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How Can 'The Americans' Be So Repulsive and So Sexy At the Same Time?

By Vivian Kane | TV | February 12, 2015 |

By Vivian Kane | TV | February 12, 2015 |

Last week, The Americans gave us one of the most hard to watch scenes in TV history. So what did they do this week? Did they give us a break? No, they saw us cringing as a woman’s corpse was broken and bent into a suitcase, they laughed at our squeamishness, and then they cranked the disturbing painful shit up to eleven.

This week, Phillip and Elizabeth had their closest call yet. Finding out they were being followed by the CIA, they had no choice but to drive around for hours, listening to their tail’s radio communications about them. Phillip was able to do a duck and roll, leaving his wife alone to escape. She does, eventually, but the scene was so tense, you may have felt like the Animal Control guys from Parks and Rec had put your whole body in their vice.
pr-animalcontrol vice.png
Phillip and Elizabeth have spent most of this season arguing over the fate of their daughter, Paige, and this episode had Phillip barely looking at or speaking to Elizabeth, even when she tried the old fail-safe butt-flashing tactic.
But this near-death/imprisonment/loss of everything experience put an end to all that. Without a word, the two shared a moment of pure intimacy, the kind I can’t remember ever seeing between them until now.
This moment is set, by the way, to an instrumental recording of the Star Spangled Banner. Because irony.

But if that moment felt intimate, what came next blew their hug away. Because these two are not a normal couple in any possible sense. So yes, the tender hug was sweet, but where they really connect is in their partnership, their ability to know what the other needs and their willingness to do whatever it takes to stay alive and stay together. So when Phillip tries to kiss Elizabeth and she pushes him away because of the extreme pain of her toothache (her face-slammed-on-a-car-hood-by-the-FBI toothache), he finally puts aside their argument and ends his cold shouldering to give her what she needs.

In a three-minute long, wordless scene, Philip pulls Elizabeth’s tooth out with a pair of pliers. And while that may sound disgusting and horrifying (and oh my god, it WAS), it was also thoughtful
And tender
And passionate
Passionate as hell.

The Americans managed to take a scene of a man pulling out a woman’s tooth and turn it into a display of intimacy and passion, somehow sexier than even that 69 scene from a while back. This whole show balances the horrifying with the sexy with the emotional in a way that is consistently overwhelmingly confusing for our brains and bodies.

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