That said, do we really need yet another plot—in both senses of the word? We already have the Jennings’ penetration of the Afghan group via Kimberly, their penetration of Northrup via Elizabeth’s AA buddy, and their penetration of Pakistani intelligence via Yousaf (in addition, of course, to the many storylines that are not explicitly missions). What’s next? Are they going to start leveraging the Iran-Iraq war? It’s little wonder that, like last week’s, this episode felt a bit scattered until it collected itself for its final act.
I worry a bit, too, about veering back into Stan’s love life. I could very happily live without ever hearing another word of his new est friend’s psychobabble (“It’s about being in touch with where you’re at”), which pricks a particular '80s-era nerve that I forgot I had. And while I’m not sure where tonight’s hint of reconciliation between Stan and Sandra (over their deceased friend) might be headed, the truth is that I’d rather not find out.
By contrast, it will be interesting to see how Elizabeth’s recruitment of Paige continues. As you note. Olga, there’s an awful lot of ground between “We were civil rights activists who occasionally broke the law” and “We’re Russian spies who seduce and murder in order to destroy the United States—and, by the way, wanna join?” I’m curious to see how Elizabeth hopes to navigate this terrain.
A few last thoughts. As someone who was precisely the same age as Paige and Kimberly in 1982, let me say that I knew with neurological certainty that the music Philip/James was playing for the latter when they were baked in her room was going to be Pink Floyd. It was, without meaningful competition, the band of choice for teens in that particular psychochemical state—or so I was told. The only question is Dark Side or The Wall? I feel pretty confident in picking the former. Also, as long as we’re talking ganja, do we think Elizabeth would really toke up in the house on the same night that Paige had already busted her for smoking cigarettes? Talk about tempting fate.
Finally, correct me if I’m misremembering, but when Elizabeth and Philip met with their previous handler, Margo Martindale’s Claudia, didn’t they often do so together? The way in which they consistently meet Gabriel individually would seem to give him an obvious opportunity to divide them (as, in fact, he constantly does). Also, what’s become of the cloak-and-dagger meetings of previous seasons? Stopping by Gabriel’s apartment day after day for coffee and Scrabble may be charming, but it doesn’t seem like the sharpest tradecraft. But what do I know?
How about you, David? Where do you come down on Philip’s religious bait-and-switch and Elizabeth’s effort to bring Paige into the family business? Also, Dark Side or The Wall? Dark Side, right?
Sims: I bought Dark Side on cassette when I was ten years old, so it will always remain the sentimental favorite for me. No doubt The Wall’s iconoclastic message might appeal to rebellious young Kimberly, but since she’s blitzed out of her mind, you have to imagine Philip picked Dark Side. Far more appropriate from an atmospheric point of view.