What's the Matter with Kansas?



Critic Consensus: The stirring, deceptively simple "What's the Matter with Kansas?" probes the deepening layers of entanglements weighing on Philip, Elizabeth and Stan.

Episode Info

Philip and Elizabeth have qualms about a new assignment while a specter from Philip's past creates unforeseen dangers. Elsewhere: Stan makes a shocking play that could throw his career into turmoil.


Matthew Rhys
as Philip Jennings
Keri Russell
as Elizabeth Jennings
Holly Taylor
as Paige Jennings
Keidrich Sellati
as Henry Jennings
Noah Emmerich
as Stan Beeman
Susan Misner
as Sandra Beeman
Alison Wright
as Martha Hanson
Richard Thomas
as Agent Frank Gaad
Lev Gorn
as Arkady
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Critic Reviews for What's the Matter with Kansas?

The contrast between the two targets is very funny: Philip's quarry is a square he only barely manages to get his foot in the door with, while Elizabeth's is a granola-chewing, hiking-enthusiast hunk who could likely have his pick of any non-KGB-agent .

Mar 29, 2017 | Full Review…

The Americans is finally picking up the narrative throughlines that really make it hum: blackmail and flirtations that blur the peculiar dynamics distorting the apparently bland social lives of everyone on this show. . .

Aug 28, 2017 | Full Review…

"What's the Matter with Kansas?" is a deceptively simple episode that reveals layers of complexity in its last act.

Mar 29, 2017 | Full Review…

It's fascinating, and sad, to see how alike Stan and Oleg have become, and to get a sense of how well the two would get along if there weren't thousands of miles of geographic and political difference between them.

Mar 29, 2017 | Full Review…

In the best hour of the season so far, the effects of spying are wearing thin on both Philip and Elizabeth, and they're wearing their emotions more prominently than any disguise.

Mar 29, 2017 | Rating: 4.8/5 | Full Review…

[Oleg] sees corruption in the Soviet Union, and a wealth disparity that Elizabeth would like to believe only exists in the States.

Jun 1, 2018 | Full Review…

The spies clearly preferred to be back at home, watching TV or talking in bed - the episode made a clear, somewhat obvious parallel between the scenes of pretend seduction in Topeka and domestic comfort in Washington.

Mar 29, 2017 | Full Review…

With Alexei, we're witnessed a similar and often darkly funny dynamic: Now totally free to speak his mind in America, Alexei pops off in Russian against the Soviet Union, which pisses off his wife and son who bitterly resent being hijacked to a new home.

Mar 29, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

"What's the Matter with Kansas?" is a great episode of The Americans because it's a weird episode of The Americans.

Mar 29, 2017 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

In this installment of The Americans, Philip struggles with how to engage an especially dull target. That's sort of how I felt about this whole episode.

Mar 29, 2017 | Rating: C- | Full Review…