The Americans recap: ‘IHOP’

We open on a subplot that has largely shifted to the background: pot-smoking teen Kimberly, and her father – the head of a CIA group specializing in Afghanistan.

Philip is still nursing her as an unwitting contact, and that recorder of his remains lodged in her father’s attaché case.

We haven’t really spent much time with him directly, but here we see him getting a report about some act of bloody violence. Cut to Kimberly’s birthday, and Philip cutting a cake. Talk gets a little wistful – getting older, having a family. Not screwing up.

This has been on Philip’s mind a lot. He actually has multiple families to screw up now.

One of them involves Tuan, the Vietnamese refugee who is posing as their adopted son in an operation against the Morozov family. “Does Tuan ever say anything about any girls to you? I just think he’s lonely,” Elizabeth says. She’s planning to go spend the night at their house with him. Give him a sense of belonging.

Just then, they get a call: It’s the Center, with a “doctor’s appointment” for Philip. One of Gabriel’s other operatives needs to report some information.
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The Americans recap: ‘Immersion’

Last week’s episode of The Americans is tough to top. It was the best of the season, and led to a new theory about how Oleg Burov may fit into the overall Elizabeth/Philip puzzle.

This one has more tension than some previous episodes, but it returns to place-setting for action that may take place in the final episodes of the season.

Philip returns home after learning about his father, who was a guard at a brutal prison camp. Gabriel said goodbye by informing him that maybe recruiting Paige was not a great idea.

She has been staring across the street at Matthew’s house after breaking up with FBI Jr., and Philip tells Elizabeth he questioned Gabriel about Stan Beeman’s new girlfriend, Renee. Is she a KGB operative, sent to get close to the counterintelligence officer?

(SIDE NOTE: I may have a new piece of evidence to back up that theory, but that will wait until the end of this recap, since she wasn’t even featured in this episode.)

Gabriel said he didn’t believe she was, then suggested Philip was losing it.
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The Americans recap: ‘The Committee on Human Rights’

The problem with finally opening up and being honest is discovering all the past betrayals of someone you trusted. This episode of The Americans has apparently sent KGB handler Gabriel on his way, but his final line to Philip is simultaneously a refreshing moment of candor and a knife in the heart. Now he tells him?

This episode also opened up potential for a theory that would have colossal ramifications for the show — and could indicate how two disparate story lines may eventually converge. But we’ve got to save that for the end of the recap.

We open in the safe house where Paige has just been invited to meet with Gabriel, her mother and father’s longtime handler, who is soon to depart and retire. “I can’t tell you, Paige, how much I’ve been looking forward to this day,” the old man tells her.

Her questions are simple. They’re treating her like an adult, but the things she wonders are childlike: “Are you a spy?”

“Yes,” Gabriel says. Smiles all around. It must be a pleasure to finally just say it out loud.

“I know it’s been a difficult time, Paige, finding out your parents have withheld things from you,” Gabriel says. “To you they’re just your parents. They probably drive you crazy, because they have driven me crazy from time to time. But to us, they’re honestly heroes. They’ve saved a lot of lives.” Continue reading The Americans recap: ‘The Committee on Human Rights’

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Keri Russell laughs as Matthew Rhys recalls drunkenly asking for her number

When The Americans co-stars (and real-life romantic partners) Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell stopped by Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Thursday, it took an audience member to ask the obvious question: “When did you two realize you were more than just colleagues, and you both had the hots for each other?”

According to Rhys, their relationship dates back much farther than the beginning of The Americans. “We actually met a very long, long time ago,” Rhys said. “I very drunkenly asked her for her number when she was a young, single slip of a thing. So I sort of knew then, when I was 26.”

To make it even more romantic, this encounter took place in a parking lot after a kickball party. According to Russell, it all came together years later when they reconnected on The Americans. “We did all the readings together, and after a heavy dose of fight training, all sweaty at a lunch, you said, ‘You know, we’ve met before,’” Russell said. “I said, ‘No, we haven’t.’ You said, ‘Yeah, 10 years ago at a kickball party.’ As soon as you said that I went [gasps], of course I remember that!”

Season 5 of The Americans airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX, and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen airs Sundays through Thursdays at 11 p.m. ET on Bravo.


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The Americans recap: ‘Crossbreed’

Gabriel can hardly believe what Elizabeth has learned about the U.S. government’s secret agriculture program. It’s not about blighting Soviet crops but about breeding a pest-resistant stalk of wheat.

“Stobert just wants to end world hunger? Like Miss America?” Gabriel asks her.

He knows this news must have hit Philip hard, since he killed a lab technician thinking the program was aimed at creating famines. Nonetheless, Gabriel sees a bright side: “If they’ve come up with some kind of ‘super wheat,’ think what getting our hands on it would mean to us. No more shortages. No more buying grain from the west. We could make it right.”

The mission will continue. Elizabeth will continue nurturing her relationship with Stobert, which is growing into a robust, healthy thing itself, while Philip will remain with Deirdre Kemp, a witheringly dull weed of a relationship.

Elizabeth sighs. “You’re spread thin,” Gabriel acknowledges. Continue reading The Americans recap: ‘Crossbreed’

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The Americans recap: ‘Lotus 1-2-3’

The pace picks up a little bit in this episode as we finally come to understand the nature of the agriculture program Philip and Elizabeth are investigating and suspicions about Stan’s new girlfriend are vocalized by our antiheroes.

We begin with Philip undercover (and under the covers) with his boring Kansas contact, Deirdre, who ends their lovemaking by offering to show him her spreadsheet computer program Lotus 123 – which gives this episode its title.

During the chore of sex, Philip’s mind wanders to his childhood home and memories of his father bringing home three grim root vegetables for them to eat.

Elsewhere, Elizabeth is spending time with Evgheniya, the wife of defector and Russian farming expert Alexei Morozov, who reveals that she has finally gotten a job and will now be teaching Russian to government specialists who study Soviet agriculture.

Back at the FBI, Stan Beeman and his trusty sidekick Agent Aderholt tell their boss that the effort to recruit Soviet businessmen as spies is not bearing fruit.

“None of these guys are hungry,” Stan says. Continue reading The Americans recap: ‘Lotus 1-2-3’

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The Americans recap: ‘What’s the Matter With Kansas?’

In this installment of The Americans, Philip struggles with how to engage an especially dull target. That’s sort of how I felt about this whole episode.

After three stellar opening shows, the fourth one of this season just feels like it’s running in place. We open in Gabriel’s house, where they’re going over potential contacts with AgriCorps, the company that they uncovered in the previous episode as the outfit purchasing genetically engineered grain-devouring pests.

The suspicion is that this company is working with the American government to destroy Russia’s crops and create an artificial famine – something Soviets would have known a lot about.

The two marks are in Kansas, which means Philip and Elizabeth will be traveling to ensnare these two marks. Given that they’re already playing dual roles as Tuan’s parents, getting close to the Morozov family, and their regularly scheduled identities as Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, they feel they’re a little overburdened. Continue reading The Americans recap: ‘What’s the Matter With Kansas?’

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‘The Americans’ recap: ‘The Midges’

We’re bowling with the Morozov family, and Alexei is griping about Russia again.

Philip and Elizabeth are barely holding their tongues. “Again with this,” Elizabeth whispers.

“The systems destroys anyone who tries to make change,” Alexei says, and his wife decides she isn’t holding back anymore. “You’re the one who destroys,” she snarls at him in Russian.

“They would have shot me,” he tells her.

“You should have told us that before dragging us to this miserable place like your luggage.”

After the fight, Alexei tries to explain his hardline attitude to Russia to his two nice American friends. “We had different time growing up. When I was 14, they dragged my father out of apartment. No explaining.” He tells them of traveling for days to go visit him, only to be told: no visitors.

“He died 15 years later,” Alexei says. “That is the Soviet Union I know.”
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‘The Americans’ recap: ‘Pests’

Some of the bigger moments of this installment of The Americans were played off as no big thing. But we know better, right, comrade?

Chief among them, the revelation of Stan’s new mystery woman, a friend from the gym who has become very important to him in an extremely short period of time. Not much happens except an introduction, but she’s played by The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden, which is the main reason we know she will be looming large in this season’s narrative.

The episode begins with Philip and Elizabeth at a loss for words as they hand over a slice of their fallen bio-weapons spy William and break the bad news to Gabriel that their protégé Hans became infected by the virus.

Rather than let him drag on, Elizabeth put a bullet in his brain.

“Everything all right?” Gabriel asks, noting their somber expressions.

Philip can barely get the words out. Continue reading ‘The Americans’ recap: ‘Pests’

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‘Americans’ Star Keri Russell On Fighting Under-Eye Bags and Playing TV’s Most Badass Woman

New York is rife with ultra-hip moms, those toned women clad in trendy workout gear, their hair pulled back into faux-casual top-knots during school drop-off. It’s #wokeuplikethis, only not.

Then, there’s Keri Russell, mom of three, who shleps her eldest kids River and Willa to their respective institutions every morning.

“Mostly, especially when I’m working, style is putting on whatever of Matthew’s shirts is on the floor and showing up at Willa’s pre-school to deliver her,” Russell tells Yahoo Style. “I barely pull it together. Every once in a while, you’ll see paparazzi and know there’s a famous person in the area. Why is this the one day I didn’t bring sunglasses?”

The Matthew in question is Matthew Rhys, Russell’s husband on her acclaimed FX series The Americans, and her partner in real life; the two have son Sam together. The fifth season of their show, with Rhys and Russell playing Russian spies masquerading as American suburbanites, airs Tuesdays. Season six will be the show’s last.

“There’s a slight giddiness, like the end of the school. It’s not over until it’s over. We have another late night this Friday. But it’s going to be really good,” says Russell. “Everyone is ready. There’s a contained intimacy this season. It’s a slow burn of a season. It’s teeing up for a really good last season.”

For Russell, the role has been as rich as a filet mignon, allowing her to play loving and tender, apprehensive and icy. Continue reading ‘Americans’ Star Keri Russell On Fighting Under-Eye Bags and Playing TV’s Most Badass Woman

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