A Gentleman in Moscow Finale (Episode 8, “Adieu”) Recap and Ending Explained: “A Gentleman in Moscow” is an eight-part Paramount+ limited series based on Amor Towles’s 2016 novel of the same name. Created by Ben Vanstone, the series chronicles the former aristocrat Alexander Rostov’s life inside Moscow’s Metropol Hotel, where he is imprisoned after the Russian Revolution in 1921. Despite leading a confined life as a head waiter at Metropol, Alexander (Ewan McGregor) is gifted with wonderful companions and a precious daughter. The irony is that Alexander’s life is relatively peaceful compared to the turbulent sociopolitical changes in Soviet Russia, particularly during the authoritative regime of Josef Stalin. 

In the previous episode, “An Assembly,” we learned about Alexander’s plan to secure a safe and independent future for his daughter, Sofia (Beau Gadson). Anna Urbanova (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), another important person in Alexander’s makeshift family unit, is also aware of the plan and supports Alexander, despite knowing Sofia’s escape to America might make them the State’s target. Now, in “A Gentleman in Moscow” episode 8, the finale fittingly titled “Adieu,” heartbreaking goodbyes are shared. How did Sofia get away from the ever-watchful eyes and reach the American embassy in Paris? Will Alexander and Anna leave Moscow without getting caught? Let’s take a detailed look at what happens in “A Gentleman in Moscow” finale, “Adieu.” Spoilers Ahead.

A Gentleman in Moscow Finale (Episode 8) “Adieu” Recap:

Sofia learns her Papa’s plan

“A Gentleman in Moscow” finale, “Adieu,” opens with the instruction Sofia receives on how to leave the Paris Conservatory after her performance and use the narrow time gap to reach the American Embassy and deliver the tapes to Richard Vanderwhile. Then we see Alexander nervously waiting in Anna’s suite as Sofia is getting fitted for the new dress she will wear for her Paris performance. Once the seamstress Marina (Leah Harvey) presents Sofia in a gorgeous dress, Anna and Alexander are stunned to see their beautiful, grown-up (surrogate) daughter. 

Anna gifts Sofia a precious necklace she bought from her first earnings. Alexander is happy for Sofia. At the same time, he is melancholic about having to say goodbye to his daughter. Subsequently, Anna says he should talk to Sofia about the truth behind her Paris trip. Alexander speaks with Anna on the terrace, revealing she won’t return from Paris. It’s a lot to take for Sofia just three days before her Paris trip. But Alexander emphasizes he wants her to have a better future. He also assures Sofia that he and Anna will make their way to America. They will leave Moscow for Finland and then figure out the details to reach America. 

How will Sofia reach the American Embassy from the Paris Conservatory?

Later, Alexander and Anna brief Sofia about the little details of her plan to reach the American embassy from the Conservatory. Sofia must cut her hair once her performance ends and wait till the end. She will wear a disguise and leave with the audience. Though the Russian authorities might notice her absence during the curtain call, she will have enough head start to get away with the audience. There’s also the question of what will happen if Sofia gets caught. But Sofia wants to execute the plan and gain freedom. 

When Sofia asks when they (Anna & Alexander) will leave the hotel, Alexander says he will wait till Sofia is safe at the American embassy. Once she has reached there, Sofia has to ask Richard to call every phone line in the Metropol, which should be around 10:30 p.m. Alexander will leave once he receives this signal. Though Alexander reiterates that he will follow Sofia to America, it’s apparent that he doesn’t have such plans. In fact, Richard has only offered asylum for Sofia. So it’s time to say their goodbyes. First, Anna takes Sofia for a drink at Metropol’s Shalyapin bar. Anna recollects the moment she first met Alexander and little Nina (Sofia’s mom) while waiting for a drink at the bar. 

It’s time to say a proper goodbye

Sofia wishes her mom, Nina, had been there for her and that she remembered her better. Anna assures that Nina will be proud of Sofia. The two women are on the verge of tears when Sofia says she owes it all to Alexander and Anna, and she is Anna’s daughter, too. Anna says she won’t be present tomorrow to bid Sofia farewell since she might not stop herself from crying and drawing attention. Before leaving, Anna advises Sofia to live her life and not waste a second looking back. With tears freely flowing from their eyes, the mother and daughter finally exchange goodbyes. 

Later, Sofia has a private dinner with Alexander in their secret attic room. Andrey (Lyes Salem) serves Alexander a special wine. Then, Alexander imparts three significant life lessons to Sofia. While listening to her dad, Sofia finally comprehends Alexander is not following her to America. She tearfully accepts it. Since one of Alexander’s greatest regrets in life is not saying a proper goodbye to his deceased sister Helena, Sofia asks her father not to repeat that mistake. 

Sofia leaves the Metropol Hotel

Alexander says he will leave the Metropol with Anna and go to Finland. But they don’t have any plans after that. He also recalls the grievous mistake he made by preventing Helena from living the life she wanted. Sofia replies that if Alexander hadn’t made that mistake, he wouldn’t have been imprisoned at Metropol, befriended Nina, or eventually become Sofia’s papa. The following morning, Alexander and Sofia reach the hotel lobby, and the other members of the Metropol family wait for them. They only know that Sofia is going on a two-week trip to Paris. The manager, Bishop Leplevksy (John Heffernan), observes all these happenings. 

The father and daughter hug each other for one last time, both holding back their tears. Alexander watches as Sofia makes her way to the revolving door, looks back at her papa one last time, and leaves the Metropol. Osip Glebnikov (Johnny Harris), the disgraced former secret police chief, watches Alexander from a distance. Alexander has supper with all the Metropol staff, including Andrey, Chef Emile (Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson), and his wife, Marina. The topic of conversation is the mystery behind what the French head waiter, Andrey, did when he worked at the circus. Alexander guesses it right: a juggler. Subsequently, Andrey demonstrates his juggling skills with the kitchen knives. 

A Gentleman in Moscow Finale (Episode 8) Adieu
A still from “A Gentleman in Moscow” Finale (episode 8), “Adieu.”

Why did Osip visit Alexander one last time?

Alexander recalls the old legend of a tree with black apples growing deep in the forest where he grew up. According to the legend, if you could eat the fruit of this tree, you could live your life anew. Alexander confesses it’s a tempting thought to begin the journey again. But Alexander says, now nothing would make him eat that black apple. Although the wrongs he has committed in life and his unfortunate circumstances might be erased by consuming this hypothetical fruit, he says it will also remove the joys he has experienced in the company of wonderful friends. So, Alexander proposes a toast: “To a life lived without regret.” 

Now that Alexander has said goodbye to his Metropol family, he goes to the attic room. On the stairs, he comes across Osip. The man has also come to say adieu. Osip has broken many homes, and his arrival has hinted it’s the last day of one’s life. After Stalin’s death, now it was the turn to purge the men who were loyal to his regime. Osip says he is leaving in a manner of speaking. With a feeling of great sorrow, Osip reminisces about his last meeting with his daughter (without knowing it will be their last). He yearns for a few minutes to say his daughter a proper goodbye, just like Alexander had a chance with Sofia. 

Osip evidently knows what Alexander has planned. But despite being a cog in Stalin’s draconian rule, Osip has helped Alexander and Sofia in crucial circumstances. Now, too, he advises that Anna Urbanova would be easily recognizable to the authorities posted at the stations. So, it won’t work if Alexander and Anna leave together at the Moscow station. Meanwhile, Sofia and the other participants reach the Paris station. 

Change of plans for Sofia

While preparing for the performance, Sofia is informed by her supervisor that she will be performing the night’s penultimate piece. Sofia was scheduled to lead the opening of the second half, giving her ample time to cut her hair and wear the disguise before the curtain call. But now she has a limited time window to escape. Sofia accepts this since even a mild protest would raise suspicions. 

Alexander and Anna nervously wait at the hotel restaurant, thinking Sofia’s performance would have started by now. A guest who once tasted an extraordinary wine, thanks to Alexander’s recommendation, sends a wine bottle to Alexander’s table as a compliment. They savor the drink, and Alexander asks Anna for one last dance. During the dance, the embracing lovers exchange details of their escape from Moscow. They have to take the last night train to Helsinki, Finland. Anna got the tickets, and Alexander arranged the travel documents (he stole the passports of the Finnish guests). 

How did Bishop Leplevsky get wind of Alexander’s plan?

Alexander and Anna are honest about not having a good chance to escape Russia. But they are grateful for the love and companionship they have enjoyed over the decades. They kiss, and Alexander asks Anna to leave the hotel for the train station. Alexander asks to not wait for him if he doesn’t make it to the station in time. At the reception, Vasily alerts manager Bishop that two Finnish passports are missing. While searching for the passports, Bishop sees Anna leaving Metropol with a suitcase in hand. He puts everything together and guesses what Alexander might be planning. 

Sofia goes to the stage to perform as Alexander places the envelope on his secret room table, addressed to each member of his Metropol family. Soon, he hears a noise in the attic room, secretly observes Bishop going through his things, and watches Bishop finding the Finnish passport. As Sofia goes backstage, she is asked to wait for the curtain call until the string quartet finishes their performance. But once the supervisor leaves, Sofia takes her bag and rushes to the restroom. 

A Gentleman in Moscow Finale (Episode 8) “Adieu” Ending Explained:

How does Alexander defuse the Leplevsky threat?

As Bishop enters his office to call the authorities about Alexander and Sofia, he is surprised to encounter Alexander waiting for him. Alexander points the two dueling pistols at Bishop, which were hidden behind a wall in the office. When Bishop casually takes the phone receiver, believing the old pistols wouldn’t work, Alexander fires a warning shot at Stalin’s portrait. A shocked Bishop puts the phone down, and Alexander asks him to unlock the cabinet to collect all the files he has gathered over the years on Metropol staff and guests. 

At the Conservatory, everyone is called for the curtain call. The supervisor notices Sofia is not present among the performers. She immediately alerts the Russian authorities accompanying them to search the building. Meanwhile, Sofia cuts her hair in the restroom, wears a suit, and narrowly escapes from getting caught. As planned, Sofia joins the crowd leaving the Conservatory. Alexander chains Bishop in the basement and puts the files into the furnace. He leaves him there and waits in the hotel lobby for the phone calls. 

Did Alexander have his ‘Happily Ever After’?

Anna waits for Alexander at the station. The Helsinki train is about to leave as Osip greets her. Osip’s presence takes Anna aback, but he is there to give her a passport to reach Finland. It becomes clear to Anna that Alexander didn’t intend to leave the hotel or leave Moscow with her. A teary-eyed Anna takes her chance to attain her freedom. The onslaught of telephone rings reverberates through the hotel as Alexander gets the message he was anxiously waiting for: Sofia is safe and free. Alexander heartily laughs as the camera takes one last sweeping look at the Metropol lobby. Then, Alexander leaves the hotel. 

In the epilogue of “A Gentleman in Moscow” finale “Adieu,” we see Alexander Rostov walking through the forest and coming across Anna Urbanova. They live a simple life in a cabin in the woods. Sofia’s voiceover informs us that she did learn about her papa’s escape from the hotel. But what happened to him after that remains a mystery to her. Sofia also says she likes to imagine that Alexander and Anna are both free, living their lives together. We see the woods surrounding the cabin are riddled with black apple trees. These final, cheerful images could very well be Sofia’s imagination. But “A Gentleman in Moscow” bids us adieu with these serene and hopeful visuals, although we know the reality could be very different. 

Final Thoughts:

Blessed with spot-on performances from Ewan McGregor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, “A Gentleman in Moscow” is definitely a poignant adaptation of a best-selling novel. While the novel had a better structure (and seductive prose), the series has done its best to strike a balance between light-hearted emotional drama and hard-hitting historical inquiry. Overall, “A Gentleman in Moscow” is an engaging series on the enduring power of the human spirit amidst the cruelties of the authoritarians.

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A Gentleman in Moscow Finale (Episode 8) “Adieu” External Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
A Gentleman in Moscow Finale (Episode 8) Cast: Evan McGregor, Beau Gadson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Leah Harvey, Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson, John Heffernan, Johnny Harris, and Lyes Salem.

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