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TV Review: The Americans: 4.13 “Persona Non Grata”
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Goodman   |  
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The Americans 4.13 "Persona Non Grata"

The Americans
Season 4, Episode 13 – “Persona Non Grata”
Directed by Chris Long
Written by Joe Fields & Joe Weisberg
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Dylan Baker, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, and Frank Langella
FX
Air date: Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 10pm

The Americans is a show that didn’t need to reinvent itself. After three superlative seasons, we had a rough idea of what we were in for with each installment, as by design, the show has always been structured to slowly ramp up its stakes as it went it along towards its already forgone conclusion — it’s not entirely dissimilar from Breaking Bad in that way — but this fourth season seemed particularly focused on disrupting the existing “home” viewers had found within the program.

And all it took was a vial.

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TV Review: The Americans: 4.12 “A Roy Rogers In Franconia”
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Goodman   |  
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The Americans 4.12 A Roy Rogers in Franconia

The Americans
Season 4, Episode 12 – “A Roy Rogers in Franconia”
Directed by Chris Long
Written by Joe Fields & Joe Weisberg
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Dylan Baker, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, and Frank Langella
FX
Air date: Wednesday, May 25th, 2016, 10pm

If pop culture and historical accounts (the ones that we know of at least) have taught us anything, it’s that the art of spying is tedious at best and hazardous at worst.

The Americans has shown us both sides of this equation, but “A Roy Rogers in Franconia” delves deep into the dangers of spycraft as William (Dylan Baker) is tasked with obtaining another biological sample, and a tip from Oleg (Costa Ronin) gives Stan (Noah Emmerich) and the FBI just enough information it needs to get the closest they’ve ever been to catching Elizabeth and Philip (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys).

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TV Review: The Americans 4.2 “Pastor Tim”
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Goodman   |  
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TV Review The Americans 4.2 Pastor Tim

The Americans
Season 4, Episode 2 – “Pastor Tim”
Directed by Chris Long
Written by Joel Fields & Joe Weisberg
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Dylan Baker, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, and Frank Langella
FX
Air date: Wednesday, March 23, 2015, 10pm

​The Jennings are in trouble.

The specter of death has always lingered around the edges of The Americans, but Episode 4.2 “Pastor Tim” brings its otherworldly presence a little too close to home for the Jennings: the glanders still resides in their home (despite Philip’s best intentions), Elizabeth’s (Keri Russell) mother is dead, and the titular Pastor Tim is due for his own visit with the grim reaper after Elizabeth discovers he knows about their secret. The Jennings have found themselves in trouble before, sure, but “Pastor Tim” seems committed to paint the Jennings into a corner that they can’t back out of — doubling down on threats both internal and external.

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TV Review: The Americans 4.1 “Glanders”
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Goodman   |  
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The Americans Season 4 Premiere Review

The Americans
Season 4, Episode 1 – “Glanders”
Directed by Thomas Schlamme
Written by Joel Fields & Joe Weisberg
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Dylan Baker, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, and Frank Langella
FX
Air date: Wednesday, March 16, 2015, 10pm

More confident than ever, The Americans returned for its fourth season last night on FX — which is more than what Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) can say for himself. The weight of his burdens are as oppressive as the country he fights for — he might share more in common with the Man of Steel than a reference to a secret identity, as he’s balancing the entire world on his shoulders. But it’s not going well. And he’s starting to crack.

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TV Review: The Americans 3.13 “March 8, 1983”
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Goodman   |  
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The Americans 3.13 "March 8, 1983"

The Americans
Season 3, Episode 13 – “March 8, 1983”
Directed by Daniel Sackheim
Written by Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, and Frank Langella
FX
Air date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 10pm

“. . . I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely . . . declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an ‘evil empire,’ to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”

It turns out that after a season full of intensity and great surprises that The Americans has saved the best for last in the Season 3 finale, titled “March 8, 1983.” Our spoiler-filled review, after the jump.

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TV Review: The Americans 3.11 “One Day In The Life Of Anton Baklanov”
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Goodman   |  
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The Americans 311 Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings

The Americans
Season 3, Episode 11 – “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov”
Directed by Andrew Bernstein
Written by Stephen Schiff & Tracey Scott Wilson
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, and Frank Langella
FX
Air date: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 10pm

The Americans Episode 3.11 “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov” ends with an open door that subsequently closed. It functions as a good symbol for this episode as the majority of the Jennings family struggles with this newfound openness between them all. There’s a desperate attempt to keep that door open, but who’s to say how long that will be the case?

Continuing the fallout of last week, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) are rightfully still on edge about just where Paige’s (Holly Turner) head is currently at. In fact, the entire Jennings household (save for Henry, who is still running around doing the world’s best worst Eddie Murphy “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” impression) seems to be adrift, searching for some sort of answer within themselves in the larger world.

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TV Review: The Americans 3.10 “Stingers”
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Goodman   |  
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The Americans 3.10 Stingers

The Americans
Season 3, Episode 10 – ”Stingers”
Directed by Larysa Kondracki
Written by Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, and Frank Langella
FX
Air date: Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 10pm

At what point did you realize that your parents weren’t as infallible as you’d once thought?

There’s a moment in every person’s life where this moment occurs. Comics writer Matt Fraction described it (in one of my favorite interviews of all time I might add) as the feeling of “…angst that comes from realizing you’re standing on a plateau with the people you looked up to. There are moments when any kind of role model that you have in your life, be it parental or educational—teachers—or even just, you know, professional mentors, can kind of invariably disappoint you.” It is different for everyone, but we all have it – the people who raise us have their own secrets, their own lives even, and we start to view them in a different light.

I don’t think Paige Jennings (Holly Taylor) expected her moment to be quite so painful.

Potential spoilers below.

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TV Review: The Americans 3.2: Baggage
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Goodman   |  
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The Americans Season 3 Episode 2 Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings

The Americans
Season 3, Episode 2 – “Baggage”
Directed by Daniel Sackheim
Written by Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, Frank Langella
FX
Air date: February 4, 2015, 10pm

“It’s not really over.”

Elizabeth (Keri Russell) comes into the house after what we can assume is a long day. She sits down to have a snack while she talks to Paige (Holly Taylor). As she bites into her food, her tooth, still injured from the fight with Agent Gaad (Richard Thomas) in last week’s episode, rips through her mouth with searing pain. She talks with Paige for a few minutes before she gets a call. It’s Philip (Matthew Rhys). There’s more “paperwork” to be done at the office.

It’s not really over.

“Baggage” is all about the things that our characters are carrying with them in some form or another. The cost of these things are starting to weigh on everyone. Especially for Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich).

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TV Review: The Americans 3.1 “EST Men”
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Goodman   |  
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The Americans Season 3 Episode 1 Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings

The Americans
Season 3, Episode 1 – “EST Men”
Directed by Daniel Sackheim
Written by Joe Fields and Joe Weisberg
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Lev Gorn, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner, Costa Ronin, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Richard Thomas, Alison Wright, Noah Emmerich, Gillian Alexy, and Frank Langella
FX
Air date: January 28, 2015, 10pm

Spoilers for The Americans season premiere. You’ve been warned.

The Americans doesn’t waste any time in telling you what its third season is going to be about. In the opening seconds of the season premiere, “EST Men,” we see quick shots of Henry (Keidrich Sellati), Paige (Holly Taylor), and Phillip (Matthew Rhys). The shot is framed and lingers in such a way that it’s hard to notice Elizabeth (Keri Russell) in the tub off to the right of the screen until she slides into focus.

She takes a breath and then plunges underwater. It’s a quick calm before the storm. Our opening proves that more than ever, a dark tone of desperation and dread hangs over the show.

Welcome back to the fascinating world of The Americans.

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