Previously on The Americans, ‘Pastor Tim’
The heavy cloud of inevitability hung over most of this episode. Choices. What good are they if each one comes with a heavy cost? But maybe we should look on the bright side, like Claudia “First there are no choices now there are no good choices. I’d say we were making progress.” Hey there, Margo Martindale.
Choice 1: EPCOT or Odessa
Do the Jennings visit the world of tomorrow or return to the land of their past?
Pastor Tim was back from the dead in this episode. Very alive. Hair as fluffy as ever. It’s really too bad he shared Paige’s secret with his yappy wife. The Parents Jennings continue to lie to their child. “No Paige, of course no one gets hurt by what we do,” Your Pastor and his little wife won’t even feel it coming. They also try to educate her in Emotional Manipulation 101. First Rule: Show no anger. Paige flunks her first lesson, but it really doesn’t matter in determining Pastor Tim’s fate.
Philip would rather opt out. He keeps bringing up the idea of leaving. He tells Sandra, if his house burned down his family would come with him. Are you sure about that, Philip? Elizabeth is still committed to the cause and doesn’t view returning to their homeland as an option. Gabriel surprisingly sides with Philip. Claudia, not surprisingly, sides with Elizabeth. Guess who wins? Hint: The one not dying at the end of the episode.
Cost: Kill Tim and drive the insidious wedge of suspicion between you and your child. Move and leave the cushy (but fake and increasingly complex) life they are living. And no cologne or computer games for Henry.
Choice 2: Soviet Rock or Soviet Hard Place
Nina has dug her own grave and now it’s just degrees of punishment. The men in her life have given her a chance for an appeal. She seems touched by Anton’s letter written on her behalf. Nina seems resigned. However her dreams tell another story. She walks smiling towards a sad Stan who apologizes to her. They turn to see the dour face of Anton Baklanov. Fainter smile. Nina cast aside her chances for freedom to help Baklanov. Now she has as much hope as Eeyore.
Cost: The crushing of Nina’s hopes and dreams.
Choice 3: More Glanders or Less Glanders
Philip and Elizabeth find a glanders-infected Gabriel on the floor of his safe house. They have the choice to stay with him, but choose to find William, instead. William’s work with infectious diseases has taken a toll on his health and it’s no wonder he doesn’t want access to Level 4. He shoots them with antibiotics but tells them they have no choice but to remain together for 36 hours.
The Cost: Go and they could lose their lives and infect their children. Stay and no EPCOT. And they have no credible alibi if Pastor Tim gets knifed. And the crushing of Henry’s hopes and dreams.
Choice 4: Woo Her or Stalk Her
Aderholt is back (and so is Mail Robot!). Stan shares he still has suspicions about Martha, but Aderholt’s usual tenacious nature seems obscured by his lust for the Copy Lady. He’s also not a creep. He leaves the stalking to Stan. “The Bureau doesn’t not feel, Stan” (unless it’s about Martha).
Bits and Pieces
- Elizabeth is a natural at Mary Kay (not that different than espionage) and makes a Korean best friend. Young Hee’s husband definitely has access to Level 4. It’s nice to see Elizabeth be so cute and charming and I love her new friend. It’ll be sad when Elizabeth stabs her in the back, per usual.
- Don’t buy stock in Cabbage Patch Kids, Young Hee.
- Elizabeth encourages Philip to make up with Stan. She says they need a friendly face at the FBI. I guess Martha’s face isn’t so friendly, these days.
- The Parents Jennings make Henry (and Paige) think EPCOT is all his idea. They are so good at what they do.
- Great long shot of the Jennings staring at Gabriel as he dies before them. Perfect visual illustration of hard choices.
- This is the second episode we see Philip watch as Elizabeth is injected with a needle.
- Martha is still not used to The New Clark, aka The Old Philip. Philip disguising himself less this season.
The Americans S4E3
I felt the emotional weight of this episode. The writing and the performances sold it. Solid directing added to the tension. I didn’t hold my breath as much or laugh as much as I did last episode, but I connected with the difficulty facing our characters. I still find the Nina side plot a little hard to get into and I miss Martha and Oleg. On the upside: Mail Robot.