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Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Americans 4.4: Life and Death

Great to see The Americans back, with a season that is quickly shaping up as one of the best for the series.

Paige's knowledge of what her parents are doing - or, at least, a significant part of what they are doing - could well have posed an almost insurmountable challenge for the narrative.   Her telling the pastor about her parents upped the ante even more.  But The Americans has done a good, taut job working out of this vortex, with Elizabeth and Peter first planning on killing the pastor, and then interrupted in this plan only by the deadly pathogen that almost killed Gabriel and didn't infect Elizabeth after all.   That part of the story was an outstanding piece of television.

The Martha story has yet to be resolved, and the possibility of Stan running into Philip as he makes one of his appearances with Martha hangs over the series like a sword of Damocles.   This is both good - because it injects peril into every scene with Martha and Stan, and indeed with Philip in disguise - but also a tiny bit annoying already, because it's beginning to strain creditability that Stan hasn't happened onto this already.   But he is proceeding ever closer, which promises some exciting, likely deadly, times ahead.

Speaking of deadly, Nina's death at the end was certainly a shocker, but was actually the best way of ending this part of the story.   Releasing her, getting her back to America, in Stan's arms, or maybe Oleg's, would have been an impossible hill to climb.  Her death, and especially the way in which it was done, provided a stunning and important lesson about the adversary facing America in the 1980s. We are no angels, not then and for that matter not now, but the way in which Nina was killed puts America in at least a somewhat better light.

The Americans continues to be a great history story as well as one relevant to our present-day world at every turn, and I'm looking forward to more.

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