The Americans – “Do Mail Robots Dream Of Electric Sheep?”

Season Three, Episode Nine

the-americans-mail-robots

Grade: A-

This season we’ve witnessed a bunch of gruesome and hard to watch scenes, such as Philip shoving a human body into a suitcase, having a tooth extracted from Elizabeth’s mouth, and lighting a man on fire. We’re used to these sort of things on The Americans, but what the show hasn’t really done much of thus far is providing true, emotional punches that hits straight to our hearts. In “Mail Robots” we get that scene and it’s heartbreaking.

Poor Betty, another person simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is something that Philip and Elizabeth both know because it comes with the territory at achieving the goal, which is what Elizabeth describes as “making the world a better place.” If they have to kill innocent people here and there for the greater cause, they don’t even second-guess themselves. Should they? Philip does a little bit, but he can be as tough as nails when he needs to. This time around it’s Elizabeth who knows that she can’t let Betty live, but what makes it so intense is how close Elizabeth gets to breaking.

Betty was a sweet, old woman who loved her family and enjoyed the quiet of late night to do her paperwork. Her and Elizabeth talk about their families, their relationships, and Betty’s sweet personality is certainly infectious. But my heart dropped that moment when Betty realized that she’s not going to live to see another sunrise. The great part about this scene is how you can tell Elizabeth is feeling something for this woman. Sure, there are ways that things need to be done when you’re a secret agent like she is, but in her own, ruthless way she was gentle with Betty. She allowed her to go out by swallowing pills, instead of shooting or choking her. My favorite part was the final seconds of Betty’s life when she left her sweetness behind and called Elizabeth evil. Can you blame her? Even when Elizabeth explains what she’s doing, Betty responds by saying that’s what evil people say. And if you distance yourself from a viewer who’s been watching Philip and Elizabeth the past few years, it’s easy to agree with Betty.

Phew, that was some powerful stuff. Plenty of other things happened in the episode, too. For one, Martha was quite giddy when she saw Clark next. Is she playing him for a fool? Like we need another double-agent huh? I personally don’t think Martha is savvy enough to trick Clark, but you never know. At least she postponed adopting a kid. There is also no new developments with Paige aside from her telling Henry to go to sleep. Just let him finish the video game, or else he’ll start breaking into houses again! Thank goodness there was no Kimmy in this episode.

And then there’s the Stan/Oleg collaboration. This is one story-line that I’m already tired of seeing and can certainly do without. They’re teaming up to try and get Nina out, but is that really necessary? One of them is bound to either get caught, or to trap the other. You have to assume Oleg would be the first to go because Stan is way too important in the show. I’m still waiting for the day when he discovers who Elizabeth and Philip really are, but I think that’s a final season story-arc.

Then we have the ending. The ending is extremely powerful and if you haven’t been on Team Philip yet, you will now. During another game of Scrabble, Philip drops two bombs on Gabriel. He tells him that he simply doesn’t trust him anymore (this is after Gabriel insisted that he and Elizabeth trust the organization) and that he’s going to do things his way to protect his family. Matthew Rhys acts the hell out of this scene and there’s no doubt in Gabriel’s mind that he means business. And about the other bomb? Well, Philip played a 59-point word. Boom!

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