Previously on The Americans, “Jennings, Elizabeth”
No one died this episode. Aside from that, this was quite The Americans ending to this show. Tension was thick, emotions were high, and facial expressions were on point. Lots of meta-textual dialogue. The ending may not have been tragic, but was certainly not a happy one. Sigh.
“We had a job to do.”
They wasted no time dropping us into the action. Elizabeth and Philip are on the go and Stan is hot on their heels. His doubts are massaged away as chips finally fall into place. The Jennings are not at the office. The Jennings are not at home. The Jennings are picking up Paige. The tension mounts as his suspicions are confirmed and he zeroes in on his sneaky neighbors. He forgoes the stakeout to confront them in the parking garage. This is the moment we’ve waited six seasons to get to and it does not disappoint. Lots of yelling, accusing, denying and finally confessing. Stan and Philip break up and our hearts break. Stan’s best friend has betrayed him and he feels their entire relationship was false. Philip knows their friendship was one of the true things in his false life. But there is no repair. Philip confirms Oleg’s story – the plot against Gorbachev. Stan lets them go. They beg Stan to take care of Henry. Dire Straits’ apt Brothers in Arms plays as Philip and Stan mourn their conscious uncoupling.
“His life is here.”
Let’s talk about Henry. They certainly did. A lot. The most shocking thing about this episode was how often Henry was mentioned and considered – especially by his mother. Philip tells Elizabeth they need to leave Henry behind.
“To be alone? To be away from us?”
Really, Elizabeth? How would that be different from the rest of his life? Suddenly, leaving Henry is a big deal and Old Man Philip and Permed Mom Elizabeth call him to bid tearful goodbyes. Daria Morgendorffer Paige can’t bring herself to talk to him. This show is great at relationships, but this just felt false. Sorry, bitter.
“It feels strange.”
And so begins the denouement. This episode was overly long and the last half felt overly long. Lots of lingering shots on faces. Lots of time in moving vehicles. Lots of specific sadness and general melancholia. It’s the last episode of a great show and we all need time to process and grieve, so I’ll give it to them. And with all that face acting, there was not a lot of dialogue. This was a good call.
Philip and Stan’s 2nd rock love ballad, U2’s With or Without You plays as Philip gets food at Episode Sponsor Mickey D’s and glances longingly at a happy family eating a happy meal at America’s biggest burger franchise. What could have been. Sigh.
The family (minus Henry who didn’t really count as “family” until this episode…sorry, bitter) begins their trek back to Russia. They take a train into Canada and Philip and Elizabeth are about to breathe a sigh of relief when they see their daughter on the platform. Paige decided to stay back. There wasn’t much fear of Jennings’ capture after Stan let them go, so this last minute exit from Paige worked well to embody Philip and Elizabeth’s sacrifice. Sigh.
Paige goes back to the now empty house of Claudia. She gave up her family and her life. What she will do now is anybody’s guess, but at least she finally made a choice for herself. Sigh.
Stan gets his “I told you so” with Aderholt but doesn’t have the heart to enjoy it. There is a dismantling of the sham that is the Jennings’ home and life. Sigh.
The end scene has Philip and Elizabeth on a bridge, overlooking their new (old) city. It was a very meta goodbye, not in small part due to Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys having met because of this show. Maybe if it didn’t exist, they would have indeed met on a bus.
“They’ll remember us.”
Yes, we will.
Final Stray Rounds
- The confession of Brother Andre was intercut during the first half of this episode. It kept up the tension, but truly only sealed the nail in the barn door after the Jennings had bolted.
- “What will I tell his mother?” Arkady gives Oleg’s father the bad news. We can only hope Oleg will be released after the wall comes down. Maybe he’ll help Stan raise Henry.
- On the plane back to the Soviet Union, Elizabeth had a strange dream of her distant past and her recent past meshing. That’s all I have to say about that scene.
- They left us (half-heartedly) wondering about Rene and whether Stan suspects Rene. She, looking around enigmatically after they hug. He, watching her sleep. This was the best possible way to handle this weird plot line.
- It looks like Philip and Elizabeth will be able to start afresh in the Soviet Union. Will their new life include Martha?
My feelings about this episode reflect how I feel about the show as a whole. It wasn’t always good, but as a whole it was great. I’m truly sad to see this show go.
The Americans S6E10 Review Score
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Costa Ronin, Lev Gorn