Binge-watching THE AMERICANS

the_americansWhile my wife is away, I’ve been binging on THE AMERICANS because so many people have told me it’s a great show. I am now at the end of season 3. There are things I like about the series, but I think it has a fatal flaw. The producers are asking the viewers to sympathize with, and root for, a married couple of Russian spies who routinely kill innocent American civilians. I find myself actually rooting for the couple to get caught. One particular storyline in season two had them pursued by a “killer” in the U.S. military … a gay officer blackmailed into betraying his country. He kills a Russian spy who tries to kill him…and, when several innocent Americans are killed as a result of intelligence he provided, he starts murdering Russian spies. As much as the producers tried to portray him as a bad guy who was putting our “heroes” in jeopardy, I actually saw him as the hero…a man who realizes he has made a terrible mistake and seeks justifiable vengeance. I just saw a season 3 episode where the heroine forces a sweet, innocent old lady to kill herself. The heroine sheds a tear over it, but that hardly redeems her character, who has killed so many innocent people that I’ve lost count. What keeps me watching are the storylines involving a decent but tormented FBI agent, but it’s hard to watch a series when you loath the central characters. I’ll finish Season 3 but I’m not sure I will stick around for season 4, which is waiting on my Tivo.

1 thought on “Binge-watching THE AMERICANS”

  1. I have to say I love this show. Like you, Lee, I didn’t pay much attention to it until I encountered an onslaught of raves from people whom I respect, so I started watching it.

    I’m hurtling toward the end of season 3, and I too just watched the episode where the female central character kills an innocent old lady. Yes, it’s pretty much impossible to root for her, especially since, as you pointed out, she’s murdered countless others during the course of the show. But you know, that doesn’t bother me at all, because it’s precisely the hope these Red spies will meet their maker before the final curtain falls that keeps me going.

    Back during the Cold War, that’s how it was. Our spies worked against (and on rare occasions, with) their spies, and it was seldom pretty. Innocent people had to die in the service of one side or the other.

    There are some holes in the plot, but I find those totally forgivable in the face of the heart-pounding tension the writers have injected into this one-of-a-kind show.


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