The Americans wrapped up its second season with a lot of juicy cliffhangers from its season finale. Let’s dig into Slate TV critic Willa Paskin’s conversation with creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields about the revelations, how the characters ended up where and the road they’ll be taking from there.
On How They Put up Intimate Sex in a More Intellectual Way
Joe Weisberg replied, “Our guiding principle was that if we were always revealing character, it would not be gratuitous. So, a good example is that 69 from the season opener. There were a lot of things going on there. Elizabeth (Keri Russell) had just been shot and she was coming back home, and had just had to perform a honey trap. We essentially ran through all the sexual positions. And anything regular that you’re used to wouldn’t really do the trick.” That must have been how they got the idea of 69, that was unique and definitely not cliché among the other series. Weisberg added, “Even though it had a little element of humor to it, and seemed a little bizarre, there was also something incredibly intimate about it, maybe because you don’t see it very much.”
Joel Fields commended the little part in the car preceding that scene where Phillip and Elizabeth shared a long moment of silence and they both knew something’s gone wrong. They held hands, trying to connect which led to the 69. Morning after, Elizabeth is eating the bacon and there was humor out of it. Paige went to her parent’s bedroom that night and much to her surprise. Weisberg accentuate how it was handled in a perfect tone with just the right amount of humor, right amount of shock from Paige and the right response from parents, just right or it would make the whole thing bizarre. Great job for the episode director Tommy Schlamme, the whole thing came out as great. So reactions from viewers were like, “They did a 69 on TV!” Yes, they did.
Another remarkable episode was the small talk with Martha, when Elizabeth asked about how Phillip was in bed. And then week after, Elizabeth flirts with Phillip like she wants the same kind of sex he’s having with Martha. It’s almost a really sexy story which turned out bad so quickly. Is this approach in contrast to any other shows? Fields said, “We don’t need to think about other shows. We can be completely messed up and dramatic all on our own!”
Where the Characters are Heading
Weisberg reminded, “But where our characters are coming from, they’re spies, and they have got these crazy things they are doing with these costumes and characters, so there is no concern that it could even relate to any other show. They are going to go to their own crazy dark places.
Stan who had a really sad year, made us think if he did right in sending Nina away and chose his country. Fields said, “Well, as someone who wasn’t killed in a global thermonuclear war I’m glad he didn’t give away the secrets of Echo, yes. So I appreciate his patriotism. Semper Fi, Stan.”
And what about Nina, is she really dead? At least nobody in the credits said she’s dead. That’s enough to bug our heads already.
How will it End?
Weisberg teased, “Yeah, we’re a long way from knowing, but we have a lot of possibilities, a lot of ideas.” Are there any themes, they’d like to share? Fields answered, “If the first season was about exploring marriage and the second season was about exploring family, the third season is an opportunity to explore what happens in a marriage when two people are really committed to each other and yet find themselves opposed in their ideology, in their belief systems—and most importantly in terms of what to do for the children. And how do you deal with those huge conflicts with big stakes when you still want to remain committed to one another? What gives? Who gives?”