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    The Americans, Ep. 3.06: “Born Again” turns its attention to Paige

    More and more, this season of The Americans feels like it’s centered around Paige. Although the myriad subplots weave together to paint a broad portrait of Cold War life, she’s become important enough to feel like as good a candidate as any for the show’s emotional core. Paige serves a dual function in the narrative: her embrace of Christianity is interesting in its own right and is also an ideal lens for the viewer to understand the complicated relationship between Elizabeth and Phillip. This week’s episode takes its title from Paige’s baptism, so “Born Again” naturally focuses on her, and she continues to be a perfect anchoring point for the show’s broader concerns. More

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    The Americans, Ep. 3.03: “Open House” builds characters through foils

    Of all the elements that make The Americans among the most fascinating shows on television (it took the top spot on my top 10 list for last year), the parallels between relationships, organizations, and individuals may be the show’s most compelling narrative component. Whether it’s between the Beemans and the Jennings, the KGB and the CIA, or, more broadly, life in the USSR and the US, the series excels at revealing truths through comparisons between foils. This week’s episode, “Open House,” focuses on marriage, and the results are as fascinating as always. More

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    The Americans, Ep. 3.01: “EST Men” starts the season off thrillingly

    Throughout its two season run, one of the most remarkable things about The Americans has been the show’s understatement. Despite the somewhat far-fetched premise (Phillip and Elizabeth just happen to live next to Stan), the series has maintained an impressive level of self-restraint. Much of the show appears to be content to depict the overall tedium of its characters’ lives, using the time to develop their relationships with one another and set the stage for the climactic moments that never feel too delayed. More

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    The Americans, Ep. 2.09, “Martial Eagle” a showcase hour for Matthew Rhys

    There’s no moment more significant in “Martial Eagle” than the opening sequence, which sees Philip murder three military employees on a top-secret base in the dark of night. All he wanted to do was take some pictures, and it ends with three people’s (four if you count the man Philip ‘spared’, who died in the cold anyway) deaths, yet another in a long line of “wrong place, wrong time” murders of Philip’s tenure with the KGB. As the season’s carried on, however, this seemingly endless stream of violence has weighed more and more on the mind of Philip – who slowly begins to crack under the strain during the events of “Martial Eagle”.
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