Filed in Articles & Interviews The Americans

Americans Post Mortem: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and EPs Explore the Bloody Season 2 Premiere’s Big Twists, Lingering Questions

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys and exec producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields reflect on the episode’s three biggest twists and lightly tease what’s to come.

ARE WE IN MAYBERRY? | After several months away “visiting her aunt,” a fully recovered Elizabeth returned home with a surprising new accessory: a smile. The entire Jennings clan seemed to be enjoying a rare moment of bliss. “Everything was great,” shares Rhys. “There was a real sense of, ‘Possibly, this could be fine. We can all be happy spies ever after.’” Adds Weisberg: “This is the first time that Phillip and Elizabeth are able to be happy as a couple after that year of struggling with their marriage. It’s their time to be married.”

THE OTHER SHOE | Their temporary respite from doom-and-gloom was shattered in the hour’s final act when Phillip and Elizabeth found the bodies of their spy doppelgangers — Emmett and Leanne Connors — lying in a pool of blood in a hotel room. The Conners’ daughter also was killed; only the son managed to survive. “They lost these people who are really like them,” points out Weisberg. “It sets this undercurrent of, “Are we next?” Before, their primary fear was, “We might be on an operation and get killed or arrested. The kids could be orphaned, or sent to a state orphanage because we’re in prison.” But now that’s different. Now their family could get killed. It’s a whole different thing. It’s an emotional punch that you struggle with.” The bloodbath affects Elizabeth “in a massive way,” previews Russell. “She hasn’t been worried about her children in that physical way, but now the danger is encroaching on her family. This whole season is about protecting her family.”

KITCHEN NIGHTMARES | Phillip is now murdering innocent people — in this case, a busboy who just so happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. “Once his wig comes off and [the busboy] could see him and recognize him in a line-up, he made the snap decision to shoot him,” explains Rhys. “And it starts to weigh heavily on him this season. Not specifically this death, but the consequences of what they do.” Fields admits he wasn’t worried that the brazen incident would make Phillip irredeemable in viewers’ eyes. “We really don’t think that way,” he shares. “We think about being true to where the characters are. What choice did he have once he was in that situation? He had been seen. Was that busboy not going to go to the police and do a composite sketch? Had [Phillip] not ripped off his wig, he probably would’ve walked straight out.”