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Tag Archives: Alison Wright

Best of the Pre 2017 Emmy Awards Parties 

17 Sep

Happy Emmy Awards Day! Tonight is the big event, but first there are a lot of pre parties with FX, BAFTA and Variety among those celebrating the nominees.

This has been a very busy couple of weeks for red carpet style and come back tomorrow morning when we will be showcasing the best looks from the Emmy red carpet. The biggest trends so far are bold prints, pants and shimmer.More ruffled J. Mendel delights and Keri Russell’s red frock is giving off some ’70s vibes, which I am of course here for. Matthew Rhys mixes casual in jeans and white sneakers with a blazer and while I don’t think it is going to happen, I would love to see them both win tonight.But if Rhys is going to get beaten by anyone, then I hope it is Sterling K. Brown. And here is Brown with wife Ryan Michelle Bathe looking all kinds of couple goals. Hoping for some A+ Insta material from this pair tonight.IRL bestie of Sterling K. Brown and Atlanta star Bryan Tyree Henry delivers sartorially with some fabulous snake slippers and palm tree print shirt.Lakeith Stanfield in a leather shirt is amazing, but also I would very much like those shoes for myself. FX really is home to some of the most stylish casts, as this party proves.
Dreamy swoony sighs because Stanley Tucci is wearing a three-piece suit. Switching out her very Carrie Bradshaw Delpozo for this dream of print Valentino dress and this might be the most Mad Men thing I’ve seen Kiernan Shipka in—aside from her Sally Draper costumes. Alison Pill goes classic in black and red in a less ’50s version of this Elisabeth Moss ensemble.Holy pattern, Martha! I am in love with everything about this Alison Wright ladysuit take.Tween and teen boys continue to outshine the grown-ups and Stranger Things’ Noah Schnapp in custom Laboratoire is doing just that. Florals and velvet is always going to be a winner. Queen Judith Light crushing it in pants and matching blouse in an outfit that wouldn’t look out of place in the recent (and underrated) Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie.And at the Variety party, Judith Light looks fucking fabulous in a gold ladysuit. Bowing down, forever.More metallic wonders and Viola Davis in sequin and floral Alice + Olivia with a black top is pre-party chic at its best. Tracee Ellis Ross in leopard print and that lipstick is enough to make me ignore the random tassels at the bottom of this Michael Kors Collection dress.

I DON'T DRINK BEER ~ emmy weekend

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I love her.

💜~ @preenbythorntonbregazzi

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Also, every flame and heart eye emoji ever.This is a great print dress and the only thing I would change about Abbi Jacobson’s look is the boots. Not that there is anything wrong with boots and a dress—it is my go to—but I’d opt for something a little more ankle/less calf length and possibly a darker color. Or my fave green ones.Claire Foy is looking very un-Queen Elizabeth as she turns her attention to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; lipstick and hair are a darker shade and this Gucci is goth whimsy. I always do a double take with Vanessa Kirby because she looks nothing like Margaret IRL—even though I saw her looking a lot like this in The Hour long before The Crown. Going for the opposite approach to her screen sister and the length combined with the bell sleeves gives a strong ’60s vibe.
More from The Crown cast looking very different to how they do on the show and also a whole lot of feelings because I’m still not over Jared Harris’ devastating performance. Also that flash of pink is delightful and this looks like a fun cast to party with. Someone make this rom-com.

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Out of the Box: Look of the Week

25 Aug

We’re in the end of summer, pre-September everything is happening space and that means there’s not a great deal going on right now. But there are still events including the last vestiges of the Emmy campaign dance and more fabulous magazine editorials/covers. An Emmy cocktail reception going by the name Television Academy’s Performers Peer Group is the perfect place for Tracee Ellis Ross to show up in a Chanel embroidered ensemble and finishing it off with a simple white tee. Bonus lip color delight and this is all Tracee Ellis Ross in application (as per her Insta).

WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE 🔥 ~ @chanelofficial By @karlawelchstylist

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Also serving up great poses on her Instagram and this shot is even better. Karla Welch shout out and she continues to do her amazing thing. Cannot wait to see all of her many nominated clients’ — including Elisabeth Moss, Sarah Paulson — at the Emmys. This Monique Lhuillier frock is perfect end of summer florals and I love that Kathryn Hahn has gone with a shoe this pink. I also still need to watch I Love Dick, so thank you Kathryn Hahn for this reminder. And another Karla Welch picked ensemble!Looking classic in black Marc Jacobs with a hint of gold sparkle is Alison Wright and while The Americans has not had the award recognition it deserves, this show always does well in the guest actress category. Fingers crossed for Wright and that Poor Martha gets to drop the first part of that moniker. Always thrilled to see the RuPaul’s Drag Race judging team (accompanied by Delta Work) and RuPaul’s leopard print suit is divine. Also here is a really good behind the scenes look at the rise of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

On a personal style note, I have decided this will be the fall where I finally get a leopard print jacket. Watch this space.For the newly redesigned The Cut which looks amazing btw — Julia Garner is here to make me lust after this Louis Vuitton jacket and sweater. And apparently I now have to watch Ozark because I didn’t realize Garner is in it and I think she is wonderful.

As this profile by Anna Silman mentions, the reason why Garner is so compelling is because she can play so many things at once including the role which has been discussed many times on these pages:

“As Kimmy, she harnessed that singular mix of vulnerability and toughness that has become a Garner trademark.”

It sounds like Garner is delivering on the contradictions in Ozark and I’m also looking forward to seeing how Kimmy will play a part in the final season of The Americans as Philip’s only spy operation.I’m so excited about Maggie Gyllenhaal being on TV this fall and all the profiles coming our way to discuss The Deuce, including this one from Time Out. Gyllenhaal discusses this new David Simon show and her dual role as actor/producer on this project, including what level of creative input she had:

“David [Simon] would come down to my trailer and ask for my thoughts. I told him early on that we get to see so much performative sex as a financial transaction, watching women dressing and coming in the way men want, with little to do with their own desire. I said, “Maybe you could have a scene where I masturbate?” And he wrote it beyond what I could have imagined.”

There is also a discussion about her brother and their different experiences in this industry. Keep these Maggie Gyllenhaal profiles coming.Cue my Almost Famous rendition of “Cover of Rolling Stone” and I’m so thankful that Gal Gadot is wearing a moth-holed white tee instead of the standard white tank — someone at Rolling Stone has obviously invested a lot of money in this garment. The bonus appearance of the Wonder Woman cuffs really makes the cover and I’m happy that we’re talking about this movie still. Ignoring James Cameron, of course.I love a good pun and this headline ticks those boxes and then some because Caitriona Balfe looks stunning on this Entertainment Weekly cover. New Outlander is coming soon (September 10) and the thirst most definitely is real.

EW loves a good steamy shoot and this time they are paying homage to From Here to Eternity; switching beachwear for some Outlander appropriate threads.

 

 

 

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

31 Mar

On the “Out of the Box” menu this week we have more PaleyFest panels, lots of floral inspiration for spring, a good dollop of shimmer and a reunion that’s making me feel a lot of things.By now you will probably know how I feel about Evan Rachel Wood in a ladysuit – strongly positive – and this Cavalli is no different. The ruffled shirt is a fun twist and this overall vibe is a killer look that never gets old.Erdem florals for Thandie Newton mixing delightful levels of print (she put a bird on it) with a good level of shimmer and sparkle. This is a hard level of whimsy to work without falling into the too twee trap, but Newton is doing just that. Excellent PaleyFest panel attire from my fave Westworld robots.More botanicals and both Kirsten Dunst and Charlize Theron are in Gucci at CinemaCon; they’re different enough prints to not feel like they’re matching and yet there’s an element of coordinating (especially when you factor in the strappy heels). Kirsten Dunst also went to a Britney show this week and this Instagram post is everything. This week’s column includes a whole lot of the TV Ate My Wardrobe style ultimates and Jessica Chastain is ticking the rocks a lot of polka dots box in Givenchy with added ruffles. The real bonus here is the yellow pumps, which are fabulous.Uzo Aduba gives great black and white ensemble at the 2017 Garden Of Laughs Comedy Benefit; her clutch is very cute, but I would love to see Jessica Chastain’s yellow pumps with this look instead.A very busy time for Alison Wright at the moment as she’s crushing it (and me in the process) on Feud, making surprise appearances and performing on Broadway. At the Sweat opening night party she looks incredible in a Balmain mini dress and continues to give me so much eyebrow arch envy.Wednesday afternoon involved a whole lot of feelings when Entertainment Weekly unleashed their Buffy the Vampire reunion cover story and this shot of Amber Benson, Alyson Hannigan and Seth Green is too much to handle without taking a moment.

The general styling for this shoot was different variations on black attire and each ensemble did a good job of matching the character they played without falling into any Bad Buffy Outfit traps. #Slay

Best of TV Costuming 2016: The Americans, Vulnerability and the Jennifer Disguise

14 Dec

Welcome to TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2016” costume series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking; we want to celebrate the work of television’s best costume designers.

Kicking off with the show which would be top of my list (and has been for the last few years) and The Americans continues the impossible task of somehow getting even better each season and upping the stakes/tension levels. In previous end of year essays about this show we have discussed wigs, the marriage disguise and the act of removing and revealing the truth.

This year is a combination of all of those things as we take a closer look at costume designer Katie Irish’s work with a focus on Elizabeth Jennings, the Jennifer disguise and where we find her at the mid-point of season 4 in the episode “Travel Agents.” 

Performance wise it doesn’t get much better than what Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Alison Wright are doing this season (and the ones before) and this episode showcases the best of this very complicated dynamic.

the-americans-4-07The implications of Philip removing his Clark cover in the penultimate episode of season 3 (discussed in detail here) are huge; for whom Philip and Elizabeth are as partners in both the professional and personal. By showing his real face he risks the identities they have crafted and lived over twenty years and this act could be read as one of betrayal. It doesn’t help matters that Elizabeth finds out what Philip did when she turns up at the safe house all dressed up as Jennifer (Clark’s sister) – lovely Jenny – and sees her husband without his disguise on.

What he did was an in the moment choice, but he could’ve at least given her a heads up rather than reveal it in this bombshell manner. Three weeks is a long time to be sitting on this secret and Philip’s sheepish reaction is very much their version of getting caught in the act.

Without Clark, Jennifer is nothing and it becomes apparent to Martha that their relationship is definitely not brother and sister; but the Jennifer disguise stays on because they can’t risk her face being seen by someone who has no love or loyalty toward her. It is a humiliating moment for Elizabeth and not just because the Jennifer cover isn’t entirely flattering.jennifer-the-americansAs the seasons have progressed Elizabeth’s tough exterior remains tough, but through falling in actual love with her arranged suitor she has become emotionally vulnerable and the Martha situation brings all these feelings of jealousy to the surface. This isn’t a conventional love triangle and the last time Elizabeth showed outward signs of Martha curiosity/envy was back in season 2 when Martha referred to Clark’s bedroom prowess (not a good conversation point with a sibling or as it turns out in this case his wife) and yet this is about more than just sex. They have both slept with so many other people as part of their job and this goes much deeper than that.

Sex does play a role and it is a form of communication when the words are hard to find or speak; Elizabeth does attempt to stamp her position as wife (and give them both a much needed release) and yet there is a nagging feeling that can’t be subdued.

The thing about the Jennifer look is that she is meant to be unassuming and like a lot of the spy costumes she is meant to be unmemorable. The glasses swap her face and her clothing is pretty ‘Plain Jane’ and she is very much the original Barb. These granny frames are all kinds of endearing, however there is no glamour here; which is in strong contrast to Elizabeth’s other main cover from this season as the super ’80s stylish Patty. The Americans 4.08 Young Hee and ElizabethAlso RIP to this look as Patty ‘killed herself’ and I am looking forward to whatever new creations costume designer Kate Irish comes up with for the forthcoming season (check out Irish’s Instagram for shots of her research and more BTS from The Americans).the-americans-4-07-travel-agentsSo not only does Elizabeth have to watch her de-wigged husband interact with this woman who he also calls his wife, but she has to do so all while dressed in a confidence crushing appearance (Keri Russell talks about the Jennifer disguise as part of 92Y Americans panel and explains that it is a “little rough” on her self-esteem).

Plus she gets questions like this from Martha “Are you sleeping with my husband?” and rather than go for an “Actually” truth response she takes the much easier road of lying to prevent a figurative gut punch. Quickly followed by a literal one.The Americans 4.07 ElizabethEmotional devastation comes in many forms over the course of this season and The Americans level of romance isn’t one coated in chocolates and flowers. However as a show about marriage it nails the ups and downs of romantic love with Elizabeth uncharacteristically laying out her fears for Philip to see, all while dressed as Clark’s sister Jenny. She is so exposed and it doesn’t matter that her mane of hair is stuffed in that wig (another amazing feat).

The glasses are removed because you don’t want to have a conversation like this with half your faced covered, but the wig and ill fitting pink coat remains (the coat and layers is pure Jennifer, but also act as an IRL bump concealer). Elizabeth poses a hypothetical question where she wonders if Philip would go with Martha if he could; she dreads he’ll say yes because he wants the easier life with a more emotionally available woman, but of course this couldn’t be further from how Philip actually feels and he responds with a hint of confused anger at such a thought.

So much gets said with a look and one of The Americans’ strengths is economy of words; this scene delivers on the complexities of this marriage, how hard it is to show this level of vulnerability and how you can be mad that the person you love could even consider such a thought. Ending with a passionate embrace as Elizabeth still clutches her glasses and the realization that he needs to stay cements what we already knew; these two are made for each other and there is no hypothetical situation Philip would be happy with that doesn’t involve his wife. The first one.The Americans 4.08 argumentIt is also fun viewing this scene in juxtaposition to the very honest marriage discussion (okay screaming match) in the following episode. Here Philip is reassuring his wife that this is the life he wants and she is the one he loves, cut to their big hallway blowout which brings up the names of betrayals and former lovers they haven’t forgotten. The Martha situation is a sticky one, but this has nothing on Gregory or Irina. No wigs or glasses present in this trip down romantic rival memory lane.

This episode directed by Matthew Rhys is the best of the season, but this scene in “Travel Agents” is the one which is the true standout for me; the fact that it involves Elizabeth dressed as Jennifer answering a question she won’t be able to take back and Philip is so emphatic with his answer underscores how good every level of The Americans is from the acting, writing, directing to the costuming and hair/makeup.

Watch the scene below and The Americans returns for season 5 next year and if I had to guess I’d say March again, but I’m sure we’ll find out the date next month during TCA.

For more essays on The Americans by me in other places from 2016 check out:

Big Coats, New Disguises: Secrets From ‘The Americans’ Costume Designer

Personality Crisis: How ‘The Americans’ and ‘Orphan Black’ Blur Identity

Born to Run: What TV Characters Reveal While Working Up a Sweat

‘The Americans’: Motherhood, the Motherland, and Elizabeth Jennings

How ‘The Americans’ Portrayal of Teenagers Puts Other Dramas to Shame

‘Stranger Things,’ ‘The Americans,’ and Why Cold War Fears Are Making a Comeback

Best of the Pre-Emmy Parties: Vanity Fair and BAFTA

18 Sep

More pre-Emmy gaming at the Vanity Fair and FX party with a whole host of TV Ate My Wardrobe faves and this party also showcases just how good FX is at the moment. Plus the annual BAFTA LA Tea Party, which always delivers on the daytime shindig attire.keri-russell-and-matthew-rhysGot to kick off with the show that dominates a lot of costume chat in these parts; Keri Russell always brings the casual glam to events like this and for this occasion Matthew Rhys has dialed back on the hiatus beard grizzle with a trim. Nice color suit too and I am looking forward to seeing more of this IRL couple tonight.keirdrich-sellatiAnd this is several shades of adorable from the Americans kids and Keidrich Sellati’s turtleneck/blazer combo is levels of spy and casual attire that his TV dad would wear. schwimmer-paulson-brownDelightful is the word I would use to describe this photo with the cast of American Crime Story giving off all the good vibes. Excellent lipstick choice from Sarah Paulson too.
connie-britton-and-jesse-plemonsThis Vanity Fair/FX party is just a long list of feelings pretty much; including this Friday Night Lights reunion. Tami and Lance feeeeeeelings. donald-gloverDonald Glover keeps the same shirt and changes the suit and still looks just as good as the day before.angela-bassettAngela Bassett always looks incredible and this is no exception. tatiana-maslany-and-maisie-williamsNow to the BAFTA LA Tea Party and there are a lot of super cute patterned dresses to scroll through including Maisie Williams in a very fun House of Holland number, which pairs really well with Tatiana Maslany’s also starry patchwork Coach frock. yara-shahidiGoing slightly more pattern delicate is Yara Shahidi in an ethereal Tommy Hilfiger dress and another stunner from the Black-ish star.millie-bobby-brownA few days ago I mentioned some red carpet similarities between Millie Bobby Brown and Kiernan Shipka; this look continues this notion and while I’m not a fan of the term ‘age appropriate’ (as it can sound quite stuffy) this is exactly that. Good choice of flats too.melora-hardinTransparent’s Melora Hardin also has the right idea for a frock that bridges the summer/fall gap especially when it is still this warm.alison-wrightA different spin on print and Alison Wright’s Stella McCartney jumpsuit (the top version has been worn by Cookie on Empire) is a fun take on daytime party attire.rupaulPolka dots and pink at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, zebra print and yellow at the BAFTA Tea Party; RuPaul crushes it in color and print every single time.

Best of the 2016 TCA Awards Style

8 Aug

The 2016 TCA Awards (not to be confused with the Teen Choice Awards) took place on Saturday and it is one awards show where the attendees know they have won* and that aren’t televised. They also don’t separate the acting awards by gender and ladies won big this year with Sarah Paulson and Rachel Bloom taking home the drama and comedy accolades. American Crime Story was the big winner of the night and The Americans received Best Drama for the second year in a row. For a full list of winners head here.

Sidenote – I also can’t help but think of this episode of The Comeback when it comes to award shows where the recipient knows they have won.

Check out our style highlights from the event below.Mr Robot and CubaThe Mr Robot cast continue their best dressed domination with Christian Slater and Rami Malek crushing their suit choices (as per usual). Malek’s penchant for color instantly makes him standout. Portia Doubleday and Carly Chaikin’s excellent dress picks continue with pleats and a super sexy black number; they are high on the Emmy red carpet anticipation list. Oh hey there Cuba Gooding Jr. Stephanie CorneliussenMore royal blue pleats from a Mr Robot cast member and this time with one of my other favorite things; sequins. Stephanie Corneliussen also happened to be a TCA panel style highlight last week.Sarah Paulson and Holland TaylorThere’s a lot of sheer/net curtain elements to this dress and much like this Philosophy frock Sarah Paulson wore a few months ago I am somewhat on the fence; however she wears it incredibly well and the shorter hairstyle continues to be the best. Also got some strong #RelationshipGoals going on as Paulson poses with girlfriend Holland Taylor.Holly TaylorIt was a busy week for Americans stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys and they didn’t make the awards (it looks like Matthew Rhys was shooting Girls), but the rest of the cast looked amazing with Holly Taylor in a sparkly Marc Bouwer frock. Bonus lipstick points.Alison Wright and Keidrich SellatiWhoa! Keidrich Sellati who plays Henry Jennings sure looks tall/scrubs up well and is finally out from behind the computer screen. Pockets and florals, plus gold shoes equals a fantastic look from Alison Wright. Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKennaI love how genuinely thrilled Rachel Bloom looks at events like this and the red/white coordinating with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna is striking. Jane Fonda and Lily TomlinAll the feelings and a good way to start the week with a hug from Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

The Americans 4.07 “Travel Agents” Review: A Lonely Life

28 Apr

Running away from it all is an idea that has been touched upon on The Americans this season with Philip’s inner voice whispering ‘run, run, run’ as a reaction to Pastor Tim knowing their big spy secret. Now Martha knows a version of everything and she’s the one on the fleeing; she is out there on her own and her whole world has collapsed. Leaving Martha with Gabriel was a bad idea as the only person holding her together was Philip and now they have a valuable asset to find in a huge city while the FBI are also trying to do the same thing.

Season 4 is all about consequences that come from living a double life and the resulting spiraling from Martha and to a lesser extent (at the moment) Paige is a result of their relationships that are not as they seem. Martha has been torn from everything she has known and flung into a very dangerous place and her fleeing is an attempt to regain a sense of control; but what do go when everywhere is a potential danger and every face could be the one coming to arrest you?The Americans 4.07 MarthaMartha was chosen as a target not only because of whom she is secretary to, but because of her lonely heart status and I can’t help but picture Miss Lonelyhearts from Rear Window when I think of how they picked her. Later when Philip tells Martha she will be making the trip to Moscow solo she remarks that she will be alone “just the way I was before I met you” and if my heart hadn’t already been crushed by this storyline then it would be in pieces after that. Stan and Gaad talk about the why of what Martha has done with money and sex coming up and then pondering if she was really that unhappy and I think we have our answer. Stan even wonders if this is a real love scenario and at first this interpretation surprised me and then I remembered how he felt about Nina; it isn’t that uncommon to fall for the person you are meant to be working or vice versa.

Emotions are manipulated in this business and sometimes it is hard to know what is real and with every new bit of information Martha is getting she is becoming harder to keep at bay with promises and reassurances. Knowing who Philip works for peels back another layer and shatters her illusion of what this relationship was. When she speaks to him on the phone she is desperate and broken, but not completely done as we see her contemplating jumping from a very high bridge and not following through. Chekhov’s Valium does not come into play either. Martha wants this all to end and she is now wise to Philip’s methods knowing he will “tell me some version of the truth that’s not very true.” There is a moment where she contemplates hanging up the phone and not revealing her location, but she is all out of other options and Philip is the only person she can turn to.The Americans 4.07 carElizabeth gets to her first and has a job convincing Martha to a) calm the fuck down and b) come with her willingly. Elizabeth has one hand in her pocket and the other one is not giving a peace sign; there is a strong sense that Elizabeth really doesn’t want to have to resort to the ultimate silencing method and yet you know she will if this goes bad. Martha has a whole host of questions about who Elizabeth is and whether she is “sleeping with my husband.” Knowing this is not the time to speak wife to wife she denies the sleeping with part, but does explain they are all part of this operation. When Martha continues to freak out Elizabeth sucker punches her hard in the gut and whispers the very real facts of how she has nowhere else to go as the FBI knows who she is. Martha needs to do exactly what Elizabeth says and she will live.

As Martha has seen Philip’s true face it is why Elizabeth (and an unseen Hans) get sent out to find Martha while Philip gets to go hang at their phone operator’s apartment. In terms of a lonely existence this job seems to encapsulate all of that and this is probably why Joan is so pleased to have someone to talk to that isn’t just a voice on the end of a line. Philip is of course rather preoccupied and isn’t much up for chatting although he does indulge in some day old borscht. While he isn’t hungry he does seem to appreciate the taste and reminder of home. When they do converse it is about the person who had this job before her, the person Larrick killed and before Philip can answer her question the phone rings and it is Martha. Back to solo living for Joan.The Americans 4.07 PhilipA taste of home food and Martha’s forthcoming trip to Moscow and Philip couldn’t be blamed for longing for a way out. This is how Elizabeth infers things and she is at her most vulnerable and forgiving in “Travel Agents.” Instead of reacting with anger as I expected she would that Martha has fled and knows about them being KGB she instead shows empathy telling Philip that this is not his fault. This is a very different Elizabeth to the one we met back in season 1 and she is much more in tune with how complicated things can get. Plus she also went through something similar when Gregory was put in the cross hairs of their operation.

Later on when Martha is back at the house and Philip has gone to find some ice – ice that is stored next to the infected rat – for the injury caused by Elizabeth they have the kind of open conversation that didn’t seem possible until this season. For all their skills at emotional manipulation Philip and Elizabeth are not so good when it comes to sharing their real feelings and this has caused issues in the past such as when Philip slept with his ex Irina in season 1 and then lied about it. Pot helped them open up last year and they have been getting better at telling each other how they feel; EST can also take credit as Elizabeth’s willingness to listen and even participate when Philip told her about the classes showed how much she has changed. The Americans 4.07 ElizabethNow Elizabeth is allowing herself to be vulnerable in front of her husband even if that means potentially (she talks as a hypothetical) losing him and she takes off her Jennifer glasses (because you can’t have a serious conversation in those specs) and asks him if he could go with Martha, would he? Confusion is part of Philip’s response “Are you crazy?” that she could suggest he would want to leave her and she tries to fill in the blanks by saying she knows this is different. It is a huge amount of different and he emphatically tells her “I love you.” I think Elizabeth also forgets that Philip is the one who has been deeply in love with her since the beginning and all these feelings are still somewhat new for Elizabeth. She was also not privy to Philip’s conversation with William while she was ill a few weeks ago when he said he would only want the normal life if it was with Elizabeth. This is the kind of reassurance Philip probably doesn’t think Elizabeth needs as he doesn’t see her as an insecure person, but her slightly teary eyes while she tells him she would understand if he did want to go with Martha indicates otherwise.

Elizabeth getting ready for bed by herself – and this is the only time we see Elizabeth as Elizabeth in this episode – at the end of “Travel Agents” mirrors Martha’s pre-bed routine in “Clark’s Place” but this time no one is having any kind of sex; desperate, sad, fierce, passionate or otherwise. Instead we see Philip wide awake starring at the ceiling contemplating the lonesome existence he is about to send Martha on, while Martha lies with her back to him also getting no sleep whatsoever. At first he insisted he would be home within a few hours, but Elizabeth smartly pointed out that he should stay because otherwise what would Martha do? This one night of what Elizabeth perceived as comfort is pretty much two people sleeping in the same bed, but two people who are very much apart. Now Martha knows his real name – both Philip and Mikhail (Mischa was his nickname) – it appears the ties that bound them have disappeared with everything Clark.

There is no lie from Philip that he will join her in Moscow and he ignores Elizabeth’s advice and while telling Martha this lie would give her hope at first, it is ultimately kinder her to tell the truth that this is them done. She is never seeing him again. And while I say this pretty much every week Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Alison Wright are crushing it on every single level possible. Wright could quite easily fall into hysterics, but instead she plays Martha as walking the line between holding it together and coming apart at the seams. There is an economy in the interactions between Philip and Elizabeth; so much is said in a look so that when Philip does go all in on his “I love you” moment we know it matters and he means it. Basically I am in awe in a weekly basis and it would be a wonderful thing if the Emmys would recognize their talent this year (although I am not expecting them to after ignoring this show for three seasons).

I’m also pretty sure the last time Philip said “I love you” was after Elizabeth found out about what really happened with Irina. Back then his words had no weight or meaning; here it is everything.The Americans 4.07 GaadOver at the FBI the fallout from Martha is swirling around Gaad, who as he notes had a bug in his office, the Gene stuff and his secretary fell for a Romeo plot and has been married to a KGB agent for two years. Not a great list of things for the person in charge of counterintelligence. Richard Thomas’ delivery of “They seduced and married my secretary” is full of disbelief and he would find it funny if it wasn’t so bad for his career. Actually he probably wouldn’t find it funny even then, but it definitely made me chuckle.

When sorting through Martha’s things we get to see her photo albums and once again The Americans art department does a fantastic job with how authentic these look using real photos of a young Alison Wright. There is also the heart necklace Philip gave her back in season 1 (which belonged to Elizabeth) and if only Stan knew who the former owner was.The Americans 4.07 photo albumThe Americans 4.07 necklaceAnd while the FBI are working hard to catch Martha, Oleg and Tatiana are the travel agents of the episode title and are planning an escape route for Martha, well at least Oleg is. Tatiana has other ideas by the looks of things and she is only concerned with transporting the sample; she has her backup pilot and isn’t so subtle about shutting the red folder when Oleg comes to see her. It will be interesting to see how the office politics plays out here and what impact it will have on the wider operation if they try to fuck Martha over (and in turn really piss off Philip).

What we got in “Travel Agents” is an accumulation of the Martha plot and now it has all spilled over into the point of no return and season 4 is firing on all cylinders in new and unexpected ways.

Shot(s) of the WeekThe Americans 4.07 Philip and MarthaThis week director Dan Attias employed a lot of tight close ups particularly during moments of high emotion, but the two shots I want to single out are wide angles which help isolate the characters contained within. After Philip tells Martha he won’t be joining her in Moscow we see them from a distance, this is them coming to an end as a couple and as an asset; the two are intrinsically linked and this really emphasizes how alone she was and is going to be. Philip might be sharing the same space, but that means nothing now.The Americans 4.07 Elizabeth and MarthaWhen Elizabeth finds Martha in the park she approaches slowly and there is a certain gun duel aspect about the framing here (or I have listened to Hamilton too much) and the hidden gun versus the secret Martha knows makes this a potentially deadly set up. Elizabeth inches closer and closer before she makes her move and this is another case of excellent tension building and execution.

Disguise of the WeekThe Americans 4.07 Philip and ElizabethThere are no new disguises this week unless you count Philip’s super light cap disguise – the point that Martha has seen his face is reiterated – but I do love the Jennifer look so much and this is the longest Elizabeth has stayed in one disguise over an episode and we only see her true self at the end when she gets ready for bed.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2016The Americans 4.07 teensThis isn’t about what is worn in the above shot, but more about the ad on TV. First I want to say how much fun this scene is because teens are often the much maligned characters in shows like this and The Americans is doing a good job of incorporating the kids; Paige in the main story and Henry (and Matthew) as ultimate latchkey kids ignored by their busy at work dads. Here they drink beer and rather than getting all self-righteous Paige joins in and even gives Henry some extra.

Before Paige came in the sound of a Calvin Klein ad was heard and Henry comments how hot the model is and finally Henry has found a girl around his age to lust after as Brooke Shields was 16 when she shot this campaign. Now this commercial reads on the creepy end, though nowhere near as bad as the last commercial this show led me to look up.

But yeah I’d wear some Calvin Klein 80s jeans, but this ad would not be the reason.

The Americans 4.06 “The Rat” Review: Trust Me

21 Apr

Guilt can do funny things to a person and Philip has been feeling increasingly bad about all the terrible things he has done over the years starting with the moment he killed someone when he was 10 years old that we saw in the season 4 premiere of The Americans. More recent events have left their mark including what happened to assets like Anneliese who ended up broken and shoved into a suitcase to the random strangers who have ended up dead at their hands. Martha is the embodiment of everything terrible he has done with all the lying and violent acts committed and Philip’s ability to deal with the possibility that Martha has been compromised is soaked in the guilt of everything he has done for his country.

At the end of last week’s episode “Clark’s Place” we saw Martha alone in bed with Stan and Aderholt keeping watch outside while across town Elizabeth and Philip were letting off steam in an entirely different way. This was in part a reaction from Elizabeth to seeing (and maybe lip reading the “I love you”) Philip’s face after he called Martha and she was both acting out of jealousy, but also comfort and this was a way to take both their minds off everything that is going on right now. This diversion doesn’t last long and the episode opens with them in bed entangled in each other with the conversation quickly shifting from nipple size observations to the status of Martha. Elizabeth reassures Philip that nothing has changed since they fell into bed. The Americans 4.06 William and PhilipSoon everything will be very different as Philip’s increasingly twitchy feelings about whether Martha has been blown or not cause him to do something impulsive that could jeopardize everyone. Philip has in fact already been incredibly impulsive with Martha; when he removed his disguise and didn’t inform either Gabriel or Elizabeth that he had done such a thing. Now Philip has scooped Martha off the street rather than waiting for their Tuesday appointment time and we are in uncharted territory. Promises that all will be okay and the repeated trust assertions are all well and good, but there is very little to back up anything Philip is saying and his actions are getting increasingly desperate.

Here Philip is very much the married man having an affair making promises he knows are unlikely as a way to keep his mistress on side and once again The Americans takes a very unlikely spy problem and makes it relatable in a relationship sense.

The act of removing his Clark face is something he can’t quite put into words when Elizabeth confronts him and the mixture of hurt and betrayal is all over Elizabeth’s face when she turns up to the safe house and sees him as he is; now it probably feels like he is cheating on her. This is one hell of an awkward set up with Gabriel, Philip, Elizabeth and Martha all under one roof and I half expected we would see a contender for most fucked up dinner party with Philip, his two wives and his handler/dad substitute. Instead Philip insists that he stay because that makes most sense for keeping things on an even keel with Martha and Keri Russell delivers a mixture of sadness, confusion and acceptance at what Philip has done by taking off his Clark disguise. Luckily for Elizabeth she doesn’t have to hear what Gabriel does later.

One other striking thing Keri Russell does here is change her voice from her Jennifer tones to her regular Elizabeth voice when Martha realizes she isn’t really Clark’s sister. She is giving off reassuring Elizabeth and it sounds exactly the same as how she has been talking to Philip about Martha’s safety.The Americans 4.06 JenniferNot only has Philip shown his face, moved ahead with the extraction plan before they have a clear idea of what the FBI does or doesn’t know, but he has done the one thing he really shouldn’t and that is reveal who they work for. My reaction to Philip uttering “KGB” caused a full out loud gasp and I still can’t believe he went so far as telling this truth. I am looking forward to seeing just how Elizabeth will react to this one especially considering what happens at the end of the episode. This is a betrayal of who they are not only as agents, but as husband and wife.

But first back to this sharing scene and it seems like Philip sheds another layer of his Clark persona every time he thinks he needs to give Martha something to convince her she can trust him; but the more he spills, the more he risks everything.

Philip feels responsible for Martha and now she is in a position of no return there is this extra element of culpability and it all started with the pen discovery and has spiraled since then. Blaming Gene was a good distraction, but that never quite sat well with Stan and so ultimately that was another needless death. Martha can’t go back to work or the way it was before now that she has called in sick because Stan and Aderholt keep on digging and keep finding things that could be suspicious. They now know Clark’s name and this whole web is unraveling at a quick speed. They have even put two and two together with Amador’s murder and how it might be connected to all of this, which it is. And somehow this is all happening by the mid-point of this season and I can’t get over how the writers can crank up the tension this much, this early. Everything teeters on the point of oblivion and Philip is getting closer to the edge with every move he makes.The Americans 4.06 PhilipLast week Philip told Elizabeth that it can all move so fast and he has become a self-fulfilling prophecy as he is the one who is making this happen. When he has no secrets left to share – Martha asks if he is involved with Jennifer and all he says is they have worked together for a long time, which is technically not a lie – things lead to a moment of comfort and an embrace. One thing leads to another and sex is a distraction tool once again; however this is more desperate and sad than the passionate release we saw between Philip and Elizabeth in “Clark’s Place.” And Gabriel has to listen to it all.

Something comes up, because it always does and this means Philip has to leave Martha with Gabriel. Philip has concerns with good reason about doing this and once again he doesn’t divulge to his handler exactly what he has done and a heads up here would be useful. He takes Martha’s gun, perhaps for her safety and also so she doesn’t have a weapon to use against Gabriel, but all this does when Martha wakes is freak her out and give her reason to flee when she sees Clark has gone. Gabriel’s assurance that she can trust him means absolutely nothing and she threatens him with a weapon far more dangerous than a gun; revealing who they really are. Philip, you fucked up bad. The Americans 4.06 Philip and MarthaMartha’s gun has been threatening to go off for two seasons now, but I am now getting a Chekhov’s Valium feeling with every time we see the bottle of pills. Martha has survived for this long and this is an impressive feat considering what a burden she now is to Philip’s mission; this is a much more interesting story to see how they back themselves out of what feels like an inescapable situation and the same goes for Pastor Tim. As with Nina it does seem like there is no way out and her time might be soon, but The Americans writers don’t do easy or obvious. I can’t see her on a ship to Moscow anytime soon and I wonder if instead she will flip and go back to the FBI. Or the Valium might come into play and if she is going to die then maybe it will be at her own hands.

We get to find out a little more about Martha’s backstory and why she was such an easy mark for Philip; she lives “a lonely existence” and with that Stan observation my heart broke a little more for Martha. It also turns out that she was engaged to her high school sweetheart and he broke up with her when she fell pregnant. Martha had an abortion at a time when it was dangerous (as it was illegal) and my heart breaks even more when I think about how much she wanted to foster a kid. If she does survive I wonder if there will be a pregnancy storyline down the road as she did have unprotected sex with Philip and if there is something Philip doesn’t need then that is a fourth child. The Americans 4.06 Martha wineWilliam is another person we find out a little more about this week; the partner he used to have was also a wife who got sent back home. Her name is/was Eliza and it is unclear whether she is alive or dead. I suspect the latter. All that is clear is William wishes he hadn’t kept quiet and had done something to stop it and the dream of Philip and William as BFFs is coming closer to fruition as William is very interested in asking Philip about his life. Although now I type that out I wonder if there is an ulterior motive at play because this is The Americans after all. Hopefully this suspicion is incorrect and I happy Philip and Elizabeth have both found people they can call friends this season. They sure need this kind of connection.

Using the hero line on William to inspire action gets a snarky response about how he will return in a coffin, but he comes through and things are back to being fraught when meeting with him as they no longer know when he is being surveilled. Hence the disguises and Hans with his binoculars. William and Philip chat like any co-workers who are annoyed at their bosses lack of awareness at what they actually do and William points out that the powers that be have no idea what they are doing. Everything is reactionary and it doesn’t matter how much any of these characters get reassured as the shit could hit the fan at any point. Martha is very much this in action.

Stan’s hunch is playing out and it is time to bring Gaad into the fold and he is in shock at this revelation as Martha has worked for the FBI for over 10 years. Later on he is still ruminating about this development and he questions how he didn’t see it; Stan might wonder the same when/if he finds out who Philip and Elizabeth really are. The Americans 4.06 StanPerformance wise this is another stellar week for all with Matthew Rhys and Alison Wright edging out in to MVP territory. There are a lot of different emotions swirling around and there is one moment where Philip’s entire body sags after he sees that Martha has a gun, which is pretty much the pure expression of mental and physical exhaustion at what is going on. The Americans doesn’t normally play within a time frame that is this tight, but it has only been 3 weeks since the wig removal and so much is stacking up in a small period for these characters. Alison Wright has been playing Martha as part defiant, part nervous wreck this season and walking the line between these two aspects is hard without coming across as hysterical, but she is doing just this and crushing my soul in the process.

The use of TV in Martha’s morning routine provided some fun historical timeline information including Princes Charles and Princess Diana’s trip to Australia and New Zealand with Prince William (Princess Diana would have been pregnant with Harry at the time, but this would not have been public knowledge at this early stage in the pregnancy). This is followed by a segment about three different women – single, divorced, widowed – and how all three are loving life; Martha switches the TV off just as the single woman mentions she has never felt the need to be married. Martha’s single life was definitely less fraught/complicated than the one she lives now and ultimately less lonely.

Expectations of a different kind are occurring in the Jennings house and Henry is not giving up on his Epcot quest and he even comes up with a new slogan of sorts – “EPCOT: Don’t Kill the Dream.” Pastor Tim might feel differently about this.

For now Henry should just be happy his parents are not in jail because if this Martha thing goes south then that will be where they are headed. The hunt for Martha from both sides will be on and while The Americans is too tense to be a good binge watch show, with this cliffhanger I really wish I had the next episode available now.

Shot(s) of the WeekThe Americans 4.06 Martha's gunThe lighting of this scene and the weight of this moment are both important and every single action Philip makes is causing everything to spiral further out of their control.The Americans 4.06 handsShots of hands are repeatedly used in “The Rat” and here Philip and Elizabeth’s bodies are tangled up together with Philip’s wedding band taking a prominent position in this moment of unity. Close ups of reassuring shoulder squeezes from Philip to Gabriel, Philip to Martha and Tatiana to Oleg are all significant in their affection, but this is the one that stands out in its intimacy.

Disguise of the Week

The Americans 4.06 Elizabeth disguiseI did consider the return of Jennifer as she is one of my favorite Elizabeth disguises, but as we got a couple of new ones this week it made sense to give them a spin. First up Elizabeth rocking a slightly Felicity-esque curly hair look.The Americans 4.06 disguise close upA close up on the star earrings (which we have seen before) is necessary.

Meanwhile…The Americans 4.06 Philip disguisePhilip goes blonde again for William.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2016

The Americans 4.06 ElizabethThere’s not a whole lot of options this week, but I do really like Elizabeth’s paisley dress as she cooks a dish that Young Hee showed her how to prepare as she tries to push down feelings of resentment as to where Philip is in this moment.

Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

20 Apr

Lots of returning shows, endings, beginnings and other pivotal TV moments captured on Instagram this week. With a dash of Coachella, style highs and other on (and off) set shenanigans.

R U WATCHING!!?? #UnbreakableKimmySchmidt #netflix 😻

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The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is back and unlike Daredevil S2 I haven’t stalled at the halfway mark (I’ll get back to Daredevil, but there are just so many other shows taking priority right now). Kimmy starts off on the patchy side as one early plot doesn’t quite stick the landing, but the jokes are stacked and so wonderfully random at times. I am still thinking about the Rob Kardashian sock designer reference. Kimmy’s style has given me lots of inspiration for spring and Anna Camp is an A+ guest star choice.

He's baaaaaack(ish). #unbreakablekimmyschmidt #purvis

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And while we’re on the subject of amazing Kimmy Schmidt guest stars; I yelled WHAT?! so loud at my screen that I had to rewind the scene. Everything about this moment from the deconstruction of Dawson’s Creek to that haircut and costume is perfect.

Tonight is the finale of GIRLS and also my directorial debut. Get it while it's HOT!!!!

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Season 5 of Girls has been a triumph from Marnie’s wedding to Marnie’s one night adventure all the way to the two-part finale which got me misty eyed on several occasions. One surprise this season was how much they leaned into the Jessa/Adam pairing much to my delight and here Adam Driver definitely has his fighting face at the ready.

The beginning of the end

A post shared by @jennikonner on

 

Where one thing ends, another begins and while this week marked the end of season 5 for us as the audience, the Girls team started production on season 6 with their first table read.

We're coming to find you.. April 24th! #gotseason6 #behindthescenes #iainglen

A post shared by Michiel Huisman (@michielhuisman) on

 

Game of Thrones returns this week and it is a testament to the HBO promo department that even after last year’s mostly disappointing season I am so hyped for Sunday. Michiel Huisman posting this very vacation looking snap also helps.

TONIGHT ON NBC @latenightseth

A post shared by Maisie Williams (@maisie_williams) on

 

Sticking with the GoT theme and Maisie Williams’ collar and lipstick game is strong.

Just a normal family #janethevirgin

A post shared by Yael Grobglas (@yaelgrobglas) on

 

From the adorable on the Jane the Virgin set.

 

To the very surreal and slightly creepy (depending on how you feel about clowns).

Here's some BTS for you- the props department bought over 60 masks to work with for MK's signature look. #OrphanBlack

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While we’re on the subject of creepy here are some of the alternate masks for new clone M.K. on Orphan Black and the new season kicked off on a high. I also wrote an essay about Orphan BlackThe Americans and identity; I would love you to read it.

 

There has been a lot of Coachella on Instagram this week and Amandla Stenberg is avoiding all the fashion cliches of this festival looking cool as fuck in this very 90s look. Not a choker or flower crown in sight. And this could easily be a new print ad for Calvin Klein; it is that good.

 

Aya Cash and Kether Donohue’s version of Coachella is much more my speed.

 

Looking like the back of a gown on Say Yes to the Dress with Aaron Tveit on a photo shoot.

Clarence & Virginia ❤️ #confirmation #hbo #kerrywashington #wendellpierce #rickfumiyama

A post shared by Alison Wright (@therealalisonwright) on

 

Alison Wright got to wear a wig on TV this week; nope Martha hasn’t gone undercover and instead this is for the HBO movie Confirmation. Here is Wright with co-star Wendell Pierce.

 

Another costume stunner from Salvador Perez on The Mindy Project.

 

This is all very exciting and I am so ready for season 2 of UnREAL.

 

Busy Philipps giving me so many Freaks and Geeks related feelings. The instant I see that blue coat it makes me so very happy. The caption here is also excellent.

 

While I’m dealing with feelings, here seems like a good place to end this week.

The Americans 4.05 “Clark’s Place” Review: People of Action

14 Apr

There is a reason The Americans didn’t go with “Heroes” as their David Bowie closing music choice, opting instead for the apt “Under Pressure” collaboration with Queen. There are no heroes on The Americans and this is the kind of war where both sides do some very bad things and people definitely get hurt no matter how much either team wants to spin their tales of horror. It is relentless and by this point it a battle that has been simmering for nearly 40 years and while we know the end is in sight; there is no sign of it letting up for the people in the midst of it all. The wheels keep on spinning and the problems keep on coming.The Americans 4.05 Elizabeth and PhilipLast week’s quarantine getaway might not have been the vacation Philip and Elizabeth need, but it did give them the briefest respite from the many challenges they’ve got going on at work and home. There is no taking a break now and the things that stacked up during the ‘maybe you’ve got glanders’ 48 hour period have to be addressed. Bowling was fun and all, but there are other wives, daughters and Pastors who have a lot of questions.

Paige wants to know where they have been and her late night chat with her mother (Philip is at Clark’s) doesn’t give her any answers as Elizabeth stonewalls her. Firstly it is the middle of the night and Paige fully startled Elizabeth out of her slumber and even though it isn’t surprising to see her react in this way with all that is going on, it is surprising to see Elizabeth this twitchy. I guess she did just think she might die so her vulnerability levels are high.

Paige’s quest for answers is also not a shocking turn of events as finding out your parents are spies is not an everyday kinda problem. They are vague when it comes to describing what they do and the only thing they keep stressing is how dangerous it is for someone else to know their secret and how much trouble they would get in if they were caught. While Martha spins the story in the exact way Philip tells her to with this notion that she is having an affair with a married man, Paige comes straight out and tells Pastor Tim what her parents wanted her to say to him. Paige is wrestling with her confusion with honesty, whereas Martha’s is a much deeper predicament because if she fucks up she will be going to jail to and her loyalty to Clark is incredibly complicated. The Americans 4.05 Philip and ElizabethWith Pastor Tim and Alice the solution to get them on side is to spin a religious angle because Pastor Tim believes that the Soviets have a very dim and oppressive take on those who believe. That’s why Philip and Elizabeth take their very good friend Father Rivas with them to explain all the good work they do and the lives they have saved. This definitely has a positive impact on Pastor Tim and also gives Philip and Elizabeth the chance to double down on this idea that both sides do good and bad. And of course they do good and this whole bit is well orchestrated. It also leads to one of the funniest moments this week when after dropping Rivas off Philip ponders whether he is even a priest. Regardless, part 1 of getting Pastor Tim on side is successful and it is Paige they might need to work on.

Paige is resistant to all of this and the gentle prodding/manipulation; she tells Pastor Tim that it seems like there is a grownup conspiracy going on where they are telling her how to feel and then they do whatever they want. That’s what adults do, Paige. Such a teen. Paige does admit that they at least told her the truth when she asked even if in retrospect they probably shouldn’t have. That scores them points and Elizabeth will be glad to know that Paige does know they love her. Later on they pop in on Paige while she is in bed and she tells them they were right about how Pastor Tim cares about her; while this should be comforting Paige still looks like sleep will be evading her and the weight of the world is on her mind.

Sleep or lack of is a problem this week for Martha and the Valium she has been prescribed for her panic attacks is not helping all that much. Out of everyone she is truly on her own right now; she couldn’t reach Clark before her dinner date with Agent Aderholt and even though she has a new emergency number to reach Philip on this doesn’t make him any more available to her really. “Clark’s Place” opens with their only face to face interaction and here she tells him about the copy machine query and the possibility they are on to her. When Philip gives her the number to memorize he tells her he needs that bit of paper back in the morning and her response is heartbreaking – “Why would I expect to keep anything?” Even their wedding photo is gone when she comes back to the apartment.The Americans 4.05 MarthaPhilip puts Hans on Martha full time and he thinks he spots someone tailing her and while Hans isn’t sure, we know that his hunch is correct and they are getting closer to figuring out that something is up with Martha that goes beyond an affair with a married man. What this does is isolate Martha even further and the call later where Philip tells her he loves her is not much of a consolation prize. Another week with another knockout performance from Alison Wright and this entire cast is crushing it this season. Is it too much to hope the Emmy voters are paying attention?

The phone call Philip makes is all under the watchful eye of his other wife and Elizabeth’s concern here is part mission related with a big dollop of jealousy. Martha is an important asset and one they must protect at all costs, but as Gabriel points out they are good at what they do because they care about the people they work with. Part of this is Gabriel buttering them up, but Elizabeth also knows that Philip does have some feelings for Martha, which is maybe why she asserts her role as wife with some super steamy moves at the end of the episode. All while Martha is across town; alone in bed and with a pair of FBI agents sitting outside her apartment.The Americans 4.05 ElizabethIn season 2 Martha told Elizabeth (while dressed as Jennifer) that Clark was a wild animal in bed. This was a point of contention that led to a very upsetting physical moment between Philip and Elizabeth; this time however Elizabeth definitely has the upper hand in the wife stakes. And she always does really. Considering how much shit is going on and that they just faced a near-death adjacent experience it isn’t surprising that sex is on the cards as it is both the perfect distraction and way to work out all this nervous energy. They are people of action after all. Let’s just hope Paige is also out as she has been through enough as it is to have to hear that as well. 

This moment comes after they have put it together that Agent Aderholt is the guy Elizabeth took out in the season 3 premiere and he’s also the guy who took Martha out; none of this is good news. The friendly face they have in the FBI is friendly once again as Philip and Stan have finally made up. Philip apologizes and then uses his chat with Sandra a few weeks ago to tell Stan that Sandra feels bad about things too; all the ways to get him back on side and Sad Stan re-earns that nickname by revealing that he doesn’t have many friends. Henry doesn’t count and his relationship with Oleg is goes back to being cordial this week, but that is all it is.The Americans 4.05 OlegAh yes Oleg and Stan and the news of Nina’s death reaches all the people who care about her this week. Oleg is angry that his father could do nothing to stop it even though he knows he knows he shouldn’t expect anything and the death of his brother is wrapped up in this overwhelming grief. Oleg’s father Igor is angry that even though his son died fighting for his country there will be no military honors at his funeral; he was a hero, but in this Cold War there are no heroes and everything related to it must be erased from history.

Similarly the details surrounding Nina’s death are incredibly vague and they don’t even have the information regarding what she did other than she “interfered.” To her country Nina was a traitor even though she got valuable intel when she was working as a double agent. It doesn’t matter and Arkady swings between anger at Nina and anger at the system with what happened to her. When Oleg tells Stan he doesn’t dance around her death coming straight out and telling him. Stan is speechless and Oleg shares the story about his brother’s funeral and how there are no heroes in this war. It all seems so futile.

The word hero gets used as a suggestion from Gabriel about how they should push William; he has been in the US for 25 years and has achieved barely anything. Now is the time for him to step up. But even if he does come through and help swing the balance of power the only time he will be getting called a hero is in a secret meeting in a car park. He probably should not expect a statue or portrait to be put up in every office.

Shot(s) of the WeekThe Americans 4.05 Paige and ElizabethThis week’s episode was directed by none other than Stan Beeman himself, Noah Emmerich and there are lot of wonderful moments to choose from; particularly in the Jennings house. This one between Elizabeth and Paige in the middle of the night does a good job of showing how this huge spy reveal has opened things up, but there is also a gulf between them. Also experiencing a lot of long hair envy. The Americans 4.05 Paige and PhilipLater on Elizabeth comes home to find a very normal affair; Henry on the computer while Philip and Paige watch TV. Ronald Reagan is between them and Reagan is the elephant in the room or rather the clown in the room as Elizabeth can’t stifle her laughter at what his red cheeks makes him look like. A new lighter Elizabeth is always welcome and Young Hee is having a good effect on her. This is a very different level of emotions than the last time Regan was on TV.The Americans 4.05 Paige in bedAnd to complete the Paige and her parents circle here they are checking in while she is in bed, not asleep.

Disguise of the WeekThe Americans 4.05 PattyA light disguise week with one appearance by Patty, Clark and Hans. Patty wins because just look at her and I love that purple is her dominant costume color. Young Hee is fascinating and even though we still don’t know why Elizabeth is interested in her, I don’t care as she is super charming and it is nice to see Elizabeth with a friend. Yes Henry, your mom has friends (even if they are work related).

Outfit I Would Wear in 2016The Americans 4.05 Elizabeth trenchIt always comes back to the Coach trench and this week Elizabeth switches it up by alternating between her tan and black version. This is also the one Holly Taylor wore to a recent FX event. It is a classic for a reason.

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