Skip to main content

BuzzFeed: "The Americans Season 2 Arrives Just As U.S.–Russian Relations Turn Icy"

After Sochi, the wolf, the bitter protests, and human rights violations, the second season of the FX Cold War drama arrives at the perfect time to look back at failed Soviet ambitions. Minor spoilers ahead.

At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, "The Americans Season 2 Arrives Just As U.S.–Russian Relations Turn Icy," in which I review the second season of FX's The Americans.

With the closing of the Sochi Olympics earlier this week, Russia is on our collective minds once more: FX has rather cannily picked the perfect time to launch the second season of its gripping Cold War drama The Americans, which revolves around a set of married Soviet sleeper agents, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), in suburban 1980s Washington, D.C.

Yes, The Americans has car chases and street brawls, silly wigs and costume changes (not to mention one scene in particular that pushes the boundaries of basic cable depictions of sexuality), but these elements are window dressing for what lies at the true heart of the series: an exploration of national and personal identity. While the show might depict the high-stakes Cold War skirmishes and battles between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, there is a canny investigation of ideology, loyalty, and self-identity unfolding within these characters, even as the collateral damage they create in their wake mounts.

The risky missions and the tradecraft that the Jenningses embrace — dead drops, legends, and sleeper cell mentalities — become emblematic for thwarted Soviet ambition. Until the Sochi Olympics, this intracountry strife and its secret wars seemed so far removed from our daily life, but The Americans arrives at a time when Russia is once more at the forefront of the news cycle. The futility of these spies’ operations is a tacit reminder of the fluidity of the international stage and the shortness of memory of its participants.

In the show’s first season, the audience quickly learned the stakes for the Jenningses. They live on a seemingly placid street across from Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), who, coincidentally, is the FBI agent tasked with tracking down undercover KBG officers. And the duo is also in constant fear both of being unmasked and of having their children — Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati), who initially have no idea what their parents are doing — taken from them.


Continue reading at BuzzFeed...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Me Want Food: Jenna Gets Famously Fat on "30 Rock"

I don't know about you, but I've already ordered my "Me Want Food" t-shirt from the NBC store. Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Jack Gets in the Game") was, in my opinion, one of the strongest of the series and has officially pushed the zany comedy into the realm of Arrested Development : deftly plotted and intricately layered, with so many jokes piled atop of jokes that it requires several viewings in order to catch them all. While at its heart, 30 Rock is a workplace comedy, it's left that narrow pigeonhole behind to become a witty example of how intelligent and taut humor can work (and flourish) on television... and exist in harmony with hilarious throwaways like the Thriller -inspired Werewolf Bar Mitzvah music video that would have done the AD crew proud. I want Will Arnett to appear on this series whenever possible. His gay exec Devin is hilarious, manipulative, and has an inexplicable weakness for Kenneth the Page, but he claims to have

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous seas