TV Club: The Americans: “March 8, 1983”

There’s historical significance to the title of “March 8, 1983”: It’s the date on which Ronald Reagan made the most inflammatory remarks of his presidency, arguing that the United States should increase its nuclear arsenal in order to protect itself from the “evil empire” of the USSR. But from The Americans‘ perspective—which uses American history as context rather than content—March 8, 1983 is a date that will go down in infamy because it’s the day Paige gave away her parents’ biggest secret.

The Americans’ third season was set up as The One About Paige. In truth, it’s more like The One Around Paige, placing her personal arc at the center of a constellation comprising renewed family drama, systems of belief, tenuous alliances, interdepartmental strife, geopolitical affairs, ’80s self-help trends, and Henry Jennings’ love affair with a handheld football game. The most important of those …

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