Each week 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: This week's Wig of the Week is an old favorite, the grey-ish blonde number that Philip wears as Clark, the alias he has used to seduce and marry FBI secretary Martha.
Why This Wig: Before settling on awarding Philip's Clark wig, we debated giving props to the wig Elizabeth wears to seduce a young naval recruit in order to get to the man who might be responsible for the deaths of her friends Leanne and Emmett. This black wig, with its messy bangs and its little flip at the bottom, manages to make Elizabeth look almost like a teenager, an innocent who might actually feel for this youth she's using.
But that wig was not, ultimately, as meaningful as the Clark wig. On a purely silly note, we have so many questions about this wig. How does it stay in place for an entire night of sex and sleep at Martha's? Does Philip as Clark shower in it? But aside from the nuances of wig care, this wig holds a greater significance in The Americans universe. Martha, as Margaret Lyons wrote last year at Vulture, is "TV's saddest character." She's a complete sad sack, a woman who allowed herself to fall in love with a man who constantly asks mysterious favors of her and gives her little in return. Sure, he "married" her, but he barely spends any time with her, hence the fight in last night's episode. Philip/Clark reneges on the "lazy, romantic morning" she had planned, and then starts berating her about spending too much time on the phone with her mother and washing her hair in the sink. Meanwhile, his hair, with it's droopy waves and dramatic side part, makes him look supremely sleazy.
Philip's actions as Clark might have been a brilliant bit of trickery. He might have gotten out of Martha's home and made her feel guilty and indebted to him. Only she, for once, seems to be not taking his crap, and by the end of the episode is on the verge of exposing him by putting him down as her husband on an application. For once, Martha might be getting smart. The Clark wig has lost its charm.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.