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.
Unranked: Tuan (Last week: 6)
I’m going to file Tuan being an ungrateful irresponsible ideologue under the category of “stubborn misguided youth” instead of “burgeoning sociopath,” only because I try to see the good in people. I did kind of want Elizabeth to toss him out a window, though. Still do. Not too late.
10. Henry (Last week: 9)
Things looked bleak for Henry, what with Philip backing out on the promise to let him attend his fancy New England boarding school and do math and such with Chris, his “friend” who helped him secure a scholarship and cook a dinner to butter up his parents and who appears to have replaced Stan as his primary free-time companion, but is definitely not his girlfriend according to him, which is not something he should say in front of her unless he wants to see real teenage tears by the quart. Henry, you dolt. Open your eyes! She’s crazy about you!
Sorry, got distracted there. Anyway, does… does the twist at the end, with the Russia return apparently postponed, mean that he can go now? It seemed like that was the problem, so if that’s cleared up, at least in an open-ended temporary way, maybe all is good again on the Henry front? I hope so. I like this guy. I hope he and Chris get married and have two little nerds of their own, neither of whom are forced to become spies or stage a suicide attempt to manipulate their parents to move halfway around the world. You got to give me one thing, The Americans.
9. Linda (Last week: Not ranked)
Get it together, Linda.
8. Oleg (Last week: 2)
No sign of Oleg this week, which was weird. It means our last look at him before the final season was him moping around the streets of Russia, staring out over a bridge, contemplating life and prison camps and grocery corruption that reaches the highest levels of government. Oleg is massively doomed. So is everyone on this show, probably, but Oleg has about three different forces pressing down on him right now, any one of which could ruin him and break his poor mama’s heart. Oleg needs an outlet to relieve all this stress, or else he might explode. Maybe golf.
7. Pasha (Last week: 1)
Pasha attempted suicide because a foreign spy posing as his friend goaded him into it, as part of a plan to guilt his family into moving back to Russia to escape his continuous nightmare of a life in America, which was caused by that same foreign spy and other spies posing as that spy’s family, and now that his plan worked he’s going home with a single mother who is about to be blackmailed by the Russian government because she cheated on his father with a “big sex man” in an attempt to feel good for 30 minutes of her awful, miserable life.
So that’s cool.
6. Baby Olya (Last week: Not ranked)
Baby Olya is adorable — LOOK AT HER KICK THAT LITTLE SOCCER BALL WITH HER TINY LITTLE LEGS — but if there’s anything we can learn from this episode, it’s that children on this show are so screwed. Paige is damaged and training to be a cage fighter, basically. Henry is one revelation away from his whole world crashing down. Pasha tried to kill himself. Kimmy is lusting after grown creeps galore, and is actually kind of lucky that the one she settled on is a Russian spy with a conscience. Matthew got his heart broken and then apparently vanished off the face of the Earth. Mischa is back in Russia working in a factory. It’s not good.
Which is why I worry about tiny baby Olya. I’m sure Martha will try. I’m sure she will care for this cute little orphan and do her best to raise her in a loving home. But Martha is also an American traitor hiding in Russia, where she barely speaks the language and has no family or friends. It’s gonna be tough sledding for this kid. Maybe not as tough as growing up in a Russian orphanage, but still.
A big part of me hopes the final season of the show zips forward to the present day and follows the adventures of Olya, who has become a grifter and riverboat gambler in America, like a Russian immigrant version of the Jackie Nevada character from Justified. No explanation. That’s just what the show is. People would be so mad. People who are not me.
5. Pasha’s Mom (Last week: Not ranked)
Housewives Elizabeth has befriended for an operation, ranked by how much their lives were destroyed and/or how much it hurt to watch:
3. Lisa, the alcoholic Northrop employee with the worthless abusive husband — Three might seem a little low considering Elizabeth murdered her with a vodka bottle after turning her life into a pile of garbage, but her life wasn’t all that great to begin with. The low was very low, but the high was never that high to begin with.
2. Pasha’s mom — See above, regarding going to Russia alone with a suicidal(-ish) teen son and walking into an extortion plot
1. Young-Hee — Still not ready to talk about this.
4. Paige (Last week: 4)
The thing about Paige is that she seems to be doing better. I mean, “better.” Pastor Tim moving away is a huge weight off her shoulders, and she’s walking through dangerous parts of town with very little fear, and she’s kind of a badass now thanks to the garage combat training. If her arc were a superhero movie, this would be like the beginning of Act II, where our once-awkward hero learns to harness her superpowers and protect her identity, moments before the villain tries to destroy the city with space lasers or something. Paige is basically Spider-man, in this way.
Unfortunately, Paige is also an emotionally ravaged teenage girl with heartbreaking trust issues, whose parents are Russian spies who have murdered dozens of people, and if anyone figures any of that out, her entire world will fall apart. So she’s like Spider-Man if Aunt May worked for the KGB. Which she might. You don’t know what Aunt May is up to.
3. Philip (Last week: Same)
Whole lot going on with Philip this week. I could try to write it all out, sure, but I still think screencaps of him looking sad say more than any words I could spill out here. The man is a wreck.
2. Stan (Last week: 5)
– Renee is a spy — for someone, either Russia or the CIA or some as-yet-unknown country/group — and she is trying to talk Stan out of quitting as a way to save her mission.
– Renee is not a spy and is trying to talk Stan out of quitting for some other reason (patriotism, a personal fetish for counter-intelligence officers, etc.), despite the fact that it is clearly making him miserable.
Either way, the important thing here is that I have been proven correct, as she is a either a spy or a suspicious and duplicitous creep, and Stan should dump her. I knew it.
1. Elizabeth (Last week: 8)
The conversation at the end was so rough. It’s not that heading back to Russia was a clean solution to all their problems (see: Paige, Henry), but it was something Philip could hold out as a dream. A way to leave the soul-destroying world of espionage behind. A way to have a normal life, or whatever the closest approximation of that is, under the circumstances. But now that’s gone, at least for the foreseeable future, because he’s committed enough to Elizabeth to share the news about Kimmy’s dad with her, and she’s committed enough to the cause to feel obligated to see it through, even if it means staying in America and working solo so Philip can breathe.
So why is Elizabeth ending the season in the top spot instead of Philip? Because of that conversation she had with Tuan earlier in the episode, the one about needing a partner because without one he’ll end up dead or in jail because he’ll make a mistake. That felt… important, in hindsight. Something bad is going to happen to Elizabeth in the final season and Philip is going to get dragged back in to help. This will all end poorly. I’m terrified, but I also kind of can’t wait. It’s normal. I’m fine.
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