A Perilous Mission on ‘The Americans,’ A ‘Handmaid’s’ Baby Shower, Double Dose of Nathan Fillion on ABC
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
The Americans (10/9c, FX): Once more into the breach goes Philip (Matthew Rhys) in the most riveting episode yet of the spy thriller’s excellent final season. Called back into service by wife Elizabeth (Keri Russell, frighteningly icy) to pull off an unusually dangerous mission in Chicago, Philip leaves poor Henry (Keidrich Sellati) alone with a suddenly suspicious Stan (Noah Emmerich), leading to incredibly suspenseful developments on the work and home fronts. This harrowing episode is not to be missed as the series barrels toward its conclusion at month’s end.
The Handmaid’s Tale (streaming on Hulu): Lets hope you’ve never seen a baby shower as depressing as the one Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) hosts for the newly returned rebel Handmaid, Offred aka June (Elisabeth Moss). Back under the oppressive thumb of Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), June struggles to maintain her defiant attitude as Offred is uneasily welcomed back into the Commander’s (Joseph Fiennes) bleak household.
Modern Family (9/8c, ABC): Guest stars galore on an episode that contrives to confront Haley (Sarah Hyland) with her many ex-boyfriends, just as she’s meeting new beau Arvin’s (Chris Geere) parents, played by Scandal‘s Kate Burton and Jim Piddick. Reid Ewing returns as Dylan, Adam Devine as Andy and Nathan Fillion as Rainer Shine. In a second farcical subplot, the great Mary Louise Wilson guests as Jay’s (Ed O’Neill) cranky sister, Aunt Becky, who the family confronts at nursing home—during which incident Phil (Ty Burrell), Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) get trapped in the basement.
Fillion fans get a double dose of the popular actor when he appears as himself on ABC’s American Housewife (9:30/8:30c). He’s the celebrity holy grail for Katie (Katy Mixon), Taylor (Meg Donnelly) and Oliver (Daniel DiMaggio) when they head to a Firefly convention in New York to try to convince the star to be their guest at the school’s spring gala.
Inside Wednesday TV: PBS’s Nature wraps its Natural Born Rebels miniseries (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org) with a look at “The Mating Game,” including cunning tactics of prairie dogs, macaques and hyenas. … ABC’s The Goldbergs (8/7c) pays homage to Spaceballs when Adam (Sean Giambrone) starts a Mel Brooks fan club after seeing the Star Wars parody. Rick Moranis, the infamous Dark Helmet, provides a voice-over cameo. … National Geographic Channel’s provocative current-affairs series America Inside Out with Katie Couric (10/9c) studies the causes behind “The Revolt” of the #MeToo movement in an investigation of systemic gender discrimination in the workplace. … NBC’s Chicago PD (10/9c) ends its fifth season with Intelligence seeking justice for Olinsky (Elias Koteas) when he’s stabbed in prison.