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Tainted Love (#110 of 1)

The Americans Recap Season 4, Episode 2, "Pastor Tim"

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The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 2, “Pastor Tim”

Eric Liebowitz/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 2, “Pastor Tim”

Soft Cell’s electronic thrum may muffle the sound of a struggle, but for Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), no amount of noise can drown out a nagging conscience. His murder of an airport worker midway through “Pastor Tim,” framed in part from the victim’s point of view, sees Philip red-faced and sweaty, struggling to catch his breath, which seems an appropriate analog to the mounting chaos of his life as a husband, father, and Soviet spy: If the haggard, desolate expression he wears throughout the rest of the hour is any indication, he appears to have exhausted his capacity for compartmentalization. After all, the song that accompanies the killing is “Tainted Love,” and tonight’s episode of The Americans depicts the blighted affections—for self, for family, for country—that accrue to those who’ve lost control of their destinies.