The Americans: Jennings, Elizabeth
May 23, 2018 10:06 PM - Season 6, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Stan catches up with Pastor Tim and Oleg, offers Philip his support, and shares his suspicions with Aderholt. Elizabeth watches over Nesterenko and does not have dinner with Claudia. Tatiana's latest operation goes badly. Paige learns more about the nitty gritty of her parents' spy operations. Philip meets up with Father Andrei. Elizabeth packs for a trip.
posted by orange swan (76 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
That chase sequence in the park. The veins on Elizabeth's forehead. Margot Martindale eating soup.

I didn't quite catch that the assassin was Tatiana from the Rezidentura. That's going to raise some FBI eyebrows. Maybe it will help backup Oleg's story.
posted by simonw at 11:35 PM on May 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm sat here, poised and ready to watch this episode, dying to see it yet not wanting to start because then there's only one more.

This fucking show.
posted by myotahapea at 3:50 AM on May 24, 2018 [6 favorites]


"You don’t leave a comrade to die on the street in Moscow."
The true north of Elizabeth's moral compass, revealed.

"Sex? What was sex. Nobody cared. Including your father."
DO NOT try to slut-shame Elizabeth Jennings; she will bring what's left of your world down around your ears.

She took the rings, guys! SHE TOOK THE RINGS.

posted by myotahapea at 5:23 AM on May 24, 2018 [19 favorites]


Raise your hand if you were expecting Elizabeth to pop Claudia in mid-slurp.

As much as I loved the scene between Elizabeth and Paige, it really felt sudden and forced. The whole scene was sort of a quickie "fill in the blanks" thing. Paige revealing that she knew all-along Elizabeth was lying to her, and implying that Henry purposefully got as far away as possible from Elizabeth.

Lots of stuff is going to get crammed into the finale, that's for sure.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:39 AM on May 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


Another thing that stuck out to me...In the scene where Stan drops-in on the travel agency, I thought Philip looked really odd. Almost like he was as much in-disguise there as he is on missions. There was a really pale, plastic-ish look about him. Kind of like we're being told this isn't really him, either.

It was also interesting that the best Father Tim could say about P&E was that they weren't members of the church. This after glowing praise of Paige. Kind of a "read between the lines, Stan" moment.

Also: What database Stan was searching in at the first of the show?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:17 AM on May 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


The anti-Gorbachev forces must be running low on operatives if they're using someone known to the FBI.
posted by drezdn at 6:21 AM on May 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


I found it interesting that the thing that tweaked Paige was not that her mother was killing people, but that she was sleeping with them. I mean, yes, it was because Elizabeth lied to her about both things, but the slam she had for her mother was that she was a whore, not a murderer.

Raise your hand if you were expecting Elizabeth to pop Claudia in mid-slurp.
I was actually expecting Claudia to attempt to shoot Elizabeth the second her hands went below the table. Then again, I still see that actress as Mama from Justified and I am extremely wary of her offering food or beverages to anyone.

They've got a good bit to wrap up in one episode, but I still feel like it's going to be a good resolution.
posted by teleri025 at 8:23 AM on May 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Is the final episode the regular running-length, or does it have extra time?
posted by mikepop at 8:42 AM on May 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I posted an image on twitter of a giant Emmy, saying this should be Keri's.

it really felt sudden and forced

There are a few ways I feel the writers forcing plot movement.

But Flashback Elizabeth/ Nahezhda was poignant. The contrast in how young and unsure Elizabeth was. (As an animal lover, I was so squeamish about the poor horse, though. Assume it was either fake or just well-trained!) BTW in looking up the spelling of her original Rsn name, I see it means "hope."

I was actually expecting Claudia to attempt to shoot Elizabeth the second her hands went below the table.
Yes. I looked to see if Elizabeth seemed ready to pull out a gun.

I'll say again, Elizabeth is just a Good Soldier for Mother Russia. And then there's Oleg, ready to sacrifice everything for the greatest cause of protecting a progressive-ish Gorbachev, and the peace process.

"You think it doesn't matter who our leader is?" Ugh.

Also once again, eff Stan for being in his own little bubble re: what Oleg was trying to tell him about the greater issues. I have concerns that Stan's going to end up killing some Jennings, and I feel like he doesn't "deserve" to, because he's been a schmuck for so long. Ha.

The chat scene with Andre seemed too long. Its main purpose was for Phil to realize How Effing Close The FBI Was! (And the priest to get caught.) But knowing anything could happen at this point, the ensuing foot chase was tense.

I liked the confrontation between Paige and Elizabeth, even if the timing does seem too coincidental. And then Elizabeth alone, finally just bringing The Smokes indoors.

More than a year ago I speculated that the show would end with parents dead/ in prison, kids smuggled to Russia. Last scene is Martha at the Moscow airbase, having agreed to meet Clark's kids. (Of course, now I think Martha would say eff him & his, and I also envisioned "the kids" as still being younger, pre-time-jump.)

But P & E are people without a country now, the Centre wouldn't bother trying to "rescue" their kids. And we're probably back to Paige hating Russia as much as Henry would.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:13 AM on May 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


Raise your hand if you were expecting Elizabeth to pop Claudia in mid-slurp.
I was actually expecting Claudia to attempt to shoot Elizabeth the second her hands went below the table.


Maybe it's a sign I've consumed too much spy drama, but that conversation went almost exactly the way I expected. It reminded me a bit of the final conversations between George Smiley and Bill Haydon in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; everything's done and dusted, and the chips will fall where they may. The thing that both these women have been fighting for, that they now see they are on opposite sides of, is so much bigger than either of them, and while there's disappointment and resignation on both sides, the situation has moved far beyond vengeance. Claudia's statement that she'll go home now, possibly to face imprisonment or execution, possibly to live to fight another day for the vision of the motherland she believes in, carries shades of Smiley's description of Karla after their meeting in Delhi.

And Claudia, sitting there alone, eating her soup, the picture of detachment. Preparing to go home and face whatever comes next, indifferent to the peril. I don't think there could be a better sendoff for her character.
posted by myotahapea at 9:44 AM on May 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


"You don’t leave a comrade to die on the street in Moscow."
The true north of Elizabeth's moral compass, revealed.


That really felt cheap and forced to me. We've had six seasons to get to know this character, seeing her personality and what motivates her actions. That flashback came out of nowhere and was just too pat for the situation. Between the showdown with Claudia and what we've already seen of Elizabeth in action, this viewer did not need a big galvanizing flashback this late in the show to understand why she does what she does.
posted by peeedro at 10:11 AM on May 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


Is the final episode the regular running-length, or does it have extra time?

You mean extra time beyond the hour-and-ten-to-fifteen most of the episodes have been running already? I kind of doubt it. I was hoping for a 2-hour finale, but that doesn't appear to be happening.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:12 AM on May 24, 2018


mikepop: Is the final episode the regular running-length, or does it have extra time?

It's listed as 1 hour 30 minutes.
posted by bluecore at 10:24 AM on May 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I’m thinking about the “digging up the body” episode pacing vs. “pick up Harvest” pacing. I think what I’ve loved about this show is it takes its time bendinng & bending & bending the characters until they suddenly just snap. And the snapping can seem out of no where I think. I am just noticing that this season had a lot more snapping episodes (Harvest pacing) than digging up the body pacing.
posted by CMcG at 10:25 AM on May 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Slate's matching podcast episode is out.
First, she talks with showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields about how a hunter becomes a protector, Elizabeth’s flashbacks, and Claudia’s disappointment with the illegals. Then we hear from actor Costa Ronin, who plays Oleg Burov, about his response to his character’s fate. Spycraft expert H. Keith Melton explains the ins and outs of cyanide guns, and director Chris Long talks us through that spectacular scene involving young Elizabeth, a horse, and a motorcycle. And finally, Brandon J. Dirden talks about playing Special Agent Dennis Aderholt for four seasons.
posted by kingless at 11:50 AM on May 24, 2018


It felt like Stan spent this episode getting more and more convinced of the Jennings guilt while uncovering nothing to further his suspicions. Pastor Tim didn't want to rave about the Jennings, but that's it. Philip didn't want to discuss his money troubles further or take Stan's help in rescuing the business, but, again, that seems totally plausible. I'm not clear on what sort of database he was searching at the beginning of the episode, but the only hit we saw was for an arsonist, so I guess he found out they weren't wanted for any crime? Aderholt all but laughed at him, and Oleg denied knowing Philip. Yet, at the end of the episode, I felt like he was only more convinced he was on to something. I wonder if he's going to take out his anger with the Jennings on Oleg, once his suspicions are confirmed. We've seen him use any available Soviet to express his anger before.

I loved that scene between Claudia and Elizabeth. I wonder what Elizabeth was planning to do before getting the signal from Philip. Presumably they had to run from the Soviets, if not the Americans, at the point she told Claudia about killing Tatiana. Even if she thinks the traitors will be dealt with eventually due to the message she thought got through to Oleg, she can't be sure the conspiracy will be neutralized immediately.

And, are we going to see Oleg learn about Tatiana?

The Paige scene was infuriating, but very Paige. I liked that, as mad as Elizabeth was, she didn't point out the obvious - that kid is lucky she didn't kill him. I wonder where Paige is at in the "admitting to herself what her parents are capable of" process. It's hard to imagine she'd actually be more appalled her mother is a whore than a murderer, so she must not have quite gotten there yet. But surely they can't get out of the series without that revelation?

That cyanide pill is still out there - Elizabeth taking it to somehow get the rest of her family away seems likely at this point, but who knows? The Paige scene makes me think they're setting this up, because what better answer to your self righteous teen's accusations of immorality than to sacrifice yourself to save her.

I want the Jennings to get away clean (or hunted by law enforcement forever), but I feel like one episode is not enough time to get to that ending.

I expect I am going to be rewatching the whole series this summer, whatever the ending.
posted by the primroses were over at 4:02 PM on May 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I keep seeing that shot of Tatiana, wig knocked off, lying on the steps at Nestorenko’s feet.
Tatiana has been a tertiary character at most, but the fact that she was given such a fully-realised storyline is the sort of thing that makes me love this show. Her agreeing to — or volunteering for — an operation such as this, regardless of the risk, makes total sense given her backstory. Had she succeeded this likely would have been her redemption in the eyes of the Centre, and put her career back where it was before Oleg kneecapped her Lassa virus operation. And while Elizabeth’s intercepting and neutralising her is an unambiguous win, story- and main character-wise, they still manage to make Tatiana’s failure feel tragic on the personal level.


I expect I am going to be rewatching the whole series this summer, whatever the ending.

You and me both, primroses. You and me both.
posted by myotahapea at 4:35 PM on May 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


Aderholt all but laughed at him

Huh, I got a totally different vibe from that scene by the elevator and it seemed that Alderholt was mulling over all the coincidences and similarities that Stan laid out.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:01 PM on May 24, 2018


I feel like the Stan Investigates! stuff is pretty forced and could have started trickling out way earlier in the season. But at least we got Paige turning up out of nowhere with a sour look on her face, which is The Americans 101. Still, this was a good episode and we're pretty pumped for the finale.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:26 PM on May 24, 2018


I'm not clear on what sort of database he was searching at the beginning of the episode, but the only hit we saw was for an arsonist, so I guess he found out they weren't wanted for any crime?

But, he also did a search for the travel agency in the same system, so it couldn’t have been strictly a database of felons. Just a database of random stuff in the FBI records?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:39 PM on May 24, 2018


The terminal screen Stan was typing on said Automated Case Support. That's the name of an actual mainframe-based case file system the FBI used, but Wikipedia says it wasn't rolled out until 1995:
ACS was considered by 2000 a legacy system, made up of many separate stovepipe applications that were difficult and cumbersome to use. ACS was built on top of many obsolete 1970s-era software tools, including the programming language Natural, the ADABAS database management system, and IBM 3270 green screen terminals. Some IT analysts[1] believed that ACS was already obsolete when it was first deployed in 1995.
posted by peeedro at 7:00 PM on May 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Hey, it was the 80s and you just looked up stuff “in the computer” back then (and wore onions on your belt).
posted by Burhanistan at 7:04 PM on May 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


PASTOR TIM AIN'T NO SNITCH
posted by duffell at 7:21 PM on May 24, 2018 [9 favorites]


What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
It is all unraveling so fast! One bad meeting with the Priest and it’s time to do a runner.

Poor Stan, no one believes him. He’s given them no reason to, not even himself.
posted by Nelson at 10:17 PM on May 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


"You don’t leave a comrade to die on the street in Moscow."
The true north of Elizabeth's moral compass, revealed.
Yes, and I will argue that it was also revealed when Philip said of Elizabeth that “she cares about the whole world.” She always puts the mission ahead of individuals, comrades, horses, children, etc. She’s trying to save the world!

I thought Claudia’s line that her anti-Gorbachev faction would keep fighting was ominous. Isn’t that what happened in Russia? The hardline KGB faction lead by Putin gained control?
posted by chrchr at 12:17 AM on May 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


I am going to be so sad when this is over y’all!
Keri Russel’s super power is being able to actively control her circulatory system

I really didn’t like - not that I think the writers were wrong, I just didn’t like it - that Elizabeth didn’t really stand up to Claudia at all. She didn’t really push back and I felt that Claudia was so hurtful to Elizabeth, in their own relationship kind of way. It made me really sad for Elizabeth actually. The first person she talks to after doing something she’s never thought she had to do talks down to her like she’s stupid.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:59 AM on May 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Lemme tellya somethin’, Oleg. Your old buddies in the KGB wanna get rid of Gorbachev? I could give a shit.

Go fuck yourself, Stan.

I guess I’m not really surprised; Stan gonna Stan, after all, and after that Thanksgiving speech maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising that, like Nina told him all those years ago, he is still seeing things in black and white where they see everything as shades of grey. But you’d think after all that time of working in Counterintelligence, all the conversations with Nina and Oleg, all the years of working with the Teacups, that it might have sunk in a bit that Russians are as diverse a group of people as Americans, and that he’d have a bit more of a grasp of the significance of a reformer in power, and why Oleg feels that change in his country is worth risking everything to help ensure it. If nothing else you’d think he’d get the geopolitical significance, and how preventing a coup by KGB hardliners would be in America’s best interests as well. I’ve never been a huge Stan fan, and his willful obtuseness in that conversation with Oleg goes a long way toward explaining why.

Can you get that into your thick head?



Indeed, Oleg.
posted by myotahapea at 4:32 AM on May 25, 2018 [11 favorites]


I thought for sure that Paige had been sent by the Centre via Claudia to kill Elizabeth. Given the way that conversation went, however, I don't see Paige being very willing to be the Centre's cat's paw much longer, especially in such an awful way (even though she's not very fond of her mother). And YEAH Elizabeth, smash that double standard.

A few recent performances by women in TV are, to me, are indelible: January Jones and Christina Hendricks in Mad Men, and now Keri Russell. As much as I admire Rhys's work too, Season 6 has been Russell's season, and I expect that will continue into the finale. (She bears a spooky resemblance to my dad's mom, whom I know only from a picture, so that works into it too.) I'll never forget her work here.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 4:55 AM on May 25, 2018


PASTOR TIM AIN'T NO SNITCH

I’m loving the fact that, even after a couple rewatches of that scene, I still have NO IDEA what’s going through Pastor Tim’s head during that conversation. Did he keep quiet

—out of concern for Paige?
—because he’s grown a bit of respect for the Jenningses?

—out of fear for his own safety?
—to make amends for Alice threatening them?
—because he has some idea how he got this position?
—on principle, because his history of activism makes him mistrust The Law?
—because he’s washed his hands of the situation?
—some other reason entirely?



There’s no way to know.

Pastor Tim ain’t no snitch.
posted by myotahapea at 4:55 AM on May 25, 2018 [16 favorites]


@myotahapea: all of the above as far as I can tell. He made a commitment to the Jennings family, especially Paige, and stuck by it. Pastor Tim is all right, and is of a breed that one encountered more of years ago.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 4:57 AM on May 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


It's true Pastor Time didn't snitch. But, he didn't exactly love on them, either. He was all about how great Paige was, but got very quiet, careful, and measured when it came to P&E. That alone is speaking volumes if Stan isn't too thick to get it.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:47 AM on May 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Aderholt all but laughed at him

Huh, I got a totally different vibe from that scene by the elevator and it seemed that Alderholt was mulling over all the coincidences and similarities that Stan laid out.


I got a strong "WTF ?!? Is this guy going crazy?" vibe.
posted by Pendragon at 7:16 AM on May 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


I think the thing with Paige calling her mother a whore just shows that she isn't even able to fathom (or face up to?) the idea that her mother might be a murderer. Or that her father did both of those types of work for years. She still sees the whole thing as an information gathering operation (which of course would be more true to the real illegals program). I also didn't get the impression that what Paige said about Henry implied that he had any knowledge about Elizabeth's work, only that both children had long thought of her as deceitful and distant. Henry said as much a few episodes ago.

I liked the way Elizabeth and Claudia's interaction went down. Elizabeth wanted to tell Claudia she was not her puppet, but there was nothing Elizabeth could say to Claudia that Claudia did not already know and understand. Claudia's nonchalance could be somewhat of a put-on: she will be going back to the Soviet Union in disgrace and possibly revealed as a coup plotter. I'm actually surprised that Claudia didn't assign herself to take out the Soviet negotiator, as the risk of having it tied back to embassy staff seems high with Tatiana. I'm not sure that one of them has more training in this type of mission, but I would think it would be Claudia.

I'm curious if there was a real basis for this story of a coup attempt at the 1987 summit. It is not hard to imagine it being based in fact, but I've never heard of it. Ultimately, the hardliners didn't gain control in the Soviet Union through a coup against Gorbachev, they lost the Soviet Union altogether. The 1991 coup attempt (while Gorbachev was away in Crimea), which the then head of the KGB was a leader of, was easily put down and led pretty directly to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the rapid "liberalization" of the Soviet economy. Most of the coup leaders were given amnesty and became leaders of industry or less-sensitive political portfolios, head of tourism or similar. Yeltsin, who became the first president of the Russian Federation was not a hardliner. In fact, he banned Communist Party activity on Russian soil for a time and dissolved the Parliament (and sent tanks to shell the White House) when hardliners opposed his neoliberal economic policies (obviously, it was a more complex situation). It was out of the chaos of the Yeltsin era that the hardliners were able to regain power. Putin didn't play much or any political role prior to the coup and his choice, as he told it, to quit the KGB was prompted by his rejection of the coup (take that with a grain of salt the size of the entire Ural mountain range).

So Claudia is obviously very wrong in her estimation of the future for her vision of the Soviet Union, but her take on things definitely would have seemed more likely at the time than the improbable, messy course that history actually took. It also presents an interesting "what if" thought experiment. What if the hardliners did have a successful coup in 1987, would things have turned out significantly differently? Or, if Gorbachev's economic reforms had been more successful, would the hardliners have gone along with him and would the Soviet system have survived? The answer to both of these questions is unknowable but also almost certainly no. Interesting though.
posted by nequalsone at 7:33 AM on May 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I think Pastor Tim is mostly afraid.

The writing on this show is so excellent - it's so rare to have absolutely no idea what's going to happen this late in a television show's run. I can see any member of the Jennings family killing any other member at this point. Or any of them killing Stan, or vice versa. Or even them successfully escaping back to Russia. I'll only be disappointed if we don't get to see the satisfying moment of Stan realizing he was right.
posted by something something at 7:35 AM on May 25, 2018


Yes, I got the same sort of vibe, like he is worrying because he dragged Stan back into this world and it looks to Aderholt like maybe he shouldn't have. Speaking of Aderholt I don't think we've talked too much about his odds of being killed, but I am going to rate them at 80%, mostly because it would mess with Stan more. Relatedly, another offhand mention of Rennee's totally inconsequential or plot defining interview. Maybe they need to get her in the building for some reason? Is Oleg being held in the building or a separate facility? Along with all the other possibilities we've speculated for her, maybe she simply sees Stan kill someone and can't deal with it so she leaves him.

That call to Pastor Tim was like calling someone for a job reference and they just keep repeating "Yessss....they were employed here on those dates...."

I was surprised Claudia ate the soup because I assumed she would have already heard about what she did and had it all poisoned for Elizabeth.
posted by mikepop at 7:38 AM on May 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Fuckin' Oleg!

Comrade Grocery Store Inspector!

Hero!
posted by nequalsone at 7:43 AM on May 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


Those two scenes — Claudia and Elizabeth, and then Elizabeth and Paige.

Claudia, the one who has seen the worst and lived to tell the tale, fighting for the strength and power of a motherland she saw brought so low during the war, and will do anything necessary to prevent that happening a second time;
Elizabeth, born into the tatters of the postwar years, when everyone suffered in the aftermath and were working together to create a Utopia, believing in the Party and the ideals of peace and a better world for everyone;
Paige, casting about for something to believe in, something to give her a sense of purpose and meaning, turning away from Christianity only to pick up Communism at her mother and Claudia’s encouraging.

Three generations of women, ostensibly united in the same cause but separated by generational experience, each unable to fully understand the other’s position or to accept any viewpoint other than their own. Whose relationships fracture over ideology and lies, what they believed each other to be vs. what they actually are.

Elizabeth can’t see how, by refusing to understand Paige’s rejection of her ideals, she is perfectly echoing Claudia’s refusal to understand Elizabeth’s rejection of Claudia’s. And that while she feels justified in her certainty that Claudia’s willingness to execute a patriot to further her vision of the future is unacceptable, she can’t understand how Paige feels justified in her own certainty that Elizabeth’s willingness to use sex as a tool to further her vision of the future is also unacceptable.

Elizabeth tells Claudia “You lied to me. If you knew me, you’d know never to lie to me.”
Paige tells Elizabeth “If you lie to me now, after everything, I will never forgive you … You lie about everything.”

Yet even in the face of these words, words that so closely echo her own, Elizabeth is still unable to stop herself lying, and can’t see how, in this exchange with her daughter, Paige has become her, and she has become Claudia.

I speculated a few episodes ago that Elizabeth’s lying about the work would be the undoing of Paige’s commitment to the cause and possibly their relationship, and that Elizabeth isn’t self-aware enough to see it; their argument in the kitchen shows the level to which, despite having the strength to adhere to her own morality when it deviates from those she has trusted her whole life, Elizabeth is still blind to her own hypocrisy.
posted by myotahapea at 7:58 AM on May 25, 2018 [11 favorites]


She took the rings, guys! SHE TOOK THE RINGS.

But did she pack Philip's new suit?
posted by nequalsone at 8:30 AM on May 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


It was an interesting episode, for sure. While I could have done without the flashbacks, holy crap I almost felt like I was watching Keri Russell as Felicity. The de-aging was done very well and so was the acting much younger.

Regarding Pastor Tim, I felt as though he might have been trying to get Stan to pick up on his emphasis that Paige was part of the church and Elizabeth and Philip weren't. In so doing, I felt as though he was trying to tell Stan, in not so many words, that Paige was innocent of whatever Elizabeth and Philip might be up to. I know I sat there going "oh no, that'll confirm to Stan!" but it didn't.

As to Aderholt, I had mixed feelings about whether he thought Stan was up to something or Stan was losing his grip on reality. I couldn't get a really good sense of it.

I thought the conversation between Claudia and Elizabeth was interesting, if sad. I didn't actually fear for Elizabeth or Claudia's lives. It seemed to me as though it was a moment of calm before the epic storm that's about to hit.

Paige and Elizabeth -- that was a good conversation and I'm so glad Paige called her mom out on still lying. What this means for Paige and what she plans to do with her life, I'm unsure. She can easily disavow knowledge of her parents' activities to the authorities, right? Is Claudia the only person from the Centre who knows "Julie" is Paige?

As to Oleg, I cheered when he refused to break. I feel so badly for him, as he'll be stuck in jail in the US, away from his wife and kid, but I guess I want Philip and Elizabeth to get away more than I want a happy ending for Oleg.

When Philip broke out into a run, I thought it premature. I couldn't see a tail. And then I rewound and saw the tail in the background. Great job. Love that he was able to elude them.

When Philip called in with the coded message, Elizabeth's face was just like "... oh shit." and it was great. I loved how she sprang into action and got their go-bag. I did have the thought "they have a go-bag?" and then immediately thought "oh of COURSE they have a go-bag, use your head!"

Love the touch with bringing the rings.

Obviously, the series is ending in the next episode, but it felt as though it was a bit of a sudden collapsing of the house of cards. It seemed really quick for Philip to meet with the priest and then basically be made to the point where he had to run. The collapse in terms of support from the Centre has been slower, to be certain, but Elizabeth killing Tatiana cemented it. They're emphatically on different sides and so where does this leave the Jennings family with no support from the Centre and it being just a matter of time before their identities are blown?

Can't wait for next week.
posted by juliebug at 10:59 AM on May 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Aderholt definitely dismissed what Stan was telling him. His abrupt cancelling of the lunch is the tell. He was willing to listen to his old buddy. But then he started to hear and was like "nah, that's not worth my time". Stan's own reasons for suspicion don't sound plausible as he's saying them to Aderholt and I think the expression on Stan's face betrays that. He's failed to find any hard evidence. And then on top of it to confess creeping around their house, something Aderholt immediately calls him out on... Stan's got nothing to work with.

I'm going to be really mad if the finale involves some shoot-out at the FBI office that puts Renee in peril.
posted by Nelson at 11:02 AM on May 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Obviously, the series is ending in the next episode, but it felt as though it was a bit of a sudden collapsing of the house of cards. It seemed really quick for Philip to meet with the priest and then basically be made to the point where he had to run.

But all it takes is one slip-up. BOOM, you're made. That's why they have a bug-out bag. You never know when you're going to need to get the fuck out.
posted by duffell at 11:09 AM on May 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


This may be a silly question, but: why would Oleg be stuck in jail in the USA long-term? I assume there was no extradition treaty between the USA and the USSR, as there isn't between the USA and Russia today. But he can't be directly connected to any crime or specific act of espionage. Was suspicious behavior enough ground to hold a foreign national indefinitely, without trial?
posted by chimpsonfilm at 11:27 AM on May 25, 2018


He had a coded message with him.
posted by Pendragon at 11:41 AM on May 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Aderholt definitely dismissed what Stan was telling him. His abrupt cancelling of the lunch is the tell. He was willing to listen to his old buddy. But then he started to hear and was like "nah, that's not worth my time". Stan's own reasons for suspicion don't sound plausible as he's saying them to Aderholt and I think the expression on Stan's face betrays that. He's failed to find any hard evidence. And then on top of it to confess creeping around their house, something Aderholt immediately calls him out on... Stan's got nothing to work with.

I thought it was more ambiguous than that--intriguingly so. As myotahapea points out with the Pastor Tim conversation, I feel like they're intentionally setting us up to read it multiple ways. Aderholt definitely seemed put off by Stan's creeping around, but I thought the conversation ended because they were interrupted--someone was ready for a meeting with Aderholt. I guessed Aderholt didn't *really* have time for lunch, just saw that something was really bugging Stan. And the camera lingers on him for a while after Stan walks off, while he's waiting for the elevator, for a long time, with a lot going on on his face. He had initially dismissed Stan's notion out off hand--how crazy! I know those guys--but he seems to be turning it over in his mind afterwards. Maybe he's just thinking Stan's off his rocker, but maybe he's stewing on Stan's crazy idea.

I'm going to be really mad if the finale involves some shoot-out at the FBI office that puts Renee in peril.

Totally--me too. Who knows, but I don't *think* they'd do that to us. At times this show has resisted setting off its fireworks to an almost annoying extent. Restraint is the name of their game--which is why this episode's chase was so thrilling, but also why, I think, Stan's detective work feels a little rushed at the end here.
posted by cudzoo at 12:06 PM on May 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


He had a coded message with him.
Is that illegal? I will grant you that it is at least extremely suspicious for a KGB agent and a Russian national to be on U.S. soil with a coded message, but is it actually criminal?
posted by chrchr at 12:12 PM on May 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think Oleg ends up escaping (maybe temporarily) or dies trying. Actually escaping seems like a long shot, but that's why his FBI code name is "Acrobat".

Things would have to get pretty chaotic for any sort of viable attempt, but the one thing we do know is that there is a lot of chaos to fit into the last episode.
posted by mikepop at 12:28 PM on May 25, 2018


Is that illegal? I will grant you that it is at least extremely suspicious for a KGB agent and a Russian national to be on U.S. soil with a coded message, but is it actually criminal?

Espionage laws are pretty broadly written. I'm no expert but it might fall under 18 USC 794 which makes it illegal to gather or attempt to communicate any information which could be expected to help a foreign government. On top of that, Oleg's visa would have all sorts of restrictions on his activity; anything that look like espionage would not be permitted.
posted by peeedro at 12:49 PM on May 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


Oh, naïve, oblivious Father Andrei. “Hei, how are you, how’s your wife, she couldn’t come too? Too bad … so no more spying for you, eh? Are you doing your duty to your marriage? And oh, by the way, one of my colleagues is meeting with the … FBI? … today but NBD, he’s just jealous of me.”

Philip’s giving the go code to Elizabeth did feel abrupt, but largely just because this shoe has been dangling for the entire series. As duffel said, once you're made, you're made — there are no half measures. Oleg went dark for a few seconds and his tails swooped in, cuffed him, threw him in a cell, and its goodnight, Vienna. When things go bad, they go bad fast.

Plus, his breaking into a sprint is useful not just as a getaway tactic, but it also confirms his suspicion that the meet was watched and he’s now picked up surveillance. Harvest waited too long/noticed his surveillance too late, and got pinned down — they followed him to his home, work, stash house and a bar he frequented, and then kept constant watch on him — necessitating the extraction team. If Philip hadn’t run they likely would have used the same methods to draw a net around he and Elizabeth.

As soon as Philip took off they’ll have picked up Father Andrei, and if the FBI has any kind of decent operation they’ll have had someone photographing the meet as well. So Philip and Elizabeth only have as long as a) it takes to get some prints of those photos, or b) the Father breaks under questioning, which likely won’t take long. So they need to go, NOW.

I didn’t even realise until the episode ended that Philip and Elizabeth are apart for its entirety.
posted by myotahapea at 2:36 PM on May 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


myotahapea: and if the FBI has any kind of decent operation they’ll have had someone photographing the meet as well.

Aderholt told Stan the surveillance photos from the park weren't ready yet, but they're coming.
posted by bluecore at 6:30 PM on May 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Why Stan isn't checking into Philip and Elizabeth's backgrounds? It wouldn't take long to, say, find out that they didn't actually attend any of the schools they were supposed to have gone to. I know he's looking for hard evidence of their spy activities, but finding out their IDs are fake would convince the FBI to work his theory.

It seems unlikely to me that Elizabeth could watch Nesterenko closely enough and for long enough to prevent an assassination, but I suppose she knows exactly how it would be done and that helps a lot.

Stan's all, "This is NOT a good time to hit me up for FBI travel business, Philip."

I'm rather impressed with how the show's make up artists made young Elizabeth look considerably younger than current Elizabeth. That's hard to do.

I was initially surprised Pastor Tim didn't tell Stan, but it does make sense to me when I think about it. There is such a thing as clergy–penitent privilege, after all.

Also, Pastor Tim has gotten a haircut that's an improvement over his old 'do. It's still not great, mind you, but it's better.

Stan's definitely not enthused about having Renee on his FBI turf.

Aderholt may have been initially dismissive of Stan's suspicions about the Jennings, but you can see the wheels have definitely started turning.

For a servant of God, Father Viktor certainly seems to have difficulty rising above professional conflicts with his clerical colleagues. Did Father Andrei take his lunchtime borscht out of the church fridge or something?

Why Oleg didn't make sure to lose his surveillance team before picking up Philip's dead drop? It seems uncharacteristically careless and incompetent of him.

The look on Oleg's face as he's handcuffed and led away by the FBI....

I totally missed that that was Tatiana on the first watch, and even on the second watch when I knew who she was I didn't really recognize her.

Alas for Tatiana, who was on the whole a loyal, conscientious, and exceptionally capable person, and who sided with the wrong government faction.

"Can you get that into your thick head?" Stan genuinely likes and respects Oleg, but the feeling is not mutual.

I'm amazed by how concerned I am about that coded message of Philip's. IT NEEDS TO GET TO THE SOVIET UNION SEND IT STAN YOU DOOFUS.

Claudia tried to make Elizabeth think she'd destroyed the Soviet Union, but Elizabeth knows she has only brought down (or tried to bring down) the coup Claudia and her faction were trying to bring about. Claudia may rattle her, but won't seriously undercut her.

Elizabeth's right... Claudia can get by anywhere. She is also not one to let a good pot of uha go to waste.

Father Andrei clearly did not get the kind of spy training he should have gotten.

Good thing Philip kept himself in shape after retiring from the spy business.

Wait a minute... Paige is still seeing that intern after she decked him and beat down his (asshole) wing man? That is... surprising.

Watching those veins appear on Keri Russell's forehead is really something.

I don't know how Elizabeth could ever have thought that idealistic Paige would be able to stomach hearing what spy work actually involves.

Forget the utility records and safe houses. Stan wants one good look at those surveillance photos from the park.

Elizabeth is now smoking *inside* the house. When she goes rogue and starts thinking for herself, she goes all the way.

I see Canadian money among the items Elizabeth packs in her emergency exit duffel bag. I hope the Jennings don't wind up in the small Ontarian town where I just began my first year of high school.
posted by orange swan at 8:38 PM on May 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'm having visions of the three of them -- Henry safely ditched, secure in his ignorance; or perhaps just two after one has been killed -- in the back of a dusty bus driving slowly down through Mexico, moderately wigged, staring ahead with The Graduate expressions...

While I wish they had stretched out the action over a few more episodes -- the show does action so well -- it's a strange joy having no idea how 50+ hours of narrative will end up only 2% from the end.
posted by chortly at 8:44 PM on May 25, 2018


"That alone is speaking volumes if Stan isn't too thick to get it."

During the scene, I thought Tim was behaving very unnaturally and it was obvious to Stan, the FBI agent who has a lot of experience questioning people. Tim didn't say anything you'd expect, like ,"Did something happen with the Jennings? Is Paige in trouble?"

So I was very surprised that his chief argument to Aderholt wasn't that Tim obviously knew something the FBI would want to know, and was lying about it.

I do think Tim acted entirely in character -- conflicted, not a good liar, but ultimately putting his commitment to Paige above everything. And, um, worrying that he might get into trouble if they learn that he knew.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:00 PM on May 25, 2018


Why Oleg didn't make sure to lose his surveillance team before picking up Philip's dead drop? It seems uncharacteristically careless and incompetent of him.

He did lose them. Thus the "gone dark" report to Aderholt, and Aderholt's order to pick him up.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:55 AM on May 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Wait a minute... Paige is still seeing that intern after she decked him and beat down his (asshole) wing man? That is... surprising.

Wait, that wasn't the intern was it? I thought that was just a random bar guy/potential hookup--Paige just trying to be a normal college kid and failing spectacularly.
posted by terilou at 8:00 AM on May 26, 2018 [6 favorites]


Right, they were two different guys.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:04 AM on May 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


It's true Pastor Time didn't snitch. But, he didn't exactly love on them, either.
True, and Stan’s suspicion, or at least curiosity, may be aroused, but Tim gave him nothing actionable that law enforcement could use against them, and it's possible his careful phrasing was meant to convey subtext, or maybe a pastor just didn't want to lie outright. But he easily could have grassed them up, directly or obliquely, and chose not to.

He had initially dismissed Stan's notion out off hand--how crazy! I know those guys--but he seems to be turning it over in his mind afterwards.
That was the sense I got as well — Aderholt dismisses Stan’s theories during their conversation, but the camera lingers on his face and he seems to be mulling the words over. I’m wondering if this conversation wasn’t put in to have it ‘on record’ with someone in the Bureau that Stan wasn’t completely blindsided by his neighbours’ suspicious doings.
(When Aderholt finds out Elizabeth was the one he and Gaad fought ...)

Is that illegal? I will grant you that it is at least extremely suspicious for a KGB agent and a Russian national to be on U.S. soil with a coded message, but is it actually criminal?
I was similarly wondering if there was anything that Oleg could be charged with, as the coded message was all about a Soviet espionage operation and no plot against America. (He’s also no longer a KGB officer.) But even if he decoded the message for them they likely wouldn’t drop the espionage charges without his cooperating and at least giving up information about his contact. As peeedro said, the laws around these things purposefully have a lot of latitude written into them to give law enforcement as much flexibility as possible in situations like this.

Why Stan isn't checking into Philip and Elizabeth's backgrounds?

Had there been more time he may well have. He’s been moving cautiously so far, sniffing about the edges of the thing, flashing their photo about, and just this episode got round to looking them up in that Fed database. As nothing came up that would likely be his next step.

It seems unlikely to me that Elizabeth could watch Nesterenko closely enough and for long enough to prevent an assassination
She’s got nothing else on right now. All her work has been related to the summit, and now that she’s gone rogue she’s no longer working any other operations and she can watch him full-time. Tatiana was also carrying the same gas gun Elizabeth was given, so she did have an idea of the method which would likely be used.

I don't know how Elizabeth could ever have thought that idealistic Paige would be able to stomach hearing what spy work actually involves.
I assume that’s why she was trying to keep as much of it from Paige as possible. Paige was never meant to do the kinds of things the 1st generation illegals did; Elizabeth was giving her some self-defence and surveillance training but that is the sort of thing that would be generally useful — being able to spot a tail or fight off an attacker. But it’s been clear from early S3 that Elizabeth expected her to have a quiet office job where she occasionally passed information along, so she lied, minimised or obfuscated the grittier aspects of what she did when talking to Paige.
posted by myotahapea at 9:54 AM on May 26, 2018


I checked, and Brian (the intern) and Vince (the guy in the bar) are indeed two different actors. In my defense, they have a very similar look.
posted by orange swan at 9:54 AM on May 26, 2018


For all the many things I’m wondering about wrt the finale, I think it’s Paige and Henry I’m wondering about the most — there doesn’t seem to be a feasible way for Philip and Elizabeth to try to collect them, assuming either of them would even willingly go on the run. Do they contact them at all, or just disappear? What if that Thanksgiving telephone call really was the last time Elizabeth ever talks to Henry? If the last time she and Paige speak was when they shouted across the kitchen table at one another? I’m picturing one or both of the kids talking to Stan, or sitting in an interrogation room, demanding to see what the FBI knows about their parents, having documents and stories spread out in front of them: Viola’s poisoned son. Martha’s fake marriage. William. The Teacups, and orphaned Ilya. The Harvest operation and Marilyn’s body. The wedding ceremony, from only a few years ago.


And though I really don’t want to see Philip and Elizabeth caught, there would be a sense of satisfaction in seeing them finally able to show their true selves. Even with the recent revelations from Claudia about the Centre, I don’t see them (or at least Elizabeth) making a full confession to the Americans without significant leverage being applied — immunity and citizenship guarantees for Paige and Henry, say* — but damn are those fun conversations to imagine.
Stoic, impassive Elizabeth, reeling off operation after operation, death after death. This tiny woman sat opposite her old neighbour, telling him about killing people twice her size and beating the shit out of his old boss, as everyone who can finagle access squeezes into the observation room to watch and eventually Stan picks his jaw up off the table.
And Philip: “So remember when you first moved in and Timoshev had gone missing, and you needed some jumper cables? He was in my car boot at the time — handed them to me, actually. Oh, and when you were on the hunt for a woman with a broken tooth? Yea, that was her. I yanked it out in our basement, with a pair of dirty pliers and some whiskey.”
He’s marched through the halls to a cell and all the Counterintelligence veterans are loitering about watching, elbowing each other in the ribs and stage-whispering “That’s the guy who married Martha Hansen!

*Elizabeth would never win a Mother of the Year award, but if she was captured and such a situation came about, the thought of her using one of her last free choices to choose her children over her ideals, burning her life's work and handing the Americans a goldmine of intel so they could live lives free of the stain of their parents' identities, would be a heartbreaking end for her character.
posted by myotahapea at 10:36 AM on May 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


To go with the upcoming final episode and what happens with the Jennings, if you're interested in what happened to a real family of Russian Illegals caught in Boston in 2010, there's this article from the Guardian:

For years Donald Heathfield, Tracey Foley and their two children lived the American dream. Then an FBI raid revealed the truth: they were agents of Putin’s Russia. Their sons tell their story.


And here's a story in Quartz about all ten Illegals caught and deported in 2010:
In 2010, ten Russian sleeper agents were arrested in the United States after a decade-long FBI operation.

As for the fate of the children, those born in the US have kept their US citizenship, but the two in the first link were born in Canada, and Canada has denied them citizenship and they are now Russian citizens.
posted by ShooBoo at 11:17 AM on May 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Should we do a bodycount poll? Who do you think won't survive the finale?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:28 PM on May 26, 2018


[Couple comments deleted. Sorry, info from the "next week on this show" previews counts as spoilers for Fanfare, and we ask folks not to bring that into threads.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:08 PM on May 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


Should we do a bodycount poll? Who do you think won't survive the finale?

The show's pretty consistently surprised me, and the show runners definitely have a dark streak -- their Russian consultant called the showrunners "hard men" (apparently after he read the episode where Mr. and Mrs. Teacup get killed).

But I feel like Philip, Elizabeth, and *maybe* Stan are the only characters at risk.

I just don't think they're cruel enough to off the Jennings children -- I think the kids will just end up having to deal with the undoubtedly traumatic consequences of their parents' double lives and ultimate fates, which may be more brutal, in some ways, in the long run.

Dramatically, I do feel like they've gotta give us some kind of confrontation between Stan and his neighbors -- after all this time, we need some catharsis! I could see that going a number of ways, but the only scenario, really, where I see Stan dying is an all-out, Hamlet-style bloodbath, which seems unlikely, given the show's characteristic restraint. Killing him off otherwise would feel cheap -- you spend a whole series dangling this discovery and confrontation in front of us, and then he just... dies? And one or more grown-up Jennings gets away? I don't buy it.

I don't think they'll kill Aderholt because they've offed Stan's buddy before. And, ironically, Oleg seems safer now that he's in jail. That seems more the show's style -- less killing people off, and more dangling the possibility in front of us, then finally just resigning its characters (like Martha) to grim realities. In recent seasons at least, when they've killed people off, it's felt more tragically random (Gaad) or inevitable (most of their marks).

I really have no idea between Elizabeth or Philip, though. Either, both, neither -- I could see everyone surviving, even. Which is really a testament to this show's handling of plot.
posted by cudzoo at 2:31 PM on May 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


One thing that's killing me -- Elizabeth "got a message to Gorbachev's people?" That was the message Oleg was carrying when he was picked up. Liz didn't get dick to anyone. But neither she nor Claudia knew that.

A fitting irony: Stan could bring down the entire apparatus of Directorate S and remove who-knows-how-many Soviet agents from America if he would just pass along Oleg's message. Which Stan will almost certainly not do out of distrust and poor understanding of his opponents.

As everyone else has said: this fucking show.

That should have been its tagline. "The Americans: This Fucking Show. On FX."
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 8:36 PM on May 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


Another way it could drop with Stan is that he goes ahead and cooperates with Oleg but then balks when (if) he discovers that Phillip was the one who screwed Martha over and it all goes to hell.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:00 PM on May 26, 2018


The show's pretty consistently surprised me, and the show runners definitely have a dark streak -- their Russian consultant called the showrunners "hard men" (apparently after he read the episode where Mr. and Mrs. Teacup get killed).

That wasn't after the killing of the Teacups; it was in an interview from 2016, and referred to Nina's execution. It was said by the guy who wrote the book that inspired their decision to perform the execution in that manner.

Joe Weisberg: I’ll just give you a warning. You say we’re monsters, but our Russian consultant, Sergei Kostin, after he read episode 4, sent us an email that read, “You are hard men.” We’ve basically waited our whole lives for someone to say that to us.

Joel Fields: We ran around the office screaming like girls, “We’re hard men! The Russian consultant says we’re hard men!”

Joe Weisberg: So anything could happen at the end of the series. Look out. We’re hard men.
posted by myotahapea at 7:29 AM on May 27, 2018 [9 favorites]


That wasn't after the killing of the Teacups; it was in an interview from 2016, and referred to Nina's execution. It was said by the guy who wrote the book that inspired their decision to perform the execution in that manner.

Ah! You're right. I read it in context of them breaking the final arcs of the series, but they totally wouldn't have had this season written in 2016.

Still, interesting they killed Nina in a fourth episode, too. Maybe the hard men have story telling habits. And maybe that's why, in this season, which is three fewer episodes than usual, some of these last episodes revelations feel a bit rushed.
posted by cudzoo at 8:11 AM on May 27, 2018


I'll say again, Elizabeth is just a Good Soldier for Mother Russia.

Elizabeth isn't a good soldier. She's a good spy.

DO NOT try to slut-shame Elizabeth Jennings;

You can't shame a sociopath.

She has her guidelines. She'll justify anything as a means to an end. She's better at it all than anyone except probably Claudia. Though traces of humanity are creeping up. She seriously hesitates to destroy the painting. I suspect she's seeing Henry in the weeping Jackson. She's cracking. It's sort of a parallel with Philip and Kimmy. The allows for a character redemption, but I'm not sure I buy it.

Pastor Tim was mostly covering his ass. He'd fold in a second if he weren't on the other end of a phone line, on the opposite side of the globe. Stan knows enough that the pastor's response was raising flags.

Hopefully, Paige finally puts two and two together. Maybe it was naivete that kept her playing spy, despite people turning up curiously dead after operations she and mom were involved with. I'm not sure she can still face that possibility. Her blow up was almost cute, because she dredges up the worst thing she could think of: "You... you WHORE!!" Could she even fathom the possibility that mom (or even grandmotherly Claudia) is a cold blooded killer?

Elizabeth, of course, pulls out her "Don't judge me. I do what I do because of reasons! You don't know me!" Which is the biggest truth. And may be Paige's salvation. Henry could always credibly say, "Hey, my parents were like ghosts".

Oleg gets to look pretty noble.

Philip no longer has time to ponder justice and his place in the world. He's in flight mode.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:15 AM on May 27, 2018


Oleg could still get the message through: if he decodes it. It would be the ultimate sacrifice for him, sealing his fate as a spy. But if he decodes it for Stan and it proves Gorbachev is in danger, I could see it being briefed up the chain and perhaps in a gesture of Gladnost of their own, the Americas pass it along to Gorbachev. The Summit seems to be moving in the US’s direction and they’d want to keep that going.

Oleg spending his life in an American prison is the kind of noble end he seemed to take on this trip seeking.

I was really really hoping Elizabeth was going to slap Paige for calling her a whore. Paige treats this spy stuff as a game, to feed her own ego. She doesn’t want a State Dept office job, she wants to run around in wigs and flirt with interns. But she has no idea what that really means. She’s a privileged white suburban girl looking for something to believe in but has had no real exposure to true hardship and is far too sheltered, like many are, to see that any ideology that inspires that kind of blind devotion requires sacrifice of oneself.
posted by marylynn at 2:14 PM on May 27, 2018 [4 favorites]


You can't shame a sociopath.

I don't think Elizabeth is a sociopath so much as thoroughly brainwashed.
I assume the illegals were brainwashed as part of their training. And that Elizabeth's single mindedness and laser focus on the cause was a comment on the totality of her programming. Her character is revealed though flashbacks to have been the perfect candidate - young, idealistic, desperate to change the world (herself, her circumstances) and vulnerable to such due to her childhood in post-war Russia. The cracks beginning to show suggest there is a real person in there that she has repressed her whole life. She is inadvertently becoming deprogrammed bit by bit through time and exposure to Philip (who always doubted what he was doing and found, via EST, a way to start to safely face reality).

I've always interpreted Elizabeth to be a victim of her training. She's been turned into a machine, a spy and a weapon. She's a member of a family but first and foremost as a cover. She's only as useful to the cause as she is successful at wiping out anyone that gets in the way. But she confronts herself at times, and you can see the other side of all of this is shame (her catching her reflection in the window at the hotel; her not being able to fall asleep on the airplane. Not being able to blink it away. The look on her face is of someone who is trapped). To move squarely into reality would mean that she would have to face what she has done, as Philip has been struggling to do. And Elizabeth does not seem capable of doing this.

This season her struggling has been front and center. The ever present escape pill dangling around her neck (much like Paige's cross) informs many scenes. Elizabeth's exhaustion, wariness, constant smoking and rebelling against the center all show cracks and changes to her character. There is a real person in there. Even the way she left Claudia for what might be the last time, pausing a beat considering how to lay into her then asking, "Where will you go?". It was resignation or it was the healthiest response Elizabeth has ever had in any confrontation. When Elizabeth had the topsy-turvey conversation with Philip, she snapped to, packed the go-bag and took off. Maybe it was her training or purely an instinct to survive. But in the end, if she offs herself with her suicide pill not because she is cornered by the FBI, but because she is cornered by her own shame, I won't be surprised.
posted by marimeko at 2:14 PM on May 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Did anyone else pick up on Claudia's comment about "we've taken the country back from enemies before" as a nod to current events?

When this show started, Russia was not at top of mind for most, uh, Americans. We thought the cold war was safely behind us and Russia was not much of a threat any longer. It's certainly changed the filter I see the show through.
posted by jzb at 4:46 PM on May 27, 2018


Well, the Russians have been trying to cozy up to US presidential candidates since at least 1960. Trump was already primed to give in.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:41 PM on May 27, 2018


The look on Oleg's face as he's handcuffed and led away by the FBI....

That really struck me, too - that even after the camera pulled away from it and backed away from the whole scene, his face was absolutely central. Sublimely hard and complicated and powerfully acted.
posted by entropone at 8:32 AM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Seems like it is time for final predictions ahead of tomorrow! Overall I still feel like things could go in many directions, but here is what I'll predict (not in chronological order):
  • Aderholt kills Elizabeth
  • Paige gets away from Stan, probably after a few blows. Her fate remains ambiguous (maybe Pastor Tim could give her sanctuary).
  • Oleg killed attempting to escape
  • Philip: injured by Stan but alive. Probably captured
  • Stan: alive, minor injuries, but mentally broken
  • Henry: picked up by the FBI, but unharmed physically.
  • Claudia: disappears or kills someone out of spite (toss-up)
  • Renee: the interview does not go well
  • Mailbot: gets in someone's way
If I'm even 5% right I'll be surprised, which is just one of the reasons I've enjoyed this show so much!
posted by mikepop at 8:52 AM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am almost hoping for a Bonnie and Clyde shootout, where P&E are gunned down in a blaze of glory by the FBI, and Stan has a (face-twitchy) feels when he realizes his hunch was right, but that his friends are now dead.

Claudia successfully extricates Paige, and Henry is left with the WTF moment that the real Foley kids had.
posted by jetsetsc at 10:50 AM on May 29, 2018


Predictions:

FBI are waiting for E when she gets to the garage, Aderholt will be seen at a garage and at the ready, but it will be the wrong garage.

Car chase begins, E has to pick up Phillip which puts them nearly in the FBI's clutches

Car chase results in Phillip being critically injured, either shot or by a crash. Elizabeth, reminded to never leave a comrade to die, gives him the cyanide pill. Stan finds him, dead, and this is the first confirmation that his friend has been a spy all this time.

Elizabeth, on foot and on the lamb, realizes the center will not back her up and has to choose whether to call upon Paige for help.

Claudia intervenes and ensures Paige's escape.

Elizabeth dies in a shoot out.

Stan picks Henry up at hockey practice.

The mailbot crashes into Aderholt and the bug falls out.

Fin.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:39 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


So far I have never stayed up until 3:30am (which for rea$ons is when Amazon gets around to posting new episodes of shows I've paid them in advance for, grrr) to watch a new episode of something. I'm guessing that will change tonight.

But in the end, if she offs herself with her suicide pill not because she is cornered by the FBI, but because she is cornered by her own shame, I won't be surprised.

That is a great sentence. They set something like that up with the horse accident flashback.
posted by mediareport at 4:03 AM on May 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


« Older Movie: The Jerk...   |  The Expanse: Delta-V... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster