‘The Americans’ Anxiety Report: Things Are Fine (Things Are Not Fine)

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The Americans Anxiety Report is a weekly rundown of the people and things we are currently most worried about on the show. It will get weird, because many of the people and things we will be worrying about will be tools in a plot to ruin America, put in motion by another country. Blame the show for this, not us.

10. Paige (Last week: 3)

Paige seems to be on an “in an episode, not in an episode” carousel. Carousel might be the wrong word. Carousels imply fun and laughing and small children enjoying themselves. This is more of a… bad carousel. One where the horsies have been replaced with… bad things. I swear this all made sense when I started typing it. What I’m getting at is that it does not seem like fun to be Paige right now, even when she’s off-screen.

I wonder what she was up to. After last week, it could have been anything, from curling up in her bed for days at a time to punching a scarecrow that she outfitted with a Pastor Tim wig. She might have just been walking around the neighborhood in a catatonic state, creeping out all the neighbors and house pets. “There goes that Jemnings girl,” people will say while looking out their living room window. “Something’s not right with that one.”

9. Henry (Last week: Not ranked)

Henry is cool and pumped about the mail robot and other dope spy stuff, which is all both great and Classic Henry. And he got the go-ahead to go to his new school if he gets accepted, which is even better and would probably be a decent CW show. But I do worry because his comment about “the vault” caused his parents’ eyes to light up a little. It’s their spying training, deep in their reptile brains. They can’t help it. For one teeny tiny second, they thought of Henry as an asset who can get them information from the vault, somehow. This will not do. Get my man to boarding school.

8. Mail robot (Last week: Not ranked)

Welcome back, old friend. Good to see you. Don’t let Stan’s snide little comments get you down, even if he does have a point what with the thing where you were compromised by the KGB in a scheme than resulted in an innocent old woman’s death. You’re doing great. Keep up the good work.

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7. The fool in the mental ward (Last week: Not ranked)

Kind of a throwaway discussion meant to perk Oleg’s ears up and remind him that people have gotten locked away forever for substantially less treasonous things than he’s done, but also, this poor guy. From the way they made it sound, he’s just a big dummy who said the wrong thing to the wrong person and now he’s confined to the mental ward. I know zilch about him beyond that and I already want to break him out. Him and his stupid face.

6. Oleg (Last week: 4)

Oleg has his usual set of problems (Russian intelligence suspicious of his activity, dad alternating between pushy matchmaker and silent worrier, mom crying constantly), but now he also hit a new snag in his investigation. The woman they busted, with a crime ledger in an unlocked drawer, absolutely does not give a crap about their investigation. She’s admitting to things and laughing at them and it all ends with their big break feeling more like someone flicking a pebble at a charging rhinoceros. Takes some of the air out of Oleg’s new Cool Produce Cop persona. Still has that bomber jacket, though. Not all bad.

5. Stan (Last week: 6)

Here’s the thing: Stan gave Henry that speech about how being in the FBI taught him to never trust anyone, including his own wife or son, and he even said he can’t really trust Henry (a weird thing to say to a teen you just brought in the FBI’s headquarters), but for all that talk, Stan sure does have a close bond with some Russian spies. Like, I know he hasn’t always trusted Philip, and I know he’s speaking more in generalities, but he is going to be so incredibly devastated when he finds out for real. Just broken down to his core. I’ve been trying to think of a way he can avoid that and I’ve got nothing. Closest I got was him quitting his job next week and taking over as the new headmaster of Henry’s boarding school. I swear to God I am not kidding about that CW show.

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4. Anyone who kind of looks like a war criminal, but isn’t (Last week: Not ranked)

It was mostly a moot point by the end because Anna/Natalie confessed, but there was a real moment there where it looked like Philip and Elizabeth might kill an innocent lady — a nurse and volunteer, with a loving husband — just because she was roughly the same size and shape as a VD-riddled war criminal who assisted with Nazi executions. There’s a lot going on there. It has to feel like the wildest thing to get accused of if you didn’t do it. Think about how you’d react if two people busted into your house claiming you did all that. I wouldn’t even know where to start defending myself. Probably something like “I was born 40 years after the war ended.” I think that would be a good opener.

3. Philip (Last week: 7)

As always, here are pictures of Philip looking sad. I have a folder filled with these now. The man is a disaster.

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2. Me (Last week: Not ranked)

That scene at the end. Hoo boy. I was all over the place, from thinking the lady was innocent, to thinking she was lying about her guilt to protect her husband, to feeling heartbroken when she explained the circumstances of her guilt, to angry at Nazis, to heartbroken again when Elizabeth killed her husband first and made her watch, to angry at Elizabeth, to angry at the KGB, and then finally to just being sad. It was a powerful and important scene for a million reasons and I will never watch it again, not even once.

1. Elizabeth (Last week: 9)

Elizabeth, the strong one, the one most committed to the cause, has reached her breaking point. This is a big deal for the obvious reasons the show has been winking at since Philip started moping around in disguises a few seasons ago, but also because it means she might finally snap one day and hit Ben with a freaking cookie sheet while he’s mansplaining Tibetan stews to her. Silver linings.

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