As the opening image of this review clearly shows, Pastor Tim died in his sleep in this episode of The Americans—thus ending the problem of their daughter’s minister potentially revealing that Philip and Elizabeth are Soviet spies living in northern Virginia during the height of the Reagan Administration’s Cold War Rhetoric. Whew! That was close! No, the problem was not actually resolved that quickly. Pastor Tim did not die in his sleep; he died in Elizabeth’s sleep. Elizabeth merely dreamt his death—or, more specifically, Elizabeth dreamt of her daughter, Paige, discovering Pastor Tim’s body in his bed in a cabin in the woods. The immediately obvious question is: Why is Elizabeth dreaming about her 15-year-old daughter visiting Pastor Tim late at night in a cabin in the woods? Other questions arise while attempting to answer the first question: Does Elizabeth subconsciously wonder if the married minister is secretly coveting her 15-year-old daughter? Does Elizabeth subconsciously wonder if her 15-year-old daughter is having sex with the married minister? The full dream is even creepier than the questions. In her mother’s dream, Paige rolls over Pastor Tim’s body—at which point he suddenly becomes KGB Colonel Nikolai Timoshev, the man who raped Elizabeth some 20 years earlier when she was in her late teens and still living in the Soviet Union. At the time, Timoshev was a KGB captain who oversaw the training of the cadets at the KGB spy school. While sparring, he knocked Elizabeth to her back on the mat, flipped her over, pulled down her sweat pants, and raped her from behind. In Elizabeth’s dream, Timoshev throws Paige to the bed, flips her over, and rips off her blouse. At that point, Elizabeth wakes from her nightmare—but why would she even have such a disturbing dream? There are several elements underlying Elizabeth’s dream—and, just as the subconscious actually works, these elements are in no particular order; they are simultaneous subconscious concepts: Elizabeth has agreed with the KGB’s plan for Paige to begin training as an American-born spy for the Soviet Union. However, during her own training, Elizabeth was raped by Col. Timoshev—a man she trusted up to that point in her training. Before they went to bed (thus, before Elizabeth’s dream), Philip told Elizabeth about the recurring memory/dream he has been having about the two teenage boys he murdered with a rock when he was 10 years old. He is trying to deal with his guilt by working it out at the EST seminars he has been attending—and which he finally told Elizabeth about. Elizabeth seemed interested in EST when Philip told her about it, which completely surprised me. She even asked Philip if he would want her to go to EST with him. At the time, I thought she wanted to see how these psychological self-help seminars were causing Philip to become weak. However, it could be she was wondering if EST could help her with the memory of Timoshev raping her. Paige trusts Pastor Tim, but Elizabeth does not trust religious people. Thus, Elizabeth is subconsciously connecting Pastor Tim to Col. Timoshev through the possibility that her daughter has lost her virginity to someone she trusts (Pastor Tim), just as Elizabeth lost her own virginity when Timoshev raped her. Additionally, the minister’s first name, Tim, being the same as the first syllable in Timoshev undoubtedly strengthens the association of the two men in Elizabeth subconscious. Rather than hand Timoshev over to the KGB as he had been ordered to do, Philip killed Timoshev (way back in the pilot episode on January 30, 2013) once he inferred what Timoshev had done to Elizabeth. Now, after learning that Paige told Pastor Tim about her parents being Soviet spies, Elizabeth is planning to kill the minister at his cabin in the woods—but she will need Philip’s help because there is a groundskeeper at the cabin. Elizabeth knows the layout of Pastor Tim’s cabin because she cased the place the day before her dream. She decided to use either the propane-fueled space heater or the cabin’s gas stove (probably fueled with a propane tank as well) to make the death appear accidental—and the body in her dream looked like Pastor Tim may have died from propane poisoning while he slept. All of those memories, thoughts, and subconscious associations were undoubtedly the foundation of Elizabeth’s nightmare. However, the inclusion of Col. Timoshev in the dream (probably due to Philip’s discussion of the memory of his first murder and the help he’s been trying to get at the EST seminars) indicates a small hole in the wall Elizabeth has built around herself. In fact, the notion of walls in our lives is the unstated metaphor of this episode that only emerges when we consider the open Bible at Pastor Tim’s cabin that we saw when Elizabeth was there. After going through his church office, Philip discovered that Pastor Tim goes to the cabin each week to write his sermon for the coming Sunday. Apparently, the previous sermon or the next sermon was going to be based on The Book of Nehemiah. The open Bible at the cabin showed the first two pages of The Book of Nehemiah. Thus, we see Nehemiah Chapters 1–3, which is the part of the narrative where Nehemiah learns that Jerusalem is without walls and is thus open to attack. He then returns to Jerusalem from Persia so he can oversee the reconstruction of the city’s walls. This episode of The Americans has walls coming down within the Jennings household. Thus, they are a family that is becoming exposed and open to attack: Philip is trying to open his wall by using EST to eliminate the guilt of the murders he committed when he was 10 years old. Elizabeth is subconsciously haunted by her own memory of being raped and is willing to open her own wall to give EST a try. Feeling her own guilt about having told Pastor Tim about her parents, Paige confesses that she revealed the family secret. She has thus opened the family to attack, but she is also trying to tear down the wall she has put up between herself and her parents—which is symbolized by the camera shot in which we look at Paige through the partially open door of her bedroom wall just before she heads downstairs to the kitchen to confess her sin to her mother. In contrast, other characters in the episode are building or strengthening the walls in their lives: Stan has built a wall between himself and Philip due to Stan’s mistaken assumption that Philip is having sex with Sandra, Stan’s estranged wife. (They actually just went out to dinner after a couple of EST seminars so she could give Philip further insight into EST.) After the failure of their plan to get their mutual love, Nina Krilova, out of a Soviet prison and back to the United States, the wall between Stan and KGB agent Oleg Burov is rebuilt by Oleg. Stan offers Oleg sympathy for the death of his brother, but Oleg asks sarcastically, “So we are friends now?” before leaving Stan’s car and walking away. In fact, all of the built-up walls involve Stan—such as the one between Stan and his supervisor, Frank Gaad, after Stan began working on the plan with Oleg without Gaad’s permission. Gaad nearly fired Stan, but Gaad’s supervisor praised the plan and gave Stan carte blanche in working his plan with Oleg. However, we now know that Gaad’s supervisor wanted Stan’s plan to go through so that a different Soviet prisoner could be sent to the United States instead of Nina. Yet, a small opening in the wall between Stan and Gaad seemed to be evident after Gaad gave Stan a file that “the CIA confirmed.” We don’t know what is in the file, but whatever it is Stan “can use it,” and Gaad says that the information is better than trying to blackmail Oleg with the tapes. It’s all very ambiguous, but it did seem to help Stan and Gaad notice a gate in their wall. In fact, the only person from whom Stan is not walled off in the episode is Philip and Elizabeth’s son, Henry Jennings. Henry visits with Stan while they eat macaroni and cheese that is better than Henry’s mom’s because Stan cooks it for less time than the directions on the box indicate. Their conversation ranges from the way to cook macaroni and cheese, to Henry’s new computer that his parents gave him, to Henry’s use of Ralph Lauren cologne, to the crush Henry has on his junior high school science teacher—whom Henry describes by using hand gestures. There is one final wall in the episode—or actually the implication of a wall that does not exist but should—the lack of a firewall on the new computer that Henry wants to show Stan. The computer was actually given to Philip and Elizabeth by the KGB so they could give it to Paige and Henry. It seems likely that in 1983 (roughly two years before the Internet was available to the public), the security on Henry’s computer would be non-existent. I know the computer I had in 1983 did not have any security programs installed on it. Thus, the computer is probably a Trojan Horse that has been planted in the Jennings’s home so the KGB can monitor Paige and Henry in some way. Similarly, Stan might also find a way to use Henry’s computer to learn what’s going on behind the walls of the Jennings’s house—either because of his suspicions about Philip having an affair with Sandra or because he begins to suspect Philip and Elizabeth are Soviet spies (something the previews of the upcoming season seemed to imply, but hopefully as a red herring being offered to viewers). In any event, like Jerusalem at the beginning of The Book of Nehemiah, the Jennings are now vulnerable to attack on several fronts because of the poor condition, or outright absence, of their walls. Philip and Elizabeth are well aware of their vulnerability as they discuss the matter inside their car parked inside their closed garage—thus enclosed behind double walls: Elizabeth: We’re in trouble. Philip: I know. Before I sign off, I want to express one small complaint about the episode. In a couple of my reviews from last season, I commented on several anomalies that have popped up in the series—such as characters reading books that had not yet been published, Philip using a contemporary map rather than one from the early 1980s, et cetera. In addition to commenting on those anomalies in my reviews of the specific episodes, I also covered them in one of my “Spontaneous Quixote” columns (which I will soon return to writing). Well, this episode has two anomalies that I cannot let pass. The first anomaly involves the shot of the US Capitol Building in the distance when Oleg leaves Stan’s car (see the image earlier in this review). That building is clearly not the US Capitol Building, as the dome is too skinny. My guess is that it is the Rhode Island statehouse, which looks similar to the US Capitol Building, and which is the nearest Capitol-like building where the series is filmed—New York City. The show’s shooting locations leads me to the second anomaly. In a scene that is supposed to take place at one of the airports in the Washington, DC area (probably Dulles), Philip has to meet with an airline pilot on a shuttle bus. The problem is that the shuttle should be part of the fleet at either Dulles or BWI (most likely not Washington National), but it is clearly marked as being from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (or just “JFK”). I don’t understand why the prop department couldn’t cover up “JFK Shuttle” with a sign that reads “Dulles Shuttle.” At least both of these are spatial anomalies rather than the show’s usual temporal anomalies. Yet, we might be heading toward another temporal anomaly if Henry’s computer ends up having an Internet connection a few episodes from now. Perhaps such a temporal anomaly could lead to an inter-network crossover between The Americans and Halt and Catch Fire, which is another series I review for Psycho Drive-In, and that should be returning soon for its third season. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response The Americans 4.05 “Clark’s Place” - Psycho Drive-In May 3, 2016 […] few weeks ago, I ended my review of episode 4.02, “Pastor Tim,” by pointing out that a scene that was supposed to be taking place at one of the three airports in […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.