Previously on The Americans, “Darkroom”
How far is too far to go for a cause you believe in? What do you do when your belief falters? What happens to relationships when the person you love fundamentally changes? How true is a relationship when it’s not based on trust? These questions are not new to The Americans and this season, we’re seeing the hard consequences of wrought by belief and the lack, thereof. Is it better to live in a world of black and white or suffer by seeing all the shades of gray?
Religion and communism is an easy and often used comparison in this show. It’s often easier for same faith couples to be married and raise kids as their belief systems are aligned. It can be far harder to be married and make family decisions when your religious beliefs directly oppose one another. Elizabeth and Philip just got married (for real). Their new bands are not even cold and they are faced with the collision of their differences.
It was really hard for Elizabeth to see her husband waiver over shooting a woman who just admitted to committing horrendous acts against her country. This is as open and shut case as you can get. Elizabeth doesn’t see the tears, the rationale, the poor husband. Elizabeth just sees the betrayal. A monster is a monster. Especially, a Nazi Monster. And if you’re unknowingly married to a Nazi Monster, tough luck. You both got to go.
On the other hand, Philip sees the pressure the woman was under at a young age. The power of coercion. He heard Gabriel admit to committing similar acts and saw the toll it took on him. Philip can empathize with killing people in the name of a cause you never fully believed in because it was what you thought you had to do at the time. Philip can see the remorse in the woman’s eyes and the shock in her husband’s upon learning the truth. Natalie was able to put her past behind her and have a good life until Philip and Elizabeth came barging in. Philip knows monsters have feelings and back stories. Philip hopes monsters can change.
Natalie and her husband never have to face what happens after the terrible truth is revealed. But Elizabeth and Philip have to face the truth of Philip’s growing disillusionment. This should have been an easy one, once the truth was revealed. But her husband faltered. Even so, her husband may be the one thing Elizabeth may put above her commitment to her country. So, she thinks it’s time they moved back home.
Powerful acting in the Granholm’s house. Irina Dubvova was a heartbreaking as Natalie. Rhys’ and Russell’s reactions were just as moving.
- Paige certainly pulled one over on me. I was feeling sorry for her last episode, but it seems like she may have had more calculating motives in showing her parents the pages of Pastor Tim’s journal. Never forget who her parents are. Bad on me.
- Stan and Dennis should be encouraging Sofia to get in closer with her pouch-carrying hockey player, but her complete innocence and devotion to her son moves them. They warn her to be careful.
- Philip and Elizabeth realize the best thing they can do for their son is to continue their absentee parenting, but let him go to a place where they’ll feed him better than their neighbor has been.
- Speaking of Henry, he learns the hard truth. He can’t be trusted. Not by Stan (definitely not by his parents). But with Henry’s adoration of his surrogate father, his capitalist aspirations, and the chance to work with the Mail Robot, he’s likely FBI-bound. Something his parents are not above using to their advantage. Now we just need that spin-off….
- Speaking of Mail Robot, Stan says it’s (he’s) “More trouble than it’s worth”. If you only knew Stan. If you only knew.
- Philip and Liz may as well retire with all the information coming through their kids. Paige sneaks around taking pictures and Henry tells them about “The Vault”.
- Claudia is just so good. She tells the Jennings the horrible truth about Variant V, so they are more likely to believe her other lies.
- We get a flash of Tuan and a flashback of Philip and his father. Looks like their relationship wasn’t so bad, after all. Learn a thing or two, Philip.
- Oleg and his partner take apart Fomina the Secretary’s office. Reminds me of dismantling Martha’s apartment and Elizabeth’s search of Tuan’s house. There’s a certain satisfaction I get from watching people carefully take apart rooms.
- Oleg gets reality checked. The KGB may keep their hands clean of the food corruption, but they certainly benefit from it.
The Americans S5E11
I’m a little mad at this episode for raining on last episode. I actually felt empathy for Paige. I thought Elizabeth and Philip were a happier couple and more committed as parents. I allowed myself to soar a bit, completely forgetting what show I was watching. But I love this show for what it is. If this decision of Elizabeth’s to move back to Russia leads somewhere (like Russia), I’ll forgive them for dithering about with showing Philip’s (beautifully acted) angst all season. He can meet up with the unceremoniously dropped Mischa and become a Real Dad. Gabriel can come over for holidays and one day Martha will show up, happily speaking fluent Russian. I’m also really hoping for the brief period we have before the Cold War ends, Henry joins the FBI and Paige joins the KGB. Spy vs Spy.