Review: ‘The Americans’ – ‘In Control’

Senior Television Writer
02.20.13 69 Comments

I’m on vacation this week, but I got to see tonight’s “The Americans” in advance, and I have a few quick thoughts coming up just as soon as I dig up a buried weapons cache…

Given when the series started, a Reagan assassination attempt episode was inevitable. What made “In Control” so impressive was the way it took an event where we know all the details – that Hinckley was trying to impress Jodie Foster, that Al Haig was speaking imprecisely, that both Reagan and James Brady would survive – and instead was able to put us in the mindset of the troops on the ground on both sides at this moment. If you’re the FBI, of course, you’re going to assume that Hinckley had Soviet connections. And if you’re Claudia (formerly Granny), of course you’re going to take Haig’s remarks as warning signs of a coup.

This was a case of the show plausibly setting up Phillip and Elizabeth as the fulcrum for this moment in history. If they send too alarmist a message back to Moscow, then missiles could start flying, but they kept their heads, and so did we all.

Another really strong outing, and one that managed to still examine the state of the Jennings marriage – and the Beeman marriage, for that matter – in the midst of all the chaos.

What did everybody else think?

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