If you haven't watched The Americans Season 4 Episode 4, turn around.
You really shouldn't be here right now.
It was an episode with significant impact on Nina in the Soviet Union, and actress Annet Mahendru took time to speak with reporters about what it meant to her.
Warning!! Turn around if you haven't watched Wednesday's episode. You're sure you want to continue? Alright. You've been duly warned.
Yes, it was a very big episode for Annet Mahendru and Nina. It's the call an actor never wants to get. The one that tells you your time on a series has come to an end. It's a call Mahendru got. When she received it, she was angry, she loved the showrunners, she had all the feelings. It was time to carry out Nina's death sentence.
Her mom assured her she was not dying, but her character, Nina. Still, Mahendru was so sad, because she was losing a part of herself.
Plus, it was on The Americans Season 4 Episode 2 when Nina met her husband and got her own mission, "her transformation that she desperately needed. I felt like I have just gotten a real, kind of, take of her, and that's it, an episode later, she's dead."
"That little bit of her, that little bit of joy. It's so fleeting. It was over before I could really embrace it and it was really sad," Mahendru shared.
Mahendru noted how wonderful it was that she had the opportunity to change with the character. She summed up Nina's motivationssince The Americans Season 3. "Every decision is life or death with her. She's falling. She can't do this anymore, and [Anton] moves something in her. It's something very direct. He has a son. She's given all that up when she entered this profession and she finds joy in his letters, and love."
"And for the first time, I think, we see her happy and she literally gives up everything for that moment of happiness. That's her freedom from that kind of tragic and tumultuous life she has chosen and has been dealing with since we meet her."
Mahendru continued, "Sometimes you need to change in order to survive, and that's what she does."
"She did everything to secure future of the Soviet Union, and it's so far-fetched, but here's this boy, who just needs to know his father is alive and loves him, and THAT's the greatest thing she's ever done."
Mahendru believes at some point Nina was at peace, at least, with her death sentence. Nina had such a tragic life and it was real. There are women like this out in the world, and being one of them just made Mahundru angry. That long walk through the hallway was mortifying. Nina was sleepy, carrying her little bag of belongings.
"She doesn't know. Am I free? She's being read her death sentence and, you know, that long moment before you're about to die. And I had to experience that a few times and it was so real!"
When they called her and said this is everything an artist wants to do, her first reaction was, "What are you talking about?" Mahundru laughed, thinking back on the the conversation.
"Yeah, it was everything an artist wants to do. As mad as I was, as broken as I was, I wanted to do it again. It was the most intense thing I had to do as an artist. You know, that last kind of thing, of life before it goes. She's fighting for it. I was sitting there afterward in my chair thinking 'I can't believe you made me do this,' and then I wanted to do it again. That's how I felt."
Mahendru doesn't know if viewers will connect her story to Elizabeth's. Ultimately, it's a personal fight. It's a war of ideologies can be and so general, on both sides. They're fighting for the world, and on behalf of the Soviet Union. She thought, perhaps, Nina's decision regarding Anton and the note was a little selfish.
"It's a great fight, but it's a very difficult one, too." She continued, "You have to make a choice, ultimately, what it is you should be fighting for and what makes sense for you."
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.