The Americans: March 8, 1983
April 22, 2015 9:31 PM - Season 3, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Elizabeth and Paige take a trip; Philip takes care of the Martha situation and tries to raise his level of self-awareness; Oleg updates Stan who updates Agent Gaad; Nina and Anton's relationship progresses; Zinaida does not get a BLT.
posted by orange swan (33 comments total)
Well, that was inevitable.
posted by homunculus at 9:41 PM on April 22, 2015

This episode was so not what I was expecting. I'd thought it would pick up the Martha and Philip scene where it left off, and there was no Martha at all. There was also no Kimmie, which was actually a good thing as I dreaded seeing Philip having to bang her, and no Mail Robot, which was not a good thing.

I kept thinking Philip was at EST because he was working, but it seems not. He hasn't had to kill Martha or seduce Kimmie, but he's having a crisis anyway. As he should. That poor IT guy.

Martha is going to completely lose her shit when she finds out "Clark" solved the problem by murdering an innocent co-worker of hers.

Things aren't going well with Sandra and her new flame. Maybe she will come back to Stan after all.

Oleg isn't going to work for the Americans. No way.

It was smart of the Russians to bring Elizabeth's mother to Germany rather than Elizabeth and Paige to Russia. That scene with the grandmother, daughter and granddaughter was just so wrenching. To wait all those years and go all that way for just, what, an hour or two? Paige and her grandmother couldn't even talk to each other. And Elizabeth, you're criticizing Philip's handling of Martha and claiming he isn't thinking clearly about how she'll handle things? How about you clue in to the fact that your daughter is not on board with all your espionage crap?

Oh, Pastor Tim. Your days are numbered.

It has been confirmed that there will be a season four, but it's going to be a loooong wait until then. I'm going to predict right now that a major character commits suicide in the fourth season. It might even be Paige.
posted by orange swan at 10:08 PM on April 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

"Yousef, I feel like shit all the time."

Both Stan and Philip ignoring the chain of command.

Such a quiet show.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:26 PM on April 22, 2015 [7 favorites]

Gad was so delightfully ... Gaddish.

I thought it was great how Stan was rewarded and punished in the same instance. He gets his job, he gets a reputation for getting stuff done, he gets high-level support, but he doesn't get Nina. He also gets awkward office politics, high expectations, and a tough road to hoe.

How did Elizabeth NOT see that coming? I guess the same way she doesn't see a lot of Paige stuff coming. Paige is smart - she knows her Mother didn't answer the question if Elizabeth would do for Paige what Elizabeth's mom did for her (send her off to never see her again) by assuring her the situation would never happen. So to answer Paige telling her she couldn't lie all the time, with "Everyone lies" is missing Paige's point so spectacularly it has to be willful. And when they get home to a Henryless house, all Elizabeth has to say is "Philip, Paige is struggling with the secrecy and the sense she's lying to the world. Let's help her!" instead of sinking back into Elizabeth mode and missing the signals of Paige being "tired" and wanting to be "alone".

I assume Mail Robot was weeping softly in the storage closet.

The Oleg/Stan relationship should be really interesting next year.

Also, I assume Gabriel will be toast next season. He's clearly struggling handling Philip, and looks very ill. I assume Claudia will step in to try and fix stuff (i.e. wishful thinking)
posted by julen at 1:28 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I loved this season but was somewhat disappointed by the finale. I really wished they would have shown us Martha's reaction. I always dislike when shows do that: major cliffhanger one episode, pretend like nothing happened in the next. And Martha's storyline was so important this season, I found it sad that she wasn't there at all this episode. I'm also not convinced that killing her coworker did not scream set-up to the FBI. Maybe they should have done that sooner, like as soon as they knew the bug was discovered. But maybe in 1983 people weren't as suspicious of staged suicides? I don't know how Martha will be able to handle this. Will she also connect the dots about Amador when she learns that her husband is not just gathering information but will kill people when it suits the cause?
I wonder if it crossed Philip's mind to set-up Stan instead.

I never really got Stan/Oleg's plan. Surely they both must have known that there were plenty of other people they would want back more than Nina. For Oleg to betray his country for such a remote chance, and basically just because Stan said it might work, no promises at all, seems so unlikely.
posted by blub at 3:26 AM on April 23, 2015

I wonder if it crossed Philip's mind to set-up Stan instead.

I don't think that would be an option. For one thing, Philip does genuinely like Stan and consider him a friend. Remember how Paige asked him if it was a real friendship or if he was just friends with Stan to use him, and Philip said, "It is real." He's not going to want to kill Stan anymore than he wants to kill Martha. For another thing, it would be too dangerous for Philip to kill someone he knows so well — he seems to be Stan's best friend — and who lives right across the street. The police always look at the people who knew the victim first. Philip and his family would also have to attend Stan's funeral (it would look REALLY strange and suspicious if they didn't), and Martha would be there. Martha may know what Philip really looks like, but I doubt she knows about Elizabeth and the kids. The fat will be in the fire once she does.
posted by orange swan at 3:56 AM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

The reunion in West Germany was wrenching for what it didn't accomplish. The last bit where Paige is in the bathroom praying for Elizabeth's mother...Notice that Paige says "I'm praying for your mother" not "I'm praying for grandmother"...shows Elizabeth that the trip did nothing to bring Paige closer.

In fact, the entire trip seemed to push Paige in the opposite direction. The scene where they are walking down a street and Elizabeth is in paranoid spy mode, scanning for threats everywhere. Paige is all "This is how you live your life every day? WTF?"

That last scene was pretty powerful. The jumping back and forth between Paige spilling the beans to Pastor Tim, and Elizabeth watching Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech. All while Phillip fades into the background.

You could see the confusion and doubt in Elizabeth's face as Phillip was confessing his trouble with killing the IT kid. You could see her wrestling with her feelings for him, fighting the reality of seeing him as a threat to the mission. And Reagan's speech simply pulled her more and more onto the side of the mission. That speech solidified her devotion to her country. Phillip's in serious trouble next season. From two sides, if he starts banging Stan's ex.

And, yes, thankfully no Kimmie. *whew* I still think that one is going to somehow ensnare Phillip. Nothing like child molestation charges to turn an agent...

I actually loved this finale for what it wasn't. It wasn't some typical oh-noes-they're-gonna-die cliffhanger. Instead, it leaves us with real issues of family, commitment, relationships, etc. Next season, shit really starts hitting the fan. The set-ups are all there.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:04 AM on April 23, 2015 [6 favorites]

Yeesh, that fucking kid! When it comes down to it, she's really just a different flavor of Elizabeth. Except that at least Mom was indoctrinated and traumatized into being Elizabeth, whereas Paige was just pampered and bourgeois-ed into it or something.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:51 AM on April 23, 2015

I never really got Stan/Oleg's plan. Surely they both must have known that there were plenty of other people they would want back more than Nina.

Yeah, that's clearly just a screwy manifestation of Stan's guilt, denial, and weirdly stoic self-deception. If he doesn't know by now that everyone around him save Oleg gives exactly zero shits about Nina, he hasn't been paying attention. It's just a thing he needs to do to feel like a good guy.

The Creepypastor confession makes me more inclined to think he's an agent since it would be so deliciously life-destroying for Paige if he rather than her parents turned out to be the Undisputed King of All Lying Liars Who Lie. (Also, someone should sit Little Miss Veracity down and review her three-season history of sneakiness and duplicity.) If Pastor Tim is a civilian, then he should end up suitcased pretty quick, because if the Centre doesn't have E&P's phone bugged -- at least since learning Paige knows the facts -- they're idiots who should be suitcased themselves. Since Pastor Tim has needed murdering for quite some time now, that should cheer up Philip and/or Elizabeth if not Paige.

(Pastor Tim reminds me a bit of Reverend Timtom from The Middle.)
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:12 AM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

...because if the Centre doesn't have E&P's phone bugged...

That's always been something that stuck-out to me since day one. Is their phone monitored? My gut says it is, but, then again, wouldn't Phillip and Elizabeth also suspect it, given who they work for and the things they themselves do?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:19 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

So many secrets and confessions. Also, I feel betrayed by the lack of resolution. Now, the eight month wait.
posted by mecran01 at 10:29 AM on April 23, 2015

People on other sites are speculating whether Martha is even still alive. She had mentioned that she had three weeks of leave available so if she decided to take some she could be dead for quite a while before her office misses her. The question is, would Phillip have killed her or would she have done herself in? She may not have known yet about Gene and how his death probably takes the heat off her as far as the investigation into the bugging is concerned. It wasn't real clear how much time had passed between the end of the previous episode and the end of this one and which events were sort of happening at the same time.
posted by fuse theorem at 11:52 AM on April 23, 2015

Well, E&P discussed the need for him to tell Martha about Dead Commodore Guy before she found out about it at work, so she has to be alive. Killing her isn't the sort of thing Philip would do without telling Elizabeth. Man, I'm really attached to Martha; I know she's doomed at some point, but I hate to think about it. That suitcase scene . . . [shudder].
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:48 PM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

So I want to mention an aspect of the show that I think gets unfairly overlooked: the computers.

P&E have a Commodore PET in their office at the travel agency. So when Phil breaks into IT guy's apartment & finds a Commodore 64, of course he knows how to pull the directory of a floppy disk in search of a word processor (LOAD *,8,1). The screen they show him typing on looks authentic enough at a glance but has to be from some non-64 OS because it's 80 columns, the text is crisp & the letters aren't even squished like on a Commodore 128 in 80 column mode.

Commodore was the first OS I really learned inside & out so it gives me a warm nostalgic feeling every time they do a scene at the travel agency. So this was a good episode for me.
posted by scalefree at 5:44 PM on April 23, 2015 [14 favorites]

Did Paige actually say they were spies, or just that her parents are Russians?

And honestly, Paige's reactions don't sit well with me, but I had a pretty fucked up childhood, so that might be coloring my response to her situation. I guess she never struck me as such a goody two shoes before this season that she would find it such a horrible thing that her parents didn't tell her literally everything about their lives. You'd think that if she was so attuned to her parents' lying that she would have been more skeptical of the lying/delusional religious nuts she's fallen in with as well.

Didn't she get turned on to church by the girl on the bus? If so, I could easily see it turning out that Pastor Tim is indeed working for the center. I was quite convinced at the time that the girl was a plant keeping an eye on Paige.
posted by wierdo at 7:03 PM on April 23, 2015 [5 favorites]

Did Paige actually say they were spies, or just that her parents are Russians?

Just Russians. So far.
posted by scalefree at 7:19 PM on April 23, 2015

Didn't she get turned on to church by the girl on the bus?

Yes, it was the girl on the bus. I'm definitely on board with the suspicions about Pastor Tim.

In West Germany, Paige asked Elizabeth if she could "do that, give up a child," right? And didn't Elizabeth say, "Oh, you'll never have to do that, ever?" Because that's not answering the question.

Honestly, I think The Centre and E & P thinking it would be a good idea to dump all this on an un-indoctrinated teenager who can't be trusted (or expected) to handle the stress and pressures is just dumb. Also, "Mom, can I go out with Bobby tonight?" "No." "I'm telling Mr. Beeman!!"
posted by Room 641-A at 7:30 PM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

And honestly, Paige's reactions don't sit well with me, but I had a pretty fucked up childhood, so that might be coloring my response to her situation. I guess she never struck me as such a goody two shoes before this season that she would find it such a horrible thing that her parents didn't tell her literally everything about their lives.

That's partially where I see a lot of Elizabeth's "black-and-white" rigidity in Paige. No matter how alienated you are from your parents by teenagerdom as well as being too much on your own as kid, and no matter how taken aback you are by these revelations, it strikes me as really bizarre that you would see your mother, who has loved and bathed and fed you since you were born, reunited with her own dying mother after a long separation and not be even a little moved or empathetic in response to that.

As horrible a mother as Elizabeth had and after all this time out of her orbit, E. still feels for her and is more attached to her than Paige is to Elizabeth, who is a much better, nicer parent despite her shortcomings. I kind of relate to Paige's situation since I also sort of "raised myself" and had a mother who wasn't super present or supportive or reliable in some ways, but geez-o-pete, she was my mom, and it's hard to imagine circumstances in which I would have narc-ed on her about anything to anyone unless she or I or my siblings were in immediate physical danger. Most kids with outright negligent or abusive parents (let alone moderately distant or irresponsible ones) struggle hugely with the fear and emotional fallout of potentially "betraying" them and being separated from them as a result.

Whereas from day one, Paige has seemed mostly detached, suspicious, judgy, and lacking any allegiance to her own family. I mean, separation anxiety and profound fear of your parents being taken away from you are primal human emotions, especially in childhood, but Paige seems unaware of or untouched by the fact that blowing the whistle on E&P could immediately land her and Henry in foster care hell? She's freaking out over her parents "making her" lie about things (conveniently forgetting that she has been lying like a rug to them constantly for years without batting an eye, which to be fair is pretty normal teenage myopia) but not freaking out about them going to prison or getting hurt? Un. real. Interesting character, though.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:09 PM on April 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

What a fantastic episode. That last scene cutting between Philip's breakdown, Paige's breakdown, and Reagan firing one of the last big salvos of the Cold War was fantastic. Total gut punch. The dolly zoom at the very end of Philip and Elizabeth separating further was a bit over the top in its obviousness, but it further cements for me what a monster Elizabeth is. She's not fit to be a mother or a wife or a daughter. All she is is a Russian robot spy and I'm firmly in the camp that she is The Enemy.

I liked how this show left so many plates spinning. No Kimmie, no Martha, no cute Afrikaans boy, no Northrop-Grumman. I was worried they were going to try to tie all those threads up in one hour. There's plenty of story to spin out for a whole 'nother season.

It'd be interesting to see this show fast forward to 1990, after the Soviet Union starts falling apart. Who are these people then?
posted by Nelson at 9:48 PM on April 23, 2015

Whereas from day one, Paige has seemed mostly detached, suspicious, judgy, and lacking any allegiance to her own family.

To me, Paige's actions seem pretty consistent for a teenage girl with emotionally and physically unavailable parents. They've given her nothing to really bond with at a time in her life when she desperately needs/wants it. There's no real "family" there. Just a hollow shell. Her brother, at least, has Stan to be his surrogate father. Paige has no one to be her mother.

Her running into the arms of religion, imho, is pretty spot-on for girls like her. Kimmie is another side of the same coin, really. Kimmie has taken the more rebellious path...partying, drinking, getting high, soon to have sex with an adult.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:03 AM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Paige as a rigid teenager who erases her past history (of lying) as being someone she isn't any longer is so realistic. Though I don't think it's the lying about being Russian she is specifically upset by -- it's the entire constellation, the idea that their entire life is a front (which it was up until some time in season 1), that everything she ever believed wasn't true. And since she appears to have no friends and she has no family to confide in, where else can she go? (Why doesn't Paige have friends in the church?)

I wish we'd had some resolution about Martha, though. I don't mind some of the other cliffhangers, but poor Martha.
posted by jeather at 5:21 AM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Thinking more about Paige -- it's easy for her to grasp onto one thing to be upset by. It's hard to say everything she's worried about -- her parents' marriage is fake (false-ish), maybe they aren't their parents' kids (false but a reasonable fear), her mother is always looking around because she's at risk (true), her cousins were all spies too and died (true), they're all at risk of being imprisoned (true), they're all at risk of being sent back to Russia (probably true) -- it's a lot of things and she's, what, 15? It's hard to tease everything out as an adult, and easy to just pull out the most salient fact: my parents are spies for the country we are at war with.

And they've never really discussed politics or news with her, so she has only a one-sided view of any of the politics.

I assume Elizabeth, who holds everything so close, figures that Paige does the same thing. She turned out to be right the first time, and I don't think it's even occurred to her that this might change, that Paige might hate secrets in a way her parents don't. I can't decide what feels right for Pastor Tim in all this. If he is just a pastor, his lifespan has been reduced. I don't know if Paige would suspect her parents of killing him if he disappeared.

Everyone's suspicions of Martha must have increased so much when she went off on an unplanned vacation in the middle of an investigation.
posted by jeather at 5:55 AM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

I thought Philip's unwiggening was an effort to prevent Martha from going away (by revealing more of himself to her) without having to kill her. So I'm assuming she's still in town and we just didn't see her this week. Along with not wanting her absence to put a bigass klieg light on her as a suspect, he couldn't let her get out of his realm of influence and into her normal hometown world with her parents where she might start saying, "Wait a sec, here" or confide in them why she's troubled. That's another nice contrast: Martha's relationship with her parents vs. Paige's with hers.

It's really interesting if unsurprising that E&P, masters of reading, figuring out, maneuvering, and playing people, would fail so spectacularly at all of that with Paige.

I'm probably the only viewer of this show who doesn't find Elizabeth all that monstrous -- certainly no more so than Philip, possibly less. (And she's Parent of the Year compared with Don or Betty Draper.) He's sort of the Espionage "Nice Guy": doing terrible things and, like Stan, feeling entitled the whole time to have his wittle hand patted and be told how very sensitive he is. Whereas Elizabeth is (also like Stan, actually) much more compartmentalized and locked down but clearly just as decimated by everything she has gone through and done over the last 25 years. She too feels like shit all the time, Yusuf; she just doesn't boo-hoo about it.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:38 AM on April 24, 2015 [5 favorites]

Can't blame the show for wanting to keep Martha around for another season. Every recap and discussion I've read on the show is all Martha, Martha, Martha.
posted by orange swan at 3:01 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

(And she's Parent of the Year compared with Don or Betty Draper.)

Come back to me when Don or Betty actually murders someone. What a ridiculous comment.
posted by crossoverman at 7:22 AM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Come back to me when Don or Betty actually murders someone. What a ridiculous comment.

I said "parent of the year," not "person of the year"; I was referring to their parental relationships with their respective children, which in the case of the Drapers are pretty godawful. Anyhow, there have been zillions of people throughout history who were excellent parents despite being murderers, like, for instance, many of my father's generation of WWII veterans. Elizabeth and Philip (in their own eyes and their government's) are no less soldiers.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:14 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not directly The Americans, but fans of the show might also like Deutschland '83. It's an original series by Sundance TV about a young East German man who is a reluctant undercover spy in West Germany. It has the same period setting and sense of dislocation being a spy in a foreign country as The Americans. It's on Fanfare.
posted by Nelson at 7:00 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Deutschland 83 is a great show. A coworker was US Army Intelligence in Germany at around that time, he loves the show too for its authenticity & the fact that most of it is in German (Ostdeutsch) with subtitles.
posted by scalefree at 2:43 PM on October 15, 2015

There's going to be a real life Paige or Henry!

This is some sweet news. Rhys and Russell do have amazing, Mulder and Scully levels of chemistry, and when I heard some time back that it was rumoured they were dating, I hoped it was true. And it was indeed, so yay.
posted by orange swan at 10:07 AM on January 6, 2016

Wow. So... I didn't realize The Americans was on FanFare, and I can't wait for season 4.

I do not get the "Pastor Tim is an agent" theory. Aside from the implausibility of it (the girl on the bus is a plant? What, the Center actually had a squad of American KGB tweens this whole time?), I can't imagine why the writers of the show--who have done a masterful job of building dramatic tension thus far--would throw in such a hamfisted soap opera twist. It would be momentarily fun as a "wow crazy things are happening!" plot twist, but I'd end up feeling shortchanged and pissed off if the writers went there. Just over 2 weeks until season 4, so if I have any hat-eating to do, I won't have to wait long!
posted by duffell at 5:57 PM on February 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

"I had no choice." Philip, aren't you a poet? So sensitive. I agree that his crises of conscience don't register for me on the big scale of how evil these two spies are.

But still I'm kinda gobsmacked that Paige confesses to Pastor Tim even after her (lying liars who lie) parents specifically outlined why she shouldn't.
posted by Monochrome at 11:13 AM on March 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

I just shotgunned this whole show on Amazon prime and , oh god how much do I love that Elizabeth can't deal with Paige cause they're the same damn person? Love it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:06 PM on March 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

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