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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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On ‎6‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 7:57 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. 

Paige did an sudden decision to make that bus trip, so how on earth could a KGB agent (and that a teenage girl on the top of it) be in the same place? Cf. Elizabeth's "random" meeting with that scientist in the shop - she had been told that he used to visit it.

Spies must be suspicious but that can turn to paranoia - the same applies to the audience?

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42 minutes ago, Roseanna said:

Paige did an sudden decision to make that bus trip, so how on earth could a KGB agent (and that a teenage girl on the top of it) be in the same place? Cf. Elizabeth's "random" meeting with that scientist in the shop - she had been told that he used to visit it.

Spies must be suspicious but that can turn to paranoia - the same applies to the audience?

Just by watching her.  The KGB would see her buy the ticket and the watcher buys one too.

Buses are easy, you just show up, buy the ticket, and go.  Actually planes were like that back then too, you didn't even need ID.

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11 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Just by watching her.  The KGB would see her buy the ticket and the watcher buys one too.

Buses are easy, you just show up, buy the ticket, and go.  Actually planes were like that back then too, you didn't even need ID.

That would demanded that Paige would have be watched 7/24. KGB has hardly so much personnel in the US. 

Theories like that reminds me the unsolved murders of camping teenagers in Finland 1960. Some amateur sleuths were convinced that it was done by the CIA because on the other side of the lake some members of the Finnish-American Society were camping - these Finns were of course Americans who were of course CIA men whose real target were KGB agents... 

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8 minutes ago, Roseanna said:

That would demanded that Paige would have be watched 7/24. KGB has hardly so much personnel in the US. 

Philip mentioned that the KGB was going to have someone watch the kids (due to the murder of the other spy couple).  However, it's very unlikely that person would have been a fellow teenager like the girl on the bus. (Philip also mentioned at some point that the KGB changed their minds about someone following the kids, but I don't remember when that happened).

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11 minutes ago, Domestic Assassin said:

Philip mentioned that the KGB was going to have someone watch the kids (due to the murder of the other spy couple).  However, it's very unlikely that person would have been a fellow teenager like the girl on the bus. (Philip also mentioned at some point that the KGB changed their minds about someone following the kids, but I don't remember when that happened).

I just watched the scene so I know! In the next ep Philip says to Claudia the Centre put people on the kids then took them off, presumably after they knew Jared did it. He doesn’t know why himself. But those people were supposed to be invisible anyway, not plants to get Paige to church.  In the end Kelly really was a girl on a bus. She was recruiting for the church because she was a real member of it who the other kids knew as such. The KGB could have followed her on a bus but they weren't.

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Yes, but there are a lot of adults who look young, and they are often used for just these kind of things, by law enforcement, and certainly by intelligence agencies.

She (quite logically) could have been KGB, and Claudia could have been lying to the Jennings as well, or kept out of the KGB loop, as she says she was with the KGB Jared operation.

Either way, it's a spy show, or was, and the KGB wanted a second generation, and could have had a back up plan, such as blond girl on the bus.  It wasn't, and instead we got stuck with the Pastors.

Edited by Umbelina

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3 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Either way, it's a spy show, or was, and the KGB wanted a second generation, and could have had a back up plan, such as blond girl on the bus.  It wasn't, and instead we got stuck with the Pastors. 

Yes, the thing about Kelly is I think we are meant to make more connection than just "every random character is a spy" like the guy who picks them up hitch hiking. We're surely supposed to notice how Paige and Kelly's meeting sounds so much like the way the Jennings happen to run into people, particularly the way she starts up a conversation and how we cut away and come back to Paige spilling her guts. Plus Kelly giving her a phone number and promising a way for her to hanging out with people who "get it." And those parallels continue with the Pastor and his groups and his Bible etc.

If the Kelly story was about her being a Russian Tuan it just would have been a totally different story. One totally in conflict with the story they wanted to tell where Philip and Elizabeth were ordered to recruit Paige and Communism vs. the Church.

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Tuan could have been so very interesting, so could that Russian family. 

Instead, we basically get one great scene out of it all, the rush to save their kid in spite of the FBI closely watching it all.

It just made so little sense on so many levels, especially that the FBI hadn't already vetted Tuan and noticed his story was whack, and then the idiotic conclusion of it all, blackmailing the wife to "spy" on the Deputy Head of Moscow station.

Which?  Yeah, NEVER HAPPEN.  EVER.  No chance. Spies assigned to Moscow were the best of the best, trained more, proven more, and some housewife in a panic is supposed to spy on him?  First of all, not a chance in hell he would go through the hoops to get out of the station to see her, and if she showed up there, obviously the KGB would know all about it in less time than it takes me to type this sentence, and I type very fast.

Even to leave the station to meet with actual important people for intelligence purposes in Moscow took many people, and a lot of work.  One story on that RED DVD commentary I talked about in the other threads?  (highly recommend that, I love Bob Baer) He talks about what it took to get out to see a contact in Moscow.

Two CIA couples went to a party, in the bathroom, the two men switched clothing, and put on specially designed latex masks to impersonate each other, then left separately with the other guy's wife.  One was heavily watched, one was not, and the watched one was able to meet his contact, dressed and looking like the other guy.

Sure, the Deputy Chief is going to involve all those people just to get laid by some middle aged Russian housewife?  Sure.

I wish we'd known Tuan more, and why he was there at all.  I really wish we had seen the Phil and Liz really talk about what he said about the USSR.  I know Tuan was supposed to be an "Elizabeth before" stand in, but that never really hit either.

I just broke down and bought season 5 and 6 DVD's even though I disliked both seasons.  I'm hoping on rewatch I won't hate them quite so much.

Edited by Umbelina
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44 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Sure, the Deputy Chief is going to involve all those people just to get laid by some middle aged Russian housewife?  Sure.

I couldn't help at the time thinking that even without all that there was just a great chance that the guy would be at best annoyed that she showed up in Moscow and at worse, and probably most likely, would of course know she was spying. How else would she have gotten back there without problems etc.? He would know her story, after all!

But again, even without that, a guy who knows he's going to Moscow decides to have a fling with his Russian teacher...that's a guy who's planning on a short-term affair with an expiration date. There's just zero reason to think that this guy is so into his Russian teacher in the US that she's going to be any sort of priority when he's moving to Moscow. And that's all without the fact that anybody in American intelligence would know immediately that she was being used to spy on him. She'd probably get immediately blackmailed into spying for the US and would be dead within the week. (Leaving Pasha to wonder if maybe Dad wasn't right after all...)

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So much potential dissolved into nonsense.

Pasha had ONE friend, ONE, in the whole damn school, and the FBI who is carefully watching that family doesn't investigate him and his "pilot and flight attendant" parents who are NEVER home?  Sure.  OK.  Yeah.

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16 hours ago, Roseanna said:

Paige did an sudden decision to make that bus trip, so how on earth could a KGB agent (and that a teenage girl on the top of it) be in the same place? Cf. Elizabeth's "random" meeting with that scientist in the shop - she had been told that he used to visit it.

Spies must be suspicious but that can turn to paranoia - the same applies to the audience?

I think it was paranoia and the show played on that.  It was reasonable to assume but also kinda silly to assume as well.

I think it’s the same kind of paranoia that goes into the Renee question.  She has never done anything suspicious enough but everyone including Philip thinks she is a spy.   Which is why I thought leaving the question open was mean as all hell but also genius.

Edited by Chaos Theory
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52 minutes ago, Chaos Theory said:

I think it was paranoia and the show played on that.  It was reasonable to assume but also kinda silly to assume as well.

I think it’s the same kind of paranoia that goes into the Renee question.  She has never done anything suspicious enough but everyone including Philip thinks she is a spy.   Which is why I thought leaving the question open was mean as all hell but also genius.

In order to be able to read or watch fiction one must make an agreement to believe its premises. In The Americans, the FBI can't always make excellent work for otherwise Jenningses had been caught in S1 and there would be no series.

Of course one can't believe all, but there is a difference between obvious and/or grave things that you can't believe when you read or watch (and that destroy your enjoyment) and things that you don't believe afterwards when you have thought the series thoroughly.

Besides, looking from the oppsite POV, one simply can't describe reality as it is. The audience would yeawn if all was told. Thefore, one must choose those things that are relevant to the plot and characters - but add some "red herrings".

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6 hours ago, Chaos Theory said:

I think it’s the same kind of paranoia that goes into the Renee question.  She has never done anything suspicious enough but everyone including Philip thinks she is a spy.   Which is why I thought leaving the question open was mean as all hell but also genius.

But in Renee's case I think she did do suspicious things from the audience's pov--it just wasn't clear if it was her or bad writing. It wasn't so much the things she did that follow the script the Jennings used so many times we automatically see it as suspicious: Renee being totally into Stan immediately after running into him at the gym, Renee encouraging him to stick with counterintelligence (like Clark did with Martha), Renee announcing in middle age that she wants to start a career at the FBI that she could only get with an insider to pull strings. Plus Philip bringing it up as a possibility, putting her in play the way other people the audience thought could be spies weren't. (She still doesn't seem real to him after knowing her for three years--and he studies people for a living.)

But it seems like the bigger problem the audience had was that she just seemed so much like a fake person. It wasn't  like with Pastor Tim where people liked the idea of him being a spy and came up with elaborate explanations for all the ways he obviously wasn't a spy because with Renee the only counter narrative was an empty space. It seemed like a choice between Renee being a spy who wasn't really as good at this stuff as Philip and Elizabeth or Renee being a character being underwritten just so she'd seem like a spy to the audience. The "is she a spy" question is practically the only thing that makes the character seem like there's a plausible person underneath there somewhere, imo.

Though to me I honestly didn't care if she was a spy or not (since I had no way of caring about her as a character in her own right even at the level of the season 5 honeypots)--the thing I liked about her was just what it said about Stan, that he'd somehow embraced this performative relationship because he's ultimately more comfortable with people treating him as the person he's trying to project he is instead of knowing the real person. It's like Stan gave up on the authenticity that got him into trouble with his first family so everyone would think he was normal. 

It's really a shame he can't have a relationship with the real Philip.

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Just had to tell you guys-- went to dinner this past Sunday and the restaurant had a poster that said "as seen in The Americans" . Turns out it the place where Philip kills the Afghan fellow, wounds his companion and then has to kill the busboy because the kid sees Philip without his wig. Gruesome episode (season 2, episode 1) that I've never forgotten.

Kind of weird that the restaurant is hyping it since it was so violent. But I guess any advertising is good.

I even checked IMDB and the restaurant is listed.

Ps, the food was great!

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As I posted probably way upthread now, Matthew’s in the new movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which is based on the magazine article resulting from the interaction between the beloved late PBS children’s show host Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, & a writer who was assigned/hired to write about him (I can’t remember if the writer works for the magazine or was hired as a freelance writer). 2-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks plays Mister Rogers & our own Emmy Award winner, Matthew Rhys, plays the writer.

The (first?) trailer for the movie recently came out. Tom & Matthew have about equal screen time in it, I think. The movie’s scheduled to come out at Thanksgiving, according to the beginning of the trailer; the end of the trailer was a little more vague, only saying it was coming out in November, 2019. 

Edited by BW Manilowe · Reason: To change wording for clarity.
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It must be my lucky week, or something. I went back to surfing after posting the previous post, with the trailer for Matthew’s upcoming movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, where his character is hired/assigned to write a magazine profile of beloved PBS children’s show host Mister Rogers.

Shortly after, I was lucky enough to find an article from Entertainment Weekly, which was about current/upcoming movies that are based on magazine articles, with the original articles linked. The article A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on is among those written about & linked; so I thought I’d share. It’s titled Can You Say... Hero?, From the November, 1998, Issue of Esquire.

Edited by BW Manilowe · Reason: To add missing words for clarity.
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I might do a longer post later, but I did finally buy the DVD's to 5 and 6, even though I really disliked both seasons, I was going to give them another watch after my anger and frustration has cooled down some. 

Season 5 didn't annoy me nearly as much as while watching it "live."  I think part of that is that I knew it would be a slow season going in, so didn't expect (this time) the lovely "edge of your seat/tension" stuff The Americans had always done so very well in the first 4 seasons.  Also, it probably helped that it's been a while since I watched those seasons. 

@sistermagpie, for example, on rewatch it seems the KGB was only going to use the Russian wife to blackmail the CIA deputy chief of Moscow station...which?  While still ridiculous, is far less ridiculous that them having her spy on him. 

I still wish they'd had more reaction/discussion between Philip and Elizabeth about the things the husband revealed to them about how it really is in Moscow.  Elizabeth's denial and hand waving away the disasters unfolding there has always annoyed me, especially since we had actual FILM of things like empty store shelves on TV by then, etc.  It was an opportunity the show didn't take. 

Tuan, though hated by most here, was still a fascinating character, and while I can certainly see why he hates Americans and what they did to his country?  I wish they'd filled in his story a little bit more, how did such a young kid end up working for the KGB?  What WAS "his agency" that loaned him to the KGB, and why would they do that for this particular mission?

Still, I liked him as a character, he was Elizabeth without Philip's influence, but I don't think many people quite got that, and it could have used some fleshing out.

Overall though, though this season was completely different than the earlier seasons, and to me, certainly not "better?"  It wasn't horrible, the character development was good between Philip and Elizabeth (but it could have been so much better, as above!) It just wasn't The Americans, a show which has always managed to have tension even if a character is merely looking out a window through drapes.

--

Season 6? 

Well acted, but I still dislike the endings for everyone, because not one has any hope, they are all so bleak.

Arkady, in an important scene with Oleg's father, tells him that Oleg will probably never get out of prison, Gorbachev doesn't have any power over the KGB.  He also tells him that the KGB will probably come after him, and the father, for thwarting their plans.  What he doesn't say, is that they will also, without a doubt in my mind, come after Oleg's wife and child, and Oleg's mother too.  Those lovely apartments are gone.  Jobs are gone.  They are parasites and associated with traitors. 

As I said back in the old threads, I WATCHED that happen to friends of mine, that IS how it's was done there and then. 

So, Oleg, and Arkady, good men, characters I love?  Are doomed, as are their families.

--

The show not killing Claudia because the directors promised the actress they wouldn't do that was THE BIGGEST mistake of all.  First, it made Elizabeth stupid.  More than that though?  It put Philip and Elizabeth in even more danger than they are already in back in the USSR.  There is no way the KGB is going to let their betrayal go unpunished.  They are dead people walking.

So, more characters with the only realistic expectation being their deaths/imprisonment.

--

Stan betrayed his country and his oath, and all the families of the dead people Elizabeth and Philip have killed over the years.  He will either get caught, or eat his gun in guilt, or confess.  There is no other option for him, he just betrayed every single thing that makes him who he is.  Throw in his wife is probably KGB, and I see a confession letter clearing Henry and a service revolver in his mouth before the year is out.  He also knows Paige will break under questioning, so there is no point in making things even worse by staging a cover up.

Paige will be arrested and questioned relentlessly for a very long time.  She will break, probably in the first few hours of questioning.  She's not smart enough to avoid being trapped in a stupid lie, and even the slightest threat to Henry will have her spilling her conflicted guts.  She's an accessory to murder, and, like Oleg, guilty of espionage.  She's done.

Henry?  Who knows?  He's the only character on screen besides the FBI guys who may have a chance at happiness someday.  School is done, foster care likely, they may emancipate him early, and he could get a job somewhere near Paige's prison, IF he ever wants to see her again.  He probably will, at least to question her.  Will he later pull himself up by his bootstraps?  Maybe.  Will his friends support him or turn on him?  Probably a mix, but he won't have the money to hobnob with them anymore anyway.

---

So, while the final season, with the uptake in Elizabeth murdering innocent people was not boring?  I can't get away from the bleak ends for every single character on screen.  I just don't like that.  I would have settled for Oleg getting away and his family being OK!  For just one happy ending.

We didn't get any, not if you've actually read anything about the USSR, the KGB, and those times.

I would have probably still fan-wanked my way to thinking Oleg would be traded and they wouldn't find out about his father taking coded messages, and Arkady might survive, EXCEPT the show went out of it's way to include that Arkady scene telling us there is no chance of Oleg getting out, and that they were all in grave danger now too.

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59 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

for example, on rewatch it seems the KGB was only going to use the Russian wife to blackmail the CIA deputy chief of Moscow station...which?  While still ridiculous, is far less ridicul

Are they going to threaten her to get him to do what they want? Is that why they needed her in Moscow rather than just using the info of his affair in the US?

1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

I still wish they'd had more reaction/discussion between Philip and Elizabeth about the things the husband revealed to them about how it really is in Moscow.  Elizabeth's denial and hand waving away the disasters unfolding there has always annoyed me, especially since we had actual FILM of things like empty store shelves on TV by then, etc.  It was an opportunity the show didn't take. 

It would have made sense to play this up more, too, because ultimately it's very very important and it's there from the beginning. In the pilot Henry asks why mom wouldn't want a racing stripe on the car and Philip says, not entirely joking, that Elizabeth doesn't like "new things." And then in the last season a big part of her state of mind is her and Claudia wanting things to not just stay the same, but living in the past, while Oleg, Philip and Arkady are however imperfectly trying to deal with present problems. And they're seeing a lot of those problems as internal while Elizabeth and Claudia still see them more as just external. (Though they do see the reformers as threats as well.)

We do explicitly see the different ways they relate to the present day USSR, but we don't get a lot about it.

1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

Tuan, though hated by most here, was still a fascinating character, and while I can certainly see why he hates Americans and what they did to his country?  I wish they'd filled in his story a little bit more, how did such a young kid end up working for the KGB?  What WAS "his agency" that loaned him to the KGB, and why would they do that for this particular mission?

You just can't help but wonder about how the KGB would feel the need to ask Vietnamese Intelligence to borrow an Illegal for this job. Is Tuan as young as he looks? Why do the Vietnamese have this program of sending over people as kids? Tuan himself made for an interesting character, but when you poke the Vietnamese side of it it raises a lot of questions. Like I can understand why they might not want to risk a kid with a backstory of being Russian or for some reason not want to risk a young-looking Directorate-S agent, but it's convenient the Vietnamese have this odd program, then!

That said, I think they could have done more interesting things with Tuan as well to reflect P&E. There's clearly stuff there with his calling his foster family and turning on them etc., but I'd have liked to have seen more. Maybe even a little reminder that Elizabeth also reported Philip for similar bourgeoisie concerns.

1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

The show not killing Claudia because the directors promised the actress they wouldn't do that was THE BIGGEST mistake of all.  

This bothers me too, but I honestly don't think they left her alive because they promised the actress anything. I think that promise was more about not killing her off in response to MM's scheduling conflicts, which they didn't. Claudia was right there till the end. That's what I think MM was asking for. I can't imagine she would have objected to a death scene, especially in the second to last episode. 

Not only is it so much more logical on a practical level, I'm surprised they didn't want to go for the dramatic high point either. I guess they figured Elizabeth's murder of Tatiana was supposed to be that, but it felt like they just really wanted Claudia to remain a badass throughout with Elizabeth coming to ultimately respect her instead of coming down more definitively on Elizabeth rejecting Claudia's manipulation.

It's like when Gabriel left and Philip was a bit too hard on him, saying he didn't care about them, he was just manipulating him. Elizabeth said he could be both. In Gabriel's case that was basically true, because he actually cared about them enough to know when he'd crossed a line and leave.

Watching the early seasons as I am, Claudia is just constantly pushing herself to Elizabeth as someone who "sees her" better than anyone else, as if they have this amazing personal connection and only Claudia can really care for her, but from beginning to end she's fine with using Elizabeth for her own ends--like her very personal ends that aren't just orders delivered from the Centre. But it's like the show wanted to keep Elizabeth ambivalent until the very end. Meanwhile Claudia and Philip have essentially no relationship at all. 

I was thinking how in the last season Elizabeth tried to make Paige into a person herself and Philip kind of tried to become a person like Henry. But ultimately they couldn't be what came naturally to the other person. Not just because of a lack of skill (Philip seems perfectly competent as a small business owner outside of his expansion mistake) but because their hearts really weren't in it.

Though of course with Elizabeth/Paige you've got Elizabeth literally trying to put Paige into the same job while also making her a Russian. Henry's not specifically working towards being a businessman himself, it's just more about Henry being happy and a natural fit with his Jennings life while Philip's seeing more and more that he's not actually this guy. 

I think Henry will have a lot of emotional problems to work through but I still take his whole storyline in 5/6 as saying he'll be materially fine. I don't think he'll be rejected by his school connections at all--quite the contrary.

Paige, I don't know. Everything about her story in the last 3 seasons is the opposite of Henry in terms of resources. So much of her energy went into denial, right up until the end, she wouldn't even have thought about a plan that would address the truth. I don't even think she'd need a threat to Henry to tell the truth. I think she'd be dying to do it. She'd see the FBI as the new people who'll really listen to her. 

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30 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

Are they going to threaten her to get him to do what they want? Is that why they needed her in Moscow rather than just using the info of his affair in the US?

I was going to mention that.  No reason that I can see that they couldn't have done it in the USA.

S0?  At least as written, a pretty contrived story, and they didn't even capitalize on what SHOULD have led to important discussions about the USSR and what is really happening there between Philip and Elizabeth.

30 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

This bothers me too, but I honestly don't think they left her alive because they promised the actress anything. I think that promise was more about not killing her off in response to MM's scheduling conflicts, which they didn't. Claudia was right there till the end. That's what I think MM was asking for. I can't imagine she would have objected to a death scene, especially in the second to last episode. 

I don't care what they were going for.  It MADE NO SENSE.  It didn't make sense that Elizabeth told her she wasn't going to kill that guy either.  WHY do that?  All it did was force Claudia to send another assassin, and for Liz to kill Tatiana.

Margo brings it up again on the DVD extras, she made them promise not to kill her, and they did.  She brags about it, she's giddy about it.

WHICH?  Combined with Elizabeth spilling her guts to Claudia about Philip and her being against the KGB, without question will lead to their deaths or imprisonment, since Claudia is alive, knows all that shit, is seriously pissed off, and is close to the people Elizabeth just screwed.

Then combine it with Arkady's warning to Oleg's dad?  Elizabeth ensured that her, and her husband's days are numbered back in the USSR.  Also, Claudia is hardly the forgiving type, if she can?  She'll end them herself.  (with the help of the KGB)

30 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

I think Henry will have a lot of emotional problems to work through but I still take his whole storyline in 5/6 as saying he'll be materially fine. I don't think he'll be rejected by his school connections at all--quite the contrary.

You need to remember the times of this.  Henry will probably keep a few friends, but the parents of his other friends will not be happy with their kid associating with a possibly commie spy.

As far as money?  He has none.  Zip.  Even if Stan leaves him money before he kills himself or turns himself in?  Will the expensive school want the press of a commie spy, or at the very least, the child of mass murdering commie soviet spies at their school?  The press alone would be a nightmare, and I'm sure there are some very conservative parents that would threaten to yank their kids and donations as well.

Henry will not be worth the hassle.  Aside from that?  He's a minor, he will probably be placed in foster care, or detention until and if he's cleared.

30 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

Paige, I don't know. Everything about her story in the last 3 seasons is the opposite of Henry in terms of resources. So much of her energy went into denial, right up until the end, she wouldn't even have thought about a plan that would address the truth. I don't even think she'd need a threat to Henry to tell the truth. I think she'd be dying to do it. She'd see the FBI as the new people who'll really listen to her. 

Paige is an adult.  Paige is an idiot.  I'm sure she'll love spilling her guts, even if she momentarily tries not to.  She will give up Stan.  She will admit she was the driver during the murder of the General, which WILL make her an accessory to murder.  Her little fight in that bar will definitely come back to haunt her as well.  She also was there for the warehouse murders and who knows what else.  She helped murder those people and "I didn't know!  But he killed himself!" will not be a defense in court.

She WAS a spy for the KGB.  That's espionage.  That's prison.  Accessory to murders is prison as well.  Her parents getting away is a big enough stain on the FBI and the USA.  Not a chance in hell Paige gets anything but the max.

Which?  I don't care.  I never liked her, and she does deserve it.

Oleg, Arkady, and their families though?  Didn't.

Stan made his own bed, but I do have sympathy for him.

Philip?  I really have sympathy for him, especially because of his wife's hubris in first confessing to Claudia everything, and then leaving her alive.  Liz should die in a dank soviet prison for that stupidity, but Philip?  Should not.

30 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

You just can't help but wonder about how the KGB would feel the need to ask Vietnamese Intelligence to borrow an Illegal for this job. Is Tuan as young as he looks? Why do the Vietnamese have this program of sending over people as kids? Tuan himself made for an interesting character, but when you poke the Vietnamese side of it it raises a lot of questions. Like I can understand why they might not want to risk a kid with a backstory of being Russian or for some reason not want to risk a young-looking Directorate-S agent, but it's convenient the Vietnamese have this odd program, then!

Yes, I agree.  Still, I did love Tuan's story, what we got of it.  It was probably the best part of that season.

It could have been so much better though, with just a couple of additional lines or scenes...

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A few changes, relatively minor changes, could have made season 6 work for me (OK, not completely, but it would have been more palatable for me.  I KNOW I'm relatively alone in this, and it still boggles my mind that critics loved it.  The only thing I can think of is that they really have no clue about the USSR at that time, let alone the KGB, then and now.)

1.  OK, keep that stupid promise to not kill Claudia, BUT, do not have Elizabeth keep spilling her guts to her.  Elizabeth is naively loyal, but she's NOT an idiot.  Making her stupid seriously bothers me.

So, instead?  Set Claudia up as the one who betrayed the power players in the KGB.  Or at least blame a miscommunication from CLAUDIA for Elizabeth betraying the KGB...something.

2.  Stan in the garage.  Great scene, fabulous acting, but seriously folks?  You HAD to ruin Stan's life and support for Henry with that shit?  Couldn't there have been another way, rather than Stan's flat out betrayal of his country?  IF that had to happen?  DO NOT KILL TWO FBI AGENTS right before that happens!  Good God.

3.  Renee?  Cheap trick writers, seriously lame and annoying.

4.  If it all had to happen the way they wrote it, then have Philip and Elizabeth go on the run...have another exit plan in place...not right back into the arms of very angry, very powerful enemies.  OR, at least, instead of nothing but music for most of the ending?  Let Arkady plan with them during that car ride, ideas of how to stay alive.

5.  Oleg.  Really?  Did they have to ruin his life and his entire family's lives?  Why not have the big scene for Stan be saving Oleg?  Have a different tense scene with Philip! 

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7 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I don't care what they were going for.  It MADE NO SENSE.  It didn't make sense that Elizabeth told her she wasn't going to kill that guy either.  WHY do that?  All it did was force Claudia to send another assassin, and for Liz to kill Tatiana.

LOL! I know it's like...why not just not do it? She thinks you're out there doing it. She could wait it out and even pretend she didn't get a chance while also sending back the warning via Philip. She totally had the power to protect the guy and lie to Claudia--did she forget she was a spy?

I get that Elizabeth as a personality likes to look someone in the face and state her position, especially Claudia, and I can see the parallel they wanted with Philip/Elizabeth vs. Elizabeth/Claudia vs. Elizabeth/Paige but it just doesn't make sense in that scene. Plus my memory of my reaction to the scene was that it didn't work as well emotionally as the two other scenes (though I think the Paige/Elizabeth scene is mostly fantastic on Elizabeth's side and a microcosm of Paige's limits on the other).

7 hours ago, Umbelina said:

You need to remember the times of this.  Henry will probably keep a few friends, but the parents of his other friends will not be happy with their kid associating with a possibly commie spy.

For me the whole logic of the final few episodes just seems so consistently about how Henry had already launched himself into life with his scholarships and summer job at the tannery that whatever would or wouldn't happen in the real world, according to all the information the show's giving me (not just in this story but according to past things that had happened) it seemed like they were saying Henry's future was laid out and Philip left in order to not ruin it. Rather than Henry's future crashing down because Philip got caught.

Paige's life is, of course, the opposite. I'm sure even a cursory look at her life if you're wondering if she was involved would make it pretty obvious and plenty of the holes in her schedule clearly lining up with these crimes. Of course, as I said in the other forum, Stan's own movements on the night of the escape don't hold up either. He left his watch for a period of time during which he admitted to "going by" Paige's place and finding that "nobody was there" where it would be hard to explain how he'd managed to miss the Jennings coming going. There'd be a doorman in that building.

6 hours ago, Umbelina said:

5.  Oleg.  Really?  Did they have to ruin his life and his entire family's lives?  Why not have the big scene for Stan be saving Oleg?  Have a different tense scene with Philip! 

I think Oleg's sad fate was earned, though, I mean by the show. Oleg started out as the character with all this privilege and was a character who very rarely if ever, iirc, didn't do the right thing. He totally deserved to be saved but the system doesn't care--either the USSR system or the USA system. Part of what his relationship with Stan so interesting was that even after everything he never was one of those people Stan would be that kind of hero for in this kind of situation. Oleg started off with the most of anyone and he lost the most. It's a complete waste on purpose.

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17 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

I think Oleg's sad fate was earned, though, I mean by the show. Oleg started out as the character with all this privilege and was a character who very rarely if ever, iirc, didn't do the right thing. He totally deserved to be saved but the system doesn't care--either the USSR system or the USA system. Part of what his relationship with Stan so interesting was that even after everything he never was one of those people Stan would be that kind of hero for in this kind of situation. Oleg started off with the most of anyone and he lost the most. It's a complete waste on purpose.

I'm trying to think of a single time Oleg didn't do "the right thing."

He was from privilege, but that is not a crime, and his father never participated in corruption, and didn't even use his position to save his son from service in the death trap that was Afghanistan.  His father was honorable, and the show went out of it's way to point out "he never fed from the trough." 

Oleg, every single time I can think of?  Did the right thing.  He also never killed anyone.

Having him, Arkady, his father, and their families all suffer for trying to dial down the threat of nuclear war for the world might be "real" but it's sickening.

The whole cast is doomed, but when I think about it, the only ones I would have liked to see get a break are Oleg, Arkady, and their families, and I would have loved it if Philip escaped, and not back to the USSR.  Where?  Because of Elizabeth, he's a dead man walking.  Henry being OK would have been nice too, but I can't see any logical way they could have accomplished that.

I don't mind Elizabeth dying, I get that she was a patriot and I have no problems with that part of her, it's her utter selfishness and stupidity I object to, spilling her guts to Claudia, ignoring Paige's OBVIOUS incompetence and unsuitability just to make a "mini me" and of course, the way she treated Philip.

I don't mind Stan dying either, because he did betray his oath to all of those victims of Elizabeth and Philip over the years, including fellow FBI officers.  He had a duty and he gave his solemn oath, so honestly?  Fuck Stan, he was on the dark side before he killed innocent Vlad.  Traitors die or are imprisoned, and I'm OK with that.

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On 7/26/2019 at 4:31 PM, Umbelina said:

I'm trying to think of a single time Oleg didn't do "the right thing."

I couldn't either. I thought maybe I was forgetting something but he's really a good guy.

On 7/26/2019 at 4:31 PM, Umbelina said:

He was from privilege, but that is not a crime, and his father never participated in corruption, and didn't even use his position to save his son from service in the death trap that was Afghanistan.  His father was honorable, and the show went out of it's way to point out "he never fed from the trough." 

Oleg, every single time I can think of?  Did the right thing.  He also never killed anyone.

Having him, Arkady, his father, and their families all suffer for trying to dial down the threat of nuclear war for the world might be "real" but it's sickening.

Yup, he risked exactly what he knew he was risking for very good reason and he was the one that wound up getting caught. When he shows up it seems like his privilege means he's going to be an untrustworthy dick, but he's just inexperienced and it turns out he's not at all meant to be a spoiled guy. Arkady eventually picks him because he sees his good character.

On 7/26/2019 at 4:31 PM, Umbelina said:

I don't mind Elizabeth dying, I get that she was a patriot and I have no problems with that part of her, it's her utter selfishness and stupidity I object to, spilling her guts to Claudia, ignoring Paige's OBVIOUS incompetence and unsuitability just to make a "mini me" and of course, the way she treated Philip.

I was glad Elizabeth didn't die because I felt like that was the ending she was constantly wanting and writing for herself. That's the way she thought her story was supposed to end in glory. Not only would she be a hero but then she would see herself as making a sacrifice for the family, clearing up any doubts she had about how she treated them. So I really wanted her to live with all her choices.

Philip, it seemed to me, was ready to live with his. But Elizabeth even in the end held on to the idea that she just had to do this stuff for the good guys.

On 7/26/2019 at 4:31 PM, Umbelina said:

I don't mind Stan dying either, because he did betray his oath to all of those victims of Elizabeth and Philip over the years, including fellow FBI officers.  He had a duty and he gave his solemn oath, so honestly?  Fuck Stan, he was on the dark side before he killed innocent Vlad.  Traitors die or are imprisoned, and I'm OK with that.

I would have been okay with Stan dying, but it didn't seem like his story was really heading that way, unless Philip or Elizabeth killed him so they'd have to live with that or something. 

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7 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

I would have been okay with Stan dying, but it didn't seem like his story was really heading that way, unless Philip or Elizabeth killed him so they'd have to live with that or something. 

The only logical end to Stan is prison or death.  Which?  He deserves.

Elizabeth ending up in a KGB prison doesn't bother me, nor will her torture or execution.

Philip though?  Was another person who really tried to do the right things, and would have, except for Elizabeth, had turned himself in from the moment this story began.  He desperately wanted out, but he was obsessed with Elizabeth, which some saw as romantic, but I saw as both a weakness and a sickness, mentally sick, possibly because of his childhood, which they never bothered to flesh out.

He listened to people when they told him what the USSR really was, from those soviet defectors, to William, and then finally Oleg.  Elizabeth would never hear one thing negative about her country, the closest she came was with that South African rebel who had been shunned/mocked in  Moscow during his training.  "We aren't perfect..." followed by her usually huge "BUT..."

She was willfully stupid, and then incredibly stupid with her handling of Claudia and Paige.

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So finally commenting on the finale more than a year later. Matthew Rhys deserved the Emmy for the garage scene with Stan but Keri Russell nailed the train scene with her shock of seeing Paige on the platform and seeing Elizabeth's hardness disappear with just a devastated mother left. The use of U2's "With or Without You" was sooooooo good.

I posted in the old Americans thread that the most deserving punishment for Elizabeth to me was her seeing the fall of Communism and the Soviet Union losing the Cold War so I'm glad she survived.

Poor Oleg and his family.

I know it's poor consolation and the Jennings, Oleg and Stan really had no way of knowing that they all did the right thing in regards Gorbachev.

I'm really glad they left it ambiguous whether Renee's a spy or not.

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Just re-watched A Little Night Music.

This ep contains a couple of really iconic scenes from the series, like Stan blurting out to Philip that he’s having an affair and Philip telling Elizabeth about it. (He really does blurt it out—Philip’s shyly saying he wants to paint the office and Stan just interrupts to announce  he’s having an affair and it’s hilarious and so is Philip’s face—never breaks character as Stan’s less cool friend.) Elizabeth asks how he got him to spill that information and Philip, to her great consternation, says “We’re friends.” Looking at it now I can imagine Philip himself thinking how great it would be to have a real friend he could blurt things like that out to himself.

I still wonder about Philip saying that Stan has “finally” told him about the affair because I wonder if it means Philip and Elizabeth have been informed of it, or if Philip just figured it out like a friend would. Seems like the latter.

Philip here meets what I think is the second father (the first was the Polish dissident in S1) he will watch/have a hand in separated from his family. He first sees Anton in a synagogue where Philip is dressed like Young Lenin. In an obvious parallel, Paige goes to church right after that.

Oh, and in office drama, Gaad’s being “layered” thanks to Stan’s murdering Vlad and Oleg pulls strings to get a look at Nina’s file, which at this point just makes him seem like a creep. Henry’s still lobbying or Intellevision. I think that scene’s also meant to inform Elizabeth later thinking she hasn’t made the kids able to reject consumerism along with religion. 

This ep has both Philip and Elizabeth arranging emotional scenes to manipulate another person, though one is more real than the other. It’s tempting to look for realness in the fight Philip picks with Martha, but it plays to me more like Philip just saying stuff Clark would feel if he were a real person. He’s very in control of this fight (if not the later consequences), relentlessly looking for more things to complain about until patient Martha finally throws him out. Oh, and when Martha accuses Clark of having come over for sex and leaving after he got what he wanted, I flashed to Elizabeth accusing Philip of just wanting to fuck Kimmie because he’s not getting enough at home.

Elizabeth, meanwhile, describes her rape to Brad Mullins to make him offer to steal Larrick’s file. We know what she’s describing is basically true and it’s no doubt the only time in her life she’s ever actually described it to anyone. Because of the situation she’s not only allowed to be vulnerable talking about it but has to be. This is presumably why Philip was concerned about what she was doing, because they’d have talked about her strategy. (Something she’s missing in S6 and it shows.)

This ep ends with that great surprise of Elizabeth and Philip kidnapping Anton, only for 2 other agents to jump out and grab him. I remember when it first ran somebody saying, “Whoa,  fight between the KGB and the Mossad? That’s like Dracula vs. Yoda!”

Claudia continues chipping away at Elizabeth, claiming that after 3 minute in a car with her she can see that she came back too soon and can’t handle Larrick—even while she's the one sending her after Larrick on her own private mission.  I don’t trust Claudia in any of their interactions. She’s constantly showing up to tell Elizabeth that she knows her better than she knows herself without actually being helpful at all. Claudia does seem to have some private fantasy of her relationship to Elizabeth she's always trying to force on her and I think she always thought it would end with Elizabeth dumping Philip too. There’s some parallel there with Elizabeth/Paige, I guess, though it’s not an exact match.

Speaking of Elizabeth/Paige, Elizabeth bungles things with Paige because she’s so freaked out about her going to church. This is perhaps the beginning of her change of heart about the second-gen program. She says she feels they’re failing their kids by not passing on their values and she does probably feel that, but I think she’s also just furious at realizing that other people might recruit Paige for their own stuff. Philip, meanwhile, just gets one of his great moments where he shows how much Paige can irritate him when she makes a big show of saying grace.

At the end Elizabeth rants about the church indoctrinating children. The most obvious level of the scene is about how completely unselfaware Elizabeth is, claiming she and Philip “know who they are” as if they weren’t themselves indoctrinated far more than Paige has been by any church. The next level is that while Elizabeth is clueless about how she herself was indoctrinated, it would be equally wrong to suggest a religious person might not be just as unselfaware comparing themselves to her. Elizabeth’s analysis of US society, unsurprisingly, isn’t insightful and I’m sure she’s proud of that.

But re-watching it here what really interested me was how she describes the church working. She says, “They indoctrinate them with friendship and songs and cute boys cooing about Jesus.” Watching it now now I immediately think of Elizabeth and Claudia and their Russia club. Usually when Elizabeth actually recruits people (as opposed to tricking them into helping her) she seems to prefer people who are ideologically passionate on their own, like Gregory. Paige does have interest in improving the world, but that doesn't mean this is how she'd want to do it. And throughout the show she’s more consistently shown looking for, thinking about and not having that first thing mentioned—friends and/or romance. She's most passionate about her desires to save the world when it's directly connected to that.

Elizabeth says she and Claudia are teaching Paige about Russian culture, but their meetings look a lot more like friends hanging out. They watch movies, listen to music, cook dinner together. Claudia and Elizabeth tell stories about themselves and Paige asks questions about how they felt etc. and tries to relate it to her own life.

So I’m on the lookout now for references to this sort of thing. Claudia already told that story about the guy who sounded like Paige, the guy who was a loner who “never learned how to make friends” so Claudia “became his friend.” We know Paige herself will flat-out say she has no friends in S6. Multiple times she says she's afraid she can't have any. Some have questioned why Paige wouldn’t have friends since she’s perfect normal, but it seems like the idea is that yes, Paige is socially normal, but she does have problems making friends. The social activities we see her get really into are the church and her Russia Club, two places where she hangs out with older people who teach her to follow their philosophies and rituals. These groups seem to be the thing she points to at making her feel less alone, yet they don’t give her friends. She’s not even close to Marilyn, with whom she works but is not in the little club created specifically to make Paige feel like “family.” 

Paige’s relationship to “the work” is a shaky at best. She’s not good at it. She’s not motivated to get better at it. She doesn’t seem to particularly enjoy it, though she seems reluctant to say just how little. (She says that after the warehouse job, where all she did was act as lookout in a car and has no idea anyone was killed, she’s not going to be able to sleep, and alone with Philip asks for advice on how he handled seeing horrible thing like the General’s “suicide”—when Philip advises her to acknowledge her feeling, she obviously doesn’t.) But she still wants to do it. She's "into it."

I feel like one of the many things Elizabeth is fooling herself about in S6 is that she’s telling herself that this really is about Paige's passion for world justice and vision of the world while even she can see that what Paige needs to stay in is friendship—being “a part of something” means connection with other people. That's why she feels Paige needs these scheduled friendship activities that imply she's personally closer than a normal recruit while also lying to her about...well, everything. She's giving her a rose-colored vision of Russia, herself, what she does and what Paige herself will do.

She's totally luring her in with friendship and golubtsy and cooing about Tchaikovsky.

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2 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

Philip here meets what I think is the second father (the first was the Polish dissident in S1) he will watch/have a hand in separated from his family. He first sees Anton in a synagogue where Philip is dressed like Young Lenin. In an obvious parallel, Paige goes to church right after that.

I'm confused about what you're trying to say here.  Is there a word missing from that first sentence?

I really love reading your episode analyses, though I rarely have anything to add.  I'm glad you've kept them up!

Quote

She’s constantly showing up to tell Elizabeth that she knows her better than she knows herself without actually being helpful at all. Claudia does seem to have some private fantasy of her relationship to Elizabeth she's always trying to force on her and I think she always thought it would end with Elizabeth dumping Philip too.

I remember a Paley Fest (?) panel I think after the first season where Matthew Rhys I think half-jokingly said to Margo Martindale that he was playing the Philip/Claudia/Elizabeth relationship as a love triangle.  I've thought of it like that (not necessarily in a literal sense) every since.

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1 hour ago, Domestic Assassin said:

I'm confused about what you're trying to say here.  Is there a word missing from that first sentence?

I really love reading your episode analyses, though I rarely have anything to add.  I'm glad you've kept them up!

Thank you! I'm glad anybody can get anything out of them. I just get all excited again every time I watch an episode and can put it in context!

I think I should have broken up that first part into 2 paragraphs. The first thought was just about Anton being a father Philip was going to separate from his family, which is both Philip's big fear and his own future.

Then I just noticed other unrelated things--Philip sees Anton in a synagogue and then Paige goes to church, so there's a religion theme introduced. In her rant Elizabeth mentions both churches and synagogues being the opiate of the people. And I threw in a mention of Philip looking like Lenin because that disguise just always makes me laugh.

1 hour ago, Domestic Assassin said:

I remember a Paley Fest (?) panel I think after the first season where Matthew Rhys I think half-jokingly said to Margo Martindale that he was playing the Philip/Claudia/Elizabeth relationship as a love triangle.  I've thought of it like that (not necessarily in a literal sense) every since.

Ha! Yes! Even here I was thinking that Claudia plays a similar role to Gregory in terms of who she thinks Elizabeth should be. You can sort of track that love triangle story, too. Claudia probably thinks she's won by S6, even stepping in with Paige. When Claudia tells Elizabeth that she has nothing left once she betrays Claudia. She says she has her big house, her "American" children and then she adds "Philip?" as if she thinks that's a twist of the knife, like Elizabeth's over him by now. No idea she's in it with him.

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I like them too @sistermagpie!

Philip nailed it in one episode when he told/accused Elizabeth of "grooming" Paige.  That's exactly what she'd been doing and continued to do with Paige, and the reason she kept taking her over to Claudia's later to boost that process.  I'm pretty sure it was in an early episode, one involving the church, and before Paige found even out they were soviet spies.

They were both, Claudia and Elizabeth, treating Paige like any asset/recruit, only doing it full time, sort of a quadruple dose of all of that process.

It still bothers me that the few times Philip tried to step in it was either too little too late (because he'd let the process from Claudia and Elizabeth go unchecked for too long,) or because Elizabeth shut him down and made all the rules.

"Can I stay here tonight?" asked a shaken Paige.

"Sure, of course!" or something similar from Philip.

"NO.  Go home." etc from Elizabeth.

Paige leaves.

The only time Philip ever steps up is when he fights the arrogant, overconfident, dismissive Paige in the apartment, and that scene was a thing of beauty.  EXCEPT it ended too soon.  Yes, he made his point with actions, instead of words, which was great.  At the end though?  I wish he'd used his words as well.  He's her damn father, he sees clearly what is happening to his daughter, but he lets it go on.   He took her hubris down a notch, but only about fighting.   I don't think that was enough.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: clarity
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14 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I like them too @sistermagpie!

Philip nailed it in one episode when he told/accused Elizabeth of "grooming" Paige.  That's exactly what she'd been doing and continued to do with Paige, and the reason she kept taking her over to Claudia's later to boost that process.  I'm pretty sure it was in an early episode, one involving the church, and before Paige found even out they were soviet spies.

Thanks!

I think I know the scene you mean. It's maybe first ep of season 3, after they've both gone to see Gabriel for the first time. I think the word he uses is assessing--"you're assessing her" to refer to her going to church with Paige, which he now sees was "all bullshit." He thought she was trying to make a closer relationship with Paige and now sees she's using the church group to find a way in to turn her.


It's very much like S6 where Paige gets more and more dismissive of Philip because he's discouraging about her new political beliefs. She doesn't understand it's because even then he sees her being manipulated by Elizabeth. I wonder how he'd have reacted if she'd asked him questions about how spies manipulate people. We know he's willing to flat-out lie to her, but I think he would have tried to be more honest than Elizabeth was.

14 hours ago, Umbelina said:

They were both, Claudia and Elizabeth, treating Paige like any asset/recruit, only doing it full time, sort of a quadruple dose of all of that process.

It still bothers me that the few times Philip tried to step in it was either too little too late (because he'd let the process from Claudia and Elizabeth go unchecked for too long,) or because Elizabeth shut him down and made all the rules.

"Can I stay here tonight?" asked a shaken Paige.

"Sure, of course!" or something similar from Philip.

"NO.  Go home." etc from Elizabeth.

Paige leaves.

The only time Philip ever steps up is when he fights the arrogant, overconfident, dismissive Paige in the apartment, and that scene was a thing of beauty.  EXCEPT it ended too soon.  Yes, he made his point with actions, instead of words, which was great.  At the end though?  I wish he'd used his words as well.  He's her damn father, he sees clearly what is happening to his daughter, but he lets it go on.   He took her hubris down a notch, but only about fighting.   I don't think that was enough.

Yeah, I really wish there had been at least another scene after that one to put a cap on it. Instead he just sort of went back to being in the background and Paige acted like that didn't happen. I think part of that is meant to play into the confrontation in Jennings, Elizabeth, but it's hard to tell--I honestly can't pin down anything specific about what's going on with Paige there beyond what's right on the page. Like I get that she's having this revelation and rejecting Elizabeth because of it, but I get nothing about her inner logic or why it happened etc. 

They were just so careful to include so many Elizabeth/Paige scenes while Philip's scenes with her are by contrast pretty passive. It's great when he does finally cut through the bullshit, but it doesn't lead to a specific change like the Paige/Elizabeth scenes eventually do.

This makes me think about Henry too, though, specifically the way that Elizabeth is so hands-off with him. She basically tells us that she starts off worried about Paige in ways she doesn't worry about Henry--she's "fragile." Presumably she sees herself in Paige or worries about ways she doesn't see herself in her. Then she hits on this giant thing she has in common when Paige gets interested in protesting with the church.

I know the writers made reference in interviews to a sort of "deal" between the two parents where Elizabeth leaves Henry alone and somehow the Centre does the same, but that seems like a cop-out. It avoids how Elizabeth probably couldn't have recruited Henry if she tried. She probably wouldn't even know where to start.  I suspect if Philip assessed Henry he'd just come back and say it was a non-starter. Paige had certain things that made her obviously vulnerable and Henry didn't. (Sure everybody's probably got something that would make them vulnerable--Henry's not superhuman, but so many things about his personality point to him being a bad target.) 

I feel like Henry's own feelings about his parents are summed up in that convo with Stan where he seems to nail Elizabeth in saying that he just wasn't something she thought about much, wasn't a priority. When she calls him to talk he knows something's up. His dad, too, often put work first, but he saw that he put in the effort with Henry. I guess that was even more obvious since he removed himself from the situation by going to school. 

One day Paige probably won't be able to help looking back on all that "bonding time" and see all the lies. (She says she already sees it that way.) Henry would go through his own version of that when he knows that the guy he thought he was spending time with wasn't actually a milquetoast travel agent. But I think he'll realize Philip really had no other reason to be there for him besides wanting to be there. Mother/daughter church time was bullshit Elizabeth was using to assess Paige (despite having real feelings for her). Philip/Henry times were just about Henry and whatever Henry or Philip was interested in.

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15 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

One day Paige probably won't be able to help looking back on all that "bonding time" and see all the lies. (She says she already sees it that way.) Henry would go through his own version of that when he knows that the guy he thought he was spending time with wasn't actually a milquetoast travel agent. But I think he'll realize Philip really had no other reason to be there for him besides wanting to be there. Mother/daughter church time was bullshit Elizabeth was using to assess Paige (despite having real feelings for her). Philip/Henry times were just about Henry and whatever Henry or Philip was interested in.

Yes, Paige will have a lot of time to think about all of it, since she will probably spend decades, if not her entire life in prison.

The FBI has so much on Philip and Elizabeth, they just didn't have the names to put with the crimes until now.  Their various murders will almost all come out, and be splashed across the newspapers, as the real life couples who inspired this show were.  Only Philip and Elizabeth's will be even more sensational since they actually murdered so many people.  Blood sells papers.

When they are questioning Paige for example, they will damn sure get details from her that will show, for sure, Elizabeth killed those people in the warehouse when she was the lookout (thus again, guilty of accessory to murders, and espionage.)  She will, in the extensive questioning, eventually mention that sailor who hit on her too, and find out Elizabeth also killed him.

Pretty sure Kimmy will recognize Philip and tell her dad too, their photos will be all over the papers.  Will that Korean woman or her husband also recognize Elizabeth? 

Aside from Henry being the child of soviet spies?  He will be the son of mass murderers as well.  It's going to be a bumpy ride for him.

Edited by Umbelina

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7 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Yes, Paige will have a lot of time to think about all of it, since she will probably spend decades, if not her entire life in prison.

I remember one recap of the last ep where they said that Paige originally was going to Russia having been "bullied" by her parents and I thought...this is another one of those times where there's a disconnect from reality. They're hustling her out of the apartment toward Russia because she is absolutely one of them. She's committed very serious crimes. She's sworn allegiance to their country against her own. This isn't her parents deciding she'd rather go antique shopping with them without asking if she's got plans with her friends. She made her choice already--a serious, life-defining choice. The fact that she herself still doesn't understand that doesn't make it not true. She was working for the Russians and she knew it. There's no more "But what does Paige want?" here.

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1 hour ago, sistermagpie said:

I think part of that is meant to play into the confrontation in Jennings, Elizabeth, but it's hard to tell--I honestly can't pin down anything specific about what's going on with Paige there beyond what's right on the page. Like I get that she's having this revelation and rejecting Elizabeth because of it, but I get nothing about her inner logic or why it happened etc. 

I really wish that episode had spent less time on those flashbacks that didn't tell us anything about Elizabeth they hadn't told us many times before (and only seemed to be to set up the line about not leaving a comrade to die in the street), and instead spent that time showing Paige getting to that realization at the end.  All that time spent on Paige's story and the crux of it was waived over in an exposition dump.

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32 minutes ago, Domestic Assassin said:

I really wish that episode had spent less time on those flashbacks that didn't tell us anything about Elizabeth they hadn't told us many times before (and only seemed to be to set up the line about not leaving a comrade to die in the street), and instead spent that time showing Paige getting to that realization at the end.  All that time spent on Paige's story and the crux of it was waived over in an exposition dump.

I would have liked more Philip flashbacks as well, and what the hell was that whole season spent watching his son escape, and then get within a few miles of his father and be sent back?  As if the fact that he'd already been in trouble and then escaped would be wiped away with some kind of "oh well...kids!" by the USSR.

Please.

Also, hello!  FREEDOM!  He could have outran Gabe easily, and turned himself in to the Americans.  We didn't send defectors back, we found them homes, and supported them with things like jobs.  Why would he EVER willingly go back to the USSR?  They put him in a mental institution for telling the truth about the war.

Edited by Umbelina

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5 hours ago, Domestic Assassin said:

I really wish that episode had spent less time on those flashbacks that didn't tell us anything about Elizabeth they hadn't told us many times before (and only seemed to be to set up the line about not leaving a comrade to die in the street), and instead spent that time showing Paige getting to that realization at the end.  All that time spent on Paige's story and the crux of it was waived over in an exposition dump.

I think about that confrontation scene a lot for that reason. Holly Taylor always had that weakness of playing what another poster identified as "conversational reality" with nothing deeper or beyond what was there in the lines. In earlier seasons that was, imo, what made people say Paige's scenes were repetitive when they weren't really any more repetitive than anyone else's.

But in earlier seasons we were also more spoonfed what was going on with Paige. Either she'd explain her feelings in detail or she'd be in scenes with people who would say stuff for her to react to or we saw the thing she was worried about etc. Only in the last season it's part of the story that she's an adult and Elizabeth isn't seeing her beyond their scenes together so neither are we. HT has to make Paige's college life etc. real even when it's off-screen but imo, she doesn't. So even that big confrontation just feels like Paige coming in to play a confrontation scene because it's in the script.

I can't help but compare it to Henry whose outside life, to me at least, seems completely real. St. Edwards, his friends, the girl who broke up with him, his friend's parents--especially that one mother he talks about to Stan, the one who never think about anything but her kids. I believe that woman exists and can imagine Henry meeting her/hearing about her. He brings it all up in natural ways. By contrast any time Paige tells Elizabeth about Brian it just seems like script exposition to give her an excuse to dramatize Elizabeth's relationship with Paige. (Again, very different from Philip/Henry scenes that feel to me more like two equal people with two equally important/complex lives.)

So after the fight instead of being able to look back and see what was going on with Paige the whole time it just feels like an exposition dump. You can find lines and moments that were leading up to it, sure, but nothing in the performance, particularly. There's nothing contradictory in the performance either, because it's just the lines said in a logical way.

With the Elizabeth flashback, not only does it not tell us anything we don't know and underline something that we already get, but I feel like it detracts from the emotion of the scene with Paige. Because however flat Paige's side falls for me it's a great scene for Elizabeth and it's just an annoying distraction to have her suddenly thinking about this elaborate, unlikely set piece that we have to get involved in and care about instead of just letting her sit with the far more emotional stuff that's just happened to her in the last 24 hours. If she was just sitting there, think of what she'd be sitting with. It felt like the worst moment to introduce new random characters and situations. It wasn't even originally intended for that episode, iirc, but we just had to see all her flashbacks!

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Question for those still here.

Do any of you honestly think that Misha would return to the USSR? 

After all of that, I simply can't imagine that happening, at all.  Ever.  The only way I might have "bought" that is if Gabe came with enforcers.

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2 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Question for those still here.

Do any of you honestly think that Misha would return to the USSR? 

After all of that, I simply can't imagine that happening, at all.  Ever.  The only way I might have "bought" that is if Gabe came with enforcers.

Funny that I never thought about it before---there's obviously so many reasons for him not to go back. His mother's presumably already been executed there, he himself was thrown in a mental hospital for speaking out and now he just illegally ran out of the country using false documents etc. and potentially threatened an Illegal. You'd think he'd fear going back, yes.

Within the show I assume the idea is that he hadn't planned to defect, he just wanted to meet his father so it wasn't a big thing for him to go back instead of staying. And maybe he would believe he would be endangering his father by being there as a defector somehow. Or he just naturally followed orders when faced with Gabriel's authority.

But still...if just underlines the weirdness of the whole story. We've already got the ending that's meant to go nowhere (except meeting the uncle, a scene that nobody was asking for and didn't address the actual story and just raised more questions), we've got the questions of how on earth Irina was supposed to have arranged this etc. Then we have to add to it the Soviet government being harsh enough to toss him in a mental hospital for pamphlets but then react to his running away like that cop with the little boy in the Norman Rockwell soda shop painting.

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He didn't even know he HAD an uncle.  All he had was a poor old maternal grandfather that, if he revisited him, might draw the eyes of the KGB, since bank it.  Misha will be watched like a hawk for every single day of his life from now on.

Escaping was a BFD.  His grandfather and uncle, in reality, would have probably already been severely punished, because that's how the USSR operated.  Part of the way they discouraged escape was to very publicly (as a warning to others) punish any remaining family.  Frankly, they did that even to remaining families that legally were allowed to leave *the Jewish generally, ala the Anton story, and that family I knew.*

He's a young man.  He's been in the USA, probably into a well stocked store or 5 during his travels, seen people enjoying freedom, nearly everyone with cars, good teeth, nice clothing, etc.  Sure, he will be just thrilled to go back to the hell that was the USSR at that time, where, as you say, he was thrown into a mental institution for saying the war was wrong.  A place he would have probably been in FOR LIFE if his daddy's connections hadn't saved him.

There is just no way he would have returned.  It was utter nonsense.

Edited by Umbelina · Reason: added stuff

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I love that after all the complaints in the old Americans thread about Paige being trained by Elizabeth during the last few seasons because the idea of her being an effective spy was so ludicrous in the end it was all just so they would get to that moment in the finale where Elizabeth's heart actually broke on the train. Also Paige standing on the platform in the wig and glasses is the most badass she's ever looked!

Edited by VCRTracking
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On 8/24/2019 at 9:10 AM, TimWil said:

Just saw this. Wow. A Canadian named Tracy Foley turned out to be a Soviet woman who had been in deep cover for over 20 years. And her and her husband’s story became the basis for The Americans.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/23/russian-spy-elena-vavilova-posed-as-a-canadian-estate-agent-for-over-20-years?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Crazy!!  Sad the show’s ending though, I just started watching.  At least I have a lot of time before I finish watching the series.

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On 8/4/2019 at 4:05 AM, Umbelina said:

He's a young man.  He's been in the USA, probably into a well stocked store or 5 during his travels, seen people enjoying freedom, nearly everyone with cars, good teeth, nice clothing, etc. 

I think that the conception like this is the reason why Westerners have difficulties to understand Russians and Russia.

After the Soviet Union fell, there was a even bigger difference in the standard of living between Northern Russia and Finland than between the US and Mexico, but still there was no sudden wave of hundred thousands refugees coming over the border which we had been afraid of. Sure, people moved here but for the usual reasons, work or or marriage, or because they had Finnish roots (the latter were considered remigrants) although they spoke only Russian.

In the same time, more Estonians (and in percentage terms that is even more essential) came temporarily or permanently to work to Finland, just as many Finns went in 60ies ago to Sweden because of better wages and general work conditions. 

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On 8/19/2019 at 2:10 AM, VCRTracking said:

I love that after all the complaints in the old Americans thread about Paige being trained by Elizabeth during the last few seasons because the idea of her being an effective spy was so ludicrous in the end it was all just so they would get to that moment in the finale where Elizabeth's heart actually broke on the train. Also Paige standing on the platform in the wig and glasses is the most badass she's ever looked!

What a great idea!

Also, Paige's decision was the opposite to Martha's. When she ran away from Gabe, she still had other options: to call the FBi or make an suicide.  

If we accept @Unbelina's belief that Paige would go the prison, was she just too stupid not to see the consequences or too afraid to take a chance to begin her life anew, like Martha did? 

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