I don’t have any data backing this suspicion up, but I’ve often thought that “The Americans” might have the highest Sex scene-to-Episode ratio on television. Thinking about it more, “Masters of Sex” probably takes the cake or comes close, but it sometimes borders on comical just how much sex there is in “The Americans.” One of the many reasons it never feel gratuitous, however, is how often the show also goes to great lengths to portray both sex and the human body in rather unglamorous fashions. Whether it’s Philip lackadaisically throwing a condom away after having sex with Martha, or Nina relieving herself on a chamber pot in a Soviet prison, sometimes on “The Americans,” things we tend to like can get a little less glamorous.
And boy, did the much fetishized spy lifestyle become unglamorous in the opening ten minutes of tonight’s episode. Maybe I just haven’t been watching the right ones, but I’ve never seen James Bond break a dead woman’s limbs in order to easily stuff her into a suitcase to be disposed of. Just the act alone would’ve been difficult to watch, but the sound effects crew deserves all the praise in the world for their work on that scene. Each crack was stomach churning.
So we can add personally handling Yousaf to the growing list of problems that Philip and Elizabeth have already this season. Showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg have done a spectacular job of already laying plenty of laying the groundwork of plenty of interesting conflicts for the season. Whether it’s Philip and Elizabeth fighting over Paige, the two of them dealing with the fallout of Yousaf killing Annalise, Elizabeth needing to avoid suspicion after her run in with Gadd by not going to the dentist, Stan become more and more of a lonely, empty man, or the paradoxical situation of Elizabeth feeling closer to her daughter as Paige feels further apart from her mom, it’s impressive just how much is already going on this season. And I didn’t even mention Nina or Oleg or Arkady.
Let’s end on the closing scene, where Elizabeth tells Philip how her mother told Elizabeth to go serve her country without hesitation. On one hand I could see this feeling contrived, but on the other hand I just love it. One of the biggest ways “The Americans” subverted expectations from the start was how the mother of the family was much more devoted to her cause than her family, while the father was just the opposite, putting family first and willing to defect if it meant keeping them safe. Elizabeth’s passion about serving the Soviet Union has often been her biggest strength and her biggest weakness, but you often got the case that there was never anything she cared about more. But now, that she can combine serving Moscow with growing closer to her daughter? Now I think the show has found something she cares about more than just her job. And I think it’s going to be a delight to watch it all play out.