Previously on The Americans, “The Committee on Human Rights”
Elizabeth, This is Your Future
Gabriel’s last words about Paige haunt Philip on his drive home. Perhaps he saw the man he is to become – riddled with regrets, alone, and finally throwing in the towel. We say good-bye to future Philip only to welcome back future Elizabeth. Claudia is practical, committed, and cool. She accepts the Jennings’ desire for distance as she accepts the distance from her own family. The job is her life.
Just as with Claudia, Elizabeth needs a concrete purpose. She doesn’t see it as a choice as much as a necessity for life. So much so, she sees the only way to raise her daughter is to have her “care about things that matter.” Meaning things Elizabeth feels matter. Even if that means hedging the truth to push Paige further into the cause. Elizabeth tells Paige about being raped to help her daughter get over the fear of the mugging and take back power through training. But she fails to tell Paige it was her training officer who raped her. Or that Paige’s father killed him not too long ago. Why let these little details mar a great story? The ends justify the means for Elizabeth Jennings.
The camera has lingered on Matthew Rhys’ troubled face all season. This was the episode to watch Keri Russel’s. Elizabeth’s reaction hearing Gabriel told Philip to keep Paige out of it was so well done. Distress peaking through Elizabeth’s usual inscrutability. She loves both Philip and Gabriel, but obviously her own drive takes precedence. Elizabeth’s saving grace is her relationship with Philip and her kids (at least one of them), but it’s not a hard sell to see how she might end up like Claudia in twenty years (and Paige like Elizabeth).
Elizabeth and Philip both decide to cancel their respective dates. The Super Grain Scientist accepts Elizabeth’s news with warm regret. She too seems regretful (though SGS’s philandering is likely eating at her a little). If it weren’t for the fact Elizabeth is a spy and married, you could almost get behind this couple. Shades of Martha and Clark. This show is likely not to go too far down that road, again. Just enough to let us know the shoe is on the other foot and Elizabeth might have a greater understanding of Philip’s feelings towards Martha.
Philip, for his part, gets dumped. This isn’t surprising as he has been off his game. After Martha, who could blame him? Luck for him, he is married to Elizabeth who is excellent at motivating him to get back on that horse and ride it. Sure enough, Philip plays the unavailable card and is back in.
Saying Elizabeth and Philip have an unconventional marriage is a laughable understatement. But since we first met them, we’ve seen them grow closer together – more affectionate, more supportive, more open – even as their jobs take them further into the macabre. Their scenes this episode were beautiful. They speak more readily of their feelings and concerns. Russel and Rhy’s subtle body language and facial expressions give truth to the words. If you watched this on mute, you would see a normal, loving couple (perhaps because they are one in real life?)
“Not everyone can be as beautiful as you, Elizabeth.”
“No, but you can.”
Gorgeous. And twisted.
Elizabeth and Philip are closer than ever, but you can see her concern for her husband’s straying from the party line. What will Elizabeth do if Philip finally snaps?
- Henry! And friends!
- Is Stan just looking out for his new Russian contact or is he experiencing a re-birth of Nina crush?
- If Renee isn’t a Russian spy, could she be an FBI plant?
- Oleg’s mom was put into a camp for sabotage. This is only interesting because the character is so intriguing.
- Elizabeth’s Tai Chi is her EST.
- Tuan says it is in the mission’s best interest if Mr. and Mrs. Eckhart were around more. This poor kid just wants a family. And a dog.
- Elizabeth as a doctor only makes sense if she was the next Kevorkian.
- Remember when Elizabeth slapped Claudia?
The Americans S5E8
I love having Margo Martindale on my TV screen and Claudia provides an interesting foil for Elizabeth’s character. Russell’s and Rhys’ performances stood out and Paige didn’t whine. Also, Henry and his POC friend.