Scene from The Americans

Man, meet Van

My favourite moment of TV this week was care of The Americans. Philip and Elizabeth are extracting the South African offical. Philip, rocking the new wave / goth look, notices a car circling the diner and when it stops he signals Elizabeth with a walkie and heads outside.

The man in the car heads towards the diner. Philip makes his move as they pass in the street. The fight is brutal. Elizabeth, who has been waiting around the back in a van, drives around to meet Philip. In a moment of quick thinking Philip spins the man into the oncoming van and stops the fight cold.

The move was elegant, brutal and I could watch it on repeat.

Elizabeth has already had her share of “badassdom” this season, taking down two FBI agents, weathering the agonising pain of a broken tooth for weeks before submitting to some DIY dentistry.

It’s rarer that we see that side of Philip. His thoughtful, loving demeanour is in counterpoint to Elizabeth’s toughness and inflexible world view. But Philip is dangerous and, when required, he can be every bit as ruthless as his wife. That’s right, wife, no quotation marks necessary.

Quotation marks are required for Martha, and I wonder if this moment of savagery was a reminder that entanglements with Philip can turn lethal before you even know what happened.


Slate has an interview with Noah Emmerich on directing episode seven of season three.

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