his friend to visit his room occasionally. Remembering Nina’s gift, Alexander opens the box to find the Metropol’s master key. 

Upon receiving this precious gift, Alexander opens a door and climbs a ladder to the hotel roof. “A Gentleman in Moscow,” episode 2 ends with Alexander enjoying the dawn of a new day and a new year. More adventures and agony await our indomitable protagonist, so we can only wish him that he finds great pleasure in this beautiful moment. 

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A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 2 ‘An Invitation’ External Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 2 Cast: Evan McGregor, Fehinti Balogun, Alexa Goodall, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Leah Harvey, Johnny Harris, and Beau Gadson.
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