jae: (theamericansgecko)
[personal profile] jae posting in [community profile] theamericans
Aired:
18 April 2017 in the U.S. and Canada

This is a discussion post for episode 507 of The Americans, intended for viewers who are watching the show on the U.S./Canadian schedule. (Feel free to dive in to the discussion even if you're coming in late--and you should also feel free to start a new thread if it seems too daunting to read through what's already been posted first. If you're reading this at a point where you've already seen subsequent episodes, though, please take care to keep comments spoiler-free of anything that comes after season five, episode seven.)

Original promo trailer

(deleted comment)

Re: Gabriel and Paige

Date: 2017-04-19 05:59 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I agree that Gabriel was looking out for the interests of the family, but only to a point. He left without telling Philip about Mischa Jr., so he wasn't entirely candid with Philip. I wonder if the fact that he kept the entire situation with Mischa Jr. is what finally made Gabriel decide to leave. He definitely wants Philip to take care of his American family, but why wouldn't he also want Philip to know and take care of his Russian son?

Re: Gabriel and Paige

Date: 2017-04-19 11:00 pm (UTC)
maidenjedi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maidenjedi
Telling Philip about Mischa Jr. would have had consequences that would have rebounded on Gabriel. He was explicitly told not to. Saying what he did about Paige was, IMHO, his compromise with himself. He may not have even set out to do it - the conversation they had about the camps and what things were like for Gabriel before may have made him more sentimental than he might have been otherwise.

Pastor Tim

Date: 2017-04-19 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
I thought he looked both tired and much more laid back than usual.

Re: Pastor Tim

Date: 2017-04-19 08:55 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Probably partly about the baby keeping him up, maybe. When I think about that it makes me think that this is getting tiring for him too. He has his own daughter now, no longer gets off on being quite such a surrogate parent for Paige. But also I think he's maybe sensing that he's losing influence. I don't mean that he seemed like he was gearing up to steal her back or anything, but the whole "are you praying?" and whatever--I think he might be sensing a difference.

Re: Pastor Tim

Date: 2017-04-19 09:03 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
He helped Paige's transformation. She's now reading the book that he suggested she read, and she's having second thoughts about religion.

Re: Pastor Tim

Date: 2017-04-23 04:00 pm (UTC)
cadma2: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cadma2
She's learned not to tell him any more secrets and he's up against a wall of one-word answers. I think she's still listening to his advice but he doesn't know what's going on in her life anymore.

Re: Pastor Tim

Date: 2017-04-19 10:56 pm (UTC)
maidenjedi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maidenjedi
He just creeps me out, every time. I think it's the hair.

But yeah, tired, probably because of the baby.

Re: Pastor Tim

Date: 2017-04-20 01:28 am (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I love the idea that Pastor Tim is kind of getting as sick of Paige as she is of him.

Re: Pastor Tim

Date: 2017-04-20 08:34 pm (UTC)
maidenjedi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maidenjedi
Ooo, yes. I can see that for sure.

While watching thoughts

Date: 2017-04-19 10:20 am (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Could the opening scene be more brown in its colour scheme?

Just because Paige likes Gabriel, it doesn't mean what Elizabeth hopes.

The security guard distraction is another one of the 'here's a trick of the trade' that they've been doing rather more of recently.

The biggest surprise for Philip in a while. (Followed by a couple of others!)

Nina spent the rest of her life in a Soviet prison...

'That's the good news.' An episode of surprised characters.

Deliberate contrast between their 'Paige is better' and the messy reality.

And another one, this time Elizabeth surprised that one of her personas isn't the only woman in a target's life. (Like that's not the case half the time.)

'It's ok to care.' 'No, it isn't .. not for me.' Some serious 'it was just work' compartmentalisation from her, particularly when she clearly did care.

'It adds up.'

She hasn't asked anything about who he's being replaced by, or talked about the effect it will have on Paige. "You know that new member of the family you've just met, well you're never going to see him again?"

Ha, of course she's broken up with people.

Isn't looking up the files on your mother a bit dodgy?

Love the tape dispenser on the table at Gabriel's.

'What did you think?' 'I didn't.. I didn't ask questions.'

Compare Gabriel's comments on his past with Oleg's mother's 'you do what you have to do'.

.. and the final surprised character of the episode.

Date: 2017-04-19 11:18 am (UTC)
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
From: [personal profile] selenak


Last season we already had some nods towards the non-Great Patriotic War side of the Stalin era via Gabriel bringing up his past, but this season the brutality of the Stalinist purges really is a theme, what with in addition to Philip's biological father being revealed as a gulag guard and him asking his emotional father, Gabriel, about Gabriel's actions under Stalin Oleg's mother having told him about her time in a gulag, and Oleg looking this up. (BTW, given Oleg's father made a career after this, what do you want to bet he originally denounced her? One of the most insidiously destructive aspects of any dictatorship is the utter erosion of trust in any bond but between the citizen and the state it wreaks, after all.

(This year I heard Svetlana Alexejevich talking about interviewing a man who had been in a camp as well, as had his wife. His wife died there. But he remembers "the happiest moment of my life" as being when, post-gulag, he got his party membership book back. "But didn't you love your wife?" "Yes, yes. But I was just so happy I got my party book back!")

The 80s weren't the Stalin era, but there are, of course, echoes and parallels aplenty. Elizabeth's latest task - getting the files of US friendly people in Moscow - won't result in anything good for any of those names. Philip, Elizabeth and Gabriel all at different points express their joy and/or relief that they're doing something unquestionably good by aquiring samples of the super grain for the Mother Country, but Philip and Elizabeth are careful not to correct Paige, who never was told about their change of mission after the discovery there is no US grain sabotage, when she expresses her horror about this supposed US crime. Nor does Gabriel, in the end, tell Philip about his son. Parents lying (or editing facts) for their children is a thing and too deeply ingrained to be dispensed with. And for all that Gabriel is praising Paige for facing the truth early in the episode, where his easy grandfatherly manner quickly wins her over, his very last line to Philip is the sucker punch one that Philip had been right all along; Paige should have been kept away from all the spying business. Since it's now too late to do anything about this, the admission feels cruel, and yet was probably meant as anything but, and more as a last gift (I imagine Gabriel didn't say "You were right" to Philip that often).

Gabriel saying that his younger self thought he was doing the right thing but really was acting out of fear in ye olde days of course connects to his exchange with Claudia at the start of the season where he said to her "nothing frightens those two" "Everything frightens those two." And in a way, he's got a point. it's never been about physical courage with P & E, that was never their problem, but emotions frighten them more and more. Elizabeth's increasingly unconvincing denial about having liked her target being but a minor case in point.

Philip's latest mark, Deirdre, strikes me as the anti-Martha, not least because despite the different hair colour, Philip's persona with her is very early Clark like. Except that Deirdre isn't looking for romance, and instead identifies Philip's character as needy. I don't think his surprise at this diagnosis was just acting.

I continue to see Stan keeping his job as the most unrealstic part of the show, but at least in this episode they were lampshading it.

Date: 2017-04-19 09:24 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I'm glad that the show is providing background about the Stalinist era. To me, it broadens our understanding of who these people were and what they went through, either as adults who were complicit in the terror (Gabriel) or as kids who were simply born into it (Philip and Elizabeth).

I like your description of Deirdre as being the anti-Martha. She is exactly that. She isn't needy or looking for romance. She doesn't even really seem to like sex the way that Martha did. She's seen right through Philip's 'needy dork guy' act, too and she doesn't like it much, unlike Martha who just thrived on the thought that Clark needed her.

Date: 2017-04-25 11:01 am (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Especially as Stalin is closer to the characters than the show's timeline is to us.

Date: 2017-04-19 02:09 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
The biggest takeaway from this episode for me was the very last moment, when Gabriel told Philip, "You were right about Paige. She should be kept out of all of this." This, of course, being the KGB illegals program and all that entails. Paige is woefully unprepared to become an illegal. She'd be a terrific American though, because she is socially conscious and doesn't think that she's entitled to a life of ease simply by the lucky accident of having been born in the US. But that's it. She'll never be one of them. Last week Gabriel warned them (and Philip in particular)to watch their backs because the Center will never stop suspecting Philip of weakness. Now he's telling Philip to keep Paige away from all of this. He might as well hold up a giant sign that says, "Get out now while you still can and don't let them get your kids."

I thought it was interesting that Gabriel was actually more open to Philip than to Elizabeth in their last moments together. When Elizabeth asked why he was really leaving, all he said was that it (the KGB life) takes it's toll. The good and the bad things he's done all add up and now he's had enough. He's tired. He's going home. (To what? No family aside from two relatives he's barely seen for years.) But with Philip, he described how horrifying life was under the early years of the new Soviet system. Everyone, even the good, dedicated believers like Gabriel were scared and confused. He tried to tell himself that he did terrible things to 'set an example and was done 'in the service of a higher purpose' but in reality he was just as terrorized as everyone else and did terrible things simply to survive. (Nice to see this echoed by Oleg reviewing his mother's file from the time she spent in the labor camps.) I think it's fascinating that Gabriel would admit this to Philip (who is already having second thoughts about the job), but not to Elizabeth (who maintains rock solid faith in the shiniest aspects of Marxism and communism). Perhaps when it all adds up for Gabriel, there will have been enough good done, and enough lives saved, to make up for all the terrible things that he did to serve his country and his people.

On a tangent...Philip and Elizabeth both had the chance to tell Paige that they were wrong about the wheat plot but they didn't because it would have interfered with their indoctrination plan to stealthily, steadily build up Paige's anti-American, pro-Soviet sympathies. Must not confuse the budding Marxist in their midst with inconvenient truths. Tsk tsk. Good spies. Bad parents. Bad.

Hey, was it me, or was Elizabeth more than a tiny bit jealous when she saw Wheat Guy stepping out with a mysterious blonde. How dare he have an actual life that she didn't know about! Ha. I was amused. Elizabeth's reaction when Philip told her that it was okay for her to have developed feelings for this guy also made me laugh. It's not okay! Not for me! I have no feelings ever for my marks!!! Poor Elizabeth. First she became actual friends with Young-Hee (and then destroyed her) and now she's developed warm feelings for some guy she was only ever supposed to honey trap and walk away from.

What kind of crazy day did Stan have? Boss, "I have good news and bad news. Good news is, the CIA caved to your blackmail and they're going to leave Burov alone. Hurray for you! The bad news is, your career is toast. Once you're done with your current Russian sting operation, your new title at the FBI will be Mail Robot. You sir, are finished." Poor dear. Still, he had his totally-not-KGB (but very possibly CIA) girlfriend to turn to for sympathy. I loved the way he stumbled through telling her but not really telling her what happened. "So there was this thing I did. I made my boss's boss do something about...um...never mind, but anyway, that guy, the boss's boss, got made because...um, whatever! and well, I am sort of fired, only not yet! Because I'm... um... doing...something and... yeah.. So fired, but not fired yet and all because... um... that thing I said about...that thing and...Gosh Renee! You're the best girlfriend ever for letting me get this all off my chest! Pass the popcorn, huh?" [I can just see it now if she is some sort of spy reporting this back. "So Stan did...um and said...um, some stuff, and got his way but made everyone mad because um. And he's sort of fired now except that he's not because um."]

So Paige finally broke up with Matthew after moping about it all season. FINALLY. Elizabeth: "You'll get used to it. I break up with 4 or 5 guys per season! Let's schedule some mother/daughter bonding moments over this right after the daily kickboxing and Marxist literature homework, okay?" Philip: "Thank god! I mean, gosh honey, I'm so sorry. I know you said he had great hair. But you're young and pretty. You'll have plenty of opportunities to break up with lots of guys! You'll get used to it in no time. Hope I made you feel better with this cheery pep talk!"

Lastly, we got a tiny bit more information about why Elizabeth was snooping around the psychiatrist's office. He has a file on a bunch of Soviet dissidents back in Russia. I wonder if this plot thread is going to somehow tie back to Oleg in some way? Even if not, perhaps it will require them to infiltrate the dissident group somehow, and may connect over to the woman that Stan and Aderholt are recruiting. However it shakes out, it seems like a major idea to be introducing this late in the season, so I suspect it may bridge over into the next, final season.




Edited Date: 2017-04-19 02:12 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-19 07:04 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I thought it was interesting that Gabriel was actually more open to Philip than to Elizabeth in their last moments together.

Yeah, I wondered what to make of that. It fits with the way he's always been with them--Elizabeth is affectionate and Philip challenging. But why drop this advice with Philip and not Elizabeth and then run out? It's like Philip's become everyone's receptacle for their own hope for redemption. He's already in trouble, let him carry this burden.

Lastly, we got a tiny bit more information about why Elizabeth was snooping around the psychiatrist's office. He has a file on a bunch of Soviet dissidents back in Russia. I wonder if this plot thread is going to somehow tie back to Oleg in some way? Even if not, perhaps it will require them to infiltrate the dissident group somehow, and may connect over to the woman that Stan and Aderholt are recruiting. However it shakes out, it seems like a major idea to be introducing this late in the season, so I suspect it may bridge over into the next, final season.

I thought those were dissidents back in the USSR. Or do you assume they have people who got out and are now meeting here? That would make sense--but strange if the Centre let Philip get anywhere near it. Though at this point Elizabeth wouldn't do well there either.

Date: 2017-04-19 07:24 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I figure that the dissident group back in Russia likely have contacts in the US, and/or that some of them gave up and just left Russia. There is so little time left in the series that I'm just assuming that there must be something that will tie Stan and Aderholt's new Russian source to the Jennings. I'm just speculating, but I think it's possible that this woman might be involved.

As for Gabriel opening up to Philip as he did, I think part of it is due to the simple fact that Philip has started to ask very pointed questions and Gabriel is just tired of lying and hiding behind socialist rhetoric. Part of it is also what you said, that Philip has become the receptacle for everyone else's unspoken need for redemption, because Philip is questioning everything, and Philip has at least contemplated another, better way to live (if not for himself then for his children). Gabriel can hardly muster up any sort of Party blah-blah statements to justify what they all do any more. Philip won't judge him for showing this sort of doubt and weakness. Perhaps Gabriel fears that Elizabeth might judge him even though she also loves him like a surrogate father. Elizabeth still seems to believe all of the rhetoric. Philip doesn't, not entirely.

The doctor's file

Date: 2017-04-20 03:43 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I read somewhere that maybe it was that he had a draft version of the report that included the actual names of people in the USSR. The published report would redact that stuff.

The psychiatrist's file

Date: 2017-04-23 04:05 pm (UTC)
cadma2: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cadma2
Is Philip going to see Misha Jnr's name in that file? He was sent to a psychiatric hospital for being a dissident, wasn't he?

Re: The psychiatrist's file

Date: 2017-04-23 04:12 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I guess it depends on whether they have a list of everybody sent to hospitals for that. I would think that what they want is the names of the people in the actual Committee, which was the group speaking out against this practice. The KGB wouldn't need Mischa's name since obviously they had him.

Did Elizabeth already hand the list over? I'm not sure if Philip would get a chance to look at it.

Re: The psychiatrist's file

Date: 2017-04-24 12:42 am (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
It's possible that Mischa Jr.'s name is on the list, but that seems like it would be a huge coincidence, at least to me. There were a lot of dissidents in Russia at this time. They weren't all part of one organized group and they didn't all know each other. This show tends not to rely on coincidence like this. We'll see. Obviously the dissident plot is going to lead to something important. I don't think we've seen the last of Mischa Jr. The show spent far too much time showing his escape to the US to just drop him forever from the story now.

Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-04-19 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
There were a few light-hearted points in this episode: Elizabeth discovering her 'boyfriend' is cheating on her, Stan explaining to his girlfriend what's going on without saying what's going on and Gabriel's "You're losing it, Philip" (we all are, apparently).

After my comment last time on people avoiding answering questions, I was also glad to see Philip calling out Gabriel on not answering his question - though he chose a kind of stupid question to do it on.

On the other hand, I feel this show is going into some really dark places. We don't really know Philip's father and his revelation was mostly for Philip's sake, but Gabriel is a sympathetic character, and when he says he did terrible things, we feel for him. I think that if he'd come out and say he was a Nazi guard and 'we were all scared but we were fighting for the cause', it wouldn't go down so well.

As for Gabriel's parting lines: I don't know what he saw in Paige that suddenly made him realize they've made a big mistake. Gabriel is not talking about the past, and maybe they can keep Paige out of it from now on. The damage to Paige, though, can't be undone. She knows the truth and she can't undo that.

I tried looking up what Elizabeth was searching for in the psychiatrist's office, but the "Committee on Human Rights" and the "Moscow Helsinki Group" were both defunct by this stage, with all the major players arrested.

Re: What Gabriel saw in Paige

Date: 2017-04-19 11:50 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
My take on what Gabriel saw in Paige is something akin to innocence. She has her mother's idealistic nature. She questions things like her father. She cares deeply about social injustice and she wants to do what she can to improve the world, like both of her parents.

She hasn't yet done the horrible things that her parents have done, and that he himself has done, in the name of Soviet Marxism. But she's on her way. She lies like a champ now. She's learned how to betray the trust of the people nearest to her. She keeps secrets from members of her own immediate family. She's reading the Marxist gospels and drinking in every pious lie that Elizabeth tells her about the wondrous, great things they do in their work as spies. Where would it stop for her? With her first honey trap? Her first murder? I think that Gabriel simply wants to spare Paige from being drawn any further down that dead-end path.

Re: What Gabriel saw in Paige

Date: 2017-04-20 01:37 am (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
She lies like a champ now.

LOL! Paige remains a terrible, terrible liar.

I think that Gabriel simply wants to spare Paige from being drawn any further down that dead-end path.

Yes, I don't think this had anything to do with Gabriel thinking that Paige personally wasn't a good spy. He'd never recruit her for the Directorate S program, but very few people are chosen for that and Paige isn't up for that anyway. She's supposed to be Martha and the KGB probably thinks anybody can do that. Martha wasn't chosen for seeming to have spy skills.

I think Gabriel was just speaking about his own experience and realizing correctly that nobody should put their kid into this life. He'd say the same about Henry who's obviously far more of a natural at lying, keeping secrets from his family, and probably betraying people who love him if we're talking about something on the level of coming across a diary of Stan's and reading it.

Re: What Gabriel saw in Paige

Date: 2017-04-20 12:48 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
Okay, so maybe Paige lies like a baby champ...but she's actively working on becoming a better liar to please her parents. That's massively twisted.

I agree that Henry is much more a natural born spy than Paige.

Re: What Gabriel saw in Paige

Date: 2017-04-20 03:53 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Okay, so maybe Paige lies like a baby champ...but she's actively working on becoming a better liar to please her parents. That's massively twisted.

Right, in a way that's the only thing that matters. She herself prefers to be truthful. It's something she almost grew up into because she was reacting to the things she sensed about her parents she didn't like. It's not just like not being good at or interested in basketball. It's forcing someone to act against a fundamental part of their nature.

Re: What Gabriel saw in Paige

Date: 2017-04-20 07:49 am (UTC)
quantumreality: (paige)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
I think if Paige keeps on as the slowly-boiling-frog-in-the-pot, she's not going to realize just how much of herself she's compromised until one day she wakes up in bed next to some random nameless guy and realizes she Did That just so she could get information about someone in the FBI or CIA back to her parents.

Re: What Gabriel saw in Paige

Date: 2017-04-20 12:45 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
Exactly. As Philip said (referring to breaking up with her boyfriend), you'll get used to it. Just like they did to Martha, they'd start Paige off on minor things (go work somewhere we need you to be, just make copies of these files for us, just let us know who's coming and going, just plant this bug for us, etc.) but it would escalate.

Re: What Gabriel saw in Paige

Date: 2017-04-20 03:56 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I know that's the idea, but I don't think it really fits with what we see on the show. That is, the show's been pretty accurate about how not everybody can just do anything. You don't send Martha in to seduce somebody to get information. (Annaleise, yes, because that was part of her personality anyway.) Philip and Elizabeth were chosen out of thousands or millions and trained very carefully, going through probably many psychological tests.

That's not how it's happened for any other spy that we've seen, so there's no reason to think that Paige and Paige alone would be expected to or could do that. Especially since it would be risking the exact thing that's supposed to be valuable about her.

Re: Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-04-20 07:47 am (UTC)
quantumreality: (americans1)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
I don't think Gabriel was a Nazi guard, but he probably was in the Cheka/NKVD and put in charge of busting "counterrevolutionaries" (which meant anything from actual traitors to just people who got denounced because they were convenient targets).

Of course, in those days, you had to be extremely ideologically zealous just to stay ahead of the Purges. O_O
Edited Date: 2017-04-20 07:50 am (UTC)

Re: Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-04-20 08:23 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
The Nazis thought they were fighting 'counterrevolutionaries' too. It wasn't enough to be ideologically zealous. As you say, some people were convenient targets. It didn't really matter what they believed in. The purges targeted various people, groups and ethnicities, and 'counterrevolutionaries' was just a convenient title for many of them.

Gabriel says a lot of people were confused, but he actually believed in what he was doing. Nazis are considered evil incarnate and nobody will accept such excuses, but for Stalin's agents we're willing to give it a pass.

The show is touching the subject, but is not going so far as to actually tell us what happened. They're only giving us Gabriel's point of view: that it was a terrible time, and that he had to do terrible things in the service of the party, but you had to do what you had to do.

And then we've got Philip telling Paige about this warm grandfatherly type. I just don't like where it puts me as a fan.

Re: Gabriel as Grandpa

Date: 2017-04-20 04:05 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
It's creepy, but I also can't quite imagine another way that would be realistic. Philip *does* experience this guy as a grandfatherly type a lot of the time--and he probably also thinks that's the most positive thing for Paige to have in her life for now. (He might change his mind about that later.) His relationship with Gabriel is extremely twisted in this way. Just Gabriel's actions regarding Mischa alone (not just sending him away but earlier telling Philip about his existence in order to pressure him into sleeping with a young girl) are terrible.

But this is what's so scary about these kinds of movements, isn't it? People who seem ordinary who acted like monsters as part of a mob. Since Gabriel survived it he's now separated by it by many years, probably almost experiences his memories as if they happened to someone else.

And in a way it's really Philip and Elizabeth that get the creepier aspect to it. Paige meets the guy for an afternoon and mostly takes away from it that she has family in this old man who cared about her enough to give her a tiger and clearly loves her parents. We know it's creepy, but we'll see how bad an effect it has on her.

It's Philip and Elizabeth who have been so manipulated by this guy and lied to. It actually made me think after this ep that of the two of them if one had to return to the USSR, Philip would be the better choice because he, like Oleg, is having the courage to ask for the truth and face it. Elizabeth was still smiling away at the hero rhetoric, Gabriel was patting her cheek like the kindly grandfather, giving her the approval she's spent her life craving by assuring her she raised a good Soviet. Philip was facing him, asking him for more details about his crimes, reminding Gabriel that he, like most kids born during the war, was not brought up to ask questions.
(deleted comment)

Re: Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-04-21 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
P&E are in a different situation. Maybe Philip doesn't see it that way, but they're in enemy territory, on a mission for their country, and they kill people only when they have to.

The poor lab guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but if they wouldn't have interrogated him, the USSR might still think the US is trying to wipe out its grain. We have no idea how well that might have ended up.

Re: Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-04-20 09:43 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
I didn't read Treon as suggesting in any way that he was, but pointing out that Gabriel saying he did terrible things doesn't affect that we see him sympathetically because we know it's for the the Soviets, whereas if he had said exactly the same lines but been German, we'd see it differently.

Whether the millions of Stalin's victims would agree or not is a different question.

QR's Scattershot Review

Date: 2017-04-20 07:39 am (UTC)
quantumreality: (americans1)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
- Grandpa Gabriel joking that P&E have driven him crazy too XD

- Note carefully his usage of "garbage"; he's picking up on what Philip told him and using it to try and strike a point of sympathy with Paige.

- I like Paige's realization that Gabriel is basically the closest thing to an actual family P&E have in the USA.

- Clever of Elizabeth to have one of her agents distract the concierge.

- Paige seems like too sudden a convert to the notion that the USA did bad shit. Like yeah, supporting right-wing dictatorships in Latin America and interfering in Iran's domestic affairs and so forth, but the average USian wouldn't really leap to dissing on the country for it, I don't think. I guess if I had to rationalize it, being confronted with the idea that the government was toying with the idea of destroying the food supply of another country has made Paige make a few leaps.

Ironically P&E just found out recently the government could be financing a super-crop that would be *resistant* to just about anything and now they're trying to figure out how to steal it, which is a lot less noble. (though LBR, industrial espionage happens in the private and public sectors all the time)

- Oh, Paige X'DDD "Go to the press", really? P&E are travel agents. How would two travel agents know about the food crop? That would be like shining a big Bat-signal up from their house.

- Pastor Tim getting lost in Ethiopia seems to have had more echoes into this season too. "Realizing there are things bigger than you" is a good way to put it about growing up.

Also he seems to have unconsciously echoed Gabriel's words. The thing I find interesting is this kind of interpretation of Jesus's words and deeds actually led to the so-called Social Gospel, of whom the most notable member in Canada (from today's historical-knowledge perspective) was Tommy Douglas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Gospel

Of course they were not socialists on the Marxist-Leninist model but the same themes of group effort to do good works were there.

- Proxy Snyder Agent Wolfe relays some unpleasant news to Stan. Srsly Stan what did you think your act of brinkmanship was gonna do?

Luckily the "active operation" thing saved Stan's ass, but he's gonna have to make it to at least the 1984 elections when there might be a shakeup in cabinet.

- Paige talks to Matthew in a Very Intense Conversation. And now I have feels.

- Welp, looks like Stobert is quite the free spirit, boinking a woman on the side from Elizabeth's alter ego. :P

- Stan u r not being a very good bf although I get why you're distracted.

- Ok now u r being a better bf.

- Paige is sad and talks to her dad.

- Oleg finds out about mum.

- Gabriel confesses! :O

- Philip looks so shell-shocked it's almost comical.
Edited Date: 2017-04-20 07:39 am (UTC)

Re: Paige's view of the US

Date: 2017-04-20 04:08 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Paige seems like too sudden a convert to the notion that the USA did bad shit.

I think she's been on that train since season 2 at least. She doesn't see the US as the big villain of the world or anything, but she seems very aware of times when the US was on the side of bad instead of good.

What's a bit odd is that she doesn't seem to be doing any research on how the USSR is bad. Does she honestly think that everything she'd see in the press here is a lie and only Elizabeth can provide the truth? There's a history of people-starving in that part of the world too, Paige...

Re: Paige's view of the US

Date: 2017-04-20 05:34 pm (UTC)
quantumreality: (paige)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
If anything she would at least have had a vague notion that the USSR is Teh Bad, because of the ideological battle between the USA and the USSR. Plus she would have to have had some notion that the existence of a KGB means a police state.

I think Paige is being wilfully ignorant because she wants to protect her parents and she can't do that if she has to confront all the defects of the Soviet Union. Yes, the official dogma is that nobody is without a job or goes hungry, but that depends on reasonable economic management, and that was pretty much the central problem facing the post-Brezhnev leaders: the realization that the system was horrendously inefficient.

Besides Yugoslavia (which never had a big agricultural sector as far as I know) Poland was the only Eastern Bloc country that backed off on collectivization and yet still managed a decent level of agricultural output. Plus, I believe the limited private farms people were allowed to run in the 1970s and 1980s ended up providing something like 1/3 of the USSR's total food output (which shows that the incentive to farm well was raised if a farmer could keep his or her own money in proportion to their output, rather than likely being paid on a fixed schedule through a kolkhoz or sovkhoz).

Re: Paige's view of the US

Date: 2017-04-21 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
I think Paige is being wilfully ignorant because she wants to protect her parents

I think it's even more than that. She knows very well about the USSR and how bad it is, but she also knows her parents are good people. The 'US wants to kill millions of people' plot is a very convenient way of solving this cognitive dissonance.
(deleted comment)

Re: Paige and the USSR

Date: 2017-04-21 03:20 am (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
The question, though, is what kind of research she could reasonably do at that time. The only thing she could get from school would be the barest of geopolitical facts. She is probably just barely studying WWII in school, and even modern American teenagers aren't exposed to a Soviet perspective on the war. The news isn't going to expose Soviet reality, even with access. And she is too young yet to have access to anything in the academic community that might explain the USSR better.

Why would she need any special access? The news, school textbooks and widely-available books on history and politics would give her plenty to chew on. I'm not talking about Paige getting the perspective of a Soviet on their homeland--though that, too, would be quite available to her via defectors even if their views, like Elizabeth's, would be personal and subjective. I was talking about the same kind of stuff she knows about the US and comments on.

All the stuff Gabriel is talking about, the report that the ep is named for, all of this is as easy for Paige to research as Watergate. And Paige would know this.

Date: 2017-04-20 08:38 am (UTC)
shapinglight: (The Americans)
From: [personal profile] shapinglight
Must admit, when I first saw Stobert's blonde girlfriend I thought it was Renee, but obviously it wasn't since Philip and Elizabeth would have recognised her. Also, this show doesn't really do coincidences as a plot device -except maybe for an FBI agent moving in across the road from the very people he's hunting.

So many lies in this episode - Stobert's to whoever Elizabeth is meant to be when she's with him, Philip's and Elizabeth's to Paige about the wheat thing, Paige to Matthew and Pastor Tim (though in her case lies of omission rather than deliberate misinformation). That made the truth that Gabriel threw at Philip at the end there even more devastating, even though it only confirmed what Philip already knew. What everyone who ever met Paige would know, in fact, except apparently Elizabeth.

I shall miss Gabriel.

thoughts from soupytwist

Date: 2017-04-20 08:11 pm (UTC)
soupytwist: stephen fry peering round a wall (Default)
From: [personal profile] soupytwist
We're getting really quite unsubtle here! Paige explicitly stating that Gabriel is like family, everyone talking about sacrifices, and Gabriel straight out saying to stop things with Paige. Gyaaahhhh.

The bit where Gabriel was like, "you're losing it, Philip!" was really interesting to me, because whether Stan's new girlfriend IS KGB or not, the show IS taking the possibility seriously. It's not derranged at this point to think maybe she could be. I think it's probably unlikely? But "She's KGB and somehow ends up bringing the whole stack of cards down around them all" is not so unlikely. (If that's what they do, I guess it will be something like... she doesn't know the Jennings are KGB too, and somehow provokes Stan's suspicions of them.) Stan actually opening up about work stuff was quite sweet, and one of the things that makes me consider this slightly more likely than I otherwise would.

Paige reconsidering her faith is quite well done. I still don't like Pastor Tim and him looking like he wanted to be all "FOR REAL, GIRL" about it was possibly inappropriately amusing to me. I felt terrible for Paige, though - the bit where she lashes out and can just about choke out "sorry" before running out the door was SO well done. Major kudos there. And Paige really hasn't ever had to deal with emotional complication on this level before, and it's hard even when you're older! Poor Paige.

Her asking Elizabeth if Elizabeth had ever broken up with someone was on the NOSE, also. Ouch. I also felt bad that Philip tried so hard to reach out, meant so well, and what he ended up doing was implying she had the usual teenage angst. And she was like, "uhm I'm a long way past that, dad!", even if she also seemed to get what he was trying to do. Which was quite sweet.

And that whole final conversation seemed to me like END GAME omg. Regrets, doing terrible things and the emotional burden that comes from knowing you've done those things and can never take them back... those have been thematic from day one, but we've never had an explicit "I have regrets, if I could turn back the clock I'd do things differently and I don't think you should do that to your kids" moment like this. If I were Philip, I think I'd be feeling a little like my future self came back in time yelling at me to run while I still could. It seemed like a sign.

Regrets

Date: 2017-04-21 08:49 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
I'm not sure Gabriel has regrets. He's sad about the whole thing, and he wishes things had been different, but I'm not getting the impression that he would have done things differently.

It's also the way he phrases what he says about Paige. He reflects on the past ('you were right'), but he doesn't say "we shouldn't have brought her into this". He says "she should be kept out of all this". Even though there's an implied "you were right and I/we were wrong", it's more advice for the future than regrets for the past.

Re: Regrets

Date: 2017-04-21 04:16 pm (UTC)
soupytwist: a black and white picture of a nightlight on a nightstand (nightlight)
From: [personal profile] soupytwist
Hmmm it seemed pretty regretful to me? Maybe not that he would personally act differently (you're right, that wasn't clear), but certainly regret that he'd been in those situations, regret that terrible things happened. And I don't think you can take his personal choices out of that, even if he meant that he was sad he'd ever had to make those choices.

And yeah, he definitely was looking to the future in that moment, which reinforced to me the feeling that Philip might take that discussion and run with it in ways that Gabriel, I suspect, didn't intend.

Re: Regrets

Date: 2017-04-21 05:52 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
she should be kept out of all this

This just makes me think how he's still relying on that convenient passive voice. She should be kept out of it. By whom? How? Just like when he talks about the past it's that they were "terrible times." Which is true--nobody can truly say how they'd have acted if they weren't there. But also, you were making decisions.

Philip's really the one who's so far advanced of all of them in taking personal responsibility. He knows that all these things are choices he's making. So here he is asking Gabriel: You said you did terrible things. Why did you do them?" And Gabriel's answer is fascinating, the way he remembers himself as "setting an example" and not wanting to be the confused one (qualities that probably made him a good handler) but now realizing that that was just his own version of fear.

Elizabeth is still very comfortable in the "you had no choice" place, happily taking credit for saving lots of lives in an abstract way.

Re: Regrets

Date: 2017-04-23 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
Good point. The show keeps coming back to that, Philip feeling he has a choice, which also means he has a responsibility.

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