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"Mr. and Mrs. Teacup" shakes up allegiances between friends, enemies, and even family members as a spy vs. spy conflict begins to solidify at the center of an already outrageous arc.
Fields and Weisberg... [have] always found a way to make this outrageous spy story resonate on a deeply personal level. It's something everyone can appreciate, even if they're not Americans.
Erica's determination to teach Elizabeth marks a shift in a woman who usually is about action first, thought later.
In one of the most confounding scenes ever to appear on this show, Elizabeth undertakes a heist of the sensor at the storage warehouse, but it was deliberately shot in total darkness.
"Mr. And Mrs. Teacup" goes a little heavy on the camera setups that resemble surveillance footage-but those serve an episode that steps back and surveys where Elizabeth and Philip are at as individuals.
Despite its unusual premise and the way its action can stretch credibility, "The Americans" actually has been remarkable for how straightforward its plotting is, and for how it doesn't withhold information from the audience simply to ratchet up the drama.
In the end, "Mr. and Mrs. Teacup" is a thicket of references to the point at which the deranged want created by capitalism blinds us to what matters-and in The Americans what matters is not money but time, not work but love, not strength but humanity.
They've never been more fragile than they are right now.
When you step back and consider how much of the job Elizabeth has hidden from Paige, and for how long... you realize that on some level, Elizabeth understands that many of her own actions would utterly horrify and repel her own daughter.
[The] sour grace note is saved... by the final moment
"Mr. and Mrs. Teacup" is brutally, poignantly sad because not only does it present these notions - it suggests that Elizabeth and Philip are on paths that cannot be diverted.
Honeypot Paige is not something I'm prepared to deal with. This will not do at all.
Through her slow death, Erica is attempting to teach Elizabeth things that appear to be flying over Elizabeth's head. She'll only learn about them when either she or Philip dies or they part for good.