‘The Americans’ Anxiety Report: Oh, Pastor Tim, You Just Messed Up Bad

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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. The Lindens (Last week: Not ranked)

The Lindens, the vacationing family that Philip and Elizabeth were discussing when Paige came home, have two problems. One, as we heard, their daughter is now tagging along on their vacation and will require an adjoining room. Did… did their romantic getaway just get ruined? What’s this kid’s deal? She’s old enough for her own room but she’s tagging along on her parents’ vacation, by herself? What is she going to do the whole time? Sit at the pool and charge meals to the room? She’s wrecking her parents’ second honeymoon. It’s not right.

The second problem is that their travel agents are a wee bit distracted, what with impromptu weddings and multiple identities and two teenage children. Their daughter could end up in their hotel room with them in a cot, when all is said and done. This vacation is doomed.

9. Elizabeth (Last week: Same)

Bad news, good news, and bad news.

BAD: The Kansas mission continues, long-term. This actually isn’t terrible news for Elizabeth because she has a weird appreciation for Ben The Nature Doof, but it’s upsetting to me because I am sick of his stupid face.

GOOD: That secret warehouse wedding was very sweet.

BAD: Her entire world is stressful and crumbling and her daughter and husband look like they might cry themselves into dehydration at any moment.

So a pretty normal week for her.

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8. Tuan (Last week: 2)

Tuan is sorry. He’s sorry he snuck off to that Harrisburg IHOP. He knows he shouldn’t have done it. There’s really no good reason, at all, ever, to take a bus to Harrisburg to eat at an IHOP, although “providing comfort to a scared friend who has leukemia” gets you pretty close. But even then, Harrisburg? I don’t know.

The important development is that his apology, which seemed heartfelt, triggered that motherly instinct in Elizabeth again. She didn’t even report him. That’s not like her. Which, now that I think about it, is probably a sign that he was double crossing them. No good deed goes unpunished on this show.

7. Philip (Last week: 4)

Sad Philip update: Still pretty freaking sad.

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6. Stan (Last week: 5)

Light week for Stan. Just some talk with his new Russian asset about pouches and her boyfriend. The last part seemed to concern him. Not sure why. I’m sure it’ll come up. For now, the bigger issue is that Renee is trying to rope him into singing at karaoke. It’s a trap! I don’t know how! But it is! You can’t trust Renee, Stan! She’s up to something.

5. Pasha’s Mom (Last week: Not ranked)

This lady. Good Lord. Her life was an unhappy mess, with a loud husband complaining about Russia and a sad mopey son who had one friend, and it all built up until she broke down and ran off to a motel with the Big Sex Man from her class. She was looking for something, anything, to give her a glimmer of hope. Instead, now her husband is trying again and she’s filled with guilt and her son has no friends and a poop-filled locker and Russian operatives are approaching her on the street and leaning on her to come back. It’s a lot. The lesson here, as always, is that any housewife who befriends Elizabeth is headed for indescribable pain and suffering. The woman is a menace, even when she’s not trying to be.

4. Oleg (Last week: 1)

A quiet week for Oleg, too, both literally and figuratively. That silent dinner was so awkward. I imagine a tiny part of him was hoping to get thrown into a work camp rather than do that every night.

3. Paige (Last week: 7)

Hey, let’s check in with Paig-… aaaaaaand she’s stress-mopping a clean floor in the middle of the night.

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Not great!

The interesting this about this week’s developments is that, like, Pastor Tim is right. Totally right. Every word he wrote in that journal of his is the precise, keenly observed truth. Paige is messed up, bad, in ways that likely can never be fixed. She suspected as much a few weeks ago, when she was talking to Philip, which resulted in a Level 5 Sad Philip Face, but now she has a second opinion from a source she trusts. None of this is good. It’s bad, even. And now she’ll have to live with the fact that she sent him away forever, if that is what’s really going to happen. We’ll discuss this momentarily.

2. Pasha (Last week: Not ranked)

For the second time in three weeks, Pasha cracks the top three in our list despite not appearing in the episode at all. That’s kind of impressive, in a depressing way. There’s something even sadder about hearing stories of his misery from other sources. Like, him describing bullies leaving dog crap in his locker? Sad, probably. Watching his mom explain it with tears welling up in her eyes? Devastating. I hope Pasha and Paige fall in love and live happily ever after in some tropical paradise under assumed names, like Rocky and Rexella Montecarlo or something.

1. Pastor Tim (Last week: Not ranked)

Pastor Tim, you idiot. Why would you do any of that? Why would you write brutally honest things like that in your diary and then leave Paige alone in your house? Why would you disguise her identity only by referring to her as “P.J.”? She is the daughter of spies. You know this. You know it. Of course she was going to snoop around and find your little diary. What did you expect? What was your endgame here, my man? Why even commit it to paper? Were you afraid you’d forget about the psychologically-ravaged teenage child of secret KGB officers who you let babysit your infant? Where’s the upside in any of this? Just think those thoughts and then move along. No paper trail. It’s like you’ve never seen a movie. Jesus.

And here’s the other thing: That plan, the one Philip and Elizabeth floated to Paige about sending Pastor Tim away? Yeah… did you see their faces in that darkroom as the pictures were developing? Those were not “send him away peacefully” faces. Those were “protective mama and papa bear” faces. Those were “How dare he say that about our daughter?” faces. Those were murder faces.

The whole situation is complicated by Tim’s wife and evidence she may or may not know and/or have secured in a protected location in the event something happens to him, but I’ve got to believe they’ll find a way around that. Pastor Tim goofed and now he has to die. That’s how this works.

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