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The Americans

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Bye The Americans it was nice knowing you and your many many topics of conversation.   

Oh well bound to happen.   Still miss this show.   It was one of my favorites from start to finish.  Loved all the characters.  (Don’t bother me with the Paige Hate).  The ending was beautifully done.   I might have liked to see Martha but that was a tiny nitpick.

Edited by Chaos Theory
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From Matthew’s Twitter. I’m positive that has to be Sam, his & Keri’s real-life son, in the picture with Matthew. Keri’s older 2 children are a lot older/bigger than that size of a kid right now, for 1 thing; for another, I’m positive I remember reading/hearing in an interview with Keri, Matthew, or both, that Matthew was trying to teach Sam the Welsh language & the book Matthew’s reading to the kid is in Welsh.

Keri was on Live with Kelly & Ryan this morning, promoting the last month of performances of her Broadway play, Burn This. If/when I can find a link to just her interview (first guest) I’ll post it.

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Just finished The Walk-In and found a lot of little interesting things in it that I wouldn’t have seen before having not seen the whole thing so I’m going to go on and on, sorry. “The Walk In” ostensibly refers to Dameron, who walked into the Rezidentura, but the bigger Walk-In is Paige, who cuts school to track down Aunt Helen at the address on Elizabeth’s postcard.

But there’s a few things that happen in this ep that seems to cool to look at in context of everyone’s whole story. With Stan, this is the episode where he tells Nina he loves her and it’s after she gives him a hero moment (though he doesn’t know just how much she gave it to him). He kills Dameron before he can take out the leaders of the World Bank. Nina specifically tells Stan that she’s proud of him and explicitly credits him for single-handedly destroying all her Soviet brainwashing about Americans being bad.

This goes straight to Stan’s weak spot both as a man and as an American, imo, because Americans especially in the Cold War of course wanted to think that the only issue Russians could really have with the US was that they’d been lied to and if they met some in person they’d realize it was a lie. But Stan himself also desperately wants to feel like a good person doing good and the Russians give him a black and white situation where he does the right thing, then Nina gives him praise he can actually believe without feeling too conceited.

Oleg’s still poking his nose in Nina’s reports, obviously still finding spying fun and cool. Poor Oleg.

Elizabeth goes through one of her 180 turns in this ep, starting out wanting to keep her promise to dead Leanne and winding up burning Leanne’s letter to keep Jared’s memories of his family intact. Jared’s breakdown is, of course, different knowing he killed his parents, because he isn’t really a cold Soviet agent but a boy who probably killed his family in a rage-filled fugue state and now uses what he thinks is a simple child services representative to vent his grief and whatever else he’s feeling.

We also get flashbacks to the Jennings’ early marriage where Elizabeth seems very unconflicted about not wanting children. Even an ending shot of her with baby Paige has her looking, imo, slightly annoyed, without seeming angry at the actual baby. Also, I love the touch that in their first apartment the Jennings had a different quilt on the wall behind their bed, which is a very Russian thing but not one I remember in anybody's flashback home. Somebody should write a fic where one of them wants it in both bedrooms.

Anyway, the family stuff in this ep is really more with the kids (especially Paige) and Philip. I’ve often been frustrated by people placing, imo, ludicrous demands on the Jennings as parents. In this ep I can remember Philip being judged a terrible parent for a) not offering to learn every constellation in the universe when Henry says he’s doing so, b) Paige being able to not go to school without him knowing, c) scolding Paige for something other than making him worry by going to Pennsylvania, d) Paige being able to walk out the front door without him knowing because he’s in another room and d) Henry being alone in his room at the end, because a child alone always means tragedy.

The whole “the Jennings are abusive and neglectful” is, imo, not only just inaccurate but it takes away the way the secret itself is toxic. They’re perfectly adequate as parents otherwise. Even their strange hours aren’t all that bad. The trouble is the lie itself that affects both kids without either of them being able to really say why and this ep really seemed to highlight that for me with Paige’s story.

I’ve been trying to really pay attention to what makes her tick on re-watch because I think I had a tendency the first time to assume things that were wrong. Her reaction to Philip’s scolding really shows that Paige is not afraid of him. She’s a lot like Elizabeth in feeling like if she broke the rules she had a good reason and within seconds she’s accusing Philip of being in the wrong for expecting her to not have the aunt entitled to. Watching scenes like this you remember that Paige and Philip’s relationship essentially ends on the show with their sparring match in Great Patriot War. They have 3 conflict scenes in the series: this one, the one where he rips up the Bible and that one. In this one Philip’s angry at Paige is just defiant, in the second one he’s angry, but not really at Paige, so regrets losing it at her. In the third scene Paige gets to be as aggressive as she can be and Philip gives her perspective.

Anyway, Philip has a couple of things here that will be themes for him. He brings up his father dying, which is the only bit of his past we’ve heard until this point, and he gets angry at Paige for not appreciating what she has. When we do get things about Philip’s past it’s often about being deprived. It makes him attracted to the good life, but usually leads him to being thoughtful about it and deciding that he doesn’t need that much.

I’m not sure how exactly to put it into the context of the flashback about Paige’s conception. In the two storylines Paige and Elizabeth both demand a bigger family from him without his own feelings about family coming into it. It kind of relates to his snarky remark to Elizabeth that no, they don’t have any real friends and she obviously wanted it that way. When Philip suggests that the Beemans would take the kids if something happened to them, I can’t help but think, as I did at the time, that Philip does hope his friendship with Stan would give the kids someone—which in the end, of course, it does.

Anyway, so Paige goes to see Aunt Helen and meets a Christian on the bus! I often got impatient with people insisting Kelly was a KGB plant but watching her behavior I can see why it would have been easy to believe it if she had been. She doesn’t start talking to Paige about Jesus like a standard Campus Crusader for Christ. She encourages her to talk about her problems and then only when she gives Paige her phone number does she suggest Paige might want to hang out with “other people who get it.” Who are these other people? That’s the church group, not Kelly.

Paige says to Kelly that she always feels like something is going on she doesn’t know about at home, and I feel like that’s really her driving force. It’s probably powering her defiance to Philip later. She’s got to at least partly be getting on that bus to test her Mom’s story. But Aunt Helen being family is also key for Paige here, imo. Many teenagers would not see any reason they’d want to meet a distant relative who was a very old woman, but I think Paige really does.

Of course it could just be a quirk that she’s interested in family, but it makes sense if Paige grew up affected by being outside this bond of her parents and wanting to be an insider, a person who belongs. Pastor Tim’s group would offer a quick solution to that—a church youth group would be all about people ready to accept and love you—plus God already does that and he knows you better than anyone. That works until it doesn’t and then Paige decides that her parents’—and therefore her—real family are those who work for the Centre. This is bad enough for her to think about Gabriel, but Claudia isn’t family at all. First Paige studies the Bible and Pastor Tim’s political lessons, then she learns to mispronounce Russian dishes etc. Elizabeth and Pastor Tim insist this is all about Paige caring about the world but both worlds are defined by the belief system.

I don’t think Elizabeth or Philip is intentionally manipulating this aspect of Paige, but I do think they might be mistaken about her, thinking that her priority really is wanting to “make a difference” as much as it is for them, ultimately. She does like that too, but I think if you look through the show it’s the chase for connection that motivates her over moral issues. But it leaves her vulnerable to other peoples’ agendas.

An ironic twist is Paige does get a little of what she wanted here with her trip because it inspires Philip, who she complained about “private” about everything to bring up something that would obviously be a major life event. One that’s about family, the thing Paige says she wants. But because she’s mad about getting caught and probably still feeling left out, she responds to it by sulkily asking if she can be excused. You can see why she’d be vulnerable to intense relationships with people who are everything and then fall from grace and are nothing.

That also reminds me how the only times we see Paige use the phone in her room is to call Kelly, who she just met, and Pastor Tim. Henry’s the one we hear spends a lot of time on the phone talking to friends and we never see if he’s got his own.  She would have gotten more use out of a TV in her room.

i hope monster posts don't drive people from this thread forever.

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I still think it was reasonable to assume bus girl was KGB.  After all, it actually happened later, with the murderous son being recruited by a young KGB babe. 

It would have been so much better if she was really, we wouldn't have suffered through the endless Pastors scenes.

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On 6/21/2019 at 12:57 PM, Umbelina said:

I still think it was reasonable to assume bus girl was KGB.  After all, it actually happened later, with the murderous son being recruited by a young KGB babe. 

It would have been so much better if she was really, we wouldn't have suffered through the endless Pastors scenes.

Oh, I think we were meant to see the parallels and wonder about it, of course. I only got really frustrated when it was, like, 2 years later and she was still being referred to as a plot hole because she hadn't been revealed as a spy. She was  just part of the whole theme of teenagers being targeted by different belief systems. When you're a kid your parents mostly define who you are, but as adolescents they all go through different phases etc.

It's interesting in this ep, too, where we hear for the first time that Jared played the guitar and had a great voice, plus was great with kids, even if the first thing we heard about him was that he was talented in engineering. By contrast to this complex kid the one revealed at the end just seems brain-washed and desperate.

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