Wednesday, May 31, 2017

TV Show Review: The Americans (Season 5)

The next to last season of the interesting yet incredibly slow FX spy drama builds tension throughout the episodes. The show starts off by reintroducing Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) on a new mission, pretending to be a pilot and flight attendant with an adopted son Tuan (Ivan Mok). The Jennings actual daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) has learned that her parents are Russian spies and is having trouble coping with this knowledge. Her priest has also discovered this secret and uses it to test Paige's faith. Elizabeth takes an active step in Paige's transition by helping her train in combat and revealing that she was assaulted.

Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) investigates a new lead as he protects an old contact in Russia. Paige is dating Stan's son Matthew (Danny Flaherty) but can't stomach lying to him about her true identity. Stan's Russia contact Oleg Burov (Costa Ronin) is now investigating a case for the KGB as he faces an investigation into his life and past. The FBI urges Stan to turn Oleg but Stan refuses because of their bond over a former lover. Stan also has a new girlfriend Renee (Laurie Holden) who Philip suspects is a Russian spy sent to work Stan. 

Elizabeth and Philip investigate a plot by America to poison the crops back in Russia but find that their handlers are lying to them about the threat. As the Jennings think about moving their family back to Russia, the harshness of the Soviet Union is displayed not only through Oleg's investigation into the distribution of food but through the survival of Martha (Alison Wright). The Jennings's son Henry (Keidrich Sellati) has a new girlfriend and plans to go to a boarding school much to Philip and Elizabeth's dismay. The family is strained but these spy parents are determined to keep it together.

This season ties up a few threads from the previous like the virus that was discovered in America and the Russians had to steal. Elizabeth had to kill a young Russian spy when he became infected. They find out that the virus was used in Afghanistan after they collected a stolen sample. The Tuan operation has some twist and turns as he helps to bully a Russian boy so that their defector parents will return to Russian, but Tuan sneaks off to contact his family and is exceptionally heartless. Other operations play out but nothing ever really sparks off.

The Americans is an incredibly slow paced television show that I often have a hard time paying attention to but when I look up, find that lots of other things have passed. This season was mostly setup for what I hope will be an eventful final season. I have kept with this show after joining a little later and never going back and watching the first season all the way through. I plan to catch up on all of this again next year before the final season starts so I can refresh on all the drama. This is a good show but could use a little more spy action to add to the pace of the show. 

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