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The Americans 2.03 “The Walk In” Review: “They’re Never Going to Stop”

13 Mar

The Americans is all about family this season and “The Walk In” focuses on mother and daughter as both Elizabeth and Paige go searching for something; Paige wants to know why her parents act so secretive all the time and her new friend Kelli offers up a reason that doesn’t satisfy Paige’s curiosity “Aren’t all parents?” I have a Kelli theory, more on that below. Elizabeth is dealing with the emotional fallout from the deaths in the season premiere and through a series of flashbacks we gain further insight into Elizabeth and her friendship with Leanne.

This week’s review will concentrate on the Jennings family, but there are developments in the Stan/Nina relationship as he declares his love for her. Nina has resorted Arkady’s faith in her thanks to her duplicitous work and winning charms with Stan. Stan is none the wiser that he is being played in this manner and this relationship could be his downfall.

The Americans 2.03 1966The episode opens with a glimpse into the past with Elizabeth and Leanne chatting about her son and The Beatles (it’s 1966) as they wait to do whatever spy shenanigans lead to bloody hands later on. Both women are dressed relatively conservatively, they don’t look out of place and they blend in because it’s their job to not draw attention. This would appear to be their regular attire as there is nothing to suggest they are hiding their identities other than maybe their hats. Elizabeth at this point isn’t sure if she wants kids, something the center would not be happy with and you can see how uncomfortable she is in this world of “Here, There and Everywhere” and other such follies. This discussion is important as it allows us to see Elizabeth once again sharing a moment with a woman who is going through everything she is. Leanne is more than just a friend, she’s Elizabeth’s mirror and to see her murdered in this manner along with her daughter is devastating and Elizabeth has a promise to make good on in the present.

The Americans 2.03 1967 ElizabethContinuing with the flashbacks, this is 1967 and Elizabeth has finally decided she is ready to have kids just as the whole world seems to be going to hell “This war, they’re killing everyone. They’re never going to stop.” It’s an odd sentiment to prompt the desire for children, however I think this about Elizabeth making connections and leaving something behind even if it does all come crashing down around them.

The Americans 2.03 1967It wouldn’t be right to talk about flashback Elizabeth without including a shot of flashback Philip and these earbuds look a whole lot like Apple headphones (of course they are not). Philip’s 1967 hair has slightly more of a side sweep flick and he seems surprised when Elizabeth says she is ready for kids. Elizabeth also points out that he will be a good father, something we know to be true.

The Americans 2.03 too much lipglossBack to the present and Paige as she takes teenage rebellion in a different direction to the staple boys and booze. Elizabeth does ask Paige to remove her lip gloss as she deems it to be too much and she tells Paige “You’re so beautiful, you don’t need it.” It’s a sweet moment and Paige doesn’t respond with snark or sass, this demeanor is saved for her father later on.  The teenage characters on a show like this can be a minefield as both 24 and Homeland can testify. So far Paige is walking the thin line between her curiosities being problematic for her parents and being problematic for viewers; it’s yet to enter annoying territory and so far I’m impressed with how they are handling the Paige aspect. Paige is questioning what her parents are up to and it’s currently an obstacle to overcome without feeling contrived. It’s not a cougar or hit and run yet.

The not knocking incident has failed to deter Paige from her quest like Philip and Elizabeth presumed it would and she takes a trip to see Aunt Helen. Aunt Helen is real in the sense that there is someone playing this role with the relevant props in the house; for now Paige will hopefully be satisfied.

The Americans 2.03 dad sweaterHere is Philip’s safe dad sweater as he gets a call from Aunt Helen to inform him of Paige’s visit.

The Americans 2.03 disappointed dadPhilip’s changed out of the friendly sweater into serious dad shirt as he sits in the semi dark waiting for his daughter to get home. We’re so used to seeing Philip as the fun dad and so it’s quite the departure for him in this setting to turn on the stern disciplinarian tone. He’s pissed at Paige for a variety of reasons 1) she lied and “Lying will not be tolerated,” 2) she’s poking her nose into things that are dangerous and could blow their cover, 3) there’s an unknown danger out there and it’s hard to protect her when she’s deceiving them like this.

Philip is also angry because Paige is coming across (in his eyes) as a spoiled brat as she complains about wanting to know their extended family, as if the one Philip and Elizabeth have “worked hard to create” is not enough. Philip mentions that his father died when he was six, this may or may not be true as we know that Elizabeth’s father died when he was young. Paige is pushing just as most teenagers do, except most teenagers don’t have spies for parents and the image of dead Amelia is probably flashing up every time he sees his daughter do something reckless. I do feel for Paige in this scene as Philip is pretty terrifying with his “I’m disappointed in you” speechifying. Plus he invokes “young lady” which is always the worst thing in these kinds of conversations.

After this heated discussion Paige rings Kelli, the girl she met on the bus and I’m wondering if Kelli is one of the people the center has utilized to watch the kids. Kelli interacts with Paige which could dampen this theory, but it also makes sense for Kelli to get close to Paige to protect her. Or she could just be a girl on the bus and I’m thinking far too much about this.

The Americans 2.03 TabElizabeth and Philip pick up their SPN Secure Transport credentials from behind this soda machine which sells Tab! Fun fact – Diet Coke didn’t launch until August 1982 so it wasn’t available at this point. Now I really want a Tab Clear. Elizabeth joins the ranks of characters whose coats I covet (see Olivia Pope, Virginia Johnson, Jess Day). Elizabeth is unhappy with the quality of their documentation and I’m glad to see them address how quickly they need to gather materials for these undercover tasks.

The Americans 2.03The trip to Newport News is a bit of a disaster as the thing they are after is no longer there and Elizabeth encounters a worker while she is snooping. Last season I don’t think Elizabeth would have hesitated in dropping him as she did with the security guard in episode 4 (“In Control”), now things are different and she uses intimidation as a weapon. Derek brings out photos of his children as a not so subtle way to plead for his life and this hits Elizabeth’s new family related nerve. It also provides her the leverage she needs as she takes a photo of one of his sons as a form of insurance. Disguise wise they’re both rocking the neutral beige tones, Philips got some big frames and a wig that resembles Clarke.

The Americans 2.03 ElizabethHere’s a closer look at Elizabeth’s Farrah Fawcett feathered flick wig. It’s more of a bob than Fawcett’s long locks as she’s meant to look like someone who works for a transport company, not a Charlie’s Angel.

The Americans 2.03 Elizabeth and JaredAnother wig and this time Elizabeth has the huge ’80s glasses, along with a sweater vest that’s enough to make anyone feel like they’re in the company of someone safe. Elizabeth is posing as Ann Chadwick from the Child Advocacy Agency so she can check on Leanne and Emmett’s surviving son Jared and keep a promise to her friend. I think there is a desire to see where her children could end up if the same happened to them and Elizabeth is worried they don’t have any real friends. Philip hits a nerve when he responds “Isn’t that how you wanted it?”

Jared is of course devastated by what happened to his family and has a big dose of survivor guilt; he questions if he could have done something to save them if he had been in the hotel room instead of at the pool before he breaks down in Elizabeth’s arms.

The Americans 2.03 watching it burnElizabeth doesn’t follow through with her promise; she doesn’t give Jared the letter from Leanne’s that reveals the truth about who they really were. What’s the point in causing him even greater pain and an even longer list of questions and uncertainty? By doing this she is protecting him, if he knew what would he do? Elizabeth watches the letter burn as another great Americans music moment takes place with Peter Gabriel’s “Here Comes the Flood” and this song insinuates the danger from this world they live in has only just begun. There are ominous overtones and it echoes the earlier flashback statement that “They’re never going to stop.”

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5 Responses to “The Americans 2.03 “The Walk In” Review: “They’re Never Going to Stop””

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Americans 2.04 “A Little Night Music” Review: “You’re Afraid. Too Afraid” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 20, 2014

    […] it and she’s definitely getting her rebellious kicks from this. Oh and it also looks like my Kelli theory was wrong as the Center has called off the protection on the kids and there’s no way someone […]

  2. The Americans 2.08 “New Car” Review: “We All Serve” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - April 17, 2014

    […] Russell here and while I don’t think she will ever go full Felicity chop again, it works. Elizabeth showed mercy with the worker who stumbled upon them while they were stealing what turned out to be bad plans, […]

  3. The Americans 2.09 “Martial Eagle” Review: “I’m not here to be Saved” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - April 24, 2014

    […] when Philip loses it. Paige wasn’t that bothered when Philip showed off his stern side earlier this season as she responded with sass on this occasion. Philip hovers on the edge of this conversation, but […]

  4. The Americans 2.11 “Stealth” Review: Making a Difference | TV Ate My Wardrobe - May 8, 2014

    […] as she poses once again as someone from the Child Advocacy Center. Elizabeth is feeling guilty for burning Leanne’s letter and Elizabeth feels responsible for him. Jared knows that something is up and boy does this kid […]

  5. Teen Girls Rule the World on The Americans (They Just Don’t Know It) | TV Ate My Wardrobe - April 15, 2015

    […] for Paige has so far included the odd lie here and there coupled with her religious journey. What if this moment leads to Paige rebelling in a […]

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