Every season, the Drama After Dark team gathers ‘round the (currently virtual) conference room table to watch the latest and greatest in all things drama. This month, our colleagues at MASTERPIECE are bringing us Atlantic Crossing, a historical dramatization of the relationship between U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Norwegian Crown Princess Martha set against the backdrop of WWII. I’m here to recap the show as it happens.

Last week, we found out that Eliza the Massage Therapist was actually Eliza the Nazi Spy this whole time. All that to say, this sh*t just got real. No, it’s not Bad Boys II, but Martha sure is doing stuff that makes me need to say woosah!

Martha: Ragni, I think you should go visit that friend of yours — and take the kids. I need to talk to Franklin. Solo.
Ragni: You sure? I love shore leave with a bunch of children as much as the next gal, but your plan seems… ill advised.
Me, you and everyone watching who knows about Eliza: Nooooooooooo!

Inside, Martha heads into the office to chat with FDR, who of course starts the convo with a lingering cheek kiss.

FDR: I sure have missed you! Anyway, here’s some great news: We caught a bunch of those spies, AND we finally made some of those warships that have been the McGuffin for the last few episodes. Seven are heading to England in the fall, and Norway is getting one as a special present.
Martha: Thank you! Wow, so nice!

Not nice: back at the house, Eliza the Spy gets a call from, I’m assuming, her handlers, and promises that she’ll be able to do something. What, we don’t know, but not really a leap to assume it’s nothing good! Outside, the kiddos and Ragni excitedly greet Eliza the Spy in Massage Therapist’s clothing, with one exception. Oldest Kiddo would really rather be with Martha (and frankly, I don’t blame her, even though Eliza the Spy offers fresh lemonade AND ice cream). Speaking of Martha, she’s once again riding in cars with boys/the president, so they can talk about what’s to be done to these spies.

Martha: You’re seriously going to kill them?
FDR: Yeah, honey, this is America. And also we need to send a message to Hitler. And we’re using the fairly inhumane electric chair too. They don’t deserve a soldier’s death!
Martha: But we don’t have any evidence they were after either of us that night.
FDR: Doesn’t matter. They told us about some of their other plans under questioning, and trust me, we’re saving lives here.

Meanwhile, Eliza the Spy gets down to business, asking Ragni the million-dollar question: What exactly is going on between Martha and FDR?

Ragni: Wouldn’t you like to know, weather boy?
Eliza the Spy: You’ve heard the rumors though, and they sure do like to be alone together. Like for instance, why aren’t you there now?
Ragni: This lemonade is great; I think I’ll go ahead and finish my glass.

Now THAT’s what I call loyalty. Back with FDR, things are about to get spicy, but not the way Eliza the Spy would imagine.

FDR: I am sorry about Eliza the Spy though. Can’t believe we missed her; she was my mom’s massage therapist!
Martha: I’m sorry, WHAT?
FDR: Oh yeah, we can’t trust her, she’s pretty closely connected with the Norwegian Nazis.

FDR snaps into action, calling the secret service over. At Eliza’s house, she offers to take all the kids for ice cream, and offers to let Ragni stay behind. Ragni, who really is constantly on the clock, can’t really be blamed for saying yes. Back with FDR, the bad news keeps on coming. No one knows where Eliza the Spy lives! All they know is that she has a house in Hyde Park. Everyone speeds off, and luckily Jones has a brainwave to check the phonebook, where they successfully locate an address.

Over by the ice cream stand, a car pulls into the lot. Is it the secret service? Alas, no, and Eliza the Spy starts herding the kids toward the vehicle while back at her house, Jones and the guys search the grounds and find… no one there. Where’s Ragni? She’s off to save the goddamn day with the help of the Norwegian kiddos, that’s where she is! As Eliza starts to pressure them into the car, the Oldest Kiddo objects, stalling just long enough for Ragni to arrive and ask what the heck is happening. Before Eliza the Spy can start to explain, the car speeds away and the secret service detail runs over.

Jones: Eliza, back off. And Ragni, please bring the kids over here and away from her.
Eliza the Spy: This is all a misunderstanding!
Jones: It sure isn’t, pal. You’re going to jail.

In no time at all, the kids come back and get smothered in hugs by Martha. Ragni, who also had a pretty crappy day, just gets an “I’m disappointed in you” face. Later, Martha finally talks to Olav to fill him in on the situation: they’re back at the house at Pook’s Hill, and the kids don’t really know what happened. Everything is fine!

Olav: Everything is FINE?? She’s an honest to god NAZI, Martha!
Martha: Well, obviously we’re all kinda freaked out, but we’re making sure this can’t happen again.
Olav: I want you to send the kids to London. They’re better off here with me. You’re obviously busy, you won't even notice they’re gone.
Martha: What the hell?
Olav: Mr. Misogyny will fill you in on the details.

And then he hangs up on her, like a complete jackass! What the heck, Olav? And speaking of confusing behavior, while that horrible conversation is happening, a crying Ragni packs up her stuff and heads for the door.

Martha: Um, where are you going?
Ragni: Off to fall on my metaphorical sword, I guess. I’m resigning and going to London.
Martha: Dude, you cannot leave me.
Ragni: I already promised Nikolai that I’m coming!
Martha: Well than screw this, I’m going with you. That’s the best option.

And with that, the pair head off to London, where Olav is doing the super mature adult thing, i.e. attempting to drink away his problems. King Grandpa is watching newsreels about the recovery effort after the blitz when a surprise visitor appears. Yeah, it seems like Martha decided she’d rather not talk to her jerk husband (can’t blame her) and has appeared unannounced. King Grandpa, at least, is delighted to see her, but surprised to find out that she left the kids back in the U.S.

King Grandpa: I mean, I can't say I disagree with that choice — we’re doing ok, but the city sure has been under a year-long aerial bombardment! I’m so glad to see you.
Martha: Like I’d miss your birthday!
King Grandpa: Well come in, I want to hear all about the kids. Yikes, are we not SO glad the U.S. intelligence system is so successful?
Martha: Right? They’re pulling out all the stops.
Ragni: TBH It’s a lot! Maybe even too much!

Before they can get into a deep dive regarding security theatre, however, everyone's formerly favorite now kind-of-a-jerk sassy prince arrives on the scene.

Olav: Where are the kids?
Martha: They’re back in DC with their nanny and 20 secret service guys.
Olav: Yeah, I’m gonna storm out now. Byeee!
Martha: Dude, we need to talk about this — what the heck?
Olav: How could you leave them behind after everything??
Martha: There is literally nowhere safer than where they are right now.
Olav: Sure, but I made up my mind, and they’re coming here.
Martha: YOUR mind? So you want them to grow up without their mom like you did?
Olav: Low blow! So here’s one right back: they already are! You’re on this tour all the time!
Martha: That is an exaggeration — I’m gone for short trips where, by the way, I’m doing all this work to support NORWAY.
Olav: This little campaign of yours hasn’t done anything but endanger the family.
Martha: LITTLE? Well, I was planning to tell you this another way, but Franklin, my FRIEND, is going to support us. America is giving us a warship.
King Grandpa, entering the chat: Oh my god, that’s amazing!
Martha: They want to name it after you for your birthday.
King Grandpa: Who cares about that, I’m just glad someone is actually finally supporting us! Great job kiddo!

And with that, he gives her a massive and well-deserved bear hug. Will Olav learn something from this? I sure hope so! Later that night, the less than happy couple heads out for what promises to be a truly crappy night out. Fake smiles (and Martha’s signature giant shoulder-eating floral brooch) in place, they arrive at King Grandpa’s birthday party, where he gives a really sweet toast about how happy he is to be with everyone, specifically calling out how great it is that Martha is there. Completely winning me over by recognizing her important contributions, and then giving her a special award? Get it, King Grandpa! While this happens, Olav goes through a whole range of emotions. Look, is he being a sulky baby who needs to get it together? Yes. But is it also clear that he really does love and respect Martha? Also yes. Later, some of his saltiness gets an explanation when the couple chats during the party.

Olav: Congrats, dude. Glad at least one of us got something accomplished.
Martha: You know I didn’t ask him to do this, right? And I don’t think I deserve it.
Olav: Did you stop seeing him?
Martha: I never need to see him again.
Olav: LOL, have you told him that? That it’s over?
Martha: That what is over, precisely?
Olav: That’s what I want to know!
Martha: Olav, I want everything to be the way it was.
Olav: Pal, we are in the middle of a war; nothing is going to be the way it was before. You can’t ride two horses, you have to pick.
Me: THAT idiom sure has a spicy double meaning.
Martha: Well I choose you, Olav.
Olav: Then you have to reject him!
Martha: Great, I will!
Olav: Look, I get what you're thinking. What if Hitler wins? Norway is toast. We won’t be royal anymore. Maybe I die! You’re looking for a backup plan. I don't blame you for that; that’s just good mother stuff. But what if we win?
Martha: You have all used me. You had to know what me getting so involved would lead to!
Olav: Sure, but I just didn’t realize how good at this you would be.
Martha: Well guess what? The kids are staying with me.

Soon after, she heads back to the U.S., leaving a distraught Olav in London to keep drinking away his sorrows. Despite the fact that he’s absolutely oozing “I’m about to become a sullen mess up in this pub” vibes, Erling, the young Norwegian soldier who married Ragni’s kid, approaches and invites him over to drink with the youths. Now look: this cannot end well! Nevertheless, Olav takes him up on it and joins the group. Olav sits down, and for a solid minute, everyone forgets how to talk. Thankfully, Olav is still capable of being a normal human with people he isn’t married to, and gets the conversation flowing. In addition to Erling and Ulla, the group is comprised of another baby soldier, Thorbjorn, who survived getting shot down in an air raid, and his wife Tulla, who is pregnant.

Olav buys everyone another round, despite their protests, and young Thorbjorn goes to help carry the bounty back to the table. While they wait at the bar, Thorbjorn tells Olav about the air battles he and Erling have been involved in. Spoiler alert: It sucks! But it's better than being stuck at home unable to do anything. Obviously, Olav relates to that in a BIG way. Before he can really formalize his plan to steal Thorbjorn’s identity and take to the skies, Tulla goes into labor, and the whole group scampers off without a backward glance.

In the U.S., Martha heads to the White House for a much-needed chat with FDR.

FDR: How was London?
Martha: Worse than I thought. What’s up with you?
FDR: Well, just heard from my oldest son who’s serving in the Pacific theater. He’s ok, but a lot of his friends died. Made me realize it could have been him. Anyway, let’s not talk about sad stuff; Cheer me up! What can I get you from the bar cart?
Martha, doing the opposite: Look, we have to stop seeing each other like this.
FDR: Why?
Martha: I need to get my husband back.
FDR: He did send you and his kids away...
Martha: Yes, which was a big sacrifice for him.
FDR: He hasn’t done anything to protect you!
Martha: He has though. He sent me here.
FDR: We have something special together. Something we won’t experience with anyone else. We both know that.
Martha: Thank you for everything you’ve done for my family. I have to go.

And go she does! I’m not gonna lie to you, gentle reader: I honest to god still don’t know WHAT Martha feels for FDR. Friendship? A crush? Enjoying being respected for her contributions and hard work? We may never find out, but when she gets home, she calls Olav.

Martha: I did it. I told him I can’t see him anymore.
Olav: What?!
Martha: That’s what you wanted!
Olav: Dude, it’s RIGHT before the handoff for that ship! He could take it back! Didn’t you think of that?
Martha: He wouldn’t do that. I know him pretty well. But either way, I did it.
Olav: I have to call the ambassador and have him fix this.

And then he hangs up! Without even saying goodbye! After Martha did the thing he ultimatum’ed her into doing! The nerve on this guy, I swear. Anyway, at the White House, Advisor Harry explains that Olav will be coming to accept the ship in place of King Grandpa.

FDR, sassy: No. Olav isn’t gonna accept the ship.
Advisor Harry: But King Grandpa isn’t up for it!
FDR: Martha will do it.
Advisor Harry, internally: WHYYYYYYY????
Advisor Harry, out loud: I mean, diplomatically, it’s not great.
FDR, going full Devil Wears Prada: I don’t care. Tell them either Martha accepts the boat, or I’ll rename it and give it to the Belgians. That’s all!

In London, Olav shares the latest update with King Grandpa.

Olav: I mean damn, he’s really playing hardball!
King Grandpa: Yeah, but it’s not totally unreasonable — we only got the ships in the first place because of Martha. But hey, go anyway, and stand with her while she accepts the ship.
Olav, determined to be a jerk about this: No :(

Olav walks off to sulk, leaving King Grandpa to his chess match, when the air raid sirens start going off. Everyone clearly knows the drill at this point, so they’re mostly annoyed and not scared (King Grandpa even takes the few seconds he needs to win his game before getting up to head to the bunker). But where is Olav? The military folks say he already went down, but once they get to the basement it’s clear that prince grumpy is MIA. While King Grandpa sweats it out downstairs worrying about his son, Olav stands upstairs on a balcony to watch the raid, in what looks to me like an attempt to be as cinematic as possible whilst courting disaster. Very Gatsby of you, Olav old sport, but I can't say I'm a fan.

Back in DC, FDR gets ready for bed with the help of a White House servant, Arthur, when he’s interrupted by Eleanor.

FDR: Eleanor, I’m not reading your notes tonight, I’m too tired.
Eleanor: Ok, grumpy, they can wait. I’m heading to London tomorrow so you’ll have plenty of time. Arthur you can skedaddle, I’ll take over.
Arthur: Got it. Good night!
Eleanor: Now that we’re alone, Advisor Harry told me about the thing with Martha.
FDR: Ugh, I already know what you’re gonna say. But it’s the right thing to do.
Eleanor: Right for whom?
FDR: Look, YOU would hate it if I got credit for something you worked so hard for!
Eleanor: And yet you remain the president while I do so much of the work, but go off I guess. Listen, just be sure you’re doing it for feminism, and not because you caught feelings. That’s exactly the stuff that won’t impress her. Now take care, and I’ll call ya when I get to London.
FDR: Sounds good, have a safe trip. And thanks: You consistently do a lot of work that I can’t, and I appreciate it.

The next morning, FDR meets with a doctor, who shares some not great news. His health is declining, and it would really be good if he would go to the hospital for more tests. FDR, who to be fair has been dealing with intense medical pronouncements for most of his life, isn’t interested. If he’s not dying imminently, he’s gonna opt out of painful exams. Fair enough. Everyone should get to make their own informed end of life decisions! But boy would I not want to be that doctor. Across the pond, later, Eleanor arrives in London and stops in to visit Olav.

Eleanor: Glad we could take some time to do this!
Olav: Well, obviously — wouldn't miss it!
Me: Man, I wish we got more of this friendship, both because it’s fun AND because I think it might make Olav less of a pill.
Eleanor: Hey it SUCKS over here, btw. No hot baths? Curtains closed all the time?
Olav: Yeah, well the rationing impacts everyone, even the palace. And the curtains are like that in case of bombings — it keeps the splinters out of our eyes.
Eleanor: Ah. Well that makes sense. Look, since we’re having a real talk moment... Here’s the deal: I don't have a lot of regrets, but I wish I had fought more for my marriage.
Olav: But you’re still married?
Eleanor: Get your head out of your butt, Olav. Do we seem like we’re a happily married couple to you? We’re more like teammates. We respect each other, but that’s it. We’re both passionate people, and we are focused on our causes instead of love.
Olav: I’m… uh… sorry to hear that.
Eleanor: What I’m saying is, it doesn’t have to be like this for you and Martha. She’s been torn between Norway, the kids, and you, but she NEVER puts herself first. She’s an incredible person. And she’s capable of love in a way that I don’t get, personally. You’d be a complete dumbass if you throw it away because of…

And of course, before she can finish that thought, a servant interrupts to serve the tea. But I think there might have been a little glimmer of understanding in Olav’s eye? Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I super hope Eleanor’s message sinks into that regal brain of his. Back in the U.S., Martha attends the Norwegian church, and guess who’s there this week? It’s Military Guy! Martha has that “we’ve met before but where” vibe, which he quickly dispels by explaining that he’s pals with Olav, but they don’t know each other. Of course, she immediately recognizes his name, but there’s some awkwardness when he was to tell her that he’s not really a general anymore, just the military attaché to Canada.

Martha: So, are you at Little Norway?
Military Guy: Nah, I’m supposed to be here to see if we can recruit Norwegian Americans in Canada, but they’d all rather fight for America. It’s bleak.
Martha: But hasn’t the tide of the war turned now that America joined?
Military Guy: Sure, but even if we win, Norway’s situation is still pretty up in the air. It’s a small country, and they tend to get used as spoils of war in peace negotiations. It wouldn't be the first time. Anyway, I should go, but it was really great to finally meet you.
Martha: Same.

Yikes! Meanwhile, in London, the Norwegian Cabinet meeting is interrupted with a surprise agenda item from Olav.

Olav: So, I hear Military Guy is in Washington as an attaché?
The Cabinet, awkwardly: Yeah, so he didn’t succeed in making a battalion in Canada?
Olav: Duh, because that’s impossible.
The Cabinet: Well he should be happy to have a safer assignment!
Olav: He is our ONLY successful General! And you’re humiliating him!
The Cabinet: Maybe you’re forgetting that he embarrassed everyone by suggesting that we make a treaty with Germany?
Olav: No, WE are the embarrassment. We need to recognize what he’s done.
King Grandpa, surprising me AND Olav: I agree. Military Guy is being punished for making an assessment in the middle of a retreat and trying to save us. We’ve never recognized what he did in that battle.
Olav: He deserves a commendation.
King Grandpa: He does. And I’m gonna give it to him.
Olav: Great. Send a telegram to our ambassador Mr. Misogyny in Washington ASAP. Byeeeeee!

It’s not much, but I’m glad Olav finally got something accomplished. And speaking of accomplishments, later, at the Washington Navy Yard, Martha gets to accept that nice ship she earned. The whole squad arrives in a convertible, and before she walks up the gangplank, she smiles at FDR, and grabs Eleanor’s shoulder. On board, they raise the Norwegian flag. Later, we hear FDR give a really lovely speech (again drawn from his actual remarks that day) about how exemplary the Norwegians are, and Martha responds. Our girl has come a LONG way in public speaking skills, and it shows. After the speeches are done, FDR asks the million-dollar question: Was the presumptive emotional affair they shared all so she could get her hands on this sweet sweet destroyer? Martha thinks about her answer for a long time, going through a series of emotions, before dropping the bad news on our 32nd president like a ton of bricks: yes. But as ever, FDR isn’t about to just roll over, insisting that he can tell she’s lying. Guess we’ll never know.

During the speeches, we see Mr. Misogyny the ambassador receive Military Guy’s special award, which he heads over to deliver in person. But once there, Military Guy doesn’t answer the door. Unfortunately, it’s for the horrible reason I was hoping to be wrong about: Military Guy has died by suicide. How will everyone deal with this incredibly sad news? We’ll have to see on the season finale next week.

If you or a loved one is considering suicide, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

Episode 1 Recap: Midnight Train to Hamar
Episode 2 Recap: The British Are Going
Episode 3 Recap: Happy Days Are Here Again?
Episode 4 Recap: All I Want For Christmas Is You (To Pass the Lend-Lease Act)
Episode 5 Recap: Elocution Solution
Episode 6 Recap: Come Sail Away