The Americans Season 3 Episode 1 Review: EST Men

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One thing Stan and Philip know well enough to know isn't true is that almost getting killed and sex aren't necessarily aren't on the same playing field when it comes to feeling alive. Nice try, EST.

Those types of statements make a much bolder impact on people who will never have an opportunity to discover what it feels like to almost be killed, although Stan doesn't know how close Philip comes to it on an average basis.

The good news is on The Americans Season 3 Episode 1 we're shown there are no signs of slowing down to smell the roses or taste the coffee, despite Philip's best wishes to the contrary, at least for his daughter Paige. The more he wishes it to be true, the less likely it appears it will ever happen.

The lives of Stan Beeman and Elizabeth and Philip Jennings became ever more entwined on the Season 3 premiere. One of Elizabeth's contacts betrayed her country and then felt so badly about it she sold herself, and Elizabeth, out. The men who took the call felt the full force of Elizabeth's wrath. She may be tiny, but she's a powerhouse. One of them was Frank Gaad. It's hard to believe it's taken a full two seasons before the two have come face to face, isn't it?

Proving just how brilliantly trained the Soviets are in comparison to the Americans, Elizabeth didn't have her guard down – even in her own kitchen. Fully made up when Philip and Stan came in, Stan had no idea her face took a pounding, thus was none the wiser when he later chatted with Frank about getting an alert from emergency rooms and dentists about such injuries for the woman who attacked Frank.

On the other hand, Frank and the other fellow had no such luck in hiding the beating Elizabeth gave them. Stan teased Frank a bit, but part of him was impressed. He need to be, as he also received word about Nina's fate: convicted of treason and espionage.

It's a relief Oleg hasn't given up on Nina. Knowing he is always up front and true to his word means something in an environment that is otherwise almost impossible to understand. He wanted to help her and he still does, even if she may have actually fallen in love with Stan; a possibility Arkady posited to Oleg. It gives me hope we'll see Nina again. We haven't seen much of life in the Soviet Union and it would be fascinating to see what becomes of her under the circumstances.

Oleg is still not afraid to say what he thinks, either. He's right. They have to be able to trust their own people. He should assume their coworkers are vetted. If they're not and he goes down for saying what he believes, he just doesn't care. That's not a bad way to live life, although he didn't get the message you don't negotiate with terrorists. It's amazing to think terrorists in Afghanistan were sending Soviets tapes so similar to what we see on the news all the time today – terrorists flanking prisoners before they're killed. At least that guy was gunned down instead of having his head brutally sawed off.

Brutal honesty is a position much different than that of Elizabeth and Philip concerning Paige and her future. Apparently the Centre didn't appreciate Philip's warning to stay away from their daughter, as Gabriel has reentered their lives. An old friend, Gabriel thinks the Centre is right to want Paige brought up and into the life. Philip and his Corvette not only want to put it off for now, but want to let her choose her own path. He's talking college and freedom; a life away from them. It's unclear whether Elizabeth really believed what she told Gabriel or not, but she's been going to the church meetings with Paige and does see the passion in her.

She has also witnessed the desire to go to the church meetings is helped to some degree by a boy named Dan. Elizabeth didn't see a very grown up looking Paige see the news of Leonid Brezhnev's death and pass it over to watch The Jeffersons. She did get a tape from her mother who is dying; a mother she will most likely never see again. If Paige goes into the same life, it's always a possibility they, too, would be separated. Will that weigh into how she handles future requests to groom Paige?

Philip is still carrying on his dual life with Martha. That sex... Good lord. She did say he was an animal in the bedroom. He's going to have to take that trick home to Elizabeth. What I need to know is why Stan was teaching Martha to fire gun at the shooting range. Is she becoming interested in other areas inside the FBI? It seems a little out of left field and it will be interesting to see how she brings it up with Clark. The length of the Martha's relationship with Clark seems too good to be true. She should probably enjoy the bedroom antics while they last.

Philip could have never seen what was coming with Annelise and Yousaf. I don't know if he expected her to tell him what she was up to or not, but her profession of love for the man was a bit of a giveaway. Perhaps the expectation that Yousaf would so quickly and urgently put an end to Annelise was the bigger surprise. Using her to extract information was no longer an option, but holding Yousaf's life in his hands isn't a bad trade for Philip, although not as useful in the long run as they can't use Annelise again in the future.

If it's even possible, The Americans Season 3 appears on course be the best yet. The Jennings marriage has always been tenuous, but as they hit a crossroads over the future of Paige and her involvement with the Centre, things could escalate. Brezhnev's death in 1982 sparked a generational change in leadership in the Soviet Union, something sure to affect the way the KGB operates. With Philip and Elizabeth leaning in opposite directions politically, the impending imbalances in the homeland will likely also make an impact on their profession, family and relationship. 

With the introduction of the Soviet defector into their word, it's hard not to wonder if the Jennings would ever consider defecting, or at least if Philip would ever be so concerned over losing Paige he might broach the topic. Will their ultimate journey end in the Jennings becoming The Americans?

If you need a refresher or just want to recapture the magic, you can watch The Americans online via TV Fanatic any time.

EST Men Review

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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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The Americans Season 3 Episode 1 Quotes

Sex is one of the few things we have, and almost getting killed is another, that can jolt us into feeling fully alive. If you want to actually experience life, then you've got being so reasonable all the time, you've got to stop hoping things are just gonna get better and you've gotta accept what you've got.

EST Leader

Maybe I should be be honest. 'Hey sweetie. I went to EST. I think they're all insane. Can we get back together now?'