It is very rare that you have a near perfect episode, especially of a series on commercial television. But FX has done it here with The Americans. It is nearly flawless. Great mind candy for the thinking person, with something to come back to after the first viewing. I credit the success of The Americans to 3 things: Great script, great music, and Keri Russell!
The script is adult, no-nonsense storytelling built on an original premise, the Cold War. Those of us who are old enough remember this period, a period of the Russians-are-coming hysteria that was second only to the Civil Rights movement the decade before. An era very under- represented in film and ignored on the small screen, comes to life for a new generation.
Of course this era would be nothing without the music of this time and again, The Americans is flawless with that, the set, music, cinematics and of-course acting!
Must mention these disguises too, which are not your silly, unrealistic mission-impossible disguises. No, the disguises in The Americans are really disguises and surprisingly, with very little disguise. What makes these disguises work for the Jennings is that the Jennings can act. With each disguise is a new personality.
Elizabeth, played by Keri Russell, is special! Russell takes the art of disguise to the next stage. she is authentic, smart, gorgeous and just plain savage!
Keri Russell is wonderfully dangerous, stellar, great looking and I can't get enough of her!
I think Keri Russell's presence in this series is the key to everything. Only she could have this cold outside look hiding a wounded soul that hangs on to what she believes in.
It is not only about the plot, but also the human toll the Cold War claimed in its path.
I think the series is very well rounded in terms of casting and writing. It has a rhythm that keeps the audience on edge.
The series has everything: originality, se x, espionage, suspense...did I say originality?