Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans recap: Mr. and Mrs. Teacup

“We can make peace with them. Now…is maybe the best chance we’ll ever get. That’s why I’m here.”

This is Oleg and Stan….I mean, Philip (God, I’m so used to writing about the other pairing) standing on the steps of a park at night. Philip is considering the idea of spying on his own wife, but first he needs some answers from the man asking him to do that.

“I don’t really understand what’s going on.”

“The people running The Center, we believe, are actively trying to get rid of Gorbachev,” Oleg tells him. “They can’t stand progress. It’s a threat to them. Our country having any kind of openness or freedom…they think it means we won’t be communists anymore.”

“My wife would never do anything to hurt our country,” Philip answers.

“We know how loyal she is,” Oleg says. “But that loyalty can be used. We have to know what she’s up to.” He tells Philip about Elizabeth trying to secure a radiation sensor. He tells him about the Air Force general who ended up dead. Continue reading The Americans recap: Mr. and Mrs. Teacup

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans recap: Urban Transport Planning

“There’s trouble back home.”

Elizabeth is talking about Gorbachev and the party leaders working to secretly undermine him, but her warning also applies to the Jennings household. Paige witnessed the violent death of one of Elizabeth’s contacts. Not only does she know her mother has blood on her hands, but she also has it all over her face, clothes, and hair.

Paige makes it back to her family’s house before her mother, and Philip tries to comfort and reassure her. (Almost pathetically, he plies her with some EST self-help techniques.) Then Elizabeth blows through the door like a thunderstorm and rips Paige apart for reacting to the gunshots and running to the scene, rather than waiting in her position.

Nevermind that, one way or another, Paige was going to figure out what happened. Even if she’d stayed put, how was Elizabeth going to explain being covered in an Air Force general’s blood and brains? Continue reading The Americans recap: Urban Transport Planning

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans recap: ‘Tchaikovsky’

Life is still a frozen sea between Philip and Elizabeth. Last week’s season premiere ended with him coming very close to alerting her that elements of the Soviet government want him to begin monitoring her, but her chilly dismissal silenced him.

Now, he watches Elizabeth descend the stairs. He has heeded her advice. They’re still not talking.

Back at FBI headquarters, we see Stan Beeman in his new role. He’s discussing an ongoing sting, and although the name of the target is never mentioned, we can put the clues together (cocaine purchase, city official, alligator shoes) and know he’s talking about disgraced D.C. mayor Marion Barry.

He gets a call from Agent Aderholt to come down to his old office at counter intelligence and have a conversation in the Vault. Two of their past recruits, the courier Gennadi and his wife Sofia, are having troubles. Stan will have to help patch things up. Continue reading The Americans recap: ‘Tchaikovsky’

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

Keri Russell on Wrapping The Americans and Why She’d Rather Be Camping

As her hit series The Americans enters its sixth and final season, Keri Russell talks about wide-open spaces, raising adventurous kids, and more.

So Keri, how are ya?
Well, right now I’m talking to you from bed, because I have the flu, which turned into bronchitis and pneumonia. I’m just in bed going, “What the fuck.”

That sounds terrible.
Yeah, but I’m also a working mom of three kids, so when you’re not sick, you have these fantasy dream sequences every day where you’re like, “Oh my god, if I could just get sick, I could lie in bed. I just need a week of rest where I’m not working outside in the freezing New York snow, and I’m not fucking taking care of kids.” But then it actually happened, and I’m like, “Waaahhhh.” Part of me thinks I should really just be relishing this and ordering everyone around, but the other part’s like, all I want to do is drink 8,000 cups of coffee and run around and get on my bike. Continue reading Keri Russell on Wrapping The Americans and Why She’d Rather Be Camping

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Keri Russell for Rhapsody Magazine

Oh my god,” says Keri Russell, hazel eyes wide and mouth agape in shock. “Wow.” Pause. “Holy crap.” She shakes her head and looks up at the ceiling for a moment, doing the math in her head. “Is it?”

Yes, this year really is the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Felicity, the show that rocketed Russell and her mass of curls to stardom when she was just 22. Sitting across from the actress at an Italian restaurant in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge on a foggy February afternoon, I can’t help but think it is a bit of a shock that Russell is 41 now. Her creamy complexion is smooth enough to get her carded (just a few fine lines around the eyes) and she’s just as tiny as she was when Felicity followed Ben across the country to enroll at a New York university. She looks bike-ride ready today in a red-and-white striped linen T-shirt and white jeans, and, although her hair is fairly straight now (she does Keratin treatments, shhh), wisps at her forehead are fighting to curl again on account of the humidity.

Suddenly, a lightbulb moment. “Oh yeah … maybe that’s why they’re asking about a reunion!” she says with a laugh, explaining that she had been invited to this summer’s ATX Television Festival, where, in the past, the casts of Gilmore Girls and Battlestar Galactica came together for much-publicized events. “Huh. That’s crazy.”

You could forgive her for not being aware of such a milestone. Since Felicity’s four-year run—which also helped launch the career of creator J.J. Abrams—Russell has had three kids, appeared in 14 movies, and spent the last five years trying to bring down the U.S. government as an undercover Russian spy on The Americans. Last month brought the sixth and final season of the critically adored FX drama, which has nabbed Russell two Emmy nominations for her role as the fiercely loyal, ruthless KGB operator Elizabeth Jennings—not to mention a baby daddy. After the series’ first season in 2013, she and her on-screen husband, Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, started dating, and in 2016, she gave birth to their son, Sam. (She has two children, River, 10, and Willa, 6, with her ex-husband, Shane Deary.) Continue reading Keri Russell for Rhapsody Magazine

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on Saying Goodbye to The Americans

The FX drama series The Americans has been truly excellent throughout its run, with compelling storytelling and exceptional performances from everyone in the cast. Among many highlights, it’s shown us how good Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are, in their roles as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, KGB spies posing as Americans, it’s allowed us to watch Holly Taylor grow the teenage Paige into a compelling character, as she doubted and questioned what her parents were really up to, and it’s taken us on a roller coaster, as we’ve wondered what the ultimate outcome of the Jennings family could possibly be. The fact that it’s entering its final season is bittersweet, as it’s always sad to say goodbye to such a great TV show, but it’s also exciting to know that the creators were able to write to an ending that they chose and are saying that goodbye on their own terms.

During this interview with Collider, co-stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys talked about how good it feels to end The Americans on a high note, not having had enough time to reflect yet on the series ending, the journey that Elizabeth and Philip will be on this season, and where the family dynamic is headed with Paige, and how emotional it was to read the final episode. Continue reading Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on Saying Goodbye to The Americans

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans premiere recap: Dead Hand

“Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win.”

— Crowded House “Don’t Dream It’s Over”

A few years have passed.

The Americans begins its final season in the year 1987, but this super-sound of 1986 opens the episode as we see Elizabeth engaged in a series of new assignments — some dull, some sexual, some dangerous — while Philip goes about the mundane work of operating their cover: the travel agency.

The Berlin Wall will fall in two years, but as the song suggests, there is another one being built between these two Soviet agents. They were once partners; now they lead increasingly separate lives. Continue reading The Americans premiere recap: Dead Hand

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

‘The Americans Season 6: TV Review

One of television’s greatest series, FX’s marital spy drama heads thrillingly and ominously toward its end.
It’s a weird thing to be proud of a TV show. To understand the difficult decisions the writers make in the face of expectations and to feel it’s important to acknowledge terrific and sometimes surprising acting and directing. The hardest thing in all of television is making a great series season after season. And as The Americans begins its sixth and final season, the first three episodes sent by FX to critics elicited that kind of admiration, that confidence that, at least in the early going, the enormous weight of expectations hadn’t crippled the show but given it a certain exhilaration as it began its end game.

They were, all three of them, exceptional — clear examples of one of television’s greatest dramas still very much on top of its game.

Viewers are all over the map on what they consider to be a spoiler, so all a critic can do in a situation like this — watching the last moves of a complicated chess match, the strands of a long-building pattern emerging for its last reveal — is to promise to hew more toward appreciation than actual review. And honestly, with only three episodes to judge from, all the truly enormous twists have yet to be seen, so realistically there’s not much to spoil (and does anyone want to do that anyway?). Besides, The Americans is a drama about the Cold War, and we all know how that ends for that period and how, in 2018, the word “Russia” seems to be ominously everywhere (giving this series an intriguingly twisted place in history — far different from what could have been predicted when it launched in January 2013). Continue reading ‘The Americans Season 6: TV Review

Categories Articles & Interviews The Americans

The Americans Preview: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys Talk Wigs, Marital Rifts and the ‘Bittersweet’ Final Season

The Cold War may be drawing to a close on The Americans… but it’s getting awfully chilly in Philip and Elizabeth’s marriage.

As FX’s Reagan-era spy drama enters its sixth and final season — debuting this Wednesday at 10/9c — the action jumps forward three years to 1987, just when diplomatic relations between America and the Soviets were beginning to mend. But as star Matthew Rhys hints, while there’s “this great thaw between the U.S. and the Soviet Union… the ice age is settling in” between the married Russian spies at the show’s center. (And even their vast array of wigs can’t keep them warm.)

The Americans Season 6 Premiere Elizabeth PhilipTVLine sat down with Rhys and Keri Russell — the real-life spouses and Emmy nominees who play Philip and Elizabeth — for a preview of The Americans‘ final season, which kicks off with Philip trading the spy game for a corporate yuppie existence (he even has a car phone!), while Elizabeth is left to pick up the espionage slack. And that’s caused a serious rift between the formerly happy couple. While the two aren’t “at war with each other,” Russell says, they’re in “almost a sadder place, where you’re just so far from each other. To get back there seems so insurmountable and lonely, and that’s kind of where we start.”
Continue reading The Americans Preview: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys Talk Wigs, Marital Rifts and the ‘Bittersweet’ Final Season