Elizabeth Jennings: Television’s Greatest Hero

Credit: FX

It’s been a couple months since The Americans aired its final episode on FX, and after having the chance to really sit with this show and read just about every related piece posted online, I still find myself stuck on the words of co-showrunner Joel Fields in Vanity Fair about the antihero status of the show’s leads:

“An antihero is somebody who’s doing something out of selfish motivations or sociopathology. But these are people—we may not agree with their beliefs or with the cause to which they’ve devoted themselves, but they’ve sacrificed an enormous amount to be soldiers in this struggle for what they believe is right.”

I mulled over this quote specifically in regard to Elizabeth Jennings, who I believe was on the receiving end of most of this “antihero” labeling. On the days leading up to the finale, I had come to the same conclusion as Fields—Elizabeth is just a great hero. Contrary to those characters in television who fit the “antihero” archetype like Walter White and Tony Soprano, Elizabeth is driven by a cause that is bigger than herself. As Philip stated in the penultimate episode, “She cares about the whole world.” She is the hero of her own story, for her own side. As a viewer, seeing her ideals as staunchly wrong only perpetuates a very one-sided way of thinking instead being open to the grey areas the show so beautifully paints.

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‘Rise’ Review: I Never Want to Hear ‘Mama Who Bore Me’ Again

Credit: NBC

I went into Rise with high expectations because of the creative team behind it, which consists of Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and Jeffrey Seller (Hamilton). I now walk away from its 10-episode first season apathetic to almost everything that occurred.

Rise isn’t terrible, it’s just not very gripping and moves through plot lines with messy haste. It also bears a striking resemblance to Friday Night Lights in terms of it’s high school setting and shaky filming style that make it near impossible to avoid comparisons. Is that unfair? Maybe, but I found myself comparing the two, especially throughout the pilot, and Rise always came up short. Continue reading “‘Rise’ Review: I Never Want to Hear ‘Mama Who Bore Me’ Again”