A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: “A Gentleman in Moscow,” created by Ben Vanstone, is a Paramount+ limited series based on Amor Towles’s 2016 book of the same name. In episode 3, “The Last Rostov,” we witnessed how the greater changes in Soviet Russia after Lenin’s death impacted even the ensconced life of Alexander Ilyich Rostov (Ewan Mcgregor) at Metropol Hotel. Though he mends his connection with Anna Urbanova (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Alexander loses his friendship with Nina Kulikova (Leah Balmforth). The Party’s stringent measures to dismantle everything related to privilege (even the wine labels) disturb Alexander so much that he tries to kill himself. But as he learns from the beekeeper and Metropol caretaker, Abram, life does find a way. 

In “A Gentleman in Moscow” episode 4, “Good Times,” Alexander has reinvented himself as Metropol’s headwaiter. The food and wine connoisseur uses his knowledge as foreign visitors frequently stay at Metropol to ascertain the ‘miracle of Soviet Russia.’ But, unlike what the episode title suggests, it’s not the good times for people close to Alexander, particularly his beloved friend, Mishka, who goes through a challenging time for speaking truth to power. Now, let’s delve into the details of Alexander’s new avatar in “A Gentleman in Moscow” episode 4. Spoilers Ahead.

A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 4 “Good Times” Recap:

Alexander is now the Headwaiter of Metropol

Directed by Sarah O’Gorman, “A Gentleman in Moscow” episode 4 opens with the narrator conveying that a decade has passed since Count Alexander Rostov was sentenced to life imprisonment in Metropol Hotel. It is 1932, and Alexander has been the head waiter at Metropol’s fine-dining restaurant, Boyarsky, for the last few years. The narrator informs us that wines are served again with labels as visitors worldwide want to see the Soviet experiment. Anna Urbanova is still struggling to regain her lost position as a starlet, although her acquaintance, Alexei Nachevko (Jason Forbes), is now the Minister of Culture. Anna keeps up her secret trysts with Alexander in her suite. Still, Anna likes to sleep alone when she has had her pleasures. 

Nearly 4,000 days have passed since Alexander was condemned to Metropol. He looks quite adjusted to the routines and rhythms of hotel life. Alexander cherishes the love and respect he receives and remains deeply concerned for the people around him. He senses the attraction between head chef Emily (Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson) and the maid Marina (Leah Harvey). Marina’s beloved son, Yasha, is now an adolescent who works in the kitchen. Alexander encourages Emily to shed his awkward man-child persona and profess his love for Marina. 

What does Osip order Alexander to do?

Alexander continues his lessons in gentleman etiquette for the gruff secret police officer Osip Glebnikov (Johnny Harris). The way Osip gesticulates with the knife while dining shows the man hasn’t learned his lessons well. Their discussions on fictional characters also persist. Osip has moved from Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace to Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Osip finds Jean Valjean’s merciful gesture to Inspector Javert strange and impossible. Of course, this character dynamics from Hugo’s classic novel would mirror the budding friendship between Osip and Alexander. 

But for now, Osip wants Alexander to make his job more manageable. Of course, if Alexander fails to do his bidding, he will follow it up with threats. Osip requires Alexander’s services to snoop on the new Minister of Culture, Nachevko. The minister’s loyalty to Stalin is under scrutiny. Hence, his every move and meeting in Metropol needs to be monitored. Osip asks Alexander to send him the messages through the bar hostess. At the bar, Alexander sees Nachevko pass something to General Belsky. But he stays firm about not betraying his guests. 

Where is Nina heading to?

Subsequently, while having a drink, Alexander comes across journalist Freya (Camilla Beeput). She’d like to write an exclusive article on Alexander. Freya pitches it as if it is Alexander’s chance to tell his truth. But Alexander rejects the idea, not wanting to get into any trouble. Alexander also finds the right moment to excuse himself from Freya since he finds Nina Kulikova in the hotel lobby. Nina is still at the Komsomol (youth organization of the Communist Party). She has come to the hotel with her friends, and it feels like Nina is in a kind of hurry to leave the hotel. Perhaps Nina doesn’t want to be seen talking with Alexander. Nina does tell him that she is leaving Moscow to participate in Stalin’s collectivization project. 

Mishka continues to be a loyal party man. Nevertheless, he finds the severe censorship in Stalin’s regime revolting. While having breakfast with Alexander, Mishka recollects his recent challenging experience. Mishka is asked to translate all of Chekhov’s private letters for publication. However, the authorities find Chekhov’s praise for German bread an indirect rejoinder against the Russian bread. Hence, the passage is asked to be struck off. Naturally, Mishka’s vehement response didn’t go well with the powers that be. Alexander implores his friend not to antagonize the party people. 

A beautiful friendship is revived

A few days later, Nina visits Alexander in his attic room. She looks more relaxed now and tells Alexander that she wasn’t really ashamed to meet him the other day. Alexander is just happy to engage in casual banter with his old friend. Nina says she is leaving for Donetsk (eastern Ukraine) the same night. Alexander informs her that Mishka has just come from there. This is a dream come true for Nina as she will aid the workers in the collectivization of farms. While Alexander wants to follow her heart and enjoy life, Nina is burdened by the notion of building a greater Russia through hard work. 

Alexander takes Nina to the roof, a place kept a secret even from Nina. She enjoys the bread and honey. Nina assures Alexander they never lost their friendship, only misplaced it for a while. Eventually, Nina leaves Moscow to fulfill her higher calling. Soon, the ominous signs of Stalinist persecution and oppression begin to show. A secret police officer takes away a talented chef from Emily’s kitchen. The secret police crackdown bothers Alexander so much that he rushes to Anna’s suite. There, he finds Anna dining with Minister of Culture Nachevko. Alexander regains his composure and tries to play the head waiter role. But Nachevko seems to already know about Alexander’s liaisons with Anna. 

A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 4 Recap
A still from “A Gentleman in Moscow” Episode 4 “Good Times”

Why does the Stalin’s regime dishearten Mishka?

Once he leaves the suite, Alexander immediately warns Anna about the danger of being associated with Nachevko. But Anna needs Nachevko to secure a role in a new film. She says everyone is under the scrutiny of the secret police, and danger is everywhere for women like Anna. Alexander leaves the room, conveying his concern for Anna’s well-being. In his attic room, Alexander is surprised to see Mishka waiting for him in the secret space (behind the closet). Mishka is beaten up, and apparently, his meeting with the Director on Chekhov translation didn’t go well. 

Mishka says he can’t take it anymore. His reaction isn’t just the result of censorship; he has firsthand witnessed what’s truly unfolding in Donetsk. Now known as ‘Holodomor,’ Stalin’s chaotic plans of collectivization led to a manufactured famine in Soviet Ukraine, which led to the displacement, starvation, and death of millions of farmers. However, Stalin’s regime maintained its appearance in Moscow, allowing foreign diplomats and journalists to see only what the regime wanted to see. Alexander is disheartened to hear this since Nina has left for Donetsk. 

Alexander wants to protect Mishka

Mishka sheds tears as his vision and belief in building a better Russia has shattered. He is unable to put up with the reality where the Party casually sacrifices millions of lives to sustain a lie. At Boyarksy, Alexander sees Osip with his family (wife and daughter). Osip has come to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. A visibly tense Alexander wants to contact Osip in order to save his friend Mishka. But when Alexander tries to approach Osip with the message, the secret police officer gets angry. Osip’s wife scoffs at her husband, wondering if he really brought them to Metropol to celebrate their daughter’s birthday or for his work. 

Later, in the attic room, Osip orders Alexander never to approach him in front of his family. Then, Osip grills him about Nachevko. When Alexander doesn’t reveal any helpful information, Osip asks him to gather irrefutable evidence against Nachevko at least to save his friend Mikhail Mindich (Mishka). Alexander downplays Nachevko’s meeting with General Belsky. However, Osip already knows about Belsky, and the secret police believe Nachevko and Belsky are planning to overthrow Stalin. 

A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 4 Ending Explained:

Did Alexander find any damning evidence against Nachevko?

Mishka overhears the conversation since he is resting in the secret room. Mishka doesn’t want his friend to betray someone to save him. In the past, Alexander has killed a man (Pulunov) to save his sister Helena’s honor. Perhaps Pulunov is the man Helena was married to after her love for Mishka was not accepted by Alexander and his community. Helena killed herself, burdened by her love for Mishka and unable to endure Pulunov’s punishments. Hence, Alexander challenged the man for a duel. He still carries the guilt for separating Mishka and Helena. Osip believes this feeling would drive Alexander to condemn Nachevko and Belsky to death and protect Mishka. 

But Mishka doesn’t want Alexander to collaborate with the secret police. At Boyarksy, Alexander sees Nachevko, General Belsky, and Anna at a table having dinner. After providing them with the menu, Alexander discreetly leaves the restaurant to check the suite where Belsky is staying. He tries to find incriminating evidence to prove Nachevko and Belsky’s plot against Stalin. But what he finds is only a sketch of Belsky. It becomes clear what the surreptitious glances between Nachevko and Belsky mean. They are simply lovers. While Alexander is distracted by his mission to find evidence, Mishka emerges at the bar. He deliberately creates a commotion at the bar, insulting Stalin. Osip gestures to a secret police officer to take Mishka from the hotel. 

And life goes on…

Alexander stands firm in his decision not to condemn Nachevko and Belsky to death. The days of secret police beating a person to get a confession might be over. But in Stalinism, betrayal, fear, and repression are prevalent and work in mysterious ways. Osip wants to adjust himself to these nuances and asks Alexander to reconsider since Mishka’s fate hangs in the balance. Feeling helpless, Alexander approaches the journalist Freya in the elevator. He believes she will hear the truth about Donetsk. But Freya stops him from saying more and asks him not to tell anyone else about this. 

The Party and the secret police never find out the truth about Nachevko and Belsky’s relationship. But the truth has no value in an authoritarian regime. Interestingly, Nachevko himself betrays Belsky, who is taken away by the secret police. But life goes on for the staff and the guests of Metropol. There is some hope amidst all this bleakness, as Chef Emily eventually finds the courage to declare his love for Marina. 

What does Nina want from Alexander?

Now, it is 1938. Six years have passed since Nina left for Donetsk. Emily has married Marina, and they have a little daughter. Alexander’s mundane life is about to go through a drastic change. A disheveled Nina meets Alexander in the hotel lobby. Accompanying her is a little girl, Nina’s daughter, Sofia (Billie Gadson). Nina says her husband, Leo, is in danger. He has been sentenced to corrective labor, and Nina wants to follow him. Nina asks Alexander to take care of Sofia until she gets settled. She looks distraught and has no one in her life to ask for help. “A Gentleman in Moscow” episode 4 ends with Alexander promising to care for his beloved friend’s daughter. Soon, Nina leaves them. At this point, Alexander doesn’t know he is destined to be Sofia’s surrogate father.

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A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 4 ‘Good Times’ External Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
A Gentleman in Moscow Episode 4 Cast: Evan McGregor, Fehinti Balogun, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Leah Harvey, Johnny Harris, Jason Forbes, and Bille Gadson.

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