The Americans: Immersion
April 25, 2017 10:34 PM - Season 5, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Elizabeth and Paige are kung-fu fighting, Stan considers taking up skydiving, Claudia handles Philip and Elizabeth, Oleg has unwelcome visitors, Beeman and Aderholt make lunch and dental visit arrangements for Sofia, Evgheniya takes up some extra-curricular activities with one of her students, Henry plays video games with friends, Pasha's only friend cooks up a plot against him, and Philip gets dumped.

For some good reviews of this episode, check out Vox, Vulture, and The AV Club.
posted by orange swan (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
That look that Phillip gives when Elizabeth gives him some line about "I wish nobody had to do this." Just heartbreak and stone. I think I rewatched it 4 or 5 times.

How many times this season has Elizabeth said something about being fine? I only noticed because everytime she says that my immediate reaction is no you are very much not fine. It seems like the writers are setting her up to crack. She keeps telling herself that she's fine and she doesn't feel anything and its going to boil over at some point.

And seriously Elizabeth? Why are you going to tell Claudia anything at all about your marriage? Remember what she did last time you were honest? This is just setting up Phillip to have justification for mistrusting Elizabeth and thinking she's telling on him. Again.

I'm also pretty surprised that Phillip went along with the bully-a-teenager plan. That seems pretty harsh.
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:59 AM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


This episode felt very ominous.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:31 AM on April 26, 2017


This episode felt very ominous.

Especially when Stan made that offhand crack about living to see his kid graduate.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:45 PM on April 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Slate's s5e8 podcast episode features Tracey Scott Wilson and Costa Ronin.
posted by kingless at 5:51 PM on April 26, 2017


Notice how Henry was leaning against the girl he was playing video games with? Textbook adolescent seduction method.

Stan seems to be handling the break up between Paige and Matthew really well.

That little moment when Oleg's mother brings his father a cup of tea, and he smiles at her and touches her hand lovingly was so sweet. That man clearly set the bar for how Oleg would treat his mother, as well as the other women in his life.

Oleg handled the ransacking of his room with his usual level-headedness. I freaked out more than he did. Interesting that he has that piano in his room... when have we seen any sign of him being musical? Could we possibly get an Oleg musical number at some point?

Papa Burov looked deeply pissed. I hope none of those men are expecting to take a train anytime soon.

Alexei is in poor standing with Evgheniya these days. She's reserving both her baked and sexual favours for her new flame. I can't blame her for wanting to bang someone who doesn't spend all his time bitching about Russia.

Is that a Freudian slip from Evgheniya when she calls one of her students a "big sex guy"?

Claudia's baaaack. "You don't want anyone inside your head." But we all know she's worming her way in there anyway, i.e., in her sit down with Elizabeth.

Sofia has such modest desires. A house, a university education for her son, dental work. If those things were available to her in the USSR, would she be betraying her country? I don't see any sign she's doing it for principle.

Ben to Brenda: "I'm always thinking of you." Oh Ben. Your lines won't work on us anymore.

Philip getting dumped amused me. Boring workaholic Deirdre finds him too milquetoast. I do not at all buy that Deirdre would take him back when she finds out he's married. Come on. A no-nonsense woman like her is going to be enticed by finding out that her milquetoast boyfriend is a sleazy married guy? It's not like they have some great passion that would justify it.

Those long moments when Elizabeth was making up her mind on whether to tell Paige about being raped were part genuine triggered flashback and part spycraft calculation. And of course her big revelation did not include the little facts that her rapist was a KGB officer responsible for training her, and that Paige's father subsequently throttled the guy right there in the garage. However, when Elizabeth subsequently tells Philip that she's told Paige about the rape, and he responds by saying, "That's good," assessing it solely as a strategic move... she doesn't like that.

Soviet decorators all seemed to have a thing for dark green paint. The Rezidentura, the Burov apartment, Oleg's boss's office... all painted in that sombre dark grayish green.

In the USSR it's a misstep to even check your own family's files. Christ Almighty.

Elizabeth to Philip: "You might have to hurt someone's feelings again." Is that how you'd characterize what he did to Martha, Elizabeth?

Tuan wants his operation "parents" to be there for him as much as he wants them to be there for the operation.

Elizabeth would make a good surgeon. Surgeons are notorious for being terrible at dealing with patients in person. For them it's all about getting down to the job (and being ruthless about it) when the patient is out cold.
posted by orange swan at 9:52 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


In the USSR it's a misstep to even check your own family's files. Christ Almighty.

I hope that's all it was. I'm worried the KGB / powers-that-be have found out about Oleg's communication with the CIA before Stan put a stop to it, and perhaps have assumed that Oleg is actively working with the US.
posted by mmoncur at 11:41 PM on April 26, 2017


"I'm worried the KGB / powers-that-be have found out about Oleg's communication with the CIA before Stan put a stop to it, and perhaps have assumed that Oleg is actively working with the US."

I'm assuming they suspect something. Weisberg was CIA and that sort of leads me to believe that the show is smart enough to understand that the combination of the FBI's counterintelligence unit being compromised by the KGB (as we've seen, Martha and the mailbot), that Stan's resistance to CIA using Oleg was inter-agency and inevitably went up and down the political channels, and that the CIA's own attempts to recruit Oleg ... well, all of that together creates a very large surface area of vulnerability -- it's likely that their counterintelligence would have gotten wind of something, surely?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:29 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd argue the most important scene of this episode was the Elizabeth & Claudia debriefing, which had fantastic subtext and acting. Here's how I read it (correct me if you think I'm way off base):

* Elizabeth is an ice wall. She just wants to give her report and go.

* Claudia tells the story about her grandchildren not recognizing her.

* The grandchild story makes Elizabeth softens a tiny bit.

* Claudia asks about Paige.

* Elizabeth realizes Claudia only used the grandchild story to prime her to talk about Paige. Tremendous acting as we see the realization cross Elizabeth's face.

* Elizabeth lies about Paige. She gives the perfect party answer ("I want her to believe in things that matter") even though the last scene was Elizabeth telling Paige she wants her to be able to defend herself against everyone.

* Claudia buys the lie about Paige. She asks about Philip.

* Elizabeth knows it wouldn't be believable if she completely lies about Philip reversing his stance on Paige, so she goes for goes for a simple lie ("We don't talk about her at all.") even though they discuss Paige every single day.

* Claudia realizes she's getting lied to/stonewalled and frowns a little. It's not going to be as simple as she'd hoped to get back in their heads.

* As the scene ends, Elizabeth is trying to read whether Claudia bought this.
posted by bluecore at 7:03 AM on April 27, 2017 [10 favorites]


Excellent reading, bluecore. I didn't pick up on much of that at all, but I think you're right.

Another thing that has occurred to me... from what Ben told Elizabeth, it seems he hasn't succeeded in creating super wheat yet, which means that the sample Philip and Elizabeth took may not be of much use and the Deirdre/Ben operation may go on indefinitely.
posted by orange swan at 7:26 AM on April 27, 2017


I do not at all buy that Deirdre would take him back when she finds out he's married. Come on.

Think about it. She's not looking for a mate, she's looking for someone to bang like animals with none of that love complication. She pretty much told Philip as much. Now that she knows he's married, he's a safe partner again. If he's not aggressive enough again, he'll be dropped again.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:34 PM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


If he's not aggressive enough again, he'll be dropped again.

Which essentially means that he will have to reach into Clark's bag of kama sutra tricks again, and like it has been brutally obvious with Deidre, he is so not looking to do another Martha bit.
posted by theartandsound at 1:59 PM on April 27, 2017


there is so much going on with this episode.
The pairing of "It would be great if no one had to do this." and Philip's heartbroken look. Like, yeah, imagine that beautiful fantasy world where we aren't going to sacrifice our daughter on the altar like a lamb. Wouldn't that be swell.
Combined with Elizabeth's revelation that she'd like to be a doctor. Ugh what a fantastic doctor she'd be and how much I would like to watch that show.


I also really like the character of Deirdre and she makes total sense to me. Agreed that she's been extremely clear about what she's looking for, which is someone to do it with who doesn't take up any additional time or space in her life and also will not even potentially do that in the future (when she was saying, "if you move here, we're done."). Telling her that he's married was a super astute move on Philip's part.
posted by bleep at 4:26 PM on April 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


It really makes me think about how Elizabeth's enormous & competent brain is being absolutely wasted in her position - exploited - which is the exact thing she thinks she's fighting against. God this show is so good.
posted by bleep at 6:41 PM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Hey, Ivan Mok (AKA Tuan) liked a tweet I wrote about Tuan!
posted by orange swan at 2:36 AM on April 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Elizabeth to Philip: "You might have to hurt someone's feelings again." Is that how you'd characterize what he did to Martha, Elizabeth?

I'm not sure jealousy is the right word, but boy, she's really not over Phillip having feelings for caring about Marhta.

guys are we sure orange swan isn't KGB?
posted by Room 641-A at 6:26 AM on April 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


What a strangely static episode. Like nothing of consequence really happens, right? Some pieces are moved into place; Tuan wants attention, Oleg is threatened, Paige gets some combat lessons. And Claudia is reintroduced. But there's no body being dug up, no wheat being stolen, no action.

What there is, is a lot of character development and nuance. I loved the way Elizabeth and Philip both handle the continued extension of their creepy Kansas romances. bluecore's breakdown of the Claudia scene with Elizabeth is great and shows how much is going on emotionally there. It's that stuff that keeps me interested in The Americans, because as a spy action show it's pretty limited. But I find myself missing some spy action from time to time.
posted by Nelson at 7:00 AM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


[hits Room641-A over the head with a bottle of vodka and packs her body into a suitcase]
posted by orange swan at 2:55 PM on April 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


Just the spy action this thread needed!
posted by rikschell at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


Oh crap. I should have gotten a better wig.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


But I find myself missing some spy action from time to time.

I think I'd still watch this show if the spy action disappeared completely and it became a quiet character study of the dissolution of a suburban marriage in the early 1980s.
posted by mediareport at 8:42 AM on May 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


it's likely that their counterintelligence would have gotten wind of something, surely?

The first time Oleg was stood up for a late-night meeting, the camera panned up from him to an imposing Soviet building in the background. That's when I started thinking he was being watched by the KGB.

Also, the scenes with timid innocent Sofia are much more fun once you realize she's a double agent and is playing Stan and Aderholt like violins.
posted by mediareport at 8:51 AM on May 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


I think my favorite part of this episode was thinking about how Gabriel was always making tea for people - over time we've seen so many shots of him with the kettle, with mugs, etc.

and then we get to see Claudia in that same house where they've spent so much time with Gabriel and there she is with her to-go styrofoam cup with plastic lid. Just spot-on.
posted by komara at 8:05 PM on August 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


I think I'd still watch this show if the spy action disappeared completely and it became a quiet character study of the dissolution of a suburban marriage in the early 1980s.

FX's new show, The Americans, offers a bleak look back at the 1980's with its portrayal of the Jennings, a suburban couple struggling to keep their family together while dealing with their demanding yet unrewarding careers. A lively cast of characters includes their daughter who is unsure if she should follow in her parents footsteps, and their melancholic divorcee neighbor who clings to the Jennings as the only family he has left. And they're Russian spies. Oh, and they also have a son, who is nice.
posted by skewed at 5:49 PM on August 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


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