Season 3, Episode 11 – “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov”
Directed by Andrew Bernstein
Written by Stephen Schiff & Tracey Scott Wilson
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, and Frank Langella
Air date: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 10pm
The Americans Episode 3.11 “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov” ends with an open door that subsequently closed. It functions as a good symbol for this episode as the majority of the Jennings family struggles with this newfound openness between them all. There’s a desperate attempt to keep that door open, but who’s to say how long that will be the case?
Continuing the fallout of last week, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) are rightfully still on edge about just where Paige’s (Holly Turner) head is currently at. In fact, the entire Jennings household (save for Henry, who is still running around doing the world’s
best worst Eddie Murphy “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” impression) seems to be adrift, searching for some sort of answer within themselves in the larger world.
For Elizabeth, that answer isn’t any easier than it’s been all season. News of Elizabeth’s mother from Gabriel (Frank Langella) isn’t good, as there aren’t many more tapes due to arrive in the Jennings household. This dovetails nicely with the softer moments, if you can get away with calling them that, between Paige and her mother – it’s a return to that mother/daughter dynamic that’s been so present throughout the season (although more directly apparent in the beginning than now). It’s fitting then that both of the Jennings women turn to one another in their search for answers as they seek to understand their radically changed circumstances.
The titular Anton Baklanov comes into play Nina (Annet Mahendru) and digs deeper into trying to earn her freedom. Prisoners of their own making, it’s not surprising the two have become fast friends, even if it’s a part of Nina’s mission. But there’s a sense of real connection between the two: Anton is disconnected from his son, while Nina is isolated from Stan and Oleg – they’re both strangers in a land they once called home.
“One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov” might be the most table-setting episode of The Americans we’ve gotten in quite a while. Coming off the heels of last week’s tremendous episode was always going to be a bit of a challenge, but “One Day” sets the last remaining plots fully into motion before what I imagine will be a couple of explosive final episodes.
– I’m not 100% on how to read the sex scene between Philip and Elizabeth. Clearly Elizabeth is in a place of deep hurt and needs her husband on an intimate level, but his expression seems less inclined to return that emotional aspect.
– I’ve always thought that at some point the Jennings would try and turn Stan (Noah Emmerich), but I like the fact Philip is quick to label Stan as a friend. It’s a reassuring fact.
– Philip’s cold war with Gabriel continues this week as he demands Elizabeth have one last chance to see her mother. I appreciate that we’re getting to see a more paternal side of Philip this season – it’s been a welcome aspect that the show used to full advantage.
– Nina and Anton speak in English when they want to have a private conversation. It’s the subtle things that matter.
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