Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Americans 4.10: Outstanding!

An outstanding episode of The Americans last night - 4.10 - one of the best of this or any season, in which the Jennings family is shaken up and almost torn apart, over something which didn't actually happen.

Of course, the fact that this could befall the Jennings underscores the fragile, volatile nature of the family, ever since Elizabeth and Philip told Paige what they were up to (at least, a part of it), and, then, incredibly, Paige shared this with Pastor Tim.

And when he goes missing in a part of Africa under Soviet influence, well, it's completely understandable that the paster's wife, who in turn was told that Elizabeth and Philip are KGB, would think the worst - that is, that Tim was killed by the KGB.

Indeed, Elizabeth and Philip aren't sure what happened - and neither was I.   Their surprise seemed genuine, so it was likely that their protestation of innocence was bona fide, but even here you never know.  I recall Elizabeth and Philip occasionally not telling each other the complete truth - contrary to what she and Philip later tell Paige -  so it was possible that someone (likely, always, Elizabeth) did know what was going on, and didn't tell Philip. More likely, though, was that the "Center" took matters into its own hands, after Gabriel told them about the pastor.  Or maybe Claudia put through the order, she's certainly capable of that ...

With all of this swirling around, it was a pretty big shock when it turned out that apparently nothing untoward had happened to Tim - always a sign of good writing when a non-event has such shock value.  And that's an indication of how well this tense house of subversive cards has been constructed.

And there were other strong elements in this episode.   Gaad getting killed and the way he died, Stan meeting Martha's father, Matthew making the beginning of a move on Paige, Oleg in bed with that new Soviet woman and their conversation - all are good tinder for explosive plot developments ahead.

I'm looking forward!

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