FX is known these days as the cable network that takes it there, from raunchy and dark yet goofy sitcoms like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and The League (now both on FXX), to long-standing cult favorites like Justified and Sons Of Anarchy.But Season 1 of The Americans was truly the breakout drama of 2013 for FX.
Starring Keri Russell an Matthew Rhys as Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings, two Soviet operatives posing as an everyday couple living the American dream in the early 1980s, The Americans is a combination of love story, espionage thriller and historic drama that pulled viewers in with it’s mix of sex & violence, Reagan-era geopolitics, crumbling marriages, lusty affairs and lies of all kinds and sizes. Season 2 is set to premiere on FX on February 26, and those who aren’t fans just yet would do well to catch up by watching Season 1 somewhere online.
But here are a few of the main plot points that should carry over into the new season and get more people on the bandwagon of deceit and power struggle that is The Americans.
ELIZABETH’S FIGHTING SKILLS
Season 1 featured scene after scene of Elizabeth (Russell) kicking the crap out of enemies of all kinds. A woman seemingly devoted to the cause of Motherland Russia, Elizabeth will do any and everything necessary to gain the upper hand, no matter who gets bruised or battered along the way. And though she got shot at the end of Season 1 and is in recovery to start Season 2, we should probably expect that she will continue the hand-to-hand come February 26.
PHILLIP’S TWO MARRIAGES
Towards the end of Season 1, Phillip Jennings (Rhys) goes on assignment as a D.C. Internal Affairs worked named Clark and ends up marrying a FBI Secretary Martha Hanson (Alison Wright.) Since his marriage to Elizabeth is already somewhat of a sham, how Phillip balances the two marriages, along with his children and all of the other jobs he has as a KGB spy in Season 2, will be interesting to say the least. But hey, the man is a spy by trade.
PAIGE’S CURIOSITY INTO HER PARENT’S REAL LIVES
Trying to keep secrets from a teenaged girl is like running through a highway speed trap with a trunk full of coke: eventually, you’ll get caught. And that’s the exact spot that Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings find themselves in at the end of Season and the beginning of Season 2 with their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor). Like any rebellious teen, she’s not satisfied merely with what she’s told. And even with her mother focusing back on her family in Season 2, Paige can’t help but think that the life she knows isn’t everything that it seems.
THE CONFLICT BETWEEN JOB AND HOME LIFE
It is said that Season 2 of The Americans will feature Elizabeth and Phillip shifting their focus back to the family they’ve created. But with so much on the line between the United States and the Soviet Union in the middle of the Cold War, not to mention the deception and struggles for power on all levels, there’s bound to be at least some of the disintegration fracturing that became such a big part of what made Season 1 so intriguing. Balancing job and home is difficult enough for regular people…try doing it in under the guise of delicately tense foreign relations.
COLD WAR POLITICAL GAMES
Those who were alive during the times probably know all too well how high-strung things were back then, and The Americans probably brings back a lot of memories of leaders with their finger on the proverbial red button. It makes for great TV, but let’s not forget that much of what you see could very well be based on real events. Executive Producer Joel Fields and show creator Joe Weisberg felt the need to keep as close to the reality of the time as possible. Here’s hoping that Season 2 does even more of that.
STAN’S CONTINUED AFFAIR WITH NINA
Noah Emmerich portrays Stan, the Jennings’ next-door neighbor and an FBI Agent hunting down spies from the Soviet Union. In Season 1, the agony of his failing marriage and loneliness consumes him and he beings an affair with Soviet informant Nina (Annet Mahendru.) At first, they are both in it merely for information, but eventually they both seek to fulfill their own lustful and emotional desires. The affair apparently continues in Season 2, but it could very well cost both Stan and Nina much more than they both bargained for, be it their jobs or their lives.