Each week from now on we will be crowning a "wig of the week" from The Americans, FX's wonderful show about Russian spies who happen to wear a variety of insane wigs when doing their spy duties.
Wig of the Week: Elizabeth's choppy brownish crop that she wears when impersonating a child advocate in order to visit the son of her friends who were just killed.
Why This Wig: Elizabeth has two great/terrible wigs this week. The first is a feathered blonde number she wears as she and her spy husband Philip go to acquire some secret plans from a warehouse. The second is this shaggy concoction she wears when visiting her dead friend's son. That's our winner.
This season opened in devastating fashion when another spy couple and their daughter are brutally murdered. The two episodes that have followed have been about the new sense of unease creeping into the lives of Philip and Elizabeth. Elizabeth seems to be the more affected party, despite spending the first season as the half of the couple more intent on doing right by Mother Russia, even if that came at the expense of her family. But this episode flashes back into Elizabeth's past as it is connected to Leanne, her now dead friend. We see how Leanne actually influenced Elizabeth's decision to have the children whose lives she now realizes could be collateral damage because of her chosen profession.
In the flashback, we learn that Leanne tasked Elizabeth with delivering a note to her children in the event of her and her husband's death. So Elizabeth dons this dowdy wig to visit Leanne's son Jared, now staying with the family for whom he used to babysit. Elizabeth comforts Jared, letting him cry into her arms, but decides not to give him the note that would tell him who his parents really were. Instead, in a montage set to Peter Gabriel's "Here Comes the Flood" ("we'll say goodbye to flesh and blood"), she smokes a cigarette and burns the note like a torch. In the final moments of the episode, after Elizabeth has taken off the glasses she wore to Jared's new home, the wig morphs from something that makes Elizabeth look dowdy to something that makes her look almost rock-and-roll as she lights a cigarette. And yet, despite the fact that she's burning paper in an abandoned lot, she's not rebelling. In fact, she's toeing the party line, keeping a secret she feels needs to be kept. The wig had made her soft in that moment when she held Jared in her arms. But Elizabeth is not soft.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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