It’s such a privilege to watch and write about The Americans every week. While I had some complaints about where the show was heading last year, the final season is proving to be its strongest one ever.
The Beginning of the End
The Jennings’ marriage has been on and off for years now, but there has never been as much tension between Philip and Elizabeth as there is now. Philip cornering his wife in front of Paige about the General killing himself is intense and incredibly fascinating to watch, and while the writers have proven that this is one unpredictable show, I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that Philip wouldn’t throw Elizabeth under the bus. He’s not that kind of person, and while I loved their very brief moment of intimacy in bed together, I found myself begging for these two to reconcile for good. I guess that’s not an option with the show coming to an end very soon?
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Paige is becoming the spitting image of her mother, more and more with every passing episode. The way she talks about the intern from her school is very reminiscent of Elizabeth discussing her marks with Philip at the end of a tough day at work. In addition, watching her sneak a couple of pictures with her purse before eventually sleeping with Brian proves that, much like her mother, there’s nothing stopping Paige from getting what she wants to serve her country.
The Light at the End of a Bad, Dark Day
Unlike Paige, Elizabeth has a pretty bad day on Mr. and Mrs. Teacup. Whether it’s her early mission that gets a couple of security guards killed or failing to get the intel she needs after Mrs. Haskard heartbreakingly pukes her guts out at a party, Elizabeth knows that she is tired and seems almost sick of it. As brilliant as Keri Russell is (as always), I have to praise the incredible work the writers put into this hour too to deliver a message about finding the light at the end of a dark day. It is brilliantly echoed throughout the episode, which fades in on one of Elizabeth’s missions in a scene that is literally too dark to be watchable, and carried throughout Mrs. Haskard’s speech about working towards the light as Elizabeth attempts to draw a picture of a vase. It’s no coincidence, then, that the second half of Mr. and Mrs. Teacup sees Philip dancing again, along with Paige out at a party, while Elizabeth works tirelessly on bugging her mark. Of course, the entire sequence is played out in a fantastic montage, in typical The Americans fashion, reminding us all that there will never be a show that can ever balance life-threatening spy hijinks with family drama in a musical sequence as effortlessly as this one has been doing for the past six years.
Have I mentioned how much I love this show?
Bits in Disguise
– Kimmy is back and she’s all grown up! Never liked her storyline, but gotta love this callback.
– So the goal is for Paige to eventually maybe work in the CIA? Hmmm.
– How heartbreaking is it to learn that Oleg’s dad is lying to him about his family’s condition in Moscow without him?
– Seriously, how beautiful is the Philip/Elizabeth bedroom scene?
– Anyone else see any kind of remorse on Paige’s face when she sees Brian’s badge after sleeping with him? Maybe she’s not her mother’s daughter after all?
– More screen-time for Henry, who is not happy upon learning that his parents might not be able to afford St. Edwards next year. Poor Henry.
– It might be unlikely, but what if Paige is the one to bring her parents down and uncover their plans to the FBI and Stan specifically? Stranger things have happened.
– The Philip flashback completely caught me off guard because of how random it is, but seeing him stare at a sandwich in the present-day while knowing how he struggled as a poor kid in Russia is admittedly a very powerful ending. Wow.
Quips from the Motherland
Elizabeth (to Paige): He loves me, he loves you, but somewhere … something got lost. This work can get to be too much for people. Even the best ones.
Philip: How’s Paige?
Elizabeth: She’s fine. You know, you can ask her yourself. I’m not keeping her from you.
Philip: I know. (Pause) And how about you?
Elizabeth: What? (Pause) I’m tired. All the time.
Another incredibly well-written episode of the most underrated show on television. This near-perfect season has yet to disappoint.