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The CIA’s a Hard Target, The Americans “Dimebag” 

Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX
Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX

Things are never easy or simple in the Jennings’ household, are they? Elizabeth and Philip have been having a major difference of opinion about whether or not Paige should be clued into who her parents really are. They both know their daughter has been searching for more purpose and meaning in her life and she’s currently landed on Jesus. She actually ambushes them at her birthday dinner with the news that she wants to be baptized. Paige tells her parents she wants her old life to be washed away.

Philip and Elizabeth are shocked (obviously, I didn’t see that coming at all) and feel like they can’t say no, and certainly not in front of company. Philip thinks it would be a mistake to tell Paige about who they really are now but Elizabeth doesn’t see it that way. She wants Paige to have all the information so she can make an informed decision. What’s complicating this issue, at least for Philip, is the fact that they’re currently using a 15 year-old girl to get more information on the CIA’s Afghan group. Kimmy just happens to be Isaac Breland’s daughter and, boy, is she going through a rebellious phase which Philip and Elizabeth will absolutely use to their advantage.

At last month’s TCAs, the producers and actors talked about the Paige and Kimmy Breland storylines.

Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX
Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX

You keep testing Philip and Elizabeth’s marriage. Is the issue about whether their daughter becomes a spy going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?

Keri Russell: “They’re still fighting about it.”

Joel Fields: “We hope not. We like their marriage. We hope that this is a different kind of test. Our goal this season was to do a different kind of story and to take now a married couple who are very committed to one another, who want their marriage to work and ask the question what happens when two people are truly, in their marriage, respectful of their partner and loving and yet have a conflict over the most important thing in their lives. That’s something everybody can relate to. It just happens to be a little heightened for these two.”

How close is Elizabeth to her daughter? If she had to choose between her daughter’s safety and the cause, I’m guessing she would choose the cause, but that’s a very unusual take for a mom to take with her own kid?

Keri: “I wouldn’t say that’s true. What I understand from it is it’s less about recruiting a daughter. I don’t look at it like I’m recruiting this teenager to do what I do and to turn tricks with strangers in a hotel room. For me, I have to go to a human level. I think Elizabeth would really believe that you should know who you are.

I feel like she’s this mother who’s watching a daughter being indoctrinated by someone and it’s someone that is so polar opposite to what she believes to be true and right and important. If she’s going to be indoctrinated by someone, it’s going to be me. It’s not going to be some kid with a guitar singing about Jesus. She wants it to be important and about socialism and people who matter. I think it does come out of great love for her daughter and wanting her to be a substantial human being and, even more base than that, wanting her to know who she is.

How do you navigate the world if you don’t know who you are? I think it starts there. I think that’s what’s on the table at the moment is like should she know who she is? We’re not saying the 16‑year-old is going to go into what we do. What Philip and Elizabeth do is very specific within the cause. There are very few of us that do it. What I’m coming at as a mother is saying this child should know who she is. She should know who we are.

I also think there’s that complicated thing within Philip and Elizabeth that every time Philip rejects the idea of telling her and why she shouldn’t know, it’s that weird marital dance of Elizabeth feeling rejected by Philip because it’s everything she is. It’s like then you’re rejecting everything I am good at and everything I’m successful at. And it’s important and valid. It’s a complicated dance and I think there is a very relatable human parent aspect to it.”

Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX
Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX

Matthew, I want to talk about this storyline that kicks off in episode 4 with Philip and the underage girl, which is really creepy to watch, as it’s supposed to be.

Matthew Rhys: “It concerned me and we talked it out because it’s where the beauty of the conflict of this series lies. I’ve always enjoyed when you see ‑‑ especially Elizabeth, just to throw her in for a second, when you see her struggling with her more emotive moments where it’s Philip versus the job, ‘I have to go to Martha’s, but you know that I’m gaining information,’ where that conflict lies. I think is incredibly interesting to watch and play.

And the same thing happens to Philip with this mandate, that’s he’s presented with a mission that is incredibly conflicting to him as a father, as a human being, but it’s serves a greater purpose. And it’s in that conflict that it’s incredibly interesting to sort of find the fine balance.”

Photo Credit: Ali Goldstein/FX
Photo Credit: Ali Goldstein/FX

Nina’s New Mission

Nina is tasked with getting information out of her new cellmate, Evi, who was caught after a dead drop. She claims that she was leaving something for a friend of her boyfriend. The problem? Her boyfriend left the country a week before the drop, so they’re having some trouble believing her story.

I have to say it was nice to see Nina get back to work and I love that Katja Herbers (Manhattan) is her cellmate. It makes me think there’s a lot more to this story, so I’m looking forward to getting to the truth of Evi’s story. And Nina’s great at her job. If this is going to help reduce her sentence, I understand why she’s up for it.

Stan’s Self Help Group

I love Callie Thorne (Rescue Me, Necessary Roughness) and I’m very excited that she’s guesting on the show this season. I have no idea how many episodes she’s scheduled to be in, but I like that Tori sees something in Stan. Philip’s surprised Stan has no interest in pursuing her, but Stan reminds Philip he isn’t single. But after he really and truly comes clean to Sandra, is that still the case? Stan wants to tell the truth, so he admits to the affair – which Sandra already knew about – and also tells Sandra he loved Nina and that is was bad for everyone involved and bad for his job. Part of me thinks Sandra deserved to know the truth, but he obviously hurt her (again) with all that honesty.

The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.

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