TV Club: The Americans: “Divestment”

The key to decoding the title of tonight’s Americans isn’t in the term’s financial origin. Sure, we see characters reconsidering their investments in certain causes, missions, and relationships, but that’s not a major theme of “Divestment.” There’s also a connection to the anti-Apartheid movement, but in the show’s timeline, we’re still months away from the catalyst of that development.

To me, “Divestment” is all about that “di”—as in the Greek root for “two.” Every crucial moment of this episode, every potentially explosive exchange, occurs between two characters. It’s hard to pick up on at first, but “Divestment” is one of the most cleverly structured episodes of The Americans‘ third season. The chess matches that Philip and Elizabeth have been playing with each other (and the other people in their lives) are mapped onto the interactions between every character in “Divestment,” building …

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