The Americans: Harvest
May 9, 2018 10:09 PM - Season 6, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Philip shares his worries over the failing business with Stan, then visits Chicago where the planned extraction of Harvest doesn't turn out quite as planned. Stan drives Henry to his friend's house and then visits the Jennings residence. At the FBI, Aderholt grieves over the failure of his operation while Stan begins to work a new theory. Erika gives Elizabeth another drawing lesson. Elizabeth briefs Paige. Philip reminisces about his wedding day.
posted by orange swan (42 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
As Stan was breaking in I thought the most suspicious thing was Stan not having a key. They're supposedly so close that Stan drives Henry and live across the street and no key?
posted by Carillon at 10:50 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]


I was wondering about the key thing too. Not so much that it was totally implausible that they’d either managed not to give him one or even managed not to have him ask, but it must be one more thing about the Jennings that Stan can’t quite square.
posted by jameaterblues at 11:01 PM on May 9


STAN! FINALLY!

I've been waiting for that penny to drop for 5 seasons. Now things are going to get interesting!

I'm totally not buying Paige as fully committed to the Spy Life. I think she has major doubts.

Poor Henry.

RIP Marilyn. I never knew her name before these last couple of episodes, I just thought of her as "That lady who looks like an older Elizabeth".

Phil is NOT happy.

It was nice to see some actual spy action in the Chicago scenes. I'm kind of surprised they were willing to take all of these risks to help their agent... but maybe it was his mumbled last words of "The sensor schematics are on an Air Force base in France" that they were really trying to retrieve.
posted by mmoncur at 3:36 AM on May 10


Slate's matching podcast episode is out.
First, she talks with Sarah Nolen, who wrote Episode 7, “Harvest,” about why she sees Philip’s actions in the garage as “romantic”; why Philip and Elizabeth involved a random day laborer in the Chicago operation; and her career path from assistant to writer. Then we hear snippets from conversations with Noah Emmerich, H. Keith Melton, and Ian McLaughlin about key moments in this episode.
posted by kingless at 4:57 AM on May 10


I'm kind of surprised they were willing to take all of these risks to help their agent... but maybe it was his mumbled last words of "The sensor schematics are on an Air Force base in France" that they were really trying to retrieve.

I didn't find it very surprising they took those risks. Harvest is another Illegal; not only is he one of them, but one of their most valuable operatives. This was surveillance, not a mission going bad, so there was time to put a plan in place and try to extract him. The Centre expects a high degree of loyalty, but in return they look after their people. (Not unlike the op Stan referenced from S1, when P&E and Gregory went in to extract Joyce, even though they knew Rob was already dead.) And it's not a surprise that Elizabeth would prioritise helping one of her own — not just someone fighting for the same cause but someone she sees as the closest analogue to herself now that Philip has turned away from the work — even if it might cost her life to do so.

My guess is that line about the sensor schematics is there to deliberately tie up the actions relating to Dead Hand. Elizabeth still has the cyanide pill and her reason to use it, and the operations to acquire the tech put the Feds on to them conclusively, but it looks like the rest of those events will be swept aside/handed off to France, freeing up the rest of the runtime to address the fallout of recent events.

I really enjoyed the actor portraying Harvest; he managed to give a sense of depth to the character with just a few lines, and left me really curious about his backstory. Seems he is an American who trained at the Moscow Art Theatre school and is fluent in Russian. The switching between the matter-of-fact delivery of mission details in English and the intensity of emotion about his parents in Russian, speaking to one of his own people as he lay dying, was unexpected, but devastating.
posted by myotahapea at 6:26 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


As Stan was breaking in I thought the most suspicious thing was Stan not having a key. They're supposedly so close that Stan drives Henry and live across the street and no key?

It's actually not all that common for people to give keys out to anyone beyond immediate family members. At best, it's usually a "there's a key hidden under the garden gnome" thing. So, I can't imagine not having a key would have been suspicious to Stan.

I had a somewhat hard time buying Stan suddenly suspecting the Jennings' were up to no good, and possibly involved in the current Russian spy case. Especially not suspecting them enough to go and search their home. Sure, we've been privy to the situation for years, but it just seemed to be a huge leap for Stan to make. Of course, I went with it because we all know this had to happen.

Elizabeth trying to get across to Paige that people can die doing their job, but still trying to protect her by not giving her all the facts about that side of the job. Paige is such a tragic character. I'm not feeling good about her chances of coming out of this alive.

I know he was shot-up and all, but did Harvest still use his poison pill? The shot lingered on the necklace hanging off him, and it sure looked like the compartment was opened. I half expected Phillip to pocket it.

The previews for next week sure seemed to feature a ton of scenes from this week.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:15 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Oh Marilyn, we hardly knew ye.

This fucking show. Even though I knew they couldn’t leave Marilyn’s body behind, and wondered if Philip was going to put her in the boot and how in hell they would dispose of her in such a way that wouldn’t lead back to them, that long POV shot of the fire axe and Philip’s retrieval of it didn’t click until they started positioning her body. (Shades of Eastern Promises, there.) Then the brutal practicality of her dismemberment, which rivalled the breaking of Annelise’s bones before stuffing her in a suitcase. And after so many covert missions where Philip and Elizabeth have either been successful or got out clean, it was something of a shock to see those loose ends left trailing. The bullet-riddled van with Harvest’s corpse in the back, and Marilyn’s headless, handless body left where it lay as they drove away showing not only the failure of the mission but how narrow their own escape was.

There’s something I find particularly affecting about deaths like those of Marilyn and Hans. On one hand they presumably believe in what they’re doing (Hans, at least, was explicitly shown to) and if so then dying in such a manner may not matter to them if it’s in service to the larger goal. But they’re also field recruits, lacking the training and indoctrination of true agents. So something about the indignity of such an end, giving your life and loyalty to further a cause, only to be buried in an unmarked biohazard containment box with an infected body, or your head and hands stuffed into a duffel bag with some bricks and chucked into Lake Michigan, all your contributions and sacrifices unacknowledged, your existence forgotten. I wonder if that the sort of end was something either of them considered when they started this work.
posted by myotahapea at 7:57 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


In his last moments, Harvest went home to Mother Russia in his head. Not only did he lapse into Russian while speaking emotional, personal messages to his parents, but IIRC even his very last mundane words - driving directions to Elizabeth - were in the language.

It's also symbolic of how our protagonist's perfectly created fake American world is collapsing around them.

Re: Harvest's suicide pill. Unless I missed something, he died from the horrific bullet wound. I think the point of Phillip spotting the locket was for other reasons. (See below.) And ugh, even the XCU of his red, puffing face was gross enough for me, so you can imagine me during the ax scene.

A Vox reviewer seemed oblivious to what this episode showed me about Elizabeth. It reiterated that Elizabeth isn't a pscyhopath. She is simply a True Soldier, in it 'til the end. But she is worried about her family. After her talk with Paige, she seemed to have second thoughts about "Take Your Daughter to Work" Life. She even has come to care for her dying patient.

(There were some extremely dry Elizabeth lines that are almost funny. After telling Phil about the pill: "You said you wanted me to share more." And when Phil watches her draw: "Someone is making me do this.")

My latest series end guess: Phillip snatched Harvest's pill, but Elizabeth will give hers to her patient. Also, I'm wondering if Paige will end up shooting Stan - the man who once was thrilled she was dating his son. There's your tragic Paige, Thorzdad.

Ugh, I almost want spoilers so I can prepare myself. IRL I'm stressed over what Russian agents are doing to my country; on my favorite show, I'm stressed what my country is doing to Russian agents.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:17 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


A Vox reviewer seemed oblivious to what this episode showed me about Elizabeth. It reiterated that Elizabeth isn't a pscyhopath. She is simply a True Soldier, in it 'til the end.

I had a look at that, with the reviewer in question stating that Elizabeth is becoming more villainous in this final season, and ... yea, I'm with you. She has as much dedication as she always did, but is now doing everything on her own. Without another person in the field, or another viewpoint when creating mission plans, she's not as effective. And doing all the work they used to handle together on her own is wearing her down, damaging her judgment, making her more desperate. She's unhappy and falling apart and trying to white-knuckle it through to the summit, compensating by pushing herself harder, and it's not working.

Re: the suicide pill, I got the opposite feeling from the scene. It's possible a gutshot could kill him that quickly, but we see Philip look away, and when it cuts back we see the open necklace and then pan up to Harvest's face, and he dies shortly after. My guess is that he knew how serious his injury was, so he conveyed the information he needed to and then took his pill so Philip and Elizabeth could escape — there's a much larger chance they would be caught with a wounded man slowing them down, and without immediate medical attention his chances were slim anyway. Plus, having Harvest die in that manner leaves Elizabeth to contemplate her potential end via the same route (and Philip, now that he knows about it).
posted by myotahapea at 9:13 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad to be caught up on this show and could watch last night's as it aired! The woes of missing the first couple of episodes of the season...

A few things stood out to me, but prime amongst them is what on earth possessed Stan to go creeping around the Jennings house? Certainly he's suspicious, but why? What triggered that? I know he's crept around their garage before, but was it just how they both suddenly prioritized "work" over Henry?

As to the cyanide (?) pills, I think Harvest took it. There was some gurgling which could have been interpreted as from his gunshot wounds but I think he's too pragmatic. As myotahapea said, there's a much larger chance they'd be caught with a wounded person in tow. And didn't Philip take Elizabeth's necklace after she'd changed and stuff it in the bag that Elizabeth then threw into the lake? (I'm guessing Lake Michigan, given they're in Chicago.) My impression was that the pill is no longer an issue.
posted by juliebug at 10:54 AM on May 10


I think the things that finally tipped Stan over are:

The weirdness of his neighbors abandoning their kid--home for Thankgiving! from boarding school! He is a dad, and his own son isn't at the Thanksgiving table; it can't be lost on him how just bizarre it would be for those nice neighbors to just voluntarily bail on their kid.

Phil being far, far more shook up than even a failing business would merit. That he hugged Stan after Stan's display of human kindness... even after NOT hugging his son goodbye.

The weirdness of the Jennings' comings and goes, in conjunction of the timing of his neighbors disappearing and the horrific scene playing out in Chicago.

And of course what he recollected in flashback, William describing the "perfect family with two kids, she's pretty".
posted by Sublimity at 11:19 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


I had a somewhat hard time buying Stan suddenly suspecting the Jennings' were up to no good, and possibly involved in the current Russian spy case.

There was that scene in the first episode of the first season where Stan searched the trunk of Phillip's car.
posted by Pendragon at 12:14 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Yeah it’s clear to me that “parents gotta fly out of town on no notice on thanksgiving when their kid is home from boarding school” is bizarre enough that it would make Stan suspicious.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:07 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I also thought Stan suddenly having his suspicions reignited when we haven't seen them since the pilot episode (irrc) was a little quick. But maybe the time away from the illegals detail at work gave him a fresh perspective on just how weird the Jennings' habits are, now that he's back to this professionally.

I think Harvest took his cyanide pill. The necklace was empty before he died, and it was his necklace Phil added to the duffel bag, not Elizabeth's. So her pill is still likely to come into play.

We know the FBI is looking at Russian Orthodox priests, so Phillip's wedding reminisces make me think that lead may be the one that ultimately pans out. Either that, or yet another set of sketches, now that Stan is primed to see the Jennings in them.
posted by the primroses were over at 3:38 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


For me, Stan's raising suspicions made sense:
1. Liz bailed on Thanksgiving suddenly.. ok
2. Wait, now Philip too?
3. They sure do come home at 3am a lot
4. What do you mean, Henry, when you say they leave all the time? In the middle of the night?!? And they always have????
posted by coriolisdave at 4:12 PM on May 10 [9 favorites]


This show is the best. Almost every episode my family and I disagree on the emotional meaning of scenes. Take Elizabeth telling Philip about the suicide pill. Initially I was like, “yes! Open up to Philip, Elizabeth!” But another way to read that scene is Elizabeth tell a morose and possibly waffling Philip that if he doesn’t help her and she gets caught, she’s going to have to kill herself. I can’t think of anything that would make Philip more committed to making sure the mission goes as well as possible.

I also saw the garage scene as “romantic” in the sense that Philip was demonstrating his deep devotion to Elizabeth.

I did not really understand why Paige left so abruptly when her mom told her to get an internship. It felt like an angry gesture to me but I don’t think that was the intent.

I don’t like Stan (not sure why really) & I really hope he never gets to figure it out.
posted by CMcG at 5:34 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Stan finally twigging to the oddness now worked for me as well. On the podcast Noah Emmerich mentioned feeling that in a way Stan has always known something was off, but has been rationalising it away because these are his nice, normal, friendly travel agent neighbours.

If Harvest’s signal had come a week earlier, or a week later, Stan may not have noticed, or given a second thought if he did. But there was no way Elizabeth abruptly leaving town on Thanksgiving, while their son was home for a few days’ holiday, wouldn’t raise some suspicions regardless of the excuse.

And then Philip leaves, clearly distressed, and now both parents have abandoned Henry during his holiday, who then makes an oblique reference to his mum never being around and his parents' odd hours. From there, Stan remembers that Elizabeth’s long absence coincided with the FBI's shooting at and nearly capturing the illegals; if he hasn’t connected his neighbours’ hasty holiday departure with the failed Chicago mission yet he will soon.

(For me the most difficult bit to get past in this is Elizabeth's not hesitating to blow off a meal where their FBI agent neighbour and his friend, the head of FBI Counterintelligence and their families would question her glaring, last-minute departure just before the extraction of an Illegal from under FBI surveillance. I’d think even as angry as she was at the time, she would recognise that the the loss of a few hours of planning time would have been worth sticking around for dinner and not arousing suspicions with that group. Maybe she's grown too complacent with Stan.)
posted by myotahapea at 5:41 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I did not really understand why Paige left so abruptly when her mom told her to get an internship. It felt like an angry gesture to me but I don’t think that was the intent.

I think the conversation was truncated that way for the metaphorical significance of Paige, having now very deliberately and voluntarily made a devastating choice, walking out from under her mother's umbrella

that scene at the end, man. I wasn't sure Rhys had even further levels of "looks deeply sad but is not actually crying somehow" to plumb, but there it was, I almost just went ahead and cried for him
posted by Kybard at 5:56 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


I think the conversation was truncated that way for the metaphorical significance of Paige, having now very deliberately and voluntarily made a devastating choice, walking out from under her mother's umbrella


I read it differently. Elizabeth saw that Paige wanted the whole spy shebang, but in the wake of Harvest, Elizabeth orders her to be a good soldier and get an internship. She is ordering Paige into important, but safer work.
posted by bfranklin at 6:55 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


As to the cyanide (?) pills, I think Harvest took it. There was some gurgling which could have been interpreted as from his gunshot wounds but I think he's too pragmatic. As myotahapea said, there's a much larger chance they'd be caught with a wounded person in tow. And didn't Philip take Elizabeth's necklace after she'd changed and stuff it in the bag that Elizabeth then threw into the lake? (I'm guessing Lake Michigan, given they're in Chicago.) My impression was that the pill is no longer an issue.

I think Harvest took the pill, and Philip backed off putting pressure on the wound since he knew it wouldn't matter. I also read the necklace put into the duffel bag as Harvest's, probably so it isn't found on the body as something for the FBI to look for or to delay them finding out the real cause of death. If it was Elizabeth's where was the point where he got it from her, and there was nothing to show that she had a change of heart and was no longer willing to use the pill?
posted by ridogi at 8:19 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Henry gave up on expecting anything much from his family a long time ago. He reminds me of me in the latter stages of my relationships with my exes.

Philip's hugging of Stan felt more "I have to go all out to convince you so I don't have to kill you" than "true bromance".

Philip and Elizabeth really should have manufactured an excuse to move away within a year of the Beemans moving into the neighbourhood. It was one thing for Philip to be friends with Stan, but having an FBI agent live so close by, observing them coming home at three or four in the morning and privy to all the tensions and oddities in their household, was way too much of a risk. The fact that they have no family at all alone is a red flag.

I was aghast at just how searching and pointed Stan's comments to Henry were. He's going to put everything together in no time now. When Henry said he'd never met "Aunt Helen" but Paige had, you could almost see Stan thinking, for the first time, "So is Paige in on it?"

Philip's coming to Chicago to help Elizabeth went a long way with her.

Philip the illegal hires five workers illegally. The illegals also don't worry much about polluting bodies of water by throwing all kinds of crap into it.

I can't say I wasn't impressed with how elaborately choreographed the extraction of Harvest was. Or with how able and dedicated an agent Harvest evidently was.

We never got to know anything about Marilyn, which seems like a shame, because there was probably something interesting there.

How on earth are Claudia's people going to cover for Marilyn's disappearance? She'll surely go on a missing persons list, and then be identified.

As soon as I saw Philip looking at that axe, I thought, "Oh shit, they're going to process Marilyn's body aren't they?" Apparently I didn't watch Eastern Promises for nothing.

When Philip said he'd fly to Chicago to give Elizabeth a hand, I don't think he intended it quite this literally.

I can't decide whether it's a good or a bad idea to be on the alert when walking through an underground parking lot.

The sound design on this scene. That sound when one severed hand lands on top of the other with a slap... I'll be hearing that for a week.

Elizabeth's and Philip's fingerprints are going to be all over that van. And Marilyn's, but that won't matter unless she has a criminal record.

Elizabeth seemed to find it a little too easy to throw that bag, which would have been pretty heavy, into the lake. Ten pounds for the head, another few pounds for the hands, another few pounds for the other stuff in the bag, and then maybe 20 pounds of rocks.... She flung it out really far too. That just wouldn't happen.

Aderholt handles things going wrong much better than Gaad ever did. Chin up, Dennis, Stan is about to crack the case wide open for you.

That has to be the one time Stan ever visited the Jennings' house and didn't raid their fridge.

Erika's pain is nearly unwatchable.

Even Philip's love for Elizabeth, and hers for him, brings him no pleasure now.
posted by orange swan at 8:50 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


I was totally thinking that P&E were going to come home and start talking while Stan was still in the house! Really glad they didn't go there.
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:10 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Also, I would think that really good spies would know if someone had been in the house. I wonder if they checked and Stan was so good he didn't leave a trace or if they didn't bother to check at all. Especially with Stan's weird questioning of Philip.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:36 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else think Philip was actually thinking about telling Stan the truth when they were standing outside? It seems like the scene was trying to suggest that to the viewer. Maybe it was just a little thought that ran through his mind? Or maybe he was just thinking "How do I play this?" Is his spycraft slipping such that he can't hide how upset he is and can't come up with a quicker cover for it? I also thought he could have really nailed his explanation by adding another truthful element: "I just had to tell Henry that we will probably have to pull him out of school and he may not be showing it but he is pretty unhappy about it and I am upset that the business is such a mess that I have to leave tonight." Use truth to tell better lies. And he seemed pretty confident later when he told Elizabeth that Stan bought it. Is he slipping because of the stress, because of his conflicted feelings about the mission, because of lack of practice, or simply his increasing discomfort with being dishonest? I guess all of the above, but I'm wondering if the writers are trying to misdirect us that Philip might just come clean. If so, it seems like a bit of a cheap way to increase the tension in one of the tensest episodes of the show yet.

I think it is pretty realistic for Stan to have a sudden breakthrough after training his mind to discount all the suspicious details over a period of years. Narratively, it feels abrupt, but I think it makes sense.
posted by nequalsone at 8:06 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Regarding Elizabeth directing Paige toward safer work, that was always the idea. She does need some skills because she might be expected to get information that doesn't come directly across her desk and she will need to get that information to her contacts. I thought her sudden departure was a little strange too, but it could have been some residual "Don't treat me like a child" attitude, especially after her recent lesson at Philip's hands or (I hate to think it but maybe...) it could have been an editing compromise as the episode was really long.

I thought the thing that was interesting about the scene was that when Elizabeth spoke about Philip making a mistake in choosing that life, she said it without the sense of contempt that was creeping into their previous discussions about Philip. On the one hand, she had to avoid that if she had any intention of Paige making a thoughtful decision but on the other hand I think she is softening toward him and his choices even after he sabotaged the operation with Kimmie. Obviously, there are a number of other elements of the episode that showed that (eg, her visiting him at work), but it was well played in this scene.
posted by nequalsone at 8:24 AM on May 11


I think Stan's being brought back into the spy-chasing game by Aderholt, and seeing and hearing all the things that had been learned about the illegals since he left it, got his mind re-focused on looking for clues. All the Jennings' odd behavior suddenly seemed to fit the profile. I totally buy it.

Another unknown is what did Phillip send to Oleg, and will the his knowledge re the schematics in France be in his next coded dispatch, or has he returned to the fold with Elizabeth in the Great Patriotic War?
posted by jetsetsc at 8:46 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else think Philip was actually thinking about telling Stan the truth when they were standing outside?

I had the same feeling, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this show deliberately filmed a scene like this so that it could be interpreted about 8 different ways.

There was that moment when Philip’s face was at peak Philip, and it felt in that moment he was contemplating finally letting it all out, taking that offer from his best friend and telling him the truth about everything. I imagined him flying to Chicago, drugging Elizabeth, bringing her back and the whole family fleeing … or defecting, to call back to their garage convo over Timoshev in the pilot. Just for a second. There’s no way they would do this but Matthew Rhys’ face sold it in that moment.

I also thought he could have really nailed his explanation by adding another truthful element ...

There was also a part of me that was similarly thinking the ‘lean into the truth’ angle. Telling Stan the business is so bad Henry might have to leave school, and how doing so would shore up those suspicious departures. This is their highest-billing client and they need to keep him, as that would also be one of the few justifications for running out on Henry the way they did — either they ruin Thanksgiving to save the client or they lose his business and Henry has to leave St Edwards.

But I appreciated the way they went with it, as this is the most genuine Philip’s ever been with Stan. He wasn’t having that conversation as a spy, he was having it as a friend, and speaking with total honesty.

The ‘business’ is falling apart.
I should have told you.
You know her, she’s keeping it together.


I think Philip was taking this moment to speak the truth to Stan, to give a confession and an apology for deceiving him, even if Stan assumed he was talking about the travel agency, not their work as spies. He wasn’t thinking about making it convincing, just about finding a moment where he could speak genuinely to his only friend.
posted by myotahapea at 11:20 AM on May 11 [8 favorites]


Did anyone else think Philip was actually thinking about telling Stan the truth when they were standing outside?

So, Rhys does a perfectly timed long pause, and the camera does a verrrrrrrrrry subtle zoom on Philip's face. The audience is certainly supposed to be considering this.
posted by zeek321 at 1:19 PM on May 11


I don't normally find this show laugh-out-loud funny, but when Stan told Philip that he's good at figuring out when people are hiding something/keeping something back (whatever the phrase was) I guffawed and said, "oh poor Stan, no you're not."

I'm really enjoying watching the actress who plays Erika, not because I want to see somebody suffer, but because I like her work on Younger, and I suspected that she had a lot more talent and depth than that show calls for, and she certainly does.
posted by sardonyx at 1:52 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


This tweet has an A+++ picture of the creators working out the logistics for the Chicago car op.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 1:54 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


I agree with everyone who feels that both Philip and Elizabeth leaving Henry over Thanksgiving is what finally brings Stan's dormant suspicions to the surface.

When Henry said he'd never met "Aunt Helen" but Paige had, you could almost see Stan thinking, for the first time, "So is Paige in on it?"

Which would also fit in with what Stan's no doubt observed over the years in terms Philip & Elizabeth being more "normally" involved in Paige's life (in particular, her church activities), whereas Henry has almost invariably been left to his own devices (hence why Stan and Henry had the opportunity to forge their close bond in the first place).

Also, speaking of Paige's old church activities: note how Stan lingers on the cross necklace on the jewelry stand in her bedroom. Something that was so important to her a few years earlier that she's left behind. Hmmm...
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 2:58 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


It seems last season Uproxx started doing show post-mortems in the form of The Americans Anxiety Report, "a weekly rundown of the people and things we are currently most worried about on the show." This week's started off well:

10. Harvest’s Father (Last week: Unranked)

Harvest’s father sounded like a real scumbag and there’s little to no chance Philip actually does deliver his colleague’s dying message — at least not verbatim — but please do take a moment to picture that discussion.

[Philip rings doorbell]

HARVEST’S FATHER: Yes? How can I help you?

PHILIP: Well, there’s no easy way to say this, sir. Your son passed away. I’m so sorry.

HARVEST’S FATHER: Oh no. That’s awful news. My son. My poor son. I never got a chance to apologize.

PHILIP: [squirming, making a Philip face] Well, uh, about that. He did have a message he wanted me to deliver…

HARVEST’S FATHER: Oh, please. Tell me.

PHILIP: [slowly unfolding a crumpled piece of paper] Well, uh, he says… “You son of a bitch. I’m glad I never saw you again. I, uh…” I should just stop here. It was an emotional moment.

HARVEST’S FATHER: No, please. Continue.

PHILIP: [frowning so hard the corners of his mouth are sliding off his face] O… okay. “I hope you die the miserable death you deserve.” And then he, uh, groaned a bit. I have it written down here. “Groaning.”

HARVEST’ FATHER: Did he die a peaceful death, at least?

PHILIP: Well he was bleeding out in the back of a speeding unmarked van in Chicago — you’re familiar with Chicago, yes?

HARVEST’S FATHER: Of course. Mike Ditka.

PHILIP: Right. Anyway, he took a cyanide pill and died.

HARVEST’S FATHER: Oh dear.

PHILIP: Sooo I should probably get going.
posted by myotahapea at 3:45 PM on May 11 [13 favorites]


Elizabeth's and Philip's fingerprints are going to be all over that van

Weren't they wearing gloves?
posted by Carillon at 5:46 PM on May 11


As Stan was breaking in I thought the most suspicious thing was Stan not having a key.

As an FBI agent, Stan wouldn't be at all likely to give out his house key to anyone, and is therefore less likely to expect one. And anyway it doesn't seem strange to me at all. What on earth would he need a key to their house for anyway? It's not like he ever looked after their small children, or they'd ask him to look after their cat when they're on vacation given that they don't take vacations or have a cat.

I don’t like Stan (not sure why really) & I really hope he never gets to figure it out.

He's already figured it out. He just needs proof. And it won't take him long to find it. Elizabeth and Philip's background won't hold up to scrutiny.

I've avoided making any predictions about the ending of the series so far, but we're getting really close and I'm more willing to hazard a guess now. I think two of the Jennings are going to wind up dead. I think it'll be Paige and either Elizabeth or Philip, and the surviving parent will wind up in prison. Henry will survive and be free as he's both innocent and safely away at school, but all his parents' assets will be seized and as a penniless and effectively orphaned minor he'll either wind up in the American foster care system or be turned over to the care of the Russian government.

As to the other players, I think either Stan or Oleg will wind up dead. Aderholt will likely be safe since he's not doing as much field work. Claudia will be either caught or killed. I have a feeling something might happen to or with Renee -- I don't believe she's a spy, but the show is going somewhere with having her work at the FBI. There'll be other dead bodies, but perhaps not anyone we've gotten to know. Kimmie's not a mark anymore, though there might be revelations/fallout in her life if "Jim's" operation is uncovered in some way. Hopefully none of their other marks will have their lives ruined. I still hope we'll find out what happened to Young Hee and Don. I doubt we'll see any more Martha, but I'm fine with that since we know she's living in Russia, is coping/adjusting, and has probably adopted a child and found at least some happiness in being a mother like she wanted.
posted by orange swan at 6:45 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


note how Stan lingers on the cross necklace on the jewelry stand in her bedroom. Something that was so important to her a few years earlier that she's left behind. Hmmm...

The character development of Paige is done so well. When Paige and Elizabeth were speaking in that final scene, Paige seemed so eager to have something in her life that was important enough for her to die for. She had a similar yearning when she found religion. It seems like she's just swapped out the Cross with the Cause. And it definitely seems like she's more in love with the idea of dying for an important cause, than she is with the cause itself.

The sound design on this scene. That sound when one severed hand lands on top of the other with a slap... I'll be hearing that for a week.

ughhhhhhh oh god I know. Like, I was somehow pretty nonchalant about the severed head, but the LITTLE MEATY SLAPS of the severed hands, aaaaaaaaaah

LITTLE
MEATY
SLAPS
posted by duffell at 5:33 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


LITTLE
MEATY
SLAPS


And the little realistic finger jiggles that made them look like real fucking hands omg

PREDICTION CORNER
I think two of the Jennings are going to wind up dead. I think it'll be Paige and either Elizabeth or Philip ... Henry will survive and be free... As to the other players, I think either Stan or Oleg will wind up dead.

Yup, Oleg is gonna git got. Reckon Claudia is too canny to git got by stupid-ass FBI.

At least one of P/E die, and further I think it has to be Stan that kills them. He then survives and then adopts Henry.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:07 PM on May 13


It looks like Stan gets all the info from Philip's car door, so now we have that, the priest, looking into the "aunt", and taking another look at the old police sketch of Elizabeth as possible avenues for things to fully unwind. But my guess is it will be something else. I still think we're headed for a Paige/Stan confrontation first, whether he tails her, tries to pick her up as leverage before going after Philip and Elizabeth, or tries to "save" her.

That has to be the one time Stan ever visited the Jennings' house and didn't raid their fridge.
The true reason they had to throw out the Russian food leftovers.

I thought it was notable that during the Harvest operation we had no song playing under, unlike other similar scenes.

As things start to unravel, it might be Oleg who kills Stan to save Philip/himself, now that he has a family he wants to get back to.
posted by mikepop at 10:24 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Also, although I suspect this episode is the most we'll see of Henry for the rest of the season it can't be discounted that him getting killed would have the deepest impact across the largest subset of characters - Philip, Paige, Stan, Elizabeth (in order of intensity).
posted by mikepop at 10:29 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


My read on the van scene was that Harvest took the pill and P&E both witnessed the horror of that kind of death, then later when Phil put his hand out for the necklace to place it in the bundle, Elizabeth handed it over. It seems unlikely to me that they would have given a male agent an opal locket to wear.

I thought it was unusually reckless for them to be doing all that stuff out in the open in the parking garage. Cutting up the body? Undressing? Making that bundle? Maybe they figured they didn’t know Chicago that well so better to just do it fast than waste time driving around looking for a safer spot?

Also I think they just never told us what Marilyn’s deal was? Couldn’t she have been an illegal too?
posted by bleep at 5:37 PM on May 15


I'm pretty sure the necklace that went into the bag was Harvest's. His had a black stone, and it looked like the compartment was opened when Philip dropped it in. It would make sense they wouldn't leave it behind; stripping extraneous details leaves the FBI with less information when the body's found, plus, the major advantage of a suicide pill is surprise, so if it's known they're carrying them the effectiveness is neutralised. And personally, I read that look Philip gives Elizabeth as he drops the necklace into the bag as more of a 'See? If you keep that thing you might well go out this same way'.

The garage scene, as risky as it was, really worked for me, as it's the best of their bad options. They're in unfamiliar territory, the only one with any knowledge is dead, and they have no idea how many feds are on their tail. They need to get out of sight and end the trail as quickly as possible, and that's usually messy if you're working on the fly without support. In that sense I appreciated the ballsiness of it: The feds know who Harvest is, so may as well just leave him where he lay. Harvest's replacement driver can give numbers and descriptions, so as long as Marilyn can't be identified leaving her behind doesn't hurt them operationally. Dumping the van in that garage is risky, but no less risky than going back out on the street in an unfamiliar city when they're under pursuit. Ideally they would have taken the bodies so the FBI didn’t get confirmation of Harvest’s death, but circumstances didn’t allow for that. As obvious and amateur as the scene looked, in actuality it was very professional, as they got out as quickly as possible, left a cold trail for their pursuers, and cleaned up any additional evidence that would trace back to them.
posted by myotahapea at 7:24 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I did not really understand why Paige left so abruptly when her mom told her to get an internship. It felt like an angry gesture to me but I don’t think that was the intent.

I read that mostly as tradecraft. We regularly see exchanges like this — such as last week’s scene with Elizabeth and Claudia in the park — where two agents come together, exchange relevant information, and then split off. Elizabeth has been shown as drawing a bright line between the working and the family relationship with Paige, and as this conversation was all work-related Paige likely knows there’s no more to be said once she receives her orders to apply for an internship. But I like some of the more symbolic interpretations given here as well.

That being said … it seems like Elizabeth has really ruined Paige. It was a running theme in earlier seasons that Paige had serious issues with lying and hiding things from people, and while she’s clearly reconciled herself with that somewhat during the time jump I can’t help feeling that the need to keep this colossal secret about her parents has factored into her not having many friends, and not having a relationship. And her dismissive comment about how her classmates don’t get how things work, ‘like you and Claudia say’, shows that her opinions are being shaped by outside forces just as much as those very classmates she’s deriding — she doesn’t get it any more than they do, she just not getting it from a different angle. And of course it’s in Elizabeth’s interest that Paige doesn’t develop much introspection or critical thinking skills that would lead her daughter to question what she’s being taught.

I’m not a huge fan of the Paige character; somehow I’ve never warmed to her, and found her storylines, though worthwhile, to be rather tedious. But it’s saddening to see how much Elizabeth and Claudia have been able to exploit her desires for closeness and connection and meaning for their own ends. One of the things that made Paige feel different and drove her to confront her parents about what’s ‘wrong’ with their lives was not having any extended family; and now the formerly all-business Claudia is being very grandmotherly with this girl who has no relatives outside her immediate family. I think a lot of Paige’s dedication to the life is tied up in this pseudo-relationship and the newfound connection with her mother, and Claudia knows it, and Paige likely doesn’t realise that she is, first and foremost, being worked, and that this is just another iteration of the lies she’s been so opposed to for so long. They've closed the loop; of course she's going to commit to the spy life, as thanks to her background and her training the only close relationships she has are with the people who do this work, and if she doesn't commit she's even lonelier than she is now, still has to keep all the secrets, and also loses her sense of purpose. Elizabeth thought she was giving her daughter a choice in that conversation, but probably can't understand that through circumstance she removed Paige's autonomy long ago.
posted by myotahapea at 8:49 AM on May 16 [4 favorites]


I can’t help feeling that the need to keep this colossal secret about her parents has factored into her not having many friends,

that was all Paige, it started long before she learned the truth and actually was a hard left turn by the writers - when she lies to Henry that she's going to Georgetown to go shopping with friends, you don't get the sense that her friends themselves are part of the lie. but then on the bus when she meets the jesus girl, it feels like we're seeing the birth of her first real soulmate best friendship, and it was a never-reconciled jarringly false note that we never see that girl again after Paige joins the church with her in it. that was a connection, it made Paige a real person for the first time, and it disappears cold because it wasn't the direction they wanted.

but it ruined Paige as a character because the most interesting thing about her, pre-parental-reveal, was her total conformity plus total lack of peer relationships: the freaky pseudo-friendship with adult Tim and Alice was pointed out as disturbing by Elizabeth for what it meant about her disinterest in peers, but never discussed, never explained or looked into.

the Paige & Henry of hitchhiking secret-keeping days are entirely different people from the Paige and Henry of a few episodes later and they both suffer for it. they both become like serious head-trauma stupid in a way that they weren't when first introduced, and they never recover from it. but Paige especially. she's in college and on the mental level of a slow tween. it's a departure from unbelievable TV precocity, but ultimately no more believable. she is just too dumb to be real for several seasons running, and she didn't have to be, she wasn't that way in the very beginning.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:44 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


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