Tag Archives: Keri Russell

The Americans 5.03 “The Midges” Review: Even Cowboys Get the Blues

22 Mar

When Philip and Elizabeth first told Paige their big spy secret towards the end of season 3 of The Americans they left out a lot of the details about what they did. How do you explain to your teenage daughter that not only are you a Russian spy, but that you also pretend to be other people to get the information your country requires?

This is already a confusing and difficult conversation and let’s not even consider the ramifications if Paige found out about all the other stuff they do all in the name of their country.Everything changed when Paige saw her mother act in self defense and kill a man in front of her; while she had already figured out that the breadcrumb details she was given didn’t tell the whole story, this was a real eye opener. The questions they keep on coming and by dating an FBI agent’s son Paige has put herself in an even more precarious position from an emotional point of view. Dealing with parents who are spies is one thing and throwing in all of these first boyfriend feelings just makes things even more complicated.

If I was talking about vampires on The Vampire Diaries I would be throwing around the phrase “heightened emotions” and this is exactly what Paige is experiencing. But instead of learning that she can live forever, Paige has found out that her parents are nothing like your regular mom and dad.

The reason why Paige confronted them in the first place was because she could sense that something was off with their behavior and by withholding they are still keeping her at an arm’s length. Of course there are things they can’t reveal and aspects such as sleeping with assets would not be the best way of keeping her on side. Or the fact that they have destroyed lives (see Young Hee and Martha *sob*) and killed a lot of people in the process. If Paige thinks it is gross lying to people with ease, can you image is she knew how often her parents have to resort to bullets and back breaking as a way to protect their identity/work.The latter happens at the end of “The Midges” after their investigation at the lab is interrupted by someone who works there. Another case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’ and Randy gets added to this growing list which also includes security guards, guys returning for a left behind wallet and delivery drivers. Randy at first attempts to lie about his position at the lab and while he’s high up, he also doesn’t know a whole lot about why they are breeding this type of pest. The information he does give shows that this is linked to Stan’s investigation and the FBI and KGB are going to be crossing paths again soon. As Elizabeth informs him “You should’ve asked.”

Philip has a bad track record with the cowboy hat and the last time this was part of his disguise his wig got ripped off and another innocent bystander paid the price. This time it is a double team effort and despite being much shorter than Randy, Philip and Elizabeth easily intimidate him. First Elizabeth hits him from behind against the glass and then she pushes him toward Philip who quickly ends things by breaking his back. Pretty fucked up date night and when Philip mentions telling Paige about this aspect of their work it is a super dark joke I was not expecting, but considering how much terrible stuff they have done as part of their job it isn’t surprising that morbid humor is the way to go. It is either that or go to the dark place that Philip has been circling since season 2. And I’m not even sure Philip intends it to be funny.It is his idea to tell Paige about what their current operation is because it clearly shows Russia as the victim; attacking food supply and starving a country is something Paige will understand as bad. What they also do is reveal part of their cover telling her about having fake identities while leaving out their fake son. They mention that they are pretending to be a pilot and flight attendant and how hard it can be. Throughout this scene Elizabeth looks pleased that they are sharing this with their daughter and there is a sense of pride that they can talk openly with her about this stuff. Well, not entirely and as with Elizabeth’s later conversation with Paige she talks about the importance of not sharing everything.

Not that Elizabeth is maybe the best at giving romantic advice considering how closed off things were with Philip when we first met them. They are of course a lot better at sharing with each other than they have ever been, but because of the nature of their arrangement and how they had to compartmentalize their original lives there is always going to be some aspect of holding back. They’re experts in emotional manipulation and yet they are often stumped at how to deal with their own feelings.

Communication has vastly improved and there is no one better than having a conversation without saying a word than Philip and Elizabeth; they say so much to each other in their glances and this is a point I could make on a weekly basis (and probably do) as Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are so good at saying so much without saying anything at all. This brings me to the scene in the motel room where Elizabeth recognizes how much the weight of what they are doing is burdening Philip’s soul.

Targeting food has brought up a whole lot of shit about his childhood and as we saw in the very brief flashback as Philip stares into the bathroom mirror his upbringing was not an easy one and the thought of anyone going through that again back home is too much to think about. Philip ponders on the notion of why can’t they grow enough grain to not have to rely on the US when home looks similar to the fields of Oklahoma.So when Elizabeth turns on the radio and “Old Flame” by Alabama plays, she takes this as a moment to distract him from the big picture stuff. Plus they have time to kill and she takes the cowboy hat part of his disguise first wearing it herself making a joke about being queen of the rodeo and then places it on his head.

Instant thoughts of Philip in the pilot giving great embarrassing dad while dancing in the department store wearing cowboy boots and in the past Elizabeth has mocked him for liking this part of American life. Here she does the opposite and in an incredibly romantic moment she sees his hunched over sadness and turns this into a fantasy moment for him; she places the hat on his head and they slow dance to the song. For a moment everything else gets blocked out and it is just them in this motel room. It is also the first time I’ve realized just how tiny Keri Russell is height wise as in the wide shot you can see she is on bare foot tippy toes. But real life is coming for them and later these disguises turn from romance to just another day of an operation not quite going to plan and someone else paying the price.

Philip and Elizabeth’s relationship instantly improved when they were finally open with each other and the same can now be said for how they are with Paige; even if this burden is huge and it comes with a new set of worries. Those worries do not extend to where exactly Henry is and I have a feeling that Henry’s absence is going to bite them in some way this season. All of their focus is on Paige and Henry is getting the classic teen son in a prestige drama treatment right now. Chris Brody says hi BTW.

Meanwhile, Philip’s other son continues his long journey to meet his papa stopping off at an address in Yugoslavia where he finds his contact has been arrested and so the cost of crossing the border into Austria has gone up. Oh, Mischa.

And while we’re over in that part of the world; Oleg has started his corruption investigation while also finding out that he really should’ve gone to that secret meeting. Now he has a tape of the conversation with Stan and a map and it looks like Stan is not the one behind this attempted contact as I suspected. When Oleg walks through the supermarket with its barely stocked shelves – despite all the amazing produce out back – the camera lingers on someone looking at a can. It is none other than Martha! I’m very excited to see Alison Wright again. Will she somehow cross paths with Oleg?

All the pieces are slowly coming together and as crisis looms the Jennings family could be getting even closer – well, not Henry – but at what cost?

Outfit I Would Wear in 2017Very much in love with Elizabeth’s plaid jacket and considering my go to outerwear at the moment is a red and black Levi’s jacket this comes as no surprise. Great sweater game from Elizabeth this week in a purple turtleneck and the teal number you can see below.

Felicity Flashback

This isn’t Keri Russell’s first rodeo.

Bonus Wig Cave!

I love it when we see their place of disguise prep so I was very pleased to see their post Tuan dropping off changing back from Dee and Brad to Philip and Elizabeth.

Bonus Song Choice!

The musical moment of the episode is quite clearly the country slow dance, but I was also thrilled to hear the dreamy Roxy Music’s “More Than This” playing over the opening bowling scene and as things go to shit at the lab and they have to clear up their mess. It is also interesting to note that while this plays Philip goes to check on the woman keeping watch – their Hans replacement? – to make sure she was okay after seeing them bring out the body. She says she is, but the look as she sees them with her would suggest otherwise.

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Out of the Box: Look of the Week

17 Mar

This week has seen the spotlight get turned on the amazing stylists who get actors red carpet ready with the annual Hollywood Reporter Top 25. We covered the issue here, but we’ve got party highlights and some treats from the number 1 name on that list throughout this post.

Plus SXSW delivers on the exact kind of outfits I am looking to now that spring is finally here (sorry for those who had snow this week). There’s also SNL musical performances and great late night outfits to enjoy.At the Hollywood Reporter Power Stylist dinner Sarah Paulson shows just why Karla Welch is a sartorial force to be reckoned with as she makes this peach Prada embellished frock look so much more low maintenance than it is. Love the Chinese style collar and strong brow.

Posing with the man of the hour – also wearing Prada – and showing that he’s also got the post-awards fashion sorted is Mahershala Ali. Such a strong shirt pattern choice and he’s making a statement that he’s fabulous.  Karla Welch is also good at dressing herself (which is a weird sentence to write) in this simple and summery long Rosie Assoulin gown. Also points for sensible flats for both Welch and Busy Philipps; who I am loving in all white. This night also provided A+ Busy Instagram stories with a guest appearance from Sarah Paulson who playfully mimicked Busy’s penchant for saying ‘guys.’In the way Sundance is to knits and coats, SXSW delivers on prints and super cute summer frocks. Jenny Slate is a SXSW regular and always delivers on the exact kind of outfits I would also want to wear (aside from the shoes his time). Bonus pocket points too! A busy SXSW for Noël Wells with premieres for Mr. Roosevelt and Infinity Baby. The above is at the latter and the matching star blast separates paired with black boots gives this look an edge. I really like Wells in season 1 of Master of None and I’m looking forward to seeing both of these projects, but especially Mr. Roosevelt as Wells writes, directs and stars in it.More Karla Welch picks showing just how versatile she is as a stylist as it isn’t all just award season and at the American Gods panel Emily Browning looks incredible in super floral Miu Miu and chunky Prada heels.

My intrigue levels for American Gods are set to high and while I don’t know the source material, the cast and creative team sell it to me alone. Plus this new trailer is giving me a whole lot of costume design thoughts already.At the Win it All premiere Stephanie Beatriz gives great wide-leg pants in stunning cobalt blue paired with a funky strapless top. I just bought some wide-leg pants and while I have no idea what shoes I’m gonna wear them with seeing Beatriz in this trend with this styling is giving me some ideas.Also going baggy is Lorde doing a full oversized suit thing at the Elvis Duran Z100 morning show and to keep with this week’s stylist theme she is another Karla Welch client.

Lorde performed on SNL and “Green Light” has been on repeat since it got released. More high-waisted/wide-leg and the backless sparkly top is everything.

Keri Russell loves a bit of leather for late night and much like myself she loves a bit of Grease 2 (it is the better movie, don’t @ me).

[Source]

For Seth Meyers she went all black with a splash of leopard print with her choice of Louboutins. And because I love all things celebrity real estate this sneak peek at her house (with bonus Matthew Rhys and baby in the background) is ticking those boxes. Makeup artist Tina Turnbow also gave a close up look of her work and I love a smoky eye.

There are two clips from the Seth Meyers interview; one is about the much talked about Matthew Rhys episode of Girls and this is the one that you can watch on a whole lot of entertainment/style websites. So we’ve opted for the second clip in which Keri Russell talks about the time she met Matthew Rhys ten years before The Americans and forgot about it until he reminded her.

The Americans 5.02 “Pests” Review: Playing By the Rules

15 Mar

Lines are blurry on The Americans and rules are constantly being broken with each side doing what they believe they have to do in order to protect their country; however there are certain things that neither would do, right? This is one of the main questions at hand with Russian grain supply (that comes from the U.S.) being at the heart of Philip and Elizabeth’s new operation as they move from biological weapons that could cause mass casualties to a potentially more insidious tactic by their enemy.

Targeting food is something Philip never thought the Americans would do and after a long night of digging and delivering both the sample and bad news about Hans, when Gabriel tells them what this new plan might be Philip can barely contain his horror through his exhaustion.There are rules in combat no matter how cold this war actually is and it seems like both sides are feeling at a loss with some of the tactics at play. For Stan he feels it is his duty to stop Oleg from getting caught in the cross hairs of another operation; the CIA wants to recruit him no matter what. If they were to just let him be then they might see that he is doing important work back home as he investigates the corruption that threatens to destroy Russia from within. Patience is a virtue and the CIA want something to work with now and they believe Oleg is their guy. To them he is another cog in the machine, but – and to borrow from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – for Stan it is a lot more nuanced than that.

It also is not a coincidence that the establishing shots of the FBI and KGB buildings show just how similar each looks in all its concrete glory. Chris Long directs once again and he also gives the Jennings house exterior the same horror feeling as he did in the season 4 finale and last week’s premiere only this time it is daylight as the camera pushes in.

Stan has already lost one agent who he was working (in more ways than one) and Nina is the tie that binds him with Oleg. He pleads his case to the deputy AG and this is where the notion of rules and good/bad comes into play. Everyone has to have a code and he believes Oleg already gave them this huge gift and he should be allowed to go home and be free from the burden of that treason admitting recording. And it looks like his plan has worked to some extent as Oleg receives a message from Stan and a map of where to meet to discuss further. Although a big part of me thinks this isn’t really from Stan; instead it is the CIA using his name to secure this meeting and they will attempt their original plan that Stan so vehemently opposed.

Difficult conversations take place over friendly beers as Stan talks to Philip about his Paige concerns; concerns that he can’t quite verbalize beyond asking if everything is okay in Paige-land. The Beemans and Jennings are entangled in friendship and this burgeoning romance making this a ticking time bomb that Philip and Elizabeth know could go off at any minute. So far strong arming Paige to stay away from Matthew is of course doing the opposite; Philip has tried and now it is time for Elizabeth to have a go at explaining why this relationship cannot happen.
Elizabeth opts for talking while training and as with last week’s garage defense lesson scenario it is about giving Paige a sense of control while also emphasizing why Matthew as a boyfriend is a bad idea. The rhythmic sounds of Paige hitting her target as Elizabeth still dressed in her work attire coaches her adds to the tension and fraught nature of this conversation. This is also part one of ‘the talk’ and when Elizabeth asks if Paige is having sex she quickly follows up with pointing out that she doesn’t care if they are. Not what you would expect to hear from a mother as she talks to her daughter about sleeping with her first proper boyfriend, but Elizabeth has other concerns beyond the usual teen sex worries.

The Elizabeth/Paige dynamic continues to be fascinating as for the first time Elizabeth can be seen for who she is by her daughter. So much of Elizabeth’s decision to become a KGB officer and take on such a long deep cover mission is tied to her mother; the sacrifices she made (which were reiterated in terms of food last week) and her mother’s beliefs that mirror her own. With the training sessions she now gets to show her how to build on her strength and there is a deep sense of pride amidst the concern that Paige might inadvertently ruin everything by spilling their secret.

Tactics to keep Paige and Matthew apart are not working and when they return home from their digging expedition to find Paige’s bed empty, Philip and Elizabeth fear the worst. Where they find Paige is a concern for another reason as she was asleep in her closet as she continues to have post-stabbing sleep issues. There are no set parenting rules for dealing with first boyfriends and really they are no different from any other parent trying to work their way through first love. Except for that whole enemy spy thing.


Marriage strength between the pair comes in telling each other exactly what is going on; something Philip and Elizabeth have not always done and these bathroom confessions while applying night cream and brushing teeth reinforce just how good things are in this relationship even if everything else falls apart around them. This week’s conversation includes bonus heartbreaking Hans chat with Elizabeth telling Philip how excited Hans was about his sister’s forthcoming visit. The sighs and silences that punctuate all of their scenes speak just as much volume as any dialogue. Philip relays his chat with Stan while Elizabeth informs him of how unsuccessful her attempt at the Matthew problem was. The question of how long before Paige slips up hangs in the air with no immediate solution.

Babying Paige or even laying down threats (if only Paige knew how dangerous her parents are) is doing nothing and after a painful dinner out as the Eckerts with their new Russian defector friends – if Elizabeth could stab Alexei with her fork she would – Elizabeth comments that she is fed up with treating Paige like a “goddamn kid.” The scene that follows is up there with the stomach churning levels of when they first told Paige who they really are because Philip and Elizabeth aren’t your average parents and this isn’t your average sex talk.

In fact they approach this conversation as if Paige is an asset rather than their daughter and they are far more successful at relaying their message because of this change of tactic. They have both trained a lot of people especially when it comes to sex and while they’re inexperienced as parents in this particular arena they very much know how to manage feelings and not let them muddy things. It is a practical conversation and while we have seen just how fucked up the training they had was in this department there is a whole lot of compartmentalizing on their behalf.

This is also an incredibly sad scene because they’re viewing sex through this lens of their work, but it is also a weirdly bonding experience that gives Paige a practical tool and her parents’ piece of mind. In a weird way this is them teaching her about protection, but instead of a condom over a banana it is a way not to reveal their secret. Also I now want to go back and watch previous episodes to see if either of them ever use this technique.

In other big developments of the heart Stan finally mustered the courage to ask out the gym woman – Renee – and things are going well here. She’s the female version of Philip! Oh, Stan. It is also interesting to see Philip viewing her with suspicious eyes, but I guess he is always accustomed to looking at these things with spy eyes and Stan could be a target for this.


Also there are bugs aplenty in the greenhouse Elizabeth breaks into and because I’ve watched The X-Files my first thought went to bees that interrupted an all important Mulder and Scully moment. Thoughts of X-Files also courtesy of Stan’s new love interest. Instead Elizabeth ended up with a whole lot in her hair (despite the wig) and she tells Philip they need Alexei to help figure out what is going on with this agriculture business.

We also spend some more time with Tuan and find out that he really was adopted by an American family; a family who treated him well but who were also very pleased with themselves for this seemingly altruistic act. This might be where some of his resentment comes from along with the fact that his entire family (save his grandma) were killed by bombs in the Vietnam War. There’s a bit of a bond already with Philip and we see more of Tuan than both of Philip’s actual sons as Henry says he is at the library and the look on Elizabeth’s face when Paige tells her this is one of “yeah right.” Paige agrees and suggests he’s probably at the arcade. Meanwhile Mischa continues to make his voyage off screen.

Tension continues to build and deciding to open further to Paige will mean drawing her in closer; both to who they are and the job they do. The lines continue to blur.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2017

I’m so happy whenever Philip hits the court with Stan as this means retro sportswear. While not quite hitting the levels of this Dunlop tee, I would still be happy to have this stripe polo or Stan’s Adidas in my closet. Got to remember to keep an eye out on Etsy as costume designer Katie Irish suggested.

This is also another week of wanting to wear all the high-waisted pants and silk blouses a la Elizabeth and the outfit she’s wearing when they have the talk with Paige is the ideal version of this. And I have never related so much to Philip as him halfheartedly throwing his jacket in the direction of the coat hooks by the door.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

9 Mar

In the first “Out of the Box” that comes after award season it isn’t surprising that it is a quieter and more eclectic week; there’s street style, ladysuits, Paris Fashion Week, magazine covers and other public appearances. The Timeless cast got together in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian and NEH’s History Film Forum Event. I love this show and the chemistry between the three leads is what makes it a joy to watch; as I’ve already said I really hope it gets renewed and not just so I get new book recommendations and have plenty to write about costume wise.

Matt Lanter and Malcolm Barrett are doing standard panel attire and they look fine, but it is Abigail Spencer’s matching Creatures of The Wind ’60s inspired pattern ensemble that is mesmerizing me. Also please renew this show, NBC.

Ladysuit alert and a fabulous one from Jenny Slate as she goes shirtless and makes me want to use the flame emoji. The tequila confession feels very accurate and I had a friend who broke half her front tooth because of tequila. It is fun and also cannot be trusted.No one does street style while also being a walking advert for their brand quite like Reese Witherspoon. And unlike other celeb lifestyle products (not naming names) this is both wearable and semi-affordable. The Americans returned this week – click here for my review – and Keri Russell has been doing the press rounds including a very fun interview on Live with Kelly and on the same day wearing the same fabulous outfit Russell took part in the AOL Build series (which you can watch below).

Mixing casual cool in an oversized Céline turtleneck sweater – which we have talked about on here before and is definitely the kind of thing I would want to wear every day – with a retro looking houndstooth Prada skirt, sheer pink pop socks and hot pink Manolo Blahniks.

The interview itself is fun covering a range of things about the new season including digging that hole in the S5 finale, how she feels about Elizabeth, the recent political climate, the relationships on the show and what it is like to work with your IRL boyfriend. Entering the portion of this week’s column that is dedicated to black attire and this is the kind of outfit that few can pull off; Kristen Stewart is just the person to make corset pants look effortless. At the Personal Shopper LA premiere Kristen Stewart debuted a killer looking bleach blonde crop, which I have instantly fallen in love with.Also crushing it on the cool levels (as always) is Isabelle Huppert and I’m gonna go all Tyra as she’s doing this from H to T. Those silver tip pumps are a joy and as this is at the Louis Vuitton show at Paris Fashion Week, Huppert is wearing LV. Huppert is also reigniting my desire to own a leather jacket.Also at Louis Vuitton is Michelle Williams (as one of the faces of the brand this makes sense) and this is a far edgier look than we are used to seeing her in. I am all for a style switch up even if she looks a little stiff, but that might be the March chill rather than the outfit. Love the boots and as always I would suggest a bold red lip.Switching things up entirely at Valentino with all the delicate feminine frills. A trend that could go either way and much like KStew in all things edgy, Kate Mara is the perfect person to wear something that is drape adjacent. Also that is one fabulous collar and we all know how I feel about a detailed neckline. A striking and stripped down Chrissy Teigen cover and her piece on postpartum depression is so important. Chrissy is someone I have very strong good feelings about and it is not just because her cookbook has taught me how to make incredible bacon hash browns.

The Americans 5.01 “Amber Waves” Review: Protect Yourself

8 Mar

Home is meant to be where you feel safe, but at the end of The Americans season 4 finale the Jennings house loomed like a visage from a horror movie as Paige was escorted home and told she couldn’t see Matthew Beeman anymore. Chris Long directed both that finale and this premiere episode so it is not to see a repetition of this foreboding shot and for Paige there is no escaping the night she saw her mother stab a guy in the throat in self defense.

Paige is having nightmares and there is something comforting about hanging out across the street while her parents are out working doing who knows what (we know). She might not get food with any good nutritional value at Stan’s, but it is the only place she can go where the scary images don’t follow.“Amber Waves” throws us back into stories long established such as the Paige problem; how do they manage what she knows without destroying her a piece at a time? There is also a new mission, loose ends from an old one to tie up and the matter of what is going on back home. Ah home, you can never really go back and Philip and Elizabeth are forever caught between two worlds. Forcibly smiling through dinner with a defector who spouts on about how much he hates the homeland puts them to their acting test and of course they pass with flying colors. The car ride home provides plenty of time to spew venom about his treacherous opinions and reflect on their past lives.

It is rare to hear Philip and Elizabeth talking about when they were Mischa and Nadezhda and as with previous conversations this one reveals just how hard things were in post-war Russia for both of them. There is also a sense of guilt, particularly from Elizabeth with regard to how much her mother sacrificed for her and it goes a long way to explain why she is so hardened to everything. But they also haven’t been home in a long time and they don’t know just how bad it has got; the post credits montage shows just this by juxtaposing the impressive American crops with the disaster that is taking place in the USSR. Followed by those long lines for food that looks inedible. Philip might remember a time when onion soup tasted just like hot water, but as we are reminded of in this episode the amount of food available to them is endless.


Food is plentiful and it isn’t like The Americans is suddenly remembering that their characters eat; food scenes have played a big part as well as an everyday part with Stan often popping over for dinner (as we can see from his cooking skills there is a reason why). Elizabeth often offers to cook eggs for Philip when he has had a shitty day and there was also that time I found out that tuna noodle casserole is a thing people ate. Oh the ’80s. There was also that time Elizabeth ate bacon after Paige had walked in to her parents’ bedroom at an unfortunate time and a variety of kitchen items were used to conceal Keri Russell’s IRL bump last season including crock pots, unpacking groceries, salad bowls and the refrigerator door. What I’m saying is they aren’t changing the amount of produce being consumed, but by focusing on the issue Russians are facing it puts this endless supply of food into focus.

Oleg is now back in Moscow; returning at his mother’s request as she is still deep in grief about the son she lost at war and his new role within the KGB is also about the food supply issues at hand. Bribery is a huge part of the problem and his new boss wants him to get to the very top of the matter, which might include some very powerful people who know his very powerful father. Oleg is quick to accept and his guilt about what happened to Nina has already led to him helping the FBI; when he sees just how corrupt the whole system is will this further push him toward Stan? Stan for his part is concerned about why Oleg has flown back home and whether he has been burned with regard to his part in the William.


Speaking of William as he makes a surprise appearance in “Amber Waves” and he gave me a reason to yell “What’s in the box?” at the screen, which I am always happy to do. Before this comes Gabriel telling Philip and Elizabeth about William’s fate; how he wished he could’ve given him the fantasy ending of returning home and having a family. Instead he died a painful death and after Elizabeth calls him a hero, Philip bitterly responds that maybe they can put him on a stamp.

This isn’t the end of their association with William and deadly pathogens as the last quarter of “Amber Waves” involves a whole lot of digging in a dialogue free sequence that involves the biggest team we have seen them work with. They break into Fort Detrick and dig a very deep hole to retrieve an important tissue supply from the now deceased William – oh hey Dylan Baker in a bag – and the exhausting nature of the task is shown in how long it takes. The team is so big because this mission is so arduous; digging in February is not easy and between the beanie hats (which I talk about at length here) and their visible breath this only adds to the extremes they are going to. At one point when Philip and Elizabeth are taking a break and sharing a flask it looks like a bleak picnic.


Everything looks like it is going according to plan, but as this is The Americans something goes wrong and Hans slips and falls into the hole landing on the open metal coffin cutting himself and exposing his blood to the Lassa virus. I was going to tweet how happy I was to see Hans again as he is now a vital part of their team and it is a good job that I didn’t. After a wordless exchange between Philip and Elizabeth – Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are incredible at saying so much to each other with just their eyes – Elizabeth pulls out her gun and shoots Hans in the back of the head. They then dispose of his body in the same metal box as William and that’s another death to add to their list of bad feelings. We have seen Elizabeth kill without hesitation in the past, but I think this one is going to take its toll. As we saw Philip grappling with the weight of their job in season 2 after a whole lot of collateral damage, Elizabeth could be headed in the same direction.

The fact their daughter now knows who they are and is continuing to ask questions about what they do could add to this burden of guilt. Elizabeth is also in full training spirit and while Philip is having no luck with detracting Paige from spending time with Matthew, Elizabeth is trying a different tactic. As they circle around the awkwardness of a sex chat, Elizabeth teaches Paige that she needs to know how to protect herself; spy training 101. The Esprit sweatshirt that made an appearance in the promo is worn by Paige in the premiere and it is fun seeing such a fashion touchstone moment like this (also for more costume details check out my interview with costume designer Katie Irish here).


Philip and Elizabeth also have a fake new son. Someone they spend more time with than their actual one (poor Henry). Posing as a couple who are an airline pilot and flight attendant with an adopted Vietnamese son, Tuan (who is also an agent) this new mission is all about crops. Whereas biological weapons and the insidious nature of threatening a population with a disease was at the heart of season 4, food and stopping the supply of it is the weapon of choice this year. At the heart of it is always family and protecting that unit at all costs.

Speaking of family as Philip’s son has made his way out of Russia on the first part of his journey to meet his father. Much like the biological weapons last season that posed a threat throughout; there is also something unnerving about what Mischa’s trip to the U.S. is going to do for Philip and Elizabeth’s whole cover. He is the ticking time bomb headed their way and it’s not like they already have a lot on their spy and parental plate already.

As with the season finale this is a slow burn and it does what The Americans does best; somehow raising the stakes and tension levels to new heights. Setting up new stories, while threading the ones from the past and all while adding another layer to this intricate and complicated world. As we head into the almost final stretch with this penultimate season it looks like there is a still a lot of story to be told and I am excited to see how Philip and Elizabeth will handle the new and deep rooted challenges.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2017


Henry got tall and he’s also wearing another ski like jacket that I am coveting hard. Elizabeth is still up their with her strong coat game and I’m glad to see a return to silk blouses and high waisted pants now there is no IRL bump to cover up. Also Philip’s still got the best dad sweaters in the business.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

3 Mar

Award season has come to a close and every year it seems to get longer and longer. But I’m okay with that as it gives us plenty to talk about at TV Ate My Wardrobe. Before you know it there will be Emmy roundtable discussions occurring.

First we have the best of the post-Oscars looks from the Vanity Fair party including several switched outfits from the main show so they can party without worrying about anyone stepping on their train. There are also a couple of FX premieres and a flaming hot ad campaign to keep us busy. viola-davisSwitching from the stunning red Armani gown for a fantastic Brandon Maxwell white ladysuit and Stella McCartney platform shoes, which are probably way more comfy than stacked heels. Love this entire look and Viola Davis crushed both her sartorial choices. The Oscar also looks pretty great.emma-stoneI liked, but didn’t love Emma Stone’s gold embroidered Givenchy Art Deco adjacent gown for the main ceremony, which is why I didn’t include it in my gown rundown. But it is a very different story for this second Givenchy ensemble and this slip/blazer combo is giving me so many mid-90s feelings. This outfit is far from fancy enough for the main event and yet it is ideal for celebrating the big win without worrying about delicate beading of her first gown.

This is something I’ve spoken about in previous post-awards discussion as I love a good behind the scenes getting ready diary and Emma Stone did this one for Vogue with her makeup artist Rachel Goodwin. So many Nars products I now want in my makeup bag.ruth-negga

As with Viola Davis, Ruth Negga scored a double style win on Sunday night switching from dreamy red Valentino into a glitzy Oscar De La Renta. While the spill fear is high with all three of these dress changes – so much white – they all make a whole lot of sense in the ‘not having to worry about anyone stepping on the bottom of their dress’ thing.mindy-kalingMindy Kaling gives great floral in floor length Naeem Khan at the VF party and I’m feeling all set for spring (the rain that is pouring down also might have something to do with this).jon-hammJon Hamm in a tux is never not great.janelle-monaeA post Spirit Awards/pre Oscars night out for Janelle Monáe attending a Chanel party in West Hollywood and stepping outside her signature black and white zone in a very sparkly Chanel tuxedo dress. All the heart eyes for this outfit choice, lipstick and how much Monáe has lit up TV Ate My Wardrobe during award season.sarah-paulsonNow award season is over it is time to switch the focus back to all the good TV that is premiering in March and April. Sarah Paulson is back on a Ryan Murphy project and at the Feud premiere she looks the retro part in vintage gingham Valentino. keri-russell-and-matthew-rhysFX is having quite the premiere week and at The Americans season 5 event Keri Russell does super sexy ladysuit in lace Gucci and Matthew Rhys mixes casual cool in Rag & Bone (NYFW pays off). Russell’s makeup artist Tina Turnbow gives another fabulous behind the scenes getting ready photo diary and as I mention above I love these extra red carpet details. Also I can’t resist all that eyeliner.

The Americans returns next week (Tuesday, March 7) and you can read my interview with costume designer Katie Irish here.mahershala-aliSeveral of the Moonlight cast were wearing Calvin Klein on Sunday night and after seeing shots on the Calvin Klein Instagram I figured a campaign was imminent; in fact it was out by the time I hit post. These images kept popping up on my Twitter TL all Monday and each time there was a whole lot of face fanning. You can see more of this campaign here and this one of Oscar winning actor Mahershala Ali is a good place to start.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

16 Feb

February is very much like September in that this is the time of year when there is A LOT of stuff going on and it can be hard to keep on top of everything. Over the last week there have been multiple big award shows (and some smaller one), New York Fashion Week and the new magazine cover cycle is kicking into action.

So we have a little bit of all that. Enjoy!ruth-neggaRuth Negga scores another cover and her hot streak continues. I will definitely be picking up Another Magazine this weekend (they give 10 reasons to get this issue and it turns out I only need one) and as my friend Whitney pointed out on Twitter there is a whole Elizabeth Taylor in BUtterfield 8 vibe to Negga’s cover styling.marhershala-aliAlso soaking up the award season success is Mahershala Ali and he is giving great sweater posing on the cover of this week’s Hollywood Reporter. There’s also a whole lot of suit wearing to go with this in-depth and thoughtful interview that is definitely worth a read.michelle-williamsThe amount of conversations I had about this dress which pretty much started “Is that a face?!” were numerous and Michelle Williams wore a very fun custom Louis Vuitton mini sparkle frock to the BAFTAs at the weekend. It also had me questioning exactly what my eyes were seeing and I like that she mixed it up here. Plus there are no potentially dangerous neck adornments on this one.

What this is missing is a strong red lip and maybe Michelle Williams needs to head to Riverdale to borrow some of Betty’s Seduce Scarlet.emily-bluntThe bodice really makes Emily Blunt’s Alexander McQueen gown at the BAFTAs and it definitely feels like the kind of dress that deserves a dramatic dance scene. The dragonfly ring is also pretty damn great on the whole accessory front and would be the perfect partner to a Diane Lockhart brooch.viola-davisViola Davis’ winning streak for Fences continued at the BAFTAs and she looked stunning in three blue tone Jenny Packham.issa-raeAt the NAACP Image Awards Issa Rae shook off everything winter in floral Stella Nolasco. I might still be wrapped in knitwear, but as I write this the sun is shining and the effect of this dress means I’m already feeling warmer.yara-shahidiMint green and iridescent frills and pleats for Yara Shahidi wearing a Blumarine gown that makes me wish she was in Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled.riz-ahmedRiz Ahmed gave a brilliant performance on the season 6 premiere of Girls as a super chill surfer bro and at the Elle Style Awards he switches out the shorts and tee for yet another fantastic suit.

Showing he can go classic or mix it up; super stylist Ilaria Urbinati has such a good eye for suits that go there and this stars and flowers Valentino is another big hitter.amanda-peetAt the Michael Kors show Amanda Peet gives great day wear in a shiny belted shirt dress. My only concern is how cold her feet must be in the New York weather. A spare pair of boots is required.

The same goes for Keri Russell in her peep toe gold Louboutins (which I love) and this outfit manages to mix super comfy with a knitted super t-neck Celine sweater and bold floral Dries Van Noten pants. Expect more Keri Russell appearances on here over the next few weeks as we get nearer to the season 5 premiere of The Americans.

img_0615The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has seen an uptick in ratings recently and he is crushing the political chat right now; it is really lovely to see Colbert mixing the bite of his former show with the traditional late night format and we really need it right now.

This week has also included some top notch guests with Christine Baranski lighting things up in a very dazzling number:

And then Tatiana Maslany also got in on this sparkly act:

Last week we also found out when the last season of Orphan Black will return; mark your calendar for Saturday, June 10.

The Americans Season 5 Key Art and Dining in Disguises

15 Feb

The Americans returns next month and talk has already centered on the very different political landscape we’re now experiencing than when the show debuted in 2013. Season 5 might be set in 1984, but right now The Americans seems more and more relevant and it will be interesting to see how/if this alters the viewing experience and how the creative team/stars will discuss these aspects while promoting the new season.

For now we can let the series of trailers FX has released focusing on “Best Show on TV” aspects (I concur) speak for themselves, about what we can expect from season 5 and if they are any indication then somehow the tension and stakes are going to be raised even further.

The first full promo focuses on Paige and how she is being brought further into the family business with self defense classes from her mother and the boyfriend who happens to be the son of Philip’s FBI Agent bestie. And here’s another of Philip and Elizabeth in full disguise playing a different couple at dinner discussing how they got together.

You will never suspect them. Beware of #TheAmericans when the new season premieres March 7 on @fxnetworks.

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Now for the key art and every season takes on a new color palette. This is no exception and it is as bold as it is fabulous.img_0606A color scheme that will standout on billboards/taxis/buses/subway stations and as per co-showrunner Joel Fields the inspiration behind this season 5 poster comes from Rosie the Riveter.

Yellow is such a striking and often ignored color when it comes to marketing unless there is something that points to the sun in the title; see It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindLittle Miss SunshineOr if the main characters are also this color; see Minions.

Combining it with two other primary colors is an immediate way to take notice and it is also somewhat jarring visually using such a cheery palette for a show that is this steeped in darkness. But it is also super effective and like a lot of Americans artwork it does read as propaganda and techniques from both countries have been utilized over the last five years (hence Rosie).

There is a sense of unity here and it is impressive that the FX marketing department has found ways of bringing out something different each year – season 2 is still my fave – even though it is always just Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys that feature on these posters.

This also strikes me as a smart idea as rather than throw in Paige training or Stan lurking there is always a sense that at the center of The Americans it is Philip and Elizabeth as spies and husband and wife.

Guns tend to feature making sure you never forget the nature of their work and there is always a sense of unity between them. Here in his hand clasped around her wrist – wedding band clearly on display – which could read as an act of control, but we know this to be sign of togetherness/partnership and their unbreakable bond. Plus Elizabeth is the one holding the gun.

To hammer (accidental USSR related pun) this point home they are dressed in matching blue and the blue of their eyes has been enhanced to complete this mirroring/togetherness. And even though they were physically apart in the final scene of the season 4 the look they share and everything that came before it reinforces just how strong they are as a unit. As does this poster.

The Americans returns Tuesday, March 7 on FX.

 

 

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

10 Feb

Awards season continues to dominate all things style with the big luncheon and DGA Awards taking place over the last week. Plus we’ve got the premieres for The Good Fight and Big Little Lies (both starting next Sunday), Berlin Film Festival jury highlights, on set with Broad City and partying with Madewell. Plus New York Fashion Week kicks off with a blizzard.

Also the TV Ate My Wardobe newsletter is back! Subscribe here.ruth-neggaAt the Oscar nominee luncheon Ruth Negga continues to dominate sartorially by pairing a super cute pastel sweater with a leather skirt; mixing sweet with edgy in Miu Miu. The whole look is fantastic including her lipstick and cool hand in the pocket posing.

I saw Loving at the weekend and her performance is amazing; understated and unshowy in a way that doesn’t always get recognized. isabelle-huppertIsabelle Huppert gives off every level incredible in a stunning print and sequin Armani Privé Spring 2017 look. Trying to avoid using the word ‘chic’ when talking about Huppert – because I don’t want to sound like a cliche – is hard.viola-davisThe prints they keep on coming and Viola Davis in Bottega Veneta is a perfect daytime event ensemble.emma-stone-and-ryan-goslingAt the DGA Awards Emma Stone manages to make me like fringe in Stella McCartney and her shortened tux jacket blends menswear inspiration with a super feminine gown. I also dig the mid-rolling up of the sleeves. Oh, hey Ryan Gosling.christine-baranskiMore sparkles for Christine Baranski at the premiere for The Good Fight and she looks as fabulous and classy as ever. Now how to score an invite to her lake house.good-fightVery much looking forward to having these ladies back on my screen and together again.

news that's not a national nightmare– we started shooting a very elegant season 4!! 😘

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Broad City S4 excitement is as high as these gowns are fancy. Very much need these ladies back in my life.

maggie-gyllenhaalMaggie Gyllenhaal is on the 2017 Berlin Film Festival jury and long sleeve florals paired with boots has been her go to style choice for both photo calls; it is really working for her. The pink bow is a cute touch here and this is very much in her cool, hippy mom wheelhouse.julia-jentsch-and-maggie-gyllenhaalAt the press conference this leans more ’90s and I love it. German actress Julia Jentsch paired a blue sweater with the most fabulous pants complete with colorful piping and silver pumps. I am looking forward to seeing more from both these ladies.

Conversation turned to politics at this event including asking fellow jury member Diego Luna about the wall and Gyllenhaal (who attended the Women’s March in Washington D.C.) said “I feel like I want to let the world know that there are many, many people in my country who are ready to resist.”withertwinsOne way to feel old is seeing kids of actors all grown up (see also Gillian Anderson and Ewan McGregor) and considering Reese Witherspoon was pregnant with Ava when she shot Cruel Intentions (teen movie fave) I feel oooooooold. The whole looking so much alike thing is also eerie and cool.

And of course they both look great at the Big Little Lies premiere in matching – but not really – style frocks. Haney gold floral for Ava Phillippe and gold heels, with Reese in sparkly Elie Saab.

Trench coats and gold shoes kind of Wednesday.

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From gold pumps to gold flats and things have been super emotional on every Jane the Virgin cast member’s Insta this week for obvious reasons. Thankful for this very soothing and fabulous casual look from Gina Rodriguez.

Much to my delight (but maybe not my bank balance) Madewell has launched a new collection of intimates and this range looks equal parts sexy and comfortable. A good ratio when it comes to underwear. Madewell is a brand I adore as it caters to my casual classic sensibilities and they do really great stripe T-shirts (like I need anymore).

Both Jenny Slate and Zoe Kazan are in outfits I would wear/probably already have at the Madewell party they hosted. Great lipstick too.

New York Fashion Week begins with a whole lot of snow and at the Rag & Bone 15th anniversary and F/W ’17 event Keri Russell went all in on the cold weather clothing with her choice of hat; I’ve watched a lot of Fortitude recently and have been marveling over their very similar looking headwear to protect against the elements. It also very much nods to her show The Americans and the style of winter attire from Elizabeth’s homeland, which also happens to be back next month.

The rest of Russell’s outfit matches her casual cool vibe and I am very much feeling those boots. Walking in heels this high in the cold is something we have seen Russell do before, but it is probably a good thing that she had co-star and IRL boyfriend Matthew Rhys with her as this photo from the official Rag & Bone Instagram shows.

The Americans Season 5 Trailer: Gonna Need a Training Montage

8 Feb

The Americans returns for season 5 next month and somehow things look tenser than ever before. I don’t know how they manage this every year, but the threat levels look higher and also there is some training to be done.

After seeing her mother take out two dudes – including killing one of them – at the end of last season Paige has even more questions about what her parents do and she’s ready to help with the family business. This includes her relationship with Matthew Beeman in The Americans version of Romeo and Juliet and getting self-defense lessons from her mother.

The net continues to close in around Philip and Elizabeth and there is concern that their position is more precarious than ever. Here is the trailer and the ticking clock does a very good job of setting my frayed Americans nerves on fire. Great music timing with the punches too.

Prepare for the all new season of TV's most acclaimed drama. #TheAmericans returns March 7 on @fxnetworks.

A post shared by The Americans (@theamericansfx) on

 

And here is my breakdown of some notable moments.img_0460Henry is still excluded from all important family conversations for obvious reasons. Costume wise Elizabeth is back to silk blouses and not worrying about hiding Keri Russell’s IRL pregnancy. Philip still does dad sweaters better than anyone.img_0488Disguise cave! It is always fun to take a sneak look at their getting ready process and even more so when they’re discussion domestic issues. Philip has concerns with regards to Paige and I don’t blame him tbh.img_0489Maybe all Stan needs is some red string to connect the dots. Or the Carrie Mathison color coding method.img_0466Mischa Jr. is coming! His voyage to the US is far from first class with the trunk of a car providing the non-luxury conditions. I had to double check this wasn’t Matthew Rhys so good casting guys!img_0486Philip and Elizabeth tend to have their most intimate conversations in the bathroom (for anyone who has read my teen TV pieces they will know how happy this makes me) and Philip is also great at miming the clusterfuck they are now in.img_0490Getting every Buffy/Alias training montage vibe.img_0491If this was 2017 Paige would probably be wearing an Ivy Park hoodie. As it is 1984 she is in ESprit. And it is also worth noting her cross necklace is still on display.img_0492A very proud mama.img_0501Stan has very strong concerns about Oleg’s safety as he is still giving the FBI information and this is probably wrapped up in the fact that he already got one informant killed. Oleg looks every level stressed. img_0478This is a tad on the blurry side as this shot is very quick, but here are two new disguises. The last time Philip wore a hat like that it did not go wellimg_0494A gentle stroll in the park or really a difference in opinion about Philip and Elizabeth; Claudia thinks that nothing scares them, Gabriel believes the opposite.

Considering how broken they were at the midpoint last season I am definitely inclined to side with Gabriel on this one.img_0495They definitely just did something bad. Bonus points for the eerie mist and pensive stares.img_0496A brief look at the new flight themed disguises which debuted in Entertainment Weekly at the end of last year.img_0498And I am always thrilled to see Elizabeth in huge frames.

The Americans returns Tuesday, March 7 on FX.

 

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