That was superbly different than any other episode of The Americans.
Welcome Home, Henry
We are used to this excellent show balancing multiple genres with very little effort, but I never imagined the writers would add some comedy to the mix. By also focusing on Henry, who has had the least amount of screen-time, Rififi can be easily singled out from any other episode of The Americans. Whether he is questioning his mother’s unhappiness, having unforeseen heart-to-heart phone conversations with her, or joking about sharing a cigarette, Henry is undoubtedly the highlight of this exquisite hour. We might never get such a Henry-centric episode from this show again, which makes Rififi all the more remarkable.
In an episode where both Elizabeth and Philip drop F-bombs (thanks, FX), particularly after Philip tells his wife that he deliberately ruined the Kimmy mission, it comes as no surprise that Rififi takes place during Thanksgiving. The writers are less concerned about the political ramifications of the Kimmy situation than they are about delivering a message about being thankful for what you have before it all blows up. Stan’s intense dinner speech, one that he ironically makes in front of two KGB agents, is unexpectedly heavy-handed for once, but it’s still effective for the audience who are knowingly at the point in the show’s endgame where anything involving Stan can lead to the Jennings being outed. It feels like fan-service on one hand (along with the mail robot sighting), but one that I am absolutely thankful for.
The Good Wife
Despite its uniqueness in many aspects, this episode also appears to be a throwback to some of the earlier seasons of The Americans. For example, the Jennings are finally reunited for the first time this year in which appears to be a classic family dinner scene that is interrupted by Elizabeth getting an urgent “work” call. None of this is as satisfying, however, as Elizabeth wanting Philip to fly out and help her in one final mission at the end of the hour. It feels like everything has been leading up to this point, and I for one cannot wait to see how the show wraps everything up in its final few episodes.
Bits in Disguise
– Elizabeth and Philip’s fight in the teaser (quoted below) is one of the show’s best scenes yet. I’m still in awe.
– Priceless comedic moment: the mail robot cramming Stan and Aderholt in the elevator.
– Henry wanting to get a summer job to help out with the family’s financial crisis (and simultaneously stay in school) is admittedly sweet.
– Look at Elizabeth becoming a theatre gal for once. Best disguise yet?
– Heartbreaking scene as Philip tells Stavos that he has to lay a few people off, including him, Lacey and Steve.
– It’s not an episode of The Americans without a musical montage. This week, we follow Philip as he tries to get intel on Elizabeth’s mission while tipping Oleg on to something. Hmmm.
– Absolutely love Keri Russel drawing a picture of the TV in her lonely little hotel room. What a compelling performance.
– Renee is still a huge question mark this week. In other news, water is wet.
Quips from the Motherland
Philip: I’m not doing the thing with Kimmy.
Elizabeth: Of course you aren’t. You were never going to do it.
Philip: No, I was. You got me. Somehow, you got me.
Elizabeth: You just wanted to fuck her. You weren’t getting enough action here.
Philip: You can think whatever you want.
Elizabeth: Fine, I’ll take care of Kimmy. Don’t agonize over it.
Philip: I warned her not to go to any communist countries. I’m never gonna see her again. It’s over. That’s over.
Stan: Hi, everybody. I’m sorry not everyone could be here today. But I am grateful to be with friends. And family. Grateful for everything we have in this country. You know, not everybody around the world wants us to be able to live in peace. And freedom. But aren’t those the things the Pilgrims came here for in the first place? You ask me, we should all be willing to fight to hold onto them. Because there are people out there who don’t like our way of life. They’re afraid of it. Of us. And we have an administration right now—President Reagan and his people—they know that the only way to get to peace is to stand firm against those who wish us harm. And believe me, they do wish us harm. Make no mistake about that. Happy Thanksgiving.
Another memorable hour that effectively brings every character together. Bring on the final few episodes!