The Americans "Travel Agents" Review: Martha's Day Out

The Americans S04E07: "Travel Agents"

"Talk? You'll just tell me some version of the truth that's not very true." - Martha

One of my favorite scenes in tonight's unsurprisingly superb "Travel Agents" had nothing to do with the main plot of tracking down the Cold War's favorite AWOL secretary. While the FBI and Rezidentura both raced to locate Martha, the Jennings kids had a beer with Matthew the neighbor boy like it was no big deal. Historical wet blanket Paige was even cool about it, sharing her suds with Henry and possibly beginning a crush with the resident hunk next door. Had her whirlwind taste of grown-up drama driven Paige to seek out normal teen stuff? (Paranoid thought: is she laying the groundwork to get some eyes on Stan Beeman?) 

Well, there was no indication that the teens hanging out was anything but teens hanging out and so I found the scenario just dang pleasant. While lives were being ruined in a cat-and-mouse all around our nation's capital these youngsters managed to find a common ground in their absentee parents and chilling. Ironically, the future of this next latchkey generation is what both Agent Stan Beeman and Directorate S Agents Elizabeth and Philip are fighting to protect. Yes, there's nuclear arms races and diseased rats at stake, but at the end of the day it's the personal home life that matters most as a prize to all the individuals fighting this phantom war.

Which was why seeing Martha flail around the parks system of Washington D.C. was a visual knife twist either way things turned out. Or like watching the doomed secretary flushed down a giant toilet of fate, where you knew at some point she was going to wind up down a drain of destiny, and into the pipes of exile. Thus concludes this plumbing metaphor. Which is to say mechanically, this episode was pretty straight forward: Martha had sensitive information that could doom the KGB, and was in an emotionally unpredictable state. Since no one knew where she was, the fugitive could just as easily have jumped off a bridge as opened herself up to capture at the hands of the FBI.  

But among other strengths, The Americans is a master of pace, both in story and character. While the event happening was pretty simple, the manner in which both the KGB and FBI tracked Martha down relied entirely on exploring her as a person. Philip had to use intimate knowledge of his fake wife to make informed guesses as to where she might be, and the FBI poured through photo albums and listened to a devastating call between Martha and her parents to draw similar conclusions. Full focus was on Martha's emotional state, both as an investment of her as a character going through a really terrible experience and as a means to tracking her down. (Muuuuwah! *makes that chef finger kissing gesture*)   

Before Martha winds up wherever she winds up, I got to say from a general big picture standpoint how much I've enjoyed the story of a seemingly uninteresting office worker becoming the subject of a government manhunt. Not only have Philip and Elizabeth given the disguise of normalcy to this war by living as suburbanites, but they've managed to inject war into a normal citizen's life and corrupt Martha's identity as a vessel for their ideology. An American citizen is going to Russia. They won a human chess piece of ours, which is kind of the goal in a battle of attitudes.

But Philip and Elizabeth are our main characters and not Martha, so at the end of the day we should look at how this whole event affected these two. Despite all their murder and subterfuge, I've been a champion of the Jenningses for as long as I can remember. To me, they're engaging as anti-heroes and while I don't condone the things they do I do derive joy out of it. However, this was the first time I felt pretty furious with the couple. I mean yes, Martha could bring down the whole operation, but the softy in me could not get behind the idea of gunning her down if she got too mouthy.     


I mean you find out the woman likes watching the panda cubs at the zoo and enjoyed a park visit with her parents once and all of a sudden she's not just a loose thread, but a human being. Practically speaking yes it made sense to do the unspeakable in order to stop Martha from screaming in public. Could I do it? Not by a long shot. Could Philip? He seemed ready for anything. But I get it, this is their job just as it was the FBI's job to turn off their emotions while listening in on a verbal suicide note to Martha's dear old parents. Man this is getting depressing. Hmm, did Gaad do anything uplifting?

Yes! Kind of. Like he was basically a dead man walking as far as careers go, but he wasn't willing to go down without a fight. He also had my favorite quote with, "One thing I learned in Khe San. Don't lay down and play dead." The guy knows his days are numbered. Still, I liked seeing Stan bringing out some good cheer in his boss and treating this as a last hurrah for the old gang. To be fair the Jenningses did kill Amador, who was their buddy, and Martha sort of facilitated that so the FBI does deserve some justice on that end.   

Plus the FBI never emotionally manipulated Martha like Philip did. Like, this was the worst case of leading someone on ever. Between the two being ready to murder the woman, then Elizabeth punching Martha in the stomach to subdue her, I kind of wonder if she'd be better off taking the treason rap. Probably not, I don't think this era was kind to the treasonous

It's been one thing to watch Martha play the spy game but to have the three under one roof by the end of the episode really brought into focus the winners and the losers. Hint: winners don't get ice compresses from the same freezer as a diseased rat, and deliver lines like "I'll be alone. Just the way it was before I met you," through tearful, thousand-yard stares. Good for Philip and Elizabeth being able to reestablish their romantic commitment and all, but they basically screwed over a perfectly decent woman in the process. Sure, that's what tertiary characters do—bring out something in our leads—but the last thing I cared about was whether or not Elizabeth was intimidated by this poor lady. Plus there's no way that Philip, I'm sorry "Mischa," was going to ditch out on his family. I know Elizabeth was being sensitive to Philip's sadness over Martha, but if I was Martha I'd at least want some sort of couple's apology for how much they screwed up my life. Hopefully they have good pinot in Russia.



FURTHER DEBRIEFING

– What is Tatiana cooking up?

– Did Philip and Elizabeth kind of piss you off this time around?

– Did you care about the plight of Martha at all?

– What did you think of "Travel Agents"?

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May 01, 2016
POOR MARTHA!
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Apr 30, 2016
It is interesting how this reviewer and many viewers see this show. It is as though two equally bad enemies are in a chess game. But having lived through that era, especially the 1950s and 1960s, I know that the Soviet Union was the aggressor. The historical context is missing from this show--that Russia, after WWII, began to take over many European countries and make them Soviet satellites (Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic States, Ukraine, etc). And, the Soviet Union made threats regularly against our country. The US was not imperialist and did not start the Cold War. So, as I watch this show, I am not impressed with the idea that these spies and the Soviet Union are are just one side of the same coin, with the US on the other side. And for those who think that Americans are too gung-ho about their country, Philip and Elizabeth are out there doing horrible things in the name of their country. I can't find much sympathy for them as their lives fall apart.

I find it disturbing that it took our reviewer so long to find some sympathy for Martha.

As for Page, I predict we are seeing the beginning of Page falling apart and acting out--that is what the scene with the beer was all about. Page is going to become more dangerous to the Jennings as this happens.

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May 01, 2016
Yes, it's especially strange with the storyline of biological research being smuggled out. The USSR with biological weapons? I don't even want to think about how that might have played out. This was the period that produced Putin at the KGB who spent most his time in East Germany maintaining the communist party line, so not exactly a friendly period. Arkady is far too reasonable for such an important post that needs absolute loyalty and the USSR didn't promote women to major jobs like Tatiana has.
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May 01, 2016
I agree with you, but be prepared for the onslaught that's coming your way for those comments. The America we live in now teaches our children only about the failures of our country. I can't imagine another nation where students are drilled in how horrible their country is. To hear a lot of people talk, the USA is the worst country ever. SMH
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May 01, 2016
Well said. Part of the problem is that our country today seems focused only on current issues without any historical, philosophical, or moral context in which to view them. And that is what education used to do--give that context. Now, it doesn't.
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May 01, 2016
Well the onslaught was not as great as I feared. :) I guess because the thread is a few days old, now and people aren't posting as often as they did a few days ago.

Earlier in the season I was on another site, which shall remember nameless and the site unvisited in the future. Someone commented with a huge diatribe listing all the bad things in American history. Silly, naive, little me took the bait and I was taken apart and burned at the stake. They still may be after me.
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May 01, 2016
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Apr 29, 2016
There's a reason this show is my favorite on TV and this episode continued to deliver! At some point I really wanted Martha to ask, "So, when am I getting the bullet to the back of my head?"

Still, it continues to be brilliant. Elizabeth's gut punch on Martha was so unexpectedly brilliant, I had to back it up to watch again. At first, I though she had stabbed Martha.

Phil is still my favorite character. He puts Elizabeth above everything,and that's why this show works so well. Yeah, their spies, yeah, they have a mission, but never forget: Phillip LOVES Elizabeth! And even when she doesn't want to realize that, Phillip will ALWAYS reminder her. That kiss between them, beautiful!!

And that is what makes this show so brilliant. Phil and Beth are the "bad guys" yet you sympathize with them! You want them to win! The writing and acting continues to amaze. The Director, realizing he had been duped for so long by Martha; the scene of him looking out the window! You feel for him! He's supposed to be the person who stops all of this, yet he's the one most duped by it! OUCH!!!

I wish this show could stay on forever but at the rate their going, there's maybe one or two more seasons left and that's the one where we see what finally happens to this beloved family. And I mean that in a good way. Shows like this shouldn't drag on beyond their useful life. They should tell a brilliant story and then give the audience and even more brilliant ending!
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Apr 29, 2016
I think the producers have said this is a five or six year story. And, no, I don't root for the Jennings. I root for Stan, Martha, and poor, poor Gaad
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Apr 29, 2016
Elizabeth is just the best...

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Apr 29, 2016
I finally managed to catch up with this show, thanks to season 3 being added on Amazon Prime, and recording season 4 on DVR. And so far, I've been really enjoying this season, as things start to come to a boiling point for the Jennings, what with Paige telling Pastor Tim about her parents, Phillip rebelling against the Russians more openly, and of course with the FBI finding out about Martha, and thus getting that much closer to discovering the truth about Phillip and Elizabeth. And these past couple episodes have been especially phenomenal.

It's been so great, albeit kind of depressing, to see Martha's downfall, as she's realized the weight of Phillip's lies, and her actions since she's met him. And the acting from Matthew Rhys, Keri Russel, and especially Alison Wright, along with the strong writing, helped bring that all to life in a very thrilling, emotional, and believable way.

And these episodes only served to increase my excitement to see what's to come, as the Jennings' world continues towards their downward spiral.
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Apr 29, 2016
This episode officially got me off of Team Jennings and I am looking forward to the good ol' US of A taking them down. And does anyone believe Martha lives once she gets to Russia? I say "nyet"...
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Apr 29, 2016
They wouldn't go through the trouble of exfiltrating her if they were just going to kill her. They would just kill her there.
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Apr 29, 2016
No, I think if she makes it to Russia, she will live. She won't be okay, she won't be happy, but she'll live.
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Apr 29, 2016
Elizabeth delivered a much-needed dose of hard truth to Martha's midriff. If only she'd done the same for Clark/Phillip/Mischa before he got all warm and fuzzy with Martha.
When storing your deadly pathogens in the freezer, don't use a glass jar.
Nice to see Oleg taken down a peg. He couldn't save Nina, now he can't even dredge up a pilot.
With Martha removed from the board, Pastor Tim comes into focus...
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Apr 29, 2016
I felt for Martha but I also didn't feel any animosity toward Philip and Elizabeth. I still believe if it had come right down to it, Elizabeth would have had to kill Martha because I don't think Philip would have done it, even if he did say he would. There was a small part of him that felt for Martha despite all the deception. My favorite part of this episode was Philip's genuine "I love you!" to Elizabeth when she, more or less, felt some jealousy about his relationship with Martha. It was a rare time on this show that she has showed another genuine "American" emotion. It also was the first time he told her he loves her (on camera) and mean it. You don't spy with a partner of 20 years, have two kids and not feel anything. These two love each other and that is truly the crux of the show beyond all the cloak and dagger.
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Apr 29, 2016
Great episode but I'm so very glad Martha is gone, lets just hope they don't pull a Nina for the next two seasons with her... I really want the show to concentrate on the Priest and his wife! We've only got six episodes left and that plot line has so much potential!
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Apr 29, 2016
Oh Philip, such a moment for you to discover truthfulness! Just when Martha's entire future depends on her getting on that plane, he takes away all incentive for her to do so. How about "Sure, I'll be with you in a week. We'll have Christmas with sleigh rides. Have you ever tasted delicious borscht?" Instead he tells her that he'll never be with her - and not even to visit, really Philip? - and so she'll be alone in a country with an awful climate where she can't speak the language. Why Philip? It's tragic because Philip's goodness is now condemning Martha either to death or a humiliating confession to Gaad which would be even worse.
As someone already mentioned, Elizabeth is trying to save Martha, despite all the opportunity to get rid of her. It seems to have been so Philip could genuinely go away with her to Russia. So the hardline Elizabeth has a soft side after all.
It was a surprisingly tender scene with Philip and Elizabeth when he's definitely not leaving his family. The kissing scene probably even more explicit than their wild sex scenes. It's definitely a real marriage now (except for the passionate kisses and wild sex, obviously).
And Oleg mysteriously "can't get a hold of" his pilot. Maybe Tatiana spoke to the pilot first? She's arranged the removal of the rat but when the encoder asks "Anything else?" she doesn't say anything about removing an asset to Cuba.
In this episode we see more fully the FBI's betrayal of Martha. Is there a microdot in her feminine hygene products? Is she hiding coded message in the ice? We got a taste some episodes when Stan was in her apartment, then when he was going through her personal history. Now they're obliged to be suspicious and the image of the sweet Martha they all worked with is being destroyed until she was always just a rotten commie spy.
So pleased we get a third episode of this storyline. It says so much about the strength of the show that we've barely scratched the surface of the Tatiana enigma or the disaffected William story.
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Apr 29, 2016
I agree, Phillip should have lied to Her. This one little lie to save her very life.
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Apr 29, 2016
The FBI is not betraying Martha. They are investigating, that's all. That's their job. All the betrayal was on Martha's part.
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Apr 29, 2016
This ep was like bunch of teenagers on a camping trip, f**king in tents. :) For me the best part was that it drove home ho much technology progressed in 30 years. The hole telephone switchboards etc were probably quite advanced tech then and we were spared the sight of people whipping out their cell phones and sending texts to each other, FBI triangulating them from cell towers, pinging phones like its going out of style and such.

One thing I don't understand is if, as consensus here seems to be, that Martha ill be killed why go through all the troubles and involve Rezidentura and make detailed plans involving Oleg. I mean, if they are planning on killing her then this seems pointless. And nobody in Rezidentura has emotional investment in her like Phillip does.

which brings me to final scene. I think Philip reacted badly when he talked about Martha's sacrifice. She was an asset recruited under false flag, not an agent. She didn't make sacrifice, she had her life ruined after being duped.

As for scene with kids i think it was more of a counterpoint to hunt for Martha. Both in trying to calm everything down and showing how kids are so oblivious to what their parents are doing
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Apr 29, 2016
I think he wanted to make Martha feel better. Plus who know how much the other Tussuans know about Martha sacrifice. The FBI are thinking she worked for them for a decade. The Rezidentura might believe the same. Which makes her a get for both sides.

I never thought the show was going to kill Martha. Killing her never made any sense.
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Apr 29, 2016
Plus it gave Paige an opportunity to interact with Matthew. This could be setting up a romance.
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Apr 29, 2016
There will be no Russia for Martha. Tatiana made that perfectly clear with her message to the Center. No mention of asset exfiltration. That plane of hers is transporting only rat in a jar, not Martha.

It's pretty certain Martha will end up in a shallow ditch. Not even some gulag near the Arctic Circle for her. Great episode nevertheless.

Since I'm neither American or Russian, I wasn't torn by allegiance to a country. It's just great TV.
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Apr 29, 2016
But the previews do show her in a little plane.
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Apr 28, 2016
"I'm in charge of FBI Counterintelligence, and my secretary married a KGB officer." oh poor Gaad.
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Apr 28, 2016
Borscht with Ginger? A fusion chef and switchboard operator spin off.

Not pissed off with the Jennings at all, a twisted part of me loves how they walk around always feeling horrible and carrying the weight of the nasty evil stuff they did.

Philip hanging toy collecting guy as an alibi for Martha

Elizabeth forcing an old lady to OD on her medication while knowing her own Mother is ill.

If they believed in Hell they'd be pretty sure they had a travel reservation waiting for them, but hey the Motherland comes first.

Still weepy and wary something is gonna go down with Martha. Perhaps she goes to Moscow, finds it all very enlightened and cosmopolitan. She gets fulfilling employment on the lecture circuit teaching Russians about the FBI and falls in love with her handsome Russian language teacher - but something tells me "not very likely".

Oh Gaad! That sad stare out the window, no more kicking junior agents out of the safe room to talk turkey with Beeman and the other guy Dennis.
Khe San style FUBAR'd Gaad! Early retirement!

Sooo... is Oleg like the Rezidentura stud now or he working Tatiana on Arkady's orders and do I care? Can we just deep six Oleg already, he is the Russian Poochy.

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Apr 28, 2016
I am sitting here and trying to think which result would have been better. The result that we saw. Or a potential result of Elizabeth killing Martha and Stan finding her on the bench and that being just another almost for Stan. I am not sure. I liked this result, I thought the whole episode was well done. It reminded me a little of the episode when Paige and Henry had their day of hitchhiking.

The whole slow burn and tension of the episode was well done. I would have appreciated a little more from the FBI in regards to the searching for Martha. This show is the best when the cat and mouse aspect is right there for everyone to see and feel.

Overall it was a fantastic episode and I thought it was well done.

Debriefing.

Other than getting the sample out of the country? And now Martha, I think she has aspirations for bigger things. I can see her having eyes on the residentura itself.

Phillip's wussiness was kind of annoying. When he got offended by Elizabeth saying he could go with Martha if he wanted to. Like he was surprised about it. I kind of wanted Elizabeth to say, have you seen yourself the past few days. My goodness man have a cry about it. Something.

I care about how Martha was done. She is an innocent, she didn't know what she was getting into, she was deceived, all she ever wanted was someone aside from her parents to care for her. And the one person she thought was going to be that, turned out to be Misha from Tobolsk who was playing her the whole time. Her is likely the most tragic of the tragic stories that this show is comprised of.

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Apr 28, 2016
Phillip and Elizabeth didn't piss me off at all. I have been thinking the last few episodes that they should just kill her to get her out of the way. The only thing that pisses me off is how often Phillip says, "just listen to me" and "I promise" over and over.
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Apr 28, 2016
I certainly hope that Elizabeth and Philip get caught by the end of this series, which i love. They really do not care who they hurt, including their children. Poor Martha but she had numerous chances to do the right thing and turn her "husband" in.
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Apr 28, 2016
I'll move to Russia with you Martha!

(There really is something sexy about her.)
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Apr 29, 2016
That's sweet.
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Apr 28, 2016
I don't believe there is any back-up pilot to fly Martha to Russia. She is of no value now that her FBI job is gone. They'll tell Phillip that she's safe in Russia but she'll be killed as soon as she's out of Phillips custody. Oleg will probably get a look at that file folder and see the execution order.
Watching Martha suffer is heartbreaking. Jumping off the bridge might have been best for her. I was kind if hoping she'd make a real run for it. Maybe hitchhike a ride out of DC and hop a bus or something. But she is the ultimate pawn and always at the mercy of others. That call to her parents was excruciating. Even Gaad couldn't handle it.
What a great show!!
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Apr 28, 2016
I got the impression that Tatiana's message about the transport of the diseased rat and only the rat pretty much spelled it out that poor, doomed Martha won't be travelling anywhere.
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Apr 28, 2016
What a fantastic episode! Given how unhumorously the show killed off Nina just a few weeks ago, there is no telling which way Martha is going to go. I'm pretty sure that's why Nina died at the moment she did.

I don't think any show does meets and observation as superbly as The Americans. Every time they do it I'm on the edge of my seat. That and the two soul-crushing talks Martha had, one with her parents and one with Mischa, were the highlights of the episode.

Gaad ... I totally feel for the guy. His perplexity when he found out Martha was married was heartbreaking.
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Apr 28, 2016
The Jennings can’t even begin to piss me off. I hear the whole “they do bad things but work as anti-heroes” approach, but I just relate to these characters in a different way. To me they are “good guys”. Period. Is it difficult to watch them off innocent people? Sure. But are they in any position to do any different? I don’t think so. (also, I don’t think there’s a lot of people on tv today who don’t murder people so I may not consider that a criteria of “good” when it comes to fiction )
This is why this episode broke me in every way, for everyone.
What was more heart wrenching than Philip shouting out Martha’s name? Stan was on the bridge moments after she was, he could have followed her very footsteps and walked in on his “neighbour” yelling the name of the woman he’s just found out was KGB, how tragic would THAT have been?! Philip carelessly calling out for her felt like true despair and it did break me (the soup moment got me too, what other show can make me interested in soup in the middle of the Martha hour?!). Just like this entire ordeal, he had willingly gone for killing a nerd (not something that made him or me feel good) to protect Martha and now he went to all this trouble when she’s literally no one, I mean what Martha knows about Philip is the real danger, what she knows about the FBI is nothing if she’s not able to place bugs and pass info on anymore; so I attribute her still breathing to only one thing: Philip truly cares for her. Which is also why it was touching to see Elizabeth react to it. Not the fact she felt threatened, it had moved me the first time around when they had discussed Clark’s bed prowess; what moved me here is cold killing machine Elizabeth went for the soft way, something we usually only see her go for when it touches to her family. How easy would it have been to meet Philip back at the house and say when she got to Martha she was hysterical and Stan was remotely on sight, it was impossible not to shoot her? That punch in the gut was the most affectionate I’ve seen her be with someone she doesn’t care about, and she did for Philip, because he does care for Martha.
Sure, that doesn’t make Martha’s own plight any less tragic, but as she said, she was picked for a reason. Yes Philip manipulated her, but in his way, he also went for the least collateral damage, not just the easy victim. Martha will only be missed so long by her parents before they die of old age; the casualties we were looking at here if Martha had spoken or if Stan and co had run into the Jennings were far worse than just one destroyed life. And, yes, in her way, Martha too made a decision at some point and you could even argue that her trade was fairer than the one Misha got a while ago when he went for his current lifestyle.
So, nope, not pissed off or shut to the Jennings, very much bleeding from every pore, for everyone. Except for Stan, Stan’s a dick. I mean had he bothered for Nina the way Philip has for Martha, I’d still have a heart. Speaking of which, I had wondered how long Martha would go on after Nina, they were always very similar in some ways. They both were dreamers whose sex affairs worked against them and both were on bought time since pretty much the beginning. At some point I was wondering if the show was going to complete the “opposite yet similar” pattern by showing us Martha be ended by the US government, mirroring Nina’s death sentence, but thankfully it did not. That said, what I love about this show is that it managed to make Martha so fucking perfect. Take that cliché of the non-shaggable, pathetic secretary and without making her a genius or anything surreal, she shines as bright as the main characters. So maybe there is hope for Martha, maybe in this crazy realistic world, she IS going to find herself some hunky Russian teacher who will be dazzled by her courage and she will end up more desired than any sexy spy on the planet with a killer of a 41k by the Soviet government? What I’m saying is I think what makes Martha’s pain so difficult to witness is that it’s perfectly real. Most of us aren’t supermodels with genius IQs, a famous family name or even just a functional loving family to begin with; ending up like Martha is a real possibility, way more than becoming a spy, a superhero or faceless assassin. So maybe because of that what Philip did to her seems worse than a lot we see, because it simply is real. But when you think about it, WE do it all the time, so unless we have never looked at someone deeming them not good enough of our most wonderful self, we’re no better than Philip as we basically prepare the ground for his manipulations every day. Guys, that girl you never invite at the dance? Well at least he took her for a spin. And again, he really cared for Martha, not because he fancied her or because she was smart or she presented any challenge in being manipulated, Philip fell for Martha, not how she would have wanted someone fall for her, but he did and he gave her a life back, not the one she had before, but in her own words it wasn’t that glorious, so can we not be happy but relieved that Martha is ALIVE as we speak? (Nina isn’t).
Loved this episode, love that show, love these reviews, there’s real love for this show and a real eye to explain why it’s so good, nice companion :)
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Apr 28, 2016
I'm a bit relieved that it looks like Martha will live, even though she's not very happy right now. I know something terrible could still happen to her, even if she makes it out of the country. I'll take this little bit of hope!

I'm not pissed at Philip and Elizabeth at all. They're still doing what they have to do, just this time Philip got too close to his mark. He genuinely feels bad about what is happening to Martha. It's been pretty obvious this season that Philip is becoming disillusioned with the whole thing. Elizabeth knows he wants out, I think she loves him enough that she would let him go without her.
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Apr 29, 2016
Doubt it. It's pretty clear Tatiana's pilot is only flying that rat out of the country and not Martha. That's what the last scene in the Rezidentura made very much clear.
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Apr 28, 2016
It was an odd (not in a bad way) episode as I felt myself more the outsider looking in than I have before. So, just some random thoughts....

What on earth is Tatiana planning? It sometimes almost looks like she wants to include Oleg in it, but still hasn't figured out if he is as much of flibberty jibbit as he appears. I am actually not so sure about it either.

I feel really bad that a) I don't know the operators name and that until she asked Phillip, I didn't remember what happened to her predecessor and b) its too bad Phillip couldn't have warned her and c) I sort of wonder if spies still use people like that in locations with the advent of cell phones.
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Apr 28, 2016
Oh yeah the operator part was a wonderful detail in spy-hierarchy. She gave off this vibe like she was a fan-gal excited to be in Philip's presence. Wasn't the predecessor an old man?
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Apr 28, 2016
I think so and I think he was horribly murdered, by whom, I forget. Or maybe he was found out by the FBI, honestly, I was blanking.
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Apr 28, 2016
Larrick killed him to get to the Jenningses back in season two I think.
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Apr 28, 2016
Totally forgot about Larrick.
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Apr 28, 2016
Another great episode. I'm glad to see the more "human" angle here and not bloodshed and death. Often "entertainment" feeds off the shock of killing to end plots and more quickly refocus the story back to the leading actor(s)' characters.

So many great story and acting moments. Philip and Martha. Elizabeth and Philip. And solo: Gaad (Richard Thomas) with his thoughts, and Martha with hers. It's not often that I see the beautiful humanity of a character shine through, and Alison Wright (as Martha) delivered.
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Apr 28, 2016
I really hope Alison Wright will at least get a nomination at the Emmys. But who're we kidding.
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Apr 29, 2016
Yap. She'll get snubbed.
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Apr 28, 2016
My heart is breaking for both her and Gaad in this. Elizabeth and Phillip will get what they deserve, but Martha is a victim, and so is Gaad. He trusted the vetting system of the FBI. But that won't matter. He's right. All that will be considered is that he had a spy, a woman married to a KGB agent sitting right outside his office for years.

Special heartbreak moment for me was when it dawned on Martha, finally, that Phillip was lying about everything, even their marriage. Now her best case scenario is a life in the USSR with strangers who speak an alien tongue. She will be alone just like before, but only much, much worse. And the truth is she was always alone. Clark was an illusion.
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Apr 28, 2016
Movie scripts don't translate very well into reality I'm afraid. Those who imagine Martha could just come clean and cop a wrap over the knuckles with a damp bus ticket may not read the stories on the front of their newspaper.
Even if Stan, Gaad and the rest of the gang in FBI counterintelligence decide Martha deserves a break, which I somehow doubt would happen since giving her one would make them look soft on communism russkies and traitors & ruin their careers, the first pol in Washington to get a sniff of Martha's tale of woe would leap at the chance to play the savior of the US from selfish treasonous commie women.
The headlines would practically write themselves. What Washington pol is going to knock back the opportunity to build a positive national profile - none that's what.
Frankly I doubt Marha will get out. The new woman at the Soviet Embassy is dodgy and either works for the heavies in Moscow who will never trust Martha and kill her sans special circumstances - no nicely typed stack of paperwork for Martha, or she works for the heavies in Virginia who will prevent her escape even if it means killing her.
I can't see Martha making it as far as Havana but if she does that is where she ought to de-plane.
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Apr 28, 2016
You are no doubt right. I hadn't considered the impact of politics on this. But I just always think it's better to turn to the ones you trust, even if you betrayed them. After all, she does have a story behind what she did. And for a long time she really did believe Clark was an FBI agent, too, and she was helping their internal affairs department (whatever it's called). Get a talented reporter in there to tell her story, and it really might spin the other way. The Lonely Spinster Betrayed or some such. The feminist movement of that time would eat it up as another example of male mistreatment of woman.
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Apr 28, 2016
It has always seemed strange to me that they would try so hard to get her out. Someone pointed out that she does have valuable information about the FBI, so that makes sense. But it makes more sense to kill her, doesn't it?
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Apr 29, 2016
The KGB always prided itself on its commitment to 'loyal' agents. In the real world this translated into springing George Blake from prison in England and spiriting Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald McLean to Moscow just before they were to be arrested.
By doing this of course the KGB provided a huge morale boost to the hundreds of agents they had working for them around the world. There is nothing like the belief your bosses will stand by you if things go bad, to instill courage in someone under the hammer of arrest and detention 24/7.
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Apr 29, 2016
But those were agents ho knew what and for who they were working while Martha was an asset recruited under false flag.
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Apr 29, 2016
Unfortunately Martha probably isn't considered loyal anymore. She ran from a safe house and threatened a KGB case officer she would expose him. She is unstable and a security risk of enormous magnitude.

They may have considered exfiltrating her but not after this.
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Apr 30, 2016
It's tough to be sure how Moscow Center would handle this. Their agents in the field are only gonna catch the headlines and remember many of them will also have had their moments of doubt and the agent runners are well aware of that. Letting it be known that she wasn't loyal isn't a viable outcome for them. If she does get to Moscow and proves troublesome, as Guy Burgess did, (Imagine how an out there gay alcoholic aristo went down in 1960's Moscow - even less well than he did in Washington) they have ways and means of dealing with that which don't involve immediate execution.
As for whether she was recruited or press ganged, from a PR view Moscow is always going to play Martha as a willing recruit and thus far Washington doesn't have anything to contradict that.
As I wrote in the OP I have my doubts whether she will make it to Moscow but whatever happens, if Moscow Center have any say in it they will play it as a dedicated agent being rescued - if they do kill her no one will ever be told.
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Apr 28, 2016
Mostly agree, except that Martha is likely a trove of information. Even "boring" daily stuff at the FBI and/or at home with "Clark" could prove highly useful to whichever side gets her after all of this.
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Apr 28, 2016
That moment when Martha realizes that her life was just a cycle of loneliness was not only heartbreaking, it was at the heart of the episode.
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Apr 28, 2016
This will eat Phillip from the inside out. I don't know how he will sleep anymore knowing what he did to her.
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Apr 29, 2016
It wasn't just Philip. What's wrong with all the American men in those 22 years prior? That's what Gaad and Stan were thinking, silently. If she was happily married, or at least in some relationships, the KGB couldn't have had a possibility to work her.
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Apr 28, 2016
This comment has been removed.
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Apr 30, 2016
The real question is whether the actress who plays Martha thinks that you're attractive enough to give the show runners instructions.
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Apr 30, 2016
LOL ben45tpy, NOT! My handsome features are not currently appearing on any viewer's TV screen & do not affect any show. That said, most females find me quite attractive. I'd guess that Martha (who'd be better suited playing Quark's mother) would agree.
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Apr 29, 2016
I for one am grateful for your comments. You help keeping the show's coverage alive. 20 replies for a semi-offensive comment. Keep up the good work!
I do like unattractive people on television though. Once I was a Jedi and had similar viewing habits like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee and now I'm sorta sick of super-attractive people on television. But in this case, since Nina got shot in the neck, I do want to see a fresh hottie on The Americans.
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Apr 28, 2016
I think you're watching the wrong show / channel for your misogyny.
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Apr 28, 2016
jonahvonblash, my vocabulary doesn't include "misogyny" (the new favorite term of the robotic incorrect so-called politically correct). I'm a normal healthy American man, thank God!
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Apr 29, 2016
If you represent "the normal healthy American man" I am so glad I don't live in the US.
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Apr 29, 2016
I'm glad you don't vote here. Feel free to visit & spend money as a tourist!
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Apr 28, 2016
She's the most beautiful female in it in my opinion. Her eyes are wow. And you just know the character would be great in bed.
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Apr 29, 2016
Also she's a great actress with a very communicating face, every emotion shows and is believed by the viewer.
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Apr 28, 2016
I agree. She has beautiful eyes and hair, and great dimples.
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Apr 29, 2016
Hi smorbie. Face "dimples" or butt "dimples"?
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Apr 29, 2016
smorbie, smorbie, smorbie. Have I not been nice & friendly with you? Still you degrade yourself & your views/credibility by initiating personal insults ("child", "troll") because you can't respect that different people have different views & enjoy tv in different ways? Shame shame on you. I'm clearly a contributor, not a troll. I'm also friendly & helpful in sharing information. Please try not to be so closed minded to other ideas/thoughts. I am 21++, but hopefully I & others will always love the child in us.
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Apr 29, 2016
You are either a child or a troll.
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Apr 29, 2016
Yes smorbie, "really". As in she has been really nude in the show (unless it was a body double).
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Apr 29, 2016
Really?
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Apr 28, 2016
To each their own :)
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Apr 28, 2016
Shame on you.
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Apr 28, 2016
smorbs, smorbs, smorbs. Don't be jealous!
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Apr 28, 2016
God, I hope you're kidding.
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Apr 28, 2016
Hi hegealgardsta. Why in hedonism's name would I be "kidding" LOL? Why would you want me to be kidding? Do you not enjoy eye candy & mature material on cable channels?
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Apr 28, 2016
She is average looking as most of the cast. Except Keri Russel. Only horny teenage boys would care and demand eyecandy on a show like this. She is supposed to look bland. If she was a "hottie" it would be hard to explain why she would settle for a man like Clarke/Phillip.
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Apr 28, 2016
I & I'll guess most normal warm blooded men of all ages "care and demand eye candy" on most shows. Why not? Martha is below average. I agree with your point about her. Keri Russell is okay+, but no, not a real hottie. As I say, to each their own; enjoy what you enjoy.
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Apr 28, 2016
"Mature."
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Apr 28, 2016
I suspect our Bigdreamz is maybe a 14-year-old boy.
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Apr 28, 2016
I hope the sketch of Clark will lead Stan and/or Gaad to realize that the males & female KGB agents didn't go back to Russia and reinvest in catching them. If they didn't already assume that male & female Directorate S agents would be married then Clark being married to Martha should give them that hint to how elaborate their covers are. Married couple often have kids, so maybe they'll connect the dots and look for families where the mom & dad could be spies. I could see a deposed Gaad make a comeback & redeem himself in the eyes of his superiors by using his knowledge and resources to make great strides towards finding the elusive and holy-grail Directorate S agents.

Forensics certainly isn't as sophisticated 30 years ago as it is today, but they should be able to get Clark's prints from his and Martha's apartments. Surely they could compare them to crime scenes and vehicles link to suspected KGB activity.
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Apr 28, 2016
I wonder whether the point of the sketch artist's rendering of Martha was to let the FBI know their sketches aren't very good.
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Apr 29, 2016
I don't know, I think they did pretty decent job on "Clark"
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Apr 29, 2016
I thought so when I first saw it, but when they showed it again in this ep, I didn't
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Apr 28, 2016
I think that was the point. They should already know how inaccurate or vague sketches from witness descriptions can be. Today, a computer would do much of the work to produce images that compensate for who a witness definitely saw and how they later describe the person. The sketch of Martha would be a control. In the preview for the next episode someone is looking at sketches of Martha and Clark so maybe Stan/Gaad/Aderholt start to consider composite images and making alterations. I keep thinking about how on Dexter Quinn mixed & matched different sketches of "Kyle Butler" and wound up with a very close facsimile of the titular character. The FBI could the same thing and have a dozens of possible faces for the male KGB agent. That could result in Stan recognizing Philip. Without Martha to tip of Clark, the FBI could make a lot of progress unbeknownst to Philip, Elizabeth, or anyone else in the KGB.

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Apr 28, 2016
Good points all around. I had forgotten that composite sketches were usually used back then.
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Apr 28, 2016
This episode was heartbreaking. I've never been a fan of Martha, but truly she was just a lonely, single woman who happened to fall in love with a charismatic man and it has ruined her life. Her life in Russia (if she makes it there, hmm Tatiana?) will be unimaginable. The only thing I thought with the teens raiding the beer stash, was that Paige might get drunk and start telling tales. And I do love Gaad's continuing incredulous comments...he really can't concieve Martha's role in this whole situation.
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Apr 29, 2016
I liked the scene in the end hen stan alks in his ooffice and hes drinking. stan gives him this look like "it's middle of the day" and he then rants about Martha being married to KGB officer" and you could hear him saying "and this is why I'm drinking in the middle of the day" underneath it all.
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Apr 29, 2016
Seems like a good idea to me. And I don't even drink.
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Apr 29, 2016
I keep waiting for Wallace Shawn to pop out and scream, "Martha married to a KGB spy? Inconceivable!"
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Apr 28, 2016
His life is imploding right before his eyes. I hope we will see him come out of this, after all he did learn that lesson about not playing dead. But, I'm afraid he's done.
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Apr 28, 2016
Another utterly fantastic episode. I held my breath for the entire hour hoping that nothing bad would happen to Martha. There were moments there where I was worried about Martha's fate.

I actually felt sorry for Gaad as well. He knows his career is over no matter how this goes. The bugged pen, Gene maybe being a spy, and Martha. One of those reasons is enough to end his career. All three...Poor Gaad.

Even though the 80s weren't very gig to traitors I actually do think Martha would have been better of with the FBI. She could have dealt her way out of the situation. Now she is (maybe) heading to Russia and she will be ALONE in a foreign country where she doesn't know the language. That is if she survives the trip. #PoorMartha.
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Apr 28, 2016
I've been telling Martha for weeks to go to Gaad and come clean. She could help the FBI understand how the agents are working. Plus, I KNOW she has pictures of Clark somewhere. She could cooperate and get a lighter sentence in a Camp Cupcake or maybe even Witness Protection. She just wouldn't listen.
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