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The Manipulation Game, The Americans “Born Again” 

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

It’s all about manipulation, isn’t it? Philip is using Kimmy to get information the Centre desperately needs, but he isn’t willing to sleep with her for it. I applaud that decision. She’s fifteen. And it’s not like I approve of all their other tactics – which sometimes include murder, planned or accidental – but this is a serious line I’m very glad Philip isn’t willing to cross (yet and hopefully never with a teenage girl). If he has to maintain this relationship for continued access to Kimmy’s father, he might be willing to have sex with Kimmy when she’s older. But for now, I’m glad he’s holding firm. The problem? When Philip tells Kimmy he wants to take things slow, she isn’t necessarily on board with that.

And that’s the thing about teenage rebellion, isn’t it? Or actually rebellion at any age. If someone is looking for an instant result – like sleeping with a much older man behind their parent’s backs – and things aren’t progressing as expected, things have to change. So while it may have seemed like Kimmy was ok with Philip wanting to wait, the next time Philip sees her she’s definitely cooled towards him. But Philip’s been doing this for a while and he knows he needs something else to entice her with. So he decides to tell her why he’s going to church. And here’s where Philip uses some of the truth to construct a pretty great lie about his long-lost son. Not only is Kimmy moved by his story, but it’s what gets her to recommit. She wants to be there for him while he tries to be a better person.

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

It’s interesting that Gabriel also tries to manipulate Philip, but I don’t think he’s successful. He knows Philip is hesitant to start anything physical with Kimmy so he brings up Philip’s son Misha. Well, he brings up Irina and the fact that she’s been captured and will have to face a trial back home. He also tells him he’s been keeping tables on Misha, who’s a soldier and is well respected by his superior officers. He’s just like Philip in a lot of ways. I think I understand what Gabriel was trying to do, but I don’t think that was a good card to play. Gabriel is someone both Philip and Elizabeth love and respect, someone they’ve trusted for a long time but I felt like that was a pretty obvious ploy for control over Philip. But Philip is a very different person than Elizabeth. When Gabriel talks to Elizabeth later, he worries that Philip’s lost faith in him. And he reminds Elizabeth that she hasn’t done anything about Paige yet.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I like how Elizabeth is trying to be more honest about who she and Philip really are. I like that she’s telling Paige about her activist roots and that not everything can be achieved legally. But while Paige and Elizabeth do seem to be getting closer and bonding, Philip can’t seem to catch a break with Paige. I love everything he said to her while he was helping her hang her posters, but she wasn’t listening. She thinks both of her parents are trying to talk her out of being religious and going to church, so her guard is up. And I guess it should be, especially since Elizabeth has started trying to recruit her. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Other developments

  • Nina plays her part well and gets information out of Evi. Nina had to form a genuine bond with her to do it though and she seems to regret her part in it when the guards come to take Evi away.
Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX
Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/FX
  • Stan seems to be moving on. His date with Tori goes well enough that they’re making out in his house later that night. Although it’s clear to both us and Tori that Stan is thinking about Sandra, things still progress.
  • Elizabeth is training Hans very well, because he’s able to get them some very valuable information on a South African intelligence officer. It could pay off big for them.

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

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