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The Americans

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Started the season this week and just got caught up. The story with Nina has been so boring that in addition to shock, I was happy when she died. Here was a character that I liked and I was happy she met her demise just because they milked her story for a full season longer than it should've gone. A complete waste of time with her and the guy she was supposed to get close to. She should've died early in season 3, not season 4.

I think it is ludicrous that Martha is still staying with Phillip seeing as how their entire relationship has been a lie from the start. I guess her love for him is why she's staying but it still seems hard to believe. Luckily this long since drawn-out storyline is now finally going somewhere and is the most interesting part of the show.

The stuff with Paige has been good and I like how in recent episodes they've shown Paige smile and have a little fun because in recent episodes I've begun to get annoyed with that concerned look that is always on her face and it's nice to see a change a little because I've always liked Paige and I don't want to start disliking her now if she is just the same concerned daughter for four seasons.

How come every season they waste time with some pointless story for Henry? He has a crush on Mrs. Beeman. He has a crush on his teacher. Who cares?

Dylan Baker has been a solid addition to the show and it would've been nice seeing how he would've done as the Lizard in Spider-Man 4 instead of the crappy Lizard and crappy Spider-Man movies we got.

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I just reread my post and noticed it's almost all negative which is odd because I'm actually really enjoying the season so far. And do you want Pastor Tim to die as much as I do? I feel like the show has purposely portrayed him as someone you wouldn't mind seeing get killed. I look forward to when Elizabeth ends his life.

Now that I'm caught up with The Americans, I have the whole season of Better Call Saul on my DVR that I'll start tomorrow.

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2 hours ago, Mike said:

I just reread my post and noticed it's almost all negative which is odd because I'm actually really enjoying the season so far. And do you want Pastor Tim to die as much as I do? I feel like the show has purposely portrayed him as someone you wouldn't mind seeing get killed. I look forward to when Elizabeth ends his life.

Now that I'm caught up with The Americans, I have the whole season of Better Call Saul on my DVR that I'll start tomorrow.

Okay, that's more like it. I was actually confused because this season has been trucking along at a faster pace than it ever has before and I'd have thought you'd like that. 

And yeah definitely get on BCS. It ended last week and it was pretty fucking great. 

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Oh and I'm not particular one way or another on Pastor Tim. Nina's arc was fine and not my favorite when it was happening, but her death was such a powerful moment that I'm glad it was all there because it wouldn't have been the same as if it had happened too much earlier, and also because I feel it's going to play a vital role in informing the future direction of Oleg and Stan.

Dylan Baker has been great and that bioweapons subplot has resonated more with me than probably any of the other big game Cold War angles to date (which, while important, historically have done the least for me of the show's various aspects). 

I've got no issue with anything to do with Martha. If she was ever going to leave Clark, she'd have done it a long time ago and it's absolutely in character for her to keep telling herself there's a life for them. I was worried they were getting long in the tooth with her (as with Nina) at the end of last season, but like with Nina, I feel foolish for doubting the writers because now Philip's inability to kill her is changing the direction of the show for nearly every character from the Jennings to the FBI office to the Rezidentura. 

I've loved the little things, not only with Paige, but with Henry and even Elizabeth this last bit, like Elizabeth playfully calling Henry a smartass.  Seeing them smile and be a family is refreshing, and vital to making whatever happens down the line truly tragic. 

And I think you're making way too big a thing of the small things we learn about Henry with small bits of dialogue that take barely any time. And the teacher thing in particular was just part of showing Henry's evolving relationship with Stan, which you can bet is going to be relevant in the future.

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Overall, I'm enjoying the episodes quite a bit. When I think about the season overall and previous seasons, I have some issues. Some of them may just be my forgetfulness over time and if I were binge watching I wouldn't forget little things, but who knows.

It almost feels like they got new writers this season and they pivoted a bit, or they changed their mind or were overfilled by higher-ups.

The most recent issue is the timing seems off. Philip tells Elizabeth and Gabriel it was three weeks ago when he revealed himself to Martha. So is he lying to them or is the writing just off? It was in the middle of last season, and a ton has happened since. The one semi-definitive thing is that he and Martha do once or twice a week, and they've met lots in between. Plus a lot of the plots and planned meets (surveillance detail schedules, etc) have been scheduled in the future and then come and gone in the episode (e.g. the planned Epcot trip) meaning significant time has passed. In addition, Oleg's brother's funeral seemed way too late (though delays in repatriation can explain that), and the scientist Nina was working was having all these breakthroughs in design and prototypes were being built, all of which is months at a minimum, if not years. I feel like seasons of the year have been rotating as well.

In terms of the story, I think with Nina they clearly ran out of ideas and just killed her off. I think its affect on Oleg was the eventual angle/excuse but that wasn't the original intent. Didn't seem that way at least — I feel like it was a lot of time wasted. They also dropped the story of the document delivery machine that they could have used to overhear suspicion about Martha. And what happened to the girl whose dad was the CIA Afghanistan lead? The last mention of it I think was when they told Philip he'd be continuing it whether he wanted to or not. I also didn't like how they just quickly stopped the Pastor Tim story and it's been missing several episodes. It went from "this dude is dead" to "oh he's cool" in no time, and they could have stretched that out to show the story of Paige working then over time to develop her a bit.

It seems like Henry is an after thought too, although he may end up paying a role in a potential showdown between their family and Beeman.

And another note on Philip and the "three weeks" thing, if he is lying to Elizabeth and Gabriel about Martha but can't bring himself to lie to Martha when she asks him if his relationship with Elizabeth is more than professional, where is that going?

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I've not enough to time to hit every potential issue right now, but the three weeks thing is legit, though I haven't timed out every individual thing. The wig reveal was immediately before the S3 finale, and about five or six episodes have passed since. I'm not as certain about the continuity as it pertains to the goings-on in Russia, but with the Jennings, it definitely doesn't sound too far off. Somebody used the Reagan speeches to figure out the timeline a couple episodes back. The canned EPCOT trip was replaced by them being in quarantine, which was only a couple days. 

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It appears that they're streamlining the different operations that Phillip and Elizabeth have in motion which is a good thing. What is a bad thing is the completely unsatisfactory conclusions to them. They randomly brought back that black girl just to kill her and that's that. What a waste of time introducing her in the first place if there was no entertaining endgame in mind. They briefly mentioned Kimmy for two seconds and I doubt we'll ever see her again or get any closure there. Has Phillip had to get sexually involved with her? How far does he have to take it with her? We'll never know. We didn't even know for sure they were still seeing each other. And the worst of them all was the horrible ending they gave Martha. It was pretty much a waste of four seasons even introducing her. It amounted to nothing and then they have her accept the fact that her life is over and she has to go to Russia. There's no way anyone would be okay with that but they wanted to quickly make us forget about her so that had to wrap a bow on that story and end it. I'm glad they jumped ahead seven months. Now we can hopefully get a fresh start without all of the meaningless side plots.

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Wow, they really keep knocking it out of the park. Everything after that time jump had me trembling that something awful was going to happen. 

And kudos for the bold, unexpectedly straight conclusion to the Martha story. They could've killed her so many times, but she got to go out with a strange sense of dignity. 

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There is no dignity whatsoever for Martha. A co-worker of hers got killed to keep her cover. Her marriage was a sham. She has to move to a strange country and be all alone and she'll never see her parents or "husband" again. This is a tragic ending for Martha but they wanted to wrap a nice little bow on that story so out of the blue she has nice words for Phillip before she departs at the airfield. These nice words seem totally out of place. They should've just had her kill herself.

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I feel like whenever a show you like does something crappy, you find a way to spin it to make it seem like it was good. Like if you read a fan theory that a major shootout in Fargo was going to get interrupted by a UFO, you'd say that was dumb but of course when you see it actually happen you approve.

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29 minutes ago, Mike said:

I feel like whenever a show you like does something crappy, you find a way to spin it to make it seem like it was good. Like if you read a fan theory that a major shootout in Fargo was going to get interrupted by a UFO, you'd say that was dumb but of course when you see it actually happen you approve.

Don't be a dick. Both this episode and that episode of Fargo got rave reviews across the board so maybe you're the one making up reasons why you dislike something and not the other way around. 

Martha killing herself would've been fine, but it was the predictable way to go and I like that it was addressed that hey, even if your life has been completely skullfucked, suicide takes balls to do. Martha's character has always been passively letting her life be ruined, initially with the promise of love and happiness and later the promise that everything was going to be okay. Yes, it makes all the sense in the world that she'd continue going along with this insanity because the only alternative is death, and it makes sense she'd still maintain some sense of love for Clark because that's literally all she has left. She's holding onto hope that maybe it'll be okay, because she pretty much has to. 

And it's also good that she didn't die because that'd destroy Philip in a way that I don't think a 7 month time jump would compensate for. I deliberately ignored your post to avoid having to walk you through what most people seemed to pick up on without assistance, but you got me. 

And to concede a single point to poke a hole in your tired and beyond annoying "you just overlook everything wrong with anything you like" argument, I think the writers could've offered more clarity about what was up with Kimmy. Not a huge deal, I inferred that he continued seeing her once a week with the threat of having to sleep with her eliminated, but they could've had her mentioned or pop up in a montage at some point to let everyone know he was still seeing her after her screen time abruptly halted. I do agree that we likely won't see her again, which is fine because with Philip going on vacation it serves to reason that he'd sever contact with her.

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I think the difference between you and me if that I have a little faith that the writers of the most acclaimed shows on TV know more about how to write a television program than I do. 

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While the ending felt a bit circumstantial for my tastes, excellent episode. I'm thinking my prediction that Elizabeth is going to be an antagonist in the endgame is in serious jeopardy, this assignment seems to be getting her closer and closer to the edge Philip was pushed to back in season two and has remained at ever since. 

So many great scenes. In addition to the usual suspects knocking it out of the park like Keri Russell, Noah Emmerich has been terrific too lately and tonight was probably his best performance yet. 

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The best part about this episode was when Philip said that he mentioned Gaad in his report. There is a possibility that Gaad only told people close to him that he was going on vacation and eventually Stan will start to think about who he told. This will be a fantastic way for Stan to become suspicious of Philip and Elizabeth and that could be the big thing to end this season and then next season could be about Stan trying to find proof that they're KGB and then next season could end with him finding that proof.

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49 minutes ago, Mike said:

The best part about this episode was when Philip said that he mentioned Gaad in his report. There is a possibility that Gaad only told people close to him that he was going on vacation and eventually Stan will start to think about who he told. This will be a fantastic way for Stan to become suspicious of Philip and Elizabeth and that could be the big thing to end this season and then next season could be about Stan trying to find proof that they're KGB and then next season could end with him finding that proof.

I thought about that too, but it's not like the Gaads would have kept it secret and only told Stan about it. All her friends and their neighbors presumably would know too. And of course her family there.

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Solid ending to a phenomenal season. I wasn't expecting to meet Philip's son at all. Dylan Baker was a tremendous addition to the cast, and will be missed. Wish there could have been a more monumental story beat to end the season on a more climactic note (seasons one and three knocked that out of the park), but that insanely foreboding shot of the house suffices. 

Not sure if I liked it more than season three, but it certainly matched it. This show is showing so much restraint that the way they handle this final act will really decide where it ends up in the all-time ranks. 

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Great casting on Philip's son too because he looks like Philip. I thought it was interesting that they had Crandall just starting to talk about Philip and Elizabeth but didn't show him die so we don't know if he spilled any further details. I think Philip's son coming to America to look for his travel agent dad makes it fairly clear they aren't going to run. He also has his dad's slightly rebellious nature. I loved Philip's realization at EST and the bit of disgust he showed at the willingness and aptitude Paige is showing for the craft — even though he doesn't know fully the depth yet (her asking to take self-defense). Elizabeth was also contemplating running and I think her decision to stay will solidify her once and for all and she'll go full speed ahead with training Paige. 

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Also, while teenage romance grosses me way out, it was worth it for that amazingly awkward scene of Stan's childlike reaction to a deeply concerned Philip. Really, it's hit me this year just how good of a character Stan is. He did so many awful things in the first couple seasons, but he's got so much depth and he's really unique, with his complete and utter lack of social skills, presumably stemming from his time in the white supremacy compound. 

And the direction Paige is going in is very unexpected and intriguing. After a whole season of being not trusted at all, while knowing that her parents are illegals but not the extent of it, it seems to have resulted in her taking the revelations about the real nature of their work much more warmly than she would have if they were honest with her from the get-go. Approval-seeking, enthusiastic Paige actually WANTING to do espionage things to the chagrin of Philip and maybe Elizabeth (who seems firmly against Paige working Matthew but seemed elated at the chance to teach her self-defense) would have sounded like a huge leap to me a year ago but the writers have gotten us there with aplomb. 

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Sort of an uneventful finale to an otherwise solid season. It seems kinda weird that we saw Philip's son but I'm sure it will lead to some interesting stuff. I'm not really buying this stuff with Paige wanting to do the stuff her parents do. She has struggled greatly with what they do and looked on in horror as her mother killed someone in front of her and then a mere two episodes later she's ready to learn to do what her mom did. Seems kinda weird. I agree Dylan Baker was a great addition to the cast.

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2 hours ago, Ruiner said:

Postpartum Keri Russell is a gift we don't deserve 

Seriously. 

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Help me out though, what's the significance of Pasha? Did I miss that? I spent half the first episode confused that he was Philip's son, but he's coming later apparently.

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2 hours ago, Vigo said:

Help me out though, what's the significance of Pasha? Did I miss that? I spent half the first episode confused that he was Philip's son, but he's coming later apparently.

The impression I get is that he's merely what they're using to get close to his father, though what the endgame is on that front isn't clear yet. 

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