The Americans Review: “Divestment”

(Episode 3.08)

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<i>The Americans</i> Review: &#8220;Divestment&#8221;

I can sum up my review of this week’s episode in two words: Martha! Run!

I just don’t see how things can end well for poor Martha. From my perspective, either Philip kills her so the bug in Agent Gaad’s office can never be traced back to him or she’s charged with treason. Her only course of action is probably to confess what she’s done in hopes of a lighter sentence. Martha needs a good lawyer stat. Too bad their shows take place in different decades, because I think Florrick/Agos/Lockhart could really help her out.

Martha confronts Clark, telling him she met a man at the office named Walter Taffet. I didn’t connect it last week that Walter works in the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility. He has the actual job Clark claims to have. Martha knows Clark can’t be who he says he is.

“Who are you?” Martha tearfully asks him, before wondering “What have I done?” Philip tells Martha the truth is that he’s her husband, he loves her, he would do anything for her and anything to protect her. Never mind that fact that’s not actually true, it still shouldn’t be enough of an explanation for Martha. I mean really, can the sex with Clark be that good? Their final scene shows Clark and Martha in bed, turned away from each other with both of their faces fraught with worry. I’m hoping that Martha isn’t this gullible or in love or whatever, and is plotting out her next move. Also Allison Wright rocked that scene.

Elizabeth, Philip and Reuben are busy dealing with the South African official and the student they kidnapped last week. Reuben kills the official by setting him on fire in a disturbingly graphic scene. The student confesses that he has a bomb in his room that he was supposed to set to go off during the trustees meeting at George Washington University. He didn’t plant the bomb, and Philip argues that his life should be spared. Surprisingly Elizabeth agrees with him and they let him go. Later Elizabeth asks Gabriel to try to get Philip’s son out of Afghanistan. I doubt Elizabeth has suddenly gone soft. My guess is that she’s doing all these seemingly nice things so Philip might come around on her recruitment of Paige.

Paige researches Gregory at the library and is surprised to learn that he was a drug dealer. She wonders if Gregory was a criminal. Elizabeth tells her daughter that things aren’t that simple. But Paige argues that fighting for a cause you believe in is all well and good, but you still can’t rob a bank. “No, of course not,” Elizabeth agrees. Since Elizabeth and Philip do much worse things than rob banks, Elizabeth still has a long way to go in her recruitment of Paige.

Nina gets a reduced sentence for getting a confession out of Evi. She also gets another offer: She will be let go if she can get the truth out of Anton the scientist (the one Philip sent back to Russia last season). It seems that what Anton is working on for the government is so complicated, they can’t tell if his work is taking a long time because it is supposed to, or if he is purposely going slowly and working against the mother land. Nina needs to befriend Anton and get at the truth. “You’re good at getting people to trust you,” the Russian official tells her. Nina’s new boss at the lab where Anton works is Vasili, the man who Nina framed and who Arkady replaced in Season One. Vasili tells her he won’t let his personal feelings impact his job. So far, the scientist isn’t that charmed by Nina.

Oleg’s father calls Arkady and basically demands that Oleg be sent home. Arkady tells Oleg he’s used to dealing with stubborn people but Oleg is worried because his father is the Ministry of the Rails. “So next time I’m home I won’t be able to ride the train?” Arkady says. I’m wondering if this story line will somehow connect with Nina’s. Will Oleg’s father do something to her if his son continues to refuse to return home?

While we wait for next week’s episode, let’s all pray for poor, poor Martha.

Other thoughts on “Divestment:”

• John Boy kicking the mail robot was kind of the best
• Again I really appreciated the lack of Kimmie story line this week. It’s one of the most stressful, unsettling story lines the show has ever done (and that’s saying something). It really demonstrates a sense of how much the show understands its viewers—they know we need a break.
• For those of you too young to remember, Paige was using microfiche to look up information at the library. Can you imagine how quickly she could probably figure her parents out if she could just Google them?
• Agent Aderholt continues to be a very interesting character, even if I can’t figure out what the show’s plans for him are.

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.