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'The Americans' season premiere fan react: A new generation of spies

Season 3| Episode 1 | “EST Men” | Aired Jan 28, 2015

Who wins the battle of the Cold War superpowers in the season 3 premiere of The Americans?

Elizabeth and Philip Jennings have lived in America for 20 years now. With a federal agent friend and children who fully embrace the land of the free and the home of the brave—not to mention all the amazing things the U.S. had to offer in the early 1980s (from E.T. to Epcot to “Eye of the Tiger”)—staying true to Mother Russia is challenging. Where the loyalties of these superspies lie can change in an instant.

So which side was victorious in “EST Men”?

  • Elizabeth meets with a turned CIA agent and secures a list of names of Americans operating in Afghanistan. But the agent gets cold feet and calls for backup, leaving Elizabeth to violently beat two FBI agents—including Stan Beeman’s boss—to get away. —DRAW
  • While escaping, Elizabeth loses the list of names. Now the CIA has it, along with her prints. —USA
  • Philip attends a self-help seminar with Stan, who’s hoping to win his wife back by learning more about the 1980s “est” craze. —USA
  • Elizabeth and Paige fold protest fliers after church and take a break for ham sandwiches. Later, Elizabeth bakes brownies for a potluck. — USA
  • Stan finds out Nina Sergeevna has been convicted of treason back in Russia. —USSR
  • KGB boss-man Arkady Ivanovich and Oleg Igorevich Burov drink vodka while discussing Nina’s trial. —USSR
  • Even though Nina loved Stan, Oleg begs his father to save her. His father refuses. —USSR
  • The Jennings visit Gabriel, their old supervisor. They discuss the war and their latest mission. He warns them the Centre won’t wait forever on Paige. (Remember that last season, Claudia revealed the master plan is to recruit a new generation of spies, born to parents like Elizabeth and Philip.) Elizabeth tries to stall by telling Gabriel about Paige’s liberal church group, and suggests she might be open to new ideas. —USSR
  • “Why don’t you be a good American wife and do the dishes?” Gabriel teases Elizabeth, while he and Philip play Scrabble. —USA
  • Philip is not pleased to hear Elizabeth’s position on Paige’s future. He argues they owe it to their daughter to let her grow up like a normal kid, go to college, and make her own decisions. —USA
  • Gabriel gives Elizabeth a tape that she listens to later in the basement. —USSR
  • It’s her mother, speaking in Russian, and she has news: She’s dying. —No one wins
  • Stan and Martha bond over firearms at the shooting range. —USA
  • Philip and Martha try a page from the Kama Sutra. —Philip and Martha
  • Elizabeth is teaching a teenage boy, whose accent is possibly Russian, how to evade a tail. —USSR
  • Paige, changing channels on the TV, sees Tom Brokaw announcing the death of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, shrugs, and flips to The Jeffersons. —USA
  • Philip meets with Annelise, who’s still dating Yousaf, a Pakistani intelligence officer, for info. —USSR
  • Annelise and Philip fool around in the car for old times’ sake, though she does feel guilty, because she’s falling in love with Yousaf. —Philip
  • Later, Yousaf offers to buy Annelise a place in Zurich if she’ll leave her husband. She blows her cover and admits she’s been spying, but before she can explain further, he strangles her. Philip picks the lock to the hotel too late to save her … but offers Yousaf a deal: he’ll help cover up the murder, likely in exchange for Yousaf’s cooperation. —USSR

WINNER: This episode was more vatrushka than apple pie. Despite their disagreement over Paige’s future, Elizabeth and Philip served Mother Russia well in the season premiere.

The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on FX.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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