The only parental figure Elizabeth and Philip have ever known consistently is taking his leave.
If Philip wasn't already pondering his future as a KGB spy, Gabriel's announcement on The Americans Season 5 Episode 6 will surely have a major impact on his life going forward.
Then again, Philip and Elizabeth both have been trained so well that any impact on their lives takes eons to have any effect at all.
After the start of what should have been a deep and involved discussion over half-eaten MdDonald's on The Americans Season 5 Episode 6, we got little to no follow up on what came of it.
Philip: I'll do my job. I've always done it.
Elizabeth: I know.
At least we know the discussion progressed. But to what degree? Philip is fed up, but not enough to do anything about it. Not even enough to question Elizabeth about her secret mission.
The memories of his father keep coming back to haunt him, and now he's discovered the one person who may have information to share with him is going to leave.
Philip remembers that his father used to take home a lot of stuff. The guy appeared to find "stuff" others might not, such as a dirty pair of boots. Considering the state of Russia at the time, it's a little hard to believe someone would leave them lying around.
Nonetheless, Philip finds it hard to reconcile his two lives. In one he was dirt poor, and in his current life, he has everything he could ever dream.
Well, he doesn't have everything. He's down a son.
Mischa's trip home was a lot more comfortable than his incredibly painful ride to the United States. Without any pomp and circumstance whatsoever, the kid disappeared, greeted at the airport at home.
He'll be given his old job back. Voila. No more nuisance.
Except, I don't understand the point of that story. Obviously, I'm not meant to yet. There has to be more too it.
Before he makes a similar journey, Gabriel has a few more missions to accomplish, including the secret one with Elizabeth.
It required her to go into a psychiatrist's office and even sit for a session, which she took to with all of the aplomb of a fish to sand. She clearly thought the guy was nuts for even suggesting anything she mentioned should require introspection and rolled her eyes accordingly on the way out.
Maybe Philip would have put the hour to better use. Or maybe that's exactly why he wasn't chosen for the mission.
Claudia not only thinks Mischa will be fine but isn't concerned about Philip's happiness because has he ever been happy, she wonders?
But lying to his agents and friends about Mischa is part of what sets Gabriel on his path toward home.
I'm of the opinion that if Gabriel stays much longer, he'll come to the realization he's far more like Philip than he cares to admit. What other reason would he have made the decision after visiting the Lincoln Memorial and gazing across the water to the Washington Monument?
America has gotten under Gabriel's skin.
Gabriel: Can you hold on? I have to talk to you. I'm going home.
Elizabeth: What? Did something happen?
Gabriel: No. It's just time.
Philip: Gabriel, if it's me, I know I've been hard to deal with.
Gabriel: No, it's not you. I'm just ready to go home. You don't need me anymore. You have each other. But Philip, as long as you're here, the centre is going to continue to be concerned about you. Once they start worrying about somebody, they never stop. And now, the lab. And to be honest, I'm worried. you've seen too much. You've done too much. I'll miss you terribly.
He's not exactly giving them words of encouragement about his departure, either. Philip will be under scrutiny until he, too, decides it's time to go home. Does he have another option? Maybe, maybe not.
It's even worse when Philip begins to question Gabriel about his father. Did Philip really want the shocking answer? Probably not.
Philip's father was a guard in one of the camps. Not a logger, but a guard at a logging prison camp. Philip has followed in his father's footsteps after all. He was one of them.
To drive home the parental nature of Gabriel to Philip and Elizabeth, as well as their relationship with their own children, when Philip shared his news with Elizabeth, it was without a sense of irony.
My own parents. I don't know anything about them at all.Philip
But Henry is into a girl at school. The Chris he's been studying with, he shares with Stan (not his parents).
Elizabeth was out driving and saw a family that reminded her of her BFF from The Americans Season 4. You remember her. Elizabeth screwed her husband, pretended she was pregnant and then blackmailed him for access to a building, leaving her bestie to believe their friendship never existed.
Philip is dreaming about his childhood and being blindsided by news about his father.
Gabriel is moving on.
Things are happening to the Jennings they couldn't possibly imagine, and they're still stretched too thin, going on missions and trying to help a country they know very little about. Do they even know who they are anymore?
Paige, reading Marx, wondered about her parents' home country.
Paige: What's it like there? Is everybody equal?
Elizabeth: We have our problems.
Paige: You haven't been there in a long time.
Elizabeth: That's what your dad says.
Surely, Elizabeth knows in her heart the entire country didn't live like they did. They were hardly an equal group of people living across the board.
Of course, she does. If she was as certain of everything as she once was, the introduction to Tai Chi by Ben wouldn't have been of such interest to her.
It's still hard to ascertain where Paige stands in all of this. Are Philip and Elizabeth introducing her to the life to keep her in the loop, or do they really hope she'll want to be an agent like them?
At this point in their careers, it's impossible to believe they'd push for her life as a spy. It's not impossible to imagine they'd want to introduce her to Gabriel, the only parent they've ever really known.
The smile on his face was radiant as Paige was pushed into the room before him.
As you watch The Americans online, try to imagine what's next for Paige and the rest of her family, because I'm at a loss.
There were so many brief moments at play during the hour, and they all led to my conclusion that Philip and Elizabeth are pulling further and further away from the life and closer to each other. Yet that is in direct contrast with their handling of Paige.
Share your thoughts with me in the comments below. And what did you make of Oleg burning the tape? What's his next move?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.