So much comes down to The Americans Season 6 Episode 9, and when reactions don't meet expectations, it's enough to drive someone insane.
Sure enough, that someone is me, the Soviet sympathizer.
I'll blame it on my heritage, but after six seasons, The Americans swayed me toward the other side.
It would have been difficult to explain that Communism isn't my cup of tea to people who didn't understand the nuances of what was happening behind the Soviet curtain, though. That much is clear by watching the penultimate episode of The Americans.
Before getting further into that, let's take a minute to realize there is only one more time to hear the theme music with new content to follow. There is only one more time you can sit eagerly on the edge of your couch waiting for the end note of what is the Jennings' lives to play out on television.
For those of you lucky enough to live in the New York City area, you may have already scored tickets to watch The Americans live with an audience at the Split Screens Festival at the IFC Center. If you didn't know it was a viable option, act fast because it won't be for long; the tickets are close to selling out.
OK. Back to business.
Stan tried very hard to get Aderholt to buy into his All-American neighbors being the hardened killers they've been seeking, and their mutual friend was fairly easy to read.
Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are not Russian spies.Aderholt
He just wasn't buying what Stan was selling. Even when the job is to sniff out spies in the most unexpected places, sometimes you can't quite imagine having Thanksgiving dinner with the enemy.
Stan could imagine it, though, and he was willing to throw his one-time frenemy Oleg far under the bus to get there. You have to give credit where it's due: the KGB spies we've met and been suckered into loving (shut up) tell the truth when it's required, even if nobody believes them.
Stan was feeling a little too much, and in allowing his feelings to become a part of his investigation, he wasn't hearing what Oleg was telling him. The "why" of getting information to the USSR to stop the Center from killing Gorbachev. Peace is on the horizon.
Oleg [whispering]: People in the KGB are trying to get rid of Gorbachev. This is what I've been doing here. We have reason to believe that they are trying to make a move right now at the summit. The message, the dead drop, is probably about that. If it is...
Oleg: They need to get it, and you need to help me get it there. I can tell you how.
Oleg and Stan have the opportunity to stop further bloodshed, but the message Oleg had on him when he was caught had to make it back home.
The first time I recall Noah Emmerich using the twitch of his eye to indicate his stress level was in The Truman Show in 1998.
I saw that movie off the cuff while part of a movie club before it was ever advertised. We went in blind (the best way to see any movie in my opinion). The more Truman became aware something was off about his life, the less Emmerich's character, Marlon, could hold it together. Twitch.
It's the same with Stan as he struggles to come to terms with the fact his neighbors are the duo responsible for so much mayhem. Stan even tries to link Oleg to the multiple killings that have occurred since he arrived back in the States because that's better than the alternative. Twitch.
But the evidence is all there. Stan recognizes the faces in the sketches, even if it's not as clear to everyone else.
Little does he know things have reached a turning point and the Jennings family is finally on board with the right side of history.
Elizabeth boldly walking up to what's her name and killing her in the street before she could kill Nesterenko was audacious and brave given she was only days earlier willing to kill the man herself.
Claudia went right back to the character she was pre-Gabriel, the hard, cold, and calculating woman who didn't let her emotions drive her decisions -- at least not until she wanted her hands on Paige to keep the family in the business.
Without Philip as her tether, Elizabeth learned to rely too much on Claudia and lost herself in the Center and turning Paige without thinking for herself.
Claudia: I thought I knew you.
Elizabeth: You lied to me. If you knew me, you'd know never to lie to me.
Elizabeth's flashback to her teen years in training and misunderstanding what it was about proved there was no way she could understand because it was what they wanted it to be at any given time.
Trusting she was told what to do, Elizabeth went against her gut and let a fellow citizen suffer horribly in the street after an accident. For sticking to her training, she was told, "You don't leave a comrade to die on the street in Moscow."
Elizabeth was well trained, but she worked hard to overcome that second order when she not only left an officer bleeding out in the street by her hand but turned her back on Claudia and walked away.
It wasn't surprising the visit between Philip and Father Andre mentioned at the end of The Americans Season 6 Episode 8 was left for the end because it set into motion what could very well be the curtain call for the Jennings.
Whether that's the death knell or the draw of the Soviet curtain remains to be seen. It will depend on what Stan accomplishes in short order.
That the call Elizabeth received from Philip came just after she was called a whore by Paige for doing what Paige seemed willing to do only a short time ago (although she denied it) makes me wonder how any plans committed to by Philip and Elizabeth will be taken by Paige.
Brilliant performances all around for this one with taut directing and excellent pacing. Not a moment of time was wasted making all of the proceedings feel as dreadful as Philip must have felt running for his life after three years in the clear.
- I don't remember Elizabeth smoking nearly as much (if at all) like she has in the last half of The Americans Season 6. Was it not prevalent or is it a case of it being pointed out and becoming more visible?
- Never have the Jennings' family disguises seemed more inadequate than when some of their best friends and FBI agents are hunting them in the streets of DC.
- Father Tim. He held up until the bitter end.
- After writing this review, I watched the finale. That's all I'm going to say about that.
Hit the comments and have your say about "Jennings, Elizabeth."
Where do you see things going in the finale? What stories do you hope are tied up before the final credits roll? Can you believe it's almost over??
Don't forget, you can watch The Americans online to see it all again from start to finish, and who wouldn't want to do that? Holdouts who like to binge, you have one week to wait.
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, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.