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The Americans

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I finally binged this show a little while ago. It's full of a lot of great moments, but there is a lot of moments during the down time when I think it gets a little too melodramatic (Usually the family dynamic)

- Matthew Rhys is a fantastic actor, the Jesus scene is one of the best scenes in the show. All that weight that was being put on him and he just snapped. His character I have the most sympathy for, it seemed he was far more conditioned to become a spy and was never really driving by an agenda

- Keri Russell is hit and miss for me. When her acting dips, you see why she never became a star actress in Hollywood. I have less sympathy for her, she is far more driven by ideology, nationalism, and even prejudice at times. 

- Annet Mahendru - I don't know much about her outside of this show, but her story was my favorite. Being used by the US and Russia and her tragic end, heartbreaking stuff. Great actress. I was wondering how realistic the execution scene was, after looking up some real events, it seems the only unrealistic thing is they used to kill traitors as soon as they walked through the corridors. No meeting with a judge, just bang, wrap em up and bury them somewhere. 

- As for the kids, Paige can get a little irritating at times with her persistence, but that feels intentional. Her character is getting better, and I think this is where the biggest clash between Philip and Elizabeth will come. As for their boy, he's pretty much useless. I think he's beaten out Walter White, Jr. for useless character in an otherwise good show.

I don't see this ending well for Philip and Elizabeth, though I am still holding out hope that Philip gets to have a life he's always wanted.

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On 3/15/2017 at 7:55 PM, Ruiner said:

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. 

I thought that too, but his severe "anti-USSR" persona wasn't known to them until their fake son told them how awful he was. Unless he's the target for some other reason and that's just extra incentive.

@Matt how far along are you?

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2 hours ago, Vigo said:

I thought that too, but his severe "anti-USSR" persona wasn't known to them until their fake son told them how awful he was. Unless he's the target for some other reason and that's just extra incentive.

@Matt how far along are you?

I actually just finished season 4 a few days ago. Had no idea season 5 started already. Will get around to watching the first two episodes in a couple days. 

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I'm curious if they've got something up their sleeve with Henry being so far in the background in this past couple seasons, or the actor just didn't develop his skills like Holly Taylor did to keep up with a heavier dramatic character and is being kept as comic relief. I recall him doing pretty well with that storyline where he was breaking into the neighbor's house, so I feel like he could handle at least something. 

Which, combined with him becoming full-on bros with Stan leads me to believe that he's got a big part to play in things yet. 

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23 hours ago, Ruiner said:

I'm curious if they've got something up their sleeve with Henry being so far in the background in this past couple seasons

I think Paige accidentally revealing her parents identities would be too predictable. I wonder if something bad is going to happen which convinces her to go to Stan to tell him everything. I wouldn't be surprised to see Henry get killed somehow which sets this in motion. The only problem with this is that Henry is such a massively useless character, I don't think the audience would feel Paige's pain when he died.

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6 hours ago, Mike said:

I think Paige accidentally revealing her parents identities would be too predictable. I wonder if something bad is going to happen which convinces her to go to Stan to tell him everything. I wouldn't be surprised to see Henry get killed somehow which sets this in motion. The only problem with this is that Henry is such a massively useless character, I don't think the audience would feel Paige's pain when he died.

When he appeared for two seconds in that episode it made me realize I don't think he's been on camera in I don't know how long. I think if they were going to not write anything for him they could have shipped him off to space camp or boarding school or something when things were looking bad. Although his presence is necessary for them to have to whisper, hide when getting signals, and generally still be sneaky.

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10 hours ago, Vigo said:

Although his presence is necessary for them to have to whisper, hide when getting signals, and generally still be sneaky.

I imagine that's why his character was created in the first place.

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1 hour ago, Ruiner said:

Again, I feel the writers have earned the benefit of the doubt re: Henry. 

In four previous season, the only story he has ever had was the pointlessness of his crush on Mrs. Beeman. Do you really think this late in the game they're going to finally give him a real story? Matt is right. Henry is the Walter Jr. of The Americans.

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37 minutes ago, Mike said:

In four previous season, the only story he has ever had was the pointlessness of his crush on Mrs. Beeman. Do you really think this late in the game they're going to finally give him a real story? Matt is right. Henry is the Walter Jr. of The Americans.

You're selectively remembering. He was pretty much always given something to do up until last season, and even then there was the blossoming bond with Stan which is a pretty potentially enormous long-term story.

Not that I'm blaming you, because it's not like most of his stories have been especially memorable, but it's only been recently that he's become such a total background character.

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Also, he was key in Paige maturing and learning a protective instinct because lots of times she was his primary caretaker. 

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I'm glad they clarified how that guy was connected and why they were targeting him. Loved the Martha cameo too.

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I don't know about you guys but I have been kinda bored with this season. I'm very invested in these fantastic characters so it's still very much watchable, I just don't care for almost anything we've seen this season. I don't get the point of these flashbacks. Why all of a sudden five seasons in do we have to start seeing flashbacks? Is this it with Phillip's son? I don't get the point of all of that. Why go through all the trouble of showing how he gets to America and then stick him back in Russia? Seems like they didn't have enough content to fill this season so they just decided to bring him into the show. Henry's good grades in school is just busy work for his character. I'm not a fan of the stuff in Russia either. I really like Oleg but this stuff with him just seems like a way to keep him on the show and isn't really going anywhere. And I hope Gabriel doesn't leave the show.

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I feel like this season has been a bit of a reset to the endgame of sorts--after four years of steadily escalation, they slowed it way back down to start the build to the conclusion. The Shield did something similar (albeit in a weird way--the reset took place like two thirds of the way through season six, and continued into season seven).

The impression I get of the trajectory is that so far it's been the long, slow crawl up a rollercoaster, and where we're at right now, to me, feels like that point where you're just about at the top, no longer attached to the lift, and sit there for a brief moment before plummeting to your death. I think we'll get one more week to build to shit really falling apart, then the pace won't let up until the show is finished.

In that respect, I think season five (unless these last six episodes are especially great) will be remembered kind of like Breaking Bad's season 5A, sort of transitional. And that's fine, especially when there's so much other exciting stuff on the air. I'm still hoping they can do something in the remaining time to earn serious Emmy consideration since they apparently learned about the show last year and Game of Thrones has the year off.

But all of that theorizing has a lot to do with that last scene last night... Gabriel leaving, and with that huge gut punch of a line to Philip before leaving, feels like the end of The Americans as we know it in a lot of ways, because it's hard to imagine Claudia (who I'm assuming will replace him) having his tender, family-like touch that was very important in getting them through all the shit that's gone down the past couple seasons. She'll probably want to speed up bringing Paige in, too. Philip's breaking point is coming.

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46 minutes ago, Ruiner said:

Philip's breaking point is coming.

This. I can't wait to see how he does it, because I get the feeling Elizabeth won't be on board.

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That ending was amazing. I was as shocked as Phillip with that last line.

One thing that confused me...if seemed like Gabriel was giving conflicting messages to Phillip and Elizabeth at the end. They know the center wants to recruit Paige so Gabriel telling Elizabeth that stuff at the end about Paige sort of seemed like he was encouraging her to proceed with the recruitment and then the total opposite was said to Phillip. 

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44 minutes ago, Mike said:

That ending was amazing. I was as shocked as Phillip with that last line.

One thing that confused me...if seemed like Gabriel was giving conflicting messages to Phillip and Elizabeth at the end. They know the center wants to recruit Paige so Gabriel telling Elizabeth that stuff at the end about Paige sort of seemed like he was encouraging her to proceed with the recruitment and then the total opposite was said to Phillip. 

I get the impression that his conversation with Phillip was much more raw and honest than the one with Elizabeth. Elizabeth spoke to the parental figure who toes the party line, but Phillip got to the broken man underneath. We'll probably never know his true motive in saying it right then in the cruelest way imaginable was, whether it was some sort of spite or just an extreme bit of blunt honesty. It's not as though there's anything he can do with this knowledge--"Hey, Liz, right before Gabriel left he told me I was right along and you were wrong about how to raise our daughter!" would be pretty weak and Phillip is smart enough to know that. 

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2 minutes ago, Mike said:

I have a feeling at the end Phillip will die and Elizabeth will live and I want the opposite to happen.

I genuinely haven't the faintest idea how this show is going to play out. Not even a little bit. 

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1 hour ago, Ruiner said:

I genuinely haven't the faintest idea how this show is going to play out. Not even a little bit. 

I think Stan definitely finds out, and Philip says he's the spy and Elizabeth and the family are just who he's using. Philip and Stan realize they understand and respect each other kind of like Stan respected Oleg. Philip offers to "defect" and asks that in exchange for information, his innocent family can come with him like in witness protection. That forces Elizabeth essentially into captivity because she can't say "no thanks" and just say she's a spy.

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14 hours ago, Vigo said:

I think Stan definitely finds out, and Philip says he's the spy and Elizabeth and the family are just who he's using. Philip and Stan realize they understand and respect each other kind of like Stan respected Oleg. Philip offers to "defect" and asks that in exchange for information, his innocent family can come with him like in witness protection. That forces Elizabeth essentially into captivity because she can't say "no thanks" and just say she's a spy.

Then when they're about to execute the plan (because Stan was handling it "under the table" or "off the books") Elizabeth and Paige kill them both and evacuate back to Russia.

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Two things I liked about the most recent episode...

1. Henry is being removed from the show. Similar to The Leftovers, The Americans is getting rid of any excess baggage heading to the finish line. Why couldn't Walter Jr. have been shipped off to school?

2. I loved how the Martha and Gabriel interaction went. Ruiner, are you still creating that fictional story in your mind about how Martha got a happy ending?

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7 minutes ago, Mike said:

Two things I liked about the most recent episode...

1. Henry is being removed from the show. Similar to The Leftovers, The Americans is getting rid of any excess baggage heading to the finish line. Why couldn't Walter Jr. have been shipped off to school?

2. I loved how the Martha and Gabriel interaction went. Ruiner, are you still creating that fictional story in your mind about how Martha got a happy ending?

1. We don't know that he's actually going yet. Also, I've seen some people speculating that the Centre is basically pulling another Jared with Henry and Paige has been a red herring this whole time. No clue if that'll actually be the direction, but I'm still not convinced that they're officially cementing him as a nothing character. 

2. When did I say that? I genuinely don't remember ever making that point, outside of the context maybe of the alternative being her death. Phillip telling her that they're never going to see each other again right before she gets on the plane was some twisted shit. 

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Just now, Ruiner said:

1. We don't know that he's actually going yet. Also, I've seen some people speculating that the Centre is basically pulling another Jared with Henry and Paige has been a red herring this whole time. No clue if that'll actually be the direction, but I'm still not convinced that they're officially cementing him as a nothing character. 

2. When did I say that? I genuinely don't remember ever making that point, outside of the context maybe of the alternative being her death. Phillip telling her that they're never going to see each other again right before she gets on the plane was some twisted shit. 

1. I just read an article wondering if Henry might have been a spy all along. Seems too far-fetched but it's interesting to think about.

2. Go to page 3 and start reading the posts from 5/6/16 for the conversation.

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So, man, things do not look good for Oleg. It's so fascinating that the smug jackass introduced in the Nina plot back in season two has become the moral center of the show--of all the adult characters, he most deserves a happy ending. So, I'm wondering... does he know the identity of Philip and Elizabeth? We know Arkady did, but I don't remember if Oleg was ever included in that operation. It would make sense that it would be withheld from him. But if not, that could be what busts our main characters (which, at this point, could happen any week now). 

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