next_to_normal: Philip leaning over Elizabeth's shoulder (Americans)
[personal profile] next_to_normal

Day 11: The ship you love for its creepiness.
Philip Jennings/Elizabeth Jennings (The Americans)

This one was a last minute addition. After I watched the first episode of The Americans, I was fascinated by the Jennings family and couldn't NOT include them in this meme. It's a pretty new show (but it is awesome and you should watch it), so let me recap a bit for you: Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are Soviet spies living undercover in the United States during the Cold War. On the surface, they look like your average normal American family - as part of their cover, they are married and have two children - but the marriage was arranged by the KGB and they know nothing about each others' lives before becoming spies. (They're actually not allowed to talk about it. They can't blow each others' cover if they don't know anything.)

What gives them an awesome creepiness factor is the blurring of the line between what is real and what is for show. Philip is much more enamored with America and their life here, genuinely loves Elizabeth, and considers defecting to the U.S. and making this cover story their real lives. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is a hardline KGB operative who views all of this as strictly business. He thinks of her as his wife; she thinks of him as an espionage partner. My favorite scene in the pilot? He tries to embrace her and kiss her, and she threatens him with a kitchen knife to the throat. :D Between that and the fact that both of them are required to have sex with other people as part of their missions (which neither particularly enjoys, but it also bothers Philip for romantic reasons), I suspect that the children were conceived in a "lie back and think of Mother Russia" sort of situation.

But late in the pilot episode, Elizabeth suddenly discovers a desire for her husband and initiates sex with him in their car. Which they have just used to dump a body. Whom Philip just killed. After keeping him prisoner in the trunk for over a day. (SEE? CREEPY.)

So, what sparks this unexpected display of affection? Their captive had raped Elizabeth back when she was training with the KGB, and when Philip realizes this, he's so enraged on Elizabeth's behalf that he kills the guy for her. And so we see that Elizabeth is not made of stone, that she does harbor some feelings for Philip after nearly twenty years together, even if it's merely gratitude and companionship.

I love this show and this couple after only two episodes. I cannot wait to see where the series takes them.

I just posted icons yesterday from this spam, so you can find them here.

Date: Feb. 11th, 2013 12:14 am (UTC)
rosaxx50: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosaxx50
I've never heard of them before, but your description makes them sound awesome.

Date: Feb. 14th, 2013 12:40 am (UTC)
rosaxx50: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosaxx50
Ironically, the day after I saw this entry, I found out that The Americans was starting to air where I lived. Episode 2 had already been broadcast.

Date: Feb. 11th, 2013 03:51 am (UTC)
pocochina: tvd: tessa campfire story (Default)
From: [personal profile] pocochina
YES. I'm so excited you're watching it too!

I knew I was hooked on the show when they were on their way to dump the body, and I was enraptured by them sitting in a car not saying anything to each other, because I could tell what they were both thinking, and what they were thinking about what the other one was thinking, and it's so good.

My favorite scene in the pilot? He tries to embrace her and kiss her, and she threatens him with a kitchen knife to the throat. :D

ALSO THE BEST SCENE. And it was both clear that he had gone too far, in pushing after she had frozen up and told him no, *and* that she was reacting in context of having her rapist locked in the garage.

He thinks of her as his wife; she thinks of him as an espionage partner.

YES. And they're both right, and it's something that makes so much sense in context of their jobs. This total assimilation of identity (in the way the totalitarian USSR expected of individuals on a macro-level); their own identities have incorporated their cover identities in a way that they can't disentangle.

I think the show's currently doing something really interesting with Philip that...I don't know how long it's sustainable, but I think the way his devotion to and protectiveness of his family are so heavily influenced by how confused and in control or out of control he feels about his big national loyalties. You know? And it's something that would usually alienate me from him very quickly. But I feel like it's being scrutinized as being quite possessive, and his whole change of heart as being enabled in part by American masculinity and patriarchy.

ugh, it's so good. I'm trying to manage expectations and totally failing.
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