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AK84
02-24-2014, 11:51 AM
Starts on Wednesday. And I must say, the trailers look promising.

BrokenBriton
02-24-2014, 04:38 PM
That end of season 1 montage was something else.

S1 was a little variable at times but was really rather clever too. Def worth sticking with imo.

alphaboi867
02-24-2014, 06:16 PM
I can't wait. :) So are we doing boxed or unboxed spoilers in this thread?

DMark
02-25-2014, 01:19 AM
Loved season one, and looking forward to the new season.

I wish Margo Martindale was still in the show though...she won an Emmy for Justified, and did a hell of a job on The Americans - such a waste that she is on that stupid comedy The Millers. But I digress...

The Americans is a great show and hope they keep the pace and twists and turns coming like they did in the first season.

wonderlust
02-25-2014, 10:38 AM
That end of season 1 montage was something else.

S1 was a little variable at times but was really rather clever too. Def worth sticking with imo.

I've forgotten where we left off last season. Is there a season 1 recap video you're referring to?

JacksMom
02-25-2014, 01:23 PM
http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2014/01/m-the-americans-season-2-margo-martindales-return-and-more-from-the-eps.html

(I just picked the first article that came up on search.)

I love Margo Martindale, and her character. I haven't seen The Millers (don't like comedies) but her character on that show can't possibly be better than Claudia.

MsJinx
02-25-2014, 08:05 PM
The recaps on IMDB.com or TV.com are good refreshers.

alphaboi867
02-26-2014, 10:16 PM
Well that did not disappoint. :)

So did Phillip and Elizabeth actually plan for Paige to catch them 69ing, or was it just a happy accident?

LawMonkey
02-26-2014, 10:49 PM
Just an accident, I think. Now have some bacon. :D

LawMonkey
02-26-2014, 11:03 PM
Oh, and a slight anachronism of the sort I don't usually notice--the mustard bottle at the party (Henry's birthday?) early in the episode. So far as I can recall, that particular design of (French's?) mustard squeeze bottle wasn't a thing until the 90s, at the earliest. Back then, I always remember us having the barrel-shaped bottles (of Plochmann's) with the narrow red nozzle for mustard.

(Why the crap do I know this much about mustard bottles?)

AK84
02-27-2014, 02:25 AM
Did anybody else think that the family


of the other couple was doomed?\
I did.

Rudiger Simpson
02-27-2014, 08:48 AM
Oh, and a slight anachronism of the sort I don't usually notice--the mustard bottle at the party (Henry's birthday?) early in the episode. So far as I can recall, that particular design of (French's?) mustard squeeze bottle wasn't a thing until the 90s, at the earliest. Back then, I always remember us having the barrel-shaped bottles (of Plochmann's) with the narrow red nozzle for mustard.

(Why the crap do I know this much about mustard bottles?)

This drove me nuts, too. Plochman's still has the barrel shaped bottle they always had and it's a better visual, too. Shit, prop guys, get it together!

Other than that, though, another great episode. And Rhys in his Martha wig cracks me up every time.

Ellis Dee
02-27-2014, 12:48 PM
Solid start.

There's almost too much good television in the winter months.

Chefguy
02-28-2014, 09:03 AM
Loved season one, and looking forward to the new season.

I wish Margo Martindale was still in the show though...she won an Emmy for Justified, and did a hell of a job on The Americans - such a waste that she is on that stupid comedy The Millers. But I digress...

The Americans is a great show and hope they keep the pace and twists and turns coming like they did in the first season.

The previews of future eps at the end of the season opener showed her at least coming back for some cameos.

Raza
02-28-2014, 10:33 AM
There was some dialog where one of the other agents mentions that Claudia is "still here".

It's interesting to me how much some of the plot lines follow, or at least include, aspects featured in the real-life Soviet espionage book Farewell. For example, when they are in the Soviet embassy and discussing the new Technology employee, I paused and told the Mrs. about how the book emphasized that those from privileged families and sons of prominent figures get most of the plum assignments*...and so it was.

* it was probably the single biggest reason the Soviet spy featured in the book decided to work for the West.

DMark
02-28-2014, 11:06 AM
So glad to hear Claudia (Margo Martindale) is returning, even if just a few episodes!

One of the reasons I love this show so much is that it rings true to me. Back when I lived in Berlin in the 80's, I taught a Russian spy English. He was Director of Aeroflot (the Russian airlines during the USSR days) and was an amazing person. There were two other ESL teachers and we would take turns teaching him intensive English courses every day for about a month.

We agreed we had never had a student like him. You would teach him something today, and by the next day, he had learned every single thing you taught him the day before - without error! The guy was brilliant. The interesting thing was why he wanted to learn English.

He had a chance to move to London to work for the branch of Aeroflot there - and he was desperate to move there with his wife and daughter for a better life. It was a fine line for him to dance upon - being a good party member and loyal to the USSR, but at the same time, doing everything possible to move with his family to London.

The last day of classes, he invited us to his offices and it was a hell of a "farewell" party for me and the other two teachers. He got us blitzed on vodka and we laughed and laughed and had a grand old time in his office, with the picture of Brezhnev on the wall and the odd Russian color television (about the size of a VW) in the corner of his office. His secretarial staff looked exactly like the women on The Americans in the Russian field offices - equally humorless and dour.

I never found out if he ever moved to London, but I always hoped he did - not that I wanted a talented spy there, but if ever someone wanted the best for his family and a chance to escape his surroundings, it was him.

Enough with my walk down memory lane - but just wanted to mention that, yes - some of the stories are over the top, but the basics of assimilating into a different culture as a spy in the 80's is the best aspect of this series.

AK84
02-28-2014, 11:30 AM
The bit when the spy couples discuss the difficulties of raising kids in America really struck a chord with me. They can't be proper immigrants nor put forward their own cultural heritage.

Did Philip not insist his son play Ice Hockey?

Tom Tildrum
02-28-2014, 12:58 PM
The problem with antihero drama like this is that it can be tricky to keep the audience sympathetic to the protagonists, and I thought this episode skated close to that line:

To me, it was Philip reassuring the restaurant worker, then coolly blowing his brains out, then telling his wife what a hard day he had. I think this goes past the basic premise of a guy balancing espionage and family and makes him look a bit like a sociopath.

Plus, now their kids are potentially in harm's way.
Did Philip not insist his son play Ice Hockey?

He did, and that struck me as a tiny bit of Russian nationalism winning out over the need to assimilate, as I think hockey would have been a slightly uncommon choice in the Washington area at that time.

Tamerlane
02-28-2014, 02:52 PM
To me, it was Philip reassuring the restaurant worker, then coolly blowing his brains out, then telling his wife what a hard day he had. I think this goes past the basic premise of a guy balancing espionage and family and makes him look a bit like a sociopath.

It's a good point, but I also think they've gone out of there way to show that that character has a hard time with their own actions. Very, very good at it, yet kind of hating it at the same time. They are going to have some sort of PTSD for the rest of their life for sure.

It just comes down to whether a little self-loathing for evil actions performed are enough to buy some sympathy with the viewing audience. Like you say it is a difficult and delicate line.

AK84
03-06-2014, 04:06 AM
Hmm

1) Please don't let Martha be preggers.
2) Who whacked the other family and whayt exactly did Philip mean that the "center" would take care of the surviving kid.
3) Whose the Nina lookalike with the OD Congressman?
4) DId Nina give Stan a bill of goods?

All in all. Many more questions than answers.

Shalmanese
03-06-2014, 05:18 AM
Oh, and a slight anachronism of the sort I don't usually notice--the mustard bottle at the party (Henry's birthday?) early in the episode. So far as I can recall, that particular design of (French's?) mustard squeeze bottle wasn't a thing until the 90s, at the earliest. Back then, I always remember us having the barrel-shaped bottles (of Plochmann's) with the narrow red nozzle for mustard.

(Why the crap do I know this much about mustard bottles?)

And in the second episode, in the laundromat scene, that was clearly a 90's style pepsi machine.

SaharaTea
03-06-2014, 09:22 AM
Hmm

1) Please don't let Martha be preggers.
2) Who whacked the other family and whayt exactly did Philip mean that the "center" would take care of the surviving kid.
3) Whose the Nina lookalike with the OD Congressman?
4) DId Nina give Stan a bill of goods?

All in all. Many more questions than answers.

1. I don't think she's preggers. YET.
2. We still don't know. Philip means that the KGB will make sure their son is okay, but they will have to do it without giving away the real identities of his parents.
3 and 4. Not sure who/what you're referring to.

E-DUB
03-06-2014, 09:42 AM
I think the "Nina look-alike" is an agent posing as a Nicaraguan student because Elizabeth talked about "their" revolution giving "us" a foothold in the Americas.

As for Nina, she's walking a fine line. She has to give Stan just enough info to make herself look like a legitimate source while trying to pump him (no pun intended) for the information her superiors want.

AK84
03-06-2014, 09:50 AM
Anybody think that the science guy at the embassy is GRU?














For those who don't know, GRU was Sov Military intelligence and rival to the KGB

TonySinclair
03-06-2014, 02:52 PM
Anybody think that the science guy at the embassy is GRU?

Seems unlikely to me. They said last week that he was the son of a Party bigwig, which would pretty much keep him from flying under the radar, which I would think is what you want in an intelligence agent, especially one assigned to a rival Soviet agency.

But this week's show did make it look as if he was smarter than his buffoonish facade, so you may be right.

alphaboi867
03-06-2014, 06:08 PM
1. I don't think she's preggers. YET.
2. We still don't know. Philip means that the KGB will make sure their son is okay, but they will have to do it without giving away the real identities of his parents.
..

Maybe he'll get a "life insurance" check? Did however killed them even bother to make it look like a robbery, if not this case is going to raise a lot of eyebrows.

MaxTheVool
03-06-2014, 11:32 PM
I was initially totally puzzled as to who Paige was calling about, but I guess it was the address where they had heard that their sick aunt was, when in fact their mom was recuperating in secret?

Did anyone else get the vibe that the mole with the electrified safe in his floor had been the lover of his previous handler?

The Second Stone
03-07-2014, 12:04 AM
I think the "Nina look-alike" is an agent posing as a Nicaraguan student because Elizabeth talked about "their" revolution giving "us" a foothold in the Americas.

As for Nina, she's walking a fine line. She has to give Stan just enough info to make herself look like a legitimate source while trying to pump him (no pun intended) for the information her superiors want.

Nina is now a triple agent. Stan mentioned to Nina that the FBI knew there was a walk in at the embassy and I seem to recall he said they knew the time frame he walked in. Later when she is typing her report, she does not mention this, instead going on about her sex with Stan. This would be very important information to protect the walk-in, who is just as good as caught. Nina turning herself in was just buying more time to become a defector herself.

TonySinclair
03-07-2014, 01:11 AM
Nina is now a triple agent. Stan mentioned to Nina that the FBI knew there was a walk in at the embassy and I seem to recall he said they knew the time frame he walked in. Later when she is typing her report, she does not mention this, instead going on about her sex with Stan. This would be very important information to protect the walk-in, who is just as good as caught. Nina turning herself in was just buying more time to become a defector herself.

Nina was the one who told Stan about the walk-in. Probably wouldn't be a good idea to put it in her report.

The Second Stone
03-07-2014, 01:31 AM
Nina was the one who told Stan about the walk-in. Probably wouldn't be a good idea to put it in her report.

Thanks for the correction. She is still providing the FBI with good info and feeding her boss crap. I still think she is going to turn on Stan for killing the attache.

alphaboi867
03-07-2014, 11:30 PM
...Did anyone else get the vibe that the mole with the electrified safe in his floor had been the lover of his previous handler?

No, but I've wondered how they'd handle a gay male target. Would Phillip actually have sex with him, or would they just hire a rent boy and blackmail him? I'm guessing Elizabeth has had to engage in some lesbianism; at least as part of threeways.

JohnGalt
03-08-2014, 08:56 AM
I'm wondering about Stan being at the travel agency. When three FBI agents show up at a business, I guess I'd check for listening devices after they left. Is he on to them?

alphaboi867
03-08-2014, 09:17 AM
I think it was just a bachelor party, but I can't wait until he throws a house party or barbecue and both Phillip and Martha show up. ;)

What the .... ?!?!
03-11-2014, 11:16 AM
I think the "Nina look-alike" is an agent posing as a Nicaraguan student because Elizabeth talked about "their" revolution giving "us" a foothold in the Americas.


How did her distress call to Elizabeth work.... I missed it??

SaharaTea
03-11-2014, 11:56 AM
How did her distress call to Elizabeth work.... I missed it??
I'm not sure how it works exactly, but presumably the agent in distress contacted the KGB and the KGB sent a coded message to Elizabeth. That was the phone call Elizabeth received before she rushed out the door with the kids.

alphaboi867
03-12-2014, 10:10 PM
Well it was kind of obvious Elizabeth wasn't going to deliver the letter; there's no possible way it wouldn't cause a huge mess. I wonder how many other nieces and nephews Aunt Helen has. ;)

AK84
03-13-2014, 12:29 AM
I am presuming that Aunt Helen is the answer to our questions of what happens to the kids.

TonySinclair
03-13-2014, 03:03 AM
I'm getting tired of the creepy-voiced guy that says "Viewer Discretion Advised." It's not like this is a horror movie. The same network gives the same warning for Justified without making you roll your eyes.

alphaboi867
03-16-2014, 11:36 AM
Just a thought; the Embassy's Chief of Security couldn't meet with the walk-in because he was at the supermarket with his wife. :eek: Where Soviet diplomats allowed to take their families with them on foreign postings like Western diplomats? I always though the wife & kids were expected to stay home (so as to discourage defections).

USCDiver
03-16-2014, 04:41 PM
I'm getting tired of the creepy-voiced guy that says "Viewer Discretion Advised." It's not like this is a horror movie. The same network gives the same warning for Justified without making you roll your eyes.

I think it's more for the rather graphic, though non-nude, depictions of sex acts.

alphaboi867
03-16-2014, 06:29 PM
Yeah, that 69 scene was highly unexpected for basic cable.

Raza
03-16-2014, 10:59 PM
Where Soviet diplomats allowed to take their families with them on foreign postings like Western diplomats?
Yes, according to the true spy book Farewell (the subject of the book was in both France and Canada, ostensibly as a trade mission honcho but actually as a spy, and had his wife and son with him; 1970s).

AK84
03-17-2014, 12:26 AM
The risk of defection has to be weighed against the costs of making diplomats stay sans families. Even today, in many countries which are non family postings, like say the Afghanistan or Iraq, diplomats are limited to shorter tours etc.

Against increasing the risks of defection, you have to calculate the loss of personnel due to wishing to be with family more, the fact that such a career would be less attractive to brighter graduates due to the fact that family life would be more difficult than its a no brainer.



I do wonder about the letter and Aunt Helen. WHat was ELizabeth thinking. If she showed him the letter, than the game was up, they give the FBI a priceless lead into destroying their network. The only thing that makes sense is that Aunt Helen is (or one of her jobs at least) is to provide an exfiltration route for the kids if and when things get south. That the letter was supposed to be shown to the kids only after they were safely back in the Union. Which raises the question that Elizabeth's motives? Was she testing the waters to see whether or not an exfiltration was even possible/desirable. Or did she have a "fuck the risks" moment and want to show it, before catching herself?


Yeah, that 69 scene was highly unexpected for basic cable.

I really wish they had used "summer of 69" as the background music.

TonySinclair
03-17-2014, 12:52 AM
I think it's more for the rather graphic, though non-nude, depictions of sex acts.

No, I'm not objecting to the warning, I'm objecting to the creepy, obscene-phone-caller-ish voice. Like I said, Justified, which has more profanity and nudity, manages to deliver the same warning in a less creepy voice.

Andiethewestie
03-19-2014, 02:53 PM
According to the website an old friend "Claudia" is back tonight. I love that character she's so unexpectedly badass.

TonySinclair
03-20-2014, 12:58 AM
LOL. "Don't 'honey' me!"

MaxTheVool
03-20-2014, 01:45 AM
My DVR cut off the very end of tonight's episode. I saw poor Martha talking to an answering machine, saying that she was filling out a job application, and was going to put his name down under marital status. Was that the last thing that happened?

Also, why did she have a cassette tape in her eyeglasses, or something? That was very confusing, I couldn't figure it out at all. Was that something that he had given her earlier for bugging her boss's office?

MaxTheVool
03-20-2014, 09:59 AM
Ooh, I just got to watch the ending, and I missed an entire very interesting action scene. Who were those two? The way they were dressed and the way they were a man and a woman made me think they were another couple kind of like Phillip and Elizabeth. My WAG is that they're Israelis in deep cover?

Andiethewestie
03-20-2014, 02:18 PM
I think Phillip was made by the Russian Jew Prof, he deliberately made that phone call so Phillip would see and hear it to his, so called "mistress" and it was a definite set up. Yeah, I think those two are most likely Israelis with a Mousad/CIA bent.

TonySinclair
03-20-2014, 05:18 PM
I think Phillip was made by the Russian Jew Prof

You're nuts. He didn't look suspicious at all, reading his newspaper in a parked car.

alphaboi867
03-20-2014, 05:31 PM
Any one else think Arkady didn't really told the Centre about Nina's betrayal and her file's clean? Also did I mishear something, or is one of their target's supposed to be gay? I And Elizabeth freaking out & going straight into quoting Marx at Paige's going to church was pretty funny.

TonySinclair
03-20-2014, 05:38 PM
Any one else think Arkady didn't really told the Centre about Nina's betrayal and her file's clean? Also did I mishear something, or is one of their target's supposed to be gay? I And Elizabeth freaking out & going straight into quoting Marx at Paige's going to church was pretty funny.

Yeah, that was a nice reversal of a normal American family being horrified to learn their kid is dabbling in atheism.

Reminded me of the old Munsters series, where they always worried about how odd Marilyn (the only normal person in the family) was.

Tamerlane
03-20-2014, 05:56 PM
You're nuts. He didn't look suspicious at all, reading his newspaper in a parked car.

:D

The scene where Philip's image is reflected in the pay phone chrome I think is a pretty strong hint. Not to mention the awkward hallway trail before that, turning back suddenly to study a wall - Philip was made to appear clumsy, I'm guessing deliberately so by the writers. He was made and they were set up.

Which I rather like if that is indeed the case. Even super-spies are liable to commit the occasional mistake.

Athabasca
03-20-2014, 08:51 PM
Any one else think Arkady didn't really told the Centre about Nina's betrayal and her file's clean? Also did I mishear something, or is one of their target's supposed to be gay? I And Elizabeth freaking out & going straight into quoting Marx at Paige's going to church was pretty funny.

About Arkady and Nina, he did tell Moscow about her betrayal. I thought it was documented along with the terms of her posting as an agent to get what info she could from Stan.

Athabasca
03-20-2014, 08:55 PM
So who killed Emmet and Leanne ?

LawMonkey
03-20-2014, 09:28 PM
Possibly this homosexual former SEAL that Elizabeth is seducing the young short haired classical music loving sailor for intel on. I'm betting on that being a red herring, just because it'd be too much of a straight line from Claudia's first guess to the ultimate target, but it's far too early in the storyline to actually say much more.

Andiethewestie
03-21-2014, 01:49 PM
:D

The scene where Philip's image is reflected in the pay phone chrome I think is a pretty strong hint. Not to mention the awkward hallway trail before that, turning back suddenly to study a wall - Philip was made to appear clumsy, I'm guessing deliberately so by the writers. He was made and they were set up.

Which I rather like if that is indeed the case. Even super-spies are liable to commit the occasional mistake.

Well yeah, and that unadbashedly pro American lecture about Freedom was enough to get Phillip interested in the Prof and his family. It's very plausible Claudia's intel of the Prof having a mistress was misinformation, deliberately planted to smoke out Philip and Elizabeth. Otherwise where the heck did that couple come from, and how come the mistress was so good at getting away with the car? Pretty funny to think at the beginning of the episode Phillip wanted a new car, now they need one.

Chefguy
03-21-2014, 03:49 PM
Also, why did she have a cassette tape in her eyeglasses, or something? That was very confusing, I couldn't figure it out at all. Was that something that he had given her earlier for bugging her boss's office?

I didn't see where this was answered. I have no memory of that recording device or what it's to be used for. Anybody?

AK84
03-21-2014, 03:55 PM
So what would the Jennings do now? I wonder if they removed all identifying papers and changed plates, but engine and chassis number could still get them busted anyhow.

What the .... ?!?!
03-23-2014, 11:13 AM
I didn't see where this was answered. I have no memory of that recording device or what it's to be used for. Anybody?

I'm confused too........but didn't he convince her to bug John Boy? Maybe she pulled the bug and doesn't want him to know. Or maybe I'm total misremembering.

Headrush042
03-24-2014, 07:14 PM
IIRC, that's how she delivers the recordings to him. That she's hanging on to it instead of handing it over is indicative of her having doubts about what she's doing for him (my guess).

Andiethewestie
03-26-2014, 10:21 PM
Wow that was good tonight. We have some loose ends tied up nicely, including the fact "the mistress" was Mousad as was the guy. The Scientist had to go back - in exchange for the Mousad who took a dump and tried to bury Philip, but more importantly for 1500 Russian Jews.


Stan is in deep do do. I wonder if he will let Nina die.

TonySinclair
03-27-2014, 04:35 AM
Wow, I went from thinking that Oleg is really smart to really dumb in one second.

First, he tells Stan that he knows he's running Nina. Pretty smart.

Then, as they're standing all alone on a deserted pier in the middle of the night, with Stan's gun trained on his chest, he tells Stan that he's the only one who knows. And then tries to blackmail him.

Stan wouldn't even have to dispose of the body. The guy would just fall into the water.

It's not like he hasn't killed a defenseless man before.

AK84
03-27-2014, 08:45 AM
Eh, I think he bet on Stan not wanting to push his luck by killing another KGB diplomat. There were three others chasing after Oleg after all and knew who the target was.

I am wondering

1) Why did Elizabeth say "this is Mrs Jennings!" so defiantly when the Martha warning come in? Was it a simple establishment that Philip is her man despite all?
2) What is Oleg up to anyway. He wants to do what exactly with Beeman?
3) What is the KGBs extraction plan for the Jennings. They have been compromised......the Israelis know who they are. And can tell the US. They have their car. Engine and chassis number should permit easy tracing.


BTW, I well imagine Vladiamir Putin doing exactly what Oleg did. He is the right age as well.

Chefguy
03-27-2014, 10:38 AM
Eh, I think he bet on Stan not wanting to push his luck by killing another KGB diplomat. There were three others chasing after Oleg after all and knew who the target was.

I am wondering

1) Why did Elizabeth say "this is Mrs Jennings!" so defiantly when the Martha warning come in? Was it a simple establishment that Philip is her man despite all?
2) What is Oleg up to anyway. He wants to do what exactly with Beeman?
3) What is the KGBs extraction plan for the Jennings. They have been compromised......the Israelis know who they are. And can tell the US. They have their car. Engine and chassis number should permit easy tracing.


BTW, I well imagine Vladiamir Putin doing exactly what Oleg did. He is the right age as well.

Oleg will try to run Beeman as his own agent in exchange for keeping Nina safe. Remember, she was originally trying to defect and was providing info to Beeman, then had a change of heart and is now reporting to her superior, who agreed not to tell Moscow that she was initially giving info to the FBI.

SaharaTea
03-27-2014, 10:48 AM
I am wondering

1) Why did Elizabeth say "this is Mrs Jennings!" so defiantly when the Martha warning come in? Was it a simple establishment that Philip is her man despite all?
2) What is Oleg up to anyway. He wants to do what exactly with Beeman?
3) What is the KGBs extraction plan for the Jennings. They have been compromised......the Israelis know who they are. And can tell the US. They have their car. Engine and chassis number should permit easy tracing.

Presumably Elizabeth knows when the KGB is calling, thus she needs to confirm to the caller that she is in fact Mrs. Jennings and not some other person.

Oleg is trying to turn Stan. He's trying to obtain secret FBI info from him in exchange for a guarantee of Nina's safety.

If the Israeli spy talked, it would violate the agreement between Russia and Israel. Russia would have to take some kind of revenge. It's definitely in his best interest to keep his mouth shut.

SenorBeef
03-27-2014, 12:07 PM
This season has been emotionally brutal. So much of the time spent so far has been spent on deceiving naïve, well-meaning people. And that's probably more true to actual spy work than assassinations and secret bugging missions into high security areas. But it's icky to watch.

I can't remember something - why is Stan's boss in trouble? He mentioned taking the fall for something last week, and he was looked down upon this week.

This show is really good. It's not talked about nearly enough. But it's interesting, well plotted, well acted - it's one of the top shows on TV now and I don't think I've ever heard anyone talking about it.

I like that Oleg has been a pretty smart guy. I thought they were setting him up to be the buffoon with connections that fucks everything up, but he's a real rival to Arkady for control of the residentura. I also rather liked the spycraft that went into the car surveillance, and that it was all for naught.

Ellis Dee
03-27-2014, 01:46 PM
I suppose if you're going to rip off another show, The Sopranos is a worthy show to steal from. Even with the blatant theft (homage?) I found that scene compelling.

In the Sopranos version, the regular person Jewish guy was cowering before Tony and his goons while calling Tony a "golem." Tony then had to find out from Dr. Melphi what a golem is. An inhuman monster.

The best bit from that Sopranos scene still sticks with me, badly paraphrasing the setup:

"We've always been persecuted by people like you, but we always persevere. 2000 years ago it was the Romans. We're still here, and where are the Romans now?"
"You're looking at them."

E-DUB
03-27-2014, 02:15 PM
I wonder if Arkady turned a semi-blind eye to Nina's earlier spying because it was her activities that got his predecessor sent home so, in a round-about way he owes her his job and left much out of his report back home.

Oleg, in addition to wanting to turn Stan, wants to implicate Arkady in this so he can be top dog. (Turning an FBI CI guy would go a long way towards making that happen too.) Although I can see also Arkady saying that Nina is too valuable as she is the key to Stan and making sure that Nina knows that her life depends on him so he can blackmail her into sleeping with him.

Headrush042
03-27-2014, 04:46 PM
I can't remember something - why is Stan's boss in trouble? He mentioned taking the fall for something last week, and he was looked down upon this week.


I don't remember it 100% clearly either, but it has something to do with Stan executing the diplomat last season.

Andiethewestie
03-27-2014, 04:50 PM
I suppose if you're going to rip off another show, The Sopranos is a worthy show to steal from. Even with the blatant theft (homage?) I found that scene compelling.

In the Sopranos version, the regular person Jewish guy was cowering before Tony and his goons while calling Tony a "golem." Tony then had to find out from Dr. Melphi what a golem is. An inhuman monster.

The best bit from that Sopranos scene still sticks with me, badly paraphrasing the setup:

"We've always been persecuted by people like you, but we always persevere. 2000 years ago it was the Romans. We're still here, and where are the Romans now?"
"You're looking at them."

I just don't see the connection. For the Sopranos it was a simple shakedown of a Hassidic jew who refused to given in to their demands, after they were warned not to get involved by their friend Hesh. It was just another conquest for Tony, so like the Romans, he did it for power and money.

With Philip you've got a man at a crossroads in his ideology, the American way of life is now constantly invading his soviet values. Maybe Philip was thinking about how unappealing it is now to return to the motherland, but this guy in the backseat with his taunting has made it very easy for him to hand him over.

AK84
04-04-2014, 09:46 AM
Ok, has the SEAL killed Philip? Admittedly unlikely. But, the guy was seriously pissed.

Andiethewestie
04-04-2014, 11:05 AM
Ok, has the SEAL killed Philip? Admittedly unlikely. But, the guy was seriously pissed.

All these cliff hangers. He was very pissed. But I don't think he killed Philip anymore than Stan was in a great position to off the KGB guy at the docks.

Is Claudia now on a slow ship to Moscow?

Chefguy
04-04-2014, 11:10 AM
Ok, has the SEAL killed Philip? Admittedly unlikely. But, the guy was seriously pissed.

Well, no, as that would end the series. Philip had the drop on him, but lowered the weapon when he saw who it was. Can't figure that out, as he was supposed to kill the guy.

Lots of humping and bumping in this ep. Keri Russell is really not all that. She's not bad looking, but that was an unflattering shot of her on the bed. So if Nina has left Stan, is he still on the hook for handing over the documents?

AK84
04-04-2014, 11:13 AM
Wait, did'nt they decide not to kill him?

And I vehemently disagree with you re Ms Russell

Tamerlane
04-04-2014, 11:20 AM
Can't figure that out, as he was supposed to kill the guy.


No, they had decided to use him to get direct access to the Contra-summit camp, which meant revealing themselves as KGB ( and adding another layer of risk to their dealings with him ). Philip was presumably trying to catch him in a compromising position re: the officer's homosexuality to reenforce the KGB's hold over him.

Chefguy
04-04-2014, 11:29 AM
No, they had decided to use him to get direct access to the Contra-summit camp, which meant revealing themselves as KGB ( and adding another layer of risk to their dealings with him ). Philip was presumably trying to catch him in a compromising position re: the officer's homosexuality to reenforce the KGB's hold over him.

I see. I've always been really bad at following plots and usually have to watch things a second time. Or third. I think it took me four viewings to figure out WTF The Matrix was about. :p

JohnGalt
04-04-2014, 05:12 PM
I see. I've always been really bad at following plots and usually have to watch things a second time. Or third. I think it took me four viewings to figure out WTF The Matrix was about. :p

Some of us watched this episode several times (or parts of it) just for the KR scenes....

alphaboi867
04-04-2014, 06:14 PM
...Is Claudia now on a slow ship to Moscow?

Presumably Claudia handled other agents besides the Jennings, and still does. But she blew her cover for the sake of romance, and may gotten 2 deep-cover agents & their daughter killed; she'll be lucky if she makes it to Moscow alive.

Andiethewestie
04-04-2014, 08:20 PM
Yeah, that is what I thought when Elizabeth leaves her sitting in her car and they are back on the docks. I assume she has been called back home. I sort of think her disclosing her indiscretion to Elizabeth was an appeal to her on an emotional level.

AK84
04-05-2014, 11:26 PM
So with the homosexual SEAL. They are going to penetrate the Contras?

And Arkady seemed wise to Oleg's stratagem with Beeman. What are they playing at?

Andiethewestie
04-06-2014, 11:44 PM
And Arkady seemed wise to Oleg's stratagem with Beeman. What are they playing at

Oleg lied to Beeman about he being the only one who knows about the affair, since its all in the reports. It seems to me Arkady and Oleg want to snare Beeman, but suspicion regarding Nina is also mounting. It is possible she is overselling her influence on Beeman. It's a 50/50 shot that he'll give them the Intel, we see him getting the computer print out, but it's unclear if he'll walk it over to the Embassy, especially when he gets abrupt advice from John Boy not to tell him stuff, and that he maybe in over his head. She's really playing him for all it's worth and right now he is missing all the clues that she isn't in love with him. If the timing was right she could "do her job" just like the Sandinista Lucia.

Ibn Warraq
04-07-2014, 12:30 AM
Eh, I think he bet on Stan not wanting to push his luck by killing another KGB diplomat. There were three others chasing after Oleg after all and knew who the target was.

I am wondering

1) Why did Elizabeth say "this is Mrs Jennings!" so defiantly when the Martha warning come in? Was it a simple establishment that Philip is her man despite all?
2) What is Oleg up to anyway. He wants to do what exactly with Beeman?
3) What is the KGBs extraction plan for the Jennings. They have been compromised......the Israelis know who they are. And can tell the US. They have their car. Engine and chassis number should permit easy tracing.


BTW, I well imagine Vladiamir Putin doing exactly what Oleg did. He is the right age as well.

Do the Israelis have them compromised? They don't know their names, cover identities, addresses, or anything else. They might be able to make a sketch but those are notoriously unreliable and especially if Phillip was in disguise(can't remember if he was or not).

Ibn Warraq
04-07-2014, 12:35 AM
I was actually surprised and impressed by the way they handled Lucia's killing of the Congressional aide. Up until she did it I really had no sympathy for him and he struck me as a spoiled drugged out rich kid(yeah IRL I'd have more sympathy for him or at least not want him killed but this is TV).

Then when he started telling Lucia how he wanted her to meet his mother and he clearly cared about her and didn't see her as a notch on his bed post I actually became very sympathetic and Lucia and her reactions reminded me very much of Elizabeth's reactions to the sailor.

AK84
04-07-2014, 10:14 AM
Do the Israelis have them compromised? They don't know their names, cover identities, addresses, or anything else. They might be able to make a sketch but those are notoriously unreliable and especially if Phillip was in disguise(can't remember if he was or not).

They have their car. Engine and chassis number.

MaxTheVool
04-07-2014, 11:49 AM
They have their car. Engine and chassis number.

Although Philip and Elizabeth are likely paranoid enough to never go out on an operation in a car that is traceable to their "real" cover identities.

Charlie Wayne
04-09-2014, 05:45 AM
In episode 6, the newest female character asks her mark to go out of the room to get her a glass of ice water just after he prepared a spoonful of drugs but before he injected it.

I presume that spoon contained Heroin. But I can't figure out what she might have added to it that would have killed him about 30 seconds after he injected it or why she would have done that.

Can anyone guess why she might have made that instant decision to kill him and what that powder might have been that she added to his spoon?

Also, I would have thought that any powder added to that mixture would have had to have been heated or else the powder would remain visible. That is why people heat the water and Heroin mixture. Wouldn't he have noticed some powder floating around in the spoon?

I know that realism is not valued very highly in this series and I can understand why that is so. But sometimes this show just asks the audience to accept an awful lot at face value.

Raza
04-09-2014, 08:47 AM
She didn't make an instant decision to kill him; she knew she had to kill him all along, after being told to do so my Elizabeth ("tie up loose ends").

I think they made her look hesitant while she was with him, until he mentioned having her meet his mother. For whatever reason, perhaps the realization that the relationship was doomed as she'd never meet his mother, her resolve strengthened and she knew she had to do it.

Ibn Warraq
04-09-2014, 09:59 PM
They have their car. Engine and chassis number.

Good point. That said, I suspect like Elmore Leonard criminals to cover their tracks they'd only use stolen cars or ones that otherwise couldn't be traced to them.

Andiethewestie
04-09-2014, 10:03 PM
Wow. I wonder if Beaman is really that gullable or he's going to double cross Nina at some point.It's possible she didn't pass the lie detector, even though she's been coached how to pass one. Beaman could be waiting to snare both Oleg and Nina. Or maybe he's just gullable.

alphaboi867
04-09-2014, 10:03 PM
So is anyone else wonder if either Stan lied to Nina about passing, or if the technician lied to Stan?

LawMonkey
04-09-2014, 11:42 PM
I was shocked when Nina gave Beeman the death glare and told the truth about whazzisname. How the hell is that supposed to work?

On the other hand, I am all about seeing more Nina-butt. :D

easydoesit
04-10-2014, 03:05 AM
Can anyone guess why she might have made that instant decision to kill him and what that powder might have been that she added to his spoon?

Also, I would have thought that any powder added to that mixture would have had to have been heated or else the powder would remain visible. That is why people heat the water and Heroin mixture. Wouldn't he have noticed some powder floating around in the spoon?

I know that realism is not valued very highly in this series and I can understand why that is so. But sometimes this show just asks the audience to accept an awful lot at face value.[/QUOTE]

Drug use is not portrayed accurately in any TV shows or movies in my experience, unless it's about drugs. Some are close, but it would take too much time and energy to make it look right, so if they're just trying advance a point I understand them sacrificing a little reality to further the plot..

And she could have put anything in the spoon, i.e. even cocaine would have dissolved in the spoon, and you aren't even supposed to cook that or amphetamines. So it could have realistically been powder that dissolves in water that I'm sure Moscow knows about (or a theoretical fake fatal powder the producers made up hahaa)

And yeah, I wanna know about "Ms. Jennings" and who keeps calling her. They slipped up somehow, I think it has to do with Martha and them trying to see if they're married or something(?) I don't know but if anyone else caught it i'd love to hear what you think.

Charlie Wayne
04-10-2014, 09:01 AM
I was shocked when Nina gave Beeman the death glare and told the truth about whazzisname. How the hell is that supposed to work?

On the other hand, I am all about seeing more Nina-butt. :D

Nina does have a lovely butt. However, I just can't believe that Keri has such a beautiful body at age 38 with two children. IMO, she could easily pass for a girl in her early twenties.

I was particularly fixated on the scene where she was lying on her bed fully naked with her husband (although you could only see her backside). I just think Keri Russell is an exceptionally beautiful lady.

Charlie Wayne
04-10-2014, 09:09 AM
Some of us watched this episode several times (or parts of it) just for the KR scenes....


Excuse me for being dense but why did you want to see the KR scenes multiple times?

Was it in appreciation of her acting ability? Or was it in appreciation of her beautiful body?

Or something else?

I can certainly understand if it was something else.

I must admit to being highly fixiated on Keri Russel just on account of her great beauty. I would just hope that if I ever married a woman who was 38, that she would look close to being as beautiful as KR looks when she is 38 years old.

E-DUB
04-10-2014, 09:26 AM
Is anybody else unsure as to what game Nina is playing? Is she, after a moment of doubt during "The Oath", still providing Stan with legitimate intel? Or is she playing Stan for Oleg? Or is she playing a "double game" on both men using her feminine "wiles" just hoping to survive?

SaharaTea
04-10-2014, 09:37 AM
I think Nina really did pass the lie detector. She revealed that she knows the FBI (and probably Stan) killed Vlad, but I think Stan believes she loves him in spite of that.

I'm not sure if Nina is playing a double game; she appears to have real feelings for Oleg, but as he said, she's a very good liar.

AK84
04-10-2014, 10:20 AM
She is running to men she thinks can protect her. Last season it was Beeman, this time it's Oleg. The difference is that Oleg is sharp and savvy to her intentions, while Stan is the most naive G Man in the FBI.

How did Philip dispose of the scientists body? The fact he is missing won't raise alarm bells?

So who did kill Emmet and Leigh Anne?

SaharaTea
04-10-2014, 10:45 AM
We still don't know who killed Emmett and Leanne. We probably won't know until the end of the season, or maybe longer.

I don't think Philip had enough time to dispose of the body, but he knows how to kill someone so that it doesn't leave much physical evidence.

MaxTheVool
04-10-2014, 11:31 AM
How did Philip dispose of the scientists body? The fact he is missing won't raise alarm bells?

It presumably will, but Philip's hope is that by the time it's noticed that he's missing and people realize that the last place he was seen was somewhere-near-the-computer-lab enough time will have passed yada yada yada. Clearly that was not an optimal outcome for Philip, even ignoring the moral aspect (which I feel like it's getting harder for him to do).

USCDiver
04-10-2014, 12:40 PM
I think Nina really did pass the lie detector. She revealed that she knows the FBI (and probably Stan) killed Vlad, but I think Stan believes she loves him in spite of that.

I'm not sure if Nina is playing a double game; she appears to have real feelings for Oleg, but as he said, she's a very good liar.

The immediate question after asking if she knew who killed Vlad was "Do you understand why?" Which she also answered Yes. I'm sure the questions were written by Stan. He suspected she knew he had killed Vlad, but he had tried to explain why last season. Now, he really believes that she understands why he did it and loves him anyway.

Andiethewestie
04-10-2014, 05:26 PM
If Nina actually passed the lie detector test, and I'm still not sure if she did, the nude scene being playful with Oleg seemingly having duped Stan just feels like a set up for the ultimate "gotcha". Nina's fight is to stay alive, and for family to stay alive, but I don't think the last chess move has been made. There's too much unspoken for this to have such a neat and tidy ending. I don't think Nina has love for either of the men, what she is doing is a means to the end. She just has to watch her back in the process.

TonySinclair
04-10-2014, 08:08 PM
She just has to watch her back in the process.

And I'll volunteer to watch her front.

Mr Downtown
04-10-2014, 11:06 PM
I was puzzled by the business with getting the key to the professor's office and then—while the guard waited for the key back—rooting around in his desk for the lab access code. Philip is clearly a competent lock-picker, a much simpler way to get into the professor's office that wouldn't have left a trail with the security guard. And what guard would just give out the key to a professor's office like that?

Coriolanus
04-11-2014, 03:43 AM
I feel like I've lost knowledge from hearing Professor LooksLikeGiamatti explain how it's like some "Interstate Highway System". Actually, that made sense. He made the rest sounds like it's all made of Tubes - and perhaps that's Philip's takeaway. I liked the through-the-floor view of a PDP-10. I took a course in assembly programming on the PDP-11.

I reckon Nina passed. Polygraphs are easy. They even covered that with the "appears to be some ambiguity" thing, and of course she rightly said "No." I like how they had her avert her eyes to the upper-right - isn't it said liars usually look to their left? Probably also bunk.

Ellis Dee
04-11-2014, 03:59 AM
I've heard the "tighten your sphincter" trick before to pass polygraphs. It supposedly really does work, but it doesn't make your lies look like truth. Instead, the idea is to do it before every single answer you give, and it muddies the waters enough that every answer looks the same. If you only do it for the lies, the lies will look different than the truth.

Can anyone guess why she might have made that instant decision to kill him and what that powder might have been that she added to his spoon?I assumed it was cyanide.

I don't think Philip had enough time to dispose of the body, but he knows how to kill someone so that it doesn't leave much physical evidence.I'm not sure I follow. He has all the time in the world to dispose of the body, having gotten it out of the lab in his trash can.

E-DUB
04-11-2014, 08:07 AM
One question. Was the guy with Phillip supposed to be the journalist guy from season one. If so, was that a different actor playing him?

Charlie Wayne
04-16-2014, 11:32 AM
I really enjoy this show but I'm sad to say there is so much of it that I just can't follow.

I don't think it's fair for me to ask for anyone to explain plot points to me because there are just so many that I don't understand.

I have watched every episode. But, sad to say, I just don't understand how many of the events in this show fit together.

Would anyone know if there is any source of info that summarizes the events in each episode and that maybe explains some of the underlying characters' motivations?

It's really a lot of fun to watch this show. I just hate to have to admit that I need to watch all the episodes a second or third time in order to understand what is going on.

I looked up the Wiki entry for this show in the hope that it might explain the plot of each episode. But it didn't do that. Would anyone happen to know any other source that might explain the events in each episode?

Charlie Wayne
04-16-2014, 11:36 AM
The immediate question after asking if she knew who killed Vlad was "Do you understand why?" Which she also answered Yes. I'm sure the questions were written by Stan. He suspected she knew he had killed Vlad, but he had tried to explain why last season. Now, he really believes that she understands why he did it and loves him anyway.

I would think that any outsider to Nina and Stan's relationship would know that a lady as beautiful and attractive as Nina would never be in love with a plain (ostensibly boring) man like Stan and would
be able to either tell Stan or tell someone else in the FBI that something untowards is going on between the two of them. It just seems so bizarre that Nina would be in love with Stan - so unlikely that could be on the level.

Wouldn't every intelligence agency have someone who could just look at each of their agents together with their paramours and make a prima facie evaluation whether their relationship makes any sense? Nina being in love with Stan just doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

Does it make any sense to any of you?

Charlie Wayne
04-16-2014, 11:44 AM
As a postscript to my above post asking for a source that recaps and/or explains the episodes,
I found a Wiki entry that briefly explains the episodes in Season Two - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Americans_%28season_2%29

There is also a corresponding entry for Season One:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Americans_%28season_1%29

I'm still looking for a more detailed explanation.

BrokenBriton
04-16-2014, 11:54 AM
Thanks for the correction. She is still providing the FBI with good info and feeding her boss crap. I still think she is going to turn on Stan for killing the attache.

I'm only up to E3 but I thought the walk-in worked the oppsite way; Nina gave Stan just enough for Stan to find him and the walk-in found out nothing in the embassy.

Stan's now in love with Nina and his standing in the office is tied to her - Nina is working him. Surely?

Charlie Wayne
04-16-2014, 11:57 AM
Is anybody else unsure as to what game Nina is playing? Is she, after a moment of doubt during "The Oath", still providing Stan with legitimate intel? Or is she playing Stan for Oleg? Or is she playing a "double game" on both men using her feminine "wiles" just hoping to survive?

I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one who admits to being unable to follow the plot as it applies to Nina. It just doesn't make sense to me.

I don't think that is any fault in the script. I think it is my own shortcoming in that I don't seem to be able to follow each episode's plot and then tie them together and understand just how those events relate to each other. It certainly does not make any sense to me that Stan would ever buy into a woman as beautiful as Nina would ever be in love with him. That just does not make sense and since Nina has some powerful motivations for "pumping" Stan, I would think most people who knew she had told Stan that she was in love with him would know there was something wrong with that relationship. It just doesn't make a lot of sense.

Believing that Nina is in love with Stan makes as much sense as believing that Bill Clinton was in love with Monica. That just never made any sense to me. Sorry.

tsm
04-16-2014, 12:10 PM
Renewal for season 3 announced today: http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/04/16/the-americans-renewed-for-season-3-by-fx/254643/

TonySinclair
04-16-2014, 03:32 PM
Geez, what high standards some people have. Stan isn't Brad Pitt, but he's a big, strong, good-looking man with an exciting job. Look at the women that pasty, greasy, skinny musicians get, even before they become famous. Look at pro golfer Jason Dufner (http://bostonherald.com/sports/golf/2013/08/pga_champ_jason_dufner_back_on_manhattan_rooftops), and then look at his wife.

Of course everyone should be suspicious of Nina, but not because Stan is so hideous.

Ellis Dee
04-16-2014, 04:56 PM
Here's a brief summary of Nina's arc:

Stan catches Nina buying contraband and threatens her; exposure of her crime would get her sent back to Moscow in chains, so she agrees to turn double-agent.

During her double-agent time with Stan, Nina realizes that she can manipulate and control Stan, using him for her own (and Mother Russia's) benefit. So she goes to her section chief and comes clean on the contraband, getting caught by Stan, and turning double-agent.

Her section chief decides to keep her in play with Stan, turning her into a triple-agent. They collude to feed Stan real but generally meaningless intel to keep him on the hook so that Nina can get intel from Stan.

Around this time, New Guy falls in lust with Nina. He uses his connections to find out Nina's story. He doesn't get the whole puzzle, though; some of it turns out to be super-duper double classified. While he could use his connections to get that intel, doing so would probably play his hand too much, possibly "using up" those favors. Instead, he decides to confront/bluff Nina to see if he can get her to break. Nina, of course knowing that New Guy is blind with lust for her, immediately seduces him when he confronts her. This effectively neutralizes him from her point of view.

The section chief decides to further play Stan, using New Guy to tell Stan that New Guy discovered Nina, and New Guy can out her to her superiors. If Stan really loves Nina he'll help New Guy, which basically he does. This gives further proof to section chief that Nina owns Stan.

The only person we've seen Nina show true feelings for is the guy Stan shot in the head and tossed in the dumpster. The show has given us no reason to believe that she cared for the old section chief (who she got arrested and deported), Stan, or New Guy.

Charlie Wayne
04-17-2014, 07:02 AM
Ellis Dee,

I want to thank you very much for that summary of Nina's plot line.

It was an excellent summary. Very thorough. Yet very simple to understand.

When I read your summary, I had to scratch my head and wonder how I could have had such trouble trying to follow the show and understand what was going on with her.

I still have no answer for that. I can't recall another TV series that I enjoyed so much but that I had such a hard time following some of the plot lines.

Thanks again.

Charlie Wayne
04-17-2014, 07:04 AM
Geez, what high standards some people have. Stan isn't Brad Pitt, but he's a big, strong, good-looking man with an exciting job. Look at the women that pasty, greasy, skinny musicians get, even before they become famous. Look at pro golfer Jason Dufner (http://bostonherald.com/sports/golf/2013/08/pga_champ_jason_dufner_back_on_manhattan_rooftops), and then look at his wife.

Of course everyone should be suspicious of Nina, but not because Stan is so hideous.


It is true that there are several examples of plain looking men (or men that just don't seem very attractive) who have paired with extremely attractive women. But, in my experience, those cases are just very rare. They are very hard to find.

IMHO, in most cases, a woman link Nina would never pair up with a man like Stan unless she had some ulterior motives.

Charlie Wayne
04-17-2014, 07:16 AM
Do I understand this one plot-line correctly about Phillip & Elizabeth's son?

Did he really enter into his next door neighbor's home (Stan the FBI agent) in order to play Intellivision?

If so, that was very interesting in that they showed he was up to something nefarious. We didn't really know what it was he was up to and it was quite a surprise to learn that he had such a strong need to play that video game system that he would illegally enter his neighbor's home in order to play that video game.

As I recall, when Intellivision was introduced to the market, it was touted as some special kind of video game. It was supposedly unlike any other video game. It apparently had some very different ways to challenge and improve one's intelligence.

I recall that at the time, it sounded like a bunch of baloney to me. But I never recall every hearing whether there was any truth to that or not.

Does anyone know if Intellivision really was a "special" kind of video game? I don't get the appeal it had that would motivate a young teenage boy to actually break into a neighbor's home (I'm not sure it's fair to say he "broke in") just to play some video games.

It seems very strange to me now that anyone would knowingly illegally enter an FBI agent's home just to play video games.

Why wouldn't he get a job instead and save up and buy the game? Was Phillip that strongly opposed to that video game such that he would not allow his son to buy one? Even if the boy worked and saved up to buy that game?

interface2x
04-17-2014, 08:33 AM
It seems very strange to me now that anyone would knowingly illegally enter an FBI agent's home just to play video games.Different neighbor. That wasn't the Beemans, it was another neighbor.

eenerms
04-17-2014, 08:38 AM
Stan is the stupidest spy ever! Not thinking anything past his dick. Geezer it's uncomfortable to watch.

Charlie Wayne
04-17-2014, 08:44 AM
Stan is the stupidest spy ever! Not thinking anything past his dick. Geezer it's uncomfortable to watch.

He certainly is not too savvy. I hope to watch the episodes through again sometime and try to spot something more about his skill level.

But, I sure do get a whole other level of interesting info when I watch a show like this when I am in my 50s then when I am in my teenage years.

It never previously occurred to me that when a very young person whatches this show, they can't possibly hope to get a real understanding of what is happening than they could if they were in their middle aged years.

So much has happened since the events depicted in this show that it is just much more interesting to learn than it would be if you watched when you were in your teenage years.

alphaboi867
04-17-2014, 05:43 PM
So Vasili is not only still alive; he's in charge of one of the KGB's luxury science gulags? :eek: How the fuck did he pull that off?

LawMonkey
04-17-2014, 10:44 PM
I would think that any outsider to Nina and Stan's relationship would know that a lady as beautiful and attractive as Nina would never be in love with a plain (ostensibly boring) man like Stan and would
be able to either tell Stan or tell someone else in the FBI that something untowards is going on between the two of them. It just seems so bizarre that Nina would be in love with Stan - so unlikely that could be on the level.

Christ, am I the only hopeless romantic here who thinks there's more to human romantic relationships than relative looks? Sure, I know Nina's playing Stan, but I know that because I get to see her to back to the Rezidentura, not because she's hot and he's not. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I in pop cult could come up with some examples. I'll offer Brie Bella (hot) and Daniel Bryan (not, though he looks better now that he's got a beard covering his hossface) of the WWE. (To clarify: their relationship is real, not kayfabe.)

Anyway, even if that's your cynical view of human relationships, it's not too hard to believe Stan is lying to himself because he wants to believe it.

So Vasili is not only still alive; he's in charge of one of the KGB's luxury science gulags? :eek: How the fuck did he pull that off?

It appears to be in the middle of BumFuck Egypt Siberia, so I don't think it's exactly a prestige posting.

This weeks episode, New Car, was great. AV Club gave a shoutout to my hometown, Norwood, Ohio, where the Camaro z-28 was built. (The factory shut down in the late 80s or early 90s, iirc, replaced by a shitty strip mall and discount movie theatre.) Beeman tried to go to the fucking ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES to get clearance in his crazy ass plan to protect Nina/take out Oleg. And the boy kid, whose name I forget, got caught breaking into the Palace of Intellivision, and had that scene at the end crying and saying he was a good person...

Charlie Wayne
04-17-2014, 11:01 PM
<snip>
Anyway, even if that's your cynical view of human relationships, it's not too hard to believe Stan is lying to himself because he wants to believe it.


Yes. OK. I can certainly go along with you on that.

Chefguy
04-17-2014, 11:02 PM
Stan is the stupidest spy ever! Not thinking anything past his dick. Geezer it's uncomfortable to watch.

On the contrary, it's a time honored way to turn an agent. Normally intelligent, loyal agents and other government officials have fallen for this scheme over and over again. Once you give them something, even if it's innocuous, you're compromised. Some, instead of just coming clean and taking their lumps, continued to provide more and more relevant information, usually for pay, but mainly to keep from being exposed and going to prison.

I offer Felix Bloch as a prime example. He was screwing a hooker who turned out to be a Soviet employee. When he was threatened with his wife and employer being told, he chose to betray his country. Last I heard, he was driving a school bus in Georgia somewhere.

LawMonkey
04-17-2014, 11:27 PM
Forgot something above: Where do they get all of these cars? I never thought about it before, because they did have their sensible family sedan. But in this episode, Phil comes home in the bitchin' Camaro, and we then cut to Elizabeth in a nondescript black sedan (more or less). And now that I think of it, they've always had access to a spare ride when necessary. I guess the Rezidentura just has a fraudulently licensed motor pool tucked away in garages all over DC, with keys on the dash for Direktorate S agents to take as needed?

Charlie Wayne
04-17-2014, 11:55 PM
Forgot something above: Where do they get all of these cars? I never thought about it before, because they did have their sensible family sedan. But in this episode, Phil comes home in the bitchin' Camaro, and we then cut to Elizabeth in a nondescript black sedan (more or less). And now that I think of it, they've always had access to a spare ride when necessary. I guess the Rezidentura just has a fraudulently licensed motor pool tucked away in garages all over DC, with keys on the dash for Direktorate S agents to take as needed?

It's an interesting plot line. Phil is talking to his son about a new hot car and I think he's referring to the Camaro. He said something about "400 horsepower" which would make it quite the dream for a 15 or 16 year old boy.

Maybe they will make it clear in a future episode that he took it for an extended "test drive"? But whatever happens, I'm expecting there to be some further developments with this Camaro.

It's very interesting that Phil who ostensibly spent his entire youth in Russia and would not likely have a great appreciation for hot cars would choose such a cool car.

Maybe the Rezidentura recognizes the importance of the "cool" factor and keeps someone around who schools the agents on being cool?

Coriolanus
04-18-2014, 04:05 AM
It seems very strange to me now that anyone would knowingly illegally enter an FBI agent's home just to play video games.


Intellivision had very good graphics for the early 1980's. It was an expensive rich-kids gaming system. I didn't have any friends with one (not being a rich kid). Utlimately, Atari 2600 had better marketing and it was the most successful till all gaming crashed in 1983.

(As corrected above, it was another neighbor). Not that I think it would have mattered. In modern terms, let's say they had a PS4 with a 75" 3D TV. What kid would not want to try that out?


Why wouldn't he get a job instead and save up and buy the game? Was Phillip that strongly opposed to that video game such that he would not allow his son to buy one? Even if the boy worked and saved up to buy that game?

I don't care much for the childrens' enhanced plots this season: The girl gets religious, the boy does things that any kid would. I think he's like 13, so he's not old enough to work (maybe a paper route?). But those gaming systems were expensive. Perhaps a future plot for the son will involve him getting caught stealing the BoneStorm video game and getting sent off to military school. ;)

E-DUB
04-18-2014, 01:49 PM
Why didn't Vasili get a bullet in the head? He's undoubtedly got dirt on somebody.

amarinth
04-18-2014, 04:48 PM
Do I understand this one plot-line correctly about Phillip & Elizabeth's son?

Did he really enter into his next door neighbor's home (Stan the FBI agent) in order to play Intellivision?

If so, that was very interesting in that they showed he was up to something nefarious. We didn't really know what it was he was up to and it was quite a surprise to learn that he had such a strong need to play that video game system that he would illegally enter his neighbor's home in order to play that video game.He'd been begging his parents for an Intellivision for multiple episodes. He'd talked about the neighbors getting one. We knew exactly what he was going to do the second we saw him watching them get in the car. This didn't come remotely out of nowhere.

It seems very strange to me now that anyone would knowingly illegally enter an FBI agent's home just to play video games.The Intellivision owning neighbors are a different family than the FBI owning neighbors.

Why wouldn't he get a job instead and save up and buy the game?Because he's 12ish? And kids that age aren't really good at long term planning.

amarinth
04-18-2014, 04:55 PM
But in this episode, Phil comes home in the bitchin' Camaro, and we then cut to Elizabeth in a nondescript black sedan (more or less). And now that I think of it, they've always had access to a spare ride when necessary.The thing about the Camaro is that it's really flashy and really noticable.
Their old car was an unobtrusive, brownish sedan, the kind that goes alongand blends in with all the other cars when you're driving either to or from a kidnapping, safe house, dropsite, or assassination. It never looks out of place. Law enforcement doesn't pay attention to it. Potential witnesses aren't going to remember it was even there or that it sped past them 20 minutes ago.
People see the Camaro. It seems like one of the worst possible car choices for a deep cover spy.

Headrush042
04-18-2014, 06:28 PM
The Camaro also seems to be setting up some ideological tension between Elizabeth and Phillip -- note their conversation about him wanting to just enjoy life once in a while, whereas she's a prole through and through and doesn't think their luxuries are deserved while there are poor people starving just down the street, with the implication that Phillip is becoming too Americanized.

LawMonkey
04-18-2014, 09:06 PM
The Camaro also seems to be setting up some ideological tension between Elizabeth and Phillip -- note their conversation about him wanting to just enjoy life once in a while, whereas she's a prole through and through and doesn't think their luxuries are deserved while there are poor people starving just down the street, with the implication that Phillip is becoming too Americanized.

Phil had some second thoughts after he heard about the submarine, though.

SlackerInc
04-20-2014, 05:42 AM
Here's a brief summary of Nina's arc:

Stan catches Nina buying contraband and threatens her; exposure of her crime would get her sent back to Moscow in chains, so she agrees to turn double-agent.

During her double-agent time with Stan, Nina realizes that she can manipulate and control Stan, using him for her own (and Mother Russia's) benefit. So she goes to her section chief and comes clean on the contraband, getting caught by Stan, and turning double-agent.

Her section chief decides to keep her in play with Stan, turning her into a triple-agent. They collude to feed Stan real but generally meaningless intel to keep him on the hook so that Nina can get intel from Stan.

Around this time, New Guy falls in lust with Nina. He uses his connections to find out Nina's story. He doesn't get the whole puzzle, though; some of it turns out to be super-duper double classified. While he could use his connections to get that intel, doing so would probably play his hand too much, possibly "using up" those favors. Instead, he decides to confront/bluff Nina to see if he can get her to break. Nina, of course knowing that New Guy is blind with lust for her, immediately seduces him when he confronts her. This effectively neutralizes him from her point of view.

The section chief decides to further play Stan, using New Guy to tell Stan that New Guy discovered Nina, and New Guy can out her to her superiors. If Stan really loves Nina he'll help New Guy, which basically he does. This gives further proof to section chief that Nina owns Stan.

The only person we've seen Nina show true feelings for is the guy Stan shot in the head and tossed in the dumpster. The show has given us no reason to believe that she cared for the old section chief (who she got arrested and deported), Stan, or New Guy.

I don't agree with some of the assertions in this summary. We can't be 100 percent sure of her inner feelings, but I wouldn't say that she was necessarily completely insincere about Stan before he killed Vlad. That shook her pretty deeply, and she also began to feel pangs of regret about betraying her country based on some patriotic, stirring type stuff her boss said (IIRC; this was last season but it's the way I remember it).

I also don't think she "immediately seduces" New Guy. I would say she was holding him at arm's length until the polygraph thing. Sure, that can be a kind of mating dance of its own, but she was shutting him down to a greater degree than necessary to flirt with him or play hard to get.

I also don't know that we have any evidence that the station chief orchestrated New Guy's meeting with Stan. I don't really know for sure either way, but my assumption had been that New Guy cooked that up freelance and didn't share it with anyone from the station until afterward.

BrokenBriton
04-20-2014, 08:21 AM
So what would the Jennings do now? I wonder if they removed all identifying papers and changed plates, but engine and chassis number could still get them busted anyhow.

I'm only here, at the end of S2E4: I really like this show, even more given what being achieved on a budget that wouldn’t support a wedding feast on Game of Thrones. I've een thinking about this and wrote some down. ..

International politics is no kind of entertainment anywhere but here we are with a complete spectrum:

The last decade of the decaying – and we now see through the new character – corrupted Soviet empire
The infant but emerging Israeli confidence in operating in the US
The youthful beauty (literally personified) of the Sandinista cause vs. that other imperial empire of the early 80s


Layered above we seem to have the huge moral and emotional dilemma of children growing up exposed to unwelcome influences, the two leads are effectively sociopaths psychopaths - or both, and then there’s the usual John le Carre spy stuff of who’s zooming who and is it a double or triple bluff.

Sure it’s a bit ridiculous at times but the real strength for me is the themes and the way moral dilemmas and hypocrisy are juxtaposed. It's really really smart structuring, and using historical events to do it.

Fwiw, in this episode it seemed to become clear the employee in the travel agency who got a couple of lines must be Mossad. Like the way Jennings presumably got his new car out of this ...

TonySinclair
04-20-2014, 06:11 PM
The thing about the Camaro is that it's really flashy and really noticable.
Their old car was an unobtrusive, brownish sedan, the kind that goes alongand blends in with all the other cars when you're driving either to or from a kidnapping, safe house, dropsite, or assassination. It never looks out of place. Law enforcement doesn't pay attention to it. Potential witnesses aren't going to remember it was even there or that it sped past them 20 minutes ago.
People see the Camaro. It seems like one of the worst possible car choices for a deep cover spy.

Exactly right. The first rule of spying is, "Blend into the background, don't stand out."

And does a Camaro even have enough trunk space for bodies?

Charlie Wayne
04-22-2014, 10:45 AM
I would like to ask about an episode from the first season - probably Episode 2 or 3.

Phillip had taken his (approx 12 year old) daughter Paige to a mall. They got slightly separated but Phillip remained close enough that he could still see what she was doing. She was approached by a man (approx 30 years old) who had his arm around a very young girl (maybe approx 13 years old) and he was treating this girl as if she was a romantic interest and definitely not his daughter. When he saw Paige, he started sweet talking her and seemed interested in her. It appeared that if Phillip had not intervened, he would have tried to get Paige's phone number or tried to pick her up or tried something that no father would ever allow. In fact, because of the way he was behaving, most fathers would've wanted to do some harm to this guy.

Anyway, later on, Phillip went to this man's house and beat the snot out of him. It was definitely very satisfying to watch Phillip beat the snot out of this creep. But it left me feeling a little disturbed about one aspect and I'd like to ask about that.

I'm not complaining this episode was unrealistic. It was definitely unrealistic. But this is a TV show and as such, it's not really supposed to be realistic. But I still want to ask a question.

This question is directed towards people with experience in self-defense or mixed martial arts techniques. Perhaps people who have significant training in a martial art or in some other form of combat experience. I have read that martial arts experts say that physical violence should be avoided at all costs and should only be used as a last resort. It is said that when you resort to physical violence, you have lost the conflict.

My question is that even if someone has expert level training in physical combat, isn't it always possible that if they decide to beat the snot out of someone that they just may well come up against someone who will beat them instead?

It seems to me that in this situation, even though Phillip has been trained and possesses expert-level fighting ability, the odds are still close to 50-50 that the other man may also have been trained and been able to beat him. Or, worse, the other fellow may have been carrying a gun and he may have been able to pull it out and shoot Phillip dead. He may even have been a cop (although the odds are small) and then it would have been very difficult for Phillip's family to get any justice.

So, I'd like to know. If someone possesses expert level combat experience, does it make sense to do what Phillip did? Or wouldn't it be better to let the police handle this or find some other way to handle this.

FYI, Phillip did wear a disguise so that his victim would likely not have recognized he was the same person from the mall. But I don't know why that is important to the story.

I don't care that Phillip behaved in a way that was not terribly realistic. I'd just like to know how someone with expert combat training would have handled this incident. Would you try to go to his home and beat the snot out of him? Phillip didn't even use the element of surprise. I would have approached the guy from behind so he wouldn't have seen me coming. But Philip didn't do that.

I would have loved to beat the snot out of this guy. But I probably would have arranged for some friends who were armed to come with me - just in case he gets the upper hand. Or I would have contacted a lawyer and asked the lawyer to contact the police to handle this. There are several reasons why it is much better to let a lawyer contact the police instead of contacting the police directly (one of which is that the guy may have been a policeman).

SlackerInc
04-22-2014, 03:51 PM
The guy was big and tough looking; but Philip had the drop on him which always makes a huge difference.

But sure: in real life you are definitely going to be better off just dealing with it through legal means.

TonySinclair
04-22-2014, 05:16 PM
Yeah, the way he did it was dumb. As I remember the episode, all he did was go over to the guy's house and beat him up, with no surveillance of the house beforehand. Which means that he could have run into the guy's friends or brothers (in fact, IIRC, the guy was barbecuing or something out back at the time, which implies guests), or dogs, or even a wife who had a gun.

Also, it seemed like he wanted to teach the guy a lesson, but not kill or maim him. That's great, but it removes a lot of the edge a trained fighter has over an untrained fighter, especially when the untrained guy is a lot bigger. Phillip's biggest advantage in "normal" fight situations is that he knows lethal techniques, and is willing to use them.

And also IIRC the guy was very aggressive with Phillip in the store, so the odds of him being used to fighting go up a notch.

BrokenBriton
04-22-2014, 05:58 PM
wasn't that our intro to the split personality theme ...

Ellis Dee
04-22-2014, 07:54 PM
Geez, now that you remind me of that episode, how many times are they going to put Paige in danger of being molested? The creepy guy in the mall, the weird serial-killer-ish dude who gave them a ride and took them to that lake; I'm starting to think it may be a kink of the showrunner.

Charlie Wayne
04-23-2014, 06:48 AM
Geez, now that you remind me of that episode, how many times are they going to put Paige in danger of being molested? The creepy guy in the mall, the weird serial-killer-ish dude who gave them a ride and took them to that lake; I'm starting to think it may be a kink of the showrunner.


It has to be difficult for the writers to deal with the two kids. They have to include at least one of the kids in most every episode. So, the boy enters a neighbor's home when they are not home to play a video game. Paige gets into all kinds of trouble in several episodes.

This series must be especially difficult for the writers because the kids know nothing about their parents true activities and so whatever subplots involve the kids will have very little to do with the parents.

It strikes me as a real challenge for the writers.

SlackerInc
04-23-2014, 06:22 PM
But Paige has shown a talent for sleuthing. I think she will find out at some point and that will become a major crisis.

Charlie Wayne
04-23-2014, 07:49 PM
But Paige has shown a talent for sleuthing. I think she will find out at some point and that will become a major crisis.

Well, she will probably find out something . But not necessarily the truth. Then they can spend half a season dealing with that big crisis and in the end, they will find some way to lie to Paige and smooth things over.

If this show lasts a few seasons (and I hope it will) we might see that sort of thing happen a few times - with both kids. Fortunately, a brother and sister of that age rarely spend a lot of time together and rarely share friends or interests. So, it's very likely any crisis like that will only involve one of the kids - not both.

It should be a lot of fun for the viewers to see how they will handle that.

alphaboi867
04-23-2014, 10:13 PM
Wow, Phillip came pretty fucking close to exposing himself; I'm surprised he didn't kill the minister at the end. :eek:

LawMonkey
04-23-2014, 11:22 PM
So... Jesus Fucking Fuck, now that was an hour of television! In a perfect world: Matthew Rhys, here is your well-deserved Emmy. Holy crap.

MaxTheVool
04-24-2014, 01:29 AM
I loved that episode.

BUT... what the heck is going on with Gaad and Arkady? How does Gaad blackmailing Arkady help Gaad? And who is this Patterson guy? And how would exposing his testimony embarrass Arkady?

Soooo confused.

Charlie Wayne
04-24-2014, 06:16 AM
Wow, Phillip came pretty fucking close to exposing himself; I'm surprised he didn't kill the minister at the end. :eek:

I was surprised by that scene too. I didn't expect him to kill the minister. That would have been an extreme over-reaction and Phillip would stand a real good chance of getting caught for that. After all, Paige is not exactly the most reliable person to cover up her father's crime. At that age, most any youngster can't really help themselves from blabbing all kinds of stupid shit all the time. As people get older, it seems like most of them don't really even get much better. LOL.

But it was a very powerful episode. Just yesterday, I posted that it must be hard for the writers to find story lines that involve both the parents and the children. And here they come up with a perfect story line. Paige's church gets the whole family involved.

I don't really get the point of the son's magic trick though. Was Phillip's bad attitude about that to show us that he was feeling a lot of remorse over killing those 3 people on his mission the night before?

Bottom line though ... a stellar episode ... maybe the best I've seen so far.

I'd like to see Matthew Rhys get an Emmy for that episode as well.

SaharaTea
04-24-2014, 10:30 AM
I don't really get the point of the son's magic trick though. Was Phillip's bad attitude about that to show us that he was feeling a lot of remorse over killing those 3 people on his mission the night before?

Yes. If I had just killed three innocent people for a morally dubious cause I probably wouldn't be in the mood for a magic trick either. Philip is feeling a lot of remorse, anger and confusion, and he's taking it out on those around him. He's hanging by a thread and I fear what he might do when he snaps.

AK84
04-24-2014, 11:02 AM
That was probably the best episode of any show I have seen in ages. Wow.

Fantastic acting from everyone. What the hell is going to happen to

i) Philip's anger issues
ii) Emmet and Leanne investigation
iii) Beeman's marriage.
iv) Fuck that was a great episode.

I hope Agents of SHIELD picks up these writers.

LawMonkey
04-24-2014, 11:38 AM
I hope Agents of SHIELD picks up these writers.

NOOOOOOO! What are you doing, trying to send our writers to another (crappy) show? They can't have them! The Americans' writers stay with The Americans, preciousssss!

interface2x
04-24-2014, 12:58 PM
Did anyone catch what happened to the truck driver tied to the tree? I think he was dead (?) but didn't see what happened to him and couldn't figure out based on when they were untying him. I might have missed it, though, I was kind of in and out at the beginning.

Charlie Wayne
04-24-2014, 03:27 PM
Did anyone catch what happened to the truck driver tied to the tree? I think he was dead (?) but didn't see what happened to him and couldn't figure out based on when they were untying him. I might have missed it, though, I was kind of in and out at the beginning.

I got the impression that he was dead because of the way Phillip and Elizabeth reacted. If he was only sleeping, they would have tried to waken him, wouldn't they?

But when they examined him, they both seem to be very disheartened. So, I think he somehow died. That is pretty strange though. It wasn't cold enough for him to freeze to death and they weren't detained so they weren't gone longer than expected. So, I can't imagine why he would have died.

Charlie Wayne
04-24-2014, 03:33 PM
Wow, Phillip came pretty fucking close to exposing himself; I'm surprised he didn't kill the minister at the end. :eek:

In thinking about this some more, I wonder if the plot involving the minister and his wife is done or if there is more to come?

At one point one of the parents asked Paige if she knows how the minister and his wife were spending her donations. Wouldn't it be interesting if it was learned that they were using the money for something selfish or something that would disgust Paige - like maybe running some kind of 3rd world slavery ring?

We may yet get to see Phillip kill one or both of them. Plus ... what a bonus if it is Paige who discovers how they are really spending the money or if she somehow learns how. That could give her a big attitude adjustment re her parents. I really liked Phillip's line, "You respect Jesus, but you don't respect us?"

It would make for a great series adjustment if Paige finds out the minister and his wife are actually terrible scumbags and she winds up with a much improved attitude towards her parents. I would like that very much.

Charlie Wayne
04-24-2014, 03:50 PM
Stan is the stupidest spy ever! Not thinking anything past his dick. Geezer it's uncomfortable to watch.

I thought it was very informative when two US agents had the conversation where they said, "When we kill someone, we leave evidence. When the Russians kill someone they don't leave any evidence. They are better at this then we are."

That seems like it may be an important point and that it may return again and will affect future episode plots.

After all, in a conflict like this, if one side has more resources, more support and has the home field advantage, the other side has to be better skilled. They have to be better not only in killing people, but more importantly, in exploiting weaknesses of enemy agents and citizens. I'm guessing we may see that point come into future plots more often in the future. At least, I'm hoping that we will. It will be a good way for us to learn more about some of the things they do. I'd really like to see different ways they find victims and then go about exploiting them.

Tamerlane
04-24-2014, 04:53 PM
I thought it was very informative when two US agents had the conversation where they said, "When we kill someone, we leave evidence. When the Russians kill someone they don't leave any evidence. They are better at this then we are."

I believe the consensus view of analysts looking back in retrospect to the Cold War, was that the Soviets were indeed better on average at human intelligence than any of the NATO countries. They didn't always make the best use of said intelligence due to ideological blinders among other factors ( nicely illustrated in the first season when Philip virtually alone understands that a coup is extremely unlikely to result from Reagan being shot ), but they were quite good at penetrating Western intelligence.

By contrast the U.S. agencies, especially after the early 1960's, for internal cultural reasons of their own increasingly began to rely on electronic/technical intelligence at the expense of HUMINT. To this day some analysts still criticize American intelligence agencies for their lack of focus on HUMINT. One example (http://globalsecuritystudies.com/Margolis%20Intelligence%20%28ag%20edits%29.pdf).

MaxTheVool
04-24-2014, 05:34 PM
It would make for a great series adjustment if Paige finds out the minister and his wife are actually terrible scumbags and she winds up with a much improved attitude towards her parents. I would like that very much.

Eh... seems like that would require an awfully bizarre coincidence. Of course, Philip and Elizabeth did have an FBI counterintelligence officer move in right across the street from them. But still, what are the odds that their daughter happens to find a church that is involved in child slavery or something? It's a more dramatic conflict if it's Philip and Elizabeth vs Evil Church, but I think it's a more unique and interesting one if it's Philip and Elizabeth vs some genuinely decent human beings who just happen to subscribe to a very very different belief system.

Coriolanus
04-25-2014, 02:03 AM
Did anyone catch what happened to the truck driver tied to the tree? I think he was dead (?) but didn't see what happened to him and couldn't figure out based on when they were untying him. I might have missed it, though, I was kind of in and out at the beginning.

Yeah, I was momentarily distracted, when just as they look at the tree he's tied to, the credits say: Story by: Oliver North & Tracey Scott Wilson. Yes, that Oliver North.

Raza
04-25-2014, 09:08 AM
And who is this Patterson guy?
I had to look that up. It was from last season, the US agent who ordered the hit on the Soviet colonel at his home; Phillip and Elizabeth kidnapped him, but eventually released him (blindfolded, sitting in a chair on a sidewalk). Grandma agent got her revenge on him by bluffing her way into his apartment and letting him bleed to death. I was puzzled, though, at at Gaad saying Patterson "disappeared"; I had always assumed Grandma left him there in his living room to be found, on purpose.

Regarding the encounter with the minister and Phillip's backing off, I have two theories of why he backed off (outside of just the fear of getting caught):

* he sees that the minister truly believes in what he professes, and - as a "true believer" himself, decides to give someone of conviction (even if opposite his own) a free-pass; or

* with all the apparent remorse and second thoughts we're being shown by Phillip, maybe the promise of a spiritual redemption is something he wants to keep available.

SlackerInc
04-25-2014, 01:10 PM
I loved that episode.

BUT... what the heck is going on with Gaad and Arkady? How does Gaad blackmailing Arkady help Gaad? And who is this Patterson guy? And how would exposing his testimony embarrass Arkady?

Soooo confused.

Yeah, I am familiar with all the backstory about Patterson, but I didn't think Gaad's threat (or bluff) was very strong. Nothing about Patterson's testimony would relate in any way to the Soviet embassy...so, why should it cause "heads to roll" as Gaad claimed?

NOOOOOOO! What are you doing, trying to send our writers to another (crappy) show? They can't have them! The Americans' writers stay with The Americans, preciousssss!

Ha, agreed. Not sure what that was about--an assumption that the show will be cancelled? Sorry, Charlie: it's been renewed for at least one more season (yay).

But when they examined him, they both seem to be very disheartened. So, I think he somehow died. That is pretty strange though. It wasn't cold enough for him to freeze to death and they weren't detained so they weren't gone longer than expected. So, I can't imagine why he would have died.

I was assuming that he did indeed die of hypothermia. We don't know exactly how cold it was, and you can become hypothermic in above-freezing temps.

It would make for a great series adjustment if Paige finds out the minister and his wife are actually terrible scumbags and she winds up with a much improved attitude towards her parents. I would like that very much.

I wouldn't have minded a storyline like this, and early in the episode I thought maybe they were scumbags. But I think it's pretty clear from the end of the episode that this is not what the writers intended.

Is anyone surprised that the girl from the bus who brought Paige to the youth group originally hasn't been played of a supporting role since then? Have we even seen her since?

Grandma agent got her revenge on him by bluffing her way into his apartment and letting him bleed to death.

I was puzzled, though, at at Gaad saying Patterson "disappeared"; I had always assumed Grandma left him there in his living room to be found, on purpose.

I think that would be too risky, especially given that IIRC they were going after Patterson as a freelance thing, without the knowledge of the Kremlin (or whatever group it is they refer to as their bosses; there's some term they repeatedly use but I can't recall it).

Regarding the encounter with the minister and Phillip's backing off, I have two theories of why he backed off (outside of just the fear of getting caught):

* he sees that the minister truly believes in what he professes, and - as a "true believer" himself, decides to give someone of conviction (even if opposite his own) a free-pass; or

* with all the apparent remorse and second thoughts we're being shown by Phillip, maybe the promise of a spiritual redemption is something he wants to keep available.

I think it's more the latter. I'm an atheist myself, so I don't really thrill to this development; but I just think there are a lot of subtle, nonverbal cues in the last couple minutes of the episode to indicate that Philip was moved by, and attracted to, the notion of spiritual redemption the pastor was so sure was available to anyone. I think we may see him actually begin to furtively explore that avenue, perhaps along with Paige; I'd prefer not, but it seems like something they may be setting up.

tsm
04-25-2014, 02:12 PM
Was the first guy that Philip killed (the one whose throat he slit) the same guy that Elizabeth originally got the info on Larrick (I think that was his name) from? I thought he looked familiar for some reason.

Andiethewestie
04-25-2014, 03:05 PM
So... Jesus Fucking Fuck, now that was an hour of television! In a perfect world: Matthew Rhys, here is your well-deserved Emmy. Holy crap.

It was an amazing scene. It worked on so many levels, Phillip putting on gloves before entering the church, the dark of night juxtaposed against a brightly lit risen lord, was he going to kill again? Was he seeking revenge against the church? Or was he seeking absolution?
The hate in his eyes, was it untoward the minister, himself almost too pious to be real, was he creepy for taking a girl's money? He was raging against Jesus being chosen over him to his daughter. Or was it more Phillip turning inward, in a lot of pain, creating self loathing not being able to cope with the seduction of capitalism over the blood he's steeped in over the cause. I thought all of that mixture of emotions bubbled up and almost over, but the pulling back was the most thrilling moment on television.

Charlie Wayne
04-25-2014, 04:47 PM
I would like to pose a hypothetical scenario and ask for your opinions how Phillip & Elizabeth could best handle it. It deals with what would happen if and when P&E ever get caught as spies and arrested.

We have seen the following kind of scenario several times: In Season 1 Episode 5 (during the "Previously on The Americans" portion) Elizabeth rings some man's doorbell and tells him that she is working for some agency and the DoD has authorized her to do a "top to bottom" check of his company's security and she has to ask him some questions. Of course, she is really trying to get some info from him on his company's top secret projects. Interestingly however, I never could find this scene in any previous episode although the announcer said it happened "Previously on The Americans" during S1E5.

But suppose this man doesn't trust her and decides to go to his company's security agent or suppose he approaches the FBI directly and tells them what happened. Suppose the FBI believes him and decide to wire this man and his home and tells him the next time she comes to see him that he should just play along with her and they instruct him what to say and how to behave.

Then, they follow Elizabeth and they are all over her. She leads them back to her house and then the FBI is all over Phillip and their travel business. Then, they learn that P&E are def spies and they decide to arrest them. After following them for say 3 months, they have caught them in a murder or two and have enough to lock them both up forever. The FBI decides the best way to arrest them is not to tell them they are under arrest for being spies. But instead, they decide to come at them sideways in the hope they will learn more than they would if they came at them direcly.

So, one day, they either get the local police's fraud squad or they impersonate that fraud squad and swoop down on their travel business and arrest everyone there and haul them all into jail and keep them all separate. They tell P&E that one of their empolyess has been using their company checks to defraud some people somehow and they need to question all their employees to find out what is going on. They tell them it is an extremely serious matter involving some federal agencies but they tell them very little else.

By arresting P&E using this "charade", they figure they might get more info than they would if they approached them directly. But from the moment they enter the travel business, they have already decided that P&E will never again see each other or talk to each other or their kids - never for the rest of their lives. They will both be imprisoned in a sort of solitary confinement for the rest of their lives because they have been caught as spies against the USA and they've also done some murders.

So anyway, after about 12 hours in custody, P&E start to get nervous about their kids and they will tell the cops they haven't defrauded anyone and they need to go home to care for their kids. So, the first part of this scenario is:

1) What will P&E say when the cops ask them who they want to take care of their kids while they are being questioned? This will likely be a big problem because no matter who they name, it will mean big trouble for them. The won't name a fellow Russian agent for sure. They don't have any family members they can name. Can you imagine if they name Stan and his wife? Stan the FBI Counter-intelligence agent?

This can become a real big problem. They may even be tempted to tell the cops something true about themselves to get out and take care of their kids. The alternative is to let some child welfare agency take them and I can't see them doing that. So what would they do? Assume the USA has some strong espionage laws so if they ask to see a lawyer, they won't get one because they won't have hardly any rights - certainly not the same rights as a regular citizen abd they are not citizens after all.

OK. So, after maybe 12 hours, the cops approach them and tell them (separately) that they have a problem because they got search warrants for their house, their business and their car and they found all kinds of things that no American citizens who run a travel business would have. They found weapons and secret-code radios and all kinds of other spy equipment. Plus the cops found some evidence linking them to some other spying-type crimes.

If P&E have never planned for this kind of situation, they won't have their stories straight and they won't both tell the same story to the cops. They may even wind up telling the police different stories and get into some real big trouble because they can't talk to each other and decide on the same story.

OK. Well, I think this is far enough. Seems to me they are in real deep shit here because if they actually believe these are local cops and they are investigating some kind of fraud by one of their employees, they may actually give away some info about their spying activities that they would never give away if the federal cops came at them straight and told them they were FBI agents.

So, the next part of this scenario is:

2) What can P&E tell these cops? Will they try to get out of this bogus fraud crime by offering the cops some info about more serious crimes? Will they try to rat on some other people so they can get out of jail?

If they ask for a lawyer, they will be denied and I don't think the cops would even have to give them a truthful reason. They could probably come up with some bogus reason. Maybe they would say the fraud involved some federal agencies and the cops will tell them they believe one of their employees is a spy. If nothing else, that could cause them to spill some info they would ordinarily never divulge.

Anyway, given that the cops have decided that no matter what, P&E will never ever get to see or talk to each other or their children ever again, what can P&E do under these circumstances, If you were one of them, what would you do? My guess is that anything they say will just make things worse for them and the best thing they could do is just remain silent and accept their life sentences. But will they do that?

I'd really like to know what you think of this whole scenario. If they are ever caught in the act, is this the best way for the feds to come at them? And if and when they are caught, what can they do to try and help themselves? Phillip might well try to offer the cops some kind of deal to get his imaginary millions of dollars that he wants. But I doubt that would ever happen if they are caught red-handed for a murder. Maybe the cops will just use that to make things worse for them somehow. Or at least to get more info and help them do a better job of fighting the Russians?

So, what do you think? What can P&E do under these circumstances and what will they likely do?

Chefguy
04-26-2014, 11:40 AM
My only quarrel with this episode: Stan goes to extraordinary lengths to get an audience with the spooks and convinces them to give him access to a highly classified super-secret project, signs his life away, and even then the spooks are unwilling to discuss an exclusive and equally super-secret meeting, and then Stan basically blabs the whole thing to his secretary? He's either the worst FBI agent on the planet or the dumbest. I know that it's for the purpose of plot furtherance, but it's just not how the real world of classified information works, and it bugged me. End rant.

amarinth
04-26-2014, 12:20 PM
BUT... what the heck is going on with Gaad and Arkady? How does Gaad blackmailing Arkady help Gaad? And who is this Patterson guy? And how would exposing his testimony embarrass Arkady?

I had to look that up. It was from last season, the US agent who ordered the hit on the Soviet colonel at his home; Phillip and Elizabeth kidnapped him, but eventually released him (blindfolded, sitting in a chair on a sidewalk). Grandma agent got her revenge on him by bluffing her way into his apartment and letting him bleed to death.
It's the threat of paperwork, which made it so awesome.

Basically, Gaad said that he has a missing American agent on tape saying that he was tortured by Soviet spies on American soil. If that leaks to the press, then the US will have to pretend that it is shocked and outraged that there are spies here. SPIES! and respond by pulling diplomatic permissions for everyone currently here from the Soviet Union. And the Soviets will have to re-staff the whole embassy - which is time consuming and a general bureaucratic PITA. Plus, it's also really embarrassing internationally when your spies get caught or even sort of caught.

So, Gaad wants Arkady to tell Moscow that "hey, DC's a dangerous place, shit happens" and convince them to pretend not to know that the FBI shot Vlad in cold blood, so that the US doesn't have to react to Vlad being shot in cold blood & Gaad doesn't have to get fired.

I love this show.

SlackerInc
04-26-2014, 03:16 PM
I love it too, but I don't at all buy that it would have such ramifications. They have no proof that he was kidnapped by Soviet spies, and the diplomats could plausibly claim to have nothing to do with it anyway. There was that army guy caught in the ’80s giving secrets to the Soviets; there was the guy in the '70s they portrayed in The Falcon and the Snowman; there was the discovery of a bazillion bugs in the US Embassy in Moscow; and I'm sure various other scandals as well. AFAIK none of these resulted in expulsion of Soviet diplomats (how would they access the UN?), and neither did the invasion of Afghanistan or the shooting down of the Korean airliner (with a US congressman aboard, even).

ETA: Chefguy, you certainly have a point. But how else would he do the research he needs to without bringing her into the loop?

Chefguy
04-26-2014, 05:23 PM
ETA: Chefguy, you certainly have a point. But how else would he do the research he needs to without bringing her into the loop?

He would have to retrieve the records himself. In a routine business office with top secret documents, everybody in that office has a TS clearance. Even so, access can be on a need-to-know basis. But if you, with a TS clearance, require entry into, say, the communications vault at the Embassy, all the equipment is shrouded and the file safes are locked down. So Stan's secretary would have had normal office staff document clearance, but for something that compartmentalized, she would not. In fact, it's more than likely that the spooks would have flat refused to deliver said documents to Stan's facility, let alone allowed them to be in a room accessible to anybody other than Stan.

But hey, it's fiction, and sometimes real world experience gets in the way of just enjoying the ride. :)

alphaboi867
04-26-2014, 09:20 PM
...And the Soviets will have to re-staff the whole embassy - which is time consuming and a general bureaucratic PITA. Plus, it's also really embarrassing internationally when your spies get caught or even sort of caught...

The State Department and CIA would just love that since the Soviets would be certain to do the exact same thing to the US embassy in Moscow.

AK84
04-27-2014, 03:04 AM
WHich makes me think that Arkady called Gaad's bluff.

SlackerInc
04-27-2014, 04:02 AM
If he does/did, I will feel much more sanguine about this gambit, as a failed stab at a bluff that Gaad probably knew was a longshot.

Charlie Wayne
04-27-2014, 12:25 PM
I may be mistaken. But it seems to me that we have seen Nina tell Oleg that she loves him and that Stan Beeman means nothing to her and that we have also seen her tell Stan that she loves him.

Do we know whether she is telling the truth to either one of these men? And if so, which one?

For some reason, I have difficulty trying to remember all the details of the plots of this show and so I may well have missed the truth here. But does anyone know what that truth is as it regards Oleg & Stan?

If the truth has never been revealed to the audience, then it will be an excellent plot device and my opinion of this show will go up yet another notch. My opinion of this show is already extremely high. Like many of you, I really admire this show. It is wonderful.

All the actors are superbly skilled. IMHO, the same goes for the writers and the directors. This show is one of those very rare examples of a show where all the people participating in the production are just hitting on all the cylinders and all of them are just doing a superb job.

I am very, very happy to have discovered this gem. It is just terrific!

Charlie Wayne
04-27-2014, 12:41 PM
For anyone who does not know but is interested.

IRL, the actress who plays Nina - Annet Mahendru - is an extremely accomplished lady. She speaks something like 6 languages. She has a brown belt in karate. In addition, I seem to recall that she has quite a few other accomplishments.

It's hard to believe that she is still single. I would have thought that someone would have snapped her up real quick by now.

What a beauty! I have had several dreams about her and all of them were very nice dreams!

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3393732/?ref_=tt_cl_t6

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/04/16/annet-mahendru-discusses-ninas-future-on-the-americans-and-filming-at-walt-disney-world-for-escape-from-tomorrow

http://www.annetmahendru.com
http://www.maxim.com/todays-girl/annet-mahendru
http://knowcelebs.com/article/celebrities/annet-mahendru-biography.html
https://twitter.com/AnnetMahendru/status/323799849952747520
http://www.tvduck.com/Annet-Mahendru-celebrity-photos.html
http://www.reddit.com/r/AnnetMahendru


LOTS OF PICTURES HERE:
http://www.esquire.com/women/funny-joke-from-a-beautiful-woman/annet-mahendru-photos-0314#slide-1


The following link (same as the above link) seems to contain a very nice joke that was apparently told by Annet:
http://www.esquire.com/women/funny-joke-from-a-beautiful-woman/annet-mahendru-photos-0314#slide-1
I hope you enjoy this joke. I know that I certainly did!

Charlie Wayne
04-27-2014, 12:52 PM
Something else about Annet:

I seem to have come to the opinion that Annet may have been deliberately cast to contrast with the actor playing Martha Hanson (Alison Wright).

It is very difficult to describe Martha and say that she is somehow "ugly". However, I would like to know if you think that the producers deliberately try to make Martha appear unattractive to contrast her with Nina.

I do remember that one plot point has a few of the office staff members laughing at Martha and that Phillip doctored a tape to make it appear they called her "ugly".

Do you think the producers are deliberately attempting to contrast these two actors and deliberately make Martha appear ugly in contrast to Nina?

Charlie Wayne
04-27-2014, 01:26 PM
I'm sorry but I think I failed to get my opinion across in the above post. What I meant to say was something like this:

I believe the producers try to contrast Nina and Martha as one being beautiful and the other being the opposite of beautiful. I want to ask you if you believe it may be true they do this as a plot device to compare Stan having an affair with the attractive lady while Phillip has an affair with the "unattractive" one.

I'm not sure what they think they accomplish by doing this except maybe to make the point that the job of being an agent sometimes requires people to pretend to "love" others of all diff levels of attractiveness.

If you agree that this may be true, then I sure would like to know why they do this. What is the point they are trying to make?

Charlie Wayne
04-27-2014, 04:38 PM
For anyone here who watched Season 2 Episode 8, the scene with Henry crying and apologizing for entering the neighbor's home and playing with their Intellivision was just plain embarassing.

I was left wondering why his parents failed to insist that he pay back his debt somehow. Like maybe mowing their lawn every other week for the summer? Or maybe, if I was Phillip, I would have insisted that he put himself in my shoes and tell me just what I would be thinking and how I would feel every time I left my home to go to work and I saw the neighbor coming out of his home and going to work.

I would have liked Henry to tell me just what he would think I'd be feeling and what I'd be thinking every time I saw the neighbor.

Maybe then, that would help him to understand the humiliation that I would feel as his father. Maybe then, he would begin to understand the consequences of his actions.

Dumbass little kid needs some way to pay for his stupidity. The funny thing is ... I have done the exact same thing as a kid. But there has to be some way for him to understand what it feels like to get caught.

interface2x
04-28-2014, 08:30 AM
Dumbass little kid needs some way to pay for his stupidity. The funny thing is ... I have done the exact same thing as a kid. But there has to be some way for him to understand what it feels like to get caught.The best way is to show him, y'know, get caught. Which they did.

Chefguy
04-28-2014, 08:42 AM
I believe the producers try to contrast Nina and Martha as one being beautiful and the other being the opposite of beautiful. I want to ask you if you believe it may be true they do this as a plot device to compare Stan having an affair with the attractive lady while Phillip has an affair with the "unattractive" one.


They're not contrasting the two women at all, IMO. If anything, they're comparing Martha with Stan as being similar. It was common to have an attractive agent target someone who was ordinary-looking, preferably someone who appeared to be lonely or bored with his life and who had access to classified material. Neither Stan nor Martha have movie star looks and are flattered by the attention of an attractive person. Both are relatively unhappy/bored in their lives, so a little sexual adventure is appealing.

MsJinx
04-29-2014, 10:08 PM
I don't consider 'Clark' attractive at all. He's rather nerdy, even considering the era. Amador. Didn't Amador have a past with Martha? I think she is shy and lonely, and that's why Clark was able to woo her, not that he was desirable as far as looks go. But then when she discovered what an animal he can be....that sealed the deal! Stan chose Nina because she was vulnerable, not because of her looks. That she is attractive was what enabled her to turn the tables on him.

Charlie Wayne
04-30-2014, 08:31 AM
I don't consider 'Clark' attractive at all. He's rather nerdy, even considering the era. Amador. Didn't Amador have a past with Martha? I think she is shy and lonely, and that's why Clark was able to woo her, not that he was desirable as far as looks go. But then when she discovered what an animal he can be....that sealed the deal! Stan chose Nina because she was vulnerable, not because of her looks. That she is attractive was what enabled her to turn the tables on him.

If I was running the operation to take advantage of Martha, I would have made up Stan to look almost exactly like he does look. If he was any more attractive, it would not have made much sense for anyone who saw them together to believe that he would have found Martha desireable enough to want a relationship with her.

I understand that a small segment of men do wind up with unattractive women and there are many reasons for that. But I would think a good spy would not deliberately try to draw negative attention to himself.

I'm sorry to disagree with you. But IMHO, in the spectrum of desireable females, Nina would be around the 90 percentile and Martha would be around the 20 percentile.

Nina is extremely beautiful and even more attractive because she is very clever and I would guess she is a lot of fun to be with - both inside and outside the bedroom.

Martha is not at all physically attractive and she has quite a few unattractive attributes. She is very "needy" and will always complain about the relationship. She strikes me as someone that no matter how much more Clark gives her of his time and attention, she will always complain that she needs more.

I firmly believe that if Phillip was looking for a woman to spend time with, he would never look twice at Martha. I'm sorry if it insults any of you when I say this. But Martha is a very ugly and unattractive woman. Nina is a great beauty and extremely attractive.

Of course all of this is just my personal opinion. These issues are almost entirely subjective and everyone may well hold a different opinion.

E-DUB
04-30-2014, 01:05 PM
I don't think Martha is ugly, but she is just plain, average, you know, like most women who aren't on TV. She does have some personality traits that render her less attractive than her looks alone would warrant, but Amadore was obviously interested in seconds, so..............

SaharaTea
04-30-2014, 02:26 PM
I don't think Martha is overly needy. She accepts that Clark travels a lot and can't be home very much, and she understands that he can't tell her a lot about his job. She has trouble with the fact that they have to hide their marriage, but any woman would feel the same. Martha may be gullible but she's also loving and generous, which makes "Clark's" job that much harder for him emotionally.

Ellis Dee
04-30-2014, 03:57 PM
I agree that Martha isn't needy. She's the opposite of needy. She's desperate.

TonySinclair
04-30-2014, 10:19 PM
I'm sorry if it insults any of you when I say this. But Martha is a very ugly and unattractive woman.

I'm not insulted, but I think you make yourself sound like a jerk. She's plain by TV/movie standards, where their idea of making a woman ugly is to give her a pair of glasses, but by real life standards, she's fine.

There's a gallery of Doper photos here: http://www.nouilles.info/sdpix/

That's the real world, and those are just the people happy enough with their looks to post their picture. Martha would be in the top 10% there. In my personal opinion, she's at least as sexy as the woman (http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/george-clooney-engaged-to-girlfriend-amal-alamuddin-2014264) that George Clooney just got engaged to.

But if you want, post your picture in the gallery, and maybe your wife, if you have one, so we can see why your standards are so strict.

LawMonkey
04-30-2014, 10:24 PM
So... what the hell is Mr. Gay Army Man's plan with the phone line? Also, Direktorate S is going to notice somebody killed their signals guy pretty quickly, I'd think.

Also, why did Annalise freak out? Did she have no idea at all what she was getting into?

(...he posts, hoping to derail the 'this show is totally unrealistic because Nina is too hot to be going out with a loser like Stan'/'is Martha hot or not' discussion...)

Charlie Wayne
04-30-2014, 11:30 PM
I have a few questions about the army guy as well that I hope someone can answer for me.

1) Am I correct that the soldier we see getting off an airplane early in this episode (S2 E10) is some high ranking CIA official that trained some people who murdered the father of the young lady from some Central American country (I think it was Nicarauga?) and who then kept trying to murder him?

2) When he got a phone number from that junction box in the basement and called it and asked for "Bobby", who was the lady who answered? Was that Phillip & Elizabeth's new handler?

3) Was he the same man who killed those friends of P&E and their daughter?

LawMonkey
05-01-2014, 12:34 AM
I have a few questions about the army guy as well that I hope someone can answer for me.

1) Am I correct that the soldier we see getting off an airplane early in this episode (S2 E10) is some high ranking CIA official that trained some people who murdered the father of the young lady from some Central American country (I think it was Nicarauga?) and who then kept trying to murder him?

2) When he got a phone number from that junction box in the basement and called it and asked for "Bobby", who was the lady who answered? Was that Phillip & Elizabeth's new handler?

3) Was he the same man who killed those friends of P&E and their daughter?

1) Not CIA. I think he's regular Army. But yeah, otherwise correct.

2) Apparently it was--I didn't notice, but the AV Club recap mentioned it.

3) Maybe, maybe not. He claims not to have killed them, and Liz and Philip bought his story, but right now we don't have any other suspects.

Stoid
05-01-2014, 01:28 AM
I enjoy the hell outta this show, but i have to confess that an enormous percentage of the plot is a complete mystery to me.

Charlie Wayne
05-01-2014, 02:33 AM
I enjoy the hell outta this show, but i have to confess that an enormous percentage of the plot is a complete mystery to me.

I'm very happy to hear that. I thought that senility was gaining on me. But you are not alone. I feel much the same way.

Law Monkey, thank you very much for the info.

SaharaTea
05-01-2014, 08:46 AM
Also, why did Annalise freak out? Did she have no idea at all what she was getting into?

It was already established in season 1 that Annelise is a bit crazy. I think she went into it intending on staying faithful to her husband, but she kind of gets off on all the sexual intrigue. She felt guilty.

It was dangerous of Philip to use her for such a mission, but he really wanted to keep Elizabeth out of it.

Stoid
05-01-2014, 09:21 AM
I'm very happy to hear that. I thought that senility was gaining on me. But you are not alone. I feel much the same way.

Law Monkey, thank you very much for the info.

Recaps! Up to this point I've only read recaps of shows I watch for the entertainment value… It now occurs to me that I should probably find a good recapper who can help me make better sense of it, which I am sure would increase my enjoyment...

Charlie Wayne
05-01-2014, 09:25 AM
Recaps! Up to this point I've only read recaps of shows I watch for the entertainment value… It now occurs to me that I should probably find a good recapper who can help me make better sense of it, which I am sure would increase my enjoyment...

If you find such a place, please post it here and let everyone know.

I will start a search of "The Americans Episode Guide" and also "The Americans Recap" and see if I can find anything.

If I do, I will come back and post it here.

Thanks :)

Charlie Wayne
05-01-2014, 09:34 AM
I picked Season 1 Episode 12 as a sample and checked some recaps at different sites.

Believe it or not, so far, Wikipedia has the best recaps.

Here is their recap for that episode: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oath_%28The_Americans%29
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sanford Prince (Tim Hopper) tells Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) that he has recruited an Air Force colonel who will give important information on the SDI project for $50,000. Elizabeth brings this new information to Philip (Matthew Rhys), who is wary, citing Prince's gambling addiction. Elizabeth believes Sanford is delivering them the "highest source" within the Reagan administration, while Philip believes it could be a trap.

Elizabeth receives a signal from Prince that he has left something for her, and finds a jar at the dead drop. Peeling back the label, she sees schematics for the U.S. missile defense system. Elizabeth meets Claudia (Margo Martindale) who believes that the Americans wouldn't hand over such important information just as a trap, telling Elizabeth that she believes the Colonel is real and a meeting with him has been set. Elizabeth has grown tired of Claudia as their handler and tells Philip that he wants her to be reassigned. Philip resolves to convince Martha (Alison Wright) to plant a bug in Gaad's office to see if the FBI are planning anything. Later, while at dinner, Philip proposes to Martha, who happily accepts.

Nina's (Annet Mahendru) suspicions about Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) grow and she accuses him of murdering Vlad, which he strongly denies. Philip asks Martha to plant a pen, fixed with a listening device, in Gaad's office and after assuring her that everything will be OK, she agrees. Viola Johnson (Tonye Patano), who planted the bugged clock in Weinberger's office, has become feeling increasingly guilty, and eventually confesses. She later reveals what happened to Stan and Gaad, and they surmise that Viola was threatened by the same couple who kidnapped Patterson. Viola agrees to speak to a sketch artist. The FBI discover the bug in Weinberger's office and decide to leave it there now that they know the Russians are listening.

After planting the bug, Martha confronts Philip about their relationship, complaining that they have to keep it secret. Philip agrees that she can tell her parents about the marriage and Martha tells him she wants to get married over the weekend. Philip and Elizabeth listen on the bug in Weinberger's office, where they hear no mention of a trap. Sanford is arrested one night for failing to pay his child support. Elizabeth fears this has something to do with the meeting with the Colonel. At Philip (assuming the identity of Clark Westerfeld) and Martha's wedding ceremony, Elizabeth attends as "Clark's" sister and Claudia attends as his mother. Elizabeth asks Philip if they had a wedding ceremony and taken vows, would their relationship be different and Philip says he doesn't know.

Viola's time with the sketch artist results in the FBI looking for a white couple in their 30s or 40s. Nina, who has grown increasingly tired of Stan's lies, confesses to Arkady about spying for the U.S. and volunteers to become a re-doubled agent.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll let you know if I find any better recaps.

Charlie Wayne
05-01-2014, 09:44 AM
Here is an even better recap for that episode:

http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/americans-recap-season-1-the-oath.html


The Oath answered the chaos and misery of last week’s episode "Covert War" with a kind of dark solidity; picture hot lava hardening into rock. Last week, I was worried The Americans was killing off too many major characters and burning through too much plot too fast, to the point where it risked turning into a still-entertaining but shamelessly desperate second-season disappointment, like the somewhat similar Homeland. I don’t think we have to worry about that now, because so much of this episode is about reconfiguring the universe of these characters, establishing who’s up and who’s down, and hinting at how the plot might shift in season two based on those changes.

Nina, who’s still grieving over the murder of her colleague Vlad, gets a promotion at the consulate; now she’s in charge of overseeing "the illegals," which I think refers to the posing-as-Americans spies (Elizabeth, Phillip, and their ilk). Nina’s reaction as she recites the oath of allegiance and accepts her boss’ pin is terrifically real and realistically tangled: a mix of pride and anxiety. In the space of a few months, she’s gone from a thief fearing deportation (or worse) to a woman of influence. "With every heartbeat, with every day that passes, I swear to serve the Soviet Party, the homeland, and the Soviet people," she recites.

That this is a battlefield promotion, like so many on this series, clearly gnaws at her. Vlad didn’t just love her -- he loved her--loved her. "Vlad treated me like his sister," she tells her Sonia. The response: "Because he knew that you were out of his league." Her rise in prominence makes exfiltration unnecessary for now; she’s important enough that the Consulate wouldn’t get rid of her, professionally or bodily, without an extraordinarily compelling reason. I suspect she’s also in a better position to learn the identity of Vlad’s murderer: her lover, agent Stan Beeman. "Did you kill Vlad?" she asks Stan during an encounter in their safe house/love nest. "I would never do anything to hurt you, you know that," Stan says, as richly evasive an answer as any murderous liar boyfriend has given. Her dream -- that she had a dream that she was waiting for Stan to save her, then woke up -- describes her trajectory as a character. (What a great part, and Annet Mahendru is terrific in it. She’s as strong as Emmerich, though less acclaimed because she’s not as familiar to viewers; I have yet to see her hit a false note.)

Phillip and Elizabeth are still separated, and Phillip is digging himself even deeper undercover as Clark, fiancé of Martha and the KGB’s unwitting (or maybe half-witting?) spy. I trust Phillip to be ruthless, and I don’t believe he has anything like authentic feelings for Martha; for the most part I see his proposal of marriage as the Russian spy version of what Americans would call a Hail Mary pass: a way of controlling a woman whose ethics are fungible but who needs to feel she’s being used for romantic as well as patriotic reasons. (Phillip’s marriage proposal -- tracing "Marry me" upside down on Martha’s palm with his finger -- suggests that the KGB sent him to Suave School.)

This Clark-Martha marriage subplot is the closest The Americans has gotten to raised-eyebrow sitcom contrivance. It makes the show’s not-so-secret agenda (examining marriage and partnership while seeming to be about spies) hilariously clear. Clark’s justification for why they can’t be publicly married, and why he has to continue to behave furtively, is a Seinfeldian masterpiece of self-serving bullshit: "I can’t even tell my parents." "We won’t be able to live together." "No one can know about this."

Still, I have to wonder if the proposal isn’t partly an unconscious reaction to his separation from Elizabeth. He’s been acting surprisingly okay with it -- to a degree that seems to have rattled Elizabeth -- but when I see him playing the role of Clark so enthusiastically, to the point of constructing an alternate life for himself, it seems like there’s more going on here than mere tactics. When he tells Martha that his first marriage didn’t work out ("Me and my ex-wife, we didn’t care enough; what I mean is, we cared about each other, but we didn’t know how to be married"), he’s lying by telling the truth. It sounds like a confession. When you stand back from the show’s marriage plot machinations, it gets even funnier: Phillip was in a sham marriage that felt like a real marriage, but that collapsed anyway as a result of professional pressures that created the sham marriage in the first place. Now he’s getting into another sham marriage, partly (it seems to me) to expiate his guilt over the failures of marriage No. 1.

The marriage at city hall, with Elizabeth posing as Phillip’s sister and Claudia pretending to be his mother, is a little masterpiece of deadpan perversity that braids the show’s fascination with marriage, promises, lies, and performance together. ("An oath is both a statement for the present and a promise for the future," the minister says -- the second "oath" in this episode.) The scene shifts from absurdity to melancholy when the vows are exchanged and focus shifts to Elizabeth. She’s been wanting to ask Phillip to come home but hasn’t, because she has too much pride, or maybe because she’s just not the sort of woman whose personality allows for rapprochement. And now has to watch her fake husband/real husband/future ex-husband exchange actual wedding vows under an assumed identity! Her face doesn’t say, "Well, we’ve certainly gone down the rabbit hole now!" but something more like, "That should be me standing there." Sometimes you don’t realize what you really want until someone else gets it. (Good as this sequence was, I could have done without Elizabeth’s question to Phillip: "They’re just words people say. But do you think things would have been different between us if we’d said them?" We get it, Americans; you don’t have to go all Boardwalk Empire on us.)

We see Phillip settling into his new bachelor apartment and even having Paige over for a little father-daughter hangout. I love when Elizabeth arrives "early," but actually on time; it doesn’t just cement her perfectionist character, but it also gives us a sense of how keenly she regrets the separation and how aware she is that while the kids love both parents, Phillip will always be the more warmly regarded of the two. He’s flat-out easier to like. Elizabeth, even at her most vulnerable, reminds me of the description that brainwashed soldiers give of Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate: "The kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life." Meaning, not.

The episode’s most touching scene (for me, anyway) highlights the kids’ parental affection gap: Elizabeth and Paige’s heart-to-heart about that Joan Jett chick zooming in and effortlessly out-cooling her during Matthew Beeman’s band practice. "Feelings come and go, honey. It doesn’t mean the battle is lost," Elizabeth tells her, a perfectly sound, if vague, bit of motherly advice. She continues, "We see what we see in people, things that aren’t really there." "Is that what happened with you and dad?" Paige asks. Here, as well, the dialogue feels too on-the-nose -- as if the scene is analyzing itself so you don’t have to -- but the sentiments are valid. A big part of marriage, or any other kind of partnership, is seeing one another clearly, and finding a way to be affectionate and loving without idealization. Then again, what do I know? To quote Henny Youngman, "The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret."

"Marry Me Upside Down" would have been a good alternate title for this episode.

Odds and ends

I didn’t get into all the stuff about Sanford Prince and the rigamarole about the "Star Wars" missile defense system because (1) it just wasn’t as interesting as the Stan/Nina and Philip/Elizabeth/Martha personal material, and (2) it’s just a means to an end on this show anyhow. But if you want to discuss it in the comments, I’ll join you.

I keep worrying that if Stan doesn’t figure out that Elizabeth and Claudia are spies soon, he’s going to seem so stupid as to become unsympathetic. But then again, I worried the same thing about Hank on Breaking Bad, and the show did a good job of answering or at least working around those concerns. So, fingers crossed.

Please, somebody make a GIF of Claudia playing Ms. Pac-Man.

Speaking of Claudia, her character has deepened with each passing week. I think the last three episodes have clarified her position toward her agents: She views them as employees first, human beings second, and ultimately disposable if ordered to think of them that way by her superiors. But I think she does care what happens to them, if only out of professional pride. She cares in the way that an infantry platoon sergeant or ship captain might.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think I will leave it here for now. Someone else may be able to come up with an even better recap. But, for now, I am very happy with this "Vulture" site.

AK84
05-01-2014, 09:57 AM
It was already established in season 1 that Annelise is a bit crazy. I think she went into it intending on staying faithful to her husband, but she kind of gets off on all the sexual intrigue. She felt guilty.

It was dangerous of Philip to use her for such a mission, but he really wanted to keep Elizabeth out of it.

I did wonder if the ISI officer said something in between her post coital smoke and Philip attack? The operation was too clean and if this series is any guide, highly clean operations tend to backfire spectacularly. Like the one with Weinberger and Larrick?

Fun fact, the real life head of ISI Covert Action Group at the time was also called Yousaf, though he was a serving military officer on secondent rather than a spy. He wrote a book about it called "The Bear Trap. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Bear-Trap-Afghanistans-Untold/dp/0850522676)".

Charlie Wayne
05-01-2014, 10:03 AM
Darn it, I guess I should just post links to any better recaps:

Here is a really nice one from the Wall Street Journal. I Googled "The Americans Season 2 Episode 10"

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/04/30/the-americans-recap-season-2-episode-10-yousaf/

Charlie Wayne
05-01-2014, 02:14 PM
For anyone looking for recaps for the episodes so far, the following are links to the best recaps I could find for the 13 episodes from Season One. They are all from the site: www.vulture.com

SEASON 01 (from vulture.com)
http://www.vulture.com/2013/01/americans-recap-pilot.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/americans-recap-season-1-the-clock.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/americans-recap-season-1-gregory.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/americans-recap-season-1-reagan-shot.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/americans-recap-season-1-comint.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/03/americans-recap-season-1-trust-me.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/03/americans-recap-season-1-duty-and-honor.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/03/americans-recap-season-1-mutually-assured-destruction.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/americans-recap-safe-house-amador-kidnapped.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/americans-recap-season-1-only-you-gregory.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/americans-recap-season-1-covert-war-zhukov.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/americans-recap-season-1-the-oath.html
http://www.vulture.com/2013/05/americans-recap-season-1-finale-the-colonel.html

The following links are for the ten episodes shown so far for Season Two. They are all from the site: www.clotureclub.com

SEASON 02 (from clotureclub.com)
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/02/americans-season-2-episode-1-comrades-recap/
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/03/americans-cardinal-recap-season-2-episode-2/
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/03/the-americans-recap-season-2-episode-3-the-walk-in/
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/03/americans-recap-little-night-music-season-2-episode-4/
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/03/americans-recap-deal-season-2-episode-5/
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/04/the-americans-recap-behind-the-red-door-season-2-episode-6/
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/04/the-americans-recap-arpanet-season-2-episode-7/
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/04/americans-recap-new-car-season-2-episode-8/
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/04/americans-recap-martial-eagle-season-2-episode-9/
http://www.clotureclub.com/2014/04/the-americans-recap-yousaf-season-2-episode-10/

I know that www.clotureclub.com looks like an error and should be www.cultureclub.com but it is actually correct as is.

I have no idea what "clotureclub" mean.

I hope you enjoy these recaps. I have found them to be very good. However, I'm sure there are some other sites with even more detailed recaps and I would appreciate if anyone would like to post those if you find any.

alphaboi867
05-01-2014, 06:56 PM
...2) When he got a phone number from that junction box in the basement and called it and asked for "Bobby", who was the lady who answered? Was that Phillip & Elizabeth's new handler?...

Yes, that was her.

It was already established in season 1 that Annelise is a bit crazy. I think she went into it intending on staying faithful to her husband, but she kind of gets off on all the sexual intrigue. She felt guilty.

It was dangerous of Philip to use her for such a mission, but he really wanted to keep Elizabeth out of it.

It was, but I think Philip was right him being too smart to fall for a random woman he met in a bar. He would not be nearly as suspicious of Annelise.

Regarding Paige; I know Elizabeth was mad because Paige was planning on forging her signature, but does anyone else think she's even more pissed off at how poorly Paige thought this through? Paige's entire plan rests on the pastor & his wife not making any follow-up with the Jennings, and her parents not noticing she's gone for 3 months. :dubious:

Charlie Wayne
05-01-2014, 07:00 PM
Yes, that was her.



It was, but I think Philip was right him being too smart to fall for a random woman he met in a bar. He would not be nearly as suspicious of Annelise.

Regarding Paige; I know Elizabeth was mad because Paige was planning on forging her signature, but does anyone else think she's even more pissed off at how poorly Paige thought this through? Paige's entire plan rests on the pastor & his wife not making any follow-up with the Jennings, and her parents not noticing she's gone for 3 months. :dubious:

Heh! Heh! Maybe she wasn't thinking that far ahead. Maybe all she wanted was to get to the camp and then figured she might have been too far away for her mother to do anything about it.

But it's still very poor thinking through on Paige's part.

Sherrerd
05-01-2014, 07:31 PM
...He claims not to have killed them, and Liz and Philip bought his story, but right now we don't have any other suspects.

Well, I've suspected the teenage son from the beginning. There was something about the wideness of his grin as he returned to the hotel room that seemed...excessive and noticeable. As if the showrunners were planting a clue.

Then again, it could simply have been a case of the actor trying to "act" and the director failing to notice (or to reign the kid in if he did notice).

Sherrerd
05-01-2014, 07:48 PM
:o (oops, that's "rein".)

Charlie Wayne
05-01-2014, 08:47 PM
Well, I've suspected the teenage son from the beginning. There was something about the wideness of his grin as he returned to the hotel room that seemed...excessive and noticeable. As if the showrunners were planting a clue.

Then again, it could simply have been a case of the actor trying to "act" and the director failing to notice (or to reign the kid in if he did notice).

Dang! That is a very good guess. What else would be the point of that kid's sub-plot?

I wouldn't feel very comfortable about that home and all those other kids in it now (where he is currently living).

Charlie Wayne
05-02-2014, 03:37 PM
I would like to ask for some help with the recaps to Season One. I have posted the links to the recaps of the 13 episodes from Season One above and I'd like to know if anyone here can spot some errors with those recaps from the Vulture site. I'm trying to decide whether I should rely on those recaps or use some other recaps instead. One particular glaring error is found about halfway down this page.

I have begun to work my way through the recaps I posted above. One problem I have is that I could not find any recaps for Season One on the "clotureclub" site. For some reason, they seem to begin with Season Two and I had to get the recaps for Season One from the "vulture.com" site. IMO, the recaps from the "cloture.com" site are far more detailed than any other site I have yet found (although I hope to discover another site with more detail one day).

So, I would like to ask if anyone here can find some recaps for Season One that are superior than the ones from the "vulture.com" site, please post that here? In addition, I may just be missing something on the "cloture.com" site. If anyone can check out that site and determine why there are recaps there for all the Season Two episodes but none from the Season One episode, I'd very much like to know that. Even better, if you can find the recaps for Season One on that site, I sure would like to know where they are.

Here is the link to the recap on "cloture.com" for S02E01. If you can find a way to get at the recaps for the first season, please post that info here? Thank you very much.

Here is the link to the recap for Season 01 Episode 02 on the site "vulture.com".

http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/americans-recap-season-1-the-clock.html

I would like to ask some questions about that recap. But let me start with one to see if there is any interest.


*** HERE IS THE ERROR IN QUESTION ***


The recap for Season 2 Episode 1 on the Vulture site says: "It started with Phillip Jennings screwing the assistant to the undersecretary of Defense ..."

http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/americans-recap-season-1-the-clock.html

But, unless I am mistaken, the episode begins with Phillip in bed with the wife to the undersecretary of Defense. That seems like a rather serious mistake to me and makes me worried that the person writing this blog may not be very accurate. I seem to have noticed several other strange but very clear errors and perhaps I should use a different site for my recaps of the first season.

I suppose that the mistake could always be mine. So ... Can anyone here verify that is indeed a mistake? Was Phillip in bed with the assistant? Or with the wife?

If anyone has any opinions as to the accuracy of the recaps to Season One on the Vulture site (the 13 links are all posted above), I'd certainly appreciate knowing about that.

Thank you.

Sherrerd
05-02-2014, 04:53 PM
Dang! That is a very good guess. What else would be the point of that kid's sub-plot?

Yes--the fact that they keep bringing the character back has only enforced my belief that they were signaling something with the big-smile-coming-back-to-the-room.


I wouldn't feel very comfortable about that home and all those other kids in it now (where he is currently living).

Good point. If it IS the case that the character is a 'natural born killer' (and not, say, a Super American Patriot who offed his family because he found out they were Soviet spies).......then the kids in the new home are definitely in danger.

TonySinclair
05-02-2014, 05:08 PM
Well, I've suspected the teenage son from the beginning. There was something about the wideness of his grin as he returned to the hotel room that seemed...excessive and noticeable. As if the showrunners were planting a clue.


I'm being whooshed, right?

Sherrerd
05-02-2014, 05:19 PM
I'm being whooshed, right?

Not by me!

SlackerInc
05-02-2014, 05:27 PM
I'm being whooshed, right?

I'm with you. This is an incredibly implausible theory, so I hope its proponents are not serious.

She's plain by TV/movie standards, where their idea of making a woman ugly is to give her a pair of glasses, but by real life standards, she's fine.

Agreed. She's a bit dowdy in her style, and of course not as attractive as smoking hot Nina, but she's far from ugly.

LawMonkey
05-02-2014, 07:29 PM
I'm with you. This is an incredibly implausible theory, so I hope its proponents are not serious.

Yeah. The only thing it's got going for it, IMO, is the story rule that it ought to be someone to whom we've been introduced, and there just aren't a lot of good candidates.

SaharaTea
05-02-2014, 08:08 PM
I agree there's no way the kid did it. The reason he got a scene this week is because Stan hopes he might recognize the photos of Elizabeth and Philip.

My crazy theory on who did it is Fred, Emmett and Leanne's asset. But I don't have a good reason other than I find him really creepy.

Larrick is an obvious choice, but I hope the writers are going for something a little more surprising.

Navigator66
05-02-2014, 08:12 PM
It was already established in season 1 that Annelise is a bit crazy. I think she went into it intending on staying faithful to her husband, but she kind of gets off on all the sexual intrigue. She felt guilty.

It was dangerous of Philip to use her for such a mission, but he really wanted to keep Elizabeth out of it.

I thought Annelise"s rage at Philip was more than just that she cheated on her husband. I wondered if the ISI man made her do a sexual act that she found disgusting but couldn't object to or say no to at the time.

Wondered too, what did Philip do to Elizabeth that time a few episodes ago were she wanted him to be Clark the Animal and take her. He did turn her over?

Sherrerd
05-02-2014, 08:14 PM
This is an incredibly implausible theory, so I hope its proponents are not serious.

Why implausible, given this season's themes? Elizabeth and Philip fear for the welfare of their children--they're anxious about the danger to which they are exposing Paige and Henry. And simultaneously, they wrestle with the question of whether the things they do are justified by their nationalistic/political/philosophical allegiance.

What more perfect way to unite these themes than a child who becomes the danger to a parallel Soviet-spy couple? If Jared decided that the "is what they do justified?" question's answer if NO, then...

There's a reason that we were shown the other Soviet-spy mother asking Elizabeth to give a letter Revealing All to her children 'if something should happen.' Elizabeth destroyed it, providing a nice character-revealing moment. But in addition to being a character-revealing moment, why wouldn't it also have been a plot point? Certainly the existence of the letter simplifies the reveal of the son's motive (or ostensible motive, anyway)---"I read that letter and I decided I couldn't let these traitors to the USA live another minute."

Of course if this does turn out to be the way the show goes, the son will have been revealed to be mentally ill as much as super-America-loving. No sane teenager murders his parents out of pure patriotism.

But even that would unite this season's themes: in that parallel family, the good-Soviet-spy parents would have failed to keep their son safe from his mental illness. Probably they were too busy doing missions to have noticed. Elizabeth and Philip, quite busy with missions themselves, would certainly be aware of (and tortured with guilt by) the similarities.


(A summary describing some of the points under the spoiler tag is at http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/the-americans-recap-road-trippin-20140312
This occurred in the 12 March 2014 episode "The Walk-In."

SlackerInc
05-02-2014, 08:31 PM
I don't think you need to spoiler tag stuff that happened in past episodes.

Anyway: I just think if it turns out to be the kid, it's will be a shark-jumping moment for this show. I like a good twist, but not one as wild as that. That's getting into soap opera (or later seasons LOST) territory.

Yeah. The only thing it's got going for it, IMO, is the story rule that it ought to be someone to whom we've been introduced, and there just aren't a lot of good candidates.

Interesting point. I kind of hope it's not following that rule.

My crazy theory on who did it is Fred, Emmett and Leanne's asset. But I don't have a good reason other than I find him really creepy.

That to me would also be a big WTF. I thought they pretty clearly established that he was quite fond of Emmet and very surprised to hear that he was dead. I don't think Philip makes it out of that trap alive if Fred is the killer.

I thought Annelise"s rage at Philip was more than just that she cheated on her husband. I wondered if the ISI man made her do a sexual act that she found disgusting but couldn't object to or say no to at the time.

Wondered too, what did Philip do to Elizabeth that time a few episodes ago were she wanted him to be Clark the Animal and take her. He did turn her over?

Yes he did, and got aggressive. I think those are related in the sense that the showrunners are consciously trying to steer away from an earlier tendency to show people in this world taking on different sexual partners and personas without any apparent psychic blowback. I don't think though that Annelise did anything really weird sexually but just felt uncomfortable and sleazy about having sex with someone as a subterfuge, something she has not done before.

Sherrerd
05-02-2014, 08:32 PM
Addition to the tag, above: It's more likely that Jared would have read another letter written to him by Leanne for "in case," given that Leanne gave the one Elizabeth destroyed to Elizabeth too many years ago for Jared to have been able to read it. But Leanne plainly cared a lot about making sure Jared would be clued in, in case of his parents' deaths, to their real job as Soviet spies. If she wrote one letter, she might well have written another (and put it in a "to be opened in case of our death" envelope that Jared happened to get the chance to open).

Sherrerd
05-02-2014, 08:37 PM
I don't think you need to spoiler tag stuff that happened in past episodes.

Oh, okay. I decided to err on the side of caution, having witnessed some deeply emotional exchanges over in threads for other shows (particularly the Game of Thrones threads. :eek: Of course those are complicated by 'books,' but even show spoilers generate arguments, sometimes.)

Charlie Wayne
05-03-2014, 08:48 AM
I thought Annelise"s rage at Philip was more than just that she cheated on her husband. I wondered if the ISI man made her do a sexual act that she found disgusting but couldn't object to or say no to at the time.

Wondered too, what did Philip do to Elizabeth that time a few episodes ago were she wanted him to be Clark the Animal and take her. He did turn her over?

When Annelise was raging at Phillip, I believe she did say something along the lines of, "You turned me out!". So, I think her rage has something to do with feeling that Phillip didn't care anything more for her than as if she was a whore.

LawMonkey
05-03-2014, 11:53 AM
Oh, okay. I decided to err on the side of caution, having witnessed some deeply emotional exchanges over in threads for other shows (particularly the Game of Thrones threads. :eek: Of course those are complicated by 'books,' but even show spoilers generate arguments, sometimes.)

Unless you're on the creative staff for this show (in which case we'll all fall down and worship you in this thread), you can't really spoil anything here.

Charlie Wayne
05-04-2014, 09:02 PM
I just watched the latest episode again and it seems to me that Anneliese genuinely wanted to make things work with her husband and did not expect to have sex with Yusef.

So, once she did have sex with Yusef, she blamed Phillip and was enraged because she felt that she was cheating on her husband due to the way Phillip handled things.

But, the thing that didn't make sense to me was that her behavior after meeting Yusef the first time was extremely excited about spending the evening with Yusef in his room because he was a very powerful man.

So, I'm confused. On the one hand it would seem that she was wanting for something to happen with Yusef. But, on the other hand, she became enraged when it did.

I suppose that I'm just not understanding what happened. Or maybe she is truly acting crazy. In either case, there is something going on here that doesn't seem to add up.

SaharaTea
05-05-2014, 09:44 AM
It is possible for someone to be excited at the idea of all this sexual intrigue and still feel guilty and used when it's over. Especially Annelise, who isn't the most emotionally stable person to begin with.

What the .... ?!?!
05-06-2014, 07:49 AM
What was the whole thing with the drugs/chemicals they used?

Would it have been typical for a Soviet to be that antagonistic toward Christianity at the time? Kind of interesting how they compare the two examples of indoctrination.

E-DUB
05-06-2014, 09:29 AM
One item from the KGB toolbox was a gas that would cause a heart attack, often delivered from a pen-like instrument. The pills Elizabeth took immunize her against it.

Charlie Wayne
05-06-2014, 11:14 AM
I'm still trying to resolve a problem I have with the recap to the show - Season 2 Episode 1 on the site: Vulture.com - http://www.vulture.com/2014/02/americans-recap-season-2-premiere.html

The recap says: "It started with Phillip Jennings screwing the assistant to the undersecretary of Defense ..."

But it seems to me that the episode began with Phillip in bed with the wife to the undersecretary of Defense. That seems like a rather serious mistake to me (and it has not been corrected in a very long time) and makes me wonder if this is a reasonable site from which to get recaps

Can anyone clarify for me whether the woman in bed with Phillip is the wife to the undersecretary of Defense or his assistant?

I'm asking because I seem to have noticed several other errors in recaps on that site - but that site carries the most detailed recaps I have yet found. If it's full of errors, then perhaps I should use a better site to get recaps?

Charlie Wayne
05-06-2014, 12:26 PM
There is another mystery that I cannot figure out. It concerns Episode 10 of Season 02.

Larrick breaks into the basement of a home in which a family of three lives. He sees their child (a small girl) but she does not see him. We don't seem to recognize that family and neither does he.

Would anyone here have seen them before?

These were the people who had a big box of wires in their basement as well as a large number of telephones in their basement. I may be wrong here. It may have been their neighbors who had all the phones.

I sure would love to know if anyone here knows who these people are? Did we ever see them before?

Larrick makes a phone call to one of the wires in their junction box and Kate picks up the phone on the other end of the line. Larrick asks if "Robert" or "Bobbie" is home (or someone else whose name I didn't recognize.

Does anyone here know why he would have entered that particular basement? I find the whole matter extremely puzzling and I sure would love to know what is going on there. Would anyone here have any guess as to what is going on? I honestly don't know. Anyway, I find it all very puzzling. I sure do hope that some answers are forthcoming in the last three episodes of this season.

Thank you all.

MaxTheVool
05-06-2014, 01:23 PM
There is another mystery that I cannot figure out. It concerns Episode 10 of Season 02.

Larrick breaks into the basement of a home in which a family of three lives. He sees their child (a small girl) but she does not see him. We don't seem to recognize that family and neither does he.

Would anyone here have seen them before?

These were the people who had a big box of wires in their basement as well as a large number of telephones in their basement. I may be wrong here. It may have been their neighbors who had all the phones.

I sure would love to know if anyone here knows who these people are? Did we ever see them before?

Larrick makes a phone call to one of the wires in their junction box and Kate picks up the phone on the other end of the line. Larrick asks if "Robert" or "Bobbie" is home (or someone else whose name I didn't recognize.

Does anyone here know why he would have entered that particular basement? I find the whole matter extremely puzzling and I sure would love to know what is going on there. Would anyone here have any guess as to what is going on? I honestly don't know. Anyway, I find it all very puzzling. I sure do hope that some answers are forthcoming in the last three episodes of this season.

Thank you all.


We've several times seen a guy in a room with a lot of phones who would pass information back and forth between various groups of KGB operatives, including the super-secret ones like Phillip and Elizabeth.

Larrick, who was previously spying for the KGB due to being blackmailed, presumably had a phone number to call in case of emergency or to pass on information. He used fake police credentials to convince a lady at the phone company to give him some routing information for that phone number. He then went and looked at a switchboard, and tracked that phone number to a house on a residential street. He broke into that house, and saw an apparently completely innocent family. He went into their basement, and then saw that a bunch of phone lines that went into that house actually then went into the basement of a neighboring house. (So that even if someone was trying to track this phone number, they'd end up at a neighboring house.) He then went into that basement. There he found the room-with-lots-of-phones-KGB-switchboard, and the guy who passes messages around. That guy saw him, and pressed a button intended to fry some of his sensitive equipment. Larrick shot him. Larrick them worked on reconstructing the fried equipment, and was able to make a phone call to Phillip and Elizabeth's new contact lady. So he now presumably knows her "real" phone number.

In other words, Larrick doesn't like being blackmailed, doesn't like that some of his buddies were killed, and is trying to track down Phillip and Elizabeth and their operation. His motives are some combination of a desire for revenge, a desire to cover that he was a spy, and possibly actual patriotism.

Charlie Wayne
05-06-2014, 01:49 PM
We've several times seen a guy in a room with a lot of phones who would pass information back and forth between various groups of KGB operatives, including the super-secret ones like Phillip and Elizabeth.

Larrick, who was previously spying for the KGB due to being blackmailed, presumably had a phone number to call in case of emergency or to pass on information. He used fake police credentials to convince a lady at the phone company to give him some routing information for that phone number. He then went and looked at a switchboard, and tracked that phone number to a house on a residential street. He broke into that house, and saw an apparently completely innocent family. He went into their basement, and then saw that a bunch of phone lines that went into that house actually then went into the basement of a neighboring house. (So that even if someone was trying to track this phone number, they'd end up at a neighboring house.) He then went into that basement. There he found the room-with-lots-of-phones-KGB-switchboard, and the guy who passes messages around. That guy saw him, and pressed a button intended to fry some of his sensitive equipment. Larrick shot him. Larrick them worked on reconstructing the fried equipment, and was able to make a phone call to Phillip and Elizabeth's new contact lady. So he now presumably knows her "real" phone number.

In other words, Larrick doesn't like being blackmailed, doesn't like that some of his buddies were killed, and is trying to track down Phillip and Elizabeth and their operation. His motives are some combination of a desire for revenge, a desire to cover that he was a spy, and possibly actual patriotism.


That certainly seems like an excellent system to enable various agents in the same city to communicate. It also re-enforces the notion that hiding something in a normal looking residential home in the suburbs may be the best place to hide it in suburban America. It was interesting to see all those calls that began like, "Hello. This is Robert Johnson calling on behalf of the Richard T. Wydmark Elementary School Spring Drive. ... Would you be willing to make a contribution this year?" Thank you for that info.

However, it seems very strange to route someone to a house next door to the real house (the one with the real junction box and all the phone lines) and that wouldn't help hide the real house hardly at all. If you can route the call to one house away ... Why not route it to two blocks away?

Do you think Larrick (or a friend) will now attempt to kill Kate? (P&E's new contact).

MaxTheVool
05-06-2014, 02:25 PM
However, it seems very strange to route someone to a house next door to the real house (the one with the real junction box and all the phone lines) and that wouldn't help hide the real house hardly at all. If you can route the call to one house away ... Why not route it to two blocks away?


Well, if the routing requires actually physically sneaking into your neighbor's house and making a hole in their wall and routing physical phone cables out their wall and into your basement, then the shorter distance is far more practical for a number of reasons. I mean, there's a limit to how paranoid you can be, and they were VERY paranoid, but (in this context) not paranoid enough.

Charlie Wayne
05-06-2014, 03:08 PM
Well, if the routing requires actually physically sneaking into your neighbor's house and making a hole in their wall and routing physical phone cables out their wall and into your basement, then the shorter distance is far more practical for a number of reasons. I mean, there's a limit to how paranoid you can be, and they were VERY paranoid, but (in this context) not paranoid enough.

That is certainly a valid concern. I never thought of it in that way.

amarinth
05-06-2014, 03:12 PM
So he now presumably knows her "real" phone number.I'm not sure he knows her real phone number (I don't remember seeing the display and I've since deleted the episode so I can't re-check). And even if he did, he doesn't know who the "her" was on the other end of that phone. What he knows is that he's found a communications center, there are people who will pick up on the other end of the lines (and he might be able to trace some of those lines), and that it's not entirely unlikely that someone may be calling in as well.

MaxTheVool
05-06-2014, 04:27 PM
I'm not sure he knows her real phone number (I don't remember seeing the display and I've since deleted the episode so I can't re-check). And even if he did, he doesn't know who the "her" was on the other end of that phone. What he knows is that he's found a communications center, there are people who will pick up on the other end of the lines (and he might be able to trace some of those lines), and that it's not entirely unlikely that someone may be calling in as well.

Yeah, it's not quite clear what he knows. But it's certainly plausible that he knows SOMETHING. I won't feel like it came out of nowhere if next episode he shows up in her bedroom and holds a knife to her throat and seems to know who she is.

Charlie Wayne
05-06-2014, 05:18 PM
Yeah, it's not quite clear what he knows. But it's certainly plausible that he knows SOMETHING. I won't feel like it came out of nowhere if next episode he shows up in her bedroom and holds a knife to her throat and seems to know who she is.

I don't know about you, but Kate has always seemed far too weak to be a permanent character in possession of her role.

She is only like a shadow to the other handlers we've seen (thinking mostly of Grandma).

Doesn't a handler have to have some kind of experience with various techniques?

Kate doesn't seem like she knows much of anything. She doesn't seem like she could stand up to a mildly forceful fart expelled in her direction.

I'm very much expecting her to be dead and gone before too many more episodes. And good riddance to her. What a wishy washy weakling! What did she ever bring to this character?

SlackerInc
05-06-2014, 05:48 PM
Prefatory caveat: I still think this is the best show currently airing on TV. But I do have some gripes, which to some might fall to the level of nitpicks though I think they're a tad more significant than that, as I hold shows like this and Breaking Bad to higher standards.

However, it seems very strange to route someone to a house next door to the real house (the one with the real junction box and all the phone lines) and that wouldn't help hide the real house hardly at all. If you can route the call to one house away ... Why not route it to two blocks away?

As others have noted, all the digging and so on would be tricky. But I do agree that what they did was not really good enough, and would in fact seem to cause more problems than it solves. If someone (a freelancer like Larrick, or even moreso a federal agent) has done enough digging to find the calls route to that family's house, surely they are going to find the cable going next door. Yet it also allows for another way of potentially being discovered: some electrician or phone company worker coming to work on that family's house and discovering and reporting the rerouting. So it strikes me that it raises the KGB operative's risk more than it lowers it.

I'm not sure he knows her real phone number (I don't remember seeing the display and I've since deleted the episode so I can't re-check). And even if he did, he doesn't know who the "her" was on the other end of that phone. What he knows is that he's found a communications center, there are people who will pick up on the other end of the lines (and he might be able to trace some of those lines), and that it's not entirely unlikely that someone may be calling in as well.

But surely it's only hours at most before others in the KGB discover this communications centre has been compromised? Hard to imagine that anyone calling in wouldn't immediately know something was wrong. And that one guy is the only one they've shown, but he can't go 24/7 without sleep, not to mention someone needing to do the shopping etc. So there must be others who staff the place.

Yeah, it's not quite clear what he knows. But it's certainly plausible that he knows SOMETHING. I won't feel like it came out of nowhere if next episode he shows up in her bedroom and holds a knife to her throat and seems to know who she is.

I wouldn't feel it came out of nowhere dramatically speaking after they showed her picking up (btw to answer the earlier question, I'm pretty sure "Bobby" is just a name the guy made up to cover up his call as being just a wrong number). But in terms of logic and realism, I'd call bullshit on that and be kind of annoyed with the writers' using a lazy cheat.

TonySinclair
05-06-2014, 08:33 PM
One item from the KGB toolbox was a gas that would cause a heart attack, often delivered from a pen-like instrument. The pills Elizabeth took immunize her against it.

That part was OK. But the way they did it made no sense --- it depended on nobody else using a pool that apparently served the entire hotel, and apparently let anyone in. The target saw Elizabeth in the pool with him, and thought nothing of it, so there's no reason another guest wouldn't have been there, even if he had no bodyguards.

And then she had to overpower him to administer the poison, and overpower him in a way that left no evidence of a struggle. I can believe a well trained woman her size can use kicks and strikes to stun a man long enough to give her a clean shot with a gun, but not this.

MaxTheVool
05-06-2014, 09:17 PM
I wouldn't feel it came out of nowhere dramatically speaking after they showed her picking up (btw to answer the earlier question, I'm pretty sure "Bobby" is just a name the guy made up to cover up his call as being just a wrong number). But in terms of logic and realism, I'd call bullshit on that and be kind of annoyed with the writers' using a lazy cheat.

I certainly don't think it's LAZY. They set it up as:
(1) the KGB very careful and paranoidly set up a way to communicate without being traced
(2) only someone who is very very skilled and tenacious could pentrated their veil of secrecy
(3) Larrick IS very very skilled and tenacious, and thus was able to do something that the vast majority of people would not, and at least partially pierce that veil.

I'm by no means an authority on early-1980's telecommunications technology, so if there were some details that didn't actually make real-world sense, that's fine with me, because they paid their dues, so to speak, and they showed Larrick paying his dues. On the other hand, if weeks or months go by and the KGB people don't even NOTICE that their switchboard has been compromised, then we swing back towards it being a lazy cheat. But if Larrick gets over to Kate's house in an hour, I will be perfectly happy with that. (And of course the show is often non-specific about how much time passes between each episode.) (I'll also accept some dialog like "they blew up our call center and killed Fyodor" "does that mean that someone now knows where I live?" "very unlikely, he hit the destruct button... it's a risk, but moving you to a new address would expose you and be a bigger risk.")

SlackerInc
05-06-2014, 09:51 PM
I hear ya, but I would also want something further in terms of showing how he got from using one frayed/scorched wire (in a bundle of many of them) to get Kate to answer the phone, to having her exact address.

I suspect they won't provide that, though; and I will have to chalk that up along with the "you could have destroyed us both" bit as being signs that even the writers of extraordinary shows use lazy shortcuts at times, when they want to move the plot from A to B. (Even Breaking Bad did it with the Brock poisoning storyline: revisiting that misstep in the final season, for the purpose of repositioning Jesse, was really the only flaw in an otherwise perfect season of TV.)

What the .... ?!?!
05-07-2014, 09:12 AM
What was the whole thing with the drugs/chemicals they used?

Would it have been typical for a Soviet to be that antagonistic toward Christianity at the time? Kind of interesting how they compare the two examples of indoctrination.

Q1: Answered....thanks

Q2: Anybody got anything ?

SaharaTea
05-07-2014, 12:00 PM
Q1: Answered....thanks

Q2: Anybody got anything ?
Well, one of the goals of Russian communism was to break the power of religious institutions and eventually replace religious belief with atheism. The Soviet regime led various anti-religious campaigns and persecuted many religious leaders throughout its history. So yes, it's entirely believable (and expected) that their KGB agents would be antagonistic to Christianity.

Charlie Wayne
05-07-2014, 01:16 PM
I'm having trouble believing that all these KGB agents really believe that "Mother Russia" is a good, kind, benevolent place and that the USA is an evil monster threatening the entire world.

My problem is that they seem to see the situation as entirely black and white - despite what Nina said about how they see everything as "grey".

Surely word would have filtered down to them about all the purges Stalin engineered - about all the people he unfairly had killed and/or imprisoned or who starved to death.

Stalin was a crazy monster. He was good at what he did - for sure. But everyone who knew him was terrified of him and must have known a little bit of the truth of his nature. I remember some stories of how he behaved at dinners with several other heads of states. Do any of you know the stories to which I'm referring? He behaved like a 6 year-old bully towards the other heads of state. He behaved much like Joffrey from the Game of Thrones.

Why do none of the present day KGB agents seem to know any of this? Why do they see everything as purely one-sided?

It seems to me they are just too smart to fall for that. I just don't get it. But Phillip is clearly a little different from all the others. I would love to see that difference evolve into a major subplot. I think that would be great.

MaxTheVool
05-07-2014, 01:38 PM
I'm having trouble believing that all these KGB agents really believe that "Mother Russia" is a good, kind, benevolent place and that the USA is an evil monster threatening the entire world.


I don't think they have to think that Mother Russia is good and kind and benevolent. But it's their home, it's where they grew up. Why wouldn't they be loyal to it? And there are certainly plenty of completely legitimate examples of the USA acting like an imperialist dickhole that loom larger in their minds than in ours.

SlackerInc
05-07-2014, 01:42 PM
Surely word would have filtered down to them about all the purges Stalin engineered - about all the people he unfairly had killed and/or imprisoned or who starved to death.

Stalin was a crazy monster. He was good at what he did - for sure. But everyone who knew him was terrified of him and must have known a little bit of the truth of his nature. I remember some stories of how he behaved at dinners with several other heads of states. Do any of you know the stories to which I'm referring? He behaved like a 6 year-old bully towards the other heads of state. He behaved much like Joffrey from the Game of Thrones.

Why do none of the present day KGB agents seem to know any of this? Why do they see everything as purely one-sided?

But at the time they joined the KGB (late '50s?) Stalin was already completely discredited and even denounced (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/25/newsid_2703000/2703581.stm) within the Soviet government:

1956: Khrushchev lashes out at Stalin
The Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, has denounced Joseph Stalin as a brutal despot.
In a sensational speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party Mr Khrushchev painted a graphic picture of a regime of "suspicion, fear, and terror" built up under the former dictator who died three years ago.

He said he wanted to break the "Stalin cult" that has held Soviet citizens in its thrall for 30 years.
[...]
Stalin meted out humiliation and persecution to those officers and members of the Politburo who fell from favour, said Mr Khrushchev.

He revealed that in 1937 and 1938, 98 out of the 139 members of the Central Committee were shot on Stalin's orders.
[...]
Mr Khrushchev also condemned Stalin's autobiography as an "odious book" in which Stalin refers to himself as "the workers' genius-leader" and a "shy and modest person".

He also accused Stalin of violent nationalism and anti-Semitism.

He revealed that in his last will and testament Lenin advised against the retention of Stalin as general secretary of the Communist Party.

So in an era post-"destalinisation", there would be no reason for patriotic Soviet citizens to think that anything Stalin did was a reason to undermine their faith in their "motherland". In fact, the willingness to do what Khrushchev did could be seen (and I would agree) as a sign of the government's refreshing willingness to be self-corrective and to examine past failures.

In our own country we have had a number of presidents who were truly evil men, but you're unlikely to find many Americans who think so. Less than a century ago we had a president who was at least as racist as Bundy and Sterling put together (and this cannot be dismissed as just par for the course at the time: he reversed the integration of the federal bureaucracy, and would never have invited an African American to dine at the White House as Teddy Roosevelt had a few years earlier).

Yet I don't know about anyone else, but I went through school learning nothing about the racism, and being taught about Wilson as one of the better presidents. As Matthew Yglesias points out (http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2009/12/11/195405/the-strange-case-of-woodrow-wilson/), this pro-Wilson bias still exists among presidential scholars, though Yglesias rightly characterises this as "slightly nuts":

Gene Healy pointed out to me that of 13 surveys of scholars asking them to rank presidents, Wilson enters the top ten in 11 surveys, and is number 11 in the other two.

This seems slightly nuts to me. Wilson is obviously an important historical figure but he doesn’t seem to me to have been much of a president. For one thing, he was a huge racist. Noting racism on the part of past historical figures is sometimes a cheap shot—Abraham Lincoln said things that people would find repugnant today, but was very progressive for his time—but Wilson was a real racial reactionary who turned the clock backwards. He signed a bill banning miscegenation in the District of Columbia and segregating DC streetcars. He appointed white southerners to his administration who introduced segregation into their previously unsegregated departments, including the postal service which was a major employer. Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt had African-Americans appointed to federal office, but Wilson did away with that.

So if anything, I'd say the USSR was more willing to confront what Stalin did than we in our country are willing to do concerning our past leaders.

Glory
05-07-2014, 02:36 PM
That part was OK. But the way they did it made no sense --- it depended on nobody else using a pool that apparently served the entire hotel, and apparently let anyone in. The target saw Elizabeth in the pool with him, and thought nothing of it, so there's no reason another guest wouldn't have been there, even if he had no bodyguards.

And then she had to overpower him to administer the poison, and overpower him in a way that left no evidence of a struggle. I can believe a well trained woman her size can use kicks and strikes to stun a man long enough to give her a clean shot with a gun, but not this.

I agree it had elements of implausability, but they showed Elizabeth locking the door to the pool when she came in (so no other guest could enter, although they could have looked in and seen people swimming and knocked or called out. I'm willing to give them a pass that at least addressed the possibility of more guests coming in).

I think she was so successful overpowering him because she surprised him and managed to wrap herself around him under water, depriving him of air. She delibrately let him up, when he would come up gasping, to ensure he breathed in the gas.

A LOT of the stuff Elizabeth and Clark do verges on the impossible, super spy, James Bond-like level. I like the show, so I try to just go with it.

SaharaTea
05-07-2014, 04:17 PM
I'm having trouble believing that all these KGB agents really believe that "Mother Russia" is a good, kind, benevolent place and that the USA is an evil monster threatening the entire world.

My problem is that they seem to see the situation as entirely black and white - despite what Nina said about how they see everything as "grey".

It seems to me they are just too smart to fall for that. I just don't get it. But Phillip is clearly a little different from all the others. I would love to see that difference evolve into a major subplot. I think that would be great.
Philip already sees the world as grey. Elizabeth is getting there, albeit much more slowly and reluctantly. That difference in world view was established in the very first episode and has been an ongoing theme. A good example was last season's episode about the attempted Reagan assassination. Elizabeth was convinced that Al Haig was trying to take over the US government based on some shoddy intelligence. She was all set to transmit this intelligence to Moscow, which could have started World War III. But Philip convinced her that things like that just don't happen in the US.

Charlie Wayne
05-07-2014, 04:41 PM
Philip already sees the world as grey. Elizabeth is getting there, albeit much more slowly and reluctantly. That difference in world view was established in the very first episode and has been an ongoing theme. A good example was last season's episode about the attempted Reagan assassination. Elizabeth was convinced that Al Haig was trying to take over the US government based on some shoddy intelligence. She was all set to transmit this intelligence to Moscow, which could have started World War III. But Philip convinced her that things like that just don't happen in the US.

I remember very clearly when Elizabeth awa few other KGB people believed Haig was seriously attempting a coup to take over the federal govt.

IMHO that was possibly the very best event in this entire show for many reasons. That was truly excellent. Not because they actually believed it was true. But because of all the events surrounding that incident. It was truly a "wow!" moment for me and I would love to see several more of those. However, I doubt that the show runner(s) could ever find another event to make the nature of the people involved more evident.

Charlie Wayne
05-07-2014, 04:56 PM
I am not making this post as a reply to any individual post above becuase it seems to me that more than one person referred to Stalin's "racism".

But I had some difficulty understanding just who it was that accused Stalin of being racist.

More importantly, can anyone help me to find just when and where it was said that Stalin was racist and to whom did he direct any racist attitudes? I would very much appreciate to know just when and where Stalin exhibited racist attitutes. Most importantly, I would very much like to know, to whom were the racist attitudes directed?

My guess is that they were directed towards the Jewish people or towards people of African descent. But I would really appreciate knowing when and where Stalin made these kinds of remarks. If anyone can help me with a citation, I surely would be most appreciative.

I have read several stories of his crazy behavior that would indicate he was most definitely somewhat "crazy" but I have never seen just when and where these kinds of attitudes were expressed. I would definitely be most appreciative to anyone who could post some of those remarks and I would thank you very much if you could tell me just when he said such things and to whom they were directed.

I know that I often joke around about this subject matter. However, I am being completely serious about this subject. Thank you very much.


Thank you very much.

Sherrerd
05-07-2014, 05:30 PM
I remember very clearly when Elizabeth awa few other KGB people believed Haig was seriously attempting a coup to take over the federal govt.
IMHO that was possibly the very best event in this entire show for many reasons. That was truly excellent. Not because they actually believed it was true. But because of all the events surrounding that incident. It was truly a "wow!" moment for me and I would love to see several more of those. However, I doubt that the show runner(s) could ever find another event to make the nature of the people involved more evident.

I had the exact same reaction: the whole situation (of KGB characters assuming Haig would take over, and their emotions when that didn't happen) was riveting. As you say, it wouldn't be easy to find another historical event that would make the point so clearly--but no one can say that the showrunners/writers didn't take full advantage of this one.

alphaboi867
05-07-2014, 06:35 PM
Well, one of the goals of Russian communism was to break the power of religious institutions and eventually replace religious belief with atheism. The Soviet regime led various anti-religious campaigns and persecuted many religious leaders throughout its history. So yes, it's entirely believable (and expected) that their KGB agents would be antagonistic to Christianity.

And the Jennings aren't just regular Soviet citizens, nomenklatura, or even KGB agents. They've been very heavily trained and selected for their loyalty and strict adherence to the Party line including the militant atheism. They're the most devout of the most devout. So there's that, plus the fact that Paige (who's unimaginably spoiled compared to how they grew up) is rebelling against them in favour of the church. If it hadn't been for her not so little donation they'd probably just kept biting their lips; at least until she wanted to go to summer camp.

Charlie Wayne
05-07-2014, 07:06 PM
I'm very much expecting her to be dead and gone before too many more episodes. And good riddance to her. What a wishy washy weakling! What did she ever bring to this character?

I have to retract the above statement because it appeared as if I was talking about the actress and criticizing the actress. But that was not my intention whatsoever.

I was criticizing the character within the story. I did not intend to say the writers did a bad job. I meant the character herself did a bad job in her role as a KGB handler and within the confines of that role, she should be replaced with another handler. But the actor is fine and I have no reason to see her replaced or to see her lose her job. I just want to see this actor take on a different role or maybe to become a double agent or something else.

I'm sorry for any misunderstanding.

Charlie Wayne
05-07-2014, 08:56 PM
When Stan Beeman asked Jared if his parents had any friends, Jared said, "Yes". But Stan never followed up on that. At least we were never shown any follow up.

Why didn't Stan ever follow up on that?

I'm asking because when Stan later asked if Jared recognized the hand drawn images of P&E, Jared didn't seem to acknowledge that. But if he did recognize them and he never answered the question, then maybe he decided that P&E did, in fact, kill his parents. In which case, maybe he is considering killing P&E to even the score?

Charlie Wayne
05-07-2014, 10:08 PM
Wow! I just finished watching the latest episode S2E11. It was the best episode yet and since this show keeps getting better and better, that must mean it was the best episode ever! I am just blown away. I'm beginning to think this could be the very best show on TV.

As for the rest of this season, things are really gonna bust wide open now. Larrick has killed both the Post Office guy (sorry I forgot his name) and he killed Kate.

It gave me no pleasure to be right about Kate. Nina was certainly correct about the difference between spies and cops. Spies are much smarter than cops (although she never said that). What she said was that cops just want to catch someone and throw them in jail. But spies want to catch them and keep them forever - wherever they are and keep them working for the spies forever. Spies want to catch someone and then bleed them forever. So much smarter than cops. The cop catches someone and throws them away. But the spy catches someone and then makes them give something to the spy forever more. The spy is so much smarter than the cop.

Anyway, I'm just shaking in my boots. This episode was so powerful, it just rocked me to my core. What a fabulous show!

AK84
05-08-2014, 03:44 AM
Did he kill Kate? Not sure that he did. Moreover , he seemed genuinely upset that that Emmet and Leanne were killed. And Kate and Jarred?

Charlie Wayne
05-08-2014, 04:03 AM
Did he kill Kate? Not sure that he did. Moreover , he seemed genuinely upset that that Emmet and Leanne were killed. And Kate and Jarred?

I am fairly certain that he did kill Kate because of the very loud "SNAPPING" sound when he twisted her neck. It sounded to me very much like he broke her neck.

I suppose that you could be correct and he may not have actually killed her. But I'd be very surprised if that were true.

Charlie Wayne
05-08-2014, 05:20 AM
Here is an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal's blog that reaps Season 2 Episode 11. It states that Larrick did break Kate's neck.

But that does not mean he killed her. He may have broken her neck without killing her.

In addition, the WSJ is not the last word when it comes to deciding whether Larrick did or did not kill her.

But there were some other interesting comments in this recap from viewers. These comments carry no real weight. But here is an interesting one:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To Don: Larrick knew there were time constraints;someone would come looking for her, so he couldn’t spend any time torturing her.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I would ask you to consider the comments about "time constraints". Larrick knew he had to get out of there quickly because someone would be bound to be coming along looking for Kate. Therefore, when we see P&E in the home later on, I think it is pretty clear that Kate is dead because Larrick would not have been waiting around. He would have killed her and gotten out of there quickly.

However, bottom line? You may well be correct. Kate may not be dead. But I would have to guess the odds are astronomical that she is dead.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/05/07/the-americans-recap-season-2-episode-11-stealth/

Alas, they’d never be answered, because Kate comes home to a weird feeling. She stows away in the bathroom for a few minutes and exits with her gun in order to get into a scuffle with Larrick. He trusses her up, hanging her by her wrists from the sturdiest ceiling fan known to man. Swinging her around like a tetherball, Larrick calmly asks for the whereabouts of Philip and Elizabeth. She responds with spit to the eye. Realizing this is a dead end, Larrick breaks her neck.

Just Asking Questions
05-08-2014, 09:59 AM
[QUOTE=MaxTheVool;17353613...He then went into that basement. There he found the room-with-lots-of-phones-KGB-switchboard, and the guy who passes messages around. That guy saw him, and pressed a button intended to fry some of his sensitive equipment. Larrick shot him. Larrick them worked on reconstructing the fried equipment, and was able to make a phone call to Phillip and Elizabeth's new contact lady. So he now presumably knows her "real" phone number.[/QUOTE]

Sorry, I am one episode behind, but I wanted to comment on this scene.

I'm not sure if it is just bad writing or lack of technical knowledge, but what Larrick did does not make sense. After the "operator" fried the panel, Larrick digs around, finds a dial tone, then uses the service handset to make a call. He dialed the number. Where did he get the number? There's no magic phone circuit that connects to Kate's phone. If he had the number, he could have dialed from any phone (remember, no caller ID). (Bonus complaint: it sounded like he entered the numbers, then the handset rapid-fire dialed. Service handset didn't work that way-it's just a phone with clipleads and a rugged case.)

What would frying the panel do? There's no computer in there, no advanced circuitry. The whole setup is just a bunch of phone lines. The important part of the switchboard operation is the phone numbers and the calling protocols. A notebook with all that info is what is valuable.

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