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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The Americans writers’ room debates Russia’s new relevancy: ‘It’s an unwelcome surprise’

As the fifth season of The Americans gets underway, EW pulls back the (iron) curtain on the FX series’ writers’ room. To read the complete roundtable on The Americans, along with clues to season 5 and a list of pop culture essentials covering U.S.-Russian relations, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now and subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only on EW.

Between American politicians lying about their contacts with Russian envoys, overseas enemies tampering with the U.S. presidential election, and disturbing rumors about “golden showers,” it’s as if the entire country has time-traveled back to the early 1980s. While the Trump administration’s relationship to the Kremlin may not exactly resemble Reagan’s, recent headlines undeniably echo the frosty past.

But for FX’s The Americans, this déjà vu is uncharted territory. Airing its 1984-set fifth season amid real-life stories about Russia’s hand in U.S. politics, the critically acclaimed drama about married Soviet spies living in suburban America has found itself no longer just a thoughtful examination of a bygone era but also a bizarre reflection of the world today.

In February, EW stepped inside the series’ writers’ offices in Brooklyn, New York, where vibrant key art from past seasons, Cold War propaganda posters used on the show, and several (sadly erased) whiteboards cover the walls. Showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields gathered their writers’ room comrades Peter Ackerman, Joshua Brand, Stephen Schiff, and Tracey Scott Wilson for a roundtable interview to delve deep into how they’ve tackled the series’ sudden relevance — and why The Americans‘ themes have always resonated. Continue reading The Americans writers’ room debates Russia’s new relevancy: ‘It’s an unwelcome surprise’

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Keri Russell Opens Up About Parenting With Matthew Rhys: He Only Speaks Welsh to Our ‘Giant’ Son!

Elizabeth and Philip’s home life! Keri Russell opened up about parenting with her longtime love and Americans costar, Matthew Rhys, during an appearance on Live With Kelly on Wednesday, March 8. Watch the video above!

Russell, 40, and the Welsh actor, 42, began dating in 2013 and officially stepped out as a couple at NYC’s Public Theater in April 2014. Us Weekly broke the news in May 2016 that they welcomed their son Sam, now 9 months old.

“He’s a giant,” Russell told Kelly Ripa and guest cohost Christian Slater. “[Matthew] only speaks Welsh to the baby and could be saying anything… I can count, I can do numbers [in Welsh]. Willa, the 5-year-old, speaks the best. When you are little, that is when you should learn, but I know nothing. I blame my parents, I only speak one language.”

The Felicity star also shares son River, 9, and daughter Willa with her ex-husband, Shane Deary. The pair split in December 2013 after nearly seven years of marriage.

Russell and Rhys, who recently guest-starred on a talked-about episode of Girls, reside in Brooklyn, NYC. The couple don’t have any pets (they used to have a cat), but River “has a whole plot” to take in a rodent.

In between rat talk, Russell and Rhys have been working on their wildly acclaimed spy drama. The Americans was renewed for a final two seasons last May. “We have no idea how it ends. I’m surprised every time, even this season I was reading episode 10, 11, 12… They have their own thing going,” Russell said. “I have no idea.” A 13-episode fifth season will air on FX this year and the final 10 episodes will air in 2018.


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‘The Americans’ premiere recap: ‘Amber Waves’

The Americans begins its fifth season with a pair of new faces: Pasha, a Soviet boy who resents his new life in the United States, and Tuan, a Vietnamese adoptee who is eager to help his new classmate adjust.

They’re both newcomers. Tuan and his family just moved from Michigan, while Pasha and his family have defected from Moscow. He is struggling, not the least of which with the language.

“Okay, understand,” Pasha says. “Speak, not so good.”

The boys take a trip to Tuan’s house, where they meet his parents – an airline pilot and a flight attendant, Mr. and Mrs. Eckert. Finally, we see someone we recognize – Philip and Elizabeth.

At the end of last season, they faced the possibility of giving up their lives as the Jennings family and fleeing back to Russia, since they were unsure if their identities had been compromised by the capture of the bio-weapons operative William.

Now, we see that they have doubled down on the American dream. They have a new mission – and a new family. Pasha doesn’t have much to say to them. That’s okay. He will. Continue reading ‘The Americans’ premiere recap: ‘Amber Waves’

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‘The Americans’: Stars, Producers Talk Beginning of the End With Season 5

Starting tonight, “The Americans” joins the short list of shows that have had the luxury of plotting out their series finale storylines over multiple seasons.

The FX drama, which received a two-season pickup last year, opens its fifth year with intrepid Soviet spies Philip and Elizabeth Jennings juggling yet another set of identities — this time with a set up that is elaborate even by their standards.

The planning of the season’s plot engines was made easier by the fact that showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields now have the season-six finish line in sight. The momentum the show built up in season four — with its first Emmy nom for drama series and Writers Guild Award win for drama series — didn’t hurt, either.
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