The Americans Delivers a Viciously Cruel, Excellent Episode

(Episode 4.10)

TV Reviews The Americans
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Dear lord, this show is cruel. Vicious, cruel and excellent.

We couldn’t even have Agent Gaad, could we? Sure he had been fired, but I was happy thinking of him retired and off traveling with his wife. But noooooo. We can’t have anyone on this show happy. So Gaad is confronted by KGB agents in Thailand and dies by crashing through a window, a KGB operation gone heinously awry. My guess is Gaad wasn’t supposed to die. Maybe the KGB thought they could turn Gaad, but we all know that would never happen. And this is how cruel the show can be—we got a fleeting moment of how happy Gaad was with his wife before he died.

And Gaad’s untimely demise wasn’t even the biggest thing that happened this week. Pastor Tim goes missing in Ethopia, and a very pregnant Alice comes over to the Jennings threatening them and telling them that if anything happens to her or Pastor Tim she’s given a tape to a lawyer who will give it to the Justice Department. Pastor Tim is found. He just got lost (how very Pastor Tim like), but the whole experience rattles Paige. She wonders if her parents could have had anything to do with Pastor Tim’s disappearance. What totally got me about this scene is that Elizabeth WAS going to kill Pastor Tim and Alice, and yet is still mad at Paige for even thinking that her parents could have done something. That is classic Elizabeth.

Elizabeth thinks that if Pastor Tim isn’t found they will have to run. “I thought I could live like this,” she tells Philip. When Paige realizes that running means moving to Russia she is stunned. “Are you serious? Do you hear yourselves?” she asks her parents. This is something a teenager would say to his or her parents, even if they weren’t spies threatening to move their family to Russia. After Pastor Tim is found, Alice apologizes, but her anger and wrath has shaken Paige.

Still, Elizabeth and Philip are fairly confident there is no tape because they’ve bugged Pastor Tim’s phone and they never hear Alice making a phone call to a lawyer. Alice doesn’t seem savvy enough to know she shouldn’t talk on the phone about these things.

Stan and Dennis take Martha’s dad out for a drink. Her dad can’t imagine that his daughter would ever get mixed up in something like this. I went back and watched the episode where Clark and Martha got married and confirmed that her parents didn’t take any pictures. But Martha did have a wedding picture which could mean her parents have one too. I feel like if Stan just got an actual picture of Clark and not an artist sketch he would finally be able to put all the pieces together. Poor Mr. Matha’s Dad just wants the FBI to keep looking for his daughter. “It’s an ongoing investigation. I assure you no one is giving up,” Dennis tells him.

There’s a lot of subtle work on The Americans, but Philip’s scene with Kimmy was overt as the show hit us other the head with its analogy. Kimmy and her dad are just like Paige and Philip. Kimmy confesses to Philip that her dad is in the CIA. “Everything in my life makes sense suddenly,” she tells Philip. (Sound familiar?) “I don’t think you should have told me,” Philip tells her. “Telling me breaks your father’s trust.” Philip also knows that if Kimmy tells this information to the wrong person (not that he’s the right person), Kimmy could get herself in so much trouble. What was somewhat comforting about the Kimmy/Philip scene is that it does appear that Philip has been able to keep things mostly platonic with Kimmy, providing her with “the best pot” and being the quasi-father figure that she doesn’t have and desperately needs.

Elizabeth is wrestling with taking the next step in her operation with Don. Gabriel asks her if she would like him to ask the Centre if there’s another way they can go about this. After an extraordinarily long pause, Elizabeth says “Yes.”

It is the first time Elizabeth has shown how truly vulnerable she is. And what is the next step? How bad can it be? This has been one of the show’s longest cons. I have no idea what to expect next.

Stray observations:

Poor Don and Young-Hee. They seem like very nice people and guilt is eating away at Don, and Young-Hee just wants to talk to her friend.

I can remember what a big deal it was keeping the truth about Santa Claus from my sister. Can you imagine how Paige must be feeling? And how is Henry going to feel knowing his entire family was keeping a secret from him?

So Stan has told Matthew about Martha? Even though he obviously kept details from Matthew, it is still odd to think of Stan giving out FBI secrets like this. Will he do anything to connect with his son? How loose are his lips?

They’ve been dancing around this for four seasons, so are Matthew and Paige finally going to start dating? Because that would REALLY complicate things.

“You can’t be Russian spies in Russia!”

Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal ®, is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.