The gallery has been updated with new episodes stills for upcoming The Americans episode titled Born Again.
– Episode Stills 3×06 – Born Again
Tonight’s episode of The Americans gutted me. Not in the way I expected it to, though.
All the way through, I was bracing myself for what last week prepared us for: Phillip’s potential seduction of the teenaged Kimberly. I worried that for a number of reasons, namely that I wouldn’t be sure what to make of it—I can’t see very many scenarios where it isn’t a bridge too far—and because the idea of sitting through it made me squirm.
The Americans is a smarter show than that.
Phillip, as Jim, meets up with Kimmy early on at an outdoor rager full of other teenagers—it wasn’t what he expected, and when some jock friends of hers spot him, things immediately get uncomfortable. Jim/Phillip tells her that her age is an issue, that they can’t be seen in public like this. So she tells him they can meet in private. Her folks were going to be out of the house soon. She’d see him then.
The next time we see Phillip with a female, it’s with his daughter, Paige. They are—much to Elizabeth’s chagrin—shopping for a dress she can wear to her baptism. Phillip exhibits spectacularly bad taste for a bit before settling on a very expensive dress that Paige frets over him splurging on. He tells her not to worry about it, and she loves it.
Like just about everything on The Americans, there’s a bit more happening in this scene than meets the eye, as we find out when Phillip has Stan over for beers later that night. Stan is talking about possibly moving on—Sandra is happy with her new husband, and Tori from EST is pretty insistent on asking him out. But his son, Matthew, is miserable. Phillip then tells him that he needs to spend as much time with him as possible.
“You get them away from the other parent,” he says, “and they’re just a whole different person one on one. Without that other….influence.”
Of course, that other influence is very much on Phillip’s mind as Elizabeth refuses to budge on the subject of Paige. She’s furious about the expensive dress—they’re fighting over her affections while they fight with each other. Elizabeth brings up Kimberly—there’s a girl that has no clue what her father does, and look how she turned out. Phillip, of course, is furious that she brought that up. The fault between them works its way just the slightest bit deeper.
Before he has to meet with Kimberly, Phillip goes to see Gabriel. He’s concerned about Phillip and all the women in his life. Martha, who wants a child. Paige, who wants her faith. Kimberly, who wants attention. And Elizabeth. When Phillip expresses reluctance towards completely seducing Kimberly, Gabriel warns him against his conscience, which can be a danger to someone tied up in as many romantic entanglements as Phillip.
“It’s one of the ironies of this work that so many lives depend on one man’s relationship with an adolescent girl,” he muses as he gives Phillip an ounce of strong Afghani weed for him to take to Kimberly.
At Kimberly’s, Phillip and Kimmy get high and talk about growing things—Kimberly thinks her father works in a branch of government pertaining to agriculture, and she tells Phillip about the small garden they used to have. It’s a lawn now, and her father isn’t around so much anymore—she even says it would make sense if he had a totally different family somewhere else.
After smoking, they go in to make some JiffyPop popcorn and eat ice cream. They have a small food fight. They watch TV together. As Kimmy falls asleep, Phillip says he has to go to the bathroom and instead goes into her father’s office, taking pictures of everything he can. When he comes back, he picks up the sleeping Kimmy and carries her to her bedroom—but she’s not asleep anymore, pulling him in for a kiss.
This is, thankfully, cut short when her parents unexpectedly arrive and Phillip has to race out the back door.
Back home, Elizabeth is waiting up to see if he’ll be coming back that night. She asks how it went, and he tells her about a briefcase he found, one that Breland takes everywhere and can be bugged.
Then comes that gut punch I was telling you about.
“Do you think about when we learned to do this?” Phillip asks Elizabeth, in what is easily the episode’s best scene. As the action jumps between past and present, we see Phillip in what appears to be a training facility, cold and sterile, as he’s forced to approach a number of partners, and have sex with them. A young woman. An old woman. An old man.
“They’d keep telling us we have to make it real. For ourselves,” he says. It’s a rare, precious moment on The Americans, where the characters are nakedly vulnerable, where we see the trauma these characters have been through, where they give voice to their insecurities. It’s sad. It’s beautiful. It hurts.
Then Elizabeth asks him if he has to make it real with her.
“Sometimes,” he says at first. “Not now.” They kiss.
HENRY WATCH: Henry gets to talk in one scene! Unfortunately, he totally blows it, asking Stan about Mrs. Beeman when he’s over the Jennings home for dinner. Way to drop the ball, Henry.
MARTHAAAA: Martha only gets one scene here, at the very beginning. She takes Clark/Phillip to a foster care center where they watch some preschool-aged kids at play. “We’re not buying one,” Clark/Phillip deadpans.
REZIDENTURA BLUES: After Stan tells him about his lingering suspicion that Zinaida the Soviet defector might be a KGB agent, Oleg spends some time fishing around to see if there’s any truth to it all. Unfortunately for him, he’s stonewalled by the first person he asks—the still-inscrutable Tatiana Ruslanova, who’s completely impervious to his small talk. I might start shipping these two.
DAMN, ELIZABETH: While this was certainly a Phillip-heavy episode, Elizabeth did have her own short and brutal B-story involving Lisa, her AA sponsor. After convincing her to take some time away from Maurice and stay at a place she tells her belongs to her grandmother, she finds out that she wants to move to a closer Northrop facility, one that would be advantageous for Elizabeth’s secret agent purposes. So she finds the guy who has the position she would fill, waits until he’s at home, working on his car, and rips the jack out from under it, crushing it. Lisa is elated to learn that there’s an opening for her! Yay friendship!
OH HEY YOUSAF: Yousaf is still around. But not for long. He’s going back to Pakistan. Bye, Yousaf!
3×08 – Divestment
Martha and Clark’s marriage meets its most challenging test yet. As pressures on Philip intensify, Elizabeth turns to Gabriel with a difficult request. Nina receives a new assignment that reconnects her with her past.
3×09 – Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip and Elizabeth struggle with the gravity of unexpected collateral damage. Stan and Oleg hatch a risky plan to help save Nina.
Despite making a strong impression with its use of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk,” music has never really taken a prominent role so far in The Americans’ three-season run—so when music is featured at all, you can’t help but notice. Music is a big deal in “Dimebag,” at first lingering around the edges, then creeping its way directly into the plot, before finally dropping in to bring home the episode’s themes in a sickening final moment.
However, this episode isn’t just about music. It’s about a bunch of other things. Like weed.
“Dimebag” opens, appropriately, with Elizabeth incognito in a park, watching Kimberly—CIA Afghan Group leader Isaac Breland’s daughter—buy a dimebag of pot from a dealer. The Jennings, with no other way in to the Afghan Group left, have decided to make her an asset. This, of course, makes Phillip uncomfortable—they have to seduce and exploit a teenage girl. That’s a line they’ve never crossed before.
The Jennings aren’t the only ones crossing lines this week, either—in a Moscow prison, Nina is told that her new roommate Evi was caught leaving intelligence for a spy boyfriend. If Nina can get her to talk, then the government will make an effort to pass a more lenient sentence on her. Of course, this requires Nina to be more cordial than she has been since Evi’s arrival. She takes on the task in earnest, slowly opening up to Evi throughout the episode, coldly manipulating her into becoming close.
Meanwhile, Paige is blurring the line between Church and State in her home—when her parents ask what she wants for her birthday, she tells them that she’d love to have her Pastor Jim and his wife over for dinner. This, of course, sets Phillip and Elizabeth on edge—privately, they wonder to each other if she did it just to get to them—but they’re all smiles in front of Paige. Read the rest of this entry
I have added HD screencaptures from last night episode.
– Screen Captures 3×04 – Dimebag
The spy life is hitting home for the Jennings in a huge way this season on The Americans, as embedded Russian/KGB agents Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) debate what to do now that their leaders want their teenage daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) brought into the fold.
I sat down with Keri Russell to discuss this huge turn of events on the show and the struggle between Elizabeth, who wants to tell Paige, and Philip, who is incredibly against it, and how it develops.
We also chatted about the newly-introduced Gabriel (Frank Langella), the rare times she and co-star Matthew Rhys get to work with their fellow castmates and a certain recent scene involving a body and a suitcase…
I should note I spoke to Russell right before I saw last week’s episode, in which Elizabeth barely avoids capture and has to go through a very painful bit of tooth-related procedure, or I would have brought that up too! Read the rest of this entry
I have added new photoshoot which Keri did last year. Huge thanks to my friend Mouza for donating it.
– Photoshoots 2014 – Self Assignment
Congratulations to Keri for winning Best Actress in a Drama Series!
The third episode of The Americans’ third season built toward one of the most excruciatingly brutal scenes in the show’s history: Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) and her husband Philip (Matthew Rhys) in a laundry room, extracting Elizabeth’s damaged tooth without anesthesia. Titled “Open House,” and scripted by Stuart Zicherman, the hour was directed by Thomas Schlamme, a veteran of TV drama and comedy and a regular on The Americans. He spoke to Vulture about the specific challenges of shooting a scene of such intensity.
So are you ever going to go back to the dentist again?
[Laughs] I’ve never liked to go to the dentist to begin with!
When I got Stuart Zicherman’s script, I thought this could be the dentistry scene in Marathon Man, or we could ask, “What is the story, what’s really going on?” You know: Okay, we know this is a gunfight, but are we just gonna shoot a gunfight, or are we going to ask what the gunfight’s about?
Once I read the script quite a few times, I thought about it, and I just thought, you know, I shot a scene last year where they performed a 69 on each other, and I didn’t find it as near as intimate as what I thought this scene really was about. So, I was like, “Oh, great, this is The Americans’ version, this episode, of their sex scene.” Read the rest of this entry