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

This is a discussion post for episode 510 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 ten.)

Original promo trailer

Date: 2017-05-10 01:28 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I loved everything about the wedding scene, from the dank setting to the golden crowns. Everything about the scene was pitch perfect, IMO. After decades of being a fake couple, they are now a real couple. The cynic in me thinks that this will be their last genuinely happy moment. I can't even begin to pick out my favorite aspect of this scene, but I was struck by how Philip 'unmasked' himself in front of Elizabeth to reveal his true face in the same way that he unmasked himself in front of Martha to reveal his KGB face. Well done, show.

Philip doesn't want Stan to end up like Martha, eh? Really? Philip doesn't see that he has already compromised Stan as much as he compromised Martha? He spent so many years pretending to be Stan's friend that he actually does view Stan as a friend even though the KGB officer in him continues to view Stan as a threat/mark. Who will be more hurt by all of this betrayal once the truth comes out?

I am intrigued that in the same episode, Paige told Philip that she wants them to send both Henry and Pastor Tim away. Fascinating. It feels to me that Paige has spent the entire season crumbling and whining that her life has been turned to shit because of all of this spycraft, and she's doomed to be alone, etc., etc. etc. (to the point that Paige's scenes are becoming a chore to watch for me). She brings home pictures of Pastor Tim's diary so that her parents can read Tim's stark opinion that what the Jennings have done to her is monstrous. But now she wants to send him and her innocent brother away. She already pushed her boyfriend away. I wonder what's going on inside her head right now. Does she want to send them all away because she's embracing her inner spy, or is she really trying to protect them in the only way she knows how?

As for what Pastor Tim wrote in his diary, it was harsh but I agree with him. I know that many fans consider Tim to be a sanctimonious annoyance, but I think he's sincere. I'm sure that at this point he hardly knows what to say to Paige outside of encouraging platitudes like we heard him say at the food bank. I wonder if Claudia will actually manage to find him a job far away that puts him out of the Jennings' lives (and also out of harm's way) or if the Center will merely have the cute Pastor Tim family convenient snuffed out somewhere, once they are out of sight.

Final thoughts:
In a season that has emphasized screwed parent/child, father/son relationships, the Jennings don't seem to have any reservations or guilt about using their fake son (Tuan) to turn the life of someone else's son (Pasha) quite literally to shit.

The silent Burov dinner scene felt a bit bolted on to me. I get the intent for the scene, but it still fell flat for me. OTOH, I did like when Oleg was told regarding the investigation into him that he should be fine...so long as he didn't commit any serious treasonous crimes (such as ratting out a major Soviet biological weapons espionage action in the US, resulting in the death of one of their senior undercover agents). Ha!

Nice to see Tatiana and the Rezidentura again.
Edited Date: 2017-05-10 01:55 pm (UTC)

Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-10 06:52 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
As for what Pastor Tim wrote in his diary, it was harsh but I agree with him. I know that many fans consider Tim to be a sanctimonious annoyance, but I think he's sincere. I'm sure that at this point he hardly knows what to say to Paige outside of encouraging platitudes like we heard him say at the food bank.

I think he's sincere but not always honest with himself about his own motivations completely. I mean, the last time he spoke to Paige she seemed pretty lukewarm on prayer. I would totally believe that his feeling when he wrote that diary entry were effected by that, continuing to see the story as a battle for her Christian soul etc. when that wasn't quite what was going on.

One of the things that I think makes it difficult for Tim to know what to say is that he's just not really equipped to deal with all the greyness of the situation. It's like someone recently elsewhere judged all the Russian characters as being "cold" compared to characters like Stan and Pastor Tim. And I though that along with that being just a cultural bias for people who seem more familiar, the Russian characters were often just dealing with a lot more weight. Pastor Tim's never really been ready to wade into all this beyond the stuff he understands himself.

Really, it was foreshadowed in that first phone call when he asked Paige if she'd prayed about it and she said yes and it didn't help.

It's kind of interesting to think of Paige sending all these people away, especially Henry, in an ep where Philip and Elizabeth get married, simply because that ceremony really emphasized how their relationship does not include her in every way.

But then, everyone in this ep was giving their pov on things where they didn't actually have any way of completely knowing the situation or were being hypocritical. Philip's worry about Stan and his girlfriend, Elizabeth seeing PT as "taking notes" on people, Elizabeth thinking PT is seeing PT for "who he really is," Paige deciding that Henry would be better at boarding school because he knows what he wants, Philip countering that Henry's a kid (so whatever he thinks he wants is not necessarily correct), Tim in his diary worrying about Paige's soul (and possibly giving Paige the impression he thinks she's ruined), PT telling Paige she's doing fine, Elizabeth thinking the talk with Paige "went well."

You can never trust somebody's assessment of someone else completely. But nor can you completely trust their assessment of themselves in all cases.

Everybody was somewhat seeing what they needed to see about themselves in the situations of other people.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-10 08:28 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
"I think he's sincere but not always honest with himself about his own motivations completely."

What do you think his motivations are? In what way(s) is his not honest with himself about this?

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-10 08:48 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Mostly what I said, I think, about how a few weeks ago he seemed to see Paige as drifting away from him. I think he tells himself that this is strictly something that frightens him because it objectively means she's in trouble, she's hurting, she's suffering, she's lost her ability to tell right from wrong. This is the reason she's not as enthusiastic a follower/believer as before.

But I think PT's always been a bit of denial about how much his own sense of self is bound up with his proselytizing. His diary takes the situation and casts it in terms of a religious battle where he, as the pastor, is the hero fighting over an innocent soul- literally saving her from monsters - rather than a girl in a family situation where he's an outsider who's losing influence.

He's always kind of used his job as a reason why he naturally belongs in the center of families but Paige doesn't seem to be seeing her current struggles in strictly religious terms. I don't think it's a coincidence that he seems to have written this now as opposed to at an earlier time. The battle to convert Paige has always had two-sides.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-11 01:03 am (UTC)
quantumreality: (paige)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
But I think PT's always been a bit of denial about how much his own sense of self is bound up with his proselytizing. His diary takes the situation and casts it in terms of a religious battle where he, as the pastor, is the hero fighting over an innocent soul- literally saving her from monsters - rather than a girl in a family situation where he's an outsider who's losing influence.

That nails it pretty nicely.

I think Paige *is* in danger of morally muddled thinking. She's already proven she's perfectly willing to use people; her relationship with Matthew was only a means to an end for her.

But that's a far cry from the "P&E are terrible monsters" motif he's painted. He has no clue whatsoever that P&E never wanted Paige or Henry to find out the truth, much less get sucked into the "next generation spy training" that the KGB wants.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-11 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
But that's a far cry from the "P&E are terrible monsters" motif he's painted.

I think it's the whole situation. It's untenable. At some point, the kids are going to find out the truth that they're not a normal American family and it's going to be an enormous psychological shock.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-11 01:38 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I didn't get any of that from the words in the diary. I don't see him as trying to insert himself into the Jennings family to be the primary center of authority. There was nothing about Tim fearing that he was losing his influence over Paige. There was only his concern for Paige. He said that he'd seen other types of abuse but nothing like what she was going through. The sheer magnitude of the lies her life is based has damaged her so much that she may never be able to understand the difference between truth and lies, right and wrong.

He's correct. Everything about what Elizabeth and Philip do is based on blurring the line between truth and lies. They do terrible things but say that it is for the greater good. They're luring Paige into their lifestyle with lies. Tim writes that he doesn't know if the Jennings are monsters, but they are doing monstrous things. This is true.

There was nothing in the diary about Tim positioning himself as the champion of her soul. He seems just as lost as Paige herself is on how to deal with this. He tries to be encouraging. He's a preacher so he does encourage her to have faith in God (even though we know that he sometimes doubts the existance of God) and believe that there is a higher force for good that will give her the strength to get through this.

I do think he failed her in this episode though. She tried to voice her concerns about herself to him at the food bank but he didn't follow through. He gave her platitudes instead: pray and you'll be fine. You're going to have a great life.

We know - and Paige knows - that he's actually worried sick about her and thinks that she is suffering. I got the sense that Paige realized that she's not going to get any more help from this man.

I rewatched the scene of the Jennings reading the diary pages. At one point, as Elizabeth is reading the words and looks angry, the camera shows us Paige looking up at her with an accusatory expression on her face. Then more words in the diary are revealed about Paige suffering. Philip does a micro glance at Paige, looks at Elizabeth and then looks down at Paige again. Paige does not look at either of them.

It really felt to me from the way this scene was staged, that Paige wanted them to see these words because she is suffering. She wanted them to see it laid out of paper in stark terms because this is how she truly feels about what they've done to her. She's been trying to say this to them all season. It's also making me more certain that she wants them to send Henry and Pastor Tim away to protect them from being hurt in the same way that she has been hurt.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-11 06:31 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I'm not saying he's inserting himself into their family literally in the diary. (Actually I think it's the opposite, as I'll explain below.)

I'm saying that Pastor Tim has his own relationship to and position with regards to the family and to Paige and he's still speaking from that perspective in his diary. In his own diary, he is of course the starring role--as he should be.

Naturally he sees the family drama from his own role in it. He's also got his own pov and personality, one that's often including him denying having an agenda even when the agenda was the whole relationship and denying wanting influence even when obviously proud over the great effects of his influence.

He's still that same guy. But what he's saying in the diary to me fits with the evolution of his relationship with Paige. In their last conversation Paige saying she was better and seemed unenthusiastic about praying--that seems to give us some context. Not in the sense that the diary is a direct response to that scene, but in a general way. If Paige's relationship with him was more like it was in early S3 I think his pov on the damage her parents had done would be different.

Being worried sick--or saying you're worried sick--about somebody doesn't mean your worries are without bias. Worrying about their soul means you feel you have authority to worry about their soul. As a pastor Tim would totally consider all these families his business.

But as I said, I think he's actually specifically *not* inserting himself into the family in ways he did before. I think a big reason for that is he has his own kid now. That, after all, was the thing he expressly said made him back off last season. (Not just cancelling his meeting to "see where they were" wrt Paige, but being totally not open to Elizabeth's attempts to draw him in later.)

He's *not* inserting himself in the Jennings family or making himself their savior. He's privately writing in his diary that this family is fucked up beyond his abilities but confining himself to giving her encouragement and hoping for the best. I see him drawing healthier boundaries--but not completely changing his perspective. He's still the pastor with the truth here.

It really felt to me from the way this scene was staged, that Paige wanted them to see these words because she is suffering. She wanted them to see it laid out of paper in stark terms because this is how she truly feels about what they've done to her. She's been trying to say this to them all season.

Yes, I agree. She's been telling them this all season. And her talking about Henry I thought was another way of saying she was suffering in contrast to Henry who can find happiness and will be spared by being sent away. Though I don't see her as actually protecting anybody by sending them away. Henry's being at school doesn't change his relationship to his parents' secret and I don't think she sees Pastor Tim as needing protection. He's not being hurt.

But everybody knowing she's hurting doesn't change the situation. Her parents are Russian spies. They were that a year ago when she found out and they still are. They were once like her, and the choices they made when they were the innocent children led to this.

Deciding she's been uniquely ruined (and having Pastor Tim unwittingly and unintentionally seem to confirm that) isn't helpful. Ironically Philip seemed the most optimistic by saying she could choose what to be.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-12 01:13 am (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I think that if Pastor Tim saw himself as having authority over Paige's soul, he would have taken action against the Jennings no matter what might happen to him. He would also insist (rather than just politely suggest) that Paige resume praying regularly and immediately.

IMO, PT doesn't see himself as an authority over the people in his congregation. He sees himself as a teacher, a counselor and a friendly ear to listen to their troubles. His recommendations likely always end up with an exhortation for people to pray because Tim believes that a caring deity is just standing by to help.

I don't think that he was inserting himself into their family before. He came over because he was invited. If anyone inserted him into the family, it was Paige because she was so enthusiastic about having found religion. I don't agree that he showed less interest in Paige once he had his own child. We've seen scenes of Paige interacting with them and the baby. I think he's just reached the end of what he can offer her, unless she flat out says, 'help me get out of this mess.' However, she's been saying the exact opposite to him: my parents are okay, they're trying to do good, everything is okay, etc. etc. etc.. She's been lying to him because her parents assigned her the task of misleading him. At a point, if you keep asking someone if they're okay and they keep saying 'yes, everything is so great!' there's not much you can do but stand by sadly and worry.

I could be wrong but I don't think we know the date on that diary entry so we don't know when PT wrote down these thoughts.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-12 01:53 am (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
He sees himself as a teacher, a counselor and a friendly ear to listen to their troubles

Yes--teacher and counselor = authority. Meaning someone who knows more than others so an teach or counsel them. That's what I'm describing his position as in the diary. Paige may say she's fine, but he doesn't agree. He doesn't order people around.

Also I'm not talking about what he's doing, just that like any character he's got his own self-interest and agenda and his diary is going to reflect now. His job and his personality define him just as Elizabeth's or Adderholdt's do.

I don't think that he was inserting himself into their family before. He came over because he was invited. If anyone inserted him into the family, it was Paige because she was so enthusiastic about having found religion.

Okay, if you don't see him as ever inserting into the family before because Paige was enthusiastic I don't think there's any way we're going to agree on anything about the man.
Edited Date: 2017-05-12 01:59 am (UTC)

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-06-11 07:04 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: Paige Jennings from The Americans (Paige)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
I just watched this episode yesterday. I haven't seen the rest of the season.

I need you to know that I agree with your analysis completely. This is the best assessment of Pastor Tim and Paige that I've read in this forum. (It's such a relief.)

There was nothing in the diary about Tim positioning himself as the champion of her soul. He seems just as lost as Paige herself is on how to deal with this. He tries to be encouraging. He's a preacher so he does encourage her to have faith in God (even though we know that he sometimes doubts the existance of God) and believe that there is a higher force for good that will give her the strength to get through this.

I do think he failed her in this episode though. She tried to voice her concerns about herself to him at the food bank but he didn't follow through. He gave her platitudes instead: pray and you'll be fine. You're going to have a great life.

We know - and Paige knows - that he's actually worried sick about her and thinks that she is suffering. I got the sense that Paige realized that she's not going to get any more help from this man.


He is utterly lost. Who wouldn't be? Of course he's worried sick about her and of course he offers her platitudes. There is nothing he can say or do that wouldn't make things worse for her. This is a no-win situation for everyone concerned. What the writers are making clear this season, for anyone who was in doubt, is that it has been this way from the very beginning of the series. There is no way out, for anyone.

I don't think we should underestimate the moral quandary Pastor Tim is in as a consequence of Paige telling him about her parents--or the physical jeopardy. If the Centre thinks he and his wife and child are a threat to the interests of the USSR, they'll be murdered in their beds. If Philip and Elizabeth won't do the job, they'll send someone else to do it.

If the USSR thinks the Jennings family has become a threat, they'll be murdered, too. They've been on the fence about Philip for awhile.

It really felt to me from the way this scene was staged, that Paige wanted them to see these words because she is suffering. She wanted them to see it laid out of paper in stark terms because this is how she truly feels about what they've done to her. She's been trying to say this to them all season. It's also making me more certain that she wants them to send Henry and Pastor Tim away to protect them from being hurt in the same way that she has been hurt.

God, yes. Thank you. That's it exactly. I'm sure she feels terribly guilty for telling him, even though she's a child and did nothing wrong. All she did was turn to the most trustworthy adult in her life, her pastor, and confide in him. That's what abused children are supposed to do when they've been hurt. It's why she broke it off with her boyfriend, too, to protect him. (Not that his family is exactly high-functioning. But she's not burdened with Stan's secrets, thank heavens.)

I understand why Philip and Elizabeth can't hear Paige, why they are reluctant to acknowledge how much they've damaged their daughter. But at some point, before they die, I hope they can accept responsibility for the untenable position they've put Paige (and Henry) in, stop blaming their daughter, and ask for her forgiveness.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-06-11 07:58 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I understand why Philip and Elizabeth can't hear Paige, why they are reluctant to acknowledge how much they've damaged their daughter. But at some point, before they die, I hope they can accept responsibility for the untenable position they've put Paige (and Henry) in, stop blaming their daughter, and ask for her forgiveness.

I think Philip has heard her loud and clear and apologized. It just doesn't help. There's not only one single abused child here, after all. Philip and Elizabeth also did exactly what children were supposed to do. They tried to be what they were told was good and responsible, to help people. And this was the result. Now they're adults and don't get as much sympathy, which will also happen to Paige.

Whether or not it was wrong of her to hand Pastor Tim a dangerous secret he had to keep for others the way she was handed a dangerous secret to keep for others doesn't much change the situation, after all. The danger exists whether people condemn Paige for it or not.

I honestly don't see Paige primarily motivated by protecting Matthew or Henry or the Tims here. The situation set up on the show at the moment and Paige's own words and actions don't indicate an immediate or even future fear for any of them that I can see. This specific incident in this ep seemed more about that failure of Pastor Tim. He claimed to have all the answers and now not only seems to have fewer answers than her parents but has perhaps given up on her, from her pov. Really, this had been happening all along. I can't think of a single scene after that phone call where he seemed to give Paige comfort. Telling him felt good only for as long as it took for her to say it. Then he was a burden--even before her parents laid out the way things were now going to be.

Elizabeth certainly still blames Paige for telling Pastor Tim and doesn't acknowledge the damage she's done, but then Elizabeth doesn't acknowledge the damage that was done to her either so that's not surprising. Philip has never come at Paige with any attitude of blame for her. One of the themes of the season seems to be that every generation makes mistakes and nobody's going to get perfect retribution for whatever wrongs they think have been done them.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-06-25 01:20 am (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I agree with you that Pastor Tim is lost in this situation. The situation with Paige is unlike anything he's ever dealt with. Paige still goes to the church and helps at the foodbank and even babysits his child. Maybe he was hoping that these actions and reminders of the Christian values that Paige had once embraced would give her some stability. But now he's leaving. He probably thinks that Paige will miss him. He has no idea that Paige has kept so close to him because he was an 'assignment.'

I have no idea if Pastor Tim be in the final season of the show. I suppose it will be depend on how much of a time jump the show does between the end of S5 and the start of S6. I suspect his role in the story is over.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-06-25 04:48 am (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
But now he's leaving. He probably thinks that Paige will miss him. He has no idea that Paige has kept so close to him because he was an 'assignment.'

I'm probably reading this wrong, but you don't mean that anything he does in this ep has to do with his leaving, right? You're just speaking generally about him later in the saeson?

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-06-25 01:29 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
Maybe losing track of which episode is which. This season has mainly blurred together into just a couple of plot points to me since it felt - to me - somewhat incomplete and meandering.

Sending her innocent brother away

Date: 2017-05-11 04:06 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Does it count if he very much wants to go?

Given that they've had several opportunities to kill him, I very much doubt they would. Why eliminate an American who is actively opposing his government in various ways just because he could - but hasn't - point the finger at P&E? Especially as Paige would be uncontrollable when she found out.

Re: Sending her innocent brother away

Date: 2017-05-12 01:28 am (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I think the Center would try to just send Tim and family away somewhere, but they could kill the Tims killed once they're out of sight. If it looked like an accident, Paige would never know. Is the letter that Alice wrote and gave to their lawyer (or whomever, I've forgotten the details) still out there? If the Center ever did decide to just snuff the Tims, they'd still have that to deal with, so more likely they'd just want to ship him off to the other side of the planet, somewhere remote.

Date: 2017-05-11 12:58 am (UTC)
quantumreality: (americans1)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
- Morozov is morose.

- Tuan looks almost cowed around Elizabeth now. Far fry from his arrogant verbal strutting and attitude the last few eps. I can't tell if he's regretting his plan of action re: Pasha or if he's just started to realize that the spy game isn't as glamorous as he expected it to be when he left Vietnam.

- Ok Tuan you have definitely gone too far. Ew. :|

- Paige cleaning somehow reminds me of the time when Elizabeth made her clean the kitchen barefoot in her PJs in the middle of the night.

- P&E rolling their eyes at Pastor Tim's diary thing is a little hypocritical all around considering their job is to pry into other people's and organizations' secrets.

- Poor self-loathing Paige :(

- Elizabeth is rather subtly rewriting the narrative of her and Philip's reveal to Paige, considering it was done in the heat of her insistent questioning about what they were really doing out with weird late nights and such.

- Elizabeth is chewing nails privately over Pastor Tim's diary-writing though.

- The scene of the woman putting her car's side-view mirror under the seat is a little odd, but it makes sense if the lady is trying to look less well-off than she really is to keep people from wondering how she can afford A, B, and C on a particular salary.

- Looks like the FBI has picked up a few safe-house tricks since Stan last had one running.

- Aww, Sofia has new teeth and a bf :D Unfortunately I expect Stan and Aderholt will ask her to let them grab his belongings or somesuch. :\

- Claudia tells P&E she doesn't know about the Lassa weaponization.

- Yes, please get Pastor Tim some kind of mission in Asia.

- pfff really, a Kazakh variety? How convenient. They do know the WHO probably keeps wheat samples of all kinds in a seed bank or somesuch?

- Also, apparently "reverse engineering" the DNA work to make that strain is not going to be easy. Soviet bioscience was in some ways badly hobbled by the effects of years of Lysenkoism.

- Paige is like " ^_^ the crops are saved! " I hope she never gets the real story. :\

- The Burovs do not look all that happy.

- The Morozovs are having a lousy time all around :(

- I like reassuring!Philip here with Paige.

- The fake rock with a message in it is pretty cool.

- Ooooh, the flashback! This is pretty cool.

- "Do you want to make it official?" aaaaah oh my god an actual P&E marriage! \o/ They're now married, not just as Americans, but as Soviets as well.

- The new Rezident is Tatiana! And she takes the trouble to talk to Evgheniya :O

- Paige the spy continues in her job. And she gets invited along with Mom and Dad for her first piece of photographic development work!

- Dear Pastor Tim, you are lucky you're just getting a job offer to South America. P&E are probably pissed that you wrote that about them.

Date: 2017-05-11 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
P&E rolling their eyes at Pastor Tim's diary thing is a little hypocritical all around considering their job is to pry into other people's and organizations' secrets.

By them it's even worse, because they also manipulate people for their own gain. Elizabeth is shocked at Pastor Tim, but then sends Tuan to harass Pasha, then sits with Evgheniya to commiserate and then updates the embassy that they should push her more.

pfff really, a Kazakh variety? How convenient.

Oh yeah. Now they have a reason to get upset at the Americans for wanting to feed the world.

Aww, Sofia has new teeth and a bf :D Unfortunately I expect Stan and Aderholt will ask her to let them grab his belongings or somesuch. :\

They don't really need her. They just need the info about when he's coming, and then they'll intercept him themselves.

Ooooh, the flashback! This is pretty cool.

I really liked it. They did a good job of recreating that scene.

Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-05-11 05:34 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
There were a few times in this episode, where I felt they pushed in something completely unrelated.

For example, the wedding. So many problems with it, and I don't get what it was for or why do it now of all things. Because Philip met the priest? I feel a bit cheated - I thought it was another aspect of Philip's moral questioning, and now I discover it was just there so they could stick in a wedding.

So, main issues:
1. Why break protocol in front of a very chatty priest who is already reporting back home about his friends? Philip's excuse why it's okay doesn't fit with everything we've seen until now. And how is this any better than what Tuan did?
2. Does the USSR even accept religious marriages?

Same goes for the EST session. I don't know why it bothered me here more than in the past because they've been doing it for quite a while. It made sense when it was part of the plot, now it's just a very weird device for the writers to talk to Philip.

* Was Karaoke a thing in the mid-80s?

* I still have a small hope that Renee is just a girlfriend, but the show is obviously building up to something else. It's really a shame. I wonder what Renee is getting from Stan, because the info he gave her so far was not very specific, and she didn't press for any details.

* Tatiana is so convincing that they'd love Evgheniya back home and anything else is just 'western propaganda', but Evgheniya has no idea what's waiting for her in the USSR. She wants her family to be happy, and instead she's going to be forced to do sex work for the government. Besides which, Evgheniya should ask herself why the Russians are showing up now. How long have they been following her, and what do they know about her?

* In general, I feel now like in season 2 - the show is building up to some big shocking reveal at the end of the season.

Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-11 04:20 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Most places accept marriages that were carried out validly in another country... but looking I see that this one isn't valid in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia for lack of a license, not to mention the marriage of Clark and Martha.

Yes, the show is screaming that something big is coming - Stan discovering something?

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-11 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
I'm replying here to all the other comments on this issue as well.

I don't understand the point of a religious ceremony.

If the priest is recognized as a marriage registrar in the USSR (which I find doubtful, but let's say), then he really didn't need the whole ceremony.

If he's not recognized as such, then he really didn't need the whole ceremony, and it wouldn't even be 'official', legal and binding in most secular countries today, much less in an anti-religious one like the USSR.

The ceremony was very impressive and moving, but the only people for whom such a ceremony would actually mean anything, is people who care about a religious ceremony.

The only thing P&E needed to be 'really' married in the USSR is somebody who'll register their wedding on an official form.

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-11 09:16 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I don't understand the point of a religious ceremony.

The point of the religious ceremony is that it's a ceremony and a ritual. Religious ceremonies absolutely do mean something to people who are not religious as long as there's some meaning that doesn't rely on being religious.

For instance, Paige's baptism was very meaningful for Philip and Elizabeth despite their not believing in God. They didn't need God to get other symbolic meaning out of it.

The marriage was even more meaningful. It meant that the two of them had married each other. The legal status wasn't the point--they have a marriage license already in the US. The point of the ceremony was them formally committing to each other, which they did in the ceremony. Philip said he wanted to take Elizabeth as his wife and she said she wanted to take him as her husband. They put on new rings and stepped into the new path together.

I'm sure it felt just as much like a wedding to them as Tim and Alice's wedding in a church would have felt to them. I mean, if the ceremony wouldn't be impressive or moving to everybody if it didn't have any meaning to them.

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-11 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
Paige's baptism was meaningful to them, because it was meaningful to Paige. They would have preferred if she wouldn't have gone ahead with it. I agree that religious ceremonies mean something to people who are not religious, but P&E aren't just 'not religious'. They're actively anti-religious. They despise religion.

I mean, if the ceremony wouldn't be impressive or moving to everybody if it didn't have any meaning to them.

I'm not sure I agree on this. The ceremony was impressive regardless of anything. It's true that it was meaningful to them, but I still don't understand why. According to everything they've said and done until now, going to the city office, declaring their love for each other there and signing a couple of documents should have been just as meaningful. I'm sure the registrar would have been happy to oblige a couple who wants to renew their vows for whatever reason.

If it's not about legality, then it really doesn't matter under what name they do it.

Going out of their way to get a Russian Orthodox priest, who will do a Russian Orthodox wedding and declare them husband and wife in the eyes of the Church, just seems out of character to me.

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-11 11:49 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Paige's baptism was meaningful to them, because it was meaningful to Paige. They would have preferred if she wouldn't have gone ahead with it. I agree that religious ceremonies mean something to people who are not religious, but P&E aren't just 'not religious'. They're actively anti-religious. They despise religion.

But they also understood how the symbolism of full immersion baptism related to their secular fears. They didn't need to believe in God to know an initiation-type ceremony when they saw it.

It's not unusual for atheists to marry in religious ceremonies for one reason or another and even appreciate the beauty of them. Even anti-religious people find meaning from religious ceremonies all the time. Not even just weddings but other rituals. (Not that Elizabeth would go that far probably!)


I'm not sure I agree on this. The ceremony was impressive regardless of anything. It's true that it was meaningful to them, but I still don't understand why. According to everything they've said and done until now, going to the city office, declaring their love for each other there and signing a couple of documents should have been just as meaningful. I'm sure the registrar would have been happy to oblige a couple who wants to renew their vows for whatever reason.

Stepping on a cloth, putting on a crown or a ring and lighting a candle aren't impressive in themselves, though. I think they're only impressive because they're recognizable as a wedding ceremony.

Of course they would also get meaning by going to a Justice of the Peace. They could have found meaning by making up their own ritual in the laundry room too. But this version has even more things I think would attract them myself.


If it's not about legality, then it really doesn't matter under what name they do it.

I think a person's name would always matter to them. Especially a name they're not even supposed to speak out loud, the names of the secret selves they're supposed to hide from everyone else. How could it not hold a different meaning for them to pledge themselves to each other in that language and under those names?

Going out of their way to get a Russian Orthodox priest, who will do a Russian Orthodox wedding and declare them husband and wife in the eyes of the Church, just seems out of character to me.

They didn't go out of their way to get an Orthodox priest. Philip met the priest and realized that as a fellow source of Gabriel's who's from back home the guy had a ready made wedding ceremony in Russian. I don't think that Philip was in the market for one before that.

Back in S1 Elizabeth wondered if "saying the words" and making vows would have changed their relationship. Philip didn't know, but since Elizabeth asked but the idea obviously made some sense to them.

And back then, too, they were watching a ceremony in an American Protestant church. They didn't find the ceremony meaningless then. They just didn't think the meaning came from God. Any power in this ceremony that didn't come from their commitment to each other I think came from Mother Russia, as represented by it being this ceremony.

Which to me adds even more meaning to the ritual--not sure if it's just a meta one or one P&E would feel at all. It just seems important that it's a Russian tradition that pre-dates the current government and Philip and Elizabeth are using it to claim their Russian selves for themselves and each other, not tools for the Centre.
Edited Date: 2017-05-11 11:53 pm (UTC)

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-12 06:10 pm (UTC)
quantumreality: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
They didn't really have a lot of options to get validly married under their real names while being illegals in the US, though.

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-12 01:56 am (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I think the religious aspect of the wedding ceremony was meaningless to Philip and Elizabeth, though it added a delicious layer of irony to the scene for me as a viewer. This has been the season in which Philip and Elizabeth finally came together as a harmonious, loving couple. I think that when Philip met that priest (who conveniently was also a KGB asset) he realized that he had a great opportunity to get married for real, as their real selves, Mischa and Nadezhda. No one but them will ever know. Who is the priest going to tell?

I might be wrong, but I don't think that a religious ceremony was valid in Soviet Russia. I don't think this pretty Russian wedding was legally binding and more than the fake Jennings wedding or Philip's marriage to Martha. I think that they just wanted to do some sort of gesture towards each other to express that their fake relationship had become a real one.

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-12 02:29 am (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I agree.

Though I do think it was valid in so far as it went. I got the impression that sure, churches could still do wedding ceremonies, but there would need to be paperwork for it to be legal. It seemed like Philip and Elizabeth may have gotten something in the way of a record of the ceremony from the priest, but if it wasn't filed with anyone legally by them the ceremony might as well not have happened as far as anybody besides P&E were concerned. But that's the only thing that really matters is their commitment.

I thought there was another level of irony too, that in order to get married under their real names and in Russian they were happy to do it in a religious ceremony, a part of Russian history that was supposed to be so bad. The church is a good symbol of the State losing control of its people. P&E aren't religious people rebelling by going to church, but their personal rebellion sent them to this other forbidden thing.

Symbolically it would say something a little different if P&E made up vows to each other in English they said in some American building, be it their house or a Justice of the Peace etc. Instead they had them go back to their roots, the people they were before they were the Jennings, and reached to the parts of their culture that were forbidden to them. So rather than rebelling by becoming more American, they started with a statement of being Russian.

Don't know if I'm explaining it well!

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-12 12:06 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
Even though it was a religious ceremony, and neither of them are religious people, this was the first gesture that they did for each other as their authentic selves. It wasn't getting married because the KGB made them do it. It wasn't getting married as any of their cover identities or assignments. For these few moments, they were able to strip off all of that and just be Mischa and Nadezhda declaring their love for each other and vowing to commit to each other for the rest of their lives. They spoke out loud (in this ceremonial way) all of the feeling that they never expressed so explicitly before. The religious aspect of the ceremony meant nothing to them, but the sheer beauty of the ritual echoed the beauty of the love that these two feel for each other. Then they locked up the rings in their safe and went back to being Philip and Elizabeth and all the deception.

On another note, having a uniquely Russian ceremony and using their real names also highlighted the fact 'Philip' and 'Elizabeth' are fake identities. These two people are not a happily married suburban American couple, though they play the covers well. They are just a couple of Russians, Mischa and Nadezhda, doing a job.

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-12 05:16 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
On another note, having a uniquely Russian ceremony and using their real names also highlighted the fact 'Philip' and 'Elizabeth' are fake identities. These two people are not a happily married suburban American couple, though they play the covers well. They are just a couple of Russians, Mischa and Nadezhda, doing a job.

Yes, the more I think about it the more I really really like this choice. Specifically because they chose to have them *not* declare their love for each other as Philip and Elizabeth or as any other American or even in English in their house.

Because that version, I feel, couldn't completely get away from the implication that they are "becoming" their cover identities, that their love is part of them leaving the past behind. It's so much more poignant to me for them to commit to each other as their whole selves.

It also was probably why when I watched the ceremony I felt like the two of them came across as much younger than they are. Even though they were a middle-aged couple who'd been married and raising kids for years, I could also see them as two young people starting on their adult life together. I don't think that's the reason they used the flashback earlier (they probably felt it was important for the audience to remember clearly that they were simply given a marriage certificate to be married), but it set up a nice parallel/do-over. These two "nobodies" who are Russian getting married.

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-13 03:05 pm (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
"Because that version, I feel, couldn't completely get away from the implication that they are "becoming" their cover identities, that their love is part of them leaving the past behind."

Oh gosh, IMO, if anything this season they have been become more true to their real identities, not less. All of the cover identities are just work. This season has emphasized just how much work it is for them to maintain all of their various cover identities - including the identities of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings. The Jennings are not real. For me, this has always been one of the most fascinating aspects of the show. We think of them as Philip and Elizabeth because they're so good at being Philip and Elizabeth. But they are and always will be Mischa and Nadezhda play acting at being Philip and Elizabeth because that is their job. Ever since last season's finale in which they were faced with the possibility of having to flee in the night back to Russia, it feels to me like the show has been drawing them back to their Russian roots. Elizabeth/Nadezhda could go back to Russian without any regrets if she thought she'd accomplished her mission. She doesn't know what life in Russia is like, but it's still home to her. Philip/Mischa started out the show thinking that staying in the US wouldn't be that bad, but now he's hanging around driving Kvass and is listening to Alexei who feels both angry but also nostalgic for Russia. He's been dredging up old bad memories of his Russian childhood but also realizing that he's not defined by those events. He can choose to define his own life for himself. And what is one of the first things he did with this new-found insight? Have a Russian wedding, using his real Russian name to declare his love in Russian to his Russian wife.

I think it helps that they've been able to show their true Russian faces to at least one of their children (and who knows how or when they will tell Henry). This is helped them to feel more free to be who they really are within their own family (even if they both are still lying by omission to Paige about the true nature of their jobs).

Re: Wedding legality

Date: 2017-05-13 04:50 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Oh gosh, IMO, if anything this season they have been become more true to their real identities, not less. All of the cover identities are just work. This season has emphasized just how much work it is for them to maintain all of their various cover identities - including the identities of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings.

Exactly. I think that's why it seemed so much more right for them to do it this way. It's also been such a theme this season that you can't just pretend the past didn't happen. Philip was questioning his own past and Gabriel's, Oleg's family is dealing with the past, Alexei talked about his parents. Stan and Philip are motivated by the past in the way they deal with Oleg and Stan. Martha has gone over her own past and understands it all now in order to move forward.

Elizabeth has always defined herself by her past and we've sort of seen this with her--we seen her think about her mother's reaction to her going away and remembering that her father is a traitor. But I think even she has parts of her past self she needs to reclaim, and being a Russian girl getting married by choice is part of that. She's always clung to a highly censored version of her past. Ooh, also to that there's Paige asking her what she would have been if she didn't do this.

It's so interesting for Philip, though, because at the start of the show he seemed so happy "being" Philip Jennings, but really he had just cut himself off from big parts of himself. He was still just always looking for safety and security and was willing to be whoever anybody needed him to be to do it.

He can choose to define his own life for himself. And what is one of the first things he did with this new-found insight? Have a Russian wedding, using his real Russian name to declare his love in Russian to his Russian wife.

Ack! Yes! Just as Elizabeth had to develop a lot over these seasons to really be a wife to Philip, I feel like the same is true for him. I can believe that Elizabeth would love this whole man more than she could have loved the man he was before, even if he had a lot of the same qualities.

I think it helps that they've been able to show their true Russian faces to at least one of their children (and who knows how or when they will tell Henry). This is helped them to feel more free to be who they really are within their own family (even if they both are still lying by omission to Paige about the true nature of their jobs).

Yes, and what was one of the first things Paige asked them when she got her bearings a little? To speak Russian. I'd love it if she asked more questions about the actual life there. Every day things, foods, language, songs, whatever.

Heh. Now I'm also remembering Philip in the field saying he felt like one of those guys in the posters. That's the kind of thing you can say to somebody who shares your references.

Re: Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-05-11 05:51 pm (UTC)
quantumreality: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
The USSR probably allowed religious marriages, but my understanding is that they heavily preferred civil marriages.

Re: Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-05-11 06:42 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
For example, the wedding. So many problems with it, and I don't get what it was for or why do it now of all things. Because Philip met the priest?

I think because Philip is trying to be more authentic (as in EST) and claim the relationship as real for himself. Meeting the priest makes sense as the thing that was the actual catalyst since the guy is a spy too and can marry him under his real name.

The flashback also kind of underlined the whole do-over nature. Mischa and Nadya in some ways are still those teenagers since they haven't come out in the light for so long.

Why break protocol in front of a very chatty priest who is already reporting back home about his friends? Philip's excuse why it's okay doesn't fit with everything we've seen until now. And how is this any better than what Tuan did?

I don't think he was breaking protocol. He appeared without disguise to William when he knew he wouldn't be followed. Here, as he said, he didn't have to worry about anyone seeing him with Father Andrei so they could be seen as themselves. The guy's been a source for years so he's trusted.

I don't see much comparison with what Tuan did. I mean, first, they didn't report Tuan so they were that much okay with it. But they're not risking their cover by driving out to a warehouse for a couple of hours one night and they know why they're doing it so they're not going to be nervous about it.

Does the USSR even accept religious marriages?

Father Andrei noted that they just had to file paperwork for it when they got to the USSR, which of course might never happen. But the point was the ceremony between the two of them, not the legal classification in the USSR. This went back to the episode where Clark and Martha got married and Elizabeth wondered if things would have been different for them if they had a ceremony.

Basically, they got married because they're in love. Isn't that logic enough for it?

It made sense when it was part of the plot, now it's just a very weird device for the writers to talk to Philip.

Totally agree. It makes me really frustrated. Especially when Philip says stuff like "In EST we learn you don't have to be who you were when you were a child" when I'd rather see exactly who Philip was as a child. Not listen to EST gobbledegook that I have to apply to Philip in my head.

* Was Karaoke a thing in the mid-80s?

I can't remember, but it seems like this is exactly the type of thing they'd research before dropping it in there. There's a reference to a karaoke machine in When Harry Met Sally (1989) but they don't use the word, so the concept existed in some form at the end of the 80s, but I would believe it if people don't know the word even.

Secrecy protocols

Date: 2017-05-11 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
I thought Father Andrei was a source, not a spy. He did not sound like a trained KGB officer when he spoke to Philip.

Until now, P&E never met sources without a disguise, with the exception of Gregory and Martha (when she was about to be shipped out).

It was a big thing when P&E revealed their real names to each other. In order to register their marriage, they would have had to give their full name, and most probably other identifying information.

Re: Secrecy protocols

Date: 2017-05-11 09:24 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Until now, P&E never met sources without a disguise, with the exception of Gregory and Martha (when she was about to be shipped out).

They also met with Gregory and Charles Deluth out of disguise. If this guy has been run for years I think it makes sense that the Jennings might choose to be seen.

It was a big thing when P&E revealed their real names to each other. In order to register their marriage, they would have had to give their full name, and most probably other identifying information.

I don't know what exactly they would have to give the guy, but it's possible that they only gave him their first names for the ceremony and he let them fill in whatever they needed to if he had any paperwork of his own. The guy was I assume ignoring a whole lot of protocol here as a priest in the ceremony. No reason, imo, to think that he insisted on any information he'd know they wouldn't give. They're not registered as members of his congregation or anything. He knows he's marrying two atheists.

Love

Date: 2017-05-11 09:18 pm (UTC)
maidenjedi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maidenjedi
Basically, they got married because they're in love. Isn't that logic enough for it?

That's what I took away from the entire sequence, too. And I don't think, in the end, it had anything to do with whether they'd be recognized as a married couple once back home. This was about what's happening to them now, if anything.

From a long-term plot standpoint, I think the purpose was to unite them beyond their American identities, in preparation for something that is going to truly test them.

Re: Love

Date: 2017-05-12 05:21 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
That secret wedding so reminded me of Romeo and Juliet and made me realize how much the show parallels that story. Not the exact plot, obviously, but both stories are about two people who discover love with each other that's in conflict with the hate/feud they were born into.

It'll probably work out about as well for Philip and Elizabeth as it did for Romeo and Juliet.

Re: Love

Date: 2017-05-14 02:15 am (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
So many things are going to come back to bite them. Every aspect of their lives is built on lies and deception. They're even drawing Paige closer to them with deception even though it's visibly destroying her. Eventually something will go wrong and when it does, it won't just be Philip and Elizabeth who have to deal with the fallout. Their American kids will have to pay for it all too.

Re: Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-06-11 07:29 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: Fox Mulder dancing plus quote by Emma Goldman ("If I can't dance...")
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
Was Karaoke a thing in the mid-80s?

It was out here. A bar in Burbank, CA, called "Dimples" was the first karaoke bar in the USA, allegedly.

From Wikipedia: "Rock critic Rob Sheffield claims that the 1986 music video for the song "Wild Wild Life" by the Talking Heads was the first depiction of karaoke in American popular culture. The video features a variety of characters taking turns singing portions of the song to an audience at a bar."

While watching thoughts

Date: 2017-05-11 11:19 am (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Looks like urine to me.. Some truths from Philip about the relationship with Elizabeth and Tuan.

That's a very unhappy looking Tuan. 'I wish I could tell you that it gets easier, but it doesn't' - Elizabeth can be as good at building up assets as Stan.

Elizabeth's 'good' at the dog shit story is particularly cold.

Paige cleaning voluntarily is a surprise to everyone (and a nice contrast to Elizabeth waking her up to do the fridge!) but again see the contrast between their reactions and comments.

Like you don't make reports on people, Elizabeth.

'If they live long enough'.

'Unless they have evidence you committed high treason, you're fine.' Well, that's all right then :)

Yeah, right, both of them know the Soviet teams.

'More Tai Chi?' says the person who's got useful stuff out of EST.

Cheery family dinner.

Another family with disagreements about what to do.. and Philip drops a 'I don't want Stan to be like Martha' bombshell.

More woo from EST.

Ha, I knew that 'Henry's.. different' was coming.

Love the look on Stan's face as the plan to get at the diplomatic stall in the toilet is outlined.

Hmm. Why take her there to talk about marriage? Ah. She takes the ring off, and smiles when Philip mentions God. Despite the fact he's obviously given her real name to someone. (I wonder what the Russian law is around the necessity for witnesses or specified locations.)

Would you believe a random embassy person in the street with such a decision? She is better than Stan though.

If they did more work in the office, they wouldn't need to bring it home :)

Love the look on Elizabeth's face when Paige says she's disobeyed, again again.

Ah, another musical ending. Lovely comparison between Paige's 'I told you' look and their's.


The wedding makes me even more sure this is setting up for a big cliffhanger.

My review

Date: 2017-05-12 03:54 pm (UTC)
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
From: [personal profile] selenak
This was a bit of an odd episode for me, full of fragments from stories that did almost, but not quite fit together.

The scene with Oleg and his parents felt both too much on the nose and repetitive re: what it says about their family, even if you take the day state-damaged families don’t or do communicate as a theme of the hour. Elizabeth and Philip reporting to Claudia who denies knowing anything about what was done with the virus from William’s dead flesh, otoh, felt like it needed some follow-up on their part, even if it was a “do you believe her?” sentence later.

Paige in a way has come full circle re: Pastor Tim, now wishing him away as much as she once saw her participation in his church as the answer, and finally taking her parents’ offer to make that happen. (In a non-sinister way.) And yet it’s more complicated than that. Her reading his diary with its concern about her situation while outwardly he projects optimism and only gives her cheery platitudes in place of the harsh worries he writes down is its own punishment, but it’s one she wants to share. I thought Paige’s excuse for photographing the pages and giving them to her parents – that they might find out the ideal job offer Tim will accept this way – was pretty flimsy, even if a part of her believes it; basically, she wanted Philip and Elizabeth to read these harrowing words about themselves, just as she had done. It’s not something she would say to them – not least because I think Paige by now does think of her parents as heroes – but she wants them to hear it. (And in yet another dimension, I think there was also a part of Paige who thought the spy aspect and the way her parents developed the film by changing the cellar into a studio with some small alterations was exciting to participate in.) It’s all of this mixed up together.

And then there’s Philip’s and Elizabeth’s other child, their work kid, Tuan. Who after being busted but not reported is very meek, and of course what P & E do there is a good example of what Pastor Tim calls “monstrous”. Elizabeth is encouraging and understanding to Tuan… and what she’s encouraging him to do isn’t something any teenager should do. That she does it without any personal malice and utterly as a part of her profession makes it only more frightening. (Poor Pasha.) My current guess is that both Pasha and Tuan might end up dead by the end of this season, with Pasha snapping after he finds out what Tuan did.
There’s a lot of self delusion going around in the episode, whether it’s Elizabeth regarding the whole Paige and Pastor Tim matter solely under the prism of “at last Paige sees through him!” or Philip saying, re: Stan and is-she-a-spy-or-isn’t-she-girlfriend, “I don’t want him to become Martha”. Philip, dear, regardless of whether or not Stan’s current girlfriend is reporting to an agency (btw, I think she is, but not to the Russians – I think she might be the answer to “why does Stan still have his job?”, in that they think he might be a double and she’s charged to find out), Stan already is Martha in the sense you mean it because you made him Martha in that sense. Not that Stan didn’t behave like an utter ass at times in s4, but still.

And in the middle of all of this, we get a self contained little gem going back all the way to that moment when Elizabeth during Clark and Martha’s wedding asked Philip whether he thinks their relationship might have worked out differently if they had had a wedding. (They had a faked certificate because Philip and Elizabeth Jennings needed one.) I love that their wedding happens so randomly, without any “a very special episode” build up, with Philip drafting the orthodox priest Gabriel used to run; that they have it in Russian (btw on a Doylist level, it’s of course good that bride and groom don’t have to say much in the wedding ceremony, so you don’t have to contrast the actor playing the priest with our leading couple in terms of how they pronounce the language), with their original names. (I was going to write “real”, but that would be the wrong term, considering that they’ve made Elizabeth and Philip as real as Nadeshda and Mikhail aka “Mischa”. I love that said wedding isn’t to solve any conflict (and it doesn’t) or a desperate “this one thing before we part” type of thing; they do it because they want to, and that’s it.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-12 05:30 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I thought Paige’s excuse for photographing the pages and giving them to her parents – that they might find out the ideal job offer Tim will accept this way – was pretty flimsy, even if a part of her believes it; basically, she wanted Philip and Elizabeth to read these harrowing words about themselves, just as she had done. It’s not something she would say to them – not least because I think Paige by now does think of her parents as heroes – but she wants them to hear it.

It's interesting, too, that her giving it to them to read kind of contrasts with PT's thoughts in that moment about them doing monstrous things to them. Because on one hand it can be seen as passive-aggressive, that she's using PT to tell her parents how she feels about what they've done to her.

But I feel like it's also just that she honestly has gotten to feel like she can share feelings with her parents and she feels better sharing this puzzling, disturbing thing with her.

And the thing is, they actually can understand how she would feel about this more than most people. When Philip was telling her about EST and defining yourself I think he really was identifying with her with his different situation. If Paige was upset to see someone suggesting that her soul was in peril, that she lacked the ability to right from wrong or truth from lies, her parents were getting a similar feeling from seeing themselves as monstrous who have done monstrous things.

Because the question then is--what do you do with that? They're in a similar situation.

And for similar reasons. Because the circular problem just keeps going. P&E do what they do because they wanted to be good. Sacrificing themselves so completely--giving their bodies, their souls, taking on all these sins--is something they're doing to help others. It's interesting to wonder whether or not PT has an inkling of that.

I mean, he himself has always presented his position as somebody who wants to do good and does do good, but does not cross the line of committing bad acts for it. As he said at dinner, he wouldn't kill for anything, but maybe he would die for something. But when it comes down to it, he's never had to make either choice.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-13 11:21 am (UTC)
selenak: (Claudia and Elizabeth by Tinny)
From: [personal profile] selenak
But I feel like it's also just that she honestly has gotten to feel like she can share feelings with her parents and she feels better sharing this puzzling, disturbing thing with her.

Yes, there's definitely that, too. In previous seasons, Paige would have remained on the "you don't understand!" level and would have brooded over everything without sharing it with her parents - that was the state that made her spill the beans to PT in the first place. Whereas now they do communicate. Not without problems, but all parties are trying.

P&E do what they do because they wanted to be good. Sacrificing themselves so completely--giving their bodies, their souls, taking on all these sins--is something they're doing to help others. It's interesting to wonder whether or not PT has an inkling of that.

His experience in Africa made him reevaluate his own flaws and righteousness to a degree, and may or may not have changed how he views the Jennings a bit, but I think the basic problem is that because they are spies, he can never take anything they tell him (or tell Paige, i.e. the early stuff Paige shared with him) about themselves as the literal truth. And even if he did, I don't think P & E would be inclined to share their formative experiences with him. They'd say something generally like "we wanted to serve our country" or "we wanted to help people", yes (which would be true), sure, but to PT it probably would not sound deeper or truer than his own platitudes now sound to Paige (when she knows he's thinking something different). So, something, like, say, the sexual training they had to undergo (i.e. Philip's montage) - I can't imagine either of them ever talking about this to Tim.

(The irony is that I think the one narrative PT would be totally into and which would make him see them differently would be where either or both adult Jennings unburden themselves completely to him because he's made them see the light. Followed by both of them turning themselves over to the authorities and PT holding their hands all the way, so to speak.)

But when it comes down to it, he's never had to make either choice.

No, but I wonder whether he's aware that by choosing to keep the Jennings' secret, he's actually also making the choice to condemm anyone P & E are hurting or killing after Paige told him (PT) about her parents. He makes that choice every day he keeps the secret, and PT isn't as naive as Paige to believe undercover Soviet spies wouldn't do extremely harmful things. Now of course there's no way he could report them that would not harm Paige (and Henry). But keeping silent harms other people. So he's prioritizing the girl he knows, who trusted him with this secret. Which is human. But it IS a choice.

Re: Pastor Tim's diary

Date: 2017-05-14 03:01 am (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
I hadn't really considered that PT's choice to try to help Paige was making him passively complicit in all of the evil "monstrous" things that Philip and Elizabeth are doing to others. That's a good point. He may not realize how extreme some of their actions are (stuffing Annelise into the suitcase for example), but he's smart enough to know that Soviet spies are not the benevolent peaceful beatniks that Paige wants to believe they are.

Date: 2017-05-16 04:42 pm (UTC)
shapinglight: (The Americans)
From: [personal profile] shapinglight
I've not been able to contribute to the discussion for the last couple of weeks, and I'm very late with this comment, so I'll just say, that wedding scene was lovely. It actually brought tears to my eyes.

Dumb, but there it is.

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