Lion of the Blogosphere

The Americans series finale

MASSIVE spoilers!

Don’t read until after you have watched!

I don’t believe that a real-world non-corrupt FBI agent, once he decided to arrest enemy spies, would let himself be talked out of it because he didn’t want to shoot the people who are his next door neighbors. So I didn’t like the confrontation in the garage. However, strangely, most people on the internet think it made perfect sense that Stan wouldn’t shoot the Jennings. I think they don’t understand the psychology of law enforcement.

It was a bad idea for Phil and Elizabeth to go to Paige’s college in the first place. By that time, if the FBI agents stalking Father Andrei hadn’t been such bad photographers, Dennis Aderholt would have already recognized the guy in the photo as Stan’s neighbor.

Why didn’t they call Paige with a coded message the way Philip called Elizabeth? Obviously the answer is that Paige is too stupid to be trusted with that stuff. Paige was supposedly training as a spy for three years, but never learned that sometimes you have to get out of Dodge really fast.

And this leads me to the second problem I have with the finale. Paige deciding at the last minute to get off the train. Of course, the writers never let us find out what ultimately happens with Paige, and if there’s a sequel they could create any situation they want because a situation in which Paige is spending life in prison wouldn’t be very interesting. But I think in the real world, Paige would wind up spending a long time in prison. Even though Stan might have mercy towards her, with Philip and Elizabeth gone, there would be a strong desire by higher ups in the FBI and DOJ to punish someone, anyone, and Paige is all they have. Given what we know about Paige, she’d self-incriminate herself within ten minutes of being picked up by the FBI.

But don’t let my complaints give you the wrong impression. I still liked the finale a lot. I think it was perfectly appropriate that the main characters escaped to Russia. And all along, it seemed like they were setting up Henry to be left behind. It makes sense. Henry is a completely innocent kid and knows no country besides the United States. There’s nothing for him in Russia.

I also enjoyed that they filmed a scene at a McDonald’s, the quintessential American fast food restaurant, and place that anyone on a long road trip is likely to wind up eating at for lack of any other choices. Especially the true in the 1980s when McDonald’s was less demonized than it is today.

I even appreciate that Renee’s purpose in the series was not for us to find out whether she’s a spy, but for Philip to plant doubt in Stan’s mind which contributed to his reluctance to shoot them.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 31, 2018 at 2:09 PM

Posted in Television

21 Responses

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  1. Is this show worth watching?

    jjbees

    May 31, 2018 at 3:59 PM

  2. Like the Lost finale, a true letdown, no twists no nothing.

    guest

    May 31, 2018 at 4:38 PM

  3. I don’t believe that a real-world non-corrupt FBI agent, once he decided to arrest enemy spies, would let himself be talked out of it because he didn’t want to shoot the people who are his next door neighbors. So I didn’t like the confrontation in the garage. However, strangely, most people on the internet think it made perfect sense that Stan wouldn’t shoot the Jennings. I think they don’t understand the psychology of law enforcement.

    Also they lied to Stan, saying that they never killed anyone, when they’ve mowed down huge numbers of innocent people before and during and between the run of the series. That made Stan look even more weak and stupid. That’s the lie that only Paige is supposed to be dumb enough to believe! I thought they were gearing up to have Elizabeth pull some (strong, indepent, woman) super hero moves on him, so at least he didn’t go out that way.

    And the Paige character is either terribly written or I just do not understand her at all. That is true all throughout this season. The actress certainly didn’t help any .

    And the extra time allotted to the finale seemed completely wasted on boring longueurs scenes and dialogueless scenes set to music.

    And don’t they have to worry about the KBG coming after them in Russia after what Elizabeth did? The Margo Martindale character is not the kind of person you’d cross and then just forget about.

    Overall it was pretty dissapointing. And there are officially no dramas that I watch anymore.

    Magnavox

    May 31, 2018 at 5:49 PM

    • “And don’t they have to worry about the KBG coming after them in Russia after what Elizabeth did? ”

      They’ll be protected by Arkady and Oleg’s father.

      • But they had that whole scene where they talked about how powerless they are and that they can’t even get Oleg out of prison.

        Magnavox

        May 31, 2018 at 6:10 PM

  4. The FBI Agent, either consciously or subconsciously, was always going to let the, go. He just wanted to know, and let them know —and maybe find out about Rene.

    Why do I say that?

    First, ok, I get that there were no cell phones in the 80’s (I remember).

    But the FBI didn’t have walkie – talkies? No radios? Especially guys on stake out? Also, don’t on duty agents have to log where they are and where they are going to? Like all the time?

    Also, wouldn’t in-country agents who know their cover is blown thereafter go around armed? I mean sure, being armed might give municipal cops an excuse to pick you up, but once you know your cover is blown and you’re in bug out mode, so doesn’t the calculation change?

    All this adds up to FBI guy knowingly going into a potentially fatal confrontation in an utterly incompetent way, a way so incompetent it belies belief,

    CMC

    May 31, 2018 at 6:43 PM

  5. I mostly agree with the Lion’s review in that I did like it in spite of some glaring flaws, but there were some really big flaws with this:

    1. It seemed rushed. The entire series was gearing toward a Stan vs Philip & Elizabeth showdown, all the way from Season one, episode one. But with the entire season to play with, it seemed forced. Stan, after years, suddenly get’s suspicious of Philip & Elizabeth for no apparent reason. No clue from a case or evidence lead him there, just that Elizabeth missed Thanksgiving.

    2. Elizabeth, being the most entirely hardcore KGB-motherland over all agent, suddenly decides that because some Soviet negotiator seems like a nice man, that she is going to EXECUTE another KGB agent in the street to save him. Totally preposterous and out of character.

    3. Elizabeth, after killing a fellow agent, goes to her handler and confesses. Then goes home to smoke on the back porch like everything is normal.

    4. Elizabeth doesn’t warn Paige to stay away from Claudia. Instead, she gets into a big Mother Daughter fight with her, even though Paige’s life was probably in just as much of danger as her’s was.

    5. The garage confrontation. There was some pay off and satisfaction to this, but the idea that Stan would have let them go is totally improbable. If they were caught and interrogated, Stan would be heading to jail right along with the Jennings.

    5. Paige staying. She’s extremely stupid but all that’s waiting for her is a jail cell. She’s guilty of espionage.

    6. Elizabeth going back to Russia. She murdered a KGB agent and confessed to it to her KGB handler, who got away and was also heading to Russia. The only thing waiting for her in Russia is a bullet in the back of the head, just like Nina Krilova got back in season 4.

    At least Philip will be free to date.

    Mike Street Station

    May 31, 2018 at 9:24 PM

    • “If they were caught and interrogated, Stan would be heading to jail right along with the Jennings.“

      Maybe not. But the risk is there —and at the least would require him to do a lot more explaining and suffer through a lot more internal investigation, which all would add up to a reason for him to let them escape.

      Re Elizabeth going back to the USSR, you might be assuming (as I did) that the return trip was direct, like Montreal to Helsinki, get a car and straight to the border, with only stops for McDonald’s, —and then some code words at the border. But recall it was the pro-Gorbachev rogue faction guy who met them. So maybe Philip and Elizabeth’s return might have been more planned or crafted than shown. Not a big flaw imho.

      Paige staying was a good twist (and a bit of good nostalgic —almost tragic nostalgic, pro US propaganda). Like she might have intuited the impending break up of the USSR and her own better opportunities in the US —not the least of which might be fulfilling some filial duty towards her younger brother.

      CMC

      June 1, 2018 at 12:13 AM

      • As far as Paige goes, it’s hard to imagine that being wanted, she wouldn’t be caught in a few weeks at most. Then she has one bargaining chip: Stan. Why would she not give him up?

        Arkady did pick up the Jennings when the entered the USSR, and he did start this in a way by sending Oleg to the US to make contact with Philip, but it was an operation against Elizabeth. Hard to believe that he wouldn’t want her out of the way or that he could even prevent it if he didn’t. The report of her killing a fellow KGB agent would disseminate. I don’t see how she could be saved.

        Mike Street Station

        June 1, 2018 at 6:16 PM

      • She killed a rogue agent to save the life of someone who worked for Gorbachev. Gorbachev is still in power. She’s a hero.

      • Elizabeth was the rogue agent. The other agent was obeying the orders of The Center.

        Mike Street Station

        June 1, 2018 at 7:57 PM

      • The Centre went rogue. Much like our own FBI and CIA who have gone rogue against Trump.

        Elizabeth saved the life of Gorbachev’s negotiator from a rogue operation. They showed Arkady being the first person the Jennings met in Russia. we know that Arkady will protect them.

    • 2. Elizabeth, being the most entirely hardcore KGB-motherland over all agent, suddenly decides that because some Soviet negotiator seems like a nice man, that she is going to EXECUTE another KGB agent in the street to save him. Totally preposterous and out of character.

      And maybe I wasn’t paying close attention, but the big problem with this was that they presented it as some sort of last second twist where we thought that Elizabeth was going to kill the negotiator, rather than showing the change in her character that would make it believable. It’s like the Paige staying in America thing, just a cheap twist.

      Magnavox

      June 1, 2018 at 8:53 PM

      • I agree that Elizabeth’s sudden change of loyalties was very convenient to the arc, but out of character. We are supposed to believe that Philip convinced her that she should be loyal to the Party (only party in Russia is Communist party!) rather than the Centre.

      • I’m sympathetic to the argument that they were cheap twists, not really well foreshadowed or set up. Also, I didn’t see either coming. But, in a realizing it two seconds after it happened sort of way, I saw some foreshadowing or set up and so don’t think calling them cheap is really fair. To explain.

        With Elizabeth, it was the flashback to her memory of training in Moscow and witnessing and leaving to suffer (die?) because of operational rules. The point of that, hammered home by the instructor, was that sometimes the rules need to be broken in favor of principles or humanity or countrymen. There’s an expression or maxim about novices breaking the rules because they don’t know them, journeyman obeying them because that’s the limit of the competence, and master’s breaking the rules on occasion because they completely understand the underlying principles and therefore understand when and how the rules should be broken. Elizabeth is a master; or she becomes one, breaking free and making a judgment call on her own about, basically, the whole enchilada for her country. And it wasn’t just Phillip, it was everything, her whole life, all the people in it ever. All the kills. All the f’s. That sidewalk shooting was her ‘you shall not pass’ moment.

        With Paige it’s that argument with Elizabeth and that from the heart assertion by Paige that she knew for a long time. She’s like Meadow Soprano; she figured it out a while ago. This wasn’t just in the last show; she’s been struggling for a while. She’s not fully on board; never was.

        By the way, there’s a sort of Gen X Gen Z thing going on here. It’s almost aspirational that it has Paige cut loose from her parents so definitively at such a young age.

        CMC

        June 1, 2018 at 9:30 PM

  6. “Given what we know about Paige, she’d self-incriminate herself within ten minutes of being picked up by the FBI.“

    Paige staying behind did not strike me as so much of a problem. I’m thinking of Don Draper’s assumed identity in Mad Men. And of the great flux or change in —well really, the whole world, in those few years. Maybe she could pull it off —the evading and surviving I mean. But even if they pick her up, it’s like Bridge of Spies. Would the US really want to keep her locked up? Why not trade her or give her back just for goodwill at this touchy time? Or maybe they could turn her? Or just watch her and feed her false info if she tries to get back in the game? Or watch her to see if anyone tries to contact her? There are a lot of ways she could slip through the cracks or virtually slip through the cracks.

    CMC

    June 1, 2018 at 12:24 AM

    • Paige is an idiot. Her parents, who understood how to actually assume a new identity and run from the law didn’t think it was a good idea. And she, stupidly, didn’t even think to consult with them about the best way to do it. It was all done for a cheap, ill thought out twist that I personally don’t even care about because the character is so weak.

      Magnavox

      June 1, 2018 at 1:47 PM

  7. Never got into this show; standard spy shtick with wannabe period piece trappings that gets convoluted “Lost” style. Lion, admit you just watched this to look at Felicity’s pretty face.

    Have you seen Cobra Kai? Better Call Saul? Silicon Valley?

    fakeemail

    June 1, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    • “Lion, admit you just watched this to look at Felicity’s pretty face.”

      Felicity wasn’t even that pretty when she was in her 20s. (On the other hand, maybe it’s worth watching the original Beverly Hills 90210 for Jenny Garth. But she sure aged a lot worse than Keri Russell.)

  8. Waited six years for them to be brought to justice or get their comeuppance but they wiggle free … again. Oh, they had to leave their kids behind? That’s hardly a just punishment considering the trail of bodies in their wake. And Liz never gave a shit about Henry anyway.

    Just as Last Jedi betrayed Skywalker’s character, the finale betrayed Stan. Why in the world would he let them go? Because of their friendship? If he arrests them, he does the right thing AND Henry would still get to have some kind of relationship with them, even if it’s just during visiting day at a Fed facility. Henry was gonna have to deal with the shame of Soviet spying anyway, and letting them leave the country wouldn’t change that. Stan committed TREASON, and now has to hope that Paige shuts up about that. Worse, now he has to worry about his own wife. Quite the parting gift on Philip’s part. It also didn’t ring true that he didn’t give a shit about Gorbachev or the efforts to topple him.

    I’m guessing Paige bailed because she couldn’t stand the thought of Henry being abandoned. Now at least he has SOME family.

    A cameo from left-wing cuck Pastor R but not Martha? I am disappoint.

    Lee

    June 2, 2018 at 8:28 PM


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