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TV Review: The Americans 4.6 “The Rat”
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The Americans 4.6 - "The Rat" Review

The Americans
Season 4, Episode 6 – “The Rat”
Directed by Kari Skogland
Written by Joshua Brand
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Dylan Baker, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, and Frank Langella
FX
Air date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 10pm

The Americans finally gave us the episode we’ve all been waiting for when it comes to Martha with “The Rat,” as Alison Wright’s poor soul of a character is thrown into a situation beyond her comprehension. This episode is all about escalation, as Martha finally finds out the truth about Clark’s real allegiance, while Elizabeth and Gabriel find out the depths of Philip’s involvement with her — culminating in a scene that’s a series great for Keri Russell.

The show continues to find new ways to make matters worse for the Jennings and as we reach the midpoint of the season, I’m equal parts scared and enticed to see how the narrative will unfold – there’s air of finality to these proceedings that’s getting increasingly difficult to ignore.

Quick Thoughts:

– Matthew Rhys gets a couple of nice moments alongside Frank Langella as he fights on Martha’s behalf.

– Fantastic choice by director Kari Skogland to go handheld with the camera as Elizabeth enters the kitchen to see Philip exposed. I can’t remember if this is the first time the show has gone handheld, but it’s a tactic the show doesn’t rely on very often if it has. Its inclusion is incredibly striking and adds some more emotional heft to a scene that was already crackling with intensity.

– Martha’s sexescapades with Philip were somehow even more sad and depressing than Elizabeth’s last week.

– Lots of talk about trust (or lack thereof) this week, from Gaad reflecting on what makes him, Stan, and Aderholt tick to Philip using it as a plea to get Martha to comply, to Elizabeth realizing she didn’t know Philip as well as she thought she had as of late.

– “Feelings. Little buggers.” William is most certainly right about that. Everyone’s feelings seem to getting in the way as of late.

– Yes, Martha can definitely be seen as a rat, but I’m glad she’s not the titular ‘rat’ that the episode gets its name from.

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