The Americans Season 6 Episode 10 Review: Start

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Most of what needed to be said during The Americans Season 6 Episode 10 was said without words.

There were the perfect musical choices that are always present during any well-directed scene on The Americans, and there was heartfelt dialogue, much of which was captured in quotes, but it was the myriad pained expressions playing across the faces of the extraordinary cast that did the most talking.

Twitching eyes, quivering chins, eyes welling with tears and furrowed brows were on high alert as the characters we've come to know so well were trying to say nothing at all, but their bodies betrayed them at every turn.

Facing a Choice - The Americans

Over six seasons we've wondered how it would play out for the Jennings and their American life.

Russians at their core, they raised their children in a culture so foreign to their beliefs that they ultimately lost them to it. 

Related: The Americans Season 6 Episode 9 Review: Jennings, Elizabeth

Elizabeth might spend the rest of her days wondering why she needed a third party to tell her she was being used by those she once trusted. How she allowed herself to lose touch with her homeland and what the people wanted so she was risking her life and her country's future for a minority hoping to keep Russia from moving forward.

If they had both decided to get out of the spy business, they could have made a decision together, as a family, about what their future might look like. Instead, they were forced into running to survive and leaving their beloved son, Henry, behind.

Henry Skates - The Americans Season 6 Episode 10

Philip: Henry should stay. He's been doing so well there. His future is here.
Elizabeth: Leave him? Is that what you mean?
Philip: It's the best thing for him.
Elizabeth: To be alone? Away for us? That would not be the best thing for him.
Philip: He belongs here.
Elizabeth: He belongs with us!
Philip: We're doing it for him.
Elizabeth: Philip. They would tear him to pieces.
Philip: He doesn't know anything. This is where he grew up. It's awful but...
Elizabeth: [chokes back a sob]

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Keri Russell's performance left no doubt that Elizabeth loved her son. It was easy for her to leave his care in the hands of Philip when she was busy spying and bringing Paige into the family business, but when faced with the possibility she may never see him again, her instincts were genuine, and she was cut deep.

Paige didn't make their decision any easier, and it was crystal clear she had not been trained well on what it meant to be a KGB spy when she balked at returning to Russia to avoid capture. There was so much about what was happening that eluded her.

Related: The Americans Season 6 Episode 8 Review: The Summit

But nothing compared to the showdown between Stan and the Jennings. From the way Philip tried to nonchalantly brush off Stan happening upon them in the garage of Paige's dorm to them driving away, the tension in that garage was electric from the emotional turmoil the two men were feeling.

Just as much as The Americans was a series about the Jennings finding parts of America to love and lean into while they worked to keep their homeland safe, it was also about the friendship between Philip and Stan and how at the middle of all the muckity muck everyone is a human being looking for a connection.

Philip: We had a job to do. We had a job to do.
Stan: You were my best friend.
Philip: You were mine, too. I never wanted to lie to you. Stan, what else could I do? You moved in next to me. I was terrified and then we ended up as friends.
Stan: Friends. You made my life a joke.
Philip: You were my only friend in my whole shitty life. In all these years, my life was the joke, not yours.

Stan feeling betrayed at that moment wouldn't last because when he looks back at everything they shared over the years and realizes the opportunities Philip could have taken and didn't, he'll know how real their friendship was. 

Stand by your Woman - The Americans Season 6 Episode 10

It was as real as was Stan's love for Nina, a woman he was willing to work with the KGB to ensure her safety, but ultimately didn't. He's still holding that against Oleg, I think, which is why Oleg is in prison now.

Stan: Henry?
Philip: No.
Paige: He doesn't know anything.
Stan: All this time, I would have done anything for you, Philip. for all of you.
Philip: I know.
Stan: Dennadi and Sofia. That was you.
Philip: Who is that. We don't know anything about them.
Stan: Fuck you! I saw it on your face when told you about them. Do you know how many people have been killed her in Washington by Soviet agents in the last year? Five years? Ten?
Paige: I'm sorry.
Elizabeth: We don't kill people. Jesus.
Philip: We wouldn't.
Elizabeth: He doesn't even do this kind of work anymore. He quit! He's a travel agent now, that's all!

There were still white lies the Jennings family had to tell to keep themselves from tipping a newly informed Stan from his tipping point, but overall they were about as up front as they could be under the circumstances. 

When Stan asked about Oleg, Philip claimed ignorance. They didn't use their real names when meeting, so he was telling the truth. 

Related: The Americans Season 6 Episode 7 Review: Harvest

I don't think Philip ever felt like he was pulling one over on Stan by being his neighbor and getting away with what they did, but that out of anyone, even without talking about it, Stan could understand his life more than anyone else.

As their conversation came to a close and plans were being made to care for Henry, all of their emotions were about to get the better of them. Philip's parting shot to Stan could have been read two ways, but I think he was sincere in his warning to his friend.

I don't know how to say this, but I think there's a chance Renee might be one of us. But I'm not sure.


And really, with all the Russian's Stan has had in his life up to that point, they were all friends and lovers. Even if Renee was another agent sent to pull him into another game to get her into the FBI, if he's happy, does it even matter?

A New Life - The Americans Season 6 Episode 10

It was hard not to feel for Henry as he shuffled his family off of the phone to return to a ping-pong tournament, a call he was already curious about wondering if they'd been drinking. 

When Stan was telling Henry about his parents later, I thought Henry would be picking apart that phone call for the rest of his life, trying to recall nuances and what might have been said if he'd only stayed on the line a little longer. His whole life will be gone over with a fine-tooth comb, but that last call will eat away at him.

Related: The Americans Season 6 Episode 6 Review: Rififi

Unless Paige goes undetected back in the States and manages to contact Henry even though he's being cared for by Stan, that is. 

The Jennings family tragedy was one gut punch after another to Elizabeth as she lost her children one by one and her family was no more. The yearning expressed by Elizabeth when she saw Paige outside of the moving train was as effective as a wail. As she held back tears, I was unable to follow suit.

The American family was torn apart, and the woman who was responsible was feeling the pain like no other. Elizabeth didn't have est courses and the ability to think deep to understand what she wanted and why. She hadn't spent years studying her insides to better understand herself as Philip had.

The dream she had on the plane when she was in bed with Gregory, surrounded by art, noting she never wanted kids anyway but recognizing a portrait of Henry and Paige on the bedside table nonetheless shook Elizabeth.

She's feeling things she may not have felt when her head was buried in the sand, before art, before she was forced to feel and her life fell apart.

Philip: Colonel ... I can't even remember his name. When they first asked me. They said it would be a hard life. They didn't want me to think it would be some big adventure. I said I wasn't afraid of that.
Elizabeth: Who knows what would have happened here? I might have worked at a factory. Managed a factory. You might've. Mmm. Maybe we would have met ... on a bus. They'll be OK.
Philip: They'll remember us ... when... They're not kids anymore. We raised them.
Elizabeth: Yes.
Philip: It feels strange.
Elizabeth: [in Russian] We'll get used to it.

But Philip is by her side. We know history is on their side, too. Paige and Henry should be able to visit at some point in the future. Once they deliver the news about the KGB trying to destroy Gorbachev, Philip and Elizabeth should be national heroes.

They didn't die, as so many before them had as a result of their difficult jobs. Unlike others, they fell in love. They were lucky. They're still together, but their family got torn apart. As the curtains close, they don't know that they'll ever see their children again. They don't remember their country. They'll miss McDonald's.

The simplicity of the American way of life will be gone, and no matter how much Elizabeth liked to laugh it off as being something she'd never want for her homeland, she will have a difficult time acclimating. 

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But hopefully, their days of killing are over, and they can settle into something a little more pleasant. Whatever it is, they'll get used to it.

Losing The Americans from the TV landscape will be difficult. For years, it's been one of the top shows in production hitting near perfection season after season. If those involved can even come close with their next projects we'll be in for more exceptional television.

What did you think of the finale? Was it tragic enough for you? Are you surprised they all survived? What will send you back to watch The Americans online? Hit the comments!

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Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (36 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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The Americans Season 6 Episode 10 Quotes

Elizabeth: I killed a KGB Officer, left her to die in the street.
Philip: What were you supposed to do?

Philip: Henry should stay. He's been doing so well there. His future is here.
Elizabeth: Leave him? Is that what you mean?
Philip: It's the best thing for him.
Elizabeth: To be alone? Away for us? That would not be the best thing for him.
Philip: He belongs here.
Elizabeth: He belongs with us!
Philip: We're doing it for him.
Elizabeth: Philip. They would tear him to pieces.
Philip: He doesn't know anything. This is where he grew up. It's awful but...
Elizabeth: [chokes back a sob]

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