The Americans: Season 3

americansThis continues to be one of the best series on television, almost entirely due to the incredible performances by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell. As the seasons go on their characters get more and more complex and nuanced in their relationship to each other, their family, their adopted country and their ‘home’ country. Nothing is simple or straightforward, there is no easy answer to “who’s side are you on?” or whether they are acting as spies because they want to, because they are used to it, or because they’re scared. The reason changes each moment.

Season 3 adds yet more pressure to their situation as their daughter Paige finally realises that everything is not normal and they eventually tell her the truth. Paige hasn’t always been the most endearing of characters, her developed obsession with a “happy-clappy” church was particularly grating for characters and audience alike, but all that was worth it to see how it played out when she finds out her parents have been lying all this time. On top of that Philip has to deal with second-wife Martha finally figuring out that he’s not what he pretends to be. Basically the lies are being revealed and it feels like the walls are closing in from all sides.

I was less enamoured with the ongoing story of Nina back in Russia. I thought her imprisonment for treason at the end of last season was a brave and dramatic conclusion to her storyline and was a bit sad that it instead continued to dribble on, completely removed from the rest of the characters in America. I guess it does show a bit more what it’s like in Russia, but it felt like a distraction.

I love this show. It has so many layers to it. You can just get by watching each episode as an action/thriller. There are plenty of car chases, disguises and scams. But if you pay attention there is a tremendous amount of political and personal drama going on that really make me count down the days until the next episode each time.

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