Warning: Spoilers ahead!
The popular espionage series The Americans premiered its second season Wednesday night on FX. The show focuses on two Russian spies (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) who pose as a married couple in D.C. during the 1980s. The premiere episode featured lots of ’80s style wigs and clothing, and a shocking scene that serves as a loud warning to the couple on where their family could end up.
Though in the midst of the craziness that usually comes along with creator Joe Weisberg’s incredible show, he and the writers manage to showcase important values that end up being the underlying themes of several of the episodes. In last night’s episode titled, Comrades, it’s apparent that the importance of family is going to be a major theme this season.
Elizabeth (Russell) and Phillip Jennings’s (Rhys) relationship during season one was a rocky one, to say the least. But after a near-death experience that happened in the final episode, the two make amends, realizing just how precious life is and how vital it is to keep their family together. At the beginning of season two, we see that Elizabeth and Phillip have moved back in together and their children Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati) couldn’t be happier to have both of their parents again.
It’s Henry’s birthday, so the couple decide to take a family trip to an amusement park. Fellow Russian spies and good friends of Elizabeth and Phillip, Emmett and Leanne, who are also posing as an American family, agree to “meet” them at the park, even though they can’t actually interact because of their undercover status. Later when Elizabeth and Phillip go to visit Emmett and Leanne in their hotel room, they find a gruesome scene, where Emmett, Leanne and their teenage daughter have been murdered. Could this mean that whoever did this knows the true identity of Elizabeth and Phillip as well?
Although every episode of The Americans features spy games, the family is the foundation of the show. I could personally watch an entire series dedicated only to Elizabeth, Phillip and their children. Last season, we got the feeling that Elizabeth and Phillip’s love for Russia outweighs their love for their children, but at the start of season two it’s clear their values have changed. The children are everything to them.
Russell and Rhys continue to wow, giving their killer characters a humane quality that makes us accept who they are and that these insane things they do for their job is just everyday life for them.
With such a strong and startling start, it’s clear the writers aim to focus more on the family this season, and I’m all in for it.