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"Happiness can be defined, in part at least, as the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want now for what we want eventually" - Stephen Covey

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Americans Season 3

After an enthralling Season 2,I was eagerly awaiting for Feb 15 for the third season. Can TV Drama get any better???.This show has shown us that subtlety is not dead in TV. Hear that Gotham!!!

Here is the review by Ryan Sandoval of TV.Com

Well hell, we knew that Paige would have to be initiated into her parents' world sooner or later, and as most things Americans, the show handled her baptism into the Cold War with expert delicacy. Sure, she knew her folks had been keeping secrets, but she had no idea how big said secrets were. So the impromptu Conversation was less, “Hey, we're murder-spies,” and more, “Mommy and daddy are freedom fighters who could go to jail for a long time if you tell on us.” Series creator Joe Weisberg & Co. love diving head-first into new forms of suspense and by bringing the war home, “Stingers” added a welcome strain to an already gleefully tense universe. P.S. Holly Taylor killed it this episode!

My favorite part of seeing Philip and Elizabeth break the news to their daughter was how apologetic they both seemed. One more thing to unify the previously at-odds couple. They could see the distress their lies had caused (ain't nothing like a teenage meltdown); sure, there was parenting to administer, but at the same time, being forced to engage in such a sensitive discussion without warning meant treading lightly. They're still spies who are capable of being compromised. It's one thing to let your teen know she is cared for, but it's another to have her expose your whole operation.

That's not to say that I think Elizabeth and Philip were being deceitful about their emotions for Paige; their true love for their family has been key to The Americans' success since the beginning. I mean, probably the most heartbreaking line I've heard them utter all season was Elizabeth's “We love you very much,” delivered in Russian and translated by husband and father Philip. They are now in the difficult position of being unable to choose sides. Giving up their spy lives for the sake of their family would mean going to super-jail, and ignoring their home life in the name of Russia would spell the end of Philip and Elizabeth's humanity. Even though they're monitoring Paige so things don't get compromised, I'm willing to believe that the Jennings' main fear is not going to super-jail in and of itself, but losing their family.

Elsewhere in "Stingers," other stuff happened, but considering the gravitas of Paige's new knowledge, things like Stan being sad about his divorce, Nina making headway with Anton, or Zinaida's confirmed spy status provided more of a break from the juicy focus of the episode than serious competition. Not a complaint! I'm sure Elizabeth and Philip wish they could go back to simpler times, when life just meant slapping on some shoulder pads and prepping to cover a meeting with the CIA and some Muhajadeen (got to love Elizabeth's businesswoman look). Actually no, I take that back. I was into Stan spending time with Henry mostly because of how much Henry and Stan seem to bond. They both like football! They both like pirated VHS tapes! They both like Sandra! On a more wholesome level, I suppose I just like seeing some fatherly instincts answered for a man who's had a pretty rough time as of late.
And it wasn't the episode's first instance of adult-child relationship development: Pastor Tim coaching Paige, Phil and Kimmie, heck even Phil's son earned a shout-out. I'm also game for a thread where Philip becomes jealous of Stan for his connection with Henry. The Jennings dad could certainly give a crap about his son's spot-on Eddie Murphy impression from Mr. Robinson's neighborhood. Although Philip's mental spy-wheels grinding away over Paige probably drowned out all of Henry's hilarious goofs. There was always an element of subterfuge being applied to the Jennings children, evidenced by parental gems like “pressure in this situation is counterproductive.” That same sort of manipulation can still be used with Paige, because technically she's an enemy of the Cause. She's not someone Elizabeth or Philip can injure or threaten, but she's still an opponent who can be dealt with emotionally.

Like, how else do families fight? If I had a nickel for every guilt trip my parents laid on me I'd be a rich, rich man (if having $18.75 in nickels counted as being rich). Philip and Elizabeth's apology illustrated how sorry they felt for misleading her, but it also put them at Paige's mercy. I don't think the move was strategic on their part so much as it was a display of honest emotion, but it was smart nonetheless. Placing the power in your child's hand to send you “to jail for good” demonstrates a certain level of adult trust, while also implying, “Hey if you want to break up the family, by all means, go ahead.” I believe Paige and her parents love one another too much to fall apart, but for now the responsibility lies with Paige to keep everyone together.

Aside from being just an excellent standalone hour, "Stingers" made me remember my first knockdown drag-out teenage fight with my parents about how my religious beliefs differed from theirs, and upon reflection, I think really all it amounted to was my being afraid to see them as fellow helpless people. We have no reason to believe that Paige was experiencing something similar, but at the very least, she's angry and hurt by the betrayal. What else about her upbringing is a lie? Not everyone discovers their parents are international spies, but on a more general level, once you see your parents for who they really are, the protection of home life is involuntarily traded for the stark reality of the world at large. Every family fractures in some way. That's just part of growing up


– Zinaida is WILLOW, and even the Rezidentura acknowledges that compartmentalizing things can screw stuff up.

– I felt the same kind of relief after this episode that you feel after getting a secret off your chest. No more dancing around Paige (in one way; now it's time to start dancing in another!).

– Nina and Anton have sort of a husband-wife thing going on.

– Paige's list of guesses about her parents identities were all less crazy than the real thing. I wouldn't have minded hearing a few more: “swingers, time-travelers...”

– Taffet is still being a creepy, bug-eyed dude.

– Elizabeth: "How's work, Stan?" Stan: "Today was one of those days I wish I was on vacation." Philip: "I hear ya."

– Pastor Tim inserting himself into the Jennings' home life is way more dangerous than he might imagine.

My views on the season

I thought it was time that Paige was involved in the spy ring with their parents. After the little bread crumbs through out Season 1 and 2, finally she confronts her parents on their occupations and surprisingly gets a straight forward answer....Oh yeah we are Soviet spys you know the evil organisation that the news talks about everyday... Paige seems to take it well .It was tough call for Philip to leave her daughter alone after the revelation knowing fully well that Pastor Tim instigated her and that Paige should have a conversation about it with the Pastor soon.Now the series looks to head for a bloody finale in Season 4.Have a feeling that it would be the final season cause I think it is difficult to maintain that Martha and Paige digesting the revelation that they are accomplices with the "enemy".
Also the fact that we are nearing the end of the Cold War, it looks to head into an action filled Season 4. I love the subtlety with the continuation of the dream sequence at the end of Season2,when he was asked whether he had any doubts over his co-workers of planting the bug on Gat, we see the next shot of him enquiring about the whereabouts of Martha.Stan subliminally knows Martha is involved,similarly he should guess that something is not right with Elizabeth/Phillip like why is Henry alone all the time.I hope that the showrunners ensure that there is a proper ending to the series i.e. the logical conclusion that both Elizabeth and Philip are caught/murdered/convicted or turned. Anyother conclusion would just be unacceptable like "Dexter"'.Apparently this show is struggling to get viewers, could this be another "The Wire" which was discovered after its TV run. I love this show especially since it deals with a complicated storyline with so much subtlety. I simply cannot believe the lack of dialogue in most of the important scenes, like when Elizabeth kills the grandmother,she standing 10 feet from her, making her realise that she is going to kill her without explicitly speaking or shouting or threatening or even physically moving toward her.Thats directing for you, Good job guys.