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Friday, May 6, 2016

The Americans 4.8: Whither Martha?

Well, in The Americans 4.8 the longstanding Martha story, recently brought to a pretty good boil, was brought to apparent conclusion, with - a fizzle. As far as we know, she's safely on her way to Moscow by way of Cuba, and Philip and Elizabeth are proceeding with business as usual.

At least, that's what it looked like some half a year later.   And what are we to assume?  That Stan never did see any trace of Philip in the sketches of Martha's lover he was staring at?  As I've said many times, that seems unlikely.   But, then again, the series made a big deal of Philip literally unmasking himself to Martha, divesting himself of his disguise, though he looked pretty much the same before and after, at least to me.   Am I more perceptive than the FBI was back then?  I certainly hope not.

So that leaves us with Paige and the pastor as the simmering story yet to reach a conclusion, and I can only hope it's resolved with more of a bang than was Martha's sad tale.  Indeed, to get back to that for a moment, the only really momentous development to come out of all of that turmoil is the departure of Richard Thomas's good character Frank.

Ok, there's also Philip being able to spend more time at home now, with no overnights needed for Martha, and that could have some interesting unintended consequences.  But it's hard see what those would be, unless they feed into the Paige story.   I guess there's also Elizabeth's new movie buddy - but it's also not clear exactly what Elizabeth's motives are in that part of the narrative, either.

What's now needed is something harrowing, to pick up where Martha's story left off, or where it should have gone.   The Americans is still very good in the details, but they need some bones under all of that flesh and make-up.

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