I return to the Cold War-era spy drama The Americans, looking at episode four of the second season, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.
The Americans is time and time again proving that it’s among the best dramas currently on TV right now, and whilst it may be overshadowed by the recent return of Game of Thrones, It still deserves to be something that should be part of your weekly viewing diet, especially as A Little Night Music was another stellar entry in a show that has not put a step wrong since I jumped on board with the Season 2 premiere.
A Little Night Music focuses on the balance between the Jennings’ work as spies and looking after their family. Elizabeth gets more to do than Phillip this time around but both characters have a considerable involvement in the plot, with Elizabeth manipulating a Navy outcast named Brad (Jefferson White) into acquiring papers, proving just how good her character can be at deceiving and infiltration. Elizabeth used the fact that Brad was obviously a “Good guy” to get into him and make him feel awful. It’s clear that she doesn’t like doing stuff like this and with her mind elsewhere, it allows for greater complications.
Claudia was also present in this week’s episode and it’s the first time I’ve encountered this character, played very well by Margo Martindale, as the former Handler of the Jennings. She’s interested in finding out who killed Emmett and Leanne as much as the Jennings are – and was doing her best to make her way back into their life. It makes me want to watch Season 1 all the more so I can be familiar when previous characters reappear in places like this – so I know their full story.
However, there were a few problems this time around. Unlike last week, Paige’s character story didn’t work as well as it should, feeling too quickly drawn into the Church Youth Group through indoctrination. I would have preferred this to wait another couple of weeks before she starts displaying her new-found devotion, but what was more interesting was the how Phillip and Elizabeth dealt with the revelation. It was handled quite well, with some interesting exchanges throughout.
The way The Americans is playing with 1980s culture is being pulled off very well with a good, realistic look. This is helped with the accurate history and great costume designs, allowing to give this show a better period feel – you can tell it’s a high-budget production and it works, with some great scenes and there’s nothing that feels out of place throughout the show.
On top of this, A Little Night Music also ended on a great cliffhanger. Whilst it’s not as bombastic as what other shows can offer, with an excellent moment that really pays off and has me looking forward to next week’s episode just as much as I am next week’s Game of Thrones or Arrow. It deserves a place among the list of my favourite TV shows – and with some incredible work in the cast, it’s certainly among the best.