Monday, September 26, 2016

Now on Amazon Prime: The Americans, Season 4

The Americans Season 4 posterThe Americans, Season 4 (2016) - Created by Joseph Weisberg; Starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Richard Thomas, Alison Wright, Frank Langella, Margo Martindale.

By Kenny Howell

Elizabeth and Philip have always kind of been their own worst enemy.

The Russian spies posing as a normal American family's biggest battle has always keeping the family unit together despite all the mess they have to do with all that spying stuff.

But the end of season 3 posed a new threat to that stability, and that was their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) learning of their real identities.

That pressure that Paige feels concealing that information is the cloud hanging over everything in Season 4 of the great FX series. Paige is just a teenager, which is hard enough on its own, and now she must process that her parents are really spies. Everything she knows can be changed at the drop of a hat. She could be forced to be moved back to Russia if things go bad, somewhere she has never been and knows nothing about. Her relationship with Pastor Tim at her church is becoming ever more dangerous as well because if she was to tell anyone, it would be to confide in him.

Also in Season 4 is the pesky problem of Martha (Alison Wright), Philip's other wife under his alter ego Clark. Martha is cracking under the pressure as well because the FBI office in which she works, why she was a mark for Elizabeth and Philip, is starting to put together the pieces of a breach, and Martha's day are numbered. Part of the reason is Philip and Elizabeth's neighbor Stan, the FBI agent on the espionage unit played by the always great Noah Emmerich (Blood Ties), is still looming around them as well.

The Americans continues to be one of the most well-crafted shows on TV, but it still, for whatever reason, hasn't caught on with audiences. It's a shame because the tension is still incredibly high in this season, as it continues to turn the drama inward to the family unit, just as much as the usual spy pressures that Elizabeth and Philip feel. The series even takes a short time jump in the middle of the fourth season, which probably ends up being the best episode of the season, one in which the breaking points have been reached. It's a pretty audacious choice to take, especially in the middle of a season, but it is all in service of the story. Add to that the excellent work that Keri Russell (Dark Skies) and Matthew Rhys continue to do, which is keeping The Americans as one of the best dramas series out there.

Season 4 of The Americans is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Rating: ***1/2

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