WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the series finale of The Americans. Read at your own risk!
Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) ended FX’s The Americans back in Russia, safe with Arkady Ivanovich (Lev Gorn), but at the cost of leaving their children, Henry (Keidrich Sellati) and Paige (Holly Taylor), behind. The last shot of the series found them gazing at their home country in silence, lost in thought.
In other words, the finale wrapped up quietly. And for Russell and Rhys, that’s exactly how their final day on set turned out to be as well. “I think I was just sort of stunned, you know what I mean?” Russell says of finishing her final scene. “I kind of get quiet in those moments. I don’t give a great rousing speech or anything like that. That’s not my speed. I tend to go internal.”
Then again, no one really had the energy to stick around for a speech or a proper goodbye. The night the cast filmed their last scene happened to be another frigid shoot in New York. “It was about 5 a.m., and it was starting to get light,” Rhys recalls. “There was also a storm, so everyone was incredibly cold, incredibly keen to get home. Everyone was so tired. As soon as they said, ‘That’s a wrap,’ everyone grabbed [their things] and ran to their trucks and their cars, and that was it. The final two episodes were difficult to shoot.”
Besides, most people felt prepared to let the series go by then, he says. “The run-up to [the finale] felt real organic and ripe, and we were at that point ready to finish,” he explains. “We were at a place where it felt right, where they had written the perfect ending.”
Still, Russell adds, it’s not really over yet. The drama may have finished airing, but there’s more work to be done, from screenings to press junkets to talk shows, which means the feeling that The Americans has ended won’t hit until some time down the line. “I think when I will really feel that it’s over is in the fall when we don’t go back,” Russell says. “I think in the fall, I’ll kind of go, ‘Oh no! There’s no more slinky lady with long hair and high-heeled boots and beautiful cat eyeliner!’” And, at least, no more freezing night shoots.