With Friends Like These…

the-americans-keri-russell-matthew-rhysThere’s a good chance you’re not watching The Americans, which is crazy because you totally should be. What are you watching instead? One of those NCIS shows? Chopped? Playoff basketball? Come on now. This is NOT hyperbole- The Americans is the best drama on television right now. Not Mad Men, not Game of Thrones, not The Good Wife, not any game started by Yordana Ventura of the Kansas City Royals.

It’s The Americans. Plain and simple.

I’ve already laid out reasons why you should be watching the show; twenty of them actually, so I’m not going to do that again. But I do want to talk about this week’s season finale because in the same way The Americans deserves to be watched, the finale deserves to be talked about. And no one is.

Well, actually a few people are.

Whatever. That’s never stopped us before.

And warning, there will be spoilers.

What was the biggest gut punch- Paige ratting out her parents to Pastor Tim, Phillip trying to find a way to put his twisted up feelings about what they’re doing in words to Elizabeth or the Reagan Evil Empire speech playing in the background of both things happening?

Well we kind of knew two of those things were going to happen and we definitely knew one of those things were going to happen (the Reagan speech.) And it seemed like Paige turning on her parents was an inevitability as soon as her parents spilled the beans to her. But…no let’s be honest, it’s Paige. It’s one thing to find out your parents are Russian spies, but it’s an entirely different thing to then tell your pastor about it.

How do we feel about Pastor Tim?

Not great.

No?

Nope. Blurs the line between his “flock” and other people’s children. And he’s kind of creepy.

Well, I’d say there’s a good chance he gets killed next season now.

There’s a slim chance.

Speaking of people getting killed, did Martha get killed?

I don’t think so. I think she’s just having some alone time now. Kind of needed, especially after finding out your husband is 100% not who you thought he was.

So why did Phillip reveal himself to her?

It did seem like a precursor to killing her, but I think it’s more likely it was to calm her down and bring some trust back into their relationship. Even still, bold and risky move by Phillip.

Isn’t it equally risky for Martha to disappear for while? I mean, she was already a main suspect in the whole Gaad/Bugged Pen mystery. Wouldn’t taking an abrupt vacation raise a few eyebrows?

It totally would. But not after Phillip killed that other dude who worked at the FBI and framed him for the whole thing. Clears Martha even though it definitely looked it did some emotional damage on Phillip.

Back to Paige, where does finding out your parents are Russian spies rank on the list of Truths About Parents That Damn Near Ruined a Kid on Television?

Let’s look at the contenders…

Meadow Soprano (The Sopranos): always had a feeling her dad was in the mob, but still a tough pill to swallow
Dana Brody (Homeland): Dad returns home after everyone thought he was dead only to find out he’s a spy
Walter Jr. (Breaking Bad): Finds out Dad is a big-time drug dealer whose exploits pretty much destroy their family
Sally Draper (Mad Men): Catches her dad boinking the upstairs neighbor, also learns he’s not who he says he is

So it’d say the rankings would be:

5. Sally Draper
4. Meadow Soprano
3. Walter Jr.
2. Dana Brody
1. Paige

Should anything be read into Henry and Stan together during that finale montage?

No. Just two dudes hanging out. Just hopefully not talking about girls because that could get awkward.

Oh because…

Yeah, Henry is a big fan of Stan’s ex.

We’re all a big fan of Stan’s ex.

Sandra does have great hair.

It’s amazing.

She kind of seems out of Stan’s league.

Maybe Stan had a cool car or something when they met.

Maybe.

What kind of future do we think Phillip and Sandra might have? They seemed to be inching towards something at the end of that last E.S.T. meeting.

I’m not sure Phillip needs another woman in his life right now.

True. Actually, what is E.S.T.?

I don’t know. Let’s check.

“The purpose of est was ‘to transform one’s ability to experience living so that the situations one had been trying to change or had been putting up with, clear up just in the process of life itself.'”

So…yeah.

Moving on, what happened to Kimmy?

I don’t know.

And what was the point of that?

Her Dad was important and they wanted to somehow monitor him. So Phillip put a bug in his briefcase, not to mention lust in Kimmy’s heart. Which made us (including Phillip) uncomfortable. Like really uncomfortable. Like I’d rather not think about it to be completely honest with you.

That’s fair. Do you think the amount of things happening this season made it kind of hard to follow?

I do. But I also think it’s a testament to how good The Americans is that even though I don’t know what’s going on sometimes, I’m still 100% engrossed. I’m still not entirely sure why that one dude was captured and then burned alive and I didn’t totally follow the hotel thing, but I was completely entertained regardless.

Was Stan’s plan to save Nina as stupid as I think it was?

Yes. Essentially he figured that if he could out the defector as not a defector, but a spy, then the F.B.I. would go ahead and send her back to Moscow in exchange for Nina. That’s a pretty big gamble because as Stan found out, there’s actually one or two other people ahead of Nina on the list of people the U.S. government are hoping to rescue from the iron clutches of the Russians. You’d have thought Stan might have considered this, but no. He was thinking with his wanger instead of his noggin- rookie mistake. Get your shit together, Stan. You really need earn some points at the office because God knows, once people find out that you’ve been living across the street from some of the very illegals you’ve been out chasing, things could get sticky.

So what happens to Nina now?

I’m not sure. I feel like it’s a stretch to keep her involved if she’s not directly intwined with the main plot(s,) which she currently isn’t. Or at least I think she isn’t. She is working with that scientist and he’s doing something about the U.S. Stealth program and Phillip and Elizabeth were involved with that. So I don’t know, maybe it does all tie in together. I love Nina. I’d hate to see her go. But I also don’t want her kept around just because we all like Nina. I want her to be relevant- not fan service.

What was one of your highlights of the season?

When Stan came over for dinner after Paige had learned the truth about her parents. The look on her face, seeing her parents, Russian spies, sitting down for dinner with a F.B.I. agent was priceless, kind of funny and ultimately gripping.

If ants are not scary and dying from being trapped in a refrigerator that is sinking in the ocean is extremely scary, where does Elizabeth fall on the scary-meter?

She’s a notch above the re-occuring dreams I have about not being able to graduate college because I’m one credit short due to a failed math class.

Thoughts on Gabriel?

I don’t appreciate his tone.

Favorite Russian?

Arkady.

Favorite song from Rage Against the Machine’s Evil Empire?

“Bulls on Parade”

Predictions for next season?

At this point I think it’s hard to tell, if only because we don’t know if there will be a jump in time. If it starts soon after the season finished, I’d have to think it’s going to come out that Paige told Pastor Tim about her parents and how they react is going to be super interesting. I mean, they’d have to do something, right? I think the laws of confession are a little loose when it comes to international espionage and the welfare of our country. Pastor Tim is going to be in a tough spot. As for Stan, he’s also in somewhat of a pickle because he’s looked upon favorably by the higher ups at the bureau but also in Gaad’s dog house. Not to mention that Oleg might be a little pissed off that Stan couldn’t hold up his end of the bargain. I bet Stan goes balls out loose cannon next season. I’m talking McNulty-levels of recklessness. Why the hell not? His woman left him and his best friend is a clueless 12 year old boy who is only using him for his toys. If The Americans were smart, they’d shoot for five seasons and that’s it. Five seasons is perfect such a tight, high wire show like this (see Bad, Breaking.) That way this next season could build towards Stan getting closer to discovering the truth about Phillip and Elizabeth, thus setting up a doozy of a show down in season five.

Final thoughts on this season?

Keri Russell is a good looking woman. But her character scares the bejesus out of me.

Photos: FX

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