The Americans Recap: Umbrellas and Caviar

After last week’s pilot, you might have worried that The Americans would bend over backward to make its characters as "likable" as possible, more sinned against than sinning. "The Clock" put such fears to rest.

It started with Phillip Jennings screwing the assistant to the undersecretary of Defense — a mirror image of the pilot’s opening, which featured Phillip’s wife Elizabeth in a similar situation — and raised the discomfort level with each scene. In the tradition of many dark cable series, the Jenningses love each other and their kids, and they have a code of honor. We don’t have any reason to doubt the sincerity of those healthy feelings — a sequence late in the episode showing Elizabeth piercing her daughter Paige’s ears was shot and scored so that it felt like a holy ritual — but they're very clearly not nice people, and their ability to compartmentalize the not-niceness is more disturbing than any individual act they commit. Read More...


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