House Logo
Explore categories +

Susan Misner (#110 of 5)

The Americans Recap Season 4, Episode 3, "Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 3, “Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow”

Jeff Neumann/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 3, “Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow”

Before his death in 1966, Walt Disney, inspired by the Garden City movement and the futuristic utopianism of the World’s Fair, drew up plans for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) in the swamplands of north-central Florida. That his desire to reshape the urban landscape should founder is, in some sense, the subtext of the latest installment of The Americans: The Epcot Center that opened in 1982 was not the working city of Disney’s dreams, but another “attraction” for the Magic Kingdom’s visitors to tour, a strange amalgam of blind faith in technological progress and bland internationalism.

The Americans Recap Season 4, Episode 1, "Glanders"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 1, “Glanders”

Eric Liebowitz/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 1, “Glanders”

It’s morning again on The Americans, but day breaks over the show’s fourth season without the optimism of President Ronald Reagan’s famed reelection spot. For Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), in fact, the work resumes in darkness, as the memory of a monstrous act compels him to reveal yet another shred of truth to Martha (Alison Wright) in the wee small hours—and to confront, through her, the question of culpability. Wright, crying and clutching her chest, remains the unheralded cornerstone of the ensemble, and it’s her stricken reaction to the news of F.B.I. technology specialist Gene Craft’s untimely death that throws Philip’s guilt into sharpest relief. Martha understands, as Philip is now discovering for himself, that collaboration is its own crime. “What have you done?” she pleads. “What have I done?”

The Americans Recap Season 3, Episode 7, "Walter Taffet"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 7, “Walter Taffet”

FX

The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 7, “Walter Taffet”

Constructed around family spats and Cold War tradecraft, The Americans traditionally finds suspense in the slow, summative effect of its wary glances and closed doors. When the series opens the floodgates, then, as in tonight’s “Walter Taffet,” the cascade of knock-on consequences is enough to sideswipe you—a domino effect, as it were, of unforeseen developments. Philip (Matthew Rhys), in particular, suddenly appears unable to juggle the many personal and political ruses he’s been running all along, and the episode begins to suggest what relenting to the pressure might look like.

The Americans Recap Season 3, Episode 4, "Dimebag"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 4, “Dimebag”

FX

The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 4, “Dimebag”

While helping his son, Henry (Keidrich Sellati), master the state capitals midway through “Dimebag,” Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) gently pries into his daughter’s religious life. He’s barely finished asking Henry if Paige (Holly Taylor) ever mentions church when she wanders into the kitchen, and though Philip saves face by asking what she wants for dinner on her birthday, it’s clear from his expression as she leaves the room that he’s puzzled by her faith. To Philip and his wife, Elizabeth (Keri Russell), Paige remains inscrutable. Indeed, as tonight’s episode of The Americans suggests, professionals in the art of reading people are most vulnerable to misapprehension when their judgment is clouded by the personal—rocky terrain for which even the most powerful intelligence service has no adequate handbook.

The Americans Recap Season 3, Episode 2, "Baggage"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 2, “Baggage”

FX

The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 2, “Baggage”

Committed to a Soviet prison for treason, former triple agent Nina Sergeevna (Annet Mahendru) receives an unexpected visitor near the end of “Baggage.” Her lover, Oleg (Costa Ronin), has asked his father, a high-ranking government official, to intercede on her behalf, but the man appears unmoved by his son’s affections. “Parents are always trying to understand our children better,” he says. “To do what’s best for them. It’s our great misfortune… Because we’re so often disappointed.” This rueful notion that those we’re least able to fathom are those with whom we share the most is the unifying element of the episode, which is defined as much by skeletons the characters can’t dispose of as by the ones they can.