Directorial debut by Noah ‘Stan’ Emmerich and a writing debut for Lara Shapiro.
So we had the action stuff (the shooting, the fighting, the kidnapping) and something fresh; the arrival of Reuben (the ANC’s number 3 Most Wanted) as bait for Eugene Venter of SA Intel (or ‘Nazis’ for short).
In family news, Paige is now wading into civil rights history, Henry is maturing fast (last week asking Stan perceptive questions, this week expanding his vocab), a startled Stan got confirmation his wife has gone, gone (time to divorce, Sandra thinks) and, oh my, poor Martha’s world has fallen apart: on at least one occasion Phil even walked towards her in that Terminator mode he switches to … families, eh?
Book ending the episode was Phil & Elizabeth (P&E) having a ‘domestic’. The context was, of course, Paige (E unilaterally beginning Paige’s induction/education), P baulked, E remained resolute, P got hissy before they had another of those sweet intimate face-to-face chats lying in bed. I genuinely like those moments. What was special about this one was Keri Russell’s acting; no words, processing and acceptance was ALL communicated in three breathing inhalations. Just check it out.
What we didn’t have this week was Nina, the 15-year old doper or the Pastor. Those three really should get a room. Though probably not with the Pakistani Intel guy who has also gone missing but isn’t great in hotel rooms. We did, though, visit with the lady with Northrop – who popped by for a cheery restaurant scene (hi Lisa!). Hans, E’s youthful SA trainee, also got another couple of opportunities to look puppy-dog bewildered.
PUTTING THAT TOGETHER IN TERMS OF SHAPE AND DEVELOPMENT
- Adrenalin rush 1: The discovery of Martha’s pen bug seems the most significant new thing – huge dilemma now for her: is she going to back her marriage, will ‘Walter Taffet from OPR’ schedule an interview (and what would Phil do about that if he knew in advance – yikes!)
- Adrenalin rush 2: The ANC/SA Intel arc; another great action montage. Did it feel to you like Reuben only spoke in one scene? Weird. Okay, we have kidnapped two nasty South Africans in a black van, now what?
- P&E made up! Nice 3-scene process:
* The late night bed exchange (she apologised, he told her about his extra son)
* The subsequent breakfast exchange signalled mutual acceptance
* Great teamwork to pull off the kidnapping: They’re back on track: Yay Team!
- Stan has *officially* lost his wife, though has become closer to his son – hey, that’s good by Stan’s standards!
- Paige has been launched. Both the Pastor and her parents are seemingly now cut from the same political cloth and she’ll be linking all that up. She’s broadening from being issue led (Nukes, Apartheid) to a general philosophy … watch this space
- Han’s is either seriously impressed with P&E doing their murdering/kidnapping thing, or he really likes Fleetwood Mac montages
POINTS OF INTEREST
E wears a wig and stuff when meeting Hans but not when meeting Reuben (I guess he’s earned that) … P listens to the BBC World Service to get news on Afghanistan … key lyric from The Chain? Maybe ‘Running in the shadows’? Liked ‘God Bless America’ painted on the wall-end outside the diner as disguised P goes to do battle with Ventner.
About Stan’s ‘racist remark’ (mentioning the nosey new guy at work was black): (a) Stan spent years undercover gathering evidence against white supremacists – see the point? and (b) the reason Stan mentioned it was to suggest an explanation as to why the guy seemed so nosy. Given the world in 1982 the new guy might feel he has to make an impression. It was not a comment by the character on black people per se. Sigh.
And, of course, the really beautiful, distinctive thing about this show; again with contrasts: If someone could draw a distinction between the white supremacists Stan was undercover with and the white supremacists Ronald Reagan supported when they were running South Africa, I’d be interested.
Take away this week: ANC meets Shaft, John Shaft.
(Very belatedly added the 5 stars rating thing tonight (Sat, 11th April). Up top – please do use!)