The Americans 1.5: It’s The Little Things

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Is it just me or has anyone else who meticulously watches this program finally realized that we are in fact rooting for the wrong side? As patriotic American citizens, it is assumed by the rest of the world that we would always be cheering on team USA as it is our civic duty to do so. The Americans proves that this is not always the case. Every Wednesday night, I find myself cheering on Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as they go on life-threatening missions, “Go get those silly American government members! I’m on your side!” I’m not saying that I would up an move to Moscow tomorrow but show creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields make it possible for viewers to subconsciously root for the USSR spies. I wonder if The Americans’ intention is to make American viewers like me feel conflicted. Anyways, onto episode 5.

This one begins as many of these episodes usually do, in costume. Elizabeth Jennings pays a visit to a man named Carl Schultz, a man who just happens to have full security clearance in dealing with American nuclear weapons. A man who also recently lost his wife and is about to give the nuclear encryption codes to the head of the Russian embassy. The plot thickens within the first five minutes. Compared to episode 4, this is already infinitely better. 

On the home front, Phillip Jennings has become closer with Agent Beeman and Agent Beeman is becoming closer with Nina, his mole in the Russian Embassy. Although this B-Plot has an extremely slow build up, I can tell there is some sort of chemistry between the two. The writers are setting the viewer up to believe that this relationship will lead up to an extra marital affair. But wait, in order to get the information she needs to pass onto the dashing Agent Beeman, Nina starts a sexual affair of her own, with the head of the Russian embassy. As much as that particular interaction makes me a bit queasy (I’m sure other viewers feel the same), Nina played the part very will. As she begins unbuttoning her blouse, she discusses how lonesome they both have been. And when she begins rebuttoning her blouse, he begins pouring out state secrets. It’s amazing what a little sex can do for a person’s level of trust.

But not all of the sexual intrigue on this show is tame. While on a mission to find out more about the bomb code tradeoff, Elizabeth Jennings is whipped with a leather belt several times. Phillip sees the marks left on her back and immediately falls into a rage. Elizabeth stops him by shouting the strangest line I have heard on the show, “you’re not my daddy.” Phillip continues to be angry murmuring about loyalty and that’s what husbands are supposed to do. The next day, the two embark on a mission to retrieve a code left in a CIA agent’s car. Elizabeth shows off her amazing spy moves by climbing in between and on top of raised cars in a mechanic’s garage, but is stuck in the CIA agent’s trunk as the car pulls away. She plays it cool and Phillip picks her up with coffee and doughnuts in hand. They share the dark secrets of their souls on the drive home. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

The next day, Carl Schultz sets up a meeting with the head of the Russian Embassy to exchange the missile encryption codes. Agent Beeman finds out through his adorable Russian mole and the CIA changes the codes and sets off to try and nail the two at their secret meeting. Elizabeth infiltrates as she always does, firing a single shot into Carl’s head. At least he can be with his wife. The meeting never happens, and the Russians discover that the codes are changed. They finally see that there is a mole in their operation¬†

This episode was very scattered. Scenes were no longer than 3 minutes each, making the overall plot very difficult to follow. Between the marriage problems that Agent Beeman has with his wife and the actual spying that is taking place, I found it very difficult to keep track of what was going on. While I stand by the fact that this show is very well done, I think it would be better to show a particular plot line long enough for the viewers to get a grasp on what is going on. Better luck next episode.

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