The downfall of the Romanov dynasty is dealt with pretty succinctly and without sentimentality in this segment of a fascinating series. One notable element is the treatment of Rasputin, here presented as, simply, a greasy, overweight and blatantly obvious con-man making fools of a silly woman, the Tsarina Alexandra, and her weakling husband. There is no ambiguity about his motives, no question of his having any actual religious beliefs, and he certainly doesn't have any mystical powers. Michael Aldridge, master portrayer of English middle-class pomposity in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and many another TV show, is perhaps not the ideal casting for this role, but the point is nonetheless made vividly.moreless
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