TV Club: The Americans: “Born Again”

For 37 minutes, “Born Again” feels like The Americans stubbornly eating its vegetables. For most of season three, the show’s been wolfing down the good stuff like Nina at the interrogation-room dinner table: the emotional tug-of-war between Philip and Elizabeth, Paige’s coming of age and Gabriel’s stirring debut, the sugary rush of the Yaz episode. But for its first 37 minutes, “Born Again” has to contend with essential vitamins and information, pushing a pile of peas, carrots, and exposition around its plate while staring off into space (like Stan in his living room and Philip in the dark room).

And then Nina rolls off her back to face Kevin Dowling’s camera, staring not into space but looking the viewer right in the eye. The composition of the shot recalls the symmetrical setup of the cold open at Paige’s church. “Pay attention,” Nina’s gaze tells …

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