The Americans "Trust Me" Review: Whac-A-Mole

The Americans S01E06 “Trust Me”

Remember that reality show The Mole, on ABC? Hosted by Anderson Cooper, it pit contestants against one another in sussing out a secret operative while completing missions. Later hosted by Ahmad Rashad, this exaggerated game accurately showcased the uncomfortable mechanics of human suspicion that arise in pressurized situations. It was a sensational staging of very real private alliances, double-crossings, and "executions" of the falsely accused—all legit spy stuff featured in last night’s fantastic episode of The Americans, "Trust Me." As word got out that a mole had penetrated the KGB network, Phillip and Elizabeth suffered a brutal kidnapping and interrogation orchestrated by the very organization they work for, and Paige and Henry experienced the dangers of hitchhiking. Meanwhile, Agent Stan Beeman put Nina in further danger to frame Vasili and throw the Rezidentura off her mole scent. Even though it was only the show's sixth episode, "Trust Me" masterfully explored the public unrest an impostor causes, and on a larger scale the notion of "trust."

In worlds as dedicated to information control as the KGB and FBI, a mole is a serious threat. Nina's presence not only puts facts and details at risk—in a system whose success is measured in secrecy, she's also a communal distrust bomb. As Nina found out this week, the role also carries with it the burden of potential abandonment by a known enemy. Not a fun gig. But it thankfully led to another great Beeman-Nina scene, where the former coaxed his way into the Rezidentura yet again via calm direction and near romantic understanding. While the beautiful administrator (and growing candidate for The Americans' best character) duped the KGB, the show itself pulled a mole job on us viewers with a mid-episode reveal that changed the context of everything we had witnessed involving Phillip and Elizabeth’s jarring kidnaps. You totally spied me, The Americans! For as much as the Russian organization considers the U.S. government its enemy, Claudia’s John C. McGinley-alike sure lavished in portraying one of its agents, highlighting the similarities between the two power hierarchies. Was it betrayal by an authority, or just, as Elizabeth says, "part of the job"?

The Jennings are discovering the force they serve is not above abusing supporter trust, quite literally illustrated in Phillip’s phonebook massage. Sure, he’s breaking poor Martha’s heart, so he's not without ethical blame, but no husband deserves to see his wife forced to bob for apples—without the apples—by a lying brute. After a noticeable lull in hand-to-hand combat, butt-kicking made a triumphant return with Elizabeth’s epic takedown of Claudia. Keri Russell turning a 61-year-old woman’s face to pie dough should happen in every episode, and it is a true shame that it doesn’t because this punchfest also involved the story's coolest line: "Tell whoever approved this that your face is a present from me to them."

Surely this burst of outrage will have lasting repercussions (you can't beat up your superiors in an organization that puts bullets in traitors), but locking up a hothead like Elizabeth in a cell covered in invasive pictures of Paige and Henry was like giving the Tasmanian Devil cocaine and a reason. Phillip's complaint that the KGB should suspect him and his wife least echoed the story of Job and the diligent servant's exasperation at being unfairly persecuted by the God of the Old Testament. It was one of a few slight references to God in this episode, albeit enough to provide an underlying existential tone to the normal spy affairs.

A lot of people operate with a faith in a higher power, that behaving a certain way will yield positive results. It's called "religion," and the only difference between spiritual devotion and another sort of extreme dedication is a philosophical focus on the nature of life. Depending on one's value system, anything can technically be a "religion," even spy-hunting (for argument's sake). Calling in his employees on Sunday (a common day for religious practice), Agent Gaad mentioned to Beeman, "My mother always said coincidence was God’s way of winking at you." Later he clarified that he believed in "God, but not coincidence." Other characters further invoked the dynamic of leader and disciple, such as Beeman forcing Nina, the non-believer, to have faith in his "plan," or Phillip telling his captor to "go to Hell." Though the clearest example of a governing force relating to the beings it governs—and my favorite Jennings children storyline to date—was Paige and Henry’s age-appropriate hitchhiking adventure, which functioned as a thematic parable for "Trust Me."


At first congenial and trustworthy, random driver Nick (a chilling Michael Oberholtzer) hid a dark side that manifested in a sinister pitstop which included Paige being encouraged to drink beer and rants about society's need for faith. Ironically, he claimed that "without a higher power we’re no better than wild dogs," while as an immediate higher power to Paige and Henry (at least in terms of his size, weaponry, and access to a car) he pretty much was a wild dog. Even though his car boasted two American flag stickers, and duck feeding is just about the most trustworthy thing a person can do, Nick’s true nature matched that of one of life’s random horrors.

Beneath the lovely exterior of this world that some attribute to a creative force, lies, betrayal, and death are perpetuated by that very same entity. So is it okay if the natural bad leads to an equally natural good? Do the ends justify the means? Nick’s attempt to "put the fear of God" into Paige and Henry worked (they will probably never go hitchhiking again), but they only survived the lesson because Henry rose up against his controlling higher power.

If there was a benevolent force represented, it was in Agent Stan Beeman, and his confession to his wife that he had to "worry about people...." As an ex-mole himself, Beeman knows he’s the author of all the hardship in her life, and accordingly looks after her with the compassion of an attentive creator. His reward was a restful bedside chat, while the household across the street hosted an argument over professional betrayal.

The Jennings have overcome duplicity in the marital sphere before. But in an episode so focused on confidence in superiors, strangers, and colleagues, Elizabeth is seeing a deserved backlash for violating one of the basic building blocks of civilization: trust.


ADDITIONAL INTEL

– Elizabeth is both paranoid and protective enough to get Gregory to be "eyes" on her family.

– Will Nina’s coworker connect her with Vasili’s frame-job?

– Phillip vs. Elizabeth—back to square one again.

– I don't mind Paige and Henry plotlines when they're up against age-appropriate threats. Can they please explore a boxcar next week?

– Oh okay so the business is called DuPont Circle Travel.

– "It’s one of the things that happens when people are involved" applies to 99 percent of this show's—or any show's—drama.

– "I was ripped from my house by the people I believed in. The people I trusted my whole life." Elizabeth is just catching up to the pain she's caused Phillip.

– Hey, an '80s reference to Carnac the Magnificent!

– Is anybody shipping Beeman and Nina?

– What would their ship name be? Beena? Niman?

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Such a spectacular episode. The powers that be appropriately named well. I'm sure things with Liz & Phillip will get better. As for Beeman I wonder if he's going to make a move on NIna.
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I just watched "Trust Me" for the third time and realized the significance of Beeman calling himself Theo when he calls the embassy to speak to Vasili. In Greek, Theo means 'God' and it's where the English words theology, theocracy, theological, etc come from.

As a name, Theo is short for Theonicolau (meaning 'God's gift'), and Vasily's last name is Nikolivich (sp?), but I don't know anything about the Russian language - anyone else?

I'll be watching episode 7 in about ten hours, after my daughter goes to bed.

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Um when Russia realizes Vasili finally shows he wasn't the mole he knows EXACTLY who set him up. You can see it when Vasili looks up at her as he's being escorted out. I mean come on he's an experienced spy who let his guard down once it seems and now the only other person who knew was her. So she's screwed when they "debrief" Vasili.
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Um, you could read several things into the look Vasili gave Nina at the bottom of the stairs.
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Except he may not be lucky enough to get a debriefing, because a) Arkady's been angling against him since day one, and b) Vasili basically broke it down that moles pretty much get head-bullets
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True, but if he admits and keeps admitting and then says his mistress is the mole and then the FBI acts on her tips and does stupid crap instead of make it look like nothing has changed they will start to look in her direction and suspect her. She barely got out, but if I was that guy I would be screaming as loud as I could the "the secretary is the MOLE!!!!" lol.
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Um, that's a lot of IFs.
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I know you think it's not there, but she has months to live or if done right now she could be a triple agent and report that she is an FBI mole, but sleeping with her handler and could turn that around. So who knows. I guess it depends if the viewers like her enough and they keep her around cause she could just end up with a bullet in her head and her handler turned into an informant with the couple being his handler LMAO. How funny would that be?
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One thing I do not get about this episode - if Phillip and/or Elizabeth had turned and was the mole, why would any American spy treat them as their captors were treating them? The KGB should know this as well, and realize the challenges of using this techniques to try and catch a mole.
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Well, My guess would be that there are different departments in the US government working on different leads. so if he had been working say with the fbi, not everyone in the us goverment would know that, and if some other department questions him, he would easily mention that he is already working with the US, and therefore would give himself up.
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Anybody else catch that 21st century fractured English usage by Agent Beeman talking to Agent Gaad? I swear he said "exact same". That was never said in the 70's - 80's.
Makes my skin crawl every time its uttered which is thousands of times in recent years.
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Really a fantastic episode. What disturbs me the most is that 30 years is not that far ago...It is a kind of show that I cannot see lasting that many seasons... how will it end ???
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Possible endings:

1)They'll flash forward to after the Soviet Union collapses, and Phillip and Elizabeth will defect (my best guess).

2)Beeman will arrest them.

3)The KGB will kill them.

4)The KGB will help them fake their deaths and return to the Soviet Union.
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I enjoyed this episode and I know it was shooting for religious references, but I think you're giving it more credit than it deserves. Or perhaps you're looking for too specific of a reference.

There definitely seems to be a very under-the-surface fixation in the series as a whole comparing how our characters view God vs. how they view merely human authority, and there's some weighty philosophical ground to be explored there. But the references so far have been both subtle and general, leading to a sense that the writers want to say something, but they aren't sure what.

Also, your Job reference seems off -- Job wasn't complaining because God was persecuting him; he was complaining because God *allowed* Job to be persecuted, and beyond what Job viewed as justice, considering what he saw to be his sins. The point of the story of Job is that we are *not* always punished or rewarded in this life according to our sins or virtues as we see them -- Job's misfortunes weren't a punishment at all, but a test of faith.

So, although it's possible the episode was making an analogous reference or simply misinterpreted the biblical story, I don't see the Job thing here.

Now an Abraham comparison -- that's a different story . . .
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Not to split hairs here, but it could still be argued that Phillip was angry the KGB had allowed him to be persecuted as a mole (as God had allowed Job to be persecuted), and that his "blending in" to American society was what he saw as justice, and what Elizabeth (as a representative of the KGB) saw as a sin.

I can see how a close reading of these incidental "God" moments might be viewed as searching for too specific a reference, but when a story repeats topics among different characters that all orbit around a similar concept it's safe to put those all together and theorize a meaning. That's the fun of TV!
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Thanks for your response, and by all means, split hairs! That's part of the fun of analyzing these things, when we can't ever really know the answers (at least until some writer decides to spill the beans).

I could see your point here, if we grant that the KGB views its actions against the Jennings as part of the "natural course" of spying, rather than as a direct result of human action. In other words, they expect the Jennings to view the agency's interrogation of its own as Job might have viewed an earthquake or a fire that "just sort of happened", as opposed to Job seeing God as the one who *caused* the earthquake or fire.

Which makes sense, given what Agent Pulpface said about how they "had to be sure". Kind of a "nothing personal, this could have happened to anybody" kind of thing.

Still I think that's kind of belaboring the point, if the writers intended for that to be a direct reference. But the recurrence of God-talk amongst all the leads here definitely requires us to think in terms of what they might be referencing. I'm curious what their ultimate point will be, if any, or if they just want to make us think a little more than we're used to when we watch spy thrillers.

It made sense when Jack Bauer and company brought to mind questions of what it meant to obey orders, follow the law, support your country and countrymen, and honor your national leaders even when you don't like them. Those things flowed naturally from plots about terrorism. With "The Americans" though I think the religious exploration should either come more to the forefront, or be driven more into the background. As it sits now, I kind of feel like the writers need to fish or cut bait.
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Fair enough, I agree the show should introduce a more specific take on religion/God moving forward if it expects to have something worthwhile to say. However, the few instances wherein The Americans has veered into existential territory also worked pretty well within the given episode's theme - which is to say, yes the writers should fish or cut bait soon, so that subtlety doesn't turn into vagueness.
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Agreed. I like what they've done with it so far, but the time to do more, or just drop it, is rapidly approaching.

Cheers
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FURTHER READING

I just heard on the radio about a recently-published book,'Deception: Spies, Lies, and How Russia Dupes the West' by Edward Lucas, who's been writing about Russia and Eastern Europe for over 20 years. He even looks like a spy. His website is http://www.edwardlucas.com/

Also, if you look up Alexander Litvinenko on Wikipedia, the article briefly outlines some Russian, Israeli and Western spy stories, both recent and Cold War-era.
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Is any one bothered that the FBI framed that guy or is it all fair because it's war? They basically gave him a death sentence and he didn't do anything other than his job.
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Oh please. Its TV for crying out loud.
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I was thinking the same thing when it happened. So far we haven't seen really seen a bad side of Vasili, he's pretty much just done his job. As far as the interaction with Nina, she was the one instigating it and he was always courteous to her. So I guess it comes down to the fact that they are at war...
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Courteous? Nice guys come last.
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From a viewer standpoint, I'm more than happy to see Vasili get it in the neck if it saves Nina. I don't care which country she is from, or if they are loyal to it, I sympathise with Nina and I don't like the way Vasili has sex with her (even if she initiated it). It's not logical, but this show divides its viewers along all sorts of lines, and that's me.
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Honestly, if one looks at things realistically--that sort of thing is just as much "part of the job" as anything else. Sure, it's an uncomfortable thought for a "regular civilian", but I'm *sure* this has happened enough times for it to not be uncommon, *especially* if it's done to protect the asset.
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I'm sure it does happen, and obviously the characters involved are comfortable with it. Just like the real life applications of torture, the soldiers carrying it out have to be confident they are doing the right thing, however civilians often object. What I want to know is: Is anyone uncomfortable with this from a civilian/viewer stand point?
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Hrm. I don't precisely like it, but I can't say I'm that bothered either.
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I thought the guy that picked up the kids was part of the kidnapping operation until I came here.
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Given that the KGB were just testing the Jennings, they wouldn't have brought their kids in to potentially blow their cover to their children.
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Cool. Interesting way to look at it. I'm glad you told us.
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Again I'm given a pause by a lot of comments and am pressed to go "hrm". How to try and explain this ... yes, in USSR there was technical gender equality, although you could physically see and experience it in *many* walks of life. I say "technical" because the thinking of men, regardless of them being communists, socialists, what-have-you, was *still* the thinking of *men* and while women were treated equally in many areas--there *were* some very "male oriented regions of life and profession", if you will, where it would be *extremely* hard for a woman to "make something of herself".

Both Elizabeth and Claudia not only had to be extremely intelligent, capable and remarkable--they would have to be *tougher* than most men in KGB, *and* would have to prove it time and time again, because they'd be under much more scrutiny.

This is why I'm not particularly worried that Claudia will now "shrivel and disappear" because, if the writers are planning to stay authentic to "human condition" in KGB specifically--she probably was beaten much worse throughout her career, and while this may be a brief inconvenience to going out for tea--this is nothing.

The stated above is also the reason why I cringed at Elizabeth's violent outburst. It wasn't because I was feeling bad for Claudia, but because someone as devoted to the cause as we are supposed to think Elizabeth is ... *minding* just where and in what and (presumably) *how* she had made her career ... seeing photos of her kids wouldn've offended her so much that she'd go this berserk. And, frankly, a deep-cover KGB agent, if they'd get this angered, would've preferred a different method--the one that is plotted over, waited patiently for and served at its best cold temperature.

For people who never in their lives have seen the truly devoted to the "cause" of USSR individuals--it is hard to understand how even one's *very loved and cherished* family is *not* of more importance than the "cause". For me, the only plausible reason with which I could excuse Elizabeth's seeming "loss of control" is that she might've realized *who* grabbed them, but more importantly *why* they did (because she reported Phillip) and so, this outpour of anger was more an overcompensation of guilt on her part. *That* would make more sense to me than her being this pissed off over her kids' photographs.
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I think The Americans is supposed to be less historically accurate than it is supposed to be seductive to "Western", mainly male audiences. The cute girl giving the fat ugly woman a kicking? TV gold.
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I get that, sure, but a vew people who commented--asked me to give my perspective "as an ex soviet", so I'm doing that, I suppose. ;)
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P. S.: I, too, see Phillip as a better spy than Elizabeth, *thus* for (rather than "more loyal"). This could now change, but *until* now--Elizabeth has been so concentrated on loathing her enemies and being loyal to her keepers that she seemed to have been missing a lot of subtle nuances that a *spy* (rather than a spy's informant/source of data) really *should* be noticing and processing accordingly. Phillip didn't strike me as being as equally "tunnel-visioned". It's almost as if this whole spying business, by now, is more a matter of personal pride and skill rather than loyalty--for him.

"I like it. So what?! I fit in!" (Paraphrasing what Phillip screamed in Elizabeth's face as they were walking away from the building, in which they were held.)
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Yeah, screaming at each other about their cover while standing on the footpath. Very spy.
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Not really, but it was very telling about each of their characters in different ways, I thought.
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I knew it was the KGB - I was however fairly stressed about Philip trying to defect to the FauxBI - but knew that would result in his death so was quite unlikely
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Thank you. I'm dull as a dish mop this week and your review makes so much sense of this episode.
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Another good episode although i thought the frame up of arkady was a bit contrite. Would he really be that careless with the diamonds and the camera and the soviets surely would consider him possibly been setup. Maybe fringe fanatic's theory is correct.
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Et tu, Elizabeth?

I'm having a difficult time warming up to the KGB cyborg. She's a badass spy who takes no prisoners and packs a wallop of a punch (how's it feel, Claudia?!), but I'll be damned if the writers don't constantly offset her awesome badassery with unforgivable douchebaggery.

Since the beginning of the season we have found out she cares more about the cause than her family (though that might be slowly changing), murders without remorse, has lied to Phillip for years, has cheated on Phillip, and for the piece de resistance; she even sold out Phillip to the KGB. (Now she's spying on her own family.) Forget being a shitty wife. She's a shitty spy partner.

I realize Elizabeth has more emotional baggage than an Airport carousel, but in the magical land of TV, a troubled backstory does not give you a free pass to betray the one person who's back you should always have.

Elizabeth: "You're not the only one who got hurt today. I was ripped from my house by the people I believed in. The people I trusted my whole life."

Phillip: "Yeah, I think that says it all."

ZING!

To top it all off, Elizabeth is blinded by jingoism and more than a little naive. What would have happened if Phillip didn't stop her from sending (as it happens completely wrong and misguided) intel that there was an American coup taking place? The fingers on the buttons just might have had the urge to press ... click? (Do you press or click a button?) Anyway, it wouldn't have been good. It's amazing, but in the context of the show, Elizabeth almost caused the cold war to heat up like a motherfucker. (Sorry for all the profanity. I don't know what's gotten into me today.)

Okay, my Elizabeth tirade is done. I will say that she is a progressive character. Usually these roles are reserved for men. Hey guys, women can be assholes, too! Equality!

ONE PROBABLY TOTALLY WRONG THEORY:

For some reason I thought the scene when Visili was "found out" by his KGB comrades was highly suspicious.

Visili: "I've been set up."
Arkady: "Remarkably well, wouldn't you say?"

It almost seemed like Arkady believed him in that moment. Wouldn't it be crazy if the KGB put Visili on a plane to the USSR to make the Feds believe Nina is still beyond suspicion? Then they feed her misinformation and turn the tables on the FBI. Farfetched, I know. The Americans is starting to make me feel as paranoid as its older sister, Homeland. I may just be seeing shadows in the dark. But isn't that the highest compliment you could give a show about espionage?
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Actually what she said was much more meaningful:

Elizabeth: "You're not the only one who got hurt today. I was ripped from my house by the people I believed in. The people I trusted MOST my whole life."

Phillip: "Yeah, I think that says it all."

That implied she never trusted Philip as much.
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Even without the emphasis, I think both quotes implied that.
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The way the sentence was originally said, it's clear she trusted her handlers most, so more than Philip. Without "most" as you wrote it, it means she trusted her handlers, but not that she didn't trust other people as well, including Philip. Saying that she trusted the handlers MOST was a sharp knife on Philip's back.
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Sorry, Tim. I just think you're so omnipresent you're everywhere. This is Ryan's review...
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Hey don't bring me into this!
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OK, but I thought you understood it that way too. Tim got it wrong.
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Dude, I was just copying and pasting from the review.
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I agree about Elizabeth being blinded by jingoism, but not about her "cheating" on her husband. They are not exactly in a typical marriage, and up until recently she didn't think of him as a husband but more like a coworker.

I knew people would disapprove of Elizabeth having sex with other men, even while Philip gets a free pass. I doubt anyone would care if they'd found out Philip had a romantic relationship on the side.

As far as teams go, I'm on Elizabeth and Philips team. I think they will work through this and become stronger together. Elizabeth now knows that her devotion to their cause isn't enough. I'm sure Claudia will meddle quite a bit in their relationship, though... which will give us someone other than Elizabeth to direct our anger towards.
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She may not be cheating on her husband, but she's cheating on her partner. Like cop partners or soldiers. You are at a war, and despite anything your superiors say, you have to trust and respect the most the person that has your back, your companion in the trenches. Phil and Elizabeth and much, much more than coworkers.

And no matter how bogus their marriage is, Phil is still the father of her children, for chrissake. So their marriage can be a sham, but not her motherhood.
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She was doing her job. If the roles were reversed I doubt anyone would claim Phillip was "cheating" on Elizabeth. People always get weird when I woman is portrayed this way. Her loyalty is (or was) to Russia first, that is what they were both trained for.

I don't know why you would even bring up her motherhood. She didn't report her children.
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If Philip told Claudia something compromising about Elizabeth, I'd say he cheated on her the same way. Just because it's a woman it doesn't make any difference. Yes, in any army the officers will say trust your superior first and your comrades second, but I believe that in the heat of the battle, it's the brothers-in-arms down in the trenches, not the distant generals, that deserve most of the trusting because they have your back.

I brought up Elizabeth's motherhood because you said they're just coworkers. No, they have a life together. They have children. You don't have children with simple coworkers. They have a special bond, or at least should have, that even if it doesn't involve romantic love, it should be based on honor, trust, and respect. For this reason, Phil would never betray Elizabeth the way Claudia did. Oh, well, now he might, considering he's finally been able to see his wife's true nature.
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I was referring to Gregory when I wrote that Elizabeth "cheated" on Phillip. It had nothing to do with the mission, but more importantly, she lied about it for years. The physical betrayal is one thing, but it's the constant breach of trust that is forcing Phillip from their "marital" bed.
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You're thinking of their marriage as if it was a real one. Their marriage is part of their cover, she didn't love Phillip and he didn't love her. She wasn't cheating on Phillip with Gregory, she was having a real relationship with someone of her choice. She didn't know she and Phillip would come to have real romantic feelings for one another.

I'm sure Phillip will get over it and force himself back into their marital bed, lol. Their relationship is only just beginning.
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Which all just goes to show how effed up their lives are and how much the KGB screws with them (cue Jason Bourne saying "Look how much they make you give.") It was their JOB to have kids, and now their kids' well-being is subject to the whims of the KGB. They think Philip is a traitor? Shoot the kids' dad.....sucks for them. They think Philip and Elizabeth aren't working well together anymore? Split them up on different assignments and the kids probably get a story along the lines of "Things just aren't working out between me and your father...." I think that's the real contrast in the two characters so far, for me. Philip has enough humanity in him to realize that however he started out, however he got there, he's got a family now--at least kids. Elizabeth comes across like she loves her kids but ultimately sees them as "part of the Job" and would put The Cause above them. It makes her an interesting character......but an extreme douchebag.
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I know their marriage wasn't real. It's obviously a part of their cover. But she still lied to him about her relationship with Gregory, and Phillip said he never once lied to her. I don't look at it like a wife cheating on her husband, but a spy betraying her partner.
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I'm sparks and flame for Elizabeth right from the start. But I always had a sweet spot in my heart for dysfunctional, ice-cold spy-assassins, so there is that.
Plus: her eyes help a lot.
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I agree with you. On the review of the last episode of this show I questioned all the love everyone has for Elizabeth in the comments. People disagreed with me but were nice about it. The only thing I like about her currently is her fighting which was good (would of been awesome if I hadn't seen Carrie's fight on Banshee). Elizabeth is very contradictory at times---cold and heartless vs emotional and impulsive...hmm, maybe that can be interesting. She never came off as a "momma bear" until this episode imo.

I'm still mad at her for straight up murdering the jittery KGB mole. Why couldn't she of knocked him out and relocated him to be held until his handler could calm him down. On the other hand I don't think she made the decision and instead just carried out the order--but it still made me upset (angry and sad).

She needs to progress a lot....

I'm still holding on to my theory that Philip is a more loyal spy and they weren't just kidnapped and interrogated because Elizabeth was a snitch. Instead I see every KGB agent and their support staff involved in that case being questioned by various methods until they get an answer. Elizabeth is loyal to the cause but I don't think she is necessarily the most loyal spy (hard to explain and I haven't work it all out myself--lol).

I like your theory.
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She's not a very likeable character at the moment. But that's probably by design. In TV there always needs to be characters to cheer for and characters to make snide and derisive comments about. Maybe there will be redemption/vindication for her around the corner. Alas, I don't know about the majority of the viewing public, but I'm Team Phillip all the way, and I'm also starting to realize that I'm using Twilight's "Team" designations far too much.
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"In TV there always needs to be characters to cheer for and characters to make snide and derisive comments about". Isn't that awfully simplistic? If a series is supposed to be taken seriously it has to rise above the stupid dichotomy Good-Evil that the american audience, for some reason always seem to be looking for.

I don't know how many times I read about american critics giving bad reviews to films because they didn't "feel for any character" Why would one need to do that? When I watch a film I want complexity and not simple emotions like rooting for a football team or something. I don't have to find characters likeable for them to be interesting, rather the opposite.
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I was joking. The "derisive comments" remark was a self-depricating reference to my post.

Also, I'm Canadian, so your "stupid dichotomy Good-Evil" insult has been directed at the wrong audience. And you couldn't have misconstrued my comments any worse. I very much enjoy moral ambiguity and shades of philosophical grey in my fiction. But I prefer my television to possess both complexity AND emotion. One needn't be sacrificed for the other.

And you're the one being naive if you don't think "feeling" for a character isn't important. It may be formulaic, but I guarantee you every creator of every dramatic television show wants you to care about the characters on their show. Whether it be like or dislike, love or hate, they are actively trying to make you care. It's just basic human nature ...

WAIT A SECOND!

Elizabeth, is that you?
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Elizabeth murders jittery man because she is told to--Claudia interrogates her underlings to try to find the mole because she is told to--Elizabeth gets mad--"don't shoot the messenger" Elizabeth you hypocrite...but I still am enjoying the show despite not liking Elizabeth much (enjoy watching her fight)
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I think that is the point of Elizabeth. She is struggling internally with the things that are going on. And that is going to have consequences on the world around her. So at time she is going to be cold and heartless and at times she is going to be emotional.

The irony is to ensure Elizabeth was still Elizabeth the KGB is pushing her and that is going to lead her to the opposite of what they know and want her to be.

She is loyal to the cause. But she has given up a lot, perhaps more than Phillip. However, she is still a patriot, and when you question that in the manner that they did, is extremely offensive to her, can the KGB do what they did, sure, did she think it would eve be done to her. Probably not. She is there in the field, risking her life, risking the lives of her children, she was right when she said that they should be the last people questioned. And when some do nothing bureaucrat with no knowledge of what they do, risks they take, sacrifices they make makes an accusation like they did. A physical response was likely, and that is what she gave Claudia, and her quote was perfect. That beating was a gift to Claudia's superiors not just Claudia.
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I agree. Elizabeth and Phillip go out to the woods in the middle of the night to send signals, presumably leaving the children home alone. They are asked to do "impossible things" (The Clock). They were the ones who got the encryption codes in the first place, and that was no mean feat.

Elizabeth didn't get much of a beating, but I am willing to believe that her anger was partly on behalf of Phillip, 'cos she's had a soft spot for him since the episode Gregory.
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That is a good point I didn't consider. It could have been anger because of what they did to Phillip.
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all they did to her was kidnap her (she resisted and started fighting which I liked), put her in a room with photos (it's not like they had the kids there) and threaten to put her head in the water for a near drowning. Unlike Philip who got beat up, questioned extensively, and had some actual near drowning. Basically she couldn't hold up under psychological pressure whereas Philip held up under both psychological pressure (them threatening to harm his wife) and physical "pressure"/torture.

Philip was actually quite a badass spy--he said he would tell them nothing (his actual quote was more badass then that). He stayed calm and I'm glad he had the gun at the end of that scene instead of Elizabeth.

Philip is a scarier spy (I'm speaking as an American) and I think he is better at his job. I like his character even though he is more of a threat to the USA--I root for him even though I hated how he treated the maid and her family in the clock episode. I wonder what his backstory is. I can't put my finger on it but I like him so far...

I couldn't reply to your comment below but I don't get why she thinks they will 'treat her right" when they didn't in the past. Getting raped earns respect/trust? (personally I think it earns revenge -I spit on your grave style- imo). I know that isn't what you meant and it just one variable out of many regarding her and her superiors, but I came to a different conclusion so we can agree to disagree. At least here they had a valid reason to interrogate them. Only a few people knew about the encryption card and she played a role in their suspicion by previously throwing her partner under the bus but saying he was enjoying himself to much. Hello, it undercover work--he was fitting it. So what if he enjoyed it.

The fact that she didn't seem get upset at her superiors for the rape (I understand why she didn't show how she felt to them) would make them thinks she could understand the need for questioning. Only a handful of people knew about it and they should of known they would be interrogated...

Let's agree to disagree on this topic of Elizabeth. It's a good show and her character is interesting enough to generate discussion. I'm just going to wait and she where her character goes, i.e., how she grows/develops if she does. I have faith in FX (their only mistake that I can think of was Terriers) and the writers/actors are good. I may not like Elizabeth's character as a person (yet) but sometimes I feel sorry for her and other time I dislike her and other times I'm like "go girl, kick their ass"...lol. Her character generates different responses from fans of the show and depending on what happens in the show the responses can change...I think this is a good thing for the show.
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by hold up under psychological pressure, I meant she went off on Claudia. I liked that scene emotionally but logically it was a dumb move imo (but it will work out ok since she is one of the main characters on the show)
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Elizabeth didn't tell them anything, so I don't know where you get the idea that she didn't hold up under psychological pressure. The reason they went farther with Philip was because Elizabeth told them in the past that he liked living here too much. She told them this before she started having feelings for Philip, which was also before the mole was discovered. They were already a little suspicious of Philip because of this, so their interrogation of Philip was much more intense. Neither one of them gave up any information, and were both willing to die, this is why Claudia called a stop to it.
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clarification: their only mistake I can think of was canceling Terriers
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and their rape of her wasn't offensive to her?
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Of course that is included with the what she has given up. I meant to expand on that but accidentally left it out. She was raped. And she took it for the greater good. And she is owed a modicum of respect and trust.
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I'm 100% in on your theory. Let's do this.
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"To win without risk is to triumph without glory." Giddyup.
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It was totally obvious that they had been grabbed by their own people. I was a bit disappointed that Philip never figured it out. (OK, it was less obvious to him than to us, because the character doesn't know that he's in the first season of a TV show, but I think he should have suspected something). Still, it gave us some really good scenes. First Elisabeth beating the crap out of the boss lady, yelling awesome things like "show them your face", and then the conversation they had as they walked away.

I really didn't like the hitchhiking stuff at first. It's such a silly cliche that the first person who's willing to stop is going to be freaking child molester. So I was rolling my eyes for a while. But just like the other thing I didn't like, it gave us some good scenes. I totally didn't expect the boy to smash a bottle against the guy's head.
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Yes, totally obvious it was their own agency but It was a good episode. I thought the boy hitting the bottle against the guys head was obvious when you saw him with the bottle and noticing the weapon. Regardless, "it didn't take away from the quality of the episode"

I still think Philip is actually the more loyal spy but that is just a suspicion of mine.

I was oblivious to the religious messages/lines but I totally called the KGB as the kidnappers and the boy getting himself and his sister out of the jam.

I liked Elizabeth's fight scene when the first agent tried to kidnap her--she kicked ass. I liked watching her beat up Claudia but I think it was a bad choice on her part--to emotional from a spy/employer perspective and I think Claudia will have her revenge (at least she would if it was real life but we can't kill off a major character like Elizabeth-plus Elizabeth is very useful to the KGG- so Claudia probably won't have the revenge she thinks she deserves).

Beeman and Nina are great characters. I'm not sure if I want them hooking up--mixed feelings.
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Is it just me who is being suspicous of Mrs Beeman? Probably just being paranoid ..
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Yeah, I called it before they even had Philip in the van. I'm just glad it didn't take away from the quality of the episode.
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-_- I feel like a simpleton now, I honestly thought they'd been rumbled. Then I was wondering what that meant for the show as I knew it'd been renewed, so I thought maybe they would make them double agents or something? Was not firing on all cylinders watching this last night, clearly.
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I think you we're supposed to think that. I can't think of many TV shows which acknowledge that they are TV shows, so you probably weren't supposed to be thinking of the next season.

(Although a show where Phil is busted, and Elizabeth and Gregory are the main spies, is not as attractive to me.)
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You shouldn't feel like a simpleton. I'd say over half the people here (including the reviewer) didn't see that coming. I've just watched SOOOOO many movies and TV shows, my "plot twist" senses have been honed into a finely sharpened blade. It's really not something to be proud of. :)
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Haha I know how you feel! I watched so many TV shows with crazy plotlines and twists. It became impossible to watch new shows without thinking way ahead and being paranoid of every character. I know what you mean with : "Its really not something to be proud of" But I can't help myself.

I very much like your theory that the KGB is fooling the FBI. I just hope Mrs Beeman doesnt work for KGB. Please "The Americans" : Suprise us every week!!

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Fantastic review. I was picking up on the philosophy and religion that was so prevalent in the episode and I found it fascinating. It was one of my favorite episodes of the show so far, although I feel as though I say, or at least think that just about every week.
-I'd ship Beena. I don't condone cheating or affairs or anything of the sort, but it's fiction, so why the hell not? No, but really, Nina and Beeman are just as intriguing to watch together as the leads. In fact, Beeman, to me, is at his most interesting when he's interacting with Nina. I feel like we get a deeper insight into his character when he's with her, that we don't really see anywhere else.
-Oh the ass kicking was back and boy did I LOVE IT!! I was excited when Elizabeth paused after hearing a noise and wandered around the house with a butcher knife in hand, only to proceed to whoop ass before being knocked out. I always gush about Phillip, and he is such an interesting character, whom I adore to pieces. But I love Elizabeth. I like how strong she is. She's so focused, to a fault at times, but it's what makes her character so fantastic, so I loved her the entire time they were being held captive because even if she wanted to, you just knew she'd never break. I didn't suspect it was KGB who had taken the, but I did figure it wasn't the Feds, just because as all of that was going on, no one at the Federal building was giving the impression that anything remotely close to an unofficial interrogation of suspected KGB agents was being held somewhere. But finding out that it was KGB was just uber good stuff to watch. As was watching Elizabeth beat the crap out of her handler.
-I liked the bit with the kids. They don't often give them much of anything to do. The hitchhiking thing, to me, gave them this opportunity to show off just how much they are like (or are not like) their parents. When her daughter was initiating the hitchhiking it made me think about the concern Elizabeth had about her being too delicate. When her son was the one suspicious the entire time, before clocking the guy over the head when the opportunity presented itself, despite being afraid...it reminded me of how Elizabeth said he was like Phillip.
-I even loved the fact that Phillip and Elizabeth are kind of at square one again. We got a taste of how amazing they can be as a legit couple, and now it's been taken away for a bit. Trust is paramount. Their relationship requires work. Hard work, trust, and so much more. Now more than ever. I love that I fully understand both sides, I totally understand both of the, and because of that...no one is really in the wrong. No one is the bad guy between them. They're just different.
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I liked your comment, although I suspected it was the KGB who kidnapped Phillip. The reason is just that I was looking forward to seeing Phil hold his nerve but he just stayed in the character of Clark with the wig and glasses, all wimpy. Then again, he changed into Phil when the glasses and wig were off. I might have just contradicted myself.

Was Beeman acting alone when he framed Vasili? I know he got the diamonds through his boss, but did the FBI know why? I suspect he framed Vasili in particular, out of jealousy.

Like you, I enjoyed seeing the kids do something (and it wasn't even about Paige's love interest across the road). Talk about a higher power, Henry, way to go.

I'm happy to see Phillip and Elizabeth rebuild their relationship, again. Only I think this time it's Elizabeth chasing Phil, not the other way around. It's going to take a long time for Phillip to trust her again.
Aside: What was the necklace Elizabeth gave to Phillip, for Martha? He took it, shaking his head.
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Thank you! :) I loved that Phillip was staying in character up until they ripped everything off of him. Even after he stayed in character for a bit. I imagine that is just what good spies do.

I wondered about that too. Did he get the permission from his boss? I'd like to think that he had, but he never sold why they needed to do that, so it left me speculating as well. I also found it interesting that they were so cavlier about taking evidence. The 80's.

I like that too, that this time it's Elizabeth having to do the reaching out etc. It puts her a bit out of her element, even more, since the entire relationship, and new sense of intimacy she has with Phillip is her out of her element. You know, I was wondering what the significance was of that necklace as well. She doesn't strike me as someone who holds on to things for sentimental reasons, and yet it seemed to be of some significance to her.
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I must admit, the first thing I thought when they were kidnapped was that it was a security check (and humorously, the rerun of Arrow last night was "Trust, but Verify" and at least twice I checked the name of this episode to see if it was the same thing). There were a couple of times I doubted (the tape with Martha seemed odd and why would they have interrupted a mission like that he was on? that is actually proving useful). But it was still so well done, even though you knew the reactions of both Phillip and Elizabeth afterward, they were still so well acted that it wasn't predictable (and even though I really like Gregory, my reaction was totally groaning that she was turning to him and I kept wanting her to say what happened because he would think Phillip did it).

The kids...while I was yelling at them the whole time, I was also reminding myself that this is 1981 and I don't think Adam Walsh had gone missing yet in that year so stranger danger wasn't really a thing yet. I did randomly think, I figure all spy agencies do things like they did to their parents, but you would think they would have arranged someone safe to pick up the kids as they are important to the whole mission in either case.

That was totally badass of Beeman! I didn't totally realize what he was doing at first and you have to wonder, did he pick out Visil because of how Nina was dealing with him and Beeman didn't want her to do that anymore.
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LOL Nina went from giving Vasily a blow-job to a frame-job.

That guy in the car generally freaks me out, probably because I have two kids myself.
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This show just keep getting better. I heard it has been renewed for season 2 which is just awesome! I did not catch the twist. I thought it was some other agency other than FBI that caught but it should have been quite obvious it was their own KGB. Beeman and Nina story is just as good as the Jennings and the cast is really good!
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"in a cell covered in invasive pictures" ? To me it looked like a cell covered with pics from her early past, which only the KGB could have had and therefore she knew that this is a set up to test her hubby. And to make it more believable the "over reaction" !!!
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They were pictures of her children, not her early life.
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I'm going to have a closer look at the credits. Today (second viewing of Trust Me) I happened to pause the credits and I got a photo of Paige standing in front of a sculpture, with a line drawing of an astronaut in the same screen shot.
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Ok. I could have sworn there were some Russian looking childhood pics in there but I take your work for it. Also why would the KGB not make sure the kids are ok until they get what they want. Doesn't make sense.
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Imagine if something did happen to the kids as a result of Phillip and Elizabeth being kidnapped by the KGB.
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Yeah, they didn't really think that through. And I've rewatched the pictures scene a few times. There were some family photos, but they were mostly pics of Paige and Henry.
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Loving what they've been doing with Nina's character. From a woman who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on the wrong side of a tiny little smuggling side issue, and all of a sudden, she's a fully immersed FBI asset "unofficially" selling her body out for traitorous state secrets. And the actress, can't remember her name, is doing a phenomenal job of it. I, on the other hand, totally called the "twist" from the start. There's no way the conversations at headquarters would have gone as they did with Stan Beeman and his boss if two people were interrogating possible KGB spies somewhere else at the same moment. Also, Stan probably would have been watching it all go down, as he would have known about it. That said, I watched the interrogations unfold with that in mind, and that REALLY hit home the concept of trust for me. Incredibly well done.
-A good call I think on her part for their safety. I'm worried about the emotional impact, though, particularly in the wake of her and Phillip's fight. I mean, she didn't even so much as hint, he just grabbed his stuff and was like "I'm sleeping on the couch tonight".
-At the very least, I am certain that he'll be keeping a stronger eye on her from now on. It's hard to have liasons with a coworker, especially in the same building, and not have someone know about it. It just happens that way, someone always knows.
-Yup, and I am sad about that. I loved seeing the development in that department. I hope that Elizabeth will be more for an active role in seeking out Phillip emotionally now instead of it being just Phillip as it was previously.
-A Boxcar Children reference: AWESOME. Also, I agree.
-Yeah, I kind of want to see more about that, too. I feel like they should actually have to do something with it once in a while to fully make it work as a cover business. Otherwise it becomes too convenient for them to just have a clubhouse to work this area of their business from that's just generally ignored.
-Agreed.
-EXACTLY! Which is why, as I said above, I hope she takes a more active role in reaching out to Phillip now. She broke his trust, and has finally now realized how good the two of them can truly be together, so she should reach out to him to further the relationship.
-I'm too young...
-Nope. I love their relationship as a working relationship, and I like the stuff with Stan and his wife. I don't really want to see anything happening romantically on that end of things.
-Assuming this did happen (which I don't want it to), it would be Niman. So says I.
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The travel agency is a pretty good earner. It employs enough people to leave Elizabeth and Phillip free to talk spy stuff whenever they need to. Their house is pretty big. Who pays for the high-end wigs, Elizabeth's many coats and all the cars?
Aside: Do none of the other mothers notice that Elizabeth never does any volunteer work at the school? Surely being a working mother in the 80s attracts some criticism.
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Her name is Annet Mahendru and you are right, she is great!
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I was born and raised in "the West" (but not the USA) and am interested in any and all comments you have about this show, Dina.
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Wow, love reading your take having grown up in the former USSR.

I also hope that the Russians are portrayed as equally cunning. I think that's what's truly amping up the tension they've managed to establish so well. Plus, I love watching Noah Emmerich deal with being wrong when his reputation at the FBI as a genius is so crucial to his continued advancement.
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Wow, this show just gets better and better. That c-story with the kids - fantastic young actors both of them because they actually act like children - could have taken the soap opera coast off like "Homeland" did with its "running over the pedestrian" bs but it didn't it took a completely different approach that strengthened the overall themes of the entire series. It was tense and proved that these writers and this cast deserves the same accolades "Homeland" received. I realize that they are fictional characters (x2) but my 2 favorite women on television at present are Keri Russell's 'Elizabeth Jennings' and Ivana Milicivec's 'Carrie Hopewell'. These are strong capable characters, resembling no female characters you've seen on television before. These aren't just women in roles traditionally reserved for men only (Emmy loves roles like eg cop, judge, doctor) - they are the strong, bad ass characters that happen to be women who delivered two of the strongest beatdowns on television this week. I'm not sure who I'd be more scared of in a dark alley. The two clearest examples of who the Best Actress this television season is. (OK and it really helps that both of them have fantastic actors to work with as well in Matthew Rhys and Antony Starr who have both been superb.)

The McGinley look a like is actually Robert Bogue. I remember he was on "Guiding Light" for a while as it was being run into its grave. I was hoping Richard "John-Boy" Thomas would be my favorite character but Agent Gaad hasn't had enough to do. Its just nice having John-Boy around I guess. "Gregory" may be the wild card for my favorite character.
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I'm loving this show more each episode. Elizabeth laying into Claudia wasn't entirely surprising but the savagery she brought to the act was.

As a side note, it always irritates and surprises me when people in this kind work take events like this so personally. It's the nature of the business and you know that, why are you the only ones above reproach?
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It is the nature of the business. I think, though, it may just be a snippet of them struggling with where they are in their mission. It's apparent that Phillip is the character set up to appear as though he's most likely to defect, but I think despite the strong front Elizabeth puts up, she wavers at times as well. You can't stay in a place for a decade and a half without aspects of it permeating through even the strongest of defenses. I think their response was just a reflection of that, a distance from the heart of their job and mission, and the built up stress of being inconvenienced, especially in regards to their kids, and the fact that they're still trying adjust to and learn to trust this new handler of theirs. They don't trust her, she's already rubbed them the wrong way, she started off on the wrong foot... anything she does will get under their skin.Despite it being the nature of the job. Phillip always comes across as the one who takes things more personally, and Elizabeth...I think she has the most interesting struggle. She gives her all for KGB and her country...but I think she's starting to question more than she ever did.
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The only thing I could see is: the pictures made Elizabeth go all "momma bear" on her. Spy or no, messing with a family is going to stir some sh*t up. Not so much a "how DARE you not trust me" but a "NObody treatens my kids" reaction

Granted, they ALSO recently poisoned some son or brother or something just a few episodes ago. But I doubt they'd be surprised if their asset went all ape-sh*t on them as a result. Mess with someone's family, don't be surprised they bash your face in.

And Phillip, well it just hit him that they went after HIM so hard physically was because Elizabeth probably let it slip that he wanted to defect.
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"It's the nature of the business and you know that, why are you the only ones above reproach?"

Exactly.
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And The Americans pulled it out. At first, I thought this was going to be the first mediocre episode of the season. For me, I figured it was the KGB that grabbed them, simply because the FBI doesn't know about them. And the pictures were done by someone that has been watching them for a while. So that initially was kind of disappointing, but Elizabeth's reaction to it was phenomenal I didn't see that coming and it was perfection. Elizabeth is a badass and I kind of love that about her.

The whole overall religious and trust aspect of the show was fantastic. This is such a well done show.

Beeman and Nina are going to get close. I liked Beeman's tactics in taking down Vasily. It is nice to see his level of skill rather than him just suspecting and intimidating people. But him being previously undercover is going to make him relate to Nina and they are going to take it far. Which might be his mistake and potential downfall, because Nina has some skill and is too great a character to not allow her to be a triple agent and work Beeman.

Paige and Henry are their parents children. However, I am not sure where the hitchhiking came from. I know Phillip and Elizabeth can't train them in KGB tactics. But no hitchhiking should be pretty standard. Also, did no one else's parents teach them how to get home from a mall on their own. Bus, Taxi, walking around till you find someone that you know from school. Anything. As much as I liked the creepiness and the success of the kids. I am not sure I really buy Phillip and especially Elizabeth not teaching them how to take care of themselves. But at least they got the instincts enough to smack a bottle over a guys head Way to go Henry.

I don't see the use of Gregory by Elizabeth ending well. I understand that she wants someone to get her back. But I think that is going to lead to some turmoil.

Such a great episode.
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"I don't see the use of Gregory by Elizabeth ending well. I understand that she wants someone to get her back. But I think that is going to lead to some turmoil."

I thought so before, but *now* (after some episodes under our belts)--I'm absolutely sure that the only person she can, and ever *should*, rely on is Phillip. *He* will have her back even if he won't be her husband "fully" and it saddens me that she can't see this.
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What do you two mean by Elizabeth asking Gregory to get/have her back? I understood that she asked Gregory to check if the kids . . . and Phillip . . . and herself . . . are being followed.

But for how long is Gregory going to do as Elizabeth asks if she recruited him to the KGB? Will Gregory still be loyal if she just grinds out his cigarette and walks away?
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1. The best scene of the episode - Elizabeth beating the crap out of Claudia. Finally! I was so happy when it happened. I guess Jennings are getting a new boss next episode - hard to imagine Claudia would still supervise them. I'm sure there will be repercussions.

2. Philip broke up with Elizabeth which made me very sad. I hope they will get back together before the end of season's final.

3. Poor Vasili. I liked that guy. Now they're going to kill him and we'll never see him again.

4. I can't decide if I like Nina or hate her. I know her life was on stake, but framing Vasili was just wrong - especially cause now that creepy dude is going to take over the Rezidentura.

5. Good work, Henry. Your father would be proud of you.

6. Does Paige have a death wish? Or she's just stupid and teenager?

Thanks for review, Ryan!
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The way it played out, I don't think Nina knew that Beeman was going to use her to play Vasili and cover Nina's own butt. I don't think she realized what was going on until she saw them escorting Vasili out of the building. She looked relieved to me, so you can judge her character by her reaction to finally understanding what happened, but I don't think it's accurate to judge her for setting up Vasili. She seemed pretty unaware.
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I'm pretty sure it was Nina who planted the camera in Vasili's office (who else could it be?). So, she knew all along. She's just like Beeman "I didn't ask you to blow him" - yeah, right...
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Could be. I just assumed that Nina was doing exactly what Beeman told her to do because she's scared ****less. I was thinking only about photographing documents, but hiding the camera in his office should have been a tip-off, if she was thinking straight. I dunno.....I thought she still looked surprised when they took him away. Either I misread the scene or the writers didn't think that one through.
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Ah...I started thinking that she probably didn't know when the guy in the tea shop dropped what I then assumed to be the camera into the tea bag. I should have reevaluated the situation when I saw that it was just a bunch of diamonds.
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1. Yes, totally. "Show them your face!" LOL.

4. I'm not sure she knew what was going to happen. She had to understand at some point, but then it may have been too late to change anything (other than by turning herself in, and no one would do that).
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Just a stubborn 13 year old in the 1980s...
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Cool picture! Gotta love "The Swan"!
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