(Spoiler alert: Do not read ahead unless you’ve watched through the season 5 finale of “The Americans.”)
When Joe Weisberg set out to create “The Americans” he had an idea of what he wanted to do with the FX series. Enter: Holly Taylor.
“There was a master plan, but it’s not turning out the way I thought it would,” Weisberg told TheWrap in a recent interview, along with co-showrunner Joel Fields.
In season 5, Taylor’s character, Paige, discovered exactly what her KGB agent parents had been up to all these years. Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) had two very different reactions to that revelation, both of which are central to the series as it heads into its sixth and final installment. But Weisberg says they hadn’t intended for Taylor to take up so much screen time. Not that he isn’t pleased with how it’s turned out.
“We knew that Paige was going to find out what her parents did and we knew the reverberations of that were going to be titanic and very central to the show,” Weisberg said. “But I don’t think we understood exactly how that was going to develop. And I don’t think that we understood that the battle — not just for Paige’s soul — but what Paige would do, the battle for Elizabeth to bring her into the fold and for Philip to fight it, and how that would come to dominate a central through line in the series.”
“I don’t think we knew that in the beginning. And we knew Paige’s storyline would be central to the emotional core of the show, but I don’t know that we knew it would take up so much screen time. That it would end up a storyline that would take up so much of the story of the show. And that’s been a real revelation because Holly was such a good actress and could do so much of it.”
Taylor tells TheWrap she has been excited to go wherever Fields and Weisberg take her character, especially for the farewell year.
“Paige has a much better relationship with her parents this season, cause she’s had time to let them explain what they do and really figure it out and adapt her life to this new one that she has to live now, where she’s found out all this new information about her parents,” Taylor said. “And I think that that’s brought her closer to them, especially to Elizabeth, because they are kind of working together and going on some lookouts and stuff. Working as a team. So she’s much closer with Elizabeth. And they get to bond over their passion for helping other people and fighting for a great cause.
“She’s probably a little more distant with Philip, just because she’s not living at home,” Taylor continued. “And he’s out of the whole spy game, so she’s a little distant from him. But she still has a good relationship with him. She can come home and see him any time. And you’ll see that throughout the season. If she needs advice or someone compassionate to talk to, she’ll go to Philip, and if she wants truthful honest answers, she’ll go to Elizabeth.”
The sixth and final season of “The Americans” premieres tonight, Wednesday, at 10/9c on FX.