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

This is a discussion post for episode 513 of The Americans (the season five finale), 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 thirteen.)

Original promo trailer

Date: 2017-05-31 07:09 am (UTC)
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
From: [personal profile] selenak


Unless this was the last season, which I was told during the hiatus it won't be, there was no way the Jennings clan would actually relocate to Russia, so the question was how it would be prevented with an in-universe logic without also all the character development that led to P & E wanting to call it quits in the first place being destroyed. The way the show found works for me, especially with what it seems to set up.

But back to the beginning. Pasha survives his suicide attempt and it does work as intended, not that it makes our antiheroes feel better (nor should it). Plus they get a Cultural Revolution moment with Tuan as he tells them later that his report a) contains self criticism for his own moment of humanity (seeing his former foster family) and b) critisizes Philip and Elizabeth for lax security arrangements and almost blowing the entire operation near the end by hastening across the street to save Pasha. This - both the reporting on P & E and the self accusation - is so much in the spirit of the type of dictatorships both China and the Soviet bloc countries were that it felt like watching Brecht's play Die Ma├čnahme on speed. Mind you, it also sets up something important for the ending, to wit, Elizabeth's calm "you're not going to make it, kid, because in this life you need a partner" dissection of Tuan. Which of course isn't always true - having had a partner didn't save Emmet and Leanne - , but it's certainly been true for Philip and Elizabeth so far. And Elizabeth's conviction that is true for her is important to recall given what she offers at the end of the episode.

(The other thing about the Tuan opening scenes I found interesting was that P & E actually expressed the wish they could adopt him, well, "take him with us" before he went Cultural Revolution on them, after having seen Tuan at his worst re: Pasha, because it struck me that this was them at their most responsible. They weren't feeling mushy about Tuan but were very aware of what he is becoming and that he needs people to counteract it, if at all possible. Also, the "a kid" - "like we were" - is as close as Elizabeth has yet come to acknowledging that they were (mal)formed at a very young age.)

Both Stan and Philip express the wish to quit their jobs in this episode. Stan seems to get talked out of it by Renee which is a mark in the "is an undercover spy" columm for her, though I still maintain she won't be a Russian one, but a US internal affairs investigator. Philip and Elizabeth, by contrast, agree on wanting to quit through the episode, and then Philip finds out via listening to the latest tapes of Kimmie's father that said father has just become promoted to head of the CIA's Soviet division. The implication is clear: there's no way the Centre will let him stop being Kimmie's handler NOW. I actually think Claudia was sincere when she said in her first reaction that if experienced spies want to quit, it's probably really time (because that makes sense; if you force people like P & E to stay at these kind of jobs, you heighten the danger of defection to no end), but a direct line to the head of the CIA Soviet division just overwhelmes that. (And it's dependent on "Jim", as Kimmie is unlikely to build that relationship with someone else.)

This is the in universe ploy to keep the premise of the show alive for a season longer, it makes sense, and it offers more, not less good character stuff. Philip considering just destroying the tape and keeping the intel to himself but ultimately not going through with it says several things about Philip right now. He may be sick of the business, but he's also aware of the enormous advantage this particular intel offers, some of that sense of duty is still there, and he's ultimately not about to make such a decision on his lonesome but with his partner. Though he already is aware of what Elizabeth will say. Well, half of it.

Elizabeth in early s1 would just have insisted on handing the tape over. Elizabeth now still feels bound by patriotic duty and is ready to give up her own retirement wish, but she's also unable to stand seeing Philip go under the increasing self loathing the job produces any longer, and thus offers to do the spy business alone (except for the Kimmie part, for obvious reasons), with Philip running the travel agency only. This is why her scene with Tuan is a counterpoint, imo, because otherwise a viewer might believe her believing what she says when she assures Philip (who immediately points out she needs him) that she'll be able to do it alone. Elizabeth's prediction to Tuan - that without a partner, you get caught, killed or under - now looks like a dark prophecy. Of course she could still talk about work - but that's not the same thing as having someone who has your back.

Sidenote: I don't think Philip is going to become a travel agency husband for real, or if so not for long, both for Doylist and Watsonian reasons. The show's not about to let one of their leads solely deal with dissatisfied travellers, and Philip has been chronically unable to let Elizabeth be in danger without assistance for his entire adult life. But I think Elizabeth wanting to try that in order to help both partner and country is a great character moment for her.

Meanwhile, Henry could become the next teen going violent if this continues. Presumably Philip told him he wouldn't be able to go to the elite school because at this point, he was expecting them to relocate to Russia quite soon, but for Henry, it must feel like arbitrary parental cruelty. Paige, with less cause, launched her I'M GOING CHRISTIAN rebellion when feeling her parents were massively unfair to her. Heaven knows what Henry will do, but I hope it will finally give the poor guy more than one line per episode or so.

Selekak review

Date: 2017-05-31 05:35 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Which of course isn't always true - having had a partner didn't save Emmet and Leanne - , but it's certainly been true for Philip and Elizabeth so far. And Elizabeth's conviction that is true for her is important to recall given what she offers at the end of the episode.

Nor did it really hurt William or Robert. William, ironically, lived the spy life Elizabeth herself seems to have dreamed about since she started. He did his work and then died protecting the mission when someone ratted him out. But Elizabeth has certainly relied on Philip a lot.

though I still maintain she won't be a Russian one, but a US internal affairs investigator.

The problem I have with this is that I can't imagine for a second a US agency, or a woman who worked for one, agreeing to sleep with some FBI agent in order to get a closer look at him. It makes sense that Philip would see this as a KGB-type operation if anything. Really, why would some US agency even need to do something this elaborate? There are actual government types Stan would actually talk openly to about stuff in ways he wouldn't talk to his girlfriend.

Philip considering just destroying the tape and keeping the intel to himself but ultimately not going through with it says several things about Philip right now. He may be sick of the business, but he's also aware of the enormous advantage this particular intel offers, some of that sense of duty is still there, and he's ultimately not about to make such a decision on his lonesome but with his partner. Though he already is aware of what Elizabeth will say. Well, half of it.

Yeah, I thought this was a great reminder about how both of them sometimes rely on the other to think half their thoughts. That is, as a couple they're like a different organism than just themselves individually. Elizabeth knows Philip will be the "softer" one so she can lean the other way. Philip is the opposite. But that doesn't mean that Elizabeth doesn't have the softer feelings or Philip doesn't care about the bigger issues at all. They know how to balance each other.

I thought Philip with the tape was also a call-back to Stan and the Echo info when he was standing on the bridge.

Of course she could still talk about work - but that's not the same thing as having someone who has your back.

Yup, and I can't see Philip letting that happen. As things have worked out--and Elizabeth even acknowledged this to Karen once--Philip has usually been the one to have her back more than vice versa. In season one he was there for Gregory and the CIA kidnapping, he saved her when he accidentally sent her into the dangerous situation in the Colonel, then he took care of the kids, the business and all the spywork for 3 months when she was shot. She's expressed to be there for him the same way, but although she has been there for him, I think she feels she's never really got to do it on that level. Her ideas of doing so aren't really realistic and I think this is one of them.

Heaven knows what Henry will do, but I hope it will finally give the poor guy more than one line per episode or so.

God, yes. Enough with Henry's "story" being that he's hanging out with somebody new. There were so many great little hints this season that Philip, perhaps without realizing it, was seeing Henry playing out his own life, but it never really got dramatized, particularly between the two of them.

Date: 2017-05-31 12:48 pm (UTC)
shapinglight: (The Americans)
From: [personal profile] shapinglight
I have not been able to join in the discussion for several weeks. I hope to catch up on everyone's thoughts at some point. Have just watched the finale, but unfortunately the version I have cuts out at the end, after Philip's conversation with Paige, when he's walking along the corridor to his bedroom, so I have no idea from watching it whether he kept the tape or what he and Elizabeth said to each other (if they said anything at all).

I'd be very grateful indeed if someone could summarise.
Edited Date: 2017-05-31 12:49 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-31 12:55 pm (UTC)
quantumreality: (elizabeth)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
There's a pivotal ending scene with P&E that sets up at least one of the the Season 6 arcs. You definitely want to try and get the full version of the episode.

Date: 2017-05-31 01:13 pm (UTC)
shapinglight: (The Americans - Elizabeth)
From: [personal profile] shapinglight
Yeah, I've read a summary now, plus [personal profile] selenak's full comment above, and I realise what an important scene I've missed. I have no idea where else to get a copy from, though, than the place I usually get it. I can only hope that someone will put the final scene up on YouTube.

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QR's S5 Finale Review

Date: 2017-05-31 01:08 pm (UTC)
quantumreality: (americans1)
From: [personal profile] quantumreality
- I think Tuan is combining youthful arrogance and lack of experience with spycraft* with ideological fanaticism. All that makes him a really dangerous person to be around because it's the perfect recipe to make him capable of being a psychopath. He can express apparent remorse to Pasha and then turn on a dime and congratulate himself on his amazeballsness to P&E later, oh and BTW, fake mom and fake dad, you sucked and I'm gonna tattle on you.

* As Elizabeth points out, he hasn't yet truly been on an operation where everything goes tits up and he needs to apply his skills and knowledge to salvage things.

- I thought Paige getting a cut and shrugging it off was a really interesting moment, character-wise. It's like Paige is hardening, in a way.

- Philip expressing his regrets to Paige was another interesting moment that gave me feels.

- The way Renee talked Stan out of transferring rang so much like the way Philip manipulated Martha that I definitely think she's a plant. Whose plant, we'll see next season I guess!

- I didn't know Gabriel's name is Semyon.

- At least Philip can relent with Henry and apologize for blowing up; letting Henry take off to boarding school will at least get him out from underfoot so P&E can do their thing.

- We have a date for this episode: it's around August 11, 1984, because that's when Reagan's foolish mic check happened. I had assumed it was closer to 1985 than that, but anyhow.

Re: QR's S5 Finale Review

Date: 2017-05-31 05:38 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
- We have a date for this episode: it's around August 11, 1984, because that's when Reagan's foolish mic check happened. I had assumed it was closer to 1985 than that, but anyhow.

I know that's the date of that mic check but I just can't believe for a second we're supposed to be in August. It's absurd. Snow on the ground in Moscow and the kids in down jackets? And Henry just now getting his acceptance letter?
No, that's not Moscow even with the kvass truck. It's still supposed to be spring 1984. May at the latest, imo.

Re: QR's S5 Finale Review

Date: 2017-05-31 07:30 pm (UTC)
soupytwist: Joan Watson working hard on a laptop (tap tap)
From: [personal profile] soupytwist
Given that he's presumably been accepted for the next academic year starting end of August/beginning of September, August would be INCREDIBLY late for any school to be sending acceptances around!

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Gabriel

Date: 2017-05-31 06:01 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I thought it was interesting that Gabriel (Semyon Andreivich) seems to be running around the USSR playing Father Frost for these families. Because I get the sense that the guilt he's trying to deal with here isn't about what he did to Martha or Mischa but about about Philip, who remains isolated from all these happy families and is the one Gabriel sees as something like a son. I think his family name is even Semenov, if the symbolism is intentional.

Philip insisted that Gabriel call Martha's parents, wanted her safe in Russia. Philip asked if Mischa had anyone in the USSR. So he is doing things that Philip would want--that seems to be something that's giving him some purpose. But I would bet Gabriel still feels like he's doing things around the problem without actually addressing the real source of his guilt. When it came to his own surrogate sons he failed them and never took the kind of stands Philip himself even took for his family or his agent.

Even his last acts in the end were seemingly kind of isolating. He dumped the "You were right--Paige is doomed" line before leaving Philip after getting to enjoy a "You're the best, dad!" good-bye with Elizabeth.

Date: 2017-05-31 08:53 pm (UTC)
shapinglight: (The Americans)
From: [personal profile] shapinglight
Now I've watched the full episode, I can see how important that last scene was. And how powerful. I think Philip and Elizabeth are pretty much doomed. I don't expect them to ever get home. I also don't expect Philip to take up Elizabeth's suggestion and just run the travel agency. He'll carry on doing what he hates because it's beyond him to leave her to do it by herself.

Yeah, doomed.

I found the scene with Martha and the little girl very moving. I know it's manipulative and cruel in many ways to push Martha towards this child. On the other hand, Olya may well be what she needs. I don't know.

Great ending to the season anyway. I wish it weren't quite so long to wait for season 6 (though of course the sooner it comes, the sooner the show will be over for good).
soupytwist: Joan Watson working hard on a laptop (tap tap)
From: [personal profile] soupytwist
Okay, so that last scene was wonderful. What a restrained, but effective, punch to the end season with. Of course there's no way Philip's gonna be a travel agent - he might TRY, it will last about five seconds if he does - but the way that he asked Elizabeth to go and sit somewhere, the way they discussed it as adults, the way they acknowledged each others' input into this huge decision... oh BABIES. That was perfect. It was perfect as an example of their relationship, but also of each of them as characters and how far they've come.

The Tuan stuff is really interesting. Clearly Elizabeth went to speak to him feeling like she saw herself in him, her younger self, and wanted to pass on her current understanding. But Tuan was not having it. At all. And honestly, given the way Elizabeth was like, "they trust us", I wouldn't be at all surprised if that doesn't come back to bite them somehow.

...maybe somehow to do with Philip's family? Now we've got Philip's brother as well as son involved, this has to be endgame. How, I don't know, but it has to be. And I'm thinking it will end up with them quitting but making a new life for themselves somewhere other than the USSR.

I feel so bad for poor Henry! He thought he was getting everything. I wonder if that will be the thing that turns Henry onto looking at his family more sceptically, maybe putting a suspicious eye on stuff he's already seen/picked up on. Because the other clear thing that I think has to happen by the end is Henry finding out, or dying horribly, and I don't think they're likely to kill him off.

I am weirdly excited we know Gabriel's actual name now, omg. And MORE MARTHA. Martha is always going to be a plus in my book. I really hope this means actual plot for her in the last season.

Renee

Date: 2017-05-31 09:17 pm (UTC)
soupytwist: Joan Watson working hard on a laptop (tap tap)
From: [personal profile] soupytwist
I meant to add: I can't decide if I think Renee is SO obvious a plant at this point that maybe she's actually not? Maybe she's there as distraction? Maybe Stan ends up thinking she's a plant, but she's not? Or she has been a plant/is actually an agent, but for the US, and not spying on Stan? I don't know.

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Date: 2017-06-01 02:43 am (UTC)
saraqael: (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraqael
Aside from the opening couple of scenes with Pasha, this was a quiet episode with a quiet, emotionally meaningful ending. Philip acknowledged that their lives as spies had deprived Paige of having a truly normal life. That was sweet. More importantly, he told Elizabeth about Kimmy's dad being named as the head of the Soviet Division. As expected, Elizabeth quite literally cannot walk away from this opportunity. And so they will stay in the US after all (as expected).

Elizabeth essentially told Philip to stand down and just run the travel agency while occasionally going over to smoke pot with Kimmy (so that he can continue to get the recordings of her dad). She'll take care of the rest of the difficult KGB stuff by herself. After the lovely Russian wedding a couple of episodes ago, she's now essentially telling him to go be an American and leave the Russian stuff to her. I don't see how that is going to work for either of them. It's especially ironic given that she warned Tuan not to try to keep up the undercover life alone.

Interesting parallel with Philip and Stan both feeling burned out their intelligence work. For Stan, it's the lying and manipulating people that he just can't bear any more. Renee talks him into staying with the job. Is she just a supportive girlfriend or is she an undercover agent trying not to lose her contact inside the FBI? Hard to say. I'm good with either revelation. If she is an agent, I wouldn't be surprised if she was an American agent of some kind. Again, American or Russian, I don't really care. Either way works for me.

Other thoughts:
The scenes with Pasha played out exactly as Tuan expected. I was amused when he told the Jennings that he'd reported to his superiors that their petty bourgeoisie concerns put the mission at risk. So ideologically single-minded and pure.

Gabriel (Semyon Andreyevich) knows that Martha had wanted to adopt a child before with Clark. Since sending her a parade of would-be boyfriends didn't make her happy, lining her up with a cute, needy orphan was the next best thing. Kids are Martha's kryptonite. The range of emotions that played out on her face in those few seconds was amazing (especially since she ended looking so terribly sad). Giving her a child to look after and love would certainly ground her in her new life and give her an enormous incentive to learn to speak Russian as quickly as she can. I thought it was a lovely gesture on Gabriel's part. I wouldn't mind if that's the last we see of Martha.

Philip owes Henry a huge apology.

Lastly, for the first time in the show's history, their featured song didn't work for me at all. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road threw me right out of the story. I get why they chose it, but it really annoyed me.

Okay, so this is my actual last thought: If this is the last we see of Pastor Tim, I'm also good with that. I wonder if they'll have him back in S6?

Edited Date: 2017-06-01 02:47 am (UTC)

Renee as agent

Date: 2017-06-01 12:41 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Why would she be an American agent?

Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-06-01 08:07 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
The Martha scene was my favorite here. Until now they focused on the material aspects, but material needs is not everything, and Russia has found something it can offer that Martha had always wanted.

The "will they-won't they move back" plot didn't do much for me throughout the season. Maybe because everybody's putting the emphasis on the material things, and because I've sort-of been there and still can't connect to how it's being portrayed. Elizabeth's longing glances at her clothes and kitchen just seemed off to me. And actually, it put a different spin on her "we can't go back!" at the end. Is she really just thinking of her mission? Because the American life has certainly grown on her.

Tuan - I have a feeling Elizabeth's warning is going to boomerang on her. Being a spy like that is living on borrowed time, and it doesn't matter if you've got a partner that's got your back. They run a risk every time they run a mission.

Stan - I think (or hope) he now suspects Renee. And I really hope she's not American.

Re: Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-06-01 12:14 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Re: Elizabeth's longing glances at her stuff... I think Elizabeth was looking at all of her possessions in light of Tuan's accusations about their "petty bourgeoisie concerns" and she was shocked to realize that he was right. She really did like all of the material comforts of the West. She'd always had a contempt that Americans were 'soft' because of all of their material wealth, but she'd unwittingly come to love all of this material wealth too. I read her expressions in this scene not as 'I'm going to miss all this,' but rather, 'I've been seduced by all of this without even realizing it.'

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Re: Treon's thoughts

Date: 2017-07-04 08:33 pm (UTC)
entj: (Default)
From: [personal profile] entj
I'm probably wrong about this -- I think we were meant to perceive that she had become somewhat attached to their home and things -- but there was a part of me that also read a little relief, maybe a thought of: "If we go home, I can just have a normal closet with just my clothes. Not another closet with Dee's clothes, and Jackie's clothes, and Jennifer's clothes ... just mine."

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While watching thoughts

Date: 2017-06-01 12:36 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
So he did it, but isn't dead. That's not necessarily good for our two - is he ever going to say 'Tuan suggested I do it'?

As if they didn't know who the strange man was...

Hmm, what does the note say? Philip looks very blank when told, not least because he's finding it hard to live in America too.

Elizabeth is now making plans for Tuan's future.

Only the second use of the polygraph in the show, isn't it?

He's been trained to take it.

Cruel but correct from Claudia. It would work better if they split up.

Obviously when they're arguing with you, they're committed to their big decision. For them, anyway.

Yes, they need to plan about the kids and - ha - they've the same ideas as me as to how to do it. (Even if I'm shocked that Philip would go yes to taking Henry.) But this is obvious setup for something bad happening.

Reagan's 'we begin bombing in five minutes' - love the audible quotes around the word 'joke' from the commentator - is a rare exact date for the programme. Ha, Henry carries on regardless.

Martha getting language lessons.

She's being gently guided to adopt an orphan. Ha, yes, it gets less gentle. It'd be very mixed for both Martha and Olya.

Philip doing his Pastor Tim impersonation, but with an Agenda. That's not going to work.

No Tuan doesn't want to do anything else. And has been giving them bad reports!

Love the look that Philip gives Elizabeth before responding.

'Whatever you put in your report isn't a problem for us' - with an undertone of 'it'll be a problem for you'.

Argh, Philip, don't say no to Henry.

Henry is going to be the cause of whatever the big bad thing is going to be.

Cue Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on leaving. Over a series of shots of people leaving - Philip to be replaced on the court by Stan's girlf, Paige leaving Tim, Elizabeth contemplating.. all her disguise clothes? And the dishwasher.

Was that the car park where Elizabeth killed in front of Paige?

Ha, 'Jim' gets invited around when Kimmie's friends are there. And says he's leaving for Japan. She's not happy, is she? No, she's not. 'It's ok, someone else will be around to bug your father's briefcase...'

More silly listening to the tapes. 'Can I interrupt?' 'Yes please.'

Elizabeth is taking the Henry thing a bit too lightly.

Back to the self-defence classes.

Some serious sound leakage with that earphone :)

Ouch. It's a sign of how Paige has changed in that she just wipes her mouth and gets on with it.

Ha, this is sign he's losing all his commitment. Even to consider chucking the actually useful tape in the river...

That's quite a bit of garlic. Is she a French agent? :)

Now Stan wants to move out of the work he's doing. And the fact that she's trying to talk him out of it increases the chance that she does indeed have an agenda.

Nice reaction from Elizabeth when Philip confesses..

.. and she's staying, but he can sort of quit. At one point, he'd have loved to stay in the US with the kids but not have to do the work.

Hmm, not so much a cliff hanger or an end to the season as a stop.

Paige losing her religion

Date: 2017-06-04 09:49 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
I've been thinking about Paige turning her back on religion - when did this happen? Was this because of her foray into Marxism (thanks to Pastor Tim) or because she discovered church organizations are under Soviet influence? (she threw out her cross necklace after that discussion)

Why is it all or nothing by her? That is, if she hasn't been a believer for a while, why did she not take off her cross before? f it's all pretend for Pastor Tim's benefit, she doesn't need to wear it while she's at home or asleep.

Re: Paige losing her religion

Date: 2017-06-04 12:53 pm (UTC)
cadma2: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cadma2
I think she was always drawn to the community more than the spiritual beliefs and now she's cut off from it because of the secret, like she is from Matthew. I don't know about the cross though, maybe she was just wearing it out of habit.

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Re: Paige losing her religion

Date: 2017-06-04 02:05 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I admit, they never did a good job for me presenting Paige as being very spiritual. She never sounded like a teenager really into being Christian or praying to me at all.

But the way I took this was that prayer and spirituality hadn't helped her the way Pastor Tim suggested it would, and then she was forced into acting like she as more into the church than ever when she wasn't. That set her up to feel like the whole thing was more fake than she might have felt had she just been able to use her faith in her own way for understanding. Maybe the diary entry really pushed her over the edge.

It's also possible that she's just so relieved to not have to fake it now that she's going to go to the other extreme for a while. But it's not unusual for teenagers to go through a super religious phase and become atheists as adults. I don't think Paige is at that stage now, she just knows she's no longer the girl who was really really into the church.

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What if...

Date: 2017-06-05 10:18 am (UTC)
cadma2: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cadma2
... Philip really does just run the travel agency + Kimmy for the next 5 years and the last season picks up in 1989? Would that work?

Re: What if...

Date: 2017-06-05 10:52 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treonb
Even if he continues as usual, it would be interesting to see what happens in 1989

Re: What if...

Date: 2017-06-05 08:08 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I think that would be pretty terrible at least for me. First, I hate time jumps in general, and they make even less sense to me in stories that a so character-based. It's essentially giving us a whole new set of characters. Paige, Henry and Kimmy would all be in college, so even "run Kimmy" isn't something that just flows along with no change.

This is the third time Elizabeth's announced her intention to either go it alone or take care of things without Philip and Philip really isn't up for it. He doesn't seem to be accepting her plan now. The Centre is the one that gives the assignments, not Elizabeth.

The show's never been very interested in reflecting the Cold War timeline in the past so 1989 or 1991 doesn't really seem like an important date to me for the story. People tell plenty of stories in, for instance, WW2 without feeling the need to get to the end of the war. We know what happened, but the characters' own mindsets don't seem to be changing because of that larger story.

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