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The Americans “The Walk In” Review (2×03)

13 Mar

60352824Elizabeth Jennings is such an interesting character.

First off, Keri Russell is brilliant, and second off, there’s a compelling nuance to her character that endears her to me; she’s the crowbar wielding badass at one moment and a protective mother at another, but what happens when her two worlds clash?

Her scene with Derek gets at how she’s being portrayed this season. Season 1 Elizabeth probably wouldn’t hesitate to take the guy out, but this year, that maternal instinct is shining through (I like how they incorporate the flashbacks here to remind us she didn’t want kids). She’s more protective now, and family is definitely on her mind in that scene. She certainly has maternal instincts–she’s not as cold-hearted as she might come across as–but she’s always been able to lock them up when it comes to doing her job. The murders in the premiere were the catalysts for a rapidly growing sense of paranoia that’s bleeding over into her family life. She’s now questioning her ability to separate the two lives, realizing that what happens in one can easily affect the other, and because she’s trying to handle both as one, those maternal instincts are bleeding through a bit. Best of both worlds, I guess.

It’s the same thing with the letter that Leanne wanted her to give to Jared. Much like holding that leverage over Derek, the burning of the letter is probably more beneficial to her and her country professionally; yet, it’s also the emotion that spurs her on to make those decisions. After she visits him, she sees how traumatized he is, how it wouldn’t do him any good to be told about his parents’ true allegiances.

Elsewhere in the episode, we have Stan digging himself deeper with Nina, uttering THOSE THREE WORDS and continuing to have problems with Sandra. It’s still difficult to tell what exactly Nina feels, and that serves to highlight some major themes of the show: uncertainty and longing. These people have never truly had anything concrete, as their lives have been rooted in lies; solid answers are exactly what Paige wants to ascertain from her visit to Helen, but fittingly, Helen’s a Soviet plant and Kelly–the person Paige meets on the train–could very well likely be the person the Soviets sent out to watch her.

When Paige returns home, she encounters a justifiably angry Philip, but interestingly enough, he starts on a mini rant–great acting by Matthew Rhys–that involves his dad’s death. There’s something off about the scolding, especially coming from a man who’s not known for things like this; I think Paige certainly picks up on that.

Finally, everything’s tied together in a beautiful montage set to Peter Gabriel’s “Here Comes the Flood.” We’re taken through images of our characters sneaking around in some form or another, and it all culminates in Elizabeth’s decision to burn the letter. As she’s protecting someone, she’s also watching the embers of her two former lives drift off into the night, transforming into one very real fear: that the blackness that comes with a life of espionage will cause irreparable damage to her family.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Keri Russell, man. Wearing a wig, holding a crowbar, and implicitly threatening a guy’s family while he picks up on every single signal? I love it.

-“Lying will not be tolerated.” *AHEM*

-“Ronald Reagan doesn’t care!” This is a fairly inconsequential storyline, it turns out, but hey, there’s a way to go out.

-I like Oleg.

-Let’s get some more Sandra; I’d like to see what the show can do with an elaboration on her character.

-Tons of “walking in” in this episode: Paige, Dameran, Philip and Elizabeth, etc.

Photo credit: FX, The Americans

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