Monday, April 20, 2015

"The Americans"

The season finale for one of our favorite TV shows, "The Americans" on the FX Network is this coming Wednesday, and we anxiously await it.

If you are unfamiliar with the show, it is set in Washington DC during the first term of the Reagan Administration, and it centers around the lives of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, played by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell.  The Jennings at first blush are typical Washington suburbanites who have two teen aged kids and run their own small business, a travel agency.  In fact, however, they are KGB agents who have been planted in the American capital city to spy for the USSR.  They do this with an incredible number of disguises, an appalling amount of violence, and the need to use sexual wiles to obtain such vital information.  (Like many shows on these cable networks, "The Americans" features healthy dollops of gratuitous nudity, including almost weekly shots of Ms. Russell's bare bum.)

How they can do this without arousing the suspicion of their children (for the first two seasons, anyway), their employees at the travel agency, and their neighbor, who just happens to be an almost clueless FBI Agent, is one of those questions that you just shouldn't ask.  Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Season three has been a bit bewildering as the producers have give the Jennings an incredible number of balls to try to juggle in the air.  There have been plot threads involving the Russians in Afghanistan, something to do with South Africa, the KGB's desire that the Jennings' daughter be recruited into the KGB, a female KGB agent, the incredibly hot Nina, who is now in a Soviet jail, Stan the FBI neighbor's divorce, and a disturbing and very icky plot element that has Philip being ordered to become "involved" with the 15 year old daughter of a CIA officer. 

Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the bug planted in the FBI office by FBI secretary Martha, who is also married to Philip.  If you watch the show, you know what I'm talking about.  If you don't know, it really sounds preposterous, doesn't it?

Anyway, it had gotten to the point many times this season to say things like "now, who is this guy again?" or "why are they talking to this kid here?"  and "who is that lady?" As I said, I think that they have tried to do too many things his season, and it appears that they don't know what to do with all these elements.   And the show seems to have lost contact with the single great tension point of the series: THAT THESE SOVIET SPIES LIVE RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE FBI AGENT WHO IS TRYING TO TRACK THEM DOWN!!!!!

Anyway, about halfway through the season we came to grips with the idea that we not even try to connect all the dots that are out there, and to just let the show flow over us.  Also, in the previous two seasons of the show, the season finale has managed to tie loose ends together and deliver a wallop that will make you anxious for the next season to come around.  We suspect that that is what will happen this time as well.

Wednesday night at 10:00 on FX.  Please don't try to call us during that hour.  We won't be answering our phone.

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