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"Urban Transport Planning" is a fine-tuned, character-driven episode that showcases a dramatic mini-reunion with heartbreaking nuance.
This is a finely crafted piece of drama, and the devil's in the details. What's coming may hurt, but this bunch has more than earned the pain.
Stan was involved in the best moment of the episode, his long-awaited reunion with Oleg at the Potomac Inn, a delicate scene finely played by Noah Emmerich and Costa Ronin.
It's the type of Americans episode where the theme is particularly pronounced, but it generates so much good stuff between the characters that I hardly mind.
The juxtaposition between Elizabeth's operations with Philip's problems are stark. He is supposedly living the American Dream-but with all the challenges of capitalism that come with it and none of the romanticized comforts.
It's hard to imagine any kind of good ending for the marriage after this.
Bless you, Americans, for giving Keri Russell one hell of a showcase in this final season to remind everyone just how good she is.
It's so grim that it makes a disguised Philip approaching Oleg to work against his own wife seem like a happy ending. And that's probably as close to one as we're going to get.
The Americans does something else with death that few other "prestige" shows have ever done though. On this show, the dead stay dead.
Elizabeth and Philip manage to make developments on their own, even interweaving in interesting ways, but episode three shows there is only so much you can build up toward something before the drama suffers.
Things aren't the same as they used to be, that's for sure.
It's fitting that the sharpest contrast in the Jennings' marriage is as much temperamental as it is ideological, plumbing places where "idealism" and "pragmatism" aren't the operable terms.
I just want Stan and Oleg to be friends. Maybe go on a road trip. Just two buds on a cross-country road trip together, seeing the sights and bonding. I really don't think I'm asking too much here.