Tag Archives: 4.08

The Americans 4.08 “The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears” Review

5 May

Making the Statue of Liberty or a compromised agent disappear is a tall task, but what about all the guilt that has been building up over the years on The Americans; what is to be done about that? Philip has been exploring this through EST this season and yet he is still visiting the grave (or an adjacent one) of the man he killed to protect Martha’s position at the FBI.

All killing Gene did was buy them slightly more time and Martha’s freedom has ultimately still been sacrificed. She won’t be sitting in a jail in the US, but what is her box of loneliness going to do when she makes it to Russian soil and she doesn’t even know the language? The mostly dialogue free opening sequence of Martha’s departure is incredibly heartbreaking before a word is uttered and then comes Martha’s plea for Clark to not be alone. Which as you can see in the photo below he is far from that and no matter what disagreement is taking place Philip will always have his family. It wouldn’t be a Martha farewell without an emotional kicker. The Americans 4.08 Jennings familyWith the Martha problem sorted everything goes back to normal, right? Well not exactly and even though the weight of that operation has been lifted there is plenty of guilt and resentment swirling around. Part of this comes as a result of Philip and Elizabeth being terrible at telling each other how they are actually feeling. While they have been getting better at this with last week’s declaration of love and Philip’s first kill confession earlier this season, there are still moments where they don’t get each other at all.

Martha is a significant example of this and it doesn’t help when Elizabeth tries to describe what kind of woman she is using words like nice and simple. Philip is protective of Martha and the sacrifice she has made explaining that she was much more than that and how people underestimated her (which I would definitely agree with). Philip and Elizabeth are coming at this from two very different angles and there is also an element of (understandable) jealousy on Elizabeth’s part and the things Philip shared with his other wife. Philip isn’t giving Elizabeth much to respond to on the sharing front and this is why she attends an EST meeting to see why this is giving Philip an outlet.The Americans 4.08 estSkeptical face is on the menu for Elizabeth as she pieces together the point of the seminars and it is not surprising to see she comes away thinking it is a con. She sees it as a way to endlessly reach into your wallet as there are no answers and more seminars are required to delve a little deeper.

This conversation turns into the most explosive argument Philip and Elizabeth have probably ever had about their marriage begins with Elizabeth trying to give Philip her understanding, but he can sense she is holding something back about her EST opinions. Which she is and she calls the whole endeavor manipulative and when she underlines how American it is, he takes that as her way of calling him an idiot for trusting this process and ultimately liking the country they live in.The Americans 4.08 Elizabeth nametageWhat follows is a series of deep cuts from both as Gregory’s name comes up and unlike Martha he died in a hail of bullets. For every Gregory there is an Irina and this wouldn’t be a fight about their biggest emotional betrayals without a reference to the woman who broke them up in season 1. It is a painful exchange, but one that needed to happen for them to move forward. This is not a week where they will be fucking the pain away.

This fight only ends when the phone rings and the resentment spills over into their meeting with Gabriel and he has had enough of their bullshit. I mean he is recovering from glanders still so it is understandable why his patience for their problems is lacking.

In one of the most delightful scenes of this very tense episode Gabriel and Claudia chat it out about Philip and Elizabeth’s petulance. Gabriel is a fan of comparing what he has been through with how easy they have it in America and rather than agree with him Claudia instead takes the neutral path by pointing out that no one has the answer. She pretty much boo hoos his complaining and she doesn’t even bring up how lucky he is that Elizabeth hasn’t beaten his face in yet.The Americans 4.08 Claudia and GabrielClaudia’s words obviously have an impact as instead of admonishing Elizabeth for losing another asset in Lisa – who in a badly timed moment threatened to tell the police about her secret filming of the plant she works in – he instead goes for the sympathy angle.

Part of this is probably down to seeing just how broken they both look and Elizabeth comes in smoking and in a daze with blood on her neck; at first I assumed this was Lisa’s, but it looks like a defense wound and maybe Lisa put up a fight. Gabriel has been referring to them as children and in this scene they do look like kids who have had too much thrown at them. The Americans 4.08When Gabriel tells them things need to change it sounds like a threat; instead he is going to talk to the Centre about giving them no new operations so all they will have is Kimmy (who Philip is still getting tapes from) and Young Hee. Plus the small matter of their at home operation with Paige and their cover jobs as travel agents. This will be the closest they will ever come to having a vacation and boy do they need it. Epcot even comes back into play, but this time not as a code for murdering someone.

They even manage to get home in time for David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear and finding out the reason why he wanted to do such a thing. It is all about what Lady Liberty represents and this land of immigrants (which Philip and Elizabeth are) as well as a fancy trick. Freedom or lack of comes in various forms this week from Martha’s resigned trip to safety to the lack of freedom Paige now has regarding her Pastor Tim related activities.The Americans 4.08 Philip and MarthaPaige couldn’t have picked a worse time to miss a Bible study session as Elizabeth is particularly on edge after her fight with Philip and everything that has been going on. The excuse of ‘not feeling like it’ does not work now that there is this much at stake and Elizabeth makes it crystal clear just how vital it is that Paige keep up appearances no matter what. Feelings can be controlled and in this scene Elizabeth is releasing a whole lot of rage (for the second time this week) and anger is not something we are used to seeing at this level, which really underscores both her state of mind and how important this is.

Paige, if only you could know what activities your parents have got themselves in the mood for or best not as that would be pretty scarring. Also don’t walk away from your mother before she has finished as all hell will be unleashed. I’ve been watching a lot of iZombie this week and Elizabeth got so angry I half expected for her eyes to go red.The Americans 4.08 PaigeThis might also be a good time to point out just how incredible Keri Russell is this week and if any Emmy voters are watching then now would be an ideal time to recognize her work because we get the entire spectrum of emotions in “The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears.” The way she spits out “goddamn church” with the slight break in her voice is next level. This scene is also reminiscent of the last time one of her parents went at her for church related antics when Philip tore her Bible up and also left her in tears. The lesson here is don’t betray your parents trust.

The transition from the actual reappeared Statue of Liberty to a miniature golf version is seamless and we have jumped forward seven months. What this does is free up the storytelling and from the end of season 3 to this episode only a month has been covered. Everything has felt so urgent and like the walls are coming down, which has been great as a viewer but seeing that we have moved forward this far is a welcome relief; now we can let out a deep breath mirroring Philip’s when Martha’s plane took off.

What this does is move beyond the immediate aftermath of Martha for both the FBI and Philip. They have had a chance to recover and the ‘vacation’ they have been given will surely be at an end when we return next week. Time jumps tend to occur between seasons, but Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields don’t always stick to TV storytelling conventions and this is what makes The Americans one of the best shows on TV. They go where the story does and screw conventions.

So now we see Paige is doing exactly as her mother told her too despite her real feelings and reporting her findings in a very matter of fact way that is kinda chilling. Especially when Philip and Elizabeth are doing the whole happy family thing with Henry out in the front yard playing hockey (which Philip mentions earlier in the episode about wanting to do again). The Americans 4.08 Elizabeth, Philip and HenryWith the FBI they are in a shambles in the days after the Martha reveal and have got no closer to either her or the mysterious Clark Westerfeld (he even has his own wall now).The Americans 4.08 Stan and AderholtStan confides in Philip about the disaster that is going on at work, but without going into the specifics Philip is already more than aware of. Now they are made up Stan has someone to vent about his Sad Stan marriage problems and a fridge full of beer to pilfer as his own supply is mysteriously depleted. Philip was right to pull Martha out and yet this doesn’t clear his conscience.

For Stan he has his own conscience related issues and when we jump forward a now out of the FBI Gaad gives him some much needed advice about his Oleg flipping situation. Gaad knows that what happened to Nina plays on his mind and this bonds him to Oleg, but he has to stop thinking like that and get rid of “feelings, sympathy, friendship” and not “lose sight of how these people are.” It is essentially a less terrifying version of Elizabeth’s speech to Paige and while these characters have enjoyed a respite, we are very much going to get thrust back into the action and I cannot wait.

Shot(s) of the Week The Americans 4.08 Young Hee and ElizabethThis week marks Matthew Rhys’ first time behind the camera on The Americans (he has directed on his old show Brothers & Sisters) and not only was he a force on screen, but he delivered a powerhouse of an episode that got right to the heart of who these characters are while delivering some beautiful moments.

The above scene at the movie theater between Elizabeth and Young Hee was a moment of lightness that “The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears” needed and the side of Elizabeth this friendship brings out is so charming and free. The use of the mirror and neon light as Young Hee reapplies her tear stained makeup gives this moment a whole other world feeling as it looks like it is from an entirely different show.The Americans 4.08 argumentAnd in contrast this intense scene between Philip and Elizabeth is very much of this world and the way they get closer to each other as the words become more hurtful increases the tension and it is only broken when the phone rings. I do wonder if an episode like this benefits from someone behind the camera who is very much in tune with exactly who these characters are. Regardless, both Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich have directed two excellent episodes this season.

Disguise of the WeekThe Americans 4.08 PhilipOnly one new disguise this week as Philip wears a Clark adjacent visage to spy on Gene’s grave. Maybe want to go for something vastly different from the dude the FBI are searching for.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2016The Americans 4.08 Elizabeth and PaigeMore excellent sweaters from Elizabeth and Paige and I am always here for 80s knitwear.

The Americans Book and Movie ClubThe Americans 4.08 Est bookInstead of telling Elizabeth how he is feeling Philip is instead reading est: 60 Hours that Transform Your Life. Which doesn’t seem like the best way to transform his life.The Americans 4.08 cinemaSo Elizabeth does something she doesn’t normally do and goes to the movies with Young Hee. First they watch Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies followed by an impromptu sneaking in to The Outsiders. Now all I want is an episode of Elizabeth and Young Hee hanging out and Ruthie Ann Miles is bringing so much charm to this performance I still don’t care that we don’t know why Elizabeth is working her. All I know is whatever it is can’t be good for the future of this friendship.

New Girl 4.08 “Teachers” Review: I Wanna Know What Love is (and How to do Laundry)

19 Nov

Doing laundry, using a ruler and teaching Health are all obstacles that some of the guys on New Girl have to overcome in “Teachers.” Matters of the heart from forbidden crushes to wanting to learn how to love are also on the agenda as the group splits off into two for guys’ night and a teaching conference (with Cece left to work at the bar and take Jess’ emergency phone calls, she deserves more).

New Girl 4.08Is it ridiculous that Schmidt doesn’t know how to do laundry? Of course and even though they don’t address how he has been doing it since college or that we saw him defrost a turkey in the dryer in the season one’s Thanksgiving episode, I think I prefer it this way. This is nothing compared to Winston’s ruler confusion. Sometimes there are simple things that we just don’t know how to do and for once Nick gets to be the smartest person in the room teaching the other dummies how to do these very easy task. And the ruler tutorial is hilarious in its brevity. Guys’ night starts out with the super silly including Gladiator like jousting with homemade giant Q-tips and perving at women doing aerobics in the building opposite, stuff they can’t do when Jess is home. Schmidt spilling sangria on Jess’ blanket sets in motion a different kind of guys’ night delving into matters of the heart and it is all rather lovely.

Nick admits to a list of things he can’t do; he has trouble saying “February” and he doesn’t know the alphabet unless he sings the song (me too). The big kicker is Nick has never learned how to love and his most recent long term relationship isn’t mentioned, instead they focus on his other short term flings. Schmidt thinks Nick’s problem is that he doesn’t value himself and in their boy band like descriptions Nick is the cute one; Schmidt is the smart one, Winston is the silly one and Coach is the sporty one. With a soundtrack of 80s love anthems by Foreigner and Lionel Richie the conversation shifts to Schmidt talking about how Cece is the greatest woman he has ever loved. Schmidt doesn’t think Nick aims high enough and this is why it is slightly curious that Jess is absent from this discussion.

As I wrote about last week they are doing certain things to avoid anything too heavy with Nick and Jess so there’s no jealousy or awkwardness when it comes to them hooking up with other people. Okay there is some awkwardness, but that is on the behalf of their dates and their living situation. So it makes sense in this respect to omit Jess from this conversation and yet it does feel like the elephant in the room to not even mention this relationship. There is a slightly wistful reaction from Nick when he figures out Jess hooked up with Ryan, but it is not labored nor tinged with romantic jealousy.

In the makeshift sangria tent Winston also gets to have a nice moment where he talks about his fears about becoming a cop and a hypothetical descent into becoming a bad cop. As with all things Winston pertaining to his career they don’t linger on this and there is a certain amount of drunken narcissism as Nick brings it back to the cute thing and how awesome sangria is. This is a much better version of guys’ night than the one they pretend they had when Jess and Coach get home.

The Jess/Ryan interactions involve taking a sitcom staple of forbidden love and basically making Ryan the ultimate guy for Jess; he scrapbooks, he has endless optimism and he did teach his dyslexic sister how to read. Maybe he is an angel sent down from heaven just like the movie The Preacher’s Wife. Jess does everything she can to avoid Ryan but through various circumstances they end up getting pushed closer and closer together. First their rooms are next to each other and then Coach abandons his buffer post during Lisa Bonet’s seminar. A seminar which ruins the plan Jess had laid out to Cece at the start of the episode as she finds out personal information and has to embrace the intimacy. There is a contingency plan involving a letter Jess has placed in Cece’s bag to remind her of the professional obligation and Hannah Simone kills the delivery of this letter which includes the line “You ballet-flat-wearing piece of Oregon trash.” But still Cece deserves more.

Coach has an Almost Famous “I am a golden god!” drunk moment, which turns Ryan into a (soaking wet) hero leading to bathrobes and minibar drinks. A passed out and then awake and puking Coach is a mood dampener; however Jess still has time to reveal her “big stupid crush” on Ryan resulting in a parking lot smooch the following day. Jess knows that this relationship is probably doomed as her reaction is a mixture of glee and “oh crap.” If only she had a full size blanket for comfort.

Being a teacher is Jess’ life calling and for Coach this is a job he fell into or as he puts it because “my roommate made me.” Science textbooks are for giggling over and this whole conference reinforces Coach’s belief that he is not up to the task of teaching. At first he thinks he will have little impact on their lives and his freak out moment comes after he’s told that if he screws up they “just get pregnant.” Yeah that’s a pretty big impact. We’ve seen how good Coach is with these kids and so it’s not surprising that Jess thinks Coach will be perfect for this task as he is “someone who the kids trust” and he can also yell at them about Chlamydia. Coach is a teacher without realizing it. And then he falls in the pool. But he’s still a teacher and one who has made friends at this conference which started with him calling everyone nerds; he is no longer the outsider.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.08Jess put a bird on it with this beautiful Myrtlewood fit and flare dress is available from ModCloth.

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