Sunday, February 21, 2016

Thoughts on The Americans Season 3 (spoilers may be present)

Well it's rather funny. I bragged earlier in this post how the violence wasn't really all that bad. Sure they shot people and you saw bullet holes, but if you can watch CSI this one was okay. Not so much anymore. The first few episodes of the season had some pretty yuck stuff going on. Not really blood and guts, but disturbing things none-the-less. I wasn't sure I wanted to continue watching it but once I got past the dental thing it seemed to improve. By the end, there wasn't much. So fair warning, to those who haven't watched this and are reading this to decide if you will.

By far, one of the most interesting episodes has been "Stingers".There is a hidden gem at imdb that will help you find fan favorite episodes. Apparently I'm not alone in this. Take a look at this. Clearly that's a fan favorite and I agree with the fans too that "The Colonel" is another best, too. I was so impressed with how easily Claudia took that guy down. Wow.

I will say that I had higher expectations for this season though. Everything I read pretty much said that Season 3 was its best, but I'm not feeling as much love there as what everyone else said. It seems like it's not really going anywhere. It's kind of in limbo, as if it's just going in a circle. There isn't a clear objective for many of them. I mean, Stan's job was what? Not to be confused with what he was doing because what he was doing wasn't his job. We know that for certain. Turns out, all was good in the land of the FBI but it still wasn't his assignment.

Also, I don't expect there to be one single overreaching theme. It's just that there is always a goal to achieve something. For example, Season 1's theme was about Philip gaining full confidence by Martha. Season 2's theme was protecting your children. Season 3 appears to be about Paige, but it only felt like they were dragging it out. The finale was well done, mind you, but the build up wasn't very exciting. I mean, I was screaming at the TV for Elizabeth to freaking make up her mind about the whole thing and just tell her already.

I see now too that the decision to bring Paige into the KGB was made by producers long before this season. Now it's understandable why Paige had to become a Christian. Were she not a Christian, she would not feel guilt in the way Christians do.

Claudia was sorely missed and I honestly didn't trust Gabriel the entire season up until the second to the last episode. When he and Claudia had that discussion, I saw that he really did seem concerned for them. Or at least, he appeared to Claudia that way.

Claudia's teeny tiny scene wasn't enough for me. I'm not sure how she won her Emmy on that one small 60 second scene. I think it must've been Hollywood guilt for not giving it to her after "The Colonel". She truly shined in that one and that was definitely Emmy material.

So what was Philip trying to tell Elizabeth in his babbling way during that incredible ending sequence. This was pretty powerful stuff. Remember too that we're not supposed to be on their side. Reagan was 100% correct in everything he said so Elizabeth's blindness when it comes to the Soviets is staggering. Philip questions them, but Elizabeth doesn't.

Philip is actually very Americanized, which is what Elizabeth told them in the beginning. He thinks like an American "You can't make me do this" or "I refuse to do that" or "My daughter belongs to me!" None of those statements are congruent with Soviet thinking. You owned nothing, you didn't make decisions for yourselves and you definitely couldn't refuse them. Americans always have, but not them. Never them.

Elizabeth is very annoying to me. She's better than she was in the beginning. Yes, definitely better, but still someone who would be a target of mine were I the FBI or CIA. She is lives and breathes Soviet. So much so that I really don't understand why Philip loves (or is it loved, in past tense?) her. He has plenty of women that he can choose from who blithely follow him to the ends of the earth. Well, he did anyway.

I was sorry to see that Annelise is gone. That shocked the heck out of me. That was definitely not what I expected. The irony was that when she and Philip had sex in the car just before everything happened, I turned to my daughter and told her that I really believed Philip cared about her. She agreed, next thing we know he's capitalizing on her murder.

This didn't mean he didn't care. His tone, when speaking of it to Gabriel, was definitely indicative of how it disturbed him. He may have moments where he breaks down and complains, but he is still level headed when it comes to his job.

Oh what to think about Martha! She's going to find out about Gene's death. Why would a man confess and kill himself over something he didn't do. Martha knows full well she was the one who did what he "claimed" to do. Fake claimed. What will Martha do?

Quite frankly, I was surprised at Philip's reaction when Martha hinted she wanted to divorce. Philip is really hard to read sometimes. Is he desperate to keep an insider in the FBI? Or has he actually fallen for her? He showed his real self to her and that was a big deal for him. As far as we know (if I'm right), he's never done that before.

How does Elizabeth get that the trip was good for Paige? Was it when Paige nearly broke down at the airport? What possessed her to say such nonsense! Just because Paige felt sympathy toward Elizabeth and her mother, doesn't mean this was good for her and that Paige did good. She clearly didn't. Anyone can see that.

Then, what do Philips last words mean?
Phillip: I um, I took care of that Martha thing today. I mean, we’ll see, but maybe they’ll shut down the investigation. 
Elizabeth: Good. Did you tell Martha about it first? 
Philip: Uh, no. She's absorbing everything, right now, so when she finds out he’s dead, she’ll, uh, she'll come to me and tell me how much she needs to know about it. 
Elizabeth: I think she should hear it from you first. A woman like that with this on her conscience? I don’t think you’re seeing things clearly. 
Philip: Maybe not, [he nods and after a moment says] This guy today, in his apartment, had all this kid stuff. Games, you know, stuff Henry plays with. It was hard. It was hard, Elizabeth. I almost feel like when I do this stuff, if I don’t... I just feel like from now on I need to be able to know what I’m doing better, so I...” 
Elizabeth: What do you mean? 
Philip: I guess... I just feel like...
Philip sighs frustrated with his inability to convey what he's feeling. Then, in typical Soviet fashion, she turns her attention away from him to the TV. The TV and what Reagan is saying is much more important to her than what Philip has to say.

Yes, Philip is unraveling, which is pretty much what Gabriel said he was doing, but what no one realizes is that what the Soviets are doing is wrong! Well, Paige does, kind of. Let's review that.

Paige is doubting her faith. "I've tried praying," she cries to Pastor Tim, "it doesn't help." That isn't something a true Christian will ever say. This is the bullet right here and shows us that Paige isn't as Christian as she says she is. She clearly wants to be, but she has no faith.

For those unfamiliar with what Christianity truly is, think of the Force. Remember when Ben said "Use the force, Luke" and Luke changed his entire manner. It was faith in the Force that made him what he was. That's the same thing in Christianity. It's faith and without faith, you're not a Christian. Paige is lacking that one instrumental element that makes one a Christian or not.

I really loved that sequence and cannot wait to see what happens next. I will be very unhappy if 6 months have gone by when it returns. I want to know what Philip is going through. I need to know!

Just a few more weeks and Season 4 will be upon us. I'm excited. :)

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