Hello There Good People!
I’m posting a duplicate of My Thoughts Blog this week for The Americans so you can get an idea of what is over on my other website — My Thoughts On. The website is dedicated to my thoughts on my favorite television, books, and movies. Enjoy!
These are my thoughts on The Americans season 4 episode 7 Travel Agents.
This episode was so remarkably good. My two favorite parts I want to highlight is the unbelievably good tension coupled with an overwhelming amount of grief.
We spent most of the episode wondering who was going to find Martha first, the FBI or Phillip. The tension of wondering would it be Stan, or Gadd was overwhelming. For Martha to have to look either of those men in the eyes would be devastating. We know she would go to jail if caught by the United States, but at least she would be alive. That was in serious question if the Russians captured her first. Yes, she would be sparred the face-to-face humiliation, but she could very well windup dead. The best part of the tension was when Elizabeth got involved. Who did not have a sick feeling in their stomach that she would kill Martha on sight? She already has proven to be beyond loyal to the KGB, but also, she was the one who was so willing to kill Pastor Tim.
It was a little over the top for Elizabeth to gut-punch Martha — a physical representation of the already mental situation Martha found herself in. We get it, you don’t need to hit us over the head with the symbolism.
I was on the edge of my seat hoping that Phillip would get to her first.
The other overarching theme of this episode was grief. All of the characters were sad and grieving in one shape or another over Martha. Frank Gadd did not want it to be true for Martha. I think it went well beyond his inability to see that she had been turned. He was generally grief stricken that he had lost Martha as an individual – someone he considered more than just a coworker, a friend. He of course, was also grieving the fact that he thought more of himself as an agent than what he was. Gadd believed he should have seen it, known that she was a traitor, but he didn’t. It calls into question his judgement as an operative. That’s a hard thing to get over. He also grieves for his country. Knowledge of the United States was leaked under his watch. Frank Gadd had to grieve for his country as well.
Elizabeth grieves. Despite her asking Phillip if given the opportunity to go with Martha to Russia, and his answer of no, Elizabeth knows that it’s not that cut and dry. I do think that Phillip loves Elizabeth, more than Martha, but he has given something of himself to Martha, something that Phillip doesn’t give to Elizabeth. Elizabeth realizes that while Phillip is telling the truth — that he loves Elizabeth, not Martha, he is still partially lying to himself. He’s lying about how much Phillip cares for, even loves Martha. He genuinely cares for Martha, yes, it’s due to a sense of responsibility, but there is also a real love there. The show does a great job of showing Elizabeth’s vulnerability in the mirror shot. Elizabeth really looks at herself in the mirror. Looks at who she is, what she wants, what Phillip wants. You get the general sense that Elizabeth, once sure of her place by Phillips side and that she was enough for him, questions her standing. She sees herself as someone who really does care for this man, and, like all women, wants their man to love them. When she looks in the mirror, she sees her own vulnerability.
Poor Phillip grieves for Martha. As I said above, he doesn’t just feel responsible for her. The amount of information that he divulges to her is unprecedented. I also find it infinitely fascinating that he tells Martha the truth. Elizabeth, ever the agent, wants him to lie. To tell Martha what she wants to hear to make sure that she gets on the plane. But that isn’t what Phillip does. He tells her the truth, because he owes her that. He tells her because he loves her and and one of the only ways he can show it is by respecting her enough to tell her the truth. I may be mistaken, but I also don’t think that even Elizabeth knew Phillip’s real name, and if she does, it wasn’t per protocol and for a long time. That’s what a huge deal it was for him to not only reveal his face to her, but some very personal information.
Right now, this show reigns supreme. With the lack-luster GoT episode last week, this show really is the cream of the crop.
Until next time!