Since Gaad lost it on the mail robot last week, itâ€™s been sent out for repairs. And thatâ€™s the in the Centre needs to get a listening device back into the FBI. But the problem is that someone will need to change the tape and Philip doesnâ€™t think Martha will go for that. While Elizabeth suggestsÂ Martha can no longer be useful to them, both Philip and Gabriel disagree. Philip tells Elizabeth he trusts Martha and it’s easy to see that that statementÂ is going to cause problems.
I will never get tired of the marital dynamics between Philip and Elizabeth. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™d enjoy this show as much if it was just a spy show (and calling it â€œjust a spy showâ€ is definitely doing this series a huge disservice). But I know what keeps me coming back every week is Philip and Elizabeth. I like seeing them work through their issues while trying to be the kind of spies the Centre expects them to be. I like watching them muddle their way through their relationship and their complex emotions about each other and their duty. It makes them so much more human and it makes me root for them, even though theyâ€™re ‘the enemy.’
So when Elizabeth tells Philip she understands how heâ€™s developed feelings for Martha and Philip responds with â€œThanks for your permission,â€ I know things are escalating. And I love it. Thereâ€™s actually quite a bit I like about this scene. I like the tension between Philip and Elizabeth. Itâ€™s really interesting that Philip keeps jumping down Elizabethâ€™s throat, even though sheâ€™s not confronting him in any way. I like that he knows sheâ€™s upset after sheâ€™s had to kill Betty and that changes their dynamic again. Even when they’re fighting or upset, they still know how to reach each other.
Letâ€™s talk about Betty for a bit. It probably took me longer than it should have to realize Elizabeth wasnâ€™t going to let her go. I kind of liked that they were talking, but I was concerned that Elizabeth was giving Betty honest answers. I keep thinking to myself, â€œWhat is she doing?â€ But at the same time, I thought it was such a human thing â€“ for them to talk and get to know each other just a little bit better. And Betty took it like a champ when she realized this was it for her. And as she took those pills and her end came nearer and nearer, I liked that Betty spoke her mind. What did she have to lose at that point? I knew Elizabeth would do her job, that there was no way Betty was getting out of there. Elizabeth continuous proves just how loyal to the cause. She’ll do whatever she needs to in order to get the job done. But Iâ€™d glad when we see these jobs take a toll on her. It’s important that we’re reminded just how human she is.
Hans also turns out to be incredibly loyal to the cause â€“ and to Elizabeth. Sheâ€™s afraid that Todd saw Hans at the warehouse and Elizabeth canâ€™t risk continuing to work with him. So Hans kills Todd â€“ and itâ€™s messy and doesnâ€™t go according to plan at all. In that moment we understand just how committed Hans is about his part in this. And he admits to Elizabeth that he did it for her as well. Remember a little while back when Elizabeth was debriefing Gabriel on Hans and told him she stopped one of his passes? And remember how Gabriel reacted? After this, I think itâ€™s just a matter of time before this relationship becomes physical. Itâ€™ll be interesting to see how ‘organic’ it will be. Will she turn to him because sheâ€™s having trouble with Philip or will she sleep with him because itâ€™s part of her job? I just hope Hans doesnâ€™t fall in love, although itâ€™s probably already too late for that.
Speaking of love, Oleg and Stan come up with a plan to try to ‘out’ Zinaida. Theyâ€™re still counting on her being a spy and using that as leverage to get Nina back. So Oleg conceals himself in her hotel room and makes threats to get her to recant her story. If she doesnâ€™t do it within in the next two weeks, there will be no talking the next time he visits. Itâ€™s clear later when Oleg is debriefing Stan that they thought sheâ€™s break or admit to being a spy or something immediately. But sheâ€™s pretty cool under pressure, considering. So itâ€™ll take a little while longer to see if that plan works. In the meantime, I do want to see more of what’s going on with Nina and her current assignment. Hopefully we’ll get some details on that next week. She’s got the wherewithal to get herself out of this situation — or, that’s what she’s been told. I hope she makes it happen for herself.
Things have been simmering between Gabriel and Philip for a little while and they come to a head in this episode. Both Elizabeth and Philip had great affection for Gabriel before he retired but with every meeting they’ve had since he was reinstated, Â it hasÂ become more and more clear that perhaps Gabriel should’ve stayed retired — at least when it comes to Philip. Elizabeth still seems to respect and value him, but when Gabriel tries to reassure Philip, Philip tells Gabriel he’s the problem and that heâ€™s all talk. And I agree. I think Gabriel is incredibly manipulative, but it is his job to get Philip and Elizabeth to do what the Centre wants. I guess Philip thought they had a closer relationship than that. So if Gabriel wonâ€™t help Philip protect his family, heâ€™ll do it on his own.
Guest Star Goodness
Wonder where you’ve seenÂ Lois SmithÂ before? You may remember her most recently from True Blood, but sheâ€™s had an incredibly long career. I think the first time I remember her from is when she guested on House. I just loved the character she played in that episode and Iâ€™ve been delighted to see her guesting on shows since. In â€œDo Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?â€ she plays Betty, who has the misfortune of encountering Elizabeth while Philip is installing the recording device in the mail robot. I wasnâ€™t quite sure why Elizabeth didnâ€™t decide to shoot her as soon as she discovered her, but I loved learning a little bit more about Betty — like how she married the same man twice, how her best friend become her nemesis, how she had a heart problem and how she was afraid of pain.
Elizabeth really connected with her and Betty is probably the only person other than Philip and Gabriel who know the ‘real’ her — or, at least, a piece of the real Elizabeth. And I as mentioned earlier, I like that Betty called Elizabeth out on what she was doing, even called her evil. I donâ€™t think many people get to tell Elizabeth what they really think of her. I know it wonâ€™t make Elizabeth reconsider any of her actions or her job, but I like that she felt that loss, that she actually felt bad about having to kill someone.
Did you know ‘wedlock’ means ‘perpetual battle?’ Genius. Even though I don’t love Gabriel, he is such an interesting character and Frank Langella does such a great job of portraying him.
The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.
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