The Americans continues to be one of the most underrated dramas on TV, and last night’s episode was no exception. For those of you who missed it, go catch up right now because this recap’s going to be chock-full of spoilers. Also because last night’s episode hit The Americans‘ sweet spot, and as a fan you owe it to yourself to watch it.
You know The Americans‘ sweet spot, right? It’s that spot where they remind you just how much Philip and Elizabeth’s responsibility to their country contradicts their responsibility to their consciences. The whole season’s tackling this contradiction head-on with Paige’s seemingly inevitable initiation into the world of being a Russian spy. But last night’s episode took this to a new level as Philip’s relationship with Kimmy progressed.
While I usually finding myself siding with Philip and Elizabeth when it comes to their targets, Kimmy’s pushing the boundaries for me. Which is exactly what her character’s designed to do. At just 15 years old, she’s the youngest person Philip’s ever had to seduce. If this was an episode of Law & Order: SVU, I’d be yelling stranger danger at my TV to Kimmy because it would be clear-cut that Philip’s a bad guy. But this isn’t SVU, it’s The Americans — a show that’s been blurring the line between good guy and bad guy since the very first episode.
Even though we’ve seen Philip do horrible things — most recently stuffing a woman’s dead body into a suitcase like an old pro — we still view him as a good guy. Because when he’s not plotting against America, manipulating innocent people and straight up murdering people, he’s a stand-up guy. I know, I know, everything I said earlier in that previous sentence negates that, but that’s exactly what makes The Americans so great. Even though he’s made it clear time and time again that he’s loyal to the Motherland, he’s also made it clear that he’s loyal to his family. A family that includes his very American children, Paige and Henry.
From the moment Philip set foot in Kimmy’s house last night to the moment that he fled, I pleaded with my TV, “Don’t do it, Philip!” And except for Kimmy’s sneak-attack of a kiss, Philip didn’t do it. It, of course, being taking the relationship to the next level. However, it feels almost inevitable after last night’s episode (and next week’s teasers) that Philip’s going to take the relationship past the kissing stage. I’m praying that I’m wrong because I very much want to stay on Team Philip.
Sleeping with Kimmy, or really going any further than he’s already gone, wouldn’t just blur the good guy/bad guy lines more, it would straight up destroy them. I can forgive a lot (and I most certainly have), but I couldn’t look at Philip the same way if he really went through with seducing a teenage girl. And not just any teenage girl, but one who he so clearly identifies with his own daughter. I mean, that similarity could not have been hammered home any harder in the episode.
So here’s hoping that Philip finds a way to avoid going any further with Kimmy so he remains a good guy. And here’s also hoping that Kimmy never finds out his real intentions for pursuing her. Being a teenage girl is hard enough without discovering that a middle-aged Russian spy’s hitting on you to get to your CIA father — who you don’t even know is in the CIA. Yeah, good luck to her future therapist.