“This could destroy us,” says spy handler Gabriel (Frank Langella) ominously in the new trailer for season five of “The Americans” (watch above). The series returned to FX on March 7 with a shocking season premiere, “Amber Waves,” in which Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) abruptly kill Hans (Peter Mark Kendall), the young agent Elizabeth had been training, after he accidentally exposes himself to a pathogen. Now we’re getting a closer look at the rest of what the season has in store.
A few tidbits are especially worth noting. For starters, it appears that Philip and Elizabeth’s teenager daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) is becoming even more deeply involved in the spy game. “Is it hard pretending to be other people?” she asks her parents, and later Elizabeth wonders, “How long is it going to be before she slips?”
Then there’s a food crisis in Russia. “Half of our grain comes from America,” says Gabriel, “and if they’re doing something to it, people will starve.” The premiere episode introduced the food crisis, with Soviet agent Oleg Burov (Costa Ronin) back in Moscow investigating corruption in the country’s food industry as well as a Russian defector in the US complaining about food lines in his former homeland.
That leaves Philip. Gabriel doesn’t think Claudia (Margo Martindale), the Jennings’ previous handler, trusts him, to which she answers, “He’s unstable.” We’ve known for years now how the moral compromises Philip has had to make have left him ambivalent about his mission. Perhaps he finds common ground with the Russian defector and finally reaches his breaking point this year.
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