House Logo
Explore categories +

Richard Thomas (#110 of 7)

The Americans Recap Season 4, Episode 8, "The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 8, “The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears”

Patrick Harbron/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 8, “The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears”

Behind the blue curtain, the lady vanishes—Lady Liberty, that is. As David Copperfield explains in the TV special that gives tonight’s episode of The Americans its title, the illusion is meant to remind viewers to cherish their rights and freedoms, to appreciate the opportunities of which their immigrant ancestors dreamed. It is, as Elizabeth (Keri Russell) might say, “very American”: a manipulation, an elaborate trick, mistaking the profit motive for much higher ideals. In “The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears,” after all, another lady vanishes, and in her wake what might have seemed like liberty turns out to be a prison, one of the characters’ own design.

The Americans Recap Season 4, Episode 7, "Travel Agents"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 7, “Travel Agents”

Eric Liebowitz/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 7, “Travel Agents”

Tonight’s episode of The Americans comes to a head as Elizabeth (Keri Russell) knocks the wind out of Martha (Alison Wright), the latter’s insistent protests supplanted by staccato gasps. In the show’s arc this season, “Travel Agents” performs much the same function: A sharp exhalation, a moment of release, paves the way for a more restrained, if no less formidable, reckoning. One half of the episode is made up of searches, stakeouts, and wiretaps; the other, of questions, confessions, and tangled sympathies. It is, in short, a cleverly constructed hybrid, resolving the tension of the previous three episodes only to unleash a torrent of emotion. It’s as if the body blow Elizabeth delivers is the last crack in the dam, and the characters are left waiting downriver for the terrible flood to arrive.

The Americans Recap Season 4, Episode 6, "The Rat"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 6, “The Rat”

FX

The Americans Recap: Season 4, Episode 6, “The Rat”

Midway through tonight’s episode of The Americans, after sweeping Martha (Alison Wright) off to a KGB safe house on a leafy suburban lane, Philip (Matthew Rhys) removes his disguise in a fit of pique. Abandoning Clark’s thick coif for his own thinning black Brillo-like do, dispensing with Clark’s specs only to accentuate the hollowness in his eyes, he suddenly seems naked, exposed—so much so that Elizabeth (Keri Russell), still posing as Clark’s dowdy sister, Jennifer, stops short at the kitchen’s precipice. “Did you want her to? To see you?” she asks, and though Philip can only stutter a non-answer, his shamefaced expression and her frosty mien suggest all too clearly that a line has been crossed. In “The Rat,” seeing is indeed believing, and removing the veil lays bare the risk that inheres in the concept of trust.

Occupied France Revisited Richard Thomas and Michael Wilson Talk Incident at Vichy

Comments Comments (...)

Occupied France Revisited: Richard Thomas and Michael Wilson Talk Incident at Vichy

Joan Marcus

Occupied France Revisited: Richard Thomas and Michael Wilson Talk Incident at Vichy

The intelligence and emotional depth that Richard Thomas brings to his stage performances was evident as early as his breakout role as John-Boy Walton on the long-running CBS drama The Waltons. The Emmy-winning actor has had his fair share of notable television appearances, most recently as F.B.I. supervisor Frank Gaad on The Americans, but over the course of his career, he’s also made a name for himself on the stage with a series of challenging roles. Currently he leads a sterling ensemble cast in the Signature Theatre’s off-Broadway revival of Incident at Vichy, which Arthur Miller once explained was based on a story that was related to him by a psychoanalyst. In the one-act drama, which premiered 50 years ago on Broadway, nine men and a boy are rounded up in 1942 Vichy, France under suspicious circumstances and left to ponder their ultimate fate. Thomas plays Prince Von Berg, an Austrian aristocrat who’s one of the detainees. We sat down with the 64-year-old actor, along with director Michael Wilson, to talk about the current production of this lesser-known work by the great Arthur Miller.

The Americans Recap Season 3, Episode 13, "March 8, 1983"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 13, “March 8, 1983”
The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 13, “March 8, 1983”

On March 8, 1983, President Ronald Reagan addressed the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida. His remarks ranged widely, touching on the Book of Isaiah and The Screwtape Letters, Alexis de Tocqueville and the Declaration of Independence, but his central subject, as he described it, was the knowledge “that living in this world means dealing with what philosophers would call the phenomenology of evil or, as theologians would put it, the doctrine of sin.” Though it was his invocation of the Soviet Union’s “evil empire” that made waves, as we see in a nightly news segment at the end of tonight’s episode of The Americans, it’s Reagan’s decision to cast Cold War politics in such stark terms, both secular and religious, that underlines the moral compromises on which the series has focused throughout its brilliant third season. In “March 8, 1983,” 48 minutes that come as near to perfection as television can, it turns out that the phenomenology of evil and the doctrine of sin are inadequate hermeneutics for the dark night of the soul.

The Americans Recap Season 3, Episode 8, "Divestment"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 8, “Divestment”

FX

The Americans Recap: Season 3, Episode 8, “Divestment”

“Divestment” is an hour chock-full of interrogations. Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) examine their latest captives, Eugene Venter (Neil Sandilands), a member of the South African intelligence service, and his naïve stateside asset, Todd (Will Pullen); the F.B.I.’s Walter Taffet (Jefferson Mays) grills Agent Dennis Aderholt (Brandon J. Dirden), searching for the bureau’s mole; Paige (Holly Taylor) pries into her mother’s past and Martha (Alison Wright) finally confronts Clark. But the most troubling exchange in an episode run through with caustic conversations is the one Martha has with herself. As she brings the news of Taffet’s investigation to her absentee husband, her questions turn inward: “What have I done?” she asks, erupting into sobs. “Is any of this true?” “Revelation” derives from the Latin for “lay bare,” and indeed, “Divestment,” though named for the strategy of anti-apartheid activists, suggests another form of dispossession too. Revelation by revelation, The Americans continues to strip each character of what they think they know, until all that’s left is bone.

Honoring Structure: An Interview with An Enemy of the People‘s Richard Thomas

Comments Comments (...)

Honoring Structure: An Interview with An Enemy of the People’s Richard Thomas
Honoring Structure: An Interview with An Enemy of the People’s Richard Thomas

Richard Thomas is back on Broadway in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. The New York-born actor, who for many will always be associated with The Waltons, started his career as a child actor, making his first Broadway appearance at age seven in 1958. Since then, with detours for movies and especially television, he’s worked steadily in the theater, playing a slew of classical roles in regional theater, and working on contemporary fare by writers such as Lanford Wilson, Terrence McNally, Edward Albee, and David Mamet.

In Ibsen’s 1882 classic, a community’s highly anticipated source of revenue, a new public baths for their town, is in jeopardy when the town’s medical officer, Thomas Stockman, discovers the water may be contaminated. Stockman’s determination to stop the project sets him in collision with his fellow townspeople as well as his brother, Peter (Thomas), the mayor of the town. I spoke with the 61-year-old actor shortly before performances started at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway.