The Americans – “Open House”

Season Three, Episode Three


Grade: A

According to Gabriel, Elizabeth looks at Philip differently now. The married couple has gone down a very difficult and trying road as spies living in America. They’ve lost and found their trust in one another throughout the years, but now they face the direct conflict with having their own daughter involved with the KGB. Would Paige make a good spy? With the genes from her parents I can’t imagine she wouldn’t, but like Philip keeps pressing on, he wants her to make her own decisions. Her situation is much different than when Elizabeth and Philip agreed to join. She’s grown up in America, has a life there, and has parents (or at least Philip) who want to protect her. I’m not sure how this will end, but I’m sure it’s not going to be resolved by this season’s end.

Despite their differences or whether or not they’re still in love with each other, Philip and Elizabeth do care for each other an awful lot, shown with the nervous tick inside of Philip as he waits for his wife to escape being followed by the CIA for hours. This was an excellent series of scenes from The Americans, especially after the Russians get involved to rescue Elizabeth. The cinematography was particularly great, shifting focus through cars to show us just when we think we know who’s tracking who, there’s always someone else with the upper hand. And as Stan puts it, those Russians are awfully tough to catch.

Another brilliant scene follows the hug when Elizabeth finally walks through the door. There isn’t a word said during these moments. They look at each other and are glad everyone’s okay. They share a soft yet meaningful hug, when Elizabeth flinches with pain from the tooth that was damaged from the first scene of the season. And after a subtle nod, they both walk down to the basement to extract the tooth. Not only are these Russians difficult to catch, but they’re as tough as they come. This wasn’t as graphic as the suitcase scene, but it wasn’t that much easier to watch.

Meanwhile, Philip bugs Paaswell’s open house and the result is something incredibly enticing for the Russians: there is a teenage girl doing her rebellious teenage thing who just happens to be the Afghan group leader’s daughter. I can just sense the Jennings foaming at the mouth with this opportunity. Also, Oleg stays in America despite his father’s orders for him to return back to Russia; and Martha keeps nagging Clark for kids. We’ve gotten away with the other story-lines for the most part of this season so far. Martha and Clark was such a big part with the ongoing tension that she’s going to do something to reveal Philip’s identity. That tension isn’t really there anymore, though I can’t imagine it doesn’t still exist.

What this season is doing is putting a lot of focus on the Jennings, which is a good thing. They’re the most interesting characters on the show and with the dilemma they’re faced with, everything is turning upside-down. How can they possibly be the spies they are knowing that one day they might have their children taken away from them? And what happened to Paige snooping around the house? I kind of miss that, but at least she’s questioning why they work so late all the time. I have to assume that Paige is going to find out sooner or later what her parents are, the question is what is her reaction going to be?


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