If last night’s opening scene of The Americans was the first time a bathtub had been prominently featured this season, it would be easy to take the events of the scene at face value. After all, Paige (Holly Taylor) had lobbied hard and received permission from her parents to become baptized by Pastor Tim (Kelly AuCoin). But in a season that has had more bathtubs than an ‘80s Prince video, it’s reasonable to assume that the creators had something more in mind. Sure enough, right after Paige takes the plunge for Jesus, she emerges in a manner that cinematically recalls a shot from earlier in the season when Elizabeth (Keri Russell), also taking a bath, comes up for air. This similarity gives a more ominous element to last week’s scene of Elizabeth furiously scrubbing the Jennings’ tub. Is she cleaning it, not for herself, but for Paige, in preparation for another type of conversion? By the end of the “Born Again,” it appears that this is indeed the case. Paige is on the path to be transformed, only it’s not in Jesus’s image as she originally expected, but in her mother’s.
Before Elizabeth makes her move on Paige, Philip (Matthew Rhys) tries his best to warn Paige of what’s coming (as Paige distractedly replaces her Rick Springfield poster for one of Paris. One can’t help but wonder if this is foreshadowing of the eventual spinoff, The Americans in Paris. Get it? Okay, moving on.) by telling her to stay true to herself, even if the people pressuring her have her best interest at heart. Philip’s counsel is not only appropriate for Paige (though she is understandably confused by his crypticness) but for other characters in “Born Again,” as well, many who find themselves being subtly manipulated by those close to them.