There we have it, folks. After a couple of seasons that have been nothing short of extraordinary, The Americans delivers one of its best episodes yet and one of the finest hours of television.
Audiences have waited years for Stan to find out the truth about Philip and Elizabeth, and while Harvest doesn’t quite go all the way in this reveal, it certainly gets closer. Starting with Stan’s conversation with Philip in the cold open, arguably one of the most intense teasers this show has produced yet, and leading up to searching his neighbors’ house (including the basement!) for clues, Stan has never been closer to figuring out the biggest television secret since Breaking Bad.
The callback to the pilot with Stan suspecting something about the Jennings’ is incredibly on point with his conversation with Aderholt later regarding an old case. The writers have officially given away everything but the kitchen sink at this point, and I can’t say I have ever been this nervous, excited and amazed all at once. Kudos, show, for giving us all the feels this week.
Mission Impossible: Chicago
It’s fitting that Philip and Elizabeth are close to getting discovered at the same time as one of their toughest missions goes awry. Not only does it end with two victims, but this episode also delivers one of its most gory sequences yet as Philip and Elizabeth chop down dead Marilyn’s hands and face and stuff them in a tiny suitcase, leaving the rest of her body to be found in a parking lot. The scene is packed with unforgettable, jaw-dropping visuals that have certainly left me scarred in a way that no amount of Game of Thrones reruns have done before. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
If there’s one good thing that comes out of this mission, it’s that it gives Keri Russell and Mathew Rhys the opportunity to shine in more ways than one with first-rate performances. Every expression on Elizabeth and Philip’s faces is beautifully and skillfully brought to life with or without Sarah Nolen and Joe Weisberg’s harrowing script. It would be a true shame if this entire cast and crew goes unrecognized at the awards season next year.
Bits in Disguise
– How heartbreaking and chilling is Henry and Stan’s conversation in the car? Poor Henry has no idea what he’s saying.
– Who else remembers Aunt Helen from the second season? I cheered at that callback.
– For some reason, I don’t remember the flashback with Dylan Baker talking about the Jennings.
– Paige’s next mission is to apply for an internship at the state department? Yeah, that can’t possibly go wrong.
– An episode is only as perfect as its final shot, and Philip remembering his intimate wedding from last year’s Darkroom is a breathtaking capper.
Quips from the Motherland
Paige: Did you get the guy out?
Elizabeth: No. It didn’t go well.
Paige: What happened?
Elizabeth: He died. Marilyn, too.
Elizabeth: We were in a car, the FBI…Marilyn was shot.
Paige: Is Dad—?
Elizabeth: He’s okay. The whole thing just went to shit.
Elizabeth: Are you willing to give up friends, and relationships, and your life if you have to? Because that’s what’s being asked of you.
Paige: I don’t really have any friends. I see these kids at school. They think they’re so political, but they don’t understand how this whole system is designed to keep them down. To keep us at each other’s throats. It’s like what you and Claudia say. They’re blind to it. And I’m not afraid to die. I know that’s easy to say, but that’s not what I’m afraid of.
Elizabeth: What are you afraid of?
Paige: Being alone.
A heart-stopping, unforgettable hour of television and one of my favorite episodes of The Americans yet.