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The Americans - Season 5 of the award winning KGB spy drama - Tuesdays on FX

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Niraj

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Sep 12, 2012
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Yeah, this will be the excuse he uses to put off moving to the USSR, I expect.

Well, I was going to say he probably would rather ignore it and leave, but they just dealt with that.

Yeah, to some Soviet division, which would be big news and they'd want Philip to stay on that mission so they can get valuable intel since they have the recording device in his case. Philip was considering throwing the tape away so he wouldn't have to report it.

Yeah, precisely.


That end was depressing as hell.
 

IronRinn

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It's pretty laughable for Liz to think that arrangement will work out. "Just stay home while I play spy, honey."
 

Sean C

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Ah, good, one last chance to wreck Kimmie's life.

Heh, that kid is literally credited as "Little Olya".
 

-Pyromaniac-

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This show is on such another level compared to everything else on tv. I. Going through this insane roller coaster and it was all done in the most muted subtle siimmery way. The whole season has been this boiling beneath the surface and that last look by Phillip was just heartbreaking. Fuckkkkk.


This showwwwwwww

Edit: the episode title "the soviet division" has so much meaning now
 

jon_i634

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Philip had a ton of depressing faces this season, but wow, that last one there takes the cake, jesus. Hard believe they will wrap all this up in ten episodes!
 

IronRinn

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This season has been a masterclass in "meaningful glance."
"Cut! Ok, that was great folks. Matt, baby, you're doing great but when you stare off into nothing can you look more...dead inside? Deader... deeeeader. Good, right there. Ok, places people! One more go! Aaaaaaaaand action!"
 

Niraj

I shot people I like more for less.
Sep 12, 2012
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But if you don't do it who will

Sigh

I need to sleep. What has this show done to us. Can't believe they'll wrap this in 10.

I guess he actually said "I'm tired of feeling shitty," whoops. But yeah, either way :p
 

Grizzlyjin

Supersonic, idiotic, disconnecting, not respecting, who would really ever wanna go and top that
Jun 23, 2004
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This fucking show is just stuffed with quiet moments that mean so much.

Stan is getting worked by Renee. She's slowly squeezing info out of him, now she's moved in, and then she ensures that he stays close to all the juicy intel. And I guess we know the setup for the end. ONE. LAST. OPERATION. I don't know if my boy Philip's gonna make it though...

Part of me hopes this is the last we see of Martha. Her adopting Olya and finding some happiness in Russia is about as good of an ending as we can hope for from her character.

Elizabeth is practically beaming about how Paige is coming along. Self defense, dropping religion but still wanting to help out at the food pantry. Paige is Elizabeth Jr now. Elizabeth Jr has her confidence back too, which is nice to see.

I love that the showrunners acknowledge how much of a slow burn Season 5 has been. "It isn't even burning anymore! It's just warm embers." lol.

EDIT: Oh yeah, fuck Tuan. What an asshole.
 

Disgraced

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"Cut! Ok, that was great folks. Matt, baby, you're doing great but when you stare off into nothing can you look more...dead inside. Deader... deeeeader. Good, right there. Ok, places people! One more go! Aaaaaaaaand action!"
Dude, I'm fuckin' dying.

I want a supercut of all of Philip's lethargic Yeahs...

"Yeah..."

*sigh* "Yeah...*

*sigh* *looks into distance* "Yeah..."

*sigh* "Yep..."

"Yup..." *puts hands in pockets*
 

Dan

No longer boycotting the Wolfenstein franchise
Jun 8, 2004
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I do wish there was a little more self-reflection about how they would actually live in Russia if they went back. And in this episode especially, would Henry not absolutely hate it and end up like Pasha?

If Renee is not a spy, that's going to be ridiculous. Stan's getting played hard.

We didn't see any Oleg tonight, right? I guess we'll have to wait and see if the KGB stops investigating him.

I wonder if we'll get a glimpse of Pasha and Mrs. Morozov in Moscow next year.
 

RatskyWatsky

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Feb 27, 2010
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lol @ Tuan leaving Phil and Liz a bad review on Yelp for Spies. That dude is fucking hardcore. The followup scene between him and Liz was great too: "You're going to fail/die if you try to do this alone". Considering the final scene of the episode, that seems like some pretty ominous foreshadowing...
 

-Pyromaniac-

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lol @ Tuan leaving Phil and Liz a bad review on Yelp for Spies. That dude is fucking hardcore. The followup scene between him and Liz was great too: "You're going to fail/die if you try to do this alone". Considering the final scene of the episode, that seems like some pretty ominous foreshadowing...
DON'T YOU SAY THAT

anyway what will end up happening is I bet the centre is going to tell phil he has to get closer to Kimmy. Making that 100x more awkward than their friendship is now. And he will hate that. Elizabeth is going to be mad conflicted about that.
 

Cornballer

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- Slate podcast for this week is up
As the penultimate season comes to a close, Thomas talks with stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys about how their characters have changed over the course of the season, the tricks they played on Ivan Mok (Tuan Eckert), and their favorite disguises of the year. Then co-showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields reflect on the season and director Chris Long talks about the challenges of starting an episode with an intense—and bloody—scene.



Keri Russell on Kimmel last night:
- 1
- 2
- 3
- 4
- 5
 

Sectorseven

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I wonder how much of a time jump we're going to have next season. Seems like most of the events would have to carry on from pretty much right where we left off.
 

Night Hunter

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Mar 27, 2013
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Man, this show is pretty much the embodiment of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But it never does, and I suspect it never will...
 

Seesaw15

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It's pretty laughable for Liz to think that arrangement will work out. "Just stay home while I play spy, honey."

Instead of going out solo I think Liz is going to bench Phillip and put Paige on the field. Depending on the time jump Henry should be out of the house completely and Paige's training should have progressed pretty far.
 

Funky Papa

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Jun 7, 2004
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Still catching up.

One second I'm cackling at the slandering of Mail Robot and right after that I'm presented with another The American's trademark gut punch.

I'm starting to think Liz may be a bad person, folks.
 

IronRinn

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Instead of going out solo I think Liz is going to bench Phillip and put Paige on the field. Depending on the time jump Henry should be out of the house completely and Paige's training should have progressed pretty far.
It's less about Liz having to go out solo and more about how the shift in that dynamic will affect their relationship.
 

Cornballer

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- Vox podcast: The Americans’ showrunners explain their intimate, sometimes polarizing season 5
Weisberg and Fields joined me to talk more generally about the process of making The Americans over its first five seasons, including the very early days of their partnership (itself an arranged marriage of sorts) and the casting process that led to Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys crafting one of TV’s most believable marriages. But at the very end, we talked about season five in more detail.
 

Sectorseven

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It's probably an unreasonable time jump, but I was hoping this show would tackle the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union. It would be a really interesting dilemma for the characters.
 

ffejeromdiks

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It's probably an unreasonable time jump, but I was hoping this show would tackle the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union. It would be a really interesting dilemma for the characters.

Yeah I had always thought that's where things were heading, but like you said it would have to jump a pretty good ways to make good on that.
 

VeryGooster

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Cornballer

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Quotes from various interviews:
It’s a year with a lot of anti-climaxes. Mischa comes to America, but Gabriel heads him off at the pass before he gets to see his father. Philip and Elizabeth are going to go home, and at the last second they can’t. We don’t know yet what’s going to happen with Oleg. Stan’s girlfriend is maybe a spy, but we have no confirmation yet. It feels like in other seasons you have maybe tried to pay a little more off within the context of that season than you have this year. Would you agree with that or not?

Fields: I don’t know, Alan. I think those two examples, we might see differently. To us, yes, you could say, “Well, Mischa came to see Philip but then he didn’t and he went back,” when really, in so many ways, that was about triggering the Gabriel relationship with Philip, and it ultimately led to Gabriel’s decision that he couldn’t stay in a relationship with Philip and Elizabeth any more because he didn’t want to be a liar. And them maybe going home, really that was about triggering the marriage stuff, which to us led to a scene like we’ve never seen before between Philip and Elizabeth where, as they come to a decision as to how to go home together, Elizabeth realizes she can’t because of who she is as an individual. But she gets that he’s his own person going through his own pain and his own struggles, and she tries to get him a way to continue on in the marriage so his individual needs can be supported as well. So, to us there were just different kinds of climaxes, perhaps more emotional, and because of that maybe they felt a bit more muted in terms of their plot dynamics, but to us they were character climaxes of a sort.

Weisberg: I think that the Mischa story is a very good example. We found that to be immensely satisfying, and that doesn’t mean anybody else should — everybody gets to have their own reaction to the story. But to answer your question about a different approach to the season, I think we felt very free to tell the story exactly how we wanted to and not have to adhere to any traditional storytelling structure. This isn’t how climaxes usually work, and it allowed us to go more in the direction that we veered more toward in every season, which is trying to go one direction of truth and reality and what we think would actually unfold, and worry less about what the more conventional idea of what is going to feel climactic or satisfying. And if one of the results of that is people feel it’s less satisfying, then I think we just have to accept that.

But for us, we found it a very moving story to tell and to watch and to see. The fact that Mischa came here and was frustrated in that way and Philip never knew about it, was very much a true story about the tragedy of espionage, and of course the story we’re telling is a big story about the tragedy of espionage. And then to see him go home and that’s the end of it, instead with him being reunited with this second family he never knew he had, personally it made me cry. I was as moved by that as I’ve been by almost anything on the show.

Fields: Yeah, the thought was that it’s not just any second family, it’s his father’s family, and it was his father he was looking for. So he didn’t find exactly what he was looking for but the KGB found a way to get him as close to his father as they could.
WEISBERG: One of the things this show has been exploring from the start is espionage, what espionage is, and what espionage means. What it means to live as a human being, not really this sort of fantasy idea of espionage and we don’t really mean the James Bond version. We mean the real version of espionage, which is still in a lot of people’s mind sort of glamorous. It’s been thought to be something that is essentially vital and important and can save the world or really help their country.

In the drama of The Americans, we wanted to look what the toll espionage takes on people is like. And, if we can assume that for some people that toll is very high, then you can also assume that for some people they’re going to become disillusioned. They’re going to recognize what that toll is both for them personally and also for the nations that use espionage that it’s not really what it seems to be. So one of the dramatic things for this show was exploring that in Philip and in Stan. It’s obviously different for Elizabeth because although the toll is high for her too she is not very consciously aware of it. But the story we’ve been telling about Philip and Stan is both of them becoming in different ways and or consciously aware of what’s happening to them. I’ll say this, in Season 5 I think for both of them, that awareness has sort of reached a new height.
EW: I also loved the beat in the penultimate episode where I fully believed Paige was going to hang herself from the garage beam when she was setting up her punching bag. Was that a deliberate fake-out?

BOTH: Whoa! Wow!

WEISBERG: You’re the first one to say that.* That is interesting. That had not occurred to us!

FIELDS: That’s great. We really like to believe there’s a lot of subconscious work that goes into the show. We were just looking for the most realistic way for her to be practicing.

WEISBERG: And if that had happened, then Pastor Tim would have been right in that case.

EW: Also: Why did Philip have to kill the nice Nazi lady’s husband? Couldn’t they have just visited her earlier in the day?

FIELDS: One of the ironies is if Elizabeth had her way, they would have put a bullet in her head and gotten out of there, and he wouldn’t have died. But because Philip had to know, things dragged out.

WEISBERG: The plan was to get out of there before he got home. That’s what you get when you hesitate.
For as surprising — and dangerous — as this decision was, it was emotionally grounded in an event from a few episodes prior. The two cemented their romantic bond when Philip arranged an authentic Russian wedding for the American-wed couple, and the showrunners said they mainly came up with that idea after they’d determined the finale’s conclusion.

“We had a rough sketch of the ending, and then [the wedding] dropped in place from there,” Fields said.

“We knew that we had the ending and we needed to work toward that in a number of different ways,” Weisberg said.

One such way was built into the storyline that found Philip and Elizabeth considering to leave America and return to Russia, a drastic choice they actually began to execute. Many viewers doubted they would be able to pull it off without permanently damaging their family (the parents did not plan to tell the children), so much so that there was speculation as to whether Philip and Elizabeth truly believed they could go through with it.

Fields said that was a question they wrestled with during every scene. They would ask themselves, “What is the story [Philip and Elizabeth are] overtly telling themselves, and how much are they deluding themselves into believing?”

“We tried to have as many layers in there as possible, and if you look at those scenes and we were successful, you’ll be able to see many of those dynamics at play.”

“I think they both want to go home,” Weisberg said. “I think they both want that.”
Not every Jennings operation will have an on-air resolution.

Once again, the creators follow reality in their scripts. Some missions will conclude, and others could go on indefinitely. Using the Kimmie story as an example, they say Phillip is presumed to have been meeting the girl regularly, but not until something “really interesting happens”—i.e. her father’s new assignment—does it warrant onscreen attention. “It wouldn’t be true to what their lives are really up to,” says Fields, “to have to wrap every story up,”

Haven’t there been more hints that FBI agent Stan Beeman’s (Noah Emmerich) girlfriend Renee (Laurie Holden ) is actually a KGB operative?

Nope, Fields says. “Our effort is to have it really so ambiguous that nobody knows what the hell is going on."
TVLINE | In that scene, Elizabeth says to Philip, “I don’t want to see you like this anymore.” She’s so good at bottling up her emotions, but she does really love Philip — and that love could affect their mission, right?

JOEL FIELDS | Well, it is affecting their mission, because she’s making this big offer at the end [for him to stop spying full-time]. That’s a big change in their mission, and in their lives. Here, you have her utter devotion to the cause finding a way to exist with what has become her utter devotion to her husband and her marriage. She’s torn in the sense that there’s a struggle in her, but she’s looking for a way to survive as an individual, and not suppress who she is, but also have a genuine marriage in which she acknowledges that her husband has to be true to who he is. If that’s not a statement about the experience of marriage, I don’t know what is.
Paige has been through quite the emotional journey this season. Is it safe to assume that she doesn't know that her parents were considering going back to Russia?

Fields: She doesn't know, but she's in grave turmoil in the beginning of the season. And what we see over the course of the season is her finding a strength, but we know through her parents that the place she's looking for that strength is a place that comes with quite a cost.

And poor Henry, being told he can go off to boarding school only to find out he can't.

Weisberg: Yeah, that rug really got pulled out from under him, too.

Fields: Philip really should not have felt the need to be so honest about that. He really could have waited to explain that after the plane landed — it would have been obvious. Phillip is a guy who so wants to be honest. He couldn't help himself there.

But might Henry be able to go off to school after all?

Fields: Well, we don't know. We'll find out. I mean, we know. [Laughs.]
 

jett

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Jun 6, 2004
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Elizabeth is a militant commie to the end.

In the end, this season was not what I expected. When they announced their plans to have a proper, planned out conclusion, I thought shit would progress and move towards something more clearly and readily. This has been extremely slow and meandering. The parts that mattered just feel like set up for the final season. So an entire season devoted to setting up another one. Meh.

And the Russian actually did go nowhere. Again. FX pls.
 

Grizzlyjin

Supersonic, idiotic, disconnecting, not respecting, who would really ever wanna go and top that
Jun 23, 2004
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Yeah I had always thought that's where things were heading, but like you said it would have to jump a pretty good ways to make good on that.

This is one of the few shows where I honestly have no idea what'll happen. It's incredibly subversive tv writing. We expect Mischa to run into Philip in America, he doesn't. We expect Stan to find out about Elizabeth & Philip, maybe he never does? You expect the show to hit the classic "This is the 80s" hallmarks, and it does...but smaller ones that are along the timeline it wants to follow. Normally I'd expect to see the fall of the Soviet Union, without question. But after Season 4, I've learned that this show never does what I expect. Otherwise Pastor Tim would've been long dead lol

They almost got on the CIA's radar in this episode over the stupidest thing. A CIA agent was eyeballing Philip and it was deflected with a half smile.
 

CoolOff

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Quotes from various interviews:

EW: I also loved the beat in the penultimate episode where I fully believed Paige was going to hang herself from the garage beam when she was setting up her punching bag. Was that a deliberate fake-out?

BOTH: Whoa! Wow!

WEISBERG: You’re the first one to say that.* That is interesting. That had not occurred to us!

FIELDS: That’s great. We really like to believe there’s a lot of subconscious work that goes into the show. We were just looking for the most realistic way for her to be practicing.

I THOUGHT THAT TOO.

Still digesting the finale, not sure how I feel about it yet, but the last scene really hits me like a moment we'll look back too as them dooming themselves. Philip takes a backseat and this causes something to go wrong on a mission for Liz maybe?

Loved Tuans petty bourgeois-comment.

A year til next time. Sigh.
 

dabig2

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It's probably an unreasonable time jump, but I was hoping this show would tackle the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union. It would be a really interesting dilemma for the characters.

For some reason I thought this show was taking place in '86, but that Reagan joke assuredly places this episode in '84. I don't think there's any way we get to the juicier stuff like the fall of the Berlin wall or collapse of the Soviet Union, unless we're talking epilogue. Maaaaybe enough time passes to get to Chernobyl, but not sure that would provide enough dilemma other than being a wink and nod to the viewers themselves who know of its greater importance (and magnitude since the Ruskies kept a tight lid on information) much after the fact.
 

dead souls

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Well that was an episode of television that I watched. I've never seen what critics and the most rabid fans see in this show but this season was the first one I 100% hated. I love slow shows, but there was basically no momentum at all this year.

FX should not have given it a two season final renewal last year since they obviously didn't have anywhere near enough plot to sustain two more seasons.
 

TripOpt55

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This was a slow season even by The Americans' standards. I still enjoyed it (particularly all the stuff with Paige and the talks of them returning home), but not as much as the past few seasons. I am super excited to see how it all ends and it seems set up for a really exciting finish.
 

Ristifer

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I usually can't stand slower television, but since these characters (and the show overall) are so well written and I actually care about them, it's all the more compelling to watch.

Surprised we didn't see Oleg at all, though. Unlike most, I found his increasingly dire situation in the Soviet Union to be one of the most intriguing arcs. It not only parallels Stan's life and choices, but also mirrors how deep of a hole these characters have dug for themselves all around.

Looking forward to watching it again, that's for sure.
 
Jun 13, 2014
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I usually can't stand slower television, but since these characters (and the show overall) are so well written and I actually care about them, it's all the more compelling to watch.

Surprised we didn't see Oleg at all, though. Unlike most, I found his increasingly dire situation in the Soviet Union to be one of the most intriguing arcs. It not only parallels Stan's life and choices, but also mirrors how deep of a hole these characters have dug for themselves all around.

Looking forward to watching it again, that's for sure.

Yeah, the only saving grace of this season for me has been Oleg's story. Its just as dour and depressing as everything else, but at least it takes place in Russia so it was different at least and it was fascinating seeing how ordinary soviets react to stuff compared to how Americans would.

I've enjoyed all 5 seasons of The Americans but I've never thought of it as top tier TV, and this season drops it further down a notch. Mad Men had a similar "nothing happens, just watch these guys do their thing" vibe but at least we got some fantastic world building and deep dives into one or two characters there. Season 1 and 2 Elizabeth were far more fascinating and watchable than this season. The heavy focus on Paige was just a real drag to the show.

Oh well, hopefully now with only one season left the pace can get cranked up a bit and the stakes raised. I expect by the end of the show either a whole lot of them are in the soviet union, or a whole lot of them are going to be dead.
 
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