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[personal profile] sister_luck
Oh yes, once again, I'm about three years late in starting a TV series.

Last night it was the pilot and the second episode of The Americans and as I'm conflicted about it, I am throwing some of that out here.

I love that it is a grown-up show, focusing on the grown-ups and not on man-children, teenagers or twenty-somethings. The 80s setting provides an interesting background - I was a kid growing up during that time, so my perspective is somewhat like that of a German Henry. I was much too interested in world politics and, like a lot of my classmates, lived in fear of World War III.

The show is definitely good at suspense, the fight scenes are wonderfully choreographed and the first episode successfully interweaved the different timelines (though the 60s don't always look like the 60s and the 80s are sometimes a little too stylish). The disguises and the spy stuff are rather enjoyable! The marriage at the centre of the show and the relationship between husband and wife is intriguing. They are colleagues, sometimes lovers, are they friends? The conflict between them is only going to grow and they can't just divorce, like other couples would who married for the wrong reasons (or who don't share the same goals in life anymore).

It is definitely no comfort-watching though and I am rather conflicted about the show's depiction of sex and rape. Of course, it tells you pretty directly that sex equals power and that both men and women wield that power. It shows both Elizabeth and Philip using that power to their (country's) advantage and in the first episode it is also revealed that Elizabeth had been raped by Timochev. She is not the one who kills him (though she got very close to doing it) an instead it is Philip who does - at that moment choosing to kill him for Elizabeth and thus abandoning his plan to take him to the nice FBI-agent neighbour next door. While Elizabeth seems to be in it for the mission (and in some way for her children), Philip is much more interested in self-preservation, money and Elizabeth (not sure in which order!).

So, what's wrong with that then? I am not sure I like how most of the sex scenes were filmed, the ones in which Philip and Elizabeth were the ones having the upper hand, because they felt male-gazey (to use a well-established feminist term), focusing on female bodies. They were not explicit in any way (bras, panties, naked bellies) and I don't mind nudity. Maybe I am just a little peeved that I didn't get to see any male flesh. It didn't feel like equal-opportunity exploitation. I actually quite like looking at naked bodies, but I want them to be male, too! Maybe that will happen later?

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June 2017

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