Morality is only moral when it is voluntary.
The Soviet sympathizer Lincoln Steffens wrote that a few centuries ago. Now, Elizabeth and Philip Jennings are learning that lesson the hard way, and it’s made for a captivating season of The Americans. You could argue that every episode was building toward that thrilling moment this season when the Jennings finally told Paige that they’re spies, attempting to rope their daughter into the family business as a “second generation illegal” whose U.S. citizenship could help them infiltrate American intelligence agencies. Though, judging by the season finale, they will soon discover that forcing your own moral agenda on your kids doesn’t work.
The fact that Paige divulged her parents’ secret to Pastor Tim doesn’t necessarily mean the Jennings are doomed. I still think he might be a KGB operative in disguise. This is what makes The Americans so gripping: It allows you to experience the crazy paranoia that Elizabeth and Philip feel, always second-guessing the motives of every new person you meet. For me, it doesn’t make sense that Claudia and Gabriel would allow Philip and Elizabeth to take the massive risk of revealing who they really are to Paige if the higher-ups hadn’t already safeguarded that secret from leaking. And Pastor Tim’s cover is perfect. Who would suspect a Jesus-loving pastor of being a godless Communist? What better way to recruit teenagers for “the cause” than by staging anti-American protests in the name of peace?
Whether or not he’s in on the plan, the idea of Paige turning against her parents is the perfect twist for the show. The Americans has always wrestled with the ways that parents enforce their values on their kids. Now it’s zeroing in on the ways that kids shape their parents’ values, too. Read the rest of this entry
Warning: The following interview contains spoilers for the Season 3 finale of “The Americans” titled “March 8, 1983.”
How much longer can Philip and Elizabeth Jennings hide the truth? The carefully crafted lies of the undercover Soviet spies played by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are slowly leaking out. In the final four episodes of the season, their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor), Philip’s “second wife” Martha (Alison Wright), and now, it appears, Paige’s confidante Pastor Tim (Kelly AuCoin) all learned the couple’s true identities. During the FX drama’s eventful finale, Philip almost even came clean to Sandra Beeman (Susan Misner), the soon-to-be ex-wife of his FBI agent neighbor, Stan (Noah Emmerich).
Meanwhile, Stan saw his own covert plan to reunite with exiled lover Nina (Annet Mahendru) go up in flames when he finally revealed the details to horrified boss Agent Gaad (Richard Thomas). But even as Stan lost a friend in Gaad, he gained a powerful supporter in the form of Deputy Attorney General Warren (Cotter Smith), who was impressed by the way Stan played romantic rival Oleg Burov (Costa Ronin). Read the rest of this entry
[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Wednesday’s Season 3 finale of The Americans. Read at your own risk.]
Paige couldn’t handle the truth.
On The Americans’ Season 3 finale Wednesday, Paige (Holly Taylor) made the trip abroad with Elizabeth (Keri Russell) to see Elizabeth’s ailing mother. While the visit went off without a hitch, the troubled teen still couldn’t deal with the weight of her parents’ KGB identities and endless lies, placing a desperate call to Pastor Tim in her room upon their return. “They’re liars and they’re trying to turn me into one. … They’re not who they say they are. They’re not Americans,” she whispers. “You can’t tell anyone. They’re… they’re Russians.”
The scene was wonderfully intercut with footage of President Reagan’s infamous speech on March 8, 1983 (the episode title), in which he dubbed the Soviet Union an “evil empire” — which Elizabeth made Philip (Matthew Rhys) watch just as he was about to divulge his own inner turmoil about the mounting burden of their job. Earlier in the episode, while Elizabeth and Paige were away, Philip had taken care of the “Martha thing” by killing Gene (Luke Robertson) and framing him for Gaad’s bugged pen. He also began attending EST sessions solo, where he bumped into Stan’s ex-wife Sandra (Susan Misner), who suggested that they tell each other everything. Read the rest of this entry
After a certifiably nail-biting string of episodes on FX’s The Americans, season 3 has finally come to an end—and lo, the finale managed to raise more questions than it answered.
Has Paige (Holly Taylor) truly picked a side in her battle between faith and family? Is Philip (Matthew Rhys) struggling under the weight of his mission at the same time that Elizabeth (Keri Russell) is reaffirming devotion to hers? Stan (Noah Emmerich) is finally on the rise, but will he ever get the chips to trade Nina (Annet Mahendru) back? And what does Martha (Alison Wright) think about it all!?! (No, seriously, what does Martha think? We have no idea.) Read the rest of this entry
“I’m sure the next time mom and dad have … ‘business’ out of the country, and they have an extra ticket, it’ll go to … you.”
Bravo to actress Holly Taylor for nailing that line from a number of directions as the season finale for The Americans begins. Paige says that to her little brother as she walks through the airport with her family, on her way to West Germany with her mother (Keri Russell) to pay a farewell visit to the dying Russian grandmother she never knew existed.
“I’m sorry I never got to meet her,” Matthew Rhys’ Philip whispers in his wife’s ear.
“You wouldn’t have liked her,” Elizabeth replies.
I have to admit, this episode—titled “March 8, 1983” for reasons that will become clear later—frustrated me as a season finale. It felt more like an incredibly good penultimate episode, and ending on such a stark cliffhanger with many other plot threads dangling, feels like a mistake. The creators of The Americans have manufactured some savage tension, but that will only dissipate as we await season 4, rather than leaving us with a completed story line, as they did last year.
As Paige and Elizabeth head toward the Berlin Wall, Yousaf (Rahul Khanna) informs Philip that their plot to trick one visiting Mujahideen visitor to slaughter his fellow emissaries successfully scared the House Armed Services Committee away from giving them Stinger missiles.
The Pakistani ISI operative Yousaf is only cooperating because Philip helped him cover up his cold-blooded murder of Annelise earlier in the season. (Who can forget the crack-and-pack luggage scene as they smuggled her corpse out of the hotel?) Of course, Philip also is responsible for putting the two of them together, and Yousaf hasn’t forgotten that—even if he is crying crocodile tears now over the poor lover he murdered.
“Annelise finally paid off for you,” he says. “The weapons stay out of your enemy hands. Was it worth it?”
Way to get judge-y, Mr. Strangler.
“I don’t think like that,” Philip says. But he totally thinks like that. “I know a lot of young men who won’t be blown out of the sky because of what I did. Because of what Annelise did. Because of what we did. A lot of young men who …”
Philip stops. He’s done lying. “Yousaf, I feel like shit all the time,” he confesses.
Over at the Rezidentura, the staff is warned against carrying out threats or assassinations without appropriate departments from The Center signing off. This is a dog-whistle to the ear of Oleg Burov (Costa Ronin) who previously threatened the defector Zinaida Preobrazhenskaya for speaking out against the Soviet Union and its incursion into Afghanistan as part of a ploy to determine if she was actually a double agent.
Now he knows—she is. And he and FBI agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) plan to use this information to get her arrested and trade her for their shared love, Nina, (Annet Mahendru) whom they both betrayed and got sent to a Siberian work camp. Read the rest of this entry
This ain’t your average mother-daughter trip.
On The Americans last week, Philip (Matthew Rhys) insisted that Elizabeth (Keri Russell) go see her dying mother in Russia and take Paige (Holly Taylor) with her. On Wednesday’s Season 3 finale (10/9c, FX), we’ll see that entering Mother Russia is easier said than done.
Yes, they will visit with Elizabeth’s mother, but the trip will do more damage than good in currying favor with a still-angry Paige. (Related: The episode is called “March 8, 1983,” the date of Reagan’s infamous speech in which he called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”)
Will Paige — or Elizabeth — do something rash?
Keri is featured in Tv Guide January 5 and I have added scans to gallery.
– Magazine Scans TV Guide – April 20 2015
The gallery has been updated with new episodes stills for upcoming The Americans episode titled 3×12 – I Am Abassin Zadran.
– Episode Stills 3×13 – March 8, 1983
“I’m sorry to drop by unannounced. It’s so hard to talk around the office these days.”
Good Lord, what a terrifying reveal! After several expository installments, this penultimate episode of season 3 of The Americans was a live-wire of action as some of the slow-build machinations of The Center came to fruition and a few loose-cannon actions threatened to upend everything.
The sentence above is spoken by Noah Emmerich’s Agent Stan Beeman, lately an avuncular presence on the show as he bonds with the Jennings’ outcast son Henry, but as he utters that line he is the Sword of Damocles, dangling over that family’s head.
Matthew Rhys’ Philip is heading over to Martha’s house for the night, and he’s still so nervous about how she’s absorbing the news that her husband has been manipulating her for information that they send Hans the KGB intern to scout her place in advance. As Philip, disguised as “Clark,” approaches her home, Hans drives by and gives him a signal.
Then we cut to Martha, the indispensable Alison Wright, musing about changes to her apartment. “I keep thinking I want to paint, blue or something bolder. Then you have to live with it. And the smell, it lingers you know. Much longer than they say.”
The camera pans to reveal who is sitting at her kitchen table, and it isn’t “Clark.”
“Hmm. It’s a nice place,” Beeman says. Read the rest of this entry