Throughout this season, I have made reference to Henry Jennings at the very end of these reviews, as the character who has very little to offer. He is disconnected from much of what goes on, even though he lives under the same roof as the three characters that have received the most attention this season. This week we got to learn a bit more about Henry, see his relationship with his parents, as well as Stan, not to mention enjoy his adorable Eddie Murphy impression. It all matters little though, because I am just stalling. While the Jennings’ kids did get a lot of focus, it was Paige who had the bombshell dropped on her this week and the episode was pretty fantastic in the way it allowed it to happen.
There are other things that happened this week, as we saw Philip and Elizabeth perform some spy work that surely sets up things down the line, as far as the CIA Afghan Group recon mission is concerned. Philip does go back to see (drunk) Kimmy, a mission taking place in a hotel, which involves seduction is in play, and Gabriel alerts Philip to the plan of getting his estranged son out of combat. This stuff matters, as do the other characters featured in this episode, but we need to talk about Paige.
This whole season has largely revolved around what to do about Paige, as far as letting her in on what it is her parents are really up to. This week things came to a head, as Paige confronted her mom and dad, with a demand to know what is really going on. I know I certainly held my breath, as I waited to find out how they would respond. With a simple nod from Philip, Elizabeth then proceeded to explain who they really were. The scene is not overwrought or dramatically scored in an over-the-top fashion, as that wouldn’t really be the style of The Americans. No, the scene is played straight and the reactions are muted. Paige walks upstairs to her room and lies down on her bed. Philip and Elizabeth wait by a phone to see if she goes to call anyone, but the damage is done. The truth is out in the open.
I have written about how engaged I have been in this arc surrounding Paige and the turmoil it has caused between Philip and Elizabeth, as far as what to do. There was even some mild disappointment in not seeing something like this happen sooner. Now that it is done, I have to say I am impressed with the way it was handled and love how both Liz and Phil were involved in the reveal. This means we won’t have to deal with Philip getting angry, because he didn’t know Paige was told without his knowing. It means we don’t have to deal with Paige finding out based on some contrived, third party-based excuse. It is all out there and now our characters must deal with it.
So far it is going alright. Philip and Elizabeth are going to have to work on not being paranoid about whether or not their daughter is going to rat them out. Paige is still in a state of shock to an extent, which is shown wonderfully when Stan comes over for dinner and we see the look on Paige’s face, as she realizes the horror of living with parents who have been holding onto a lie, while being good friends with their neighbor in the FBI. That said, so far, when push comes to shove, she is not selling out her parents. By the end of this episode, we see her call Pastor Tim, explaining that she confronted her parents about knowing something was up, but chose not to explain any further. I don’t know where this is headed, necessarily, but it is exciting stuff.
I was happy to be so wrapped up in the Paige aspect of this week’s episode, but now I want to shoot back to Stan and reference last season for a second. Last season featured an episode (I believe it was the finale), where Stan had a dream sequence and it had a moment where he interacted with Martha and moved on. We then saw Martha, in his dream, stash some folders in her purse. I mention this, because even while not being fully aware of what is going on, Stan’s subconscious allows us to know that he has picked up on things not being fully right with Martha.
This week, with Stan still working his angle on Zinaida the defector, and her work as a spy, we get to see him continue coping with single life, but then we get to the end of the episode. Taffet is still questioning everyone, trying to figure out who is responsible for the bug in Gaad’s office. Stan has nothing to hide, but when asked if there is anyone he could think is responsible, it suddenly dawns on him: Martha. While Stan has made some dumb decisions in regards to his personal life and the handling of the Nina situation, he is a smart agent (except when it comes to the Jennings, of course), and it looks like he may finally be on to something here. We will see.
This was another strong episode. We got the big reveal, some other things are being setup for the final 3 episodes, and I continue to find myself engaged by all of the actors doing what they do so well. This show continues to impress and I am so pleased that even more possibilities are open, now that a huge cat is out of the bag.
Other Things Behind The Red Curtain: