If you thought that The Americans suitcase scene — one of the most brutal sequences in television history — was disturbing, last night’s tooth-extraction scene managed, somehow, to outdo it. Not because it was a more painful sequence to watch — although it was plenty painful — but because of the implications.
That wasn’t just a spy pulling another spy’s tooth out with a pair of pliers, or even a husband doing a solid for his wife:
That was a scene of passion. It came following a scene in which Keri Russell’s character, Elizabeth, removed her towel and basically taunted her husband with her bare ass. It also came right before a scene in which they kissed (but couldn’t continue because the pain in Elizabeth’s jaw was too much to handle).
So, instead of having sex, Philip removed his wife’s tooth.
Look at the eye-contact.
After Philip pulls out one piece of her tooth:
Elizabeth grabs him, and again, looks longingly into his eyes:
When he finally wrenches the other half of the tooth out, it feels climactic, satisfying. She gazes upon her husband again — with blood-pooling in the corner of her eye. It’s an incredibly intimate moment.
The screenshots don’t do the scene justice, which is why you really should be watching The Americans. The images don’t capture the intimacy, the sounds, or the tension, a tension that eventually passes once Philip yanks the tooth out of her jaw.
It’s not just me reading something into the scene, either. Keri Russell, in an interview with Vulture, basically confirmed it: “Oh, great, this is The Americans‘ version, this episode, of their sex scene.”
And that’s exactly what it felt like. A disturbing but weirdly loving and passionate sex-scene between a man, his wife, a broken tooth, and a pair of pliers. Fifty Shades of Grey has nothing on making love via tooth extraction.
This is why this show is so amazing.