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2018 Emmy Nominations for Costume Design – Updated to Include Winners

12 Jul

Instant thoughts on the overall nominations include being thrilled for The Americans getting back into the Best Drama category, dancing with joy that Tatiana Maslany got a nom even though Orphan Black finished so long ago (she was incredible in that final season) and the Sandra Oh nod for Killing Eve. About half my wish list got recognized. The major ones missing out being the mini-series picks; I don’t understand how Kyle MacLachlan is not included. But, whatever TV Academy.

As is the TV Ate My Wardrobe tradition, here are some thoughts on the costume design nominees and snubs. Plus a full list of which shows/costume designers have been nominated. Categories are split into Contemporary, Period, Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Variety/Nonfiction/Reality — this year they separated period and fantasy, which makes so much sense. And we already know which episodes have been submitted. Also let’s hope the This is Us team did their calculations this time (I’m pretty sure they did).

This is a very strong year for outerwear.
There is plenty to be thrilled about including Ane Crabtree for Handmaid’s Tale, previous winners Michele Clapton and Lou Eyrich getting recognized once again. First time shows such as Donna Zakowska for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Cynthia Summers for her first season on A Series of Unfortunate Events also jump out at me. And I am really happy to see Terry Dresbach get a nomination for the episode of Outlander that introduced Claire’s ‘Batsuit.’

Of course I wanted to see Katie Irish get recognized for the many disguises that have helped bring The Americans spy world to life. They aren’t flashy looks, which means they don’t necessarily stand out against some of the other period nominees. But this is extraordinary work, particularly as this season embraced the more overt ’80s styling that audiences were probably expecting early on. Timeless is a show that did a different decade (sometimes century) every week and Mari-An Ceo did an incredible job of not only crafting costumes for the principals actors, but also a host of background ones. This also gives me a good opportunity to say how sad I am that it got cancelled.

Below are the nominations.

Outstanding Contemporary Costumes

The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, “The Man Who Would Be Vogue” – Lou Eyrich,
Allison Leach, Rebecca Guzzi, Nora Pedersen – Winner!
black-ish, “Juneteenth” – Michelle Cole, Delores Ybarra, Devon Patterson
Empire, “Slave To Memory” – Paolo Nieddu, Jennifer Salim, Steffany Bernstein-Pratt
Grace And Frankie, “The Expiration Date” – Allyson B. Fanger, Heather Pain, Lori DeLapp
This Is Us, “The Wedding” – Hala Bahmet, Elinor Bardach

Outstanding Period Costumes

The Alienist, “A Fruitful Partnership” – Michael Kaplan, Rudy Mance, Beáta Merkovits, Andrew Hunt
The Crown, “Dear Mrs. Kennedy” – Jane Petrie, Emily Newby, Basia Kuznar, Gaby Spanswick – Winner!
Genius: Picasso, “Chapter One” – Sonu Mishra, Eudald Magari, Balazs Labancz
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “The Disappointment Of The Dionne Quintuplets” – Donna Zakowska, Marina Reti, Ginnie Patton, Sheila Grover
Outlander, “Freedom & Whisky” – Terry Dresbach, Nadine Powell, Anna Lau

Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes

Fahrenheit 451 – Meghan Kasperlik, Renee Fontana, Cori Burchell
Game Of Thrones, “Beyond The Wall” – Michele Clapton, Alexander Fordham, Emma O’Loughlin, Kate O’Farrell – Winner!
The Handmaid’s Tale, “Seeds” – Ane Crabtree, Natalie Bronfman
A Series Of Unfortunate Events, The Vile Village: Part 1 – Cynthia Summers, Phoebe Parsons, Kelsey Chobotar
Westworld, “Akane No Mai” – Sharen Davis, Charlene Amateau, Jodie Stern, Sandy Kenyon

Outstanding Costumes For Variety, Nonfiction Or Reality Programming

Dancing With The Stars, “Disney Night” (Costumes: Pro and celebrity dancers; dance troupe) –
Daniela Gschwendtner, Steven Lee, Polina Roytman, Candice Rainwater, Howard Sussman
Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert – Paul Tazewell, Laaleh Mizani, Heather Lockard,
Rory Powers
RuPaul’s Drag Race, “10s Across The Board” (Costumes: RuPaul’s gowns) – Zaldy Goco – Winner! 
Saturday Night Live , Host: Natalie Portman – Tom Broecker, Eric Justian
Tracey Ullman’s Show, “Episode 1” – Helen Woolfenden, Emma Burnand, Claudia Bassi

 

For the full list of nominations head here.

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2018 Emmy Nomination Wish List

11 Jul

Emmy nominations are just a day away! But before the cheers and jeers after the names have been read, here is a rundown of who I would love to see among the nominees tomorrow. Some are definite locks, some are long shots; all turned in amazing performances. I have tried to keep it to one pick per show — with some obvious exemptions — and separated them into drama, comedy and mini-series.

Obviously this is my list and so some of your faves might not feature. There is just too much TV. And I’ve probably also forgotten a performance I love. But these are the ones that have stuck with me.

Drama Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys – The Americans

No shocker here. They have been first on the list on my Emmy nomination wish list since I started this annual tradition, there was no way they weren’t going to be first for this one last time. The final season delivered in every single way, right down to the devastating finale.

Both Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys gave a weekly master class in how to say so much, often without barely saying a word. The things these actors do with the silence. Or a gasp. For that moment alone, Keri Russell should be taking home the very pointy trophy. Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer – Killing Eve

Again, I can’t just choose one. There is something so magnetic about Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, both when they are facing off against each other and as part of the cat-and-mouse game. Killing Eve is one of the best new shows of the year; Oh and Comer are integral to keeping the narrative grounded when the action gets a bit more outlandish.Thandie Newton – Westworld

Maeve’s hunt for her daughter gave Thandie Newton the chance to show both vulnerability and fierceness in equal measure. Westworld is a show that I admire more than I love, but anytime Newton is on screen I feel less like the show is holding me at arm’s length. Maeve makes me care about the fate of these beings, more than simply intrigued about the puzzle element of Westworld.  Yvonne Strahovski – The Handmaid’s Tale 

There are many standout moments from Yvonne Strahovski on season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale; the one I can’t stop thinking about isn’t from the roster devastating scenes where her face crumples or she actively partakes in this oppressive system. Instead it is the moment in “Smart Power” as they drive through the streets of Canada; this is the world how it was. A flicker of sadness at how her life used to be. Serena Joy attempts to act defiant while in Canada, to show she is unashamed and yet embarrassment is hard to hide when these reminders lurk at every elevator.

Serena Joy is complicit, but Yvonne Strahovski’s performance makes it hard not to feel some level of empathy. As with Serena Joy in that car, it is hard to look away.  Vanessa Kirby – The Crown 

Withering looks, the perfect put down; I need Vanessa Kirby to show me how to get this level of sardonic perfection. But there is the other side to Margaret, the cracks in the facade. The loneliness and bitter feelings, the desperate desire to be loved. I am going to miss Kirby as the Queen’s little sister (even if I cannot wait to see what HBC brings to the table). No one smokes cigarettes quite as sulkily as Kirby.Sarah Steele – The Good Fight

From the first time I saw Sarah Steele in Please Give it was love. And I am so happy that she made the move from The Good Wife to The Good Fight. The second season perfectly captured the mood of this turbulent political time; Marissa managed to be the voice of reason, humor and major scene-stealer who kept her head when shots were fired.

 

Comedy

Bill Hader – Barry

For the Macbeth moment alone, which I realize should be filed under “quietly devastating” rather than hilarious. But I can’t stop thinking about it. Never has this play made me feel quite like I have been punched in the stomach.

There are many other very funny moments though, in which Bill Hader’s comic timing is pretty much perfection. As he tries to spill his innermost demons and everyone seems to think he is referring to acting. Also the whole wearing an outfit that Barry saw on a J. Crew mannequin is one of the best costume moments of the year.  Zazie Beetz – Atlanta 

Season 2 of Atlanta is a gift. I could pick the entire regular cast, but I am going to single out Zazie Beetz for her work in “Helen.” As with a lot of “Robbin’ Season” there is something disorientating about the episode. They are in an entirely different location, pretty much everyone is in traditional German dress. There are actual demons. But ultimately it is about this central paring; Earn can’t give Van what she desires. He is getting in his own way. To see this relationship disintegrate over the space of half an hour highlights just how good Atlanta is as well as giving Beetz the chance to shine in Van’s disappointment.Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie – GLOW

Emmy voters will be looking at season 1 of GLOW, but it probably doesn’t harm the show’s chances that season 2 has just landed. Both Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie give standout performances as they grapple with their friendship fallout, the betrayal and having to work together. When Ruth asks Debbie if she wants to get a drink after the bitterness has cooled, the response that they might never be back at this place is a gut punch. And one that makes so much sense. It isn’t that easy to fix this.

Also the physicality of their work on GLOW is incredible.Yael Grobglas – Jane the Virgin 

Mid-way through writing these comedy dream Emmy noms and I realize every single one has made me cry. But those are my fave kinds of comedies; the ones that make you feel all the feelings. Petra has been on a journey; on this season of Jane the Virgin she has softened, let herself be vulnerable and found love with JR (Rosario Dawson). This is one of several very good bisexuality storylines on TV this year and this essay by Caroline Framke on how bisexuality is no longer a TV punchline is very good.Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 

Again, I love a comedy performance that also makes me weep. I recently rewatched the finale of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and these were tears of joy. Rachel Brosnahan talks at one hundred miles per hour, but every word is worth paying attention to. And she is damn hilarious. Oh, and I would very much like all of her coats. Please and thank youThe Alvarez Family – One Day at a Time

Don’t make me pick one member of the Alvarez family, instead Rita Moreno, Justina Machado, Isabella Gomez and Marcel Ruiz are all here. Again, this show makes me cry a lot. And laugh. It is the perfect show for these times; it gets to the heart of working class issues as well as immigration, depression and sexuality. It is also hilarious.

 

Mini-SeriesCody Fern – American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

There are a number of standouts in the second American Crime Story; Darren Criss dazzled, Queen Judith Light broke me in two as she took her makeup off, but it is relative newcomer Cody Fern that I want to single out. Over just a few episodes Fern crafted a performance that gave so much life to David Madson before his tragic death. Often in true crime it is the killer that gets the spotlight, the victims are just a footnote (see People v. OJ) and while this is clearly Andrew’s story, the time spent with Andrew coupled with Fern’s nuanced turn means David is more than just a name on a list.

A lot of it is conjecture as we’ll never know what happened in those days, but thankfully the show reinforces Madson’s innocence after the initial police investigation did the opposite. Sarah Gadon – Alias Grace 

Sarah Gadon gives a captivating and magnetic turn as Grace Marks. Nothing is quite as it seems and I am in awe of everything Gadon does in this mini-series that wasn’t talked about as much as it should have been. Instead it is another Margaret Atwood adaptation that gets all the plaudits. There is enough awards love to share between the two. Taylor Kitsch – Waco 

So it turns out I have been getting Waco and Jonestown mixed up, so while this wasn’t about drinking the Kool-Aid (or its cheaper alternative) there is something about Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh that has me buying into the whole thing. Was Waco too sympathetic toward the cult leader? Perhaps. But Kitsch delivered on the magnetic charm of things and the show made sure that neither side was painted as the innocent party. He also somehow makes serial killer specs and that mullet work.Kyle MacLachlan – Twin Peaks: The Return

This time last year was spent obsessing over Twin Peaks. Part of that was trying to figure out when the real Agent Dale Cooper would show up. Kyle MacLachlan had several different characters to play throughout the return of Twin Peaks; all completely different from the other. Give this guy the Emmy he deserves.

 

Emmy nominations will be announced tomorrow by Samira Wiley and Ryan Eggold at 11.30 am EST. The Emmy Awards will be hosted Monday, September 17.

 

 

‘Felicity’ Reunion Interview is an Off-the-Rails Delight

19 Jun

At the ATX TV Festival there was a big Felicity reunion panel. That discussion is not available yet (but will be), in the meantime, Today has gifted us with this extended cast interview, which took place before the panel. It is a wonderful mess that falls apart many times, in the best possible way.

Scott Speedman delivers some very Ben like moments and the chemistry between the actors is evident. The dynamics between the IRL actors very much reads like a lot of their onscreen versions way back when on The WB. The main difference here is that Amanda Foreman never had it in for Keri Russell.

I was late to this show (you can find all those conversations over at This Was TV and here at TV Ate My Wardrobe), but as they note during this conversation there is a reason why Felicity resonates to viewers old and new.

“Also I was mumbling and whispering” might be my favorite Scott Speedman moment since he called any number of other characters dicks on Felicity. As expected there is hair chat, including Amy Jo Johnson asking Keri Russell about her curls.

This interview is exactly what I needed to see today.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week – An Americans Finale Round-Up

1 Jun

The Americans is over. They did that. And as there is so much Americans related content this week from costume rundowns at Racked to the many amazing reviews/discussions—PasteVarietyVulture and Vox are a few of my faves. There are also interviews with the cast and showrunners. At Esquire a Matthew Rhys profile reveals the role Adam Driver has in The Americans legacy, which was unexpected, but amazing. For podcasts the official Americans Slate one rounds off an excellent series with the cast. Todd VanDerWerff’s “I Think You’re Interesting” features a conversation with Matthew Rhys and showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. I think it is interesting.

And I have a couple of pieces at other outlets that I am incredibly proud of. First, I wrote about how pop culture has been used in season 6 to illustrate wider points at Little White Lies. And in the final scene of the finale, something from Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears is referenced in the best possible way. In the goodbye post from a few days ago I mentioned that I have reviewed every single episode on TV Ate My Wardrobe since the season 1 finale.

Absent is the series finale and that is because I had the pleasure of writing about it for Collider. Some of my favorite essays about this show have been for Collider, I love that I got to breakdown this excellent/devastating/satisfying final outing. If you enjoyed my meditations on this show and particularly marriage, you will likely enjoy this review.

“Out of the Box” has also been absent recently—due to my increased workload elsewhere—but I do want to include some moments from the FYC event from Wednesday night. Because I love Keri Russell’s outfit. This Dior skirt and simple white tee combo is the perfect miss of casual and fancy. And also because feelings. So many feelings.From the season 1 premiere. Aka how to feel old.Great sock game.And from Jimmy Kimmel Live! Keri Russell has legs for days. I love a Hollywood Reporter roundtable and I was thrilled to see Matthew Rhys is one of the drama dudes. Also he looks super handsome in this photo. Someone get this man a period show/movie set in the ’40s. Also let him make his Griffith J. Griffith biopic. This story sounds fascinating. As is this dude’s mustache.There’s of course been a lot of finale discussion this week, but one of the most interesting comes from this panel with the cast and two former CIA Agents. It is fascinating. Martha Peterson reminds me so much of Becky Ann Baker, also she is a badass.

This will not be the last time The Americans is written about here at TV Ate My Wardrobe, but I really am thankful that a show like this exists, that it got to tell this story and I got to write so much about it.

Saying Goodbye to The Americans

30 May

Television fulfils many roles; there are shows for all kinds of viewing experiences. In this age we call Peak TV, there are now more options than ever before. Shows you watch to keep up with the conversation, long running series’ you just can’t quit, the thing you stick on to fall asleep to, the ones you obsess over and can’t get enough of. It isn’t just new TV that is readily available, when Hulu added E.R. earlier this year, the level of chat from new viewers and old fans filled my Twitter feed for days/weeks, much to my delight.

My So-Called LifeThe X-FilesE.R.Buffy the Vampire SlayerThe Sopranos and Lost are all examples of shows that impacted me on deeply personal level. They made me understand what television could do and be. An inspiration to this career path I have taken.

In recent years Mad MenThe Leftovers, Friday Night LightsThe Good WifeHannibal and Halt and Catch Fire have resonated in way that have made me a better writer. But there is one show, which has run parallel to some of the biggest leaps I have made in my freelance career. And that show is finishing tonight.When The Americans made its debut on January 30 2013, this blog was just a twinkle in my eye. I was reviewing The Vampire Diaries for free for another site; I had a different blog that mostly consisted of (bad) Mad Men musings. Cut to April of that year and TV Ate My Wardrobe was born. It didn’t take long for the disguises to make an appearance on here. The second ever “Out of the Box” column,featured Elizabeth in curly wig and glasses.

I was hooked on The Americans from the first episode, from the first TUSK. The spy stuff was fun, but the central relationship was what drew me in. And this has since turned into thousands of words about Philip and Elizabeth Jennings. The costume design, which didn’t scream the 1980s of music videos, wasn’t just a case of throwing on a ridiculous outfit whenever the story called for a cover disguise. Big glasses, big hair, later big shoulder pads all factored, but it was grounded in the narrative. And as her permanent cover, no one has made me want to wear silk blouses as much as Elizabeth has made me want to wear silk blouses.

Now for a brief interlude with my Top 5 Elizabeth disguises. Not to discount the many dirtbags and mustache dudes Philip has played, but Elizabeth is my style queen. Yep even when she is Jennifer.

1) JenniferLovely, lovely Jennifer. The first appearance at Clark’s wedding was also an early “Out of the Box” contender. It is hard to make Keri Russell look dowdy, but this almost does it. And there is a vulnerability we don’t get to see too often when she has to interact with her husband’s other wife. Face eating specs are my weakness, Jennifer’s sartorial prowess in this area is strong.

2) Patty

Super glamorous Patty was the first time Elizabeth got to play into the ’80s trends we might expect. Big earrings, bigger coats. The first time Elizabeth had connected with one of her targets on a personal level. The Young Hee storyline was devastating, the costumes were incredible. And this shot from the Matthew Rhys directed “The Magic Of David Copperfield V: The Statue Of Liberty Disappears” is one of my favorites from the six seasons.

3) Brenda 

Brenda is probably the most on trend disguises Elizabeth has worn, she is a fashion buyer after all. And I was subconsciously influenced by Brenda’s specs when I bought my pair last year.

4) Velma (and Clark)

The blonde Velma look from season one and an outfit I would wear now.

5) I don’t have a name for this disguise, but everything about this look is fierce af. Also my Halloween costume inspo.

Back to the task at hand.

The reason why I wanted to write this specific goodbye post is because The Americans has made me, not just a better writer, but has given me the push into pitching various outlets over the last few years. The first costume designer I ever interviewed was Jenny Gering, the first professionally paid writing gig I got was writing about The Americans.

My knowledge of these characters, this world, what they wear, made me feel confident pitching articles calling Paige “The Final Girl” (will she be?), asking why Cold War panic was on trend, discussing the complex relationship dynamics of these characters and how The Americans is the rare prestige drama to get the teen family members right (it still is). Or how I obsessed for ages about the concept of ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ shows and finally got to put it in writing.

I have interviewed costume designer Katie Irish about Coach coats as pregnancy bump concealers, retro sports apparel and leaning in to the ’80s in this final season. I spoke to Jenny Gering about an article of clothing that rarely gets costume design column inches; the foundation garments, the underwear.

I went to a wedding earlier this month and even though I have bee freelancing for the last few years, this was the first time I felt fine saying “I’m a writer” when asked what I do for a living. In the past I would mention this career, but make some self-deprecating joke about how it was my side-gig. That I wasn’t worthy to call it my profession. I still get that imposter syndrome feelings, but they are getting easier to push to one side. Bury deep. What would Elizabeth Jennings do? I mean, not care about writing about TV shows for starters, but in this final season she has softened to the idea of what art can be. Just don’t ask her to watch a soap opera without pulling faces.

[Source]

Here at TV Ate My Wardrobe I have reviewed every single episode since the season one finale. I dread to think how many words this adds up to. I have talked best wigs, the marriage disguises, the vulnerability of Elizabeth, the huge season three truth telling moments and a personal essay about my wedding in relation to this secret service (that could now be Philip and Elizabeth’s undoing).

To the showrunners, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, thanks for making a show that didn’t pander to its audience. That was smart and sad with a thread of hope throughout.

To Emmy voters, now is the time not only to honor the show, but also two of the best performances on TV for as long as I can remember. I talk about it a lot, but it is worth repeating; the things both Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys do with their faces without any dialogue is constant wonder. And what they do with those words is just as compelling.

You never know what you’re going to get with kid actors when they are cast. Luckily Holly Taylor was a Kiernan Shipka and Keidrich Sellati was not a Bobby Draper. Noah Emmerich hasn’t always had flashy scenes that will play as a nomination clip, but it is a steely performance that deserves examination and praise. My stomach hurts just thinking about Stan in this finale.

It is a cast from top to bottom that has wowed, but special shout outs to Alison Wright, Costa Ronin, Annet Mahendru, Margo Martindale, Frank Langella, Dylan Baker, Ruthie Ann Miles, Miriam Shor, Richard Thomas, Brandon J. Dirden and Lev Gorn.To all the other many people that have worked on this show in the costume department to props. Those photos I always point out in the Jennings house, small details like that add to the depth of The Americans. And I am definitely going to miss writing about these characters.

Don’t worry, I still have a few more pieces in me still. I have no idea how this show is going to end, but just know I will be looking as sad as Philip and Henry do in this season three finale moment. Actually I won’t look half as composed as this.

The Americans 6.09 “Jennings, Elizabeth” Review: Topsy-Turvy

24 May

Elizabeth Jennings made a monumental decision last week on The Americans. She went against a direct order. In the penultimate episode she goes one step further, not only does she defy her superior, but she actively prevents someone else from completing this particular mission.

After a season of botched operations and high body count, Elizabeth steps in to prevent another person from losing their life. People have been dying around her for as long as she can remember, in this particular case she can’t let another comrade die on the streets. And finally an operation of hers goes according to plan. It is a victory that comes with at a huge cost.The reason why Elizabeth has been such a good soldier is she will do whatever it takes to get it done. The vows she took for country mean something to her. We have spent six seasons watching Elizabeth as the more hard line of this spy duo, we know exactly who she is. She is a disappointment to Claudia, but she has never lost sight of her integrity. In a serious of flashbacks we see Elizabeth in training back home. When she comes upon an accident involving a motorbike and a horse, instead of helping the injured man she takes a different route. She is acting as if she is already in the U.S. where such activity could draw unwanted attention. She is later reprimanded because “You don’t leave a comrade, on the street, to die in Moscow.” She was following orders, but in this moment she could have improvised to save a life.

As she fights off exhaustion from staying awake to make sure nothing happens to Nesterenko, these thoughts swirl because it is the first time she is actively going against her orders. Elizabeth does stop the would-be assassin—who also happens to be Tatiana, even the Centre improvises from time to time—from doing the deed, she heads straight to Claudia’s to tell her. It is hard to view events in this episode without thinking of it in terms of this being the penultimate ever episode.

There is a chance that Margo Martindale could appear in the finale, but this very much feels like the last conversation between this pair. It is incredibly charged, Elizabeth doesn’t pound her face in as she did way back when, the animosity that once existed is no more. In fact there are a lot of hurt feelings, even if neither woman is willing to show too much emotion. This is not who they are.Claudia’s words are like a knife to the heart as she effectively tells Elizabeth that this one decision has undone everything good she has done. The Paige training now means nothing. Claudia compares Elizabeth to the women she fought with during WWII,* the highest of compliments. All before dismissing her belief system. Claudia doesn’t think Elizabeth really knows what she is fighting for; she says she thought she knew her. But if Claudia really knew Elizabeth—as Elizabeth herself points out—then she would know going behind her back and using her as a tool for the overall agenda is the greatest betrayal. And last week alone she found out that pretty much everyone she has put her faith in lied to her.

*I recently read “The Unwomanly Face of War” by Svetlana Alexievich, which documents the experiences of many Russian women that fought in WWII. The things these women did on the front line is incredible, their stories deserve to be told. I would highly recommend this book if you have an interest on this topic. It also goes a long way in explaining a character like Claudia.

What makes this scene truly great is how measured this conversation is. Neither woman screams at the other, there is no violence. And more importantly there is still a level of care layered with some contempt. Elizabeth asks where Claudia will go, home of course. But what will become of Elizabeth? The sneer levels from Margo Martindale when she asks “What’s left for you now? Your house? Your American kids? Philip?” Oh the disdain when she says his name.  They look at each other for a moment and Claudia calmly eats the food she has just prepared. Little does Elizabeth know that one of those things is about to get taken away. The family home is the heart of this unit, but now it has been compromised. A home we are now saying goodbye to. The kitchen and the island within continues to be used in such an effective visual way. This scene between Paige and Elizabeth mirrors their big fight from season four, when the world was first introduced to Keri Russell’s forehead vein. This time it has multiplied. Now Paige is revealing just how much she knows about the methods her mother uses to get information. Seeing people die wasn’t Philip’s number one fear way back when it was first floated that Paige she join the family biz. Nope he was worried about her ending up in a suitcase a la Annalise.

Sex has been a topic that has been broached on a number of occasions this year as Elizabeth has been trying to dissuade Paige from sleeping with someone for information. Paige has been doing her own research, she is not stupid. Though she doesn’t get the idea of having sex with someone you’re not attracted to. When she heard the story about Jackson she put the pieces together, she is appalled. Appalled because her mother slept with someone so much younger, appalled because it confirms some of her worst suspicions. She calls her mother a whore, which goes down about as well as you can expect—I need that “excuse me” gif to add to the season one classic. Time for another life lesson Paige.

Elizabeth has done everything in this lifelong fight for her country. Sex is part of this. It doesn’t mean anything in this context. Paige has invoked Philip as a person that can’t stand to be in the same room as her mother because of these kind of activities. If only Paige knew exactly what her father did as a spy, the other wife he had, the girl her age he just fucked. Elizabeth notes that “Nobody cared. Including your father.” Philip is no saint, even if he has quit the spy world. He does not get absolution in this.

Speaking of which, his meeting with Father Andrei starts off with pleasant enough. They talk about his marriage. The vows he just broke. Philip mentions Elizabeth is not someone that trusts easily, Father Andrei responds that something has got her to stay with him. This has not completely broken them as a couple. When Elizabeth grabs their go bag with all the money, passports, license plates and weapons she also grabs their real wedding bands. These vows, this marriage. It is important. Philip, these American kids. They are all she has left now and it matters. Tension has been building all season, it explodes the moment Father Andrei mentions the FBI. Philip realizes they are compromised, the way he looks at every person in the park like they could be an agent. He walks calmly before breaking into a run. It is genuinely one of the most nerve-wracking sequences this show has done as it feels like Philip could get caught here.

The panic on his face as he surveys his escape options in the basketball court, the way the camera spins around him. It is a close call, the closest maybe even. Things at work are “topsy-turvy,” clearly their code word for everything has gone to shit.Meanwhile Stan is picking at that scab. The one that is six years in the making. The episode gets its title from Stan searching the FBI database, first for Elizabeth, then his BFF, followed by Dupont Circle Travel. He then drops by unannounced to see Philip at work. Philip’s reason for Elizabeth not being there isn’t a lie; they have had a fight about their business. Just not the travel industry.This doesn’t make Stan feel certain either way so he floats his theory to Aderholt. Starting at the beginning with Timoshev to the hair/smoking comments. Aderholt thinks it is ridiculous, but the camera stays on him long enough for him to wonder “what if?”

Oleg is picked up when he retrieves Philip’s very important message. A message he wants Stan to decode. In another excellent one-on-one scene, everything that Oleg is fighting for is laid out. If he has to sacrifice himself, he will. He is not giving up his source, even when Stan shows him a photo and says they can make a deal. What Oleg wants is exactly what Stan does; peace, food on the table for his family. Oleg underscores how important Gorbachev is in making this happen. It is something that remains unresolved, but I can see Stan helping Oleg out. There is a mutual respect. They are alike in more ways than having loved the same woman. It wouldn’t be the first time Stan went outside the lines.There isn’t much time. There is only one episode left. So far this final season of The Americans has been incredible. What happens next will only help cement its legacy. Part of me really wants the Jennings family to ride off into the sunset, but I know that is unlikely and will probably not be the most satisfying end to the story. Soon we will know.

No stitches requiredPastor Tim ain’t no snitch. Even if he did look like he wanted to throw up during this entire conversation. Good to see Kelly AuCoin again and he justifies why it was a good thing Philip and Elizabeth never made it to EPCOT.

Also it looks like there is a chance a different man of God could bring them down. One who has seen their faces, he knows their real names. The irony that a Communist is found out because of a religious man.

I get excited when places I have stayed are on TVI was momentarily distracted during this opening scene while Elizabeth surveys Nesterenko wondering if indeed this is the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. I am pretty certain it is. I have stayed here twice and it has been used for a number of films/TV shows including Nora Durst’s stay in the iconic Leftovers episode “Guest.”

Fun fact, it was also used in Wall Street. A movie that was released one day after the Washington Summit in December 1987.

Earring Watch I have always been fond of Elizabeth’s choice of disguise earrings, but as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have recently had my ears pierced so I’m paying even more attention. These are amazing.

Height differenceObviously Stan is not really there to offer a loan to Philip. Philip at this point is unaware of Stan’s suspicion. A very tense and awkward scene not only because Philip is put in a very shitty feeling position. Matthew Rhys looks tiny next to Noah Emmerich. Also this is definitely the last time they are together without Stan truly knowing who Philip is.

Emmy Roundtable Season 2018 is Here!

23 May

My favorite time of the year! Yep, Emmy roundtable season. Movie award season stretches for months, well so does the TV equivalent—yes there is crossover come the Golden Globes. And end of year discussions also revolve around the best TV. But for now let’s bask in the FYC Emmy coverage, which has been going on for the last few weeks. However, the first Hollywood Reporter cover feels like the official kickoff.

The first image was released yesterday on World Goth Day, appropriately enough considering the style aesthetic. The drama actress cover tends to go in one of two ways; pastels/muted tones or black/white. Coven instead of bridesmaids (never forget this perfect Kirsten Dunst Insta). Squad goals indeed.

Fully leaning into the dark and serious palette is fine by me. Sandra Oh is the outfit MVP and Villanelle would very much approve of this look.Featured this year is Thandie Newton (Westworld), Claire Foy (The Crown), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), Angela Bassett (9-1-1), Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Deuce). A fantastic line-up, but my one quibble is the lack of Keri Russell considering how incredible she has been on this (and every) season of The Americans. The last time she appeared on this cover was in 2014, as this is the final season of The Americans it is shame she doesn’t get to take center stage here.

This one is always such a thoughtful, insightful conversation. The Times Up movement is something that isn’t discussed, which I found surprising considering how front and center it has been, particularly during award season. Some other weighty topics including equal pay are broached. Claire Foy found herself at the center of and you can tell it still makes her uncomfortable. As she mentions, money is not something that is often discussed in such a public way in the UK. Maggie Gyllenhaal tells the story of an important moment for her as a producer on The Deuce when she fought for an orgasm that sounded real from her character. Gyllenhaal is someone I have long admired and this make me love her even more.

Sandra Oh while mentioning her post Grey’s spell is super honest about her reaction to reading the Killing Eve script which tells you everything you need to know about what she is used to getting sent:

“You’ve talked about reading the initial pilot script for Killing Eve and scrolling through quite a bit of it before you realized you were being asked to play the central storyteller. Why do you think that is, and what did you learn from that realization?

OH That moment was a real punch in the gut for me because the internalization [that I couldn’t be seen as the lead] was really deep. I get the script, I’m on the phone with my agent, I remember exactly where I was, right by BAM in Brooklyn, and I’m going, “Scrolling, scrolling” (scans her phone). I’m just like, “I don’t know, who am I playing? What’s the part?” [My agent] goes, “Eve! You’re playing Eve.” Something happened to me in that moment where I couldn’t even see myself [as the central character].

NEWTON You hadn’t given yourself permission.

OH Right. Why didn’t I?

FOY That makes me want to cry.

OH So the fact that [creator] Phoebe Waller-Bridge, BBC America and Sally Woodward Gentle, our producer, said, “Yes, why not this [for me]?” I felt slightly ashamed — and if I can’t see myself in that moment, then other people have that weight as well. And so we need to hold these things up for other people to see.

NEWTON Oh my God, yes.

OH And that’s one of the reasons why I said, “I’m going to take this. I’m gonna leave my life here — I’m going to do everything to make this.”

This is why representation matters. It is also why it is important for these roundtables to not just be six white faces (as they have often been). When the topic of sexuality and getting roles comes up there are very different reactions from each woman with Sandra Oh backing up Angela Bassett’s statement that this has not been her experience, “I’ll echo Angela’s experience. For me, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten any job based on bum bum bum … (motions to her body). As fabulous as it is. (Laughter.)”

How their bodies are portrayed on screen is another insightful moment. Elisabeth Moss notes that in her contract she has to approve any kind of nudity. She has final say over every single frame used.

You can view this clip below.

The full panel will air on SundanceTV July 15.

The Americans 6.08 “The Summit” Review: Ill Communication

17 May

Communication is essential to a good marriage. It is one of the core pieces of advice that has been consistently dispensed in magazines, self-help books and in many conversations you have before you get married. Communication is also really important if you work in the spy business. Whether getting information from a source or relaying it an effective manner, being effective at dispensing intel is a vital work skill to have. Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are very good spies. They are not always the best communicators when it comes to their relationship, as we have seen during six seasons of The Americans.

King and Queen of the wordless conversation; however when it comes to using their words, they could do better.Compartmentalizing is a skill required in a job that involves this much violence, lying, sleeping around and maintaining a double life, but it has often led to the greatest fractures between Philip and Elizabeth. Prior to this final season, their marriage had been in its strongest and now legally binding place. The flashback to the secret ‘just for them’ ceremony last week makes even more sense in context of “The Summit” opening scene. Because holy shit, Philip spills all about his Oleg betrayal and it goes over about as well as expected.

The last time Philip kept something from Elizabeth was when he slept with Irina in season 1, which ended in temporary separation. This cuts even deeper because it isn’t just about lying about sleeping with an ex. It is about their work, their life. He has been spying on her, reporting his findings to someone they don’t even know. It doesn’t matter that his reasons were for the good of their country, he has been lying for two months now. Pointing out that he tried to tell her on a couple of occasions—dude you really didn’t try that hard—is far from a valid excuse.

Dead bodies and tooth extractions are nothing in comparison to the pain in this scene. They have been together for over twenty years, which means they can communicate through nothing more than facial expressions. But words don’t come so easy. They let it hit breaking point before addressing an issue. Here it took Philip having to cut off someone’s head and hands before he tackled the problem head on (no pun intended).

Over this season he has been trying to reason with Elizabeth, but neither of them have been in possession of all the information; Philip didn’t know exactly what or why Elizabeth was racking up a high body count, Elizabeth didn’t know that she is being used as a way to get Gorbachev out of office. Again the speech Elizabeth gave to Tuan at the end of last season comes into play; they are so much better when they are working together. Yes it was better for Philip’s mental well-being to get out, but it has been at the cost of Elizabeth’s. There are so many moments in this opening scene that feel like a stab to the back for Elizabeth, it is also truly a pleasure to watch Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in this scene, even though it is heartbreaking to see this relationship hit the point of almost no return. He can barely look at her at first, knowing full well how she will react. This is an act of infidelity. The way Russell says “And?” at the mention of Oleg’s information request, followed by the sucking in of her cheeks is chilling for anyone who has been on the Philip end of this conversation. Again, the spy stuff is not relatable, but the essence of this conversation is universal.

The calm tone, the measured words all initially mask the anger at this betrayal. A prelude to her spitting out, “go to hell!” Or when he makes sure he mentions that he told Oleg she was amazing and loyal. Like she wants to laugh at how he tries to find absolution in a compliment.* That ain’t gonna work buddy.

*I just rewatched this opening scene because it’s truly stunning. You notice something new every time. After that attempt at buttering up Elizabeth, Keri Russell does this amazing thingwhere she stops an eye roll midway through it. The gut punch sound when Philip reveals just how long all of this has been going on. It’s all just so good. And so heart-wrenching. 

Honestly, I could go line-by-line, but I won’t. It is that good. In fact this entire episode should be Keri Russell’s Emmy submission because the things she does with her face. There aren’t enough words to describe just how good she is at showing the swirling conflict within Elizabeth.A season of every operation going bad with an ever growing body count is going to take its toll. While Elizabeth doesn’t spend much time with her husband in this episode, his words gnaw away at her. They aren’t always great communicators, but now his voice is inside her head. That statement about getting her to think about what she is doing, why she is doing it, is so important to in Elizabeth’s decision making throughout “The Summit.” This is why they were such an effective team; she would react on instinct, he would question their orders. You need both.  He tells her he would do anything for he, he just did. Nothing says romantic overture quite like dismembering someone so you can protect your identity. But he has hit his breaking point.

“You don’t think I’m a human being?” The hurt in her voice at her interpretation of what Philip said is clear, but even if she hasn’t understood what he said right away, her actions over this season have been pretty extreme, even for Elizabeth Jennings. Her body count stands at eight—nine if you count Rennhull—she could have added another two to this tally this week, but something stopped her. And that something was probably this conversation. That eight does include Erica, which isn’t really fair as this one was out of kindness. Using Erica’s paintbrush is poetic, even if this scene is incredibly hard to watch.Another incredible moment in face parts acting from Russell, Erica like Young-Hee before her tapped into a side of Elizabeth we never really see. The kind of bond that Philip developed too easily with is sources, Elizabeth fights against. Again, this is why they are so good together. They complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Orders come from above, but they pull the trigger. They take the knife and shove it in the jugular. Not the Centre. They are not just a mindless automaton, they are the ones who ultimately make a choice to kill or not kill. It is why Elizabeth doesn’t go through with her orders to kill Nesterenko. It is why she doesn’t kill not-Chalamet* aka Jackson the intern. With Jackson she has already seduced him; he has delivered what she needed him to do, even if he did take a peek inside the box discovering the recording device. She could easily kill him and no one would be any the wiser. Instead after a moment deliberating, she lets him go. The chin quiver trick has never worked on her before, but here she relents. It is sloppy of her to not tie up loose ends, but it is the human thing to do. Philip is in her head.

*At one point Elizabeth says “Later” to Jackson and it was impossible not to conjure up images of Armie Hammer cycling away

Nesterenko is saved (for now) because Elizabeth has listened to the tapes. He’s not dirty at all. He doesn’t deserve to die by Elizabeth’s hand. Philip’s confession was bad, but Claudia’s is a knife twist like no other. Elizabeth has always done what is asked of her, no questions. Now she wants to know. The stakes are so high. Claudia asks if she has lost her confidence, she scoffs at this notion. Instead her eyes are wide open.The look on her face as Claudia tells her everything about the plan to get Gorbachev out of office is again another Keri Russell showcase. The subtle flicker of betrayal as she finds out Claudia has been in on the whole Mexico plan the entire time, but she has been protecting Elizabeth—which I believe in a twisted way she does. Claudia is old school, everything we have learned about her in the Soviet History lessons for Paige this season has been preparing us for this. The way she looks at the TV when Gorbachev speaks is full of loathing. But Elizabeth is horrified that her work will be tampered with to make it look like Nesterenko is a traitor, that she is being used. Nesterenko is a good guy; he doesn’t deserve death by manipulation.

Elizabeth is warned not to throw away her many years of service over this. A threat she ignores. Not that there is any time for a warm and fuzzy make-up chat with her husband. She’s still super pissed off at him for fucking her over as well. He was disloyal to her in the name of their country, a tactic he hopes will soften things. Instead, Elizabeth is focused on the mission at hand; to get a message to Oleg, to stop Nesterenko from getting killed. Father Andrei wants to meet up, but she doesn’t have time for that. Little do they know that they are compromised in so many different ways.The garages they store things in—or burn things in, another heartbreaker of a scene—and a priest, maybe their priest has been singled out as being a potential lead. The priest Philip is now meeting up with. Stan has been watching the house; did he go to bed after Elizabeth got home? He will no doubt hear her leaving again.

Stan took photo of Elizabeth to one of Gergory’s guys who couldn’t positively ID her. All he remembers is her amazing hair and that she smoked like a chimney. It will be quite poetic after all this time (and the Felicity legacy) if Elizabeth’s hair is their downfall. The doubt continues to grow for Stan. Just two episodes left means a confrontation is coming sooner rather than later.

The Summit” is ripe for making viewers feel anxious, the tension is building, the match has been lit; we know how Gorbachev’s story will pan out, but these personal tales are still very much in play.

Movie of the WeekPhilip is adrift this week; his wife hates him, his son isn’t around to take his calls, he fired his most loyal employee. So as a distraction and a way to reconnect with his heritage, he rents a movie. But Philip has to put on a disguise to do so because he wants to rent Гараж (The Garage).  A movie that would be his downfall if Stan swung by unannounced. A movie Elizabeth only barely registers is on.

Employee of the Month

Ah, Stavos. Firing your oldest employee just before Thanksgiving is a dick move so it isn’t surprising to that Stavos won’t let Philip in. Philip tries to justify it by telling him the business is going under, he’s got out before the shit has truly hit the fan. The travel agency is of course mirroring the Soviet Union, Stavos is the Philip in this scenario. But he isn’t happier because he got out early. Also Stavos notes that he is aware of the dodgy backroom antics, to Philip’s surprise. But Stavos is loyal, unlike some. *mic drop*

What follows is a suit fitting, which feels so full of doom that I can barely bring myself to think about it.

A wall of Philip and Elizabeth sketches

This is a pretty good likeness to be honest. Philip and Elizabeth are so fucked.

Amazing artwork 

Miriam Shor has been incredible as Erica this season, but artist Alyssa Monks has been vital to this storyline. Her paintings are haunting and I’m so glad they got a lot of screen time this week. Even if ultimately Elizabeth did end up burning the one that tapped into her soul. Also, she definitely wishes she had asked for a smaller one.

Work in Other Places: Interviews, Fashion History and in Print!

16 May

Activity here at TV Ate My Wardrobe has been a little light on content recently, there is a good reason for this. At the start of April I started contributing to SYFY FANGRRLS, which has been keeping me the best kind of busy. So what I wanted to do is share what I have been writing there, as well as some other exciting work related news.

For SYFY FANGRRLS I have written a range of ‘Geekouture’ pieces ranging from news stories, red carpet round-ups, costume designer interviews and deep dives into fashion and costume history. It has been really wonderful to tackle the impact of clothing on film, television, the runway, red carpet and the items that could end up hanging in your own wardrobe.

In other news, for Little White Lies I contributed to the 75th issue. My first ever print article! Yes, I am almost cried when I saw it in the shop. This is a magazine I have been reading for 13 years (issue 4 with the Jarhead cover is the first one I bought). And I got to write about one of my favorite films; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This also happened to be the movie I wrote about as part of my Masters application. A full circle moment.

[Source]

Here is a round-up of my recent work at SYFY FANGRRLS:

-A Series of Unfortunate Events has some of the boldest costuming on TV, I spoke to Cynthia Summers about the second season, sustainable fashion and what influenced her work on this show.

– Sneakers that encourage play and come with a cape! Oh to be 8 years old again.

– The best in space explorer graphic tees from Gucci to Topshop. Plus I’ve got you covered for Solo opening weekend if you want to wear Lando on your shirt.

– I have been writing about Ane Crabtree’s incredible costume design since Masters of Sex. I’ve interviewed her on a number of occasions and I leapt at the chance to talk to her about season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale.

– One regular column that has been missing from TV Ate My Wardrobe is “Out of the Box,” I am sorry to have missed so many incredible looks recently particularly all those ladysuits at Cannes, but at SYFY FANGRRLS I have got a new Look of the Week column. Looking to the past and present, I have so far celebrated Cheryl Blossom’s very specific River Vixen ensemble in Riverdale, Maggie Q as the agent I most want to see return to Mission Impossible and the women of Timeless serving up their best ’80s government worker outfits.

– Fall/Winter ’18 runway fashion featured several collections influenced by sci-fi. I took a look at how MetropolisThe Fifth Element and ’60s B Movies were some of the most notable reference points, as well as the long relationship between fashion and fantasy.

– The Final Girl trope isn’t just about the rules of slasher movie survival; it is also about how they dress.

– You may have noticed a lack of Met Gala coverage in these parts. That is because I covered this huge fashion event for FANGRRLS. Find your genre faves including cast members from Black PantherStar Wars, Game of Thrones and Westworld here. This is my favorite Met Gala in years. And this tweet about Zendaya’s amazing very Joan of Arc ensemble also went viral in a way none of my tweets have ever done. I think my previous highest likes were just over 1000.

– And I profiled Charlotte Bax, the founder of Mars Needs Women. This social impact clothing brand not only wants to highlight women already working in STEM fields, but they also want to encourage girls who are interested in STEM programs. The sweatshirts look cool and when you make your purchase you donate money to a STEM program for young girls. And you get to choose the amount.

– For The Observer, I spoke to Dear White People costume designer Ceci about what to expect from season 2. Including the color story behind the costumes, vintage shopping and importance of representation.

There is more to come from SYFY FANGRRLS so keep an eye out. Meanwhile, I will still be posting Americans reviews here (only 3 episodes left *sob*) and other updates. The ladysuits will be back. For now enjoy Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay, Jury head Cate Blanchett, Léa Seydoux and Khadja Nin at the Cannes jury photocall from last week.

The Americans 6.07 “Harvest” Review: Committed

10 May

Throughout our lives we make commitments; to a person, a job, a child. Most commitments can be broken in some way or another. You can quit, get a divorce. Some commitments come with a lifetime of responsibilities including being a parent, but even those can be broken.

The Americans has always been about marriage, family. The spy stuff is akin to football on Friday Night Lights. It sets the scene, ultimately guiding what these characters to do, but at the heart, the relationships are what matter.At the end of last season, Philip did the impossible. He got out of the spy biz at the behest of his wife. She could see that it was breaking him, but she couldn’t break her commitment to the cause. She couldn’t break her commitment to him. Elizabeth and Philip have been together for twenty-five years, but they have only been legally married for three, wholly devoted to each other for six years. Prior to events in the pilot it had been a very functional relationship, they were great work partners; they did all that was asked of them including having two kids. The perfect American family. You would never suspect a thing.

In the pilot their dynamic shifted, Elizabeth saw something in Philip she hadn’t previously seen. They connected in a way that went beyond duty. The weakness she used to see in him, the weakness that had him suggesting defection (Elizabeth would never) transformed into an understanding. In “Harvest,” Elizabeth sees her husband again as if for the first time. She finally gets out of her own way. Elizabeth isn’t oblivious, she would never have suggested he quit if she didn’t realize quite how crushed he was by all of this. But here it is like she finally gets it, the pain etched over his face is because he made a mistake committing to this life. The things you realize when cutting up a body with an ax in a parking garage.Big life events for Philip and Elizabeth happen in garages, basements of disused factories, their own laundry room. In the shadows they see each other. Elizabeth wasn’t sure Philip would actually show, but there is no way he could leave his wife in dire straits. Even if this means leaving Henry, giving Stan a reason to get suspicious of the places his neighbors go. Philip is wearing all the spy accoutrements, but he no longer has that feeling of pulling things off.  Elizabeth thinks this is ridiculous, but later she sees it. He can still perform when called to, even when it requires the grimmest of tasks. But he’s empty.

“Harvest” has a lot of callbacks to the pilot; the scene in which they drive to ditch Marilyn’s head and hands is reminiscent of the “In the Air Tonight” accompanied sequence of body dumping, followed by car sex. This time Patti Smith’s “Broken Flag” plays over the scene. There is no hook-up here. That was about connecting in way they hadn’t done before, they have come along way since then. Instead Elizabeth does the task alone while Philip observes. Stan’s sneaking around his best friend’s home is an extended version of the checking the trunk scene from the pilot. Philip isn’t waiting in the shadows gun in hand, there is now six years of history between them. A hunch led Stan into checking on his new neighbors, a hunch is causing him to check up on his BFF.Certain things aren’t adding up. The emergency trip to Houston during Thanksgiving. The late nights. Last week he was an accidental marriage counselor, now Henry is an accidental narc, his comments about how his parents leave for work at all hours as if they’re brain surgeons don’t help. The non-existent extended family.

Stan remembers that time Elizabeth went to stay with Aunt Helen, but Henry has never met her. Stan also recalls that it coincided with a crazy time at work. That time he shot a female illegal. The operation in Chicago also felt like a callback to the season one finale; they’re cornered, someone gets shot. They end up in a parking garage. Elizabeth remains unscathed this time. It is Marilyn who gets a bullet to the head. Harvest also ends up shot in the stomach, mirroring Elizabeth’s injury, unlike Elizabeth he doesn’t make it. Opting to swallow the pill he has been given. A pill Elizabeth is wearing around her neck. A pill she has told her husband about.The couple. It all comes back to the couple Stan has been chasing for years. The couple he now suspects could be living across the street. William’s delirious words about them as he was dying at the end of season four have come back to haunt them; the two kids, the pretty wife. Stan doesn’t have any real evidence, but the niggle is going to be enough. Plus there are now only three episodes left.

Stan is going to find out very soon and it is making my stomach hurt. That hug between Philip and Stan is heartbreaking. The trick to selling a good cover story is to keep it as true to life as possible, when Philip thanks Stan for all he has done it is genuine. Elizabeth keeping it together is real, so are the business woes. But they have both made commitments; Stan won’t be able to keep his word of being there for Philip when he finds out who he really is. Tension is building. Wordless scenes are something The Americans has always excelled at. The way Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys can have an entire conversation without saying a word continues to be extraordinary. Intimacy when extracting a tooth or cutting off body parts with an ax is not the easiest thing to convey, but they somehow elevate these horrifying moments into something much more than the task at hand (no pun intended).

When Philip pauses after they are almost interrupted—this is quite the public place to dismember somebody—it is like a lifetime goes by. The fact that he is doing this again, the only reason is for her. It is the kind of grand romantic gesture that only makes sense on this show. Elizabeth can’t quite fathom it in the moment. It takes the conversation with Erica for her to see. The pointed way Philip drops the matching poison accessory into the bag is such a relationship moment. It is purposeful because he effectively just had Elizabeth’s end flash before his eyes.The sequence in which they extract Harvest is reminiscent of another moment in the tooth extraction episode. The car “chase” in which Elizabeth is being tailed for hours. One of their closest of close calls. That one ended with everyone unscathed, this time they aren’t so lucky. Two on each side go down. For once, Elizabeth didn’t pull the trigger. Philip doesn’t add to his body count either, but he definitely got his hands dirty.

The Americans is very good at drawing on its rich, layered history. Stan brings up the time in Philadelphia from early on in season one (in the very good episode “Gregory”) in which the FBI lost sight of a source just for a moment. The body disposal moment called back to not only the pilot, but Annelise in the suitcase. There are the two flashback moments to already existing scenes, something this show uses sparingly. Visual cues that remind Stan of what William said, remind Philip of his real vows.When they get home Elizabeth has to leave straight away. The summit is only a week away—for both us and Elizabeth. Again there is wordless communication, she touches his face, his heart. Her way of saying thank you before disappearing into the night. Philip surprised her by showing up in Chicago, she makes a stop by the office the following day as a gesture of making sure he is okay. She notes she saw his expression while he was doing his ax-work. Erica is becoming a therapist of sorts for Elizabeth; the soothing drawing, the determination she has for working through extreme agony, but also noting the time she has wasted.

Philip and Elizabeth still aren’t on solid ground when it comes to their relationship. Too many secrets exist between them right now. She told him about the necklace, but not the what of the mission. He now knows there is an important part of the scanner in France. Will he tell Oleg? At this point, Philip’s main objective is to not have Elizabeth die in his arms the way Harvest did. She is very much work first, however stopping by the office signals she isn’t wholly consumed by work. The final scene with Philip sitting on the sofa thinking about his marriage can be read in a number of ways. For me it is a resigned felling that this is what he signed up for, his commitment to Elizabeth cannot be broken. That moment of bliss was a lifetime ago.And after this operation went to shit, Elizabeth offers Paige the option her father never got; to get out. But Paige, like her mother is headstrong. She wants to make a difference. But most notably she doesn’t want to be alone. She wants what her mom and dad have. Prediction time; this show is going to end in a manner fitting for a Russian tragedy. Paige will end up alone either because her parents die or she gets arrested while they escape. Just three episodes left.

All Aderholt needs is some red stringAderholt was thrilled last week. Now he is experiencing despair. All he needs is some red string to go full Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. While he won’t be as upset as Stan, it’s gonna hurt when he finds out he has shared the table with the woman that kicked his ass at the start of season three.

Earring Watch I recently got my ears pierced (I know). I have long been obsessed with Elizabeth’s earrings in and out of disguise. Her best ones are when her cover looks like this.

The old couple they will probably never get to become

On the flight how, Philip and Elizabeth’s disguises skew older than they are. A vision of what we won’t get to see. Also it gives Philip an opportunity to ask about the drawing without letting on that he has searched her secret stash.

Family Photos

These are the photos that provided the backdrop to Philip and Elizabeth’s fight on the staircase from a couple of week’s ago. Again The Americans production design team deserves a shout out for these very realistic shots of the Jennings family instead of using promo photos from the show.

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Twitter Music Club

A rotation curation music club, based on Twitter, mainly for Kiwis

INTO ROW Z

If you enjoy a challenge, like Claude Makélélé, read my blog. Its about sport.

lost somewhere in new york city

We rock a lot of polka dots

sankles

We rock a lot of polka dots

frocktalk.com/

Just another WordPress.com site

Cultural Learnings

Television Reviews and Analysis

judgmental observer

film, tv, popular culture, higher ed, unicorns

Rookie

We rock a lot of polka dots

ScreenFad

TV show news, reviews, recaps, spoilers, and photos

The Frisky

We rock a lot of polka dots

Tell Us a Story

stories about true things