WARNING: Spoilers for season three of “The Americans”!
Season two of “The Americans” was a little shaky. The plot about the boy killing his family just didn’t work for me. Overall, it was still a great season of television and far better than 90% of other scripted series, but it wasn’t as strong as season one.
Season three came out much stronger and stayed compelling the whole way through. This season centred around Paige and her finding religion, along with her later discovery of her parents’ true identities.
Which is where The Americans is strongest. This isn’t a show about flashy action and things exploding, it’s about the psychological impact of the jobs Philip and Elisabeth are doing. And now how their work is affecting their children.
Holly Taylor did a fantastic job as Paige, treading a fine line that could have ended up being whiny, but instead was touching. The whole cast are phenomenal, of course, but a lot of the season’s weight rested on her shoulders and she pulled it off with aplomb. Which is all the more amazing at the age of 18 (playing 14). An age where most actors are struggling and not at her level of performance.
Elsewhere, Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are brilliant as always. In particular, Matthew Rhys conveyed a conflict within Philip that made me wonder often when Philip was going to crack under the pressure.
The Americans is doing something very few other shows are, showing a high stakes game where even winning has consequences. I give season three 5/5 stars, and I binge watched it in less than a week.
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