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Thread: The Americans (Season 2)

  1. #26
    I'm in the milk... Mara's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    This show has become a pet favorite of mine, so I did a best-of run-through of the first two seasons to prep for season three this month. Hold on to your butts, because I'm going to talk about clothes and costumes, because I'm not sure I noticed before how carefully the costumers are telling a story here.

    So, Phillip and Elizabeth basically have three sets of spy clothes and wigs/accessories. They have "super spy," when they are out killing or performing covert ops that don't require deception. They don't wear wigs or facial hair, dress in black or very dark colors, and sometimes wear caps or knit beanies. Then, they have "sexy," especially Elizabeth, where she wears wigs (often blonde) and slinky evening or cocktail dresses, heels, and jewelry. The closest Phillip gets to this is how he dresses for Annalise, which might be closer to "dapper." Most of the time, though, when in disguise they wear "nondescript," where they wear wigs, glasses, mustaches, and frumpy clothes that deliberately hide how attractive they are. (Even Clark, who is running a honeypot, dresses this way.) They don't want to be noticed or remarkable when they dress this way.

    But with this run-through I decided that, unlike Phillip, Elizabeth has four sets of disguises. When Philip is at home or the office, I think he wears clothing he actually likes. But when Elizabeth is home or at the office, I swear to you I think she is wearing another costume: "suburban working mother." Those clothing choices-- mostly sensible, unflattering slacks and endless, endless sweaters-- don't reflect her personality at all. They are just another way that she is hiding. For one thing, they really aren't flattering on her. Elizabeth looks shapeless in all the clothes she wears at her house. Her hair always looks gorgeous, but she's hiding everything else.

    So, what are Elizabeth's real clothes? I paid attention this time and I kept trying to find her when she wasn't in some sort of disguise.

    At the end of the second season, Elizabeth goes to visit Jared in the woods, without her wig, and says to him, "This is what I really look like." It's kind of a powerful moment, because it shows an uncharacteristic level of trust. At that moment, this is what she is wearing:

    It is very close to her "super spy" look, except with her hair relaxed and down, and jeans. Is she wearing this because she is on a super spy mission, or... are these her real clothes? They certainly reflect her in a way that her "suburban mom" clothes don't. I kind of think they might be.
    ...and the milk's in me.

  2. #27
    Super Moderator dreamdead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    After reading the slew of praise, we've been powering through this show on Amazon to make way for the new season at the end of the month. We're at episode 5 of the second season currently; a lot of the Paige stuff continues to become more interesting.

    I absolutely expected either Nina or Martha to not make it out alive of season 1, so I've been thrilled by how both female agents are acting out against their superiors and becoming more active in determining their fates. Their arcs have been so fulfilling, watching them go beyond merely being used to possessing degrees of agency that make us question how long they'll remain under the sway of others.
    Ant-Man and the Wasp - 5
    Hereditary - 7
    Won't You Be My Neighbor? - 7.5
    The Tale - 8

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