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Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Americans 3.6: "Jesus Came Through for Me Tonight"

Philip says to Elizabeth, in The Americans 3.6, that "Jesus came through for me tonight".   And that just about captures this strong episode, big time.

On the one hand, Philip, in a continuing display of decency, or maybe just guilt he feels as the father of a teenaged daughter, continues to refuse to give in to Kim and the logic of his spying assignment, and sleep with her.   But how long can he continue with this restraint, with the 15-year old Kim wanting so badly to get into bed with him?

Fortunately for Philip and our story, he's not only a master spy but an expert psychologist - one versed, moreover, in teenaged girl mentality.  He's thus able to use religion not once but twice to deflect Kim in his arms leading to more, and though the first time leaves her angry and suspicious, the second time leaves her feeling she really shared something meaningful and adult with Philip - just what every teenaged girl wants from her relationship.

Philip is also amazingly quick on his feet and his ability to draw upon a real experiences in his life, and apply them to the mission at hand.   He calls upon Jesus in the first place because his daughter Paige was just baptized.  And in his second encounter almost leading to sex in Kim's bedroom, Philip calls on what he has just learned about a son he fathered years earlier.

The acting in all this continues to be superb.  Elizabeth and Philip in the church when Paige is baptized was picture perfect.  Elizabeth has a mostly frozen expression on her face, only her eyes betraying how disconcerting this baptism is to her.  And Philip's face alternates between a forced smile and the true concern he's feeling about the baptism.  Kudos to Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, who really excelled in this scene.

The pace of The Americans is slower this year than in previous seasons, but it's shaping up to be every bit as compelling.

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