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1-1: "Pilot" 2013.01.30


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#181

Grom

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Posted Feb 6, 2013 @ 8:41 PM

Why wouldn't it make sense that they were only allowed to abuse the female cadets? I assume that most of the KGB leadership involved in the trainings were male and militaries all over the world have had problems with male officers using their position to abuse female underlings. It's an epidemic in the current US military so I have no problem believing the KGB in the 60s would have had similar problems.
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#182

morgaine4

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Posted Feb 6, 2013 @ 9:38 PM

If it's used as a way to gain emotional and mental control over the cadets, or to observes what the cadets are willing to endure, then it would be used as a tool against male and female trainees. If it's power-drunk superiors using their power over trainees to become more power-drunk, to feel superior then chances are those individuals wouldn't discriminate between the sexes. While females in the military are raped with more frequency by superiors than males, male subordinates are also raped/sexually assaulted and those subordinates face the same sort of attitude as the females, and that is a problem in the US military now and was a problem even when DADT was in effect (one would think that if a male subordinate victim reported the assault that DADT at least would force the military's hand, but it didn't).
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#183

SlovakPrincess

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Posted Feb 6, 2013 @ 10:45 PM

That was a pretty solid hour of television. This show's definitely going on the TiVo.

This is a very different role for Kerri Russell, but she's pulling it off. Nice to see Matthew Rhys again - haven't seen him since I gave up on Brothers and Sisters years ago. I really like him in this, and I like the complicated, nuanced relationship between Elizabeth and Phillip.

Also - Richard Thomas! Love seeing him in anything - I saw him in a stage production of Twelve Angry Men years ago, and he was great. (But I will always think of him as John Boy).

Bonus points for the music!

While I get Phillip's POV and see how the news of Elizabeth's rape could cement his goal, I'm curious to know how Elizabeth can be such a diehard KGB agent after she was betrayed early in her training by a senior officer. I'm hoping that the death of the rapist doesn't mean that the show won't address this in a future ep.

Interesting point, but she apparently had good relationships with other male, senior officers - the man she met at the safe house seemed almost fatherly toward her. So maybe she didn't think of the entire KGB as being to blame?

Alternatively, maybe she is even more committed than Phillip because she went through so much - maybe she has to believe she is part of a noble cause so it doesn't feel like she went through hell for nothing. Also, since he later defected, maybe she thinks he was not true KGB, just an evil, decadent traitor.

I think that would be super-interesting to explore, especially since many organizations (terrorist organizations) use rape as a tool to control and manipulate recruits. I'd also be curious to know why they'd only use rape on female trainees (since rape is used often used on males and females).

We don't necessarily know that only females were raped - Elizabeth was, Phillip apparently did not endure that. We don't know what happened to other agents in training. It's also not clear from Elizabeth's experience that it was a widespread practice, or why it happened in the branch (?) of the KGB that trained Elizabeth.
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#184

morgaine4

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Posted Feb 7, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

We don't necessarily know that only females were raped - Elizabeth was, Phillip apparently did not endure that. We don't know what happened to other agents in training. It's also not clear from Elizabeth's experience that it was a widespread practice, or why it happened in the branch (?) of the KGB that trained Elizabeth.


I agree, I also don't think we can assume that anything the traitorous defector said is true, for all we know he's making stuff up to malign his former country.
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#185

ElectricBoogalo

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Posted Feb 7, 2013 @ 2:33 PM

So, when Elizabeth answered the phone, went quiet and exchanged a wide-eyed meaningful look with Phillip... was she receiving information about where the perv lived? What was that about?

I assumed that was someone calling to set up the meeting with the general at the safe house in Maryland.

I'm quite certain that Phillip did not mention his perv beating mission to Elizabeth.

Edited by ElectricBoogalo, Feb 7, 2013 @ 2:34 PM.

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#186

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Posted Feb 8, 2013 @ 2:08 AM

I really wonder if they could fake it for 20 years without being tempted.

Philip cites reliable electricity and good food but the Soviets were telling all kinds of lies about life in the West to their people.

Elizabeth may have been young when she was recruited but can she really imagine going to live back in Russia with the food shortages and lines?

Maybe KGB officers retired to dachas and got Western luxury goods? Or maybe Philip knows that is not in their future?

Putin reportedly had a very modest lifestyle until after the fall of the USSR, when he got posts in Germany and then had some control over dealings with Western oil companies. Then shortly ascended to power.

Maybe Elisabeth was unwilling to turn in Timashov to the Americans because of the past more than loyalty to the motherland. You would think to become a good homemaker and bake good brownies, she has to enjoy some of the experience.

Or maybe she has some loyalty to the general she met with at the safe house -- maybe kind of a father figure.
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#187

madam magpie

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Posted Feb 12, 2013 @ 12:55 AM

I'm late to the party, but I absolutely loved this. Felicity as a shit-kicking bruiser is the most fun thing I've seen on TV in a long time. I adore Keri Russell and so am happy to have her back on TV. She's got a great cold stare, but also reveals a lot with just her eyes. Matthew Rhys is new to me, but I thought he was fantastic.

My take on Elizabeth is that she's really conflicted emotionally. Here's a woman whose entire coming of age was shaped by her government. She was recruited, trained, raped, and sent into deep cover, married to a man she didn't know, living in a foreign country and unable to ever be real or relax with anyone, including her "fake" husband. She's intensely loyal to the USSR, but also really loves her kids. During the scene where Phillip says they could defect and go into hiding, her whole demeanor changes when he says they could tell the kids the truth. She wants Paige and Henry to be their own people, not be a part of this, etc. Granted she'd like them to be more Russian, but she's fierce and protective. She seems very scared to me, and as the stakes become higher and their missions more risky and the lives of the people she loves are more threatened, it'll be interesting to see how she reacts. She already started to change after Phillip killed Timoshev, like it was the first time she ever let Phillip see her and it was by mistake, but the love and loyalty in his reaction both startled and shook her.

I also lived outside Washington DC in the MD suburbs as a kid during the 1980s and it's absolutely true that the feds were everywhere. Secret Service, DoD, FBI, whatever. You could always spot them, especially the Secret Service, and it wasn't at all odd for them to be around at the mall, school functions, and so on. Working for the FBI is as common there as being a teacher or lawyer.

Shallow note: I know Keri's hair should be feathered or something for authenticity, but it's just so pretty that I don't care.

Edited by madam magpie, Feb 12, 2013 @ 1:08 AM.

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#188

Solea

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Posted Feb 12, 2013 @ 12:55 PM

I watched this episode twice because I missed some dialogue, and I'm glad I did. I got more out of it the second time and the complexity of the relationship between Phillip and Elizabeth really intrigues me.

maybe she is even more committed than Phillip because she went through so much - maybe she has to believe she is part of a noble cause so it doesn't feel like she went through hell for nothing.

This is my take on it as well. After all she's the one blowing strange men for intell. She definitely has the rougher gig.

I'm not terribly familiar with Keri Russell but even so I was pleasantly surprised with her here. Didn't know Matthew Rhys but I think he's perfect for the role. He looks like just your average suburban Joe, but he really sells the highly-skilled secret operative persona. And as someone said upthread, one minute he's dweebish and the next he's smoking hot. Neat feat that.

Cliche as it may have been my favorite scene was the pedo beat down. Everyone of those sickos should get a barbeque fork to the nuts, so it was very satisfying.
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#189

Sister Magpie

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Posted Feb 22, 2013 @ 1:41 PM

Only the pilot has aired, so there's so much to be seen, it'll depend on how trustworthy the audience is supposed to find the rapist defector. He said that they were allowed to rape the trainees, but again he a rapist defector said that they were given permission to do so, so I'm not sure that I believe it at all, and even if true it wouldn't make sense that they were given permission only to rape the female trainees.


Wouldn't that just be standard homophobia? Iow, superiors *are* given the freedom to rape whatever trainees they want at a certain level, but they're not going to openly refer to raping other men the same way as they refer to being allowed to "have" whatever women they want. They're only expected to want the female ones themselves. So the rape of other males simply isn't spoken about in the same terms.

I have no trouble believing that in this kind of system this could happen and it would be condoned--as others have mentioned, it's a problem everywhere. It doesn't make the KGB all that unique or evil to me. It just puts Elizabeth in a vulnerable position in an organization where there's not a system set up for complaints.
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#190

noregrets

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Posted Feb 25, 2013 @ 7:54 PM

"Tusk" - and he does a little impromptu tap/country dance to it as the other shoppers look on in amusement and his daughter was somewhat embarrassed.


Does anyone know the name of that little dance step?
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#191

Puds38

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Posted Mar 1, 2013 @ 10:44 PM

Funny. I'm watching the marathon and in the pilot Paige's ears are already pierced. Makes for a bit of a nitpick when Elizabeth later goes to pierce them.
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#192

SDcat2009

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Posted Mar 3, 2013 @ 12:08 AM

Does anyone know the name of that little dance step?


Been awhile since my line dancing days...but I think it was either the Tush Push or the Watermelon Crawl.
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#193

John Potts

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Posted Jun 2, 2013 @ 5:46 PM

I missed the first five minutes or so, so I was weirded out by the timeline - seeing as it was inspired by the "Suburban Spies" recently outed in the US, I thought the "present" was meant to be present day which made me wonder how on Earth they thought Keri Russell could conceivably play somebody pushing 70. But the 80s setting made it mostly work - if she's a war baby then the utter devotion to her country makes more sense (to say that the Eastern Front in WWII was brutal would be an understatement and it inculcated a sense of utter devotion in response). And the idea that rape was tolerated as a "perk" is entirely believable too - we know it happened in the West and it's even more plausible in Russia where her rapist was in the KGB (maybe it didn't break her devotion because she feels she "Wasn't strong enough" to fight him off or "He was toughening her up" for the cause). Of course, setting it in the 80s causes other problems as it seems grounded in "Now" rather than "The 80s" (I was thinking that Philip's dancing was rather reminiscent of Line Dancing which wasn't really a big thing until the Millennium).

 

 

Bitter Cocoa It is a random coincidence that an FBI should move in across from them but it opens up a lot more suspense and challenges in their quest to be successful spies.

 

 

I loved that Elizabeth said that it is Washington and even FBI agents have to live somewhere. It seems plausible and shows how calm she is under pressure. That an FBI agent would announce he's a spy hunter seemed less so. Either he should say he couldn't discuss his work or have some sort of cover story ("Investigating corporate espionage" or similar, because it sounds dull as anything but would require secrecy).

 

 

Amester0120 - For some reason, I just assumed that the kids were adopted (through creepy KGB channels). I guess because I assumed the marriage was a front.

 

 

Pretty sure they’re their natural kids. Even though it's an arranged marriage (and I think they're legally married in the US) it helps maintain their cover if as much as possible about them is "real".

 

Anosmia How do they explain to their kids and friends that they've got no family?

 

My bet would be they’re (one or both) posing as 2nd generation immigrants from somewhere in Eastern Europe (probably not Russia, though), with their “Mother” (or “Father”) as their Handler. It would help cover any accent/language slips if their "Mother Tongue" is something Cyrillic.


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#194

thatguy01

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Posted Jun 2, 2013 @ 7:35 PM

During the season, there were specific details about Elizabeth's pregnancies.


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#195

Hal25

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Posted Jun 2, 2013 @ 8:49 PM

I loved that Elizabeth said that it is Washington and even FBI agents have to live somewhere. It seems plausible and shows how calm she is under pressure. That an FBI agent would announce he's a spy hunter seemed less so. Either he should say he couldn't discuss his work or have some sort of cover story ("Investigating corporate espionage" or similar, because it sounds dull as anything but would require secrecy).

 

Yeah, that seemed like a bit of a stretch. I also found the moment where Philip listens to the tape of Elizabeth having sex with the government guy to be a little unlikely too as it didn't get him any new information and only served to torture him with hearing his wife getting boned by someone else, but I guess they have to do a few things to up the drama factor. It's been said that if a show ever accurately depicted what real spies do all day, it would be mind-numbingly boring!


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#196

Natalie44

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Posted Jun 4, 2013 @ 9:54 AM

Yeah, that seemed like a bit of a stretch. I also found the moment where Philip listens to the tape of Elizabeth having sex with the government guy to be a little unlikely too as it didn't get him any new information and only served to torture him with hearing his wife getting boned by someone else, but I guess they have to do a few things to up the drama factor. It's been said that if a show ever accurately depicted what real spies do all day, it would be mind-numbingly boring!

 

Stan announcing he worked in Counterintelligence did seem like a bit of a stretch, but I'm willing to suspend some degree of disbelief for the sake of the story. As for him listening to the tape, I think that was primarily for our benefit, so we'd know that's how they got the intelligence on when and where Timoshev was going to be. Plus, some people are just masochists...


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#197

cyberducks

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Posted Mar 4, 2014 @ 7:35 PM

So after last week's episode 201 being my first exposure to THE AMERICANS I have watched the pilot now. I am impressed with Russell's acting, nothing in "Felicity" prepared me for her performance here. So far I am liking "Phillip" more than "Elisabeth" - Phillip comes across as more warm and less of a Zealot. I have never seen the actor who plays Phillip in anything else but he is really, really good. He has this chameleon quality and the ideal look for a spy: depending on what he is trying to bring across in this pilot episode alone he is homely, nerdy, attractive, goofy, sexy and all of a sudden dangerous and deadly. His character also earned a lot of points with me when he beat the crap out of the child molester.

 

So far I have no trouble rooting for the main characters - if they were Americans betraying their country I couldn't - but they are basically soldiers fighting in enemy territory.

 

I hope this show lasts long enough to depict the end of the Soviet Union. I want to see the characters react and deal with that.


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