Sometimes, you go to a reunion and realize people you knew way back when haven't changed an iota.
Elizabeth and Philip couldn't even reunite with Claudia on The Americans Season 5 Episode 8 without the very obvious character changes (nature/personality not the portrayal of another) within the small group.
The fifth season subtlety continued.
Gabriel is gone, and in his place is Claudia.
But it's pretty clear Philip and Elizabeth preferred the way Gabriel left things. He noted on his way out that they didn't need him anymore and could take care of themselves. Not only did they take it to heart, they work best off each other's advice anyway.
Claudia: I was read in on everything. You've been doing beautifully.
Philip: We've had our moments.
Claudia looked tired. Even worse, she seemed defeated.
If going home to Mother Russia did that to a person upon their return to America, it's hard to imagine Elizabeth and Philip will look at going home in the same positive light as they have in the past.
Then again, Philip didn't even want to know Claudia's story. His suggestion was to receive the orders so they could be on their merry way.
His final discussions with Gabriel didn't do him any good, and receiving their first set of instructions from Claudia didn't mean diddly to either Philip or Elizabeth.
In fact, they both decided to do the exact opposite of what she suggested.
Philip didn't put his full spy mojo into his relationship with Diedre, and she dumped him. She wanted someone more assertive. But, no, it had nothing to do with est. He just didn't care about the job. It's internal.
Elizabeth: And then a 45-year-old logistics manager kicks you out of bed.
Philip: We're not all as attractive as you, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: But you are.
Upon the realization that Elizabeth was right and he'd need to put it back together, Philip got Diedre back by simply stating he was married. That was a pretty low-blow to the women of America, but sadly true when it comes to a bad boy.
And Diedre would be happier screwing a married guy to whom she didn't have to worry about committing than some sad sap she might have to continue seeing.
Alexei's wife told Elizabeth about an immersion class. That turned out to be more of a lesson in sex, as Elizabeth sussed out she was having an affair.
That was likely to get her sent back to the Soviet Union, and Tuan thought he could get Pascha sent back with her.
I'm so confused about that storyline. Is Alexei's family a nuisance to him, so they want to get rid of them? I know everything is a nuisance to Tuan, but as for the Morosova family, I can't figure out their roles other than Alexei's and the wheat.
I was under the impression it was good to have Evgheniya in her new position, affair or no affair, but with as quickly as they think shipping her home is a good idea...yeah, I am not the intelligent audience member I'm expected to be.
Whoosh. Right over my airy head.
What didn't go over my head (and maybe it was supposed to) was the oddity of Tuan telling Philip and Elizabeth that while it has been cool so far that they've not been around much, that might not fly going forward.
Um, why? Shouldn't that have come with an explanation?
He always goes on those little political rants, and that statement was worrisome.
Then again, that thought comes from that gal who has no idea the point of the Morosova family in its entirety, so take anything I say with a dollop of salt.
At least we saw what a good decision it was for Oleg to burn the evidence he had stashed in his room about his past life. Is it even possible he went to investigate his mother on the off chance he needed something juicy to report to his boss if he was searched?
That was stellar thinking all around. His family has a lot of pull, but pulling in circles would be hard to achieve.
And let's think a moment to the final character ch ch ch changing.
Elizabeth may have made light of Philip being a little bit different with his work due to his est visits, but she's doing Tai Chi just to relax and sharing her personal tragedies with Paige.
Could you have imagined her doing that before the family took a much needed year off to reflect and be a family? No way. She can see how he's different, but it's not as easy for her to reflect on how different she has become.
Taking a walk with Paige and talking about what she'd want to do if she wasn't a spy was also very eye-opening. Elizabeth equates the work she does now in the same vein as working as a doctor in a third world country.
She's helping people who cannot help themselves. She's given her life to assist all of the citizens of the Soviet Union who don't have the same set of skills she does. That's why she wants Paige to follow in her footsteps, to believe in something as much as she believes in her work.
It sounds crazy after watching the horrors we've seen her and Philip perform in the name of aiding their country, but not in Elizabeth's eyes.
It was also nice seeing Henry at home with his friends, his secrets protected by Stan and Paige's protected by her parents. If they want to want to find things out about their own kids, they'll have to do it themselves. Good on them.
Don't forget, you can watch The Americans online anytime.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.