The Americans is doing so many things so well this season. There’s the overall arc regarding the Jennings vs. the CIA (in relation to the war in Afghanistan — that war), which has added on the FBI as a foe, and become one of the most high-stakes games the Jennings have yet been involved with. On the home front, Elizabeth and Philip’s relationship has seesawed, and the Paige issue remains divisive. Meanwhile, their alter-egos are also dealing with issues (through Hans and Martha) that both highlight the good and bad in their own relationships.
The sideplots regarding Oleg, the Rezidentura, the Beemans, and this new FBI Agent (didn’t catch his name, but he’s played by Brandon J. Dirden) are just simmering along at this point, and probably connecting together down the road. For now, though, all of the momentum lies with Philip and Elizabeth.
The situation with the new agent, though (I say new — he’s new to us, but not new to the FBI) is interesting as it relates to Martha. She is extremely, extremely patient and eternally optimistic in her relationship with Philip’s Clark, believing that she might wear him down into having a child around — a foster child, if not a baby. But he is adamant, which also plays into his whole struggle with Elizabeth over Paige. Often, Martha will do or say things for Clark that makes him wish, surely, that his relationship with Elizabeth was more along those lines. But how long with Martha want to stay in this compromising marriage to Clark, especially when she has a promising new flirtation at work? How much you want to bet he loves kids?
Elizabeth, though, is more committed to Philip than ever. It was a little heartbreaking to watch her try and casually seduce him by standing naked in front of him, bringing up Hans’ pass at her, only to have Philip comment coldly that she should have continued to encourage his feelings towards her. Later, though, he tenderly told her he would see her back home after they had to split up over the CIA tail, and the quietly emotional moment they shared when she returned was beautiful. Following up with that excruciating scene where he finally pulled that bothersome tooth of hers (in two tries … the horror, the horror!) was incredibly intense. The looks they gave one another, the trust, the love, was deep.
But Paige is still an issue, and “Open House” played with that subtly through a number of references: Oleg breaking away from his father in Moscow to stay in America, the Soviet defector who is on all of the talk shows, the randy babysitter being the daughter of the head of the CIA Afghan group. Even Paige herself, who is growing up fast and telling her parents not to worry about her, played her own part in sculpting out a potential future she cannot possibly imagine.
Even though The Americans is spinning a lot of plot thread plates right now, it still manages to keep the tension taught regarding Philip and Elizabeth’s overall mission, as they are increasingly brazen with the CIA watching. Though we can be almost completely sure that neither Elizabeth or Philip will be caught — yet — there’s always a possibility. Meanwhile, though, seeing how they get out of these close calls in mesmerizing. This season continues to excel.
Episode Rating: ★★★★ Very good — Damn fine television
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Where did Henry get a picture of Sandra Beeman in a bikini top? Regardless, I found that scene hilarious. Hid your masturbation materials better, son!
— I think Elizabeth is not only newly committed to her relationship with Philip, but that she also is worried about creating another Gregory.
— Elizabeth bracing herself on Philip before he tried, again, to pull to that tooth from the root. When it broke off the first time I almost threw up!
— “People love hearing how right they are” – Stan.