The Americans: Munchkins
May 18, 2016 9:53 PM - Season 4, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Pastor Tim finds Ethiopia more of an adventure than he expected, and the Jennings find Alice to be a better player than they expected. Oleg and Tatiana engage in more pillow talk. Aderholt is marginalized by his new boss. Stan and Aderholt take Mr. Hanson out for drinks, Kimmie and Jim smoke pot, and Matthew and Paige drink coffee. Gaad entertains unexpected visitors and Elizabeth has second thoughts about the Young Hee and Don operation.
posted by orange swan (62 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Good episode.

Who would have thought Pastor Tim would make it back but Gadd wouldn't.

Paige was perfect in this episode, amazing acting.

I feel for Elizabeth but I sure don't understand what the "next phase" of the plan is. Simply threaten to tell Young Hee unless he hands over access codes? That doesn't seem like a very surefire plan after all of the work that went into it. You'd have to be a pretty self-centered person to be willing to give Russian spies a bioweapon that could kill half the country rather than risk your marriage.

I guess Phil has settled into the "creepy uncle" role with Kimmie. Thank goodness.

Episode 1's summary said "Henry isn't seen, but his presences is smelt." This time he isn't seen but his presence is heard... They're really trying to hide that growth spurt.
posted by mmoncur at 1:35 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Gaad! Noooo!
posted by Sublimity at 4:09 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pastor Tim is a dimwit. The guy not only leaves his ready-to-pop pregnant wife to go to a dangerous country, but he runs out of gas and gets lost. Alice has more sense than he does. Making a tape and leaving it in a lawyer's hands was the smartest thing she could have done. Though that pregnancy looked absurdly fake. I can easily imagine Keri Russell, who actually is pregnant with her third child, looking at it and going, "Really?"

Oleg wants Tatiana to try a Twinkie, but all Tatiana wants (besides more great banging) is a 50+ female computer expert who speaks perfect English. Anyone have any ideas what that operative is for?

It's been what, seven, eight months now, and the Hansons still haven't heard from or about Martha? What's the hold up? Why would the Soviets delay sending word to Martha's parents?

It is a relief that Philip has managed to not sleep with Kimmie, but I wonder how long he can possibly keep switching those tapes without getting caught or without her getting tired of the situation. Though she might keep seeing him for the sake of his stellar pot.

Matthew has a thing for Paige now. It looked like that other guy at the church did too. Meanwhile Paige is all, "I HAVE NO TIME FOR THIS SWEET DREAMS TEEN ROMANCE THING I HAVE KGB STUFF TO DO." I liked the question she asked Matthew, "Do you think it's cool or weird that your dad works for the FBI?" I thought it indicated that she finds it rather cool, if weird, that her parents work for the KGB.

Gaad's exit was so, so horrible that even the Russian heavies felt bad about it, and poor Mrs. Gaad will find him that way when she comes back from shopping. What were those Russian heavies trying to do anyway? How could they possibly expect to work him when they don't even have anything on him?

Yeah, I don't get the Young Hee and Don plan either. Of course the guy's just going to come clean to his wife rather than hand over the access codes for level four. I'm sure we'll see more of that next week.

Three more episodes to go in this season!
posted by orange swan at 5:26 AM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad Elizabeth said to ask for an alternate way in at the end. She was teetering on the edge of being unredeemable to me-- I didn't want her to cross the rubicon to Breaking Bad territory. I don't think it'll work, though. The Center will say no or they'll try something else and it'll fail.

orange swan: Yeah, I don't get the Young Hee and Don plan either. Of course the guy's just going to come clean to his wife rather than hand over the access codes for level four. I'm sure we'll see more of that next week.

It's not very good leverage, which is why Elizabeth was disappointed the only thing the search turned up was the VHS tapes. Similar things (gambling debts, etc) have worked before. But I suspect Don won't tell Young Hee and won't be able take the guilt. I'm guessing he'll kill himself rather than deal with the shame, which would break my heart since at this point I'd love a Young Hee spin-off show.

Not sure why Tatiana wants a computer programmer. The Laboratory 12 that she referred to is known as the KGB's poison factory. She said something about someone high enough up in an organization, so she probably meant William. So is it an alternate way to get Level 4 access? Or maybe an unrelated mission? I know in real life one of the Illegals got a job at a company that wrote computer code for the IRS, but that's not very TV sexy. I still don't trust Tatiana. She feeds his ego with the sex compliments and immediately asks for intel/favors.

I liked the KGB toughs apologizing to Gaad. Arkady seemed genuinely disturbed about it too. It's good they're not just mustache twirling antagonists. Is it going to send Stan off the deep end again? I suspect he's going to take Gaad's advice and reconnect with Oleg. To what end, I don't know.

I liked Paige getting better at reading assets. Whether she knows it or not, she's becoming a spy. Surely Pastor Tim and his wife are doomed now? You can't put the "our lawyer has a tape" genie back in the bottle, and the Center won't be happy with this unexploded bomb sitting out there for the crisis. I'm curious if it'll be a Center operation that they'll have to explain to Paige or if it'll be a spur of the moment thing that Paige has a hand in?

I liked Henry bouncing the ball against the garage. I'd say it was less about hiding his growth and more about creating tension in the scene, like the guy setting off firecrackers in the drug deal scene of Boogie Nights. It's interesting that Paige was annoyed by it too-- she's thinking like an adult now.
posted by bluecore at 6:11 AM on May 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


I don't know about Don confessing to Young Hee. He's clearly so very ashamed of what (seems to have) happened that he doesn't know what to do with himself.

There's so much talk about the parallels between marriage/fidelity and espionage... I'm reflecting on how Paige's struggle in dealing with knowledge of her parents' secret lives as spies is pretty much in line with every teenager's dawning discovery that their parents have much more complex and difficult lives than they'd realized.
posted by Sublimity at 6:19 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


About Stan going off the deep end--that last conversation he and Gaad had was essentially Gaad giving Stan the permission to treat the Russians with extreme prejudice.
posted by Sublimity at 6:21 AM on May 19, 2016


My goodness, I tweeted about Oleg and Tatiana not being on quite the same page relationship-wise, and Costa Ronin, who plays Oleg, liked it.
posted by orange swan at 7:15 AM on May 19, 2016 [21 favorites]


Arkady seemed genuinely disturbed...

Remember back in season 2 when they met? Gaad sits down in Arkady's booth and threatens to expose the illegals program. Then in the next episode Arkady stops Gaad outside his house and tells him they're backing off the pressure on Vlad's murder. Not the best of friends but they seemed to have a kind of understanding.
posted by kingless at 7:29 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Arkady is a good man, and I'm sure he recognized that Gaad was as well. Moreover, Gaad's death was NOT planned or intended. So yes, he'd feel grief that it played out that way.

If Gaad's wife bought anything for him after he told her not to... I hope it's returnable.
posted by orange swan at 7:45 AM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Aderholt is marginalized by his new boss.

Nice.
posted by duffell at 8:01 AM on May 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


The latest episode of Slate's podcast has Nathan Barr discussing the show's music. It's about 23 minutes long.
posted by kingless at 8:24 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Poor Paige. Her parents have thrust her into the role of Junior KGB Agent and then the one adult she turns too, PastorTim'sWifeAlice, breaks down and turns to Paige for comfort. The frozen look on Paige's face was heartbreaking.

I also loved the constant drumbeat of the tennis ball. It seemed to get a little louder and stronger as the scene went on but that may have been in my head. Sadly, we are at episode ten already, but I think this will be one of the most suspenseful finals yet. I'm so nervous already!

Of course the guy's just going to come clean to his wife rather than hand over the access codes for level four.

But if E threatened to tell...the CDC? I can't think right now...he would probably be fired, right? Maybe also be ineligible for any government or classified work. Don't high-security positions of all kinds include a "don't let yourself get blackmailed" rule?

a 50+ female computer expert who speaks perfect English. Anyone have any ideas what that operative is for?

Seducing someone 50+?

Stan and Aderholt take Mr. Hanson out for drinks, Kimmie and Jim smoke pot, and Matthew and Paige drink coffee.

Oh no, I just realized I fell asleep during the scene with Martha's dad!

Surely Pastor Tim and his wife are doomed now? You can't put the "our lawyer has a tape" genie back in the bottle, and the Center won't be happy with this unexploded bomb sitting out there for the crisis.

They could find a way to switch out that tape with a blank one and let PastorTimAndAlice think they've got the upper hand. Oh! Switch it for a mix-tape of some of 1983's biggest hits, such as Every Breath You Take, Africa, Say Say Say and Tell Her About It.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:15 AM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Costa Ronin, who plays Oleg, liked it.

omg you guys get a room!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:17 AM on May 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Did I miss something or did I hear Phillip tell Elizabeth that through spywork he found out that she never did talk to a lawyer or give them a tape?
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:33 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


What Philip said was that there was no mention of a lawyer on whatever recorded conversations they had. (Tim's office is bugged, and who knows what else might be.) This does not prove Alice didn't go to a lawyer, as she easily could have gone to one without mentioning it to anyone.
posted by orange swan at 11:43 AM on May 19, 2016


So what does the fact that Kimmie's dad actually is CIA instead of State do to the value of the info on the tapes Philip is making? Anything?

I could not believe how invested I was in hoping Elizabeth would say yes in the end.
posted by jfwlucy at 1:31 PM on May 19, 2016


What Philip said was that there was no mention of a lawyer on whatever recorded conversations they had.

Oh, I think I slept through more than I realized.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:37 PM on May 19, 2016


orange_swan, did Costa Ronin start following you after last time?! He can't be reading all the tweets with the hashtags #TheAmericans, can he?
posted by Room 641-A at 2:41 PM on May 19, 2016


Gaad...What were those Russian heavies trying to do anyway? How could they possibly expect to work him when they don't even have anything on him?

I assumed whatever they were up to had something to do with Martha. They seemed sincere in not being there to harm Gaad. But, Gaad was enough of a kool-aid-drinking cold-warrior to assume the Russkies meant to string him up or something.

Great episode. I got nervous when I saw Kimmie, though. Luckily, nothing happened. I'm still perplexed that the teenage daughter of a CIA official can entertain a middle-aged man and no one notices. I mean, they're sitting on the front porch smoking weed, fer cryin' out loud.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:32 PM on May 19, 2016


No, Costa Ronin doesn't follow me. There aren't that many #TheAmericans tweets because the show doesn't have the audience it deserves, so it is not only possible for the actors to browse through them, but to engage a little with their viewers. When I tweeted Alison Wright to compliment her on her work as Martha, she responded. And Roman Blat, who apparently plays some little known character named Boris the KGB agent on the show, liked nine of my tweets today.
posted by orange swan at 3:40 PM on May 19, 2016 [14 favorites]


So what does the fact that Kimmie's dad actually is CIA instead of State do to the value of the info on the tapes Philip is making? Anything?

Didn't the Russians already know he was CIA? I read Phillip's response as "acting I'm surprised" rather than "holy crap, this just got dangerous." I'm probably wrong, of course.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:43 PM on May 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


The KGB totally knew Kimmie's father was CIA. They've bugged his briefcase, for heaven's sake. There would hardly be any point in bugging the briefcase of someone who worked for the department of agriculture as Kimmie had originally believed he did. (Back then she opined his job was "really boring".)
posted by orange swan at 3:48 PM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, of course. You're right. Thanks.
posted by jfwlucy at 3:56 PM on May 19, 2016


So I've been thinking about the scene where Philip is talking to Paige about his mother. He relays the anecdote about the man at the rake cooperative withholding half his pay, and his mother retrieving it. As he tells this story, the visuals frequently cut to Elizabeth in her disguise as Patty, leaving Young Hee's house. Philip ends his story by stating about his mother, "She was tough."

Tough I'm sure--but does that mean that his mother strong-armed that guy to get the money back? Or do the cuts to Patty mean that she had to be tough and do something sexual that she didn't want to do, to get that money (remember that Elizabeth's mother turned down a similar offer in a flashback in a prior season?)

All this layered on top of the fact that his wife, shown in those voiceover shots, is really freaking tough, too.

I love the ambiguity.
posted by Sublimity at 4:17 PM on May 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I love the part of that scene where Paige asks her dad about his time as a child in Siberia, "Did you like it?" Philip's genuinely perplexed reaction is priceless before he tells her, "We didn't think of it like that."

I figured the Russians were approaching Gaad about Martha, too. Didn't really like the sudden dramatic accidental murder, though. I think I've mentioned here before that I love the subtlety of the show's writing so when they pull out two Shocking Dramatic Developments in the same episode - Gaad's death and Tim's disappearance - to drive things along I can't help but be a little disappointed. The FBI misunderstanding Gaad's death as a murder to move Stan into violent mode just feels....dull. I hope they do more with it than that.

Loved so much about this episode in general. While I agree that Elizabeth's endgame with Don and Young Hee doesn't make much sense right now, the acting is selling it for me. So much suspense as we wait for the confrontation to come.

Also, I think Oleg is very much aware he's being worked by Tatiana.
posted by mediareport at 5:27 PM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


That opener was amazing. It made me think about a lot of stuff. It made me think that I wonder if Elizabeth deep down/unconsciously prefers the job when it's difficult in order to assuage her also-unconscious guilt about their lifestyle. It's kind of interesting, when you think about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, that having to be tough and doing what you gotta do just to stay alive, might have been somewhat easier, or at least easier for a human brain to wrap itself around, when you're living out in Siberia and literally surviving. A generation later Elizabeth is still having to be that tough as nails motherfucker in a warm house in a much more complicated and therefore difficult to process context.
posted by bleep at 5:46 PM on May 19, 2016


Gaad's death was very much in character for him. He was a decent guy on the whole but he tended to act out in a counterproductive way when under stress, as he did when he attacked the MailRobot. He wouldn't have died if he'd kept his cool as Arkady would have done, but instead of hearing the Russian heavies out he made that panicked and foolish run for it -- through a glass door, no less. He had zero chance of getting away from them that way, and he should have known that.
posted by orange swan at 5:52 PM on May 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


Something like if you're trying to work the bottom half of Maslow's hierarchy, then that's what you're doing and that makes sense to your brain, that's what brains have always done, since the first brain. That was Liz and Phil's parents. But Liz and Phil, and now Paige, are still working that lower half, even though it's already covered and at that point it's natural to want to start moving up the list. They're working every level of the hierarchy at the same time while having the lower half already covered. That's not something you're born knowing how to cope with.
posted by bleep at 5:53 PM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Gaad's death was very much in character for him.

Yep, I agree. His consistent lack of trust and/or ability to see the Russians as complex people did him in. I just think the writers' choice to do him in like that felt a little cheap. It would be a much richer plot, I suggest, for us to watch Gaad struggle with that inabillity for a few episodes, rather than kill him off in a sudden bloody accident because of it. I love the show so will happily suspend final judgment for a while to see where it goes, but in the moment it felt to me like one Dramatic Development too far.
posted by mediareport at 8:07 PM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I liked how it showed that series of "Oh shit" moment and how lives are really on the line with this stuff.
posted by bleep at 8:24 PM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I liked the Gadd scene just because i've seen SO MANY people smash through windows and come out with a few scratches on TV and movies, and it really would be a very stupid and dangerous thing to do.

It did feel like a waste of the character, though. I'm guessing that Gadd was leaving the show anyway and the writers wanted a way to ratchet up Stan's stress level -- he's already talking to his kid about Martha's disappearance and getting stressed out. And Gadd, right before dying, told Stan to damn the rules and go after the evil Russians. So when he hears about this Phil and Liz are going to have a very motivated (and possibly unhinged) Stan to worry about.
posted by mmoncur at 6:34 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


That reminds me, did I miss something or shouldn't there be (or have been) a full-on manhunt for Martha, am APB or something? I was expecting some drama about the search for her.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:48 AM on May 20, 2016


I feel like we're going to see Martha again before the end of the season. She disappeared and didn't leave much of a trail; we skipped 7 months on the show, and now any full-on manhunt for Martha has dried up. (We also missed the point where some poor FBI agent (probably Stan or Aderholt) had to break the news to Martha's sweet parents that she married a KGB agent, betrayed her country, is now considered a traitor, and is probably living in Russia. That's not a conversation I'd want to have.)
posted by aabbbiee at 7:50 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Costa Ronin, who plays Oleg, liked it.

orange swan and Costa, sittin' in a tree. That's so cool!

I love the part of that scene where Paige asks her dad about his time as a child in Siberia, "Did you like it?" Philip's genuinely perplexed reaction is priceless before he tells her, "We didn't think of it like that."

That's more or less how my mother would have reacted if I asked her how she enjoyed growing up on a farm in the 1930s. It was how things were. "Is your life personally fulfilling?" is mostly a post-1960s American benchmark.

Is it just me, or was Young Hee's phone message to Patty the most upsetting painful thing ever? My god, I am really not relishing the wreckage that Young Hee and Don's life is probably going to become, one way or another, in the next few weeks.

Comic relief: after vehemently, sincerely reassuring Paige that the Soviets had absolutely nothing, nada, zippo to do with Pastor Tim's disappearance, two seconds after she leaves the room, Eliz turns to Phil and says, "It couldn't have been us, right? Could it?" Classic.

If there ends up being a battle for Paige's heart between Matthew and Bible Boy, I am Team Matthew all the way. You can see why Matthew digs her: she's a coffee-drinking sophisticate who can hook you up with the youth choir AND happily swill your dad's beer, Jesus notwithstanding.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:17 AM on May 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


I liked the Gadd scene just because i've seen SO MANY people smash through windows and come out with a few scratches on TV and movies, and it really would be a very stupid and dangerous thing to do.


Yeah this exactly! Even before we knew how deeply the glass had pierced him I'd turned to my girlfriend and said look at the scratches on his face and hands! Too many shows downplay the dangers of that I said, little knowing the dramatic irony lol.
posted by Carillon at 9:14 AM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also re:Kimmy, I'm pretty sure it was meant to be implied she was dating someone else with the talk about forgetting the guys name etc. Right? Or did I miss something there.
posted by Carillon at 9:17 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Right, on Kimmie. I think it was Peter? The one who's OK but, like, so young despite being Kimmie's age. Which is teenage girl code for "I'd much rather be banging you, James."
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:54 AM on May 20, 2016


Not sure why Tatiana wants a computer programmer. The Laboratory 12 that she referred to is known as the KGB's poison factory. She said something about someone high enough up in an organization, so she probably meant William. So is it an alternate way to get Level 4 access? Or maybe an unrelated mission?

I was afraid that it was an alternate way to get Level 4 access but that it would come to fruition just after Elizabeth had blown things up with Young Hee and Don, and she would have betrayed her friend for nothing.
posted by oakroom at 1:23 PM on May 20, 2016


Poor Paige. Her parents have thrust her into the role of Junior KGB Agent and then the one adult she turns too, PastorTim'sWifeAlice, breaks down and turns to Paige for comfort. The frozen look on Paige's face was heartbreaking.

I actually saw this as deliberate handling of Alice by Paige, to reinforce the 'we're in this together' thing.
But I'm willing to be wrong about how I saw it.
posted by ApathyGirl at 6:41 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


ApathyGirl: I actually saw this as deliberate handling of Alice by Paige, to reinforce the 'we're in this together' thing. But I'm willing to be wrong about how I saw it.

Both, I think! I think she entered the scene as a scared, upset teenager looking for comfort, but then when Alice broke down she realized she didn't have the luxury of being the upset one and had to manage the situation. Great acting by both actors.
posted by bluecore at 7:13 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ohh...it's the same look Elizabeth has with Don :(
posted by Room 641-A at 11:19 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Paige is definitely her mother's daughter :-(

I'm impressed with how the show climbed down from the Kimmie situation. Somehow her relationship with Philip has stopped being totally skeezy man/girl sex and now he's just the cool older dude who she can smoke some weed and complain about boys with. I took her openness about boyfriends as a signal that they're going to abandon the idea of him seducing the 15 year old girl, and in a reasonable (if off screen) way.

I also liked how they wrapped up the Gaad story. The guy was a tool from beginning to end and he died to his own stupidity and comically one-sided belief about Russkies being evil.

Arkady was so sad about Gaad's death. And Elizabeth and Philip were both genuinely concerned for Pastor Tim. Not just the clusterfuck that his disappearance is for their operation, but I think genuinely wanting to help the man. Honestly I keep forgetting that they really are the bad guys, murderous foreign spies operating to subvert American security. That's this show's great strength.

(There's no way the showrunners can kill off Tim and Alice and their unborn baby is there? I think that would be going too far. OTOH I can't imagine any real Russian spy operation tolerating such a dangerous loose end.)
posted by Nelson at 9:58 AM on May 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Whenever you want to root for P & E too much remember all their dead marks and innocent bystander "collateral." Lisa, and Lisa's kids, now without a mother. Not to mention the poor guy Liz dropped the car on so Lisa could get the other job, and his poor wife who probably found him. The older woman at the mail-robot repair shop.

Or the poor busboy, janitor and bus security(?) guys who walked in on Phil in the middle of missions and got offed for it. Among many others.

Not that I'm all USA, USA. Stan's a dirtbag who banged an asset and ruthlessly shot in the head an innocent young Russian embassy staffer. (I'd look forward to a comeuppance when he finds he's been buds with a KGB agent.)

And yes, I know these are all fictional characters so why am I getting so upset, but will Nobody Remember The Dead Supporting/ Extras Characters?

Man, this show is quite the Greek/Shakespearean tragedy, isn't it.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:56 AM on May 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


I thought it was interesting how Paige got actual intelligence out of Matthew. She learned that Stan was meeting with Martha's father. We don't see her relay that to her handlers, and I wonder if she did or if she didn't. This Romeo & Juliet thing Paige and Matthew are working up to is going to be good TV.
posted by chrchr at 11:45 AM on May 21, 2016


I keep meaning to ask about the living arrangements. Have we ever been told if it's a coincidence that the Jennings' and the Beemans live next door to each other? Not a wild coincidence, it's DC after all, I just can't remember if the audience knows something they don't.

Small gripe about it taking days for episodes to show up OnDemand.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:02 PM on May 21, 2016


It's a coincidence. This was addressed in the pilot, when the Jennings first went over to the Beemans to give them brownies and welcome them to the neighbourhood. They asked what Stan did, and did a very good job of not dropping dead of horror and shock when they found out he was an FBI agent. Later one of them wondered whether the FBI was on to them, and the other one said it was probably just a coincidence, because FBI agents "have to live somewhere".

They don't live in D.C. They live in Falls Church, Virginia.
posted by orange swan at 12:08 PM on May 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Right, I couldn't remember if it was ever addressed in any way by anyone else, thanks.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:21 PM on May 21, 2016


Oh, I see what you were asking. No, the "coincidence" has never been addressed at all in any other episode and really does seem to be a coincidence. The FBI isn't on to Philip and Elizabeth, though it seems as though it won't be too long before they are.
posted by orange swan at 5:01 PM on May 21, 2016


Keri Russell should win all the Emmys for her acting in that last scene. Her struggle, without words, was incredible. I honestly had no idea which way she was going to go. I'm honestly not sure it has ever occurred to Elizabeth that, as Gabriel said, "feelings matter."

She learned that Stan was meeting with Martha's father. We don't see her relay that to her handlers, and I wonder if she did or if she didn't.

I don't think that Paige has any idea who Martha is. That wouldn't mean anything to her. But I did like the parallels of Paige, Matthew, and Kimmie all contemplating what it means that their parents do what they do.

I also thought that Paige saying "you guys have done so much for me" to Alice was totally her playing it up.

The discussion in the opening scene (and that above about Malsow's hierarchy) got me thinking about the contrasts between the contrasts between the Soviet Union and the US in the 21st century. Up until WW2, there really wasn't much to distinguish the working class experience of the average Soviet and American citizen. But the lifestyle Philip and Elizabeth live in was a breathing demonstration that, for a time, the US (and much of the Western World) succeeding in making life better for the working and middle classes, to the point where it wasn't all survival. You could actually savour some good things in life, and some security. And how, since the fall of the Soviet Union, that achievement has been steadily eroded in the US.

Sorry, political science nerd hat coming off...
posted by dry white toast at 8:55 PM on May 21, 2016


Sorry, political science nerd hat coming off...

I love the history. Watching this show inspired me to read The Red Flag by David Priestland. It's a very readable narrative history of Communism, beginning with the French Revolution and ending a few years ago. Fascinating to view familiar history through such a different lens.
posted by kingless at 2:08 AM on May 22, 2016


Whenever you want to root for P & E too much remember all their dead marks and innocent bystander "collateral."

One thing I love about this show: practically from the word go, the second-ever episode of The Americans offered a pretty fucking dramatic reality check for anyone who was rooting for our antiheroes, by showing how little regard they gave for the lives of innocent bystanders when carrying out a mission.

I can't help but root for them too, but whenever I do, my mind immediately takes me back to that episode. Even though, IIRC, nobody actually dies in that episode, it remains a very effective reminder of their... dedication.
posted by duffell at 8:23 AM on May 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I originally finished this episode thinking the Pastor Tim thing was just a bit of manufactured drama, but that bit about Ethiopia being cozy with the Soviets being the reason Alice went all meltdown on the Jenningses but...do we believe Tim ran out of gas? They're not stupid, they know that they're in danger because of what Paige told them, what if the reason he went on this "mission" with Alice about to pop was to try to make some kind of safety deal?
posted by Lyn Never at 5:56 PM on May 23, 2016


Lyn Never: They're not stupid, they know that they're in danger because of what Paige told them, what if the reason he went on this "mission" with Alice about to pop was to try to make some kind of safety deal?

I think Pastor Tim is pretty stupid, or at least naive about danger, both from the KGB wrt Philip & Elizabeth and in general going to a dangerous famine-stricken country. I don't think it was a part of master plan by Pastor Tim, it just shined a light on how luck/accidents/chance can throw a wrench in even the best planned mission, just like Gaad's accidental death. After the tape threat, I don't think Pastor Tim and his wife are long for this world.
posted by bluecore at 7:01 PM on May 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


‘The Americans’ To End Run With Two-Season Final Renewal By FX, EPs Ink Deals

FX’s praised Cold War drama series The Americans is getting an end date. The network has given the series, now airing its fourth season, a pickup for two more seasons, a 13-episode Season 5 to air in 2017 and 10-episode sixth and final season to air in 2018.
posted by bluecore at 10:05 AM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Two more seasons! I was expecting them to wrap it up in the next season.
posted by orange swan at 10:12 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am really pleased that there is an end date that is known and with plenty of time to do whatever they had in mind. That security is a huge creative luxury.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:02 AM on May 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


The cold war had an end. It wouldn't make sense for this show not to. Still, it would probably take another time jump to get them up to 1991.
posted by matildaben at 2:23 PM on May 25, 2016


I'm thinking Arkady's plan with Gaad was an exchange of Martha for some asset, not a strong-arm move, which is why they seemed so apologetic.

Paige was amazing!

I still don't see how E could have thought she was close with Don. yes, she has leverage, but he's been vetted for high security work. she's got a long way to go to get codes from him.

I don't think Oleg is gonna be down with bio-warfare. he's soft on the US. I figured he'd be open to an overture from Stan, but not an angry Stan, so now I'm confused.

I think Tatiana's russian speaking computer whiz is the other way into the lab, to relieve E of that burden.

Tim and Alice are going down, and Paige is going to just give a steely-eyed nod to let it happen. it's gonna be harsh.

I am also surprised at the 2 more seasons announcement. I figured this whole season was heading toward an end-game that would play out next season. Now, I'm thinking they might have time to time jump to the end of the cold war and figure out a way for P&E to stay in the west.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:43 PM on May 25, 2016


I'm thinking Arkady's plan with Gaad was an exchange of Martha for some asset, not a strong-arm move, which is why they seemed so apologetic.

They were certainly not planning to do anything violent to Gaad, but I can't see the Soviets giving Martha back when she can describe and identify P&E, Gabriel, the safe house, etc.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:35 AM on May 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking the computer expert is William's wife.
posted by drezdn at 8:03 PM on December 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


god damn this show is great sometimes (and merely very good at other times)

There are lots of shows I've loved, but I don't think I've ever become as emotionally attached to a group of characters as these (maybe McNulty, Stringer Bell, et al.). But with the Americans it's gotten to the point I regularly talk to the screen when I'm watching.

When Matthew let it slip that his Dad was investigating an FBI secretary who had just "disappeared" I slapped armrest and yelled "damn!" Paige definitely took note of that, and it's something she'll remember despite later finding out Tim is okay.

The Jennings could have avoided so much trouble if they had been normal Americans and never talked to their neighbors.

Matthew's look when Paige gave McChurchy a hug was great.

Paige on moving to Russia: "You can't be Russian spies and live in Russia!"
posted by skewed at 5:07 PM on August 5, 2018


I thought Paige was playing Alice, too, with that line about how much they've done for her. Remember, we're now 7+ months into Paige being forced to be buddy buddy with Tim & Alice; she can reach back for some gratitude, I'm sure, but it can't be her predominant current feeling.

I also though Paige was working Matthew to get the ride to church (and enjoying just how transferable her new skill set is)

It was interesting watching Philip talk to Kimmie about her dad being in the CIA; it felt like he was really evaluating how the guys on the other side share their secret identities with their 15-year-old daughters...
posted by mabelstreet at 3:16 PM on June 30


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