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The Americans Review: “The Walk In”

(Episode 2.03)

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<i>The Americans</i> Review: &#8220;The Walk In&#8221;

Motherhood versus Mother Russia was at the crux of “The Walk In.” In a flashback, we see Elizabeth reveal that being a mother isn’t something she always wanted. In the present day, she thinks that Paige is wearing too much lip gloss. “You’re so beautiful. You don’t need it,” she tells her daughter.

Elizabeth continues to worry about what will become of Emmett and Leanne’s son, Jared. She learns he has been taken in by family friends and goes to visit him under the guise of being from a children’s advocacy agency. Years ago, Elizabeth had promised Leanne that if anything ever happened to Leanne and Emmett, she would give Jared a letter that explained to him who his parents really were and what his parents really did. Elizabeth breaks into Emmett and Leanne’s home and retrieves the letter. But she never gives it to their son and instead burns it. My assumption is she had no intention of ever giving Jared that letter. Does she realize that nothing could be gained from it and that the truth would be devastating to a boy who just lost his entire family? Or is she being loyal to Mother Russia by not betraying her country. Jared has total trust and faith in who he thinks his parents were. When Elizabeth tells him that no one expects him to go to college next year, he tells her, “My parents would.”

Juxtapose that with the increasingly suspicious Paige, who ditches school and travels to Pennsylvania to visit “Aunt Helen.” Aunt Helen is there waiting for her with a picture of Elizabeth on the wall. (As a side note, how committed is the KGB to their cover stories? They’ve got an old woman just hanging out in a house in Harrisburg waiting for Paige to show up.) Philip discovers what Paige has done and tells her that “lying will not be tolerated,” and “this is the most irresponsible thing you have ever done.” Somehow, I still don’t think this will quell Paige’s curiosity. “It feels like there’s always something going on,” Paige tells her new friend that she meets on the bus. (This show has me suspicious of everybody because I kind of think the friend could be a plant and working for someone.)

Meanwhile Stan pursues the walk in from last week’s episode and is able to thwart the man’s plan to take out a bunch of global bank executives via sniper shots. (In other episodes, this may have been the main plot, but it took a back seat to the other action this week). Stan is a hero at the FBI and further indebted to Nina. He tells Nina that he loves her, and that marks a definite shift in the power dynamic between those two.

And while this episode emphasized Elizabeth’s maternal instincts, the show once again reminded us of what a scary person she truly is. When she and Philip try to get the pictures of a Department of Defense machine, Elizabeth runs into an employee named Derek who is immediately suspicious. Elizabeth picks up a crow bar and a frightened Derek starts blabbering on about his three sons and begging for his life. It’s a testament to Keri Russell’s performance that I totally believed Derek would be cowered by the petite Russell.

Other thoughts on “The Walk In”:
—Elizabeth asks Philip, “Who is going to take the kids? We don’t have any real friends.” Honestly this cannot be the first time this has occurred to them.
—Doesn’t someone have to go through Emmett and Leanne’s house and make sure nothing suspicious is there? Fake IDs, assumed IDs, etc.
—Oleg is going to be a lot of trouble for Nina.
—Sandra is doing work on herself. If she only knew, she’s not the problem. Her husband’s Russian mistress is.

What did you think of this week’s episode of The Americans? Are you suspicious of Paige’s new friend? How long until Oleg figures out what Nina is up to? Let me know what you think in the comment section!

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.

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