selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
[personal profile] selenak
Watching a show about Russian spies set in the 80s is increasingly weird when contrasted with the current day reality. If only the KGB had known back then how incredibly easy it is to get the entire Republican party to do their bidding…



Meanwhile, in the 80s: I wish they’d speed up Oleg’s storyline somewhat; there’s only so often that someone can tell him a variation of “you have no idea who you’re messing with” before I get bored. Though I assume the increasingly good relationship with his colleague will have a pay off once the inevitable happens and Oleg and/or his father will be made a fall guy for the forces of corruption.

Otoh “what will it take for Elizabeth to want out?” was one of the show’s big questions, considering the mid s1 event where she and Philip were fake-interrogated didn’t do the trick, and the Paige situation didn’t once Elizabeth realized this was something she could share with her daughter. But things were piling up through the seasons, the one thing P & E could be genuinely enthusiastic about re: their job this season had been the prospect of saving the Russian grain from American bio warfare, which turned out not to be the case, she had a reminder of her Korean friend/mark whose life she ruined recently, neither Philip nor Elizabeth were glad about the prospect of having to run their current marks for years, and Pastor Tim’s comparison of the Jennings’ parenting of Paige to sexual abuse visibly hit home last week, as does this week Philip’s guess that Paige wanted them to read this. So I think it’s all of this in addition to what happens this week that makes Elizabeth say what she does at the end of this episode.

But what I love is that this last incident is just the kind of seemingly clear cut situation that young Nadeshda would have found to be a no brainer. Executing a Russian woman who collaborated with the Nazis – what could be more obviously right to her? And yet. The episode wrong footed the audience deliberately along with our antiheroes, making Natalya/Anna look innocent by the way she first admitted to her old identity to save her husband but could not name details as opposed to parroting what P & E had accused her of. But then she did tell her story. And it was one that was guessable not just from WWII. But what really makes the emotional power, imo, is that to the way the show presents it, it’s true what Philip said earlier: it doesn’t really matter whether this old woman is guilty or innocent. Elizabeth could see he was struggling with going through with it, and it wasn’t surprising she did it instead (these two were dead either way), but what was surprising, and yet sense making considering the above, was that this to Elizabeth was the straw that broke the camel’s back. And for the first time, the woman chosen because her superiors thought she would never give up says she wants out.

In other news: remember when Stan was the one who couldn’t talk to his own son and partly coped by hitting it off with Henry? Now Philip, at a loss with Henry, heads off to his “work” son Tuan, only to be silent there as well.
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