Emmy episode analysis: Matthew Rhys (‘The Americans’) bids ‘dasvidaniya’ in suspenseful series finale

With “The Americans” bidding dasvidaniya to TV screens, can Matthew Rhys finally win an Emmy as Best Drama Actor? Rhys reaped his third consecutive nomination for playing a Russian spy posing as an American businessman in the 1980s. It was his fourth career bid overall, as he also competed as Best Comedy Guest Actor for “Girls” in 2017.

In the series finale, “START,” Philip Jennings (Rhys) is on the run after almost being caught in an FBI sting operation. His wife Elizabeth (Keri Russell) joins him, and they decide their daughter, Paige (Holly Taylor), will travel to Russia with them while their son, Henry (Keidrich Sellati), will remain in school. They are confronted by their friend Stan (Noah Emmerich), an agent who has lived across the street from them for years. After he lets them go, Philip and Elizabeth escape to their homeland only to discover that Paige has stayed behind.

SEE Matthew Rhys (‘The Americans’) on Philip’s ’emancipation’ and why he was so ‘nervous’ for audiences to see the finale [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Can Rhys win for this episode? Let’s dive into the pros and cons:

PROS:

It doesn’t happen often, but Emmy voters occasionally give actors farewell hugs for their final seasons. After three nominations, Rhys could easily follow in the footsteps of prior Best Drama Actor winners Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”) and Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) by triumphing for the finale. (The same could go for his costar Russell, who has also contended three consecutive times without a win.)

The confrontation between Philip and Stan was the most talked-about moment of the finale, with Philip beautifully summing up the disappointment of his life and the complexity of his relationship with Stan. It’s hard to imagine this scene being so good without Rhys’ considerable acting skills. Given how acclaimed this final installment was (it also competes in Best Drama Writing for Joel Fields and Joseph Weisberg), perhaps voters will want to single out the actor who helped make it soar.

Last year’s winner, Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”), is drawing serious heat from his costar Milo Ventimiglia, who had a stellar season. “Westworld” actors Ed Harris and Jeffrey Wright could also split the vote, leading the way for either Rhys or Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) to triumph. Also, “The Americans” returned to the Best Drama Series race after missing last year (it previously competed in 2016 for its fourth season), which could boost Rhys’ chances.

SEE ‘The Americans’ could join an elite group of show that swept the drama lead Emmy categories

CONS:

Unfortunately for Rhys, Emmy voters love to repeat, so don’t be surprised if Brown once again prevails.

“The Americans” has had a dodgy history with the TV Academy: it took four years for the show, Rhys, and Russell to break through, and its only victories so far have been two Best Drama Guest Actress wins for Margo Martindale (who was snubbed this year). Will voters shower it with love before it’s too late, or will they continue to ignore it?

PREDICT the Emmy winners now; change them until September 17

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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