In the past few weeks, I've been re-watching season three of The Americans on FX to get ready for season four, which starts tonight night.
The Americans is a show about Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings, two Russian spies who live in the US in the 1980s modeled after the so-called "illegals" - Russian spies living in the US as American citizens.
This spy duo, played by Keri Russell and Mathew Rhys, look like a normal couple - they have two kids and run a local travel agency. They've integrated themselves so much into American life, their FBI agent neighbor comes over for dinner several nights a week and even plays card games with their son. The show is just as much about marriage and parenting as it is about spying. If you haven't watched the show, you might want to stop reading here, and start watching season one.
But if you have watched The Americans and need a refresher from last season here's what you need to know:
- Phillip and Elizabeth's daughter, Paige, has been embracing religion and a pastor named Tim. The pastor's relationship with Paige seems a little over the top. Elizabeth and Phillip feel his in-roads are intrusive, but they don't want to cut off Paige's interest because she's at the whiny pre-teen turn-against-your-parents stage.
- Phillip & Elizabeth's spy bosses back in Russian want Paige to also become a spy, despite the fact that this has failed with one other couple and their children. Elizabeth is on board with Paige joining the family spy business. Phillip is not.
- Paige confronted her parents about all of their strange behavior throughout her life, harnessing all of her pre-teen parental hatred. It is kind of weird that they are 24-hour travel agents and that the family has no other relatives of any kind.
- Now that Paige knows that her parents are spies, she can't handle the lies. She decides to tell Pastor Tim who her parents really are, potentially blowing their cover and endangering the whole family.
Here's the scene with Paige when she learns the truth:
In other character news:
- Martha, the FBI secretary that Phillip has married using an undercover persona to mine for information, has discovered that her husband, "Clark," isn't who he said he was. This puts both Martha and Phillip in more danger than they were already in.
- FBI agent Stan Beeman has started a covert operation by reaching out to a Soviet employee of their embassy to try to get his former lover and spy asset, Nina, back to the US. So far his efforts have failed to get Nina back and now he is a double agent.
As you can see, it's all quite complicated. But it's also sooo fun to watch.
And here's the promo for Season 4.