The Americans "Chloramphenicol" Review: Sick in the Heart

The Americans S04E04: "Chloramphenicol"

Leave it to The Americans to include one of the series' happiest moments in the same dang episode containing one of the saddest. Dry your eyes, viewers of tonight's damn fine "Chloramphenicol," we all knew things weren't looking great for Nina. Though Oleg's last minute deal with his father offered a glimmer of hope, at the end of the day Mother Russia is a cold enforcer. The traitor had to be dealt with. 

But hey that family bowling scene was pretty great, right?

"It is vital part of training," the historically severe Elizabeth joked to Paige in a cartoonish Russian accent, after nailing six strikes in a row. Something about being on the brink of death really changed her. But seriously, why was she so good at bowling? Also, how's about that cold opening? With the emotion already getting to Elizabeth, Paige tearfully searching for motherly comfort, and then William with his head on a swivel clipping the infected pay phone? Classic.

Before all these highs and lows went down, though, we got a bottle episode in which Philip and Elizabeth weathered the deadly pathogens within themselves and Gabriel's apartment while Paige was left wondering if her Pastor Tim flub had something to do with all this adult-sized scariness. Little did she know Pastor Tim and his wife had narrowly escaped a hit, and that her folks were facing down death that same night. Intentional or not, the quarantine felt like an appropriate metaphor for espionage: Philip and Elizabeth lived life at a separation from the rest of the world. When their true nature or "condition" was shared, others were either terminally infected (i.e., your Genes and Annelises) or joined the quarantine, like Martha. Phew, that was a hard metaphor. Glad it's over.


With Paige meeting her mom halfway in terms of protecting the family secret, the most engaging part of this season has got to be Elizabeth's back and forth softening toward America. One minute she loves Russia and demands Paige follow in her footsteps, and the next she's grown accustomed to what the Jennings have here in the good ol' U.S. Last week she refused the idea of moving to Odessa, and this week, when it looked like she might succumb to her mysterious illness (which was either a reaction to antibiotics or Glanders itself), Elizabeth commanded Philip to blame everything on her and raise the kids as "Americans." Even just hearing her speak the word "Americans" in a semi-positive context felt like a minor acceptance on her part.

More and more Elizabeth is realizing that she can't fight this war and have her family. For a while she'd been debating at a distance the reality of Paige becoming a spy but keeping this in the realm of the hypothetical was always a luxury. Picturing Paige in an olive buttoned-down coat was one thing, but spending the night away from the kids on a possible death bed really revealed Elizabeth's true colors. Or at least forced her to do some soul searching. 

In her own private fever theater, Elizabeth replayed her own mother's sickness back in the old country. If you ask me, every time Elizabeth gets emotional, she sides with her family. The part that's not working for her is when she has to shut off her emotions in order to conduct brutal spy business. So while the Cold War rages on in a hidden battle of ideology, Elizabeth's playing on a battlefield in a fight between national duty and personal instincts. The more she accepts her family's identity here in America, the more insane risking her life in private seems.

(Side note: I like how her mom's affair settlement amounted to "there's an address in my drawer where your cousins live. Go be raised by them.")

As we know, Elizabeth's mother didn't die then, but she did end up dying later without Elizabeth by her side. While Gabriel assured Elizabeth that her mom loved her, it has bothered her ever since that she couldn't trust whether or not this was true. So for this reason, the most important thing to Elizabeth right now is that Paige knows she is loved. Unfortunately, that mostly means denying the Jennings daughter entry as a recruit.

Elsewhere, office smoothie Agent Aderholt tricked Martha into going out to dinner while Stan barged into the Jennings home. Earlier, Agent Beeman had shared one of his signature boring scenes with Henry about growing up. Yikes, what is it about these scenes that just take all the tension out of the rest of the hour? Perhaps it's Henry being developed so much off-screen or away from the surrounding drama that the character just feels like pure plot device. I'm a child of '80s video games too, though, so I at least appreciate Henry being the means through which we get a taste of all that (though, if this is 1983, then the video games industry is starting its big crash). Still, I don't know if the kid actor gets yelled at once by Noah Emmerich or what, but man

Since Day 1 The Americans has been counting down to the moment where Stan Beeman will discover his own neighbors are spies. Much like how Elizabeth got to live out a taste of dying away from her kids, we the viewers came even closer to seeing this guy figure it all out. Every time Paige protects her parents, she becomes 10 times cooler in my book. I like how Stan kept prodding her and she was like, "Get the hell out of here, you sad creepy neighbor!" I've got to say, between Stan screwing over Nina and then trying to coax information out of Paige, the guy has become a full-fledged villain in my book. I used to like the guy! I loved his sad sack era where Nina was exposing him to another side of life and the dude was rushing around in a trench coat. Now he's just a big ol' snoop!

Between Paige and Martha, one thing we're seeing this season are slightly initiated figures being placed in positions where they could spill the beans but instead choose to protect the ones they love. Paige knew to cover for her folks, and Martha's response to Aderholt was pure brilliance. All of his conversation sounded like a combination of FBI profiling and lines from a book on how to pick up women. They were like, "I can't stand parties. Do you consider yourself a loner who might also hate America?" She did that spy method we see where she used one truth from another life to appear believable in the present. That whole married man monologue was just fantastic. Martha rules and Stan drools. 

Back in quarantine, Elizabeth made it through the worst of her reaction to the antibiotics, and the family was whole once more. William never ceases to crack me up. I loved his germaphobic responsibility in suggesting no one rented the apartment ever again. I don't know if Gabriel's just down or super thankful for having his life saved, but I also liked how he was on board with the Jenningses' decision to try and work Pastor Tim and Alice. What will that even look like? PLEASE let it be that the Jenningses pretend to get converted to Christianity. Anyway, with mom and dad back home, it was back to business as usual in the Jennings household. So many layers and dynamics were going on as soon as they set foot in the door: Paige knew her parents were off "working" but didn't know they almost died, Henry didn't know anything except that he missed his sweet trip to Epcot, and Philip and Elizabeth had to respond as warm, loving parents on all levels. Welcome to adulthood, Paige.

Earlier I was a little crass about Nina's death, but I want to be clear how devastating the actual moment felt. I'm still thinking about it like I lost a real person in my life. I know, I know. TV kills people all the time. But I wanted Nina to game the system. I wanted Oleg to find happiness. I wanted Mother Russia to realize the errors of its ways. Such was not to be. I think what got me the most was how casual the whole death was. At first my screen glitched right at the blast and I thought she had just been hit over the head really hard, but then the doctor checked her pulse and I had to replay that moment to confirm. 

In Nina we had a casualty of the Cold War. She was a person we'd come to know and love through her underdog efforts to survive in the brutal ranks of the Rezidentura. She had used her instinct and feminine wiles to turn a simple smuggling charge into a double-agent role that put her in enough power to survive but also left her without an identity and vulnerable to Oleg and Stan's power plays. In the end the men in her life failed her. 

At least Nina spent the last few days of her life as a walking middle finger. Anton never knew that his son didn't get his message, but at least Nina could hold her head high in doing what she felt was right and not what was demanded by a cold, manipulative regime. I guess that's why her final moments felt so raw. Despite her bold choices, Nina still collapsed when read her death sentence. I still think about those last words "to be carried out shortly..." then BLAAM! and just her body wrapped up like refuse while forms were signed on the other side of the frame. 

Miss you, Nina. 


(Credit: White Collar Vids. I couldn't find a video that just featured Nina, so please excuse parts in this tribute about Sandra and Stan.)


FURTHER INTERROGATION

– Is Russia just a flat out enemy now?

– What did you think of Nina's death?

– Will Oleg rise against his country or bend to its will?

– Does Stan just kind of suck?

What did you think of "Chloramphenicol "?


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Apr 30, 2016
Just started watching this show 2 weeks ago. And now I'm done. Rest easy, sweet Nina.
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Apr 16, 2016
Unfortunately for Nina these are the things that happen to traitors and in this very way. Tv show aside people tend to gloss over or forget the ruthlessness of yesterdays and todays dictatorial regimes.
When I was in grade school it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis and we were having drills of hiding under our desks (wouldn't help much) Russia has always been a scarey place you wouldn't want to live. With Phillip and Elizabeth living here for 20+ years they are slowly seeing that the USA isn't such a bad place after all and is all this killing and lying worth it. They also know their fates could be that of Nina's if things go wrong. We know this too and that is what brings the tension to this show. After the near escape from death by fatal germs, Paige's talks to Pastor Tim, Stan prying, and Martha under watch the Jennings maybe questioning the Motherland. It could lead to Phillip, Elizabeth, Stan and Oleg all working on the same side. Oleg's father had something to do with Nina's death I think to get his son's thoughts away from a traitor.
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Apr 16, 2016
Mike, this scene was recreated from reports by former Soviet spies to be entirely accurate. They even have reports of the two men positioned on each side to hold the prisoner if their knees buckled to maintain their position and wrapping the body in burlap. Your "typical negative stereotype" was just regular procedure for this regime. Time to grow up and realize that there really are governments that murder people as depicted in this scene. I agree they should give the Soviets a fair shake, but in this case there was no need to embellish the truth.
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Apr 12, 2016
The show lost something for me with this episode. It took sides.

One of the things I loved was the balance, showing the good and bad sides of US and USSR, while not making obvious assumptions about which is better (knowing the audience will already have an opinion), and avoiding typical negative stereotypes.

But then there was this. The show fell right into the 80s Russia stereotype,. We even had uniformed soldiers marching her through sparse corridors, a desk in a corridor, the evil commander giving the order, and automaton solders carrying it out without question. Ergh. Way to ruin a good show.


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Apr 10, 2016
Killing Nina was a bad idea. Besides her being a fan favourite her execution makes the show less nuanced in that it paints the picture that America is benign and Russia is a cold desolate place inhabited by a bunch of cold blooded killers. Sure that might have been how it was for all I know but was that really much different from America? It's certainly not what the show portraits. It would make the show more interesting if they made it more balanced.

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Apr 16, 2016
This apparently did really happen just as written. I know you want to be balanced but I don't think we can match this level of brutality and ruthlessness even on our worst day.
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Apr 10, 2016
Just got done watching it and I was totally shocked Nina was killed. It was literally cold-blooded. Oleg's father was the typical Russian during this whole episode. His only motivation was getting his son home and nothing else mattered, hence making sure Nina was "taken care of", as he told Oleg once he promised to come home. I liked Nina. She went through a lot in 3 and a half years and probably like everyone else, I rooted for her to overcome everything but alas, it wasn't to be. Now I can't wait to see what happens when Oleg finds out (and on this show, there's no doubt he will eventually) that she is dead...USSR be damned!
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Apr 09, 2016
{deep breath}

So, that happened, huh?

When they brought Nina out of her cell and told her she was being transferred, I marvelled at the abilty of The Americans to completely segregate a fan favourite character for well over a season and yet still make her storylines compelling. As she was walking (what turned out to be) the Russian green mile, I wondered how they'd integrate her back. I didn't have to wonder long. That was a shot, point blank, right to the feels. Dasvidaniya, Nina.

Stan, while I know you're intentions are mostly good, you're a scumbag. I'm going to take great pleasure is the ass whooping you take when it's discovered that you've been played by Russian spies for 3 years. Until then, keep away from Paige and Henry...it's creepy. That goes for Martha too.

As for our beloved spies, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy every fantastic moment they give me until things inevitably end very VERY badly for them.
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Apr 09, 2016
"Elsewhere, office smoothie Agent Aderholt tricked Martha into going out to dinner while Stan barged into the Jennings home."

Pretty sure you just mispoke, that Martha's home, hence the dinner distraction, right?

Our household was UPSET when "BA-AM!" happened but we saw it coming with the way the dreamy alternative was shot. This was a rather uneven episode in a lot of ways; boring scenes, important inner struggle scenes, lightheartedness and the awful Bam made for quite the roller coaster ride.

Love this show; am really invested. Only hope it gets an ending it deserves.
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Apr 09, 2016
From the moment Nina was brought back to Russia I knew they would kill her in the end. Any other ending for her character would have been unrealistic. They let her live a bit longer cause she was useful. That's all. I'll miss Annet Mahendru. I hope she'll find a new job soon.

I'm glad the Jennings are ok. It's wonderful to watch how Elizabeth is changing. I think working Pastor Tim and his wife might be interesting plot arc.

Martha is getting better at being a spy. Fingers crossed she kills Agent Aderholt.

Stan put his dirty hands into a underwear drawer. No wonder his wife left him.

I think grief stricken Oleg will start to work for CIA / FBI.
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Apr 08, 2016
As beautiful as Annet Mahendru is and it's always good to see her on tv (this, X Files, The Following) - Nina's storylines have been a complete snoozefest for a LONG time now - now kill Oleg and Arkady and just focus on the good characters please (Jennings, Stan Beeman, Claudia)
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Apr 08, 2016
Honestly if the Nina thing had happened last year I'd have felt the impact, but all I felt this week was relief that we can finally drop that storyline.

Don't get me wrong I liked the actress and the character, but it was too disconnected from the main plot to really be anything more than annoyance to me whenever Nina popped up.

That being said at least they didn't drag out the death, both in and out of the show, it was actually kind of merciful. No months waiting on death row, sentance is handed down and then bang, dead before you even fully realise what it is happening.
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Apr 08, 2016
Devastating? Beloved character? Did I miss a meeting? Whenever Nina appeared, all I thought was: "geez, not this again." Everything in her five hundred hours of screen time could have been covered in a "news from Mother Russia" conversation at the embassy.
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Apr 08, 2016
The continuing Nina story has annoyed me for a while but at least they know how to end it brutally and make a point about the brutal system of the USSR. I think the real masterstroke was having Oleg in Russia at the same time so we think they must be about to meet, or there's some intervention, and then... not.

Maybe Oleg's father helped arrange the death to make sure his son did not associate with known enemies of the state and instead choose a nice loyal girl to get married to.

I just loved Martha's scenes, both because her dilemma is so awful (and realistic, taken from the East German "Romeo" spies) as well as because we're finally getting to see the FBI at their subtle, interrogating, sneaking best. And kudos to Martha for not having anything incriminating and for coming up with a brilliant, partly-true story to account for her strange movements and behavior.

I'm not sure if I'll be enjoying the Pastor Tim scenes to come. Is he supposed to be the unreliable liberal, the one who doesn't even know whose side he's on? But I could watch on whole season on just the Martha situation
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Apr 08, 2016
Stan was searching Martha's home, not the Jennings' home :)
I'm heartbroken for Nina! I also wanted and hoped she was going to make it out alive and have a good life :0(.... I think the actress Annet is fantastic!
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Apr 07, 2016
OK, I'll come out and say it. I don't think Nina is dead. I don't know how executions were done in 1983's Soviet Union but that was very sloppy work. while I said earlier that her story has run out because she got detached from principal cast I still think this wasn't it.

Having said that it was a very good ep. Loved parallel scenes of Martha telling Aderholt she is "the other woman" and stan searching her apaartment. when they compare notes Stan will piece together Kama Sutra and Aderholt telling him about the affair. Will it be enough? I think yes, for a while. In the past Stan got his supicions up, then got satisfied nothing is off then got suspicious again. I strongly suspect he'll try to get Henry to tell him about his parents and their suspicious activities. Once Henry starts talking about them going out at night, strange phone calls and stuff that alerted Paige stan would be close to figuring it out.

And poor Elizabeth. Again she is suffering for Rodina, what with her getting shot and all. Though I think that the idea of working pastor Tim and his wife is bad oone. He is the only one who knows who and what they are. selling him whole "we work for world peace and equality" would be impossible sell. So far P&E recruited people who either wanted money and didn't care KGB is getting info or were leaning to communism to begin with (or were seriously disilusioned with US). Tim is neither nor is he willing recruit. From security standpoint killing him and using that as a lesson to Paige about keeping secrets would be best option.
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Apr 07, 2016
A very well done episode. It was time for Nina to go but it still hurt watching it happen. Kudos to Annet Mahendru on a great performance on the series. She took a character that could have been a stereotypical part and turned her into very real person that we all had sympathy for and cared about. Great job!
The sharks are also swirling around Martha but she's doing a great job of holding them at bay, so far. I can't see her surviving this either but it's great theater watching her dodge these bullets. Especially without Clark/Phillip being around much to help.
I have no idea what the Jennings have in store for Pastor Tim but I can't wait to find out. They could either let him no that his and his wifes life is on the line if he doesn't keep quiet or maybe they'll appeal to his minister side and pretend to be "saved" and make him feel like a Savior. I'd guess the hardcore way most likely.
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Apr 07, 2016
the moment they walked through the (spotclean!) corridor, i saw a bucket and mop standing (waiting?) in the corner and I knew she was going to die....shortly..
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Apr 08, 2016
Same here-the mop & bucket were out for a reason. In the early 80's, Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo was found guilty of 52 murders , promptly marched into a cell and "dispatched" in the same manner.
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Apr 07, 2016
Really? I was expecting Oleg's father to have pulled strings and have her, at least transferred somewhere better.
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Apr 07, 2016
That was probably the most realistic death in regards to the time and place I have ever scene. What did it for me was the bureaucracy after wards, made sure all of the я's were dotted and t's were crossed. Like it was just another day. Awesome. Fantastic scene especially when you contrast it with the dream just prior.

The episode in and of itself was just great. The breakdown of Elizabeth's resolve is them coming one step closer to turning. I can't wait. I can't wait to see Stan's face, it is going to be so good.

Oh and Martha handled that like a freaking champ. I am almost going to be sad when they have to kill her.

Fantastic episode.

FI;

Um not really, without Russia we wouldn't be the world power that we are. Which is debatable whether that is a good thing or not.

Nina's death was perfect. Just another Tuesday was really how it probably went back then.

I am watching Oleg and Stan, especially when Elizabeth and Phillip defect. Someone because the two of them is going to be started and I think they both are going to go against their respective countries.

Stan. Ugh, I don't know I think they have devolved the character a bit. He seems to be stumbling into his discoveries rather than being the supposed super agent that they purported him to be at the start. But I think it is warranted given his family situation.
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Apr 07, 2016
Man, what a devastating punch in the gut! Poor Nina! I was really rooting for her to make it out and couldn't wait to see what was in store for her next. I can't remember a death on tv ever having shocked me so much. When she got caught a couple of episodes ago, I kept thinking why didn't she tell them that the scientist was losing motivation and she needed to send the note to his son in order to give him hope and keep him moving forward on his project? Of course, she could have just not sent it and lied to him about doing it, but the beauty of Nina was that she needed to believe that what she was saying to him was true, which is what made her so effective at what she did. That's why it is such a waste (and a shock) that they killed her, she was very good at doing whatever was asked of her. It also seemed like she genuinely loved everyone she got close with, so it was easy to cheer for her. What a damn shame.

My favorite parts of the episode were Paige and Martha both showing they have the ability to tell a very convincing lie when necessary; Martha with training from Clark, and Paige who learned from being lied to by her parents repeatedly. Maybe she is cut out for this work after all! Great episode!
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Apr 07, 2016
Hated it. The scene was very well done, but what happened means that everything that happened to Nina since she got shipped back to the USSR had no relevance to the rest of the show.
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Apr 07, 2016
I disagree. She helped the scientist with his work on stealth and her death will have a profound impact on Oleg, who was willing to give up his station in America for her. It will also be interesting to see if Stan finds out about it (maybe from Oleg even) and what his reaction to her death may be.
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Apr 07, 2016
i just watched the teaser from "Gregory", it ends with Nina saying to Stan "I have value, you'll see", and then walks away,... *sigh* =*(
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Apr 07, 2016
As they showed Nina being walked down he corridor with three guards - one each side and one who stepped behind Nina, I was thinking 'Now!" That they'll do it right then, but they had that little scene with the bloke behind the desk "blah blah..shortly" BLAM! Great TV - the bureaucratic niceties getting performed before she copped the bullet to the base of her brain was so Soviet. The paperwork was made neat before the sentence was delivered.

In its own way the few seconds between sentencing and execution has to be more humane if killing a human can ever be humane.
Pretty real - I remember seeing a tv drama back in the 90's about the last bloke to be executed in England, an intellectually disabled young man, that execution was also depicted as being done before the crim had the time to realise that was it it was gonna happen right then.

That also affected me profoundly as Nina's execution did and as much as I hated that the deaths occurred both dramas really brought home the reality of what execution is much more than the countless long goodbyes that have been a feature of most TV & movie executions.

It was time for Nina to go but doing the Nina story they way they have has really bought home the reality of the lumbering indecision of the system that had developed in the Soviet Union. Oleg's dad trying to interfere likely provoked the machine into resolving the Nina issue before it got steered off the rails again.
Otherwise she could have spent many more months sitting in her cell waiting for the footsteps coming down the corridor to take her out for the exceptional circumstances part of her sentence.
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Apr 07, 2016
OMG Nina! So unexpected, even half a moment before the gun went off. I love the care this show has for details and surprise. Poor Nina.

Noah Emmmerich is doing great this season. From hostile to fatherly to dismissive to suspicious. And it's only a few episodes into the season. Looking forward to seeing more FBI. (Also, did anyone laugh at the mail robot last episode?mi think of it as a minor character in the show. :-)
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Apr 07, 2016
OMG Nina's death was so sudden, brutal, and unexpected. It made be mad but it was also compelling and really good television. My only qualm is the extended time that was spent on her side story that didn't go anywhere - although it did make her death that much more unexpected.

To all the people who watch the CW's "The 100" can now shut up about Lexa and Lincoln's death, cause Nina's death trumped both of theirs by far. She was killed so unceremoniously and abruptly.
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Apr 07, 2016
I kept hoping Nina's death was a dream, and they show her lying on her bed again. I was really so sure they'd find a way to save her because she was so great on the show, but realistically they had to execute her. I am sad right along with you, Ryan.

I think Oleg loves America, so he might defect. Especially if he finds out Nina is dead. I bet that will be a big part of his story now, maybe for next season.

I don't like Stan much anymore! lol It's weird to be rooting for the Russians.
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Apr 07, 2016
When that guy stood up to talk I was like "oh cool, Oleg's dad came through" then out of nowhere BANG, and I just sort of clasped my cover and then I realized that since Oleg can never see Nina, he'd be forced to believe his dad really did help. Really really well executed episode.
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Apr 07, 2016
Well Nina's death was heartbreaking, but her character arc felt kind of pointless.
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Apr 07, 2016
I can see that, but I think the fallout from it will be very important. This it too great a show to go down blind alleys.
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Apr 08, 2016
Yeah. And I think it drove home how brutal that regime was and how pointless our wishes and actions sometimes are.
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Apr 07, 2016
"But seriously, why was she so good at bowling?"

Maybe she and Philip took up the sport/hobby to help blend in like Dexter Morgan did.

I did not expect to Nina to go out so soon. Though that would be a season finale sorta thing. It might provoke Oleg to work against his country a bit more and/or Stan to work harder against Russia. The promos show Aderholt tell Stan about Martha's relationship with a married man. Think they'll drop the matter or see it that could be exploited by their adversaries and/or themselves? I'd like to see Aderholt or another agent get too close to Clark like Amador did, prompting Stan to pick up where he left off and re-invest in the pursuit of the Directorate S couple.
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Apr 07, 2016
(Warning spoilers for Arrow).

It's interesting that Arrow and the Americans both decided to kill off one of their original female leads on the same night. The way the shows went about it says so much about each show and why the Americans is great TV while the Arrow is usually time filler.

Arrow struggled to find a place for Laurel Lance from the beginning. The writers morphed her from an annoying ex-girlfriend to alcoholic to vigilante but never made her interesting or gave her scenes that had emotional weight. Her death felt like a mercy killing.

The Americans took a weak character in season one and used our sympathy for her against us as she became a pawn in the war between superpowers. Most shows would have abandoned her in season three but she became even more interesting as she struggled to survive in jail. She grew from a stupid secretary to competent spy to convicted traitor to prison snitch then eventually back to a person that found that as much as she tried, she couldn't do what her country asked. Her death, while senseless, tells the story of a character that began as someone well out of their depth but surprised everyone, her self included, with her hidden strengths. In the end it didn't matter. The system would never trust her but would use her again and again until she had no further use. She turned the situation on its head, standing up to the system in a futile attempt at redemption which allowed the character to go out on her terms.

I was really hoping Nina would survive but as I watched her bleed out I knew I'd been as naive as Nina was at the beginning of the series. Her life ended the moment Stan turned her and nothing could ever change that. The writers used her much like the fictional governments in the show, finding interesting story lines where lesser shows would have killed her off. When the writers felt they'd exhausted every avenue they gave her a bit of dignity before allowing the faceless bureaucracy to finally kill her. Anything less wouldn't have been faithful to the show.

The basic premise of The Americans places characters in an impossible situation and shows their attempt to find normalcy. In the end the writers gave Nina a bit of peace. I wish every show could give their characters an arc half as good as Nina's. We will miss you.
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Apr 07, 2016
great analysis!!!

she was definitely a well written character, a fan favorite and an great example, along with Martha, of why this show excels in its writing
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Apr 07, 2016
Still, I don't know if the kid actor gets yelled at once by Noah Emmerich or what, but man.

Maybe I'm dense, but I have no idea what you mean here.

I love Stan. Last year he was boring, annoying, and clueless with his "I love Nina, and why on earth would my wife leave me" and est crap. I really thought I might have to kill him. But, he has rebounded nicely this year and is back to his sneaky, FBI ways. I'm looking forward to his reaction when he discovers he has been duped for so long. And I like his encounters with Henry. At least someone is paying attention to the kid.

His parents sure aren't. It's Paige this and Paige that and Elizabeth rising from her death(ish) bed in the middle of the night to call Paige. No mention of having to talk to Henry or wondering whether Henry knows they love him. They do know they have a second child, don't they?

So, Glanders isn't the big bugaboo they thought, is it? Three of the four people exposed failed to get the disease. Turns out the antibiotics are just as bad. And, note to all tv and film people out there, I have officially seen enough close ups of people throwing up and/or the product they produce. I think we are all familiar with the concept and don't need to look at it anymore. Thank you.

And for those of you complaining last week about Nina's story line, she's gone. That was shocking, wasn't it?
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Apr 11, 2016
They are obsessed with Paige, it's true, but to be fair the reason Elizabeth worried about her feeling love was because of the whole "We've lied to you your whole life." With Henry they were thinking about things like helping him study for his biology test since he's not dealing with this stuff.

I'm also confused about that line about the kid actor getting yelled at.
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Apr 11, 2016
Sorry, this show is just giving me a bad case of second-child syndrome. It's like growing up in my house all over again.
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Apr 12, 2016
Oh, I think you're right to have that. Part of it is that Henry's more easy-going, but it can't be easy trying to get attention in that house with Paige as your sister. Even when Henry's in the room she's often telling him to shut up, or else the parents leave to deal with something with her.
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Apr 08, 2016
Yeah, I also like Stan. He's been played for a fool from day one, but he's too smart for that to go on forever. I think the idea is that now he no longer thinks of Philip as a buddy he's more open to the inconsistencies of how the Jennings' live.
I even like how he was questioning Paige, checking her reaction, not being too aggressive. You have to respect his ability.
I still miss Agent Gaad though, he was too good to lose. Maybe he can get involved in the undercover thing against Martha?
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Apr 08, 2016
Gaad's still there. He was last seen yelling about the undocumented copies being made after Martha copied something secret to pass on to Clark. I like him, too, and I think he's going to have a big part to play in what's coming next.

People forget that Stan knows how to play the long game. Remember when the show started he had just come back from a two-year undercover operation with some white supremacists. He knows a little bit about leading two lives and hiding in plain sight. Also remember he was suspicious of the Jennings in the first place before he and Phillip became friends. He's no dummy. But he was annoying last year.
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Apr 07, 2016
So good! Nina's death scene had to be one of the most superbly done death scenes ever. The brusqueness of the execution, the fact that she did break down upon hearing the sentence when we all expected her to keep her head held high, the dream sequence. It all just fit so perfectly.
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Apr 07, 2016
I was stunned.
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Apr 07, 2016
Agent Aderholt tricked Martha into going out to dinner while Stan barged into the Jennings home.

Stan was searching Martha's home, wasn't he?

I was thinking earlier in the episode that Nina's storyline has been pointless since she left America and that it would have been better if they had executed her then. And then they did!
I can't say I'm sorry to see her go. I really liked her character, but she's hardly been in the show for a couple of seasons and they obviously didn't know what to do with her.
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Apr 07, 2016
Yes, that was Martha's apartment.
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Apr 07, 2016
Yes, that was Martha's home. I got a little kick out of Stan's lingering over the Kama Suttra, but then I realized that told him Martha has a sexual partner; she's not just a spinster secretary.
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Apr 07, 2016
Did she get rid of all the pictures of "Clark"? I thought that's what he had found when he found the kama sutra.
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Apr 07, 2016
He didn't find any pictures. The pictures he had were the ones he took to make sure he left the apartment exactly as it was.
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Apr 07, 2016
yeah I figured it would fall out of the kama sutra book but nothing did.
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Apr 07, 2016
Yes I know. But Martha did have a picture of her and Clark, and I had some idea that she kept them in one of her drawers. So when Stan found her sex manual, I thought to start with it was the wedding photo.
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Apr 07, 2016
I don't know. I kept waiting for him to find her wedding picture. Do you think he would have recognized him?
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Apr 07, 2016
Hmmm, probably not immediately. It would make a great slow-burn, waiting for him to click. Unfortunately, that would either mean the end of the series or Stan's death.
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Apr 07, 2016
also, the scene with stan and henry gave us "then we got married, matthew was born and we got divorced" LOL!!!!
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Apr 07, 2016
Yeah, that was a good one. This is another show that sometimes lacks a sense of humor. It's nice to get a chuckle once in awhile.
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Apr 07, 2016
Definitely the best episode so far of this season!!

Nina's scenes were starting to became a little boring, so when the first one appeared in this episode i was thinking "maybe it's best for her to be killed", but then Oleg tried to pull some strings and then the dream sequence and I thought "yeah! maybe it's better if she finally gets out and start a new story with her spying for Russia or something", man i even was thinking "but what about the doctor? is he going to be killed in front of her to teach her a lesson?". but THEN we went back to reality and as she was condemned I just had time to think "oh my, poor nina, she's devastaded, what a good acting, but wait, shortly? that's a little vague" and then PUM!! we've got our answer about how soon is "shortly"... that was a poweful, unexpected and shocking scene, my jaw was literally to the ground, i swear!!!

Stan and Henry scenes doesn't bother me at all because I know it's leading to something, and tonight we got confirmation on that when he starts acting suspicious with Paige.

it was a fantastic episode not only because of the ending, we'v got the tension back with Stan spying on Martha (how funny was that he discovered the Kama Sutra?, i was expecting some kind of shocked and entertained reaction from Stan, he definitely will keep that in mind), and her great scene with Anderholt,....

and Elizabeth, and the final decision about pastor tim.... i dont know, i think that MAYBE after the scare Paige got she'll go "you know what? kill him, it's not worth this tension and fear in our lives"... would that make any sense? maybe it'll be a little deus ex machina, but it'll make her totally cool, and a little more like her mother.

Again, a FANTASTIC episode. now the glanders and nina arcs are done, and i think we'll get more of the spying on martha, and who knows what'll happen with the pastor.

just a correction, Stan obviously doesn't get in the Jennings' home, he's in Martha's! and yes, the polaroids are to leave everything back to how it was, you can confirm it when he uses one photo to rearrange a scarf on the sofa
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Apr 07, 2016
I don't really think they will have a hard time turning Pastor Tim. He doesn't seem to like much about America anyway.
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Apr 07, 2016
People be like, "OMG, did you see The Walking Dead finale?".
And I'm all like, "Sorry, I only watch great television like The Americans.".

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Apr 07, 2016
The Americans the only show that gives you all the hope in the world in one scene and literally takes it all away in the next. Truly sad, but entirely well done.
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Apr 07, 2016
Yay. Atleast one TV show managed to have a meaningful, impactful, powerful, sad death this week. I love this show.
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Apr 07, 2016
and you both are using the Americans to talk about The Walking Dead. That's proof that the cliff hanger is secretly killing you. And that's the point of a cliff hanger.
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Apr 07, 2016
I was talking about Arrow. So. maybe you shouldn't act smarter than you actually are.
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Apr 07, 2016
If I was in error, I apologize.

Nastiness does not become you. You are better than that.
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Apr 07, 2016
I'll very much miss Nina. The Russians used many twins as spies (taken at birth) so is there a little hope of a return? LOL unlike THE 100, a character is gone but I doubt we'll have nonsense about race or sexual deviance being a factor. THE AMERICANS: a FANtastic show!
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Apr 07, 2016
I'm stunned and I must say I was sitting here wishing they put a little more lens flare or something on her dream sequences because I got all confused. I thought Oleg had got something arranged and I was feeling bad for him because I knew one of her earlier fantasies were about Stan. And what were those polaroids?
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Apr 08, 2016
i think the polaroids could be used afterwards for a more detailed observation of martha's appartement, one small detail could make stan understand stuff about her he could not reveal in the small time frame he gave himself to examine it. or it could help him put back the stuff as it was before his snooping. or it could be both.
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Apr 07, 2016
I hear you. Emotions aside I can say the death was honestly surprising. Hard to pull off these days with such astute audiences. I wish they found a place for her in the story but I guess Nina ran her course. Still she'll be super missed.

I think the Polaroids were so he could return everything back to how it was before he snooped around.
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Apr 24, 2016
I really think she had a pix of her marriage... maybe one of those polaroids captured it and will be discovered later by stan, and then later he will make the connection
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Apr 24, 2016
I know. I could have sworn I'd seen her sitting on her couch looking at it.
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Apr 07, 2016
I don't know if they could have pulled it off if there show weren't so far under the radar.
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