Tag Archives: 4.04

The Americans 4.04 “Chloramphenicol” Review: Just One More Thing

7 Apr

Philip and Elizabeth have been living in a burning house for so long on The Americans that adding another thing to their already extensive “To Do” list is not really a big deal. Okay so it had to take what felt like a brush with death to get to this point, but after the decision is made they are pragmatic and ready to take on another thing that could destroy this life they have made for themselves.

In “Chloramphenicol” there are both no options and no good options; Paige must lie about where her parents are even though she doesn’t have a clue just how bad things are for them. Martha also has a problem that requires some input, but once again her go to person is out of reach and she must wing it.The Americans 4.04 Philip and ElizabethAnd then we have Nina and where she is there are no options; good or otherwise. There is a potential White Knight coming her way as it just so happens that Oleg is back home fighting her corner. His brother’s recent death provides Oleg with a reason to return and he wants his father to have another go at freeing Nina. If his father is successful then Oleg will leave his position in America even though this is the last thing he wants to do, but he’s bargaining with the only thing he has to give. Let’s just say his dad did not come through. Was there any attempt on his part?

Nina received her “exceptional punishment” in a scene we should have probably expected, but was shocking nonetheless. It had echoes of Stan killing her friend Vlad (sans burger) in both manner and execution; seeing the clinical and cold way they scooped up her body leaving the pool of blood behind made it all the more devastating. Nina has been marked for death since Stan entered her world and she has been living on borrowed time. As soon as she made a choice to do something that wasn’t motivated by self-preservation her luck ran out and this make it even more tragic. Coupled with her recent dreams and the signs were all there; particularly the funeral like quality of the flower filled former safe house last week.The Americans 4.04 NinaWe do get to see Nina’s happy ending and in this version it looks like Oleg will be moving back to Russia after his father pulled some strings, but as this sequence continues and Anton gets involved we know it is nothing more than fantasy. Narratively it makes sense for Nina’s story to come to an end as they had backed themselves into a corner of sorts and as this is The Americans the options are slim and there is only so much treading water that a character can do. This is TV so there is always a chance though, right?

Nope, nope, nope and Annet Mahendru crushed it with both her happy dream tears and the ones which showed the brief fear she experienced before her death sentence was swiftly delivered. The real kicker is that her letter to Anton’s son didn’t even make it out raising the heartbreaking levels to I just got misty eyed typing this paragraph out. All that is left of Nina’s life is that sad grubby plastic bag full of her sad grubby things and the memories Anton, Oleg, Stan and Boris have of her. She didn’t start a revolution, but she did bring some kind of hope to Anton’s predicament. There is that.

Connections are important and the one Nina had with Anton was life changing; Oleg wants to save her and he isn’t sure if it is for love or something else. There are the ones we have with our family and there are a lot of parent/child moments this week that call to the notion of this deep bond. For Oleg it is his father explaining that the death of a child is like nothing else and it is why he wants him home. We see Elizabeth fever dreaming about the time her mother was sick with diphtheria and this ties into her mother’s recent death, her current sick state and what is going on with Paige. William comments on how lucky Philip and Elizabeth are to have each other as he has no one he can talk to about this stuff on a personal level and it goes some way to explain his prickly exterior.The Americans 4.04 WilliamI like the idea of William being Philip’s snarky friend and Philip opens up about a few personal things that he could never do on this level with Stan or even Gabriel. He tells him about how long he has been with Elizabeth (over 20 years) and gives him a good recap of season 3 in the whole telling/not telling Paige of it all. They keep so much close to their chest that in these rare moments of honesty it can be somewhat disconcerting especially when Philip explains that Elizabeth would always chose this life while he would chose to be normal, but he would still want Elizabeth at his side. Matthew Rhys delivery of this line is both raw with a hint of the life he knows that never could have been; the one they pretend they have every day and enough can’t be said about how good everyone is in this cast.

That is a real humdinger of a revelation and while we are very much aware of Philip’s desires it is unusual to hear him speaking so freely with someone who knows exactly who he is; this isn’t him working his issues through a disguise or EST. Philip doesn’t feel like a lucky guy, but later on when he is in an all enveloping ‘yay we’re not dead (again)’ hug with Elizabeth, William looks on with sad envy and it is clear in this business that Philip should be thankful for this relationship.The Americans 4.04 hugPhilip to his credit doesn’t even entertain the idea that Elizabeth is actually sick and I’m not sure whether this is optimism or because he can’t even bear to think of the alternative. Between the vom and everything being super clammy things don’t look good for Elizabeth; unlike Nina we know there will be a way out of this one because Elizabeth is a co-lead and this show still has at least another season on the cards.

What Elizabeth is experiencing is a very bad reaction to the drugs and Wikipedia helpfully notes that “Its use is only recommended when safer antibiotics cannot be used.” This very bad reaction could also be Glanders so it isn’t surprising that she considers the worst and this leads to her taking a very Philip position on a couple of things.The Americans 4.04 makeup part 1Also a quick shot out to the makeup team for the journey of Elizabeth’s eye makeup as it got progressively smudgy while her skin got increasingly clammy. And Keri Russell somehow still looks amazing in this super sick state. The Americans 4.04 makeup partLast week I talked a lot about compromise and how since we have met Philip and Elizabeth they have moved from a bond out of necessity to this deep, deep and intense dynamic that goes far beyond any other relationship on this show. Elizabeth knows Philip’s overall position when it comes to their family going so far as telling him to be an American and blame her for anything Pastor Tim death related if she should die. Henry never has to know the truth and they can live the life Philip wants. Except without Elizabeth this is far removed from his dream alternative. The solution they come to when Elizabeth is better the next morning is one they come at together; she now gets why Philip doesn’t want Pastor Tim and Alice to be killed and she is very much on board the cancelling and not just postponing of this plan.

One other choice is to run which Philip is still all for because it means they will be together, but nope Elizabeth wants to go for bonus door number 3 by working Tim and Alice saying “It’s one more thing.” Convincing Gabriel isn’t so hard, but as with Oleg’s father they need to give him something in return to convince the Centre and that is the promise of Paige coming into the family business. It doesn’t sit well and yet they agree nonetheless.

Paige has proven herself pretty adept with spy like qualities as she comes up with a convincing lie when Stan asks where her parents are and even though she is spiraling she manages to keep a lid on her emotions. Gabriel tries to warn them of the forever fear they will feel sharing pre-war tales of terror, but their decision has been made and there is nothing more for them to do but go home and be with their kids.The Americans 4.04 bowlingEpcot might be off the menu, but bowling isn’t and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is seeing them enjoying family time with no ulterior motive or nefarious plan on the go. Elizabeth it turns out is a killer bowler and even makes a joke in a Russian accent that it was part of their training. This is so unexpected and delightful that it is clear something very horrible is going to happen if we’re getting a moment of levity.

And horrible it is as Nina’s dream then death follows happy Jennings family time. Oh, show.The Americans 4.04 MarthaOne other person who is out on her own this week as a result of the Glanders affair is Martha and she doesn’t have any kind of back up when dealing with her dinner date with Agent Aderholt. The evening starts off badly as she zones out on everything he is saying and maybe the wine courage kicks in she goes into detail about her relationship with a married man. In fact a lot of what Martha says is accurate in that he is married and he wouldn’t leave his wife for her. She mentions how they’re not wearing wigs, which well one of them is no longer wearing a wig and that it is a simple set up.

The aspect of honesty and how they provide each other with comfort is half true and she sounds convinced and convincing with this tale. This makes it sadder because while I think Philip does care for Martha it is more out of a sense of responsibility than anything else and Martha is ignoring every other terrible thing about this marriage. After this date I think I might be shipping Martha and Agent Aderholt.

While Martha is at dinner, Stan sneaks around her apartment taking pictures and rifling through her things finding her gun and copy of the Karma Sutra. Luckily the wedding photo is no longer on display as Stan would surely clock it was Philip even in the wig. Will Martha’s married man quell Stan’s suspicions? Or is this another problem for Philip and Elizabeth to add to their growing list?

Shot(s) of the WeekThe Americans 4.04 Nina dreamAnd I’m crying as Nina gets her Adriana from The Sopranos moment and we realize the end is nigh for Nina.The Americans 4.04 Elizabeth bowling The Americans 4.04 Philip bowlingBecause we all need these bowling pictures after that heartbreak. More Jennings having fun please.

Disguise of the Week

There were no disguises this week and is this the first wig free week for The Americans?

Outfit I Would Wear in 2016The Americans 4.04 Elizabeth and PaigeAgain we need this shot of a happy Elizabeth and Paige. Plus Elizabeth’s sweater is giving me a lot of Felicity feelings and the cable knit is working like a charm (also one of the secrets costume designer Katie Irish told me about a couple of weeks ago).

Update! The Felicity sweater comparison from Season 1 “Boggled.”Felicity ep 4 more watchingI think we found a match.

New Girl 4.04 “Micro” Review: Pogo Part 2

8 Oct

Even though this word isn’t uttered in “Micro” this episode seems like a direct callback to “Pepperwood” when “pogo” entered the New Girl lexicon in season 2. This was the term they used to refer to Winston’s prominent boner and they revealed how everyone in the loft had an unmentionable flaw – Schmidt had horrible toe nails (or clickety-clacks), Jess is a know-it-all and Nick can’t take of himself – Cece was exempt despite all her best efforts (including a supremely disturbing baby voice). Instead of focusing inward it becomes a more general observation after Jess witnesses the guys dissecting every woman that walks past them and in a classic guys versus girls sitcom setup Jess and Nick make a bet in attempt to prove their point. Jess wants to show she’s not shallow like the guys are when it comes to looks and that she can date a dude with a micropenis for a month, something Nick doesn’t think she is capable of.

New Girl 4.04 the dudesOther than the bathroom conversation in the season premiere, Nick and Jess haven’t really spent a great deal of time together this year and while it’s a touch implausible there wouldn’t be any tension or jealousy regarding sleeping with other people, I am more than happy to suspend my disbelief as they’ve managed to retain the chemistry that made them a “will they/won’t they” in the first place.

They’re not trying to make us forget they were ever a thing as there were several references to their former coupledom including Nick’s assessment that Jess has perfect breasts, but it’s her wonky right knee that’s “got some stuff” and it’s why he always let her take her pants off before sex. There’s always been a combative element between Nick and Jess as he tries to one up her know-it-all attitude with the season 1 episode “Landlord” standing out as the first time Nick tried to prove Jess could be wrong. On this occasion Nick was determined to validate his belief that acts of kindness are often motivated by something selfish/sexual and generally Nick is pointing out the worst in people.

In “Micro” Nick wants to show Jess that she isn’t exempt from reacting in a shallow way and Jess is a little too confident in her abilities that she doesn’t even consider this guy might have a terrible personality, which he does. This involves throwing around terms like “for true” and calling scotch on the rocks a ‘sco-ro.’ Jess realizes what a terrible mistake she has made even before she sees his penis that resembles a tiny pigeon egg – she thinks she could have worked with it – and her attempts to demonstrate her point go awry. Jess comes to the conclusion that everyone is flawed and her big wonky knee revealing gesture at Matt’s apartment is interrupted by his girlfriend. He’s not that bothered as she was getting a little fat and even the hot dude with the tiny dick is superficial.

So yeah we’re all flawed and we all have things we find unattractive on others and this is where the A and B plots converge as Cece and Winston have managed to convince Coach and Schmidt they can be models. In a ‘classic Cece and Winston mess around’ (and Cece’s exasperated response to this is very funny) they take Coach and Schmidt’s compliment off and turn it into a competition. In an attempt to prove who is the better model Schmidt and Coach go from compliment showering to body nitpicking; Coach has a tiny waist and Schmidt has teeny nipples (and all I can think about is that time kittens suckled from his nipples). A wonky knee, tiny body parts, a depression-era garbage man look are all things on the outside that we can be judged for and the only two people who escape the scrutiny this week are Winston and Cece. Winston doesn’t get off completely as he reveals he might have a thing for Sesame Street wonkiness adding another thing to the list of amazing and bizarre Winston Bishop ticks.

After Jess delivers her “we should support each other’s flaws” speech she rolls around in her own know-it-all pogo by exclaiming how she knew that she was better than these guys. Jess has no self-awareness at times and this scene is indicative of this; she has already conceded that she has lost the bet gifting Nick the ‘Ass Chat’ subscription and yet she can’t give up on proving her point. It’s fun watching Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson riffing off each other and the chemistry is still very much there; while I was very much a Nick/Jess as a couple defender this returning to ‘friends only’ direction is really working. And it’s also fine that I can get those shipper feelings when they reference their former coupledom followed by all knowing flirty smiles at each other. The group dynamic as a whole works so much better with them as friends. Plus we get to see Jess telling dudes to “Shut your gross beautiful face” and Zooey Deschanel’s delivery of this line is pretty wonderful.

Some flaws are ones we no longer have and Schmidt is still hung up on his former overweight status and this is in part why his image is so important to him. Cece and Winston’s prank backfires as they have to follow through with their promise to get him a modeling job. The portfolio photos are hilarious and while I am sad they didn’t end up using “hot guy with a kidnapped son” they do end up getting him a billboard. It’s a win that Schmidt probably needed even if Cece and Winston are out of pocket by quite a lot – not helping the college fund – and this once again shows why pranking with Winston is a terrible idea.

I also wonder if this discussion of flaws is a nod from the show to the audience as a way to say ‘yep we know last year was a mess, but we’re working on it.’

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.04This week is going to involve some horn tooting as Jess is wearing a French Connection horse print dress that featured in the first ever Fantasy Costuming post, which was all about the wardrobe of one Jessica Day.

 

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