I think I’ve talked about The Americans in the past when I’ve written about shows I don’t feel qualified to write about. Because it is. I like the show far too much, and find the online discourse about the show so far above my pay grade, that I just keep my enjoyment to myself.
But on the eve of the series finale, I wanted to take some time to say a few words about what has been one of my must-watch shows from the moment I first started watching it, and is widely considered one of the best things that has been on TV over its six seasons.
Like many of the shows I follow, I came to The Americans a bit late. I can’t remember exactly when, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was just prior to the start of season three. Right from the start, the way the show balanced its “family” storylines with the spy stuff made it feel very similar to The Sopranos was also a show that was more about family than all the mob stuff it seemed to be about.
And so through this final season, the threads connecting Jennings family together have been pulled taught. They’ve struggled together through so much and we’ve reached a point where even if every single member of the family survives tonight’s episode — which seems unlikely — it’s hard to imagine that the family unit will survive.
So do I have any predictions on how this is going to play out? Not really. I do concur with most of the people who think that at least someone is going to die tonight. Up until Paige’s blow-up at her mother last episode I was leaning towards it being her, as the sins of the parents end up visited on the child, but she seems to have thrown in the towel on her own spy work, potentially bringing her out of the line of fire.
Which leaves me pointing a finger at Philip, whose somber suit-fitting in a previous episode made me think of someone purchasing the outfit they’ll be wearing to their funeral. At the time I wondered if he was planning on ending his own life, but now that they’re on the run, I see his death maybe being more of a self-sacrifice to save his family kind of a move. He’s already shown his willing to sacrifice for Elizabeth this season when he headed to Chicago to help her deal with an outed agent.
The one plot point I have no prediction for, but which I’m eager to see play out, is what happens with Stan. A few episodes back, when he started to suspect the Jennings’ again, it was heart-breaking to think about what would happen when he finally finds out, for sure, that his neighbours — and friends — were who he was hunting for all along.
Oh, and speaking of Stan, I do think he’ll help out Oleg, which might get him to think differently about The Jennings — realizing that all this spy stuff isn’t maybe as black and white as the world wants you to think.
Oh, final prediction, we’re never going to find out if Renee is a spy.
Whatever happens tonight, the way this season has played out has left me pretty confident going into the finale. It can be tough to bring a show this lauded to a close, as there’s a lot of weight on those final moments to pay off the time invested in all the previous hours. But I feel like the writers have a pretty good grip on things. And while I’ll miss all the intelligence and counter-intelligence adventures, it has been an incredible ride, and all stories must one day come to an end.