I was gonna answer this privately but I ended up with my first piece of Red Widow almost-meta? I’m really excited.
There is no such thing as reading too much into a scene, imo. :D
I completely agree about their childhoods; I suspect Nicholae’s may even have been rougher in its way than Marta. His relationship with his father seems a great deal more tense than Marta’s relationship to Andrei.
As for that scene, hrmmm… I hadn’t particularly thought of it has him giving her privacy before, actually!
One of my favorite things about Nicholae is that he’s kind of inscrutable; what makes him tick is such a mystery, so the meaning of any one of his actions or expressions is extremely difficult to ascertain. Accordingly, every one of his scenes is, so far, open to a lot of different readings. I hadn’t, and haven’t really figured out what exactly I think was going on for him as a character- obviously the narrative is sort of telling us by writer’s fiat, through Alexandra, that he’s having all kinds of ~complicated~ (romantic! [sort of]) feelings about Marta (and with a character like him I’d say “about” is a much more precise a word than “for”), but I sort of resist having an author descend from the skies and tell me how to interpret a text, y’know? I think there’s such a thing as taking the death of the author too far, but drama especially always seems like a kind of collaborative medium somehow…
All of which rambling is neither here nor there with regards to your interpretation and anyway is meant to lead up to this: I kind of thought he was giving himself some privacy in that moment, which I think he found extremely taxing.
He’s very, and very obviously, controlled. One of the cool things about this performance is how there’s this palpable, thin, taught film of furious self-restraint stretched over whatever the fuck else is going on in Nicholae, and it’s entirely self-imposed; there’s something in him that he’s keeping a stranglehold on. I think it’s part of what makes him a good counterpoint to Marta, who is also taughtly self-controlled but whose restraint derives primarily from an external source (that is, the duty placed on her by her children). Even though Nicholae and Marta seem to have interesting parallel narratives, especially with regard to their fathers, and even though both act out of familial duty, I feel like her self-control is essentially the product of external necessity and his is the result of internal pathos. (I also think there’s an issue of amibtion; Marta is about survival, Nicholae is about something much more volatile.)
But I felt like his turning away from her in that scene was all about preserving his self-control; I think he knew she was wearing a wire, even if he didn’t know it for sure, and he started that conversation expecting to establish a power dynamic he could control by having her admit it and allowing him to extend some kind of mercy. I think he was trying to take his power back.
A lot of that episode was about him setting boundaries and her testing them, or rather him setting boundaries and then letting her stomp all over them. Whether it’s her first visit to his office, her testing the guns, the dinner with Alexandra, or that moment, the theme of the episode was Nicholae letting Marta get away with frankly astounding amounts of impertinence considering their ostensible working relationship. And I think that at the end of that scene, he was at the end of his rope.
I think she made him murderously angry by defying him and lying to his face and I think… I think it was really, really difficult for him to let her walk out of the room. But I think it was more important to him that he preserve his control over himself than that he push the issue of what I suspect he was still pretty sure was a (very ballsy) lie. I think he was kind of backed into a corner where he can control her, or he can control himself, but he can’t do both.
And, of course, there’s his disgust; he’s just got such a moment of disgust when he turns away, but I can’t for the life of me decide with what? With himself, for allowing himself to be dragged so close to the fraying edge of his self-containment? With her, for being so bloody-minded and unstable? With both those things at once? Personally my money is on the latter. And his disgust is the most interesting part, to me.
Obviously her emotion does something to him, but I imagine it registered for him most acutely as a threat to his carefully cultivated and deeply artificial stoicism; if he ever gets around to thinking more carefully and sympathetically about how and why she feels this-that-or-the-other, it’ll take a long time to happen, I suspect. At least, that’s how I read him so far. If that makes any sense.
Also, I’d give my left arm for it to be unambiguously established in canon that he didn’t kill Evan. I would go in for a full-on melodramatic shouting match between the two of them if that were the topic. (I know, I know, I’m a sucker!)