The Americans "Mutually Assured Destruction" Review: Stranger Danger

The Americans S01E08 "Mutually Assured Destruction"

Amid trouble in spy paradise, Phillip and Elizabeth intercepted a German assassin hired to kill ballistic scientists while Beeman and Nina took their relationship to an increasingly personal level in "Mutually Assured Destruction." One of The Americans’ calling cards is fast becoming the show’s metaphorical missions, with each assignment relating thematically to whatever couples drama happens to be going on between Amador/Martha/Phillip/Elizabeth or Stan/Sandra/Nina. So it made sense that in this literally explosive eighth installment (because bombs), the KGB tasked the Jennings with neutralizing its own hard-to-find hired killer, a move that ultimately proved as futile as Phillip’s attempts to apologize his way out of the doghouse with his wife. Both scenarios resulted in some serious boundary identification. The regularly promiscuous couple realized that sex on the job is not okay when it involves broken promises and lovers' lies, while Russia discovered the limits of its own ability to cancel plans at the last minute. Vacillation—either in a commitment to a partner or in backing off from an ordered hit—can only last so long until buried intention turns to action, and the truth comes to surface, for better or for worse.

Aliases, secret identities, and the manipulation of reality have been in play all season, whether in Nina’s lying to Arkady or Beeman’s hiding an affair from Sandra while the FBI speculates on how its Russian counterpart is able to strike from so deep within its own operation (in a walkie-talkie, even). Sometimes these fakeries are justified, and World War III is prevented for another episode. Other times, the misinformation caused by duplicity results in crossed-wires and messy deaths (I wonder what part of the bathroom the hotel maids will clean first). In a way, this time the potential danger of a hidden, uncertain agenda manifested in physical form. The German assassin, who had fallen out of contact with his employers and whose identity was mostly unknown, existed in this outing as a benign force, an unchecked persona moving through the world like a boogeyman iteration of spy craft with absolutely no humanity. He was the polar opposite of Phillip and Elizabeth, who are brimming with humanity.  

With the Jennings opening up the episode discussing Beeman’s nature of being an information "trickler," and later Nina describing a spy’s goal as "bleeding" information from a target, we once again got a comparison of intel extraction to the gradual drawing-out of personality when two strangers reveal themselves to one another. As Nina and Beeman become more intimate, I wonder if they'll have any future but to eventually separate like the Jennings. The seeds have already been planted for the demise of Stan's relationship with Sandra, and I can see him becoming smitten enough with Nina to jeopardize his own career. How noble would that be? Standing up to the FBI for the woman he loves? The only problem I'd foresee is Agent Gaad pressuring him to keep Nina in the mix for the gain of the department. Also, setting a terrible example for his own son, but come on, the Beeman marriage seems pretty over. Sorry! 

Speaking of which, who knew divorce for the married couple was even allowed? I thought their cover depended on appearing to be happily married, but now, according to Phillip, the KGB won’t even care? This all came about because Elizabeth felt betrayed by Phillip (though she's had her own bouts with hidden infidelity). It begs the question: Is it worse to continually hide a secret affair for over a decade (Gregory) from a spouse who was at the time mostly professional, OR to lie about a recent affair (Irina) at a time when the two of you are trying to patch things up and there are even some real feelings being bandied back and forth? On paper, you’d think they could just call it even, or at least settle for the same working dynamic they'd managed up until the pilot episode. In the world of team espionage, maybe emotions will always lead to a "mutually assured destruction."  


ADDITIONAL INTEL 

– Amador’s stalking is going to put him on the path of Phillip (...or death?). 

– Nina's promotion—is it Arkady trying to sniff her out as a mole, or does he really believe in her?

– Martha had her own file cabinet scare. Is she bizarro Nina?

– Three explosions + a gun standoff = cool.

– Elizabeth's necklace was really dangling in Phillip's face during intercourse with Martha.

– Wow, never seen a little girl hold a shotgun before. Unsettling.

– "Just think how you would feel looking at me dead one day," damn Nina, way to highlight the most brutal part of caring for someone.

– Costume department is having a field day with Mathew Rhys’s disguises. This was my favorite yet. 

– Rad closing montage, more songs please.


What did you think of the episode?

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Give these writers a bloody raise. So many great lines, plus each episode just keeps getting better. Going for some awards are we?
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Correct me if I am wrong. I saw the opening credits that this show is produce by Graham Yost. He is also responsible for JUSTIFIED which is really good too especially this week. NO wonder this show is so good. It seems he is also responsible for Speed, Broken Arrow, and Hard Rain. I am going to look out for this guy in the future!
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If I was Phillip, I would have lied to Elizabeth as often I could. I would sleep with Mrs Beeman and all the stuff so she ALWAYS gives me her wonderful stinky eye, and, and then she stomps on my crotch and spits on me, and says things like"Do you feel THAT, you imperialistic pig?!" Basically, my Phillip would be a total mess.
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This show has been one of the best things on television this year. The pacing of the story telling has been nothing short of magnificent and the actors/writing keep you so engrossed. No copping out to traditional or familiar story telling. This show seriously needs to be in the mix for awards. All of the missteps of Best Drama's "Homeland" are missing in this show's freshman season. No superfluous characters, no plot contrivances, no Emmy bait - nothing easy. That cold removed glare of Elizabeth in the second picture you put up - its that look of Elizabeth that you can't get rid of. Can't say enough good things about Keri Russell.

And "Sterling" Beeman letting the other head make really bad decisions because of a pretty face and his desire to keep that pretty face safe. I'm scared what is going to become of that story. Like actually worried one of them is going to die. I still think Nina is playing him like a maestro and he is missing the signs. No matter how that story ends up, it isn't going to be good. Hands clapping for Noah Emmerich and Annet Mahendru for their brilliant work in the scenes the two share. This is an odd couple but you can't watch this show and not be invested in this story.

So Chris is going to stumble upon Phillip at some point in the near future. An entirely different take on the familiar jilted lover trope. Cannot wait for that.

Finally, a great Cure song to end the episode!!

Another great episode. Just superb storytelling.
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Great episode, The Americans has proved to be one of the best new shows on T.V and the episode clearly justified its status. I will love to see how the Phillip/Elizabeth story will unfold considering they have reach a breaking point and they cant even trust each other it will affect their operation. The FBI its a bit unorganized and for a top government security i find it hard to believe such high level data will be left unguarded to the use of every low level staff. Amador's Stalking will lead to more discoveries as i much prefer the authorities to be onto Phillip for all the things his being doing undetected.

Beeman/Nina is heading for a sad end cuz the promotion is a dubious way of sniffing out moles and i think Zhukov may have warned Arkady's and the others to keep an eye on her. Beeman's low key this days and we need the sharp inteeligent officer back than this love struck wuss.
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I'd love to see how Philip and Elizabeth's children would react to living in the USSR if they had to go back to the "motherland". I know how I would of reacted....just starting to get into punk (already into rock) and was rebellious. I think it would be fascinating for about a minute (that's about as long as I could stand to listen to teenagers complain) but in this case the kids would be totally right if they complained...I would of run away and lived with friends before moving to the USSR in the 80s (the kids don't even speak the language and grew up American...also born in the USA I think).
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Why does Elizabeth believe Claudia? I would not of thought her to find Claudia trustworthy. I guess she didn't trust Philip enough...well, she was right but she is also a hypocrite.

Philip seems to have more insight into the world/politics and seems slightly more practical...too bad he can't keep his pants zipped (same goes for Beeman and for Elizabeth).

Wow, one scene with a condom...and I was thinking if they lived long enough they would all end up with syphilis or AIDS (have to google when in the 80s AIDS was first diagnosed).

I would think the KGB kept better records---this contrived plot device or whatever it is seemed weak to me. WTF...they didn't know who they hired? I didn't like that at all (but I liked the explosions and the walkie talkie bomb and the back up self protection bomb in the hotel room). Elizabeth and the window was silly (about as "hollywood" silly as the trunk of the car). I love badass females (i.e., Carrie in Banshee) but this seems to "hollywood" (over the top in a bad way; not real)

Regarding "The German assassin, who had fallen out of contact with his employers and whose identity was mostly unknown, existed in this outing as a benign force, an unchecked persona moving through the world like a boogeyman iteration of spy craft with absolutely no humanity. He was the polar opposite of Phillip and Elizabeth, who are brimming with humanity."...
I understand what you are saying but that's how the writers wanted to handle it. To the writers of the show I say (and the reviewers--sorry but I'm going to lump you in with the writers who usually do a fantastic job with this show): no humanity? he was just in one episode for a few minutes total. For all we know he is a loving father of 5 with a wife of 20 years who he loves dearly. He is loyal to his country (like all of our main characters) and was "doing his job". Philip and Elizabeth (she is also an assassin) both assassinate the guy. They never developed his character so I guess that is why you say he has no humanity (obviously not said because he killed people which Elizabeth has done and basically all the main characters would do for their country if ordered). I kind of feel sorry for this assassin...he wasn't even trying to kill a jittery traitor (apparently I'm still pissed at Elizabeth for that even though he was a traitor and she was just doing her job...she just bugs me). I feel sorry for him because he is automatically the bad guy and doesn't even have a backstory much less a name. I'm sure has has been brimming with humanity at time (maybe not) but how would we know since we just saw a few minutes of him. He was kind of bad ass and I wish I knew more about him (cool to have the self-defense "bomb" in place even though it got him killed...he stayed calm and actually pulled a weapon when both Elizabeth and Philip had weapons drawn on him. He needs to travel to the future and take lessons from Raylan Givens!

Despite all the negatives I seems to comment for this series, I like it (some parts are awesome and some are eye-rolling). I'm getting tired of the back and forth emotional roller coaster of Philip and Elizabeth (to much soap opera) but I like Beeman and Nina (don't see a happy ending there unfortunately....I'm interested to see if Beeman defies his country and if Nina is playing him (don't blame her if she is). I think Beeman really has feeling for her. He needs to divorce his wife if he loves another woman and sleeps with her. I hope they used protection. I doubt it because he was "drunk"...I wonder if Nina gets pregnant...that may be her ticket out (or be the trigger for Beeman to really go to bat for her. If Beeman divorces his wife and marries Nina then can she stay here legally?

I think Arkady believes Nina and may even have the hots for her.
When did 99 luft balloons come out? lol
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The Russians were miles behind USA in the technology department. Their computers still had vacuum tubes in the early '80s and they weren't exactly pioneers in communications either. Notice how archaic and flimsy Elizabeth getting their orders appears. That made the "bad communications" seem a little more plausible for me.

99 Luftballons - 1984
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I thought the KGB were notorious about their well kept records.

I'm thinking maybe the person ("middleman") who hired the assassin died and the person ("boss) who ordered a hiring of the assassin doesn't know where the middleman kept his records of it or they were destroyed--maybe there is an another unmade show with American agents in the USSR and they whacked the middle man and got the records but were to late....
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Great thoughts! Although, you and I have differing opinions on the future of Nina, I love your theories. Personally, I thought Arkady seemed suspicious as hell of Nina when he summoned her into his office. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. :)

"I would think the KGB kept better records" - Haha! So true!
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I think her future is grim;-( but I am rooting for her. I think I want Beeman to divorce his wife (she deserves a man who loves her and is faithful to her) and marry Nina (green card??). More likely she will get pregnant and end up dying (which would be the worst outcome imo).

I hope Beeman doesn't become a traitor because of his feelings for Nina and anger at the FBI for not helping her defect (lol, I'm acting like it has already happened). Imagine if Beeman gets so disillusioned with the FBI and by extension his country that he turns traitor (in the name of love...so messed up). Then Phillip wises up and realizes his kids and him will never want to live in the USSR and with time he realizes the west will prevail so he defects. Essentially Beeman and Phillip change places...lol. It's late at night so the theories are wacky.
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forgot to say: it seemed like Arkady was initially suspicious but then she seemed to have convinced him that she was loyal. However that can't be true or can't stay true because it lessens the tension/suspense of her traitorous actions. Therefore, logically, Arkady must either remain suspicious or become suspicious again...
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Poor Elizabeth. Just when she started to open up herself for a relationship and granny drops this bomb on her. As cold and hypocritical as her reaction to the news is, it is easy to see that the woman in her is hurting. Putting herself out there took a lot from her and the reward was just shitty. Granny is a stoned cold bitch and mother Russia an even worse handler. But this strain on their relationship is great for the show`s development. We cannot have happy too soon.
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I honestly don't now if they could even handle "happy" at this point. Philip and Elizabeth's relationship is based in a dangerous job and a one way ticket to hell. I can't even picture a single happy instant in their lives, not even when their own children were born.
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This show is just incredible. Like it's easily one of the best and strongest shows that have come out of this season, and we all know it's been a shaky season for new shows. Really shaky. This episode was just so good and intense, explosive, and just awesome. I love how they just cover everything and they do it brilliantly. We get everything we need to get in the hour, a little character background and development for one or more of the characters, interesting missions and developments on the spy front, the ridiculously intriguing aspect that is the complicated relationship between Phillip and Elizabeth. There is something here for everyone. All the time.
-Armador's stalking is creepy as hell. I mean if this was current dude would have a sexual harassment charges up the wazoo. But yes, clearly this is leading to him crossing paths with Phillip, with bis blond hair and geeky glasses. High stakes. Always with the high stakes.
-Yeah, I'm thinking Nina is on his radar. He seems like he may be immune to her sensuality too. Nina is such an interesting character and enjoyable to watch. This episode was the first time I actually found her scary. An awesome kind of scary, but still scary. I've always seen her as smart and savvy, but I'm starting to feel like there is so much more to her. She has these lethal vibes, her convos with Beeman were just, well written for starters but gave me chills because there is an extra level of mystery to her now. Like just what has she done in her life? How dangerous is she? I love it. Beeman seems like he'll throw his career on the line for this girl, and his boss obviously suspects as much, I mean he's taking full advantage of them sleeping together even though he's pretending as though he's none the wiser. a safe house? Really? Uh huh. But I wouldn't be surprised if Nina ends up dead by the end of the season...and boy will it have an impact.
- I loved the explosion action and the shooting and everything. I mean it was a bit more action packed than it typically is. What I love about this show though, is 30 years ago espionage was work. I mean hard work. The stakes seemed higher, there was more to it. It took skill and time, and was bordering on tedious at times with some of the things that they had to do. No flashy gadgets to make things easy. I mean now, espionage comes down to having an itchy trigger finger, halfway decent combat skills, and access to a really good hacker.
- Yes the dangling necklace made me chuckle a bit. Sheesh there was a lot of shirtless hugging in this episode. Out of the many ways in which the spy game changed, sex and emotional manipulation are still relevant.
-Yeah. That was very unsettling.
- I love the costumes. For both of them. I love the music too and the fact that it has an authentic early 80's feel in general w/o being campy or overdoing it.
- Phillip and Elizabeth and their relationship is so fascinating to watch. All the angst. Ugh. I can't take it and yet I can't tear my eyes away from it. All that push and pull and forward movement and taking steps back, and the parallels between their relationship with those other relationships on the show. The fact that they're both such deliciously complex characters and you can't really choose sides. You root for them. It's all so wonderfully written.
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Cancel this UnAmerican communist pos.
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Noooo! Haven't you found it interesting to see history from the other side? (however fictional it may be)
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No I don't. We didn't spend billions and lose countless lives only to watch shows promoting the enemy. It's UnAmerican. The only type I like would be obviously one that makes fun of the other side and one in which they never succeed thus why I like Hogan's Heroes. Maybe if they were failed at the end of each episode then I'd watch it. Do you think it would work from a terrorist, Bin Laden point of view? Watch him plan and carry out 9/11? It's basically the same. Cheering for the enemy to come out on top is akin to an extremely light form of treason.
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yo i am not American but Canadian and if you take this fictional show so seriously then maybe you should stop watching . I never laughed so much after reading your comments it is so typical and since I am not American I do cheer for the fictional enemy and believe there is no treason to have a critical thought about a fictional show.
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I prefer to think you're joking or trolling. To consider that you might be serious is just too horrendous.
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The Americans is a sleek, sly and wonderfully understated spy thriller. You've got the Ruskies and the Yanks in the heat of the cold war, and all the tension of a possible nuclear holocaust that goes with it. But it's definitely the oh so complicated relationships that are focal point of the story at the moment.

Let's start with Phillip and Elizabeth. I think Elizabeth was a tad hypocritical in her condemnation of Phillip. She had carried on with Gregory for years behind Phillip's back and lied on many occasions. But Phillip spends one solitary night with Irina, a woman from his past whom he used to love, and could possibly (but doubtfully) have a child with, and that's somehow a deal-breaker. Elizabeth claimed she wanted to try to have a "real" marriage, but all it took was one obviously manipulative conversation from Claudia for her to revert back to the emotionless soviet cyborg. And I'm not buying that Elizabeth's infidelities occurred before they had an "understanding" and Phillip's didn't. Phillip has clearly loved Elizabeth for some time. The same cannot be said for her. Apparently, she was disappointed he was to be her partner since the beginning. Which must sting for Phillip when he has done all he can to make it work. Elizabeth is still blinded by jingoism to the KGB. An organization so rife with dissension, they order a hit on the very hitman they ordered to kill American scientists. Phillip recognizes how factious and reckless the KGB can be. He understands they would gladly sacrifice his life and the life of his children for the motherland. As a father and a rational human being who has lived with the "enemy", he is understandably questioning his loyalty to his country. I'm sorry, but Elizabeth needs to wake the fuck up.

Now onto Stan and Nina. I'm almost positive this relationship isn't going to end well. And I'm becoming more and more certain Nina will be dead by the end of the season. Why would Arkady promote her now? My earlier theory that they suspect Nina of being the true mole became even more likely after her sudden promotion. Whatever important files the Feds get from Nina will be destructive misinformation and her words to Beeman will be profoundly and devastatingly prophetic. Unlike how Phillip/Clarke is using Martha purely for information, I think Stan has developed true feelings for Nina (which makes him the REAL cheater of the show. Sandra deserves better). I agree with Ryan that he may do something stupid to protect her. But I have an inkling that whatever he attempts won't succeed.
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Great thoughts and summed up everything about Phillip//Elizabeth, she just grate on my nerves most of the time with her hypocritical approach to all things concerning Phillip and from the Pilot we got the vibe that for her its the KGB first then others, its like the 20 years of marriage though arranged has not changed anything in her as a KGB machine.
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People are hypocritical. I am, you are, everyone is. It's a human condition, and this is a show about humans.
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The funny thing about this show is that I understand and like both of them, Phillip and Elizabeth. I think that Elizabeth has it right - whatever the reason behind the KGBs' decision to tell her Phillip's tete a tete - she knew who the woman he met with was and GAVE PHILLIP THE CHANCE to be true. And he lied. Women don't like to be lied to. Having that said, I think Elizabeth felt forced to revert the relationship for Phillip's sake. Both can be as badass as they want, if they fuck up a mission they are history. In the hotel, Elizabeth didn't react like she used to, because she was too worried for her husband and it almost got him killed. Like you wrote: Elizabeth needs to wake the fuck up - if only to realize that she can trust Phillip from now on so that both of them bring their A-game in order to survive.
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I don't know if an emotional attachment would necessarily compromise Elizabeth's ability to do her job. I think the closer they are, and the more they trust each other, the better they'll both be at bringing their A-game.
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Well said!
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Thanks!
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You watch, you watch, you watch!!!! Awesome! Love this post!! I was actually gearing up to defend Elizabeth a bit here, even if it was to the disadvantage of my precious Phillip. I think the careful balance between these two having such opposing views is just what makes their dynamic all the more fascinating. In general, I get you're point, because Phillip, I get Phillip. Nine times out of Ten he makes sense to me, his actions, his feelings, the always feel more plausible, but then Elizabeth..given her past and the little bit we know about her, even though i wouldn't be quite the way she is, she does make sense. You have a woman who doesn't believe in love because she never really knew it. She believes in duty and honor and country. She's naturally distrustful of men in general. In her mind, she and Phillip made an agreement (even though to me it's a bit selfish and very sad that it had to take years for her to finally even consider him as a true partner and then she expects him to take what he can get after years of dealing with her stoicism), and she actually got vulnerable and put herself out there which is something she never does because it goes against everything in her. She got to that point damn near kicking and screaming, cautiously, hesitantly, emotionally exposed and what not and boom, he shared a moment of intimacy with an important part of his past while she and he were in limbo with their relationship. That's all it takes for someone like her to clam up, hide away, shut it down. She's scared. I thought the irony of her being worried that her daughter was fragile, is the fact that despite her being this fierce and strong woman she's emotionally fragile which is why she chooses to shut emotions off altogether. So yeah it was frustrating to watch because they were making progress and Phillip is a great guy and he gives everything his all etc. I mean in her mind she carried on with her affair when she and Phillip weren't really together, and she sort of cut ties when she decided that she wanted him. In her mind he cheated on her and made a fool of her, but that's because she's emotionally stunted and damaged and she has nothing to really compare their relationship and marriage to. When it comes to relationships she's honest to God ignorant, and that is why even when she frustrates me to pieces I can't even get too upset with her because she doesn't even know any better.

And there I have just defended Elizabeth even though I totally get your point and agree with most of what you said in this post. Because to me, I totally can relate more to Phillip questioning and his loyalty wavering because of what he's seen and experienced from both their allies and their enemies. He sees the hypocrisy, and is aware of the dangers, and he isn't blindly devouted. He's more about the grey and I love that about him, and that's why he's my favorite character on this show. I just love him to pieces.Gah!

Oh how much I love reading your comments. So very much. :)
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Thanks, blue!

You're always so effusive in your praise of my comments. Then I read your replies and you put me to shame with your insights and articulation. Your opinion and rationale for Elizabeth's motives and actions was a pleasure to read. And I completely understand and empathize with the frustration you have with her character. I jokingly refer to her as the "soviet cyborg", but considering her past, there is a reason for her carefully constructed walls of ice. But it's not her ignorance about relationships, her fear of intimacy, or her "infidelities" that drive me mad. It's her naivete and blind loyalty to a country that uses her and Phillip like pawns on a chessboard. (Okay, maybe not pawns. They're more badass than that. Knights?) Phillip just seems to have his head on his shoulders and recognizes that he is an expendable (albeit valuable) asset to Elizabeth's beloved motherland. She trusts cause and country more than the man that has been sleeping in her bed for 15 years. The man that she has two children with. The man that has loved and protected her (not that she needs any protecting). Phillip is the only one that has ever had her back and she is stupid enough to tell their superiors that "(he) likes it (in America) too much." And for a spy, she's horribly countrified in the vital subject of geo-politics. It was almost charming how she thought the U.S. Secretary of State was attempting a coup on the Reagan administration. But that miscalculation on her part, without Phillip's intervention, could have caused the cold war to get very hot all of a sudden. She needs to take the soviet-shaded goggles of ignorance off and realize her loyalties are in the wrong place.

WHEW!

Thus concludes my Elizabeth rant. People might think I dislike Elizabeth after reading this comment and my previous one, but that couldn't be further from the truth. She's a fantastically complex character, with solid motivations for her actions, and her (at the moment) myopic perspective plays well with Phillip's grounded practicality. She's a great character, but she makes me kind of crazy sometimes. Which is a testament to the quality of the show. I guess no one ever said being undercover married spies was easy.

(P.S. Team Phillip, baby!)
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Aww shucks. You're making me blush. :) She is a cyborg. She's so robotic! She tries to be anyway! And that is why I can relate more to Phillip, which is probably why I adore him so much. Like I can be loyal to a fault, but I still question things. Elizabeth doesn't even question, and that is definitely irritating at times. Oh that "He likes America too much" line killed me when she said it. For someone like her, I could get where she thought it was a note to put down just in case, but all I kept thinking is, maybe Phillip is just really, really good at his cover! Which is what he ended up saying eventually! They're supposed to blend in, and he's blending in! Brilliantly, I might add. I think I yelled that at the TV when she said it. In fact, that's what gives him more of an edge, especially in relation to what you just mentioned about her miscalculation. He's more informed because he gets out there and tries to blend in better. He's convincing. Alas, it's what makes them the perfect team. They balance each other out and make up for the others weaknesses. Even if one of them doesn't perceive themself as having any weakness.

Nah. I didn't read it as that at all. It's hard to flat out dislike a complex, flawed, well-written character. The best characters are those written in such a way that you can't completely loathe them and you can't completely love them either. At least that's my opinion.

Yes. Team Phillip. All.The.Way. ;)
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This episode made me question if I was watching The Americans or Skinemax? While it did provide insight into the characters, the 8 or so sex scenes in the show was a bit much, and some could have been left out, and some more could have been done with the story. I did like that it provided information about Phillip and Elizabeth's relationship, as well as Nina and Stan's, but overall didn't really care for this episode, as much as I have the previous (which I really liked).
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I agree with your take on too many sex scenes, I thought some of them were necessary as well. The story is so good, it almost felt like it took away from the quality of the show
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This show, though fully kickass, has a negative side effect of reminding me why I hate 80s music. A decade all about celebrating the people who cant sing ;)
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Agreed there.
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1. If Jennings truly once for all split up then the show will lose it's main charm for me. What hooked me in during the pilot was the chemistry between Elizabeth and Phillip. I don't like the idea of two of them being just partners. I hope they will somehow get back together but at this moment I'm probably just naive.

2. I'm quite sure Arkady is trying sniff Nina as a mole.

3. Martha is now basically KGB agent even if she doesn't know about it. It's a matter of time till she goes behind bars for the rest of her life.

4. I hate Claudia. She told Elizabeth about Phillip and Irina on purpose. "Granny" knew that information would destroy what was betweem Jennings.

5. Good music as always.

I didn't like this episode. I hope next one will be better.
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Philip being sent on that mission was of their doing, I'm surprised Elizabeth doesn't realized she got played, they sent her husband there partially to tempt him and cause distance between them when they sensed they were becoming too close and could not be counted on to inform on each other.
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An assassin as a benign force? You meant implacable or malevolent (only the exact opposite of benign.)

Ikr, it's just words so whatev.
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I think the main problem is that the KGB, much like the Jennings, confuse love with marriage when its certainly not the same thing.

People can hate, tolerate and/or don't love their spouses and that doesn't make their marriage any less real than the next couple of newlywed who believe they are going to be in love for the rest of their lives. Philip and Elizabeth ARE married and have been for most part of their lives, its naive for anyone to pretend otherwise (them included).
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Also, I really hope that the relationship between Philip and Elizabeth sticks with the "keep it professional" philosophy at least until maybe the end of the season. I like the theme of a non-couple couple having to pose as a couple, fighting the urges to fall in love with each other as they have sex with others, but these first 8 episodes have worn me out in regards to their relationship. Fortunately the show has a lot more to entertain me with, because the will-they-wont-they theme with the Jennings has been both too prevalent and too fluctuant for me to be entertained by it.
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They definitely can't go back to trying to make the marriage work until the end of the season. At that time I'm guessing it will be a life or death situation for one of them and the other will have to choose between saving their life or saving the mission.
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I think that Elizabeth's reaction is reasonable, since her affair with Gregory happened before an understanding existed between herself and Phillip. Once they agreed that their marriage was more then just business all emotional affairs (like Gregory & Irina) cannot stay secret. Plus it was a slap in the face when Elizabeth asked point blank about Irina & Philip denied anything happened. I think that if he hadn't lied at that moment, he would have gotten a free pass.

But I think what will really hurt Elizabeth is when she finds out about Phillip's other 'son'. That is if he even exists. I honestly wouldn't put it past Irina to lie about that. Saying to Phillip that they had a son was emotional manipulation 101. "Phillip we have a son. He's in Russia. I love you. Let's defect from the KGB."

I'm sorry, but any KGB agent worth their salt would know that when you defect it's open season on anyone you left behind in Russia. I'm sorry, but if you're going to use your son like that I'm going to doubt he exists. Which is probably what contributed to Phillip's decision to stay in America.

Anyone think that Irina was another test by the KGB to see if he's true to the cause? It's interesting that 'Granny' seems to know all about it.

This would mean: 1) Irina didn't defect and is a loyal agent, or 2) Irina got caught, tortured and killed, or 3) They've been watching Phillip and saw everything (which likely means Irina's either loyal or a traitor therefore alive or dead).

Hopefully, it ends with Phillip & Elizabeth just becoming a team and trusting no one besides each other.

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I feel the exact same way! Especially the last comment where you hope Phillip and Elizabeth become a team that trusts each other the most. I hope that happens. I think Granny is trying to prevent that from happening, knowing that they will become more loyal to each other than to Russia.
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I agree with your reasoning. It seems the Motherland tries to break them up intentionally. Elizabeth felt the same when she told Granny: I understand what you just did to us.
Very sad moment.
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Am I the only one who actually burst out laughing when Philip busted into the German assassin's room, and a second later we see a window slide open and Elizabeth is crouching there pointing a gun? I thought that shit was hilarious! It was like some sort of super-spy sight gag. Favorite moment of the episode for me, hehe.
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Does anyone else wonder what was the motive behind Grannie's revelation about Phillip? Was she just trying to get back at Elizabeth, or really trying to help her stay focused on their real mission? Or, do you think the KGB is taking a hard look at Phillip's loyalty?
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In order to control both of them, they need to put a wedge between Elizabeth and Phillip. No more love and deeper bonds but a professional attitude with "healthy" distrust is what the KGB wants. Grannie's a clever one!
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I think it was both a passive aggressive swipe at Elizabeth and the KGB are really distrusting Phillip. I actually think the whole Irina thing was a big test (and at that point if Paige and Henry weren't at home, I think he might have failed that test). And the KGB also doesn't really want their imbedded couples to actually start to love each other, that might sway loyalties. But ultimately, especially the way it was delivered, that was just bitchiness.
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Beeman knows how Nina got her information from her last boss - so how does he not think that she is playing him in the same way.
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If she is, then what they're doing is basically that he's raping her, because she's genuinely concerned that she will get killed (by the Russians) if she doesn't. Beeman knows this, and is somewhat concerned about it. That's why he needed her to assure him that she wants to be with him. Of course, if he had been thinking rationally, he would have needed more than that, but he's no longer capable of being completely rational. It's a weird situation. That's part of what makes it interesting.
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I think she's in cover so deep the KGB doesn't even know it and this was her plan all along to bleed information from an FBI agent.
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Ugh...I really hope not.
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i dont think she is right now, but will probably give up Beeman to the KGB when she gets caught.
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As much as I am enjoying this show I wince a little every time Philip interacts with Martha. I mean her best case scenario here is a severely broken heart compounded by abandonment issues. Worst case she is either killed by the KGB (to tie up the loose end) or implicated as a traitor.

Not that this is a bad thing. That sort of discomfort is the good kind and I wish more shows could make feel that kind of trepidation for a characters fate.
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I get that similar uncomfortable feeling with both "Clark" and Martha and Nina and Beeman. I actually weirdly more worry about Martha's safety from Amador though because he seems ready to break.
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While I think there should be the calling even portion of things, I can kind of understand where Elizabeth is coming from (and that it isn't the spy in her but the woman in her that is hurt) especially since Gregory was there while she and Phillip were merely dutiful partners working a cover. But when things started to change, she stopped everything with Gregory. But, fortunately or unfortunately, they both had started to tell each other the truth of who they were before so I think that maybe Irina might have been part of what Phillip told her. So, not only was it actually Phillip having an affair and not a cover, it was Phillip with a person his real self had a relationship with that was just ended because of the job.

I thought at first the KGB guy was testing Nina, but then when she started her heartfelt patriotic speech and like relaxed her face into the innocent farm girl, he seemed caught up in what she was saying.

Okay, Amador, he is going to either drive me nuts or he is going to end up in jail. He is such an idiot. And then, yes, that was good, seeing Martha acting suspicious and then following her, but a part of me really thinks that was entirely just stalker like and not surveillance. I even think meeting up with "Clark" will be more jealous boyfriend than FBI agent. What will be interesting is when Amador comes face to face with Phillip at like the Beeman's Memorial Day barbeque and whether he recognizes him.
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