‘The Americans’ Season 2 Interview: Matthew Rhys on the Finale, Philip’s Challenges with Paige and More

The Americans Season 2 Episode 13 Echo (2)

After a second season of intense Cold War drama and first class domestic storytelling, The Americans will close out its sophomore season tonight, Wednesday, May 21st at 10/9c on FX. The closing hour is sure to be an exciting end to a terrific season of television. Recently, TV Equals joined a conference call with star Matthew Rhys who plays Philip Jennings, one half of the spy couple who balance their undercover lives with missions for the Russian government. Rhys teased the finale, discussed the challenges Philip faced with his suddenly curious daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) and much more. Read on for highlights from the interview before you settle in for tonight’s finale.

What Is In Store For Philip and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) in the Season 2 Finale?

The Jennings are about to take a fall, as the encroaching feeling that their covers and their children are at risk takes hold in the finale, “Echo.” Rhys spoke about how beautifully this season has been set up as it showed Elizabeth and Philip growing closer even as their job became increasingly riskier. “They realize that they’re very fallible, they’re not untouchable and that’s going to be a great setback to them,” Rhys revealed.

He continued, “There is an enormous about-turn in the last episode that I think keys up the third season beautifully in a way that will bring in a greater conflict for Philip and Elizabeth. Having seen them separated for the majority of the first season because of what they were going through, and then reunited for the second season, what happens at the end of the finale is, I think, going to bring such division to the two of them and will be very interesting to see how they play it out.”

On Paige’s Growing Curiosity

As if Philip and Elizabeth did not have enough to deal with, their teenage daughter reached an age where her parents unexplained disappearances and averting of questions became too blatant to ignore any longer. As Paige’s curiosity grew, so did her penchant for challenging her parents. Rhys said he enjoyed the storyline and the new dynamic it added to the series.

“I think it’s another fantastic element that they brought to the show, and not just one that’s been added for good measure, but with real reason that you have two young children who’ve been lied to their entire lives, and all of a sudden they’re coming of age and the parents’ suspicious behavior and the long absences, the phenomenal amount of laundry that they have to do; questions are going to be raised,” Rhys said. “It seems to be a very natural progression, and it raises questions in Philip, certainly with Paige that– I think he’s desperate for her not to take over a life that he didn’t have his entire life which is the life of just duplicity, deceit and lies; he’s desperate for her to avoid that. It pulls on him emotionally in an enormous way.”

As for the emotionally charged scene between Philip and Paige in “Martial Eagle,” Rhys divulged that he drew on personal experience to fuel the intense scene where he screamed at Paige. “I think Philip realizes that it’s a number of things,” Rhys said of the scene. “Obviously the pressure on him is enormous, and he realizes there’s an element with his daughter that she’s slipping out of his reach, and in that way that so many of us do, you lash out because you feel helpless. That’s how I went about it.”

How Philip and Elizabeth’s Relationship Blossomed

Philip and Elizabeth’s relationship in season one waffled between real and the cover story it was always meant to be. However, the duo found themselves in a real relationship this year (just as Philip was embedded in a marriage with Martha in order to obtain information). The growth of their feelings gave season two one of its most meaningful arcs and showed both characters shying away from certain aspects of their jobs– like honey trapping.

“Season One was seeing how the two of them they developed these real feelings,” Rhys said. “As they were developing these real feelings, how that changes the game for them in Season Two is very apparent. These real emotions have developed for the pair of them, and now certainly, the conflicts between that and their mission statement, their mandate, it makes for very difficult, although interesting dramaturgically, difficult situations whereby the thought of Elizabeth honey trapping, it preys on him enormously because his feelings have evolved and grown so much, and are now very real.”

The Americans Season 2 Episode 13 Echo (3)

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