Family VS. Country (The Americans Season Three Finale)

Image Source: FX 

When I first started watching the Americans, both myself and many other fans believed that the premise put out there was really true; this is a show about Russian spies posing as Americans. But as the show went on, I soon came to believe that this was in fact a show about Russian spies becoming Americans. Now there is a possibility that I’m reading way too much into this and that internal voice in my head screaming “USA! USA!” over and over again has given me a biased judgement. But after this finale, I seem almost positive that this is the track at least Philip is going.

As a season finale in general, I can’t say this was my favorite episode. Sure tons of things happened…..many more things than a typical season finale would have on any other show but it was significantly missing a huge aspect of spy work and action. I know that’s not what The Americans is always about but I would have loved to see some of the storylines they’ve been building up all seeing follow all the way through to their consequences.


Well That Plan Backfired

The most tied-up storyline in the finale however directly dealt with Zinaida. Throughout the entire season, we were all pretty damn sure she was a double agent and a few episodes back we got solid proof but now we just wanted to see Oleg and Stan “out” her in order to get their lovely Nina back. Oleg and Stan actually worked very well together this season. They put their differences aside in order to fully save Nina from prison.

But that all went right down the toilet but not in the way you may expect. I was expecting somehow someway Zinaida to get around Stan and Oleg’s plan leaving Stan the duped agent once again. But that didn’t happen. She did get arrested and she had a one way ticket to a prison cell. But the terms of the exchange of prisoners has been altered. Gaad almost gleefully tells Stan that there is someone more important in the Russian jails so Nina is just not a priority. Ouch. Stan has been a punching bag this entire episode. First Sandra basically shoves their wedding album in his hands claiming she would never want it and then this? Phew, he really did need some bonding time with Henry at the end of the episode.

Now the FBI wants Stan to get close to Oleg which could be difficult. Oleg is not a stupid guy and Stan is going to have to come up with some pretty convincing story as to why they should continue to work with each other. Will he say the FBI needs more to get Nina free? I feel like Nina is the only thing Stan can really use against Oleg. But how far would Oleg go to save Nina? He’s obviously willing to out a very important Soviet agent which will probably come to bite him in the ass but will this continue and will he find another way to save his love?

And as that plan backfired, we are watching Nina give up almost completely in trying to ensure her safety. She is feeling insanely guilty about Anton Baklanov and almost seems like she’s about to give up. Is it worth it to destroy other’s lives in order to save your own? If Nina finally gains a little more of a guilty conscience, it may literally be up to Oleg to save her after all.


The Goodbye

We got a lot more emotional scenes in this finale than what we are really used to in this show. Elizabeth was able to take Paige to Germany in order to say goodbye to her mother. It was a touching and heartbreaking scene all at once that had so much underneath the surface. Paige is literally meeting her grandmother for the first time and still trying to process everything she’s learned about her family in the last months. I loved the scene where Paige was praying for Elizabeth’s mom and we see (for a glimpse of a moment) Elizabeth almost kneeling down next to Paige to pray with her. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of Elizabeth recruiting Paige, it was Paige that recruited Elizabeth? Just something to think about in the hiatus before Season Four.

But here’s where it gets tricky. No matter what, Paige seems to be loyal to her country and what she’s known her entire life. She is young and feeling very betrayed by her family. What will happen next? Well, in the final scene of the season we get a huge cliffhanger leading into Season Four where Paige finally picks up the damn phone and calls Pastor Tim. She’s crying. She’s mortified and she finally spills the beans about her parents being Russian spies. ::Gasp:: How could she do that? Okay, I know exactly why she can do that and I even sympathize with her so much but I really wish she knew how much her parents (mostly Philip) are trying to protect her. Now there are a lot of theories that Pastor Tim could in fact be an FBI agent undercover in order to sniff out terrorists within all of his activist work. I don’t know if that’s reaching or not but that would sure make things interesting. But all in all, he may just be Pastor Tim. Pastor Tim who’s about to have a very unfortunate meeting with Philip.


Philip’s Guilt
Philip has always been my favorite character in this show. Not just because he seems to be slightly more sympathetic to Americans than Elizabeth is but because it really does seem like his family is way more important to him than his country. And with Elizabeth, it could very well be the other way around. We saw Elizabeth say goodbye to her mother who she left in order to serve her country and then we see her completely ignore Philip’s heartfelt confession of guilt in order to hear what Reagan was saying in his speech. Sure, what Reagan was saying was super important but so is your husband’s inevitable breakdown.

For seasons, we’ve watched Philip get more and more infuriated with the center asking them to do very dangerous things with little or nothing in return. This episode showed it clearer than ever before. The scenes between Gabriel and Philip keep getting more and more intense as the episodes go on. And in this one Gabriel really fired back. After getting Elizabeth and Paige into Germany to see her mother, Gabriel was furious that Philip went behind his back. And what do I think about Gabriel’s speech? Boo-freaking-hoo. The insane things Gabriel has asked of Philip including sleeping with an underage girl in order to get intel is appalling and now they’re going after his daughter. I can only hope that everything happening in this season is leading up to Philip becoming a one man army in Season Four. Don’t you back down, Philip, don’t you dare.

Now we also get to see the writers’ attempts at making Sandra relevant again. Honestly, it boggles the mind how she can still be considered a “main character”. But here we go again. We see Philip attending more EST meetings. Specifically, we see him attending the sex ones (ah the guilt of having to bang a little girl) and he runs into Sandra. Now as much as I know that this is a strange attempt to get Sandra back to be at least somewhat important, I actually loved the scene where she and Philip decided to stay back after the meeting and talk. This was probably because of Matthew Rhys’s amazing performance in this episode. Sandra asks Philip to be the one person she can actually be honest with. And though this seems like a great idea, we all know Philip can’t actually do it but it does open a door for maybe some interesting conversations between the two in the upcoming season in some sort of pseudo-therapy sessions. Ha! Wait until Stan finds out.

But I guess the big moment in this episode is where Philip had to kill an innocent man in order to frame him for planting the pen in Gaad’s office. Martha will more than likely be off the hook (but maybe not with Stan) and everything will be okay. But the problem is Philip is having a tougher time living with himself. Why is he killing innocent people? Why is he possibly going to sleep with an underage young girl? Why is he lying to his children? He has a real relationship with Martha. He has a real relationship with Stan. All I can say is Philip is super close to snapping into a rogue agent who will stop at nothing to protect those he loves.

And this will no doubt be the reason for a huge Philip vs. Elizabeth season next season. Philip is literally near tears talking to her and she shuts him up to turn up the TV. I think Season Three was really about showing where both of these people really stood with their priorities and Paige was just one example of the many things they will soon be disagreeing about. So what is more important in the long run? Will you do anything for your people and your country? Are your family’s sacrifices worth saving everyone you hold dear in your home country? Or is your family your number one priority no matter what the cost? That truly is the question.


Best Quote:

Paige: (to Pastor Tim) They’re not who they say they are. They’re not Americans….I’m not supposed to say it. You can’t tell anyone. They’re……Russians.


Best Moment:

Paige spills the beans about her parents leaving everyone gasping in anticipation for the next season.

Worst Moment:

Gaad being so nasty to Stan. I understand where he’s coming from and his frustrations but Stan really is the best agent he has.

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