TV

‘The Americans’ Anxiety Report: Everyone Is Doomed, Paige Has A Blazer


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The Americans Anxiety Report is a weekly rundown of the people and things we are currently most worried about on the show. It will get weird, because many of the people and things we will be worrying about will be tools in a plot to ruin America, put in motion by another country. Blame the show for this, not us.

10. Aderholdt

Three major concerns about Aderholdt:

  • He is exactly the kind of collateral “friends with all the main characters but not a main character himself” kind of character that gets killed off first when things start getting dicey
  • His wife is getting friendly with Renee, who I still do not trust
  • I feel like he is lonely at work now that Stan left counterintelligence

Not great.

9. Henry

I love Henry. Kid is just the best. A computer whiz and math genius who is also a freaking dreamboat hockey star with his own fan section of teenage girls. There’s an alternate show-within-this show where he’s the most popular kid at an upscale Washington high school. Has the entire world by the tail. That’s why I worry. Poor guy has no idea what’s coming. No clue at all. At least Stan (who I also worry about and will discuss shortly) and Paige (same) have some level of awareness of the subterfuge taking place around them at any given moment. Their eyes are open. Henry is just a little baby fawn hopping through the forest, unaware that he’s surrounded by predators. But like, a popular genius fawn… in hockey skates… whose parents are Russian spies…

This analogy has fallen apart. Nice fan club, though.

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8. Fans of Fleetwood Mac

1987 GUY: You know who I love?

OTHER 1987 GUY: Who?

1987 GUY: Fleetwood Mac.

OTHER 1987 GUY: Same.

1987 GUY: There’s a group that’s built to last.

OTHER 1987 GUY: Definitely.

1987 GUY: Unlike U2.

OTHER 1987 GUY: Yeah, no chance they stay together.

1987 GUY: Feels good to be so right.

OTHER 1987 GUY: The best.

7. Assorted boys of the D.C. Metro area

Rest in peace to the Navy security guard who hit on Paige and kept her fake college ID as a way to extort her into a date. Man, don’t do this. I know the penalty isn’t usually “get stabbed in the neck by the girl’s Russian spy mother and left to die in the street like a stray dog,” but still, just cosmically, it’s a bad look. Even if you try to cover it up with a national security excuse, it’s still just gross.

The only reason I have “assorted boys” ranked this high is because Elizabeth seems a little high-strung right now and I worry this is going to become a thing. Like, a boy at college will ask Paige out and call the house maybe one too many times after 10 p.m. and Elizabeth will jump straight to “He knows too much, he’s a liability, I’ll take him out” and just tear his intestines out of his abdomen in the Russian literature section of the school library. It would be wild if she gets captured not for being a Russian spy, but for being a suspected serial killer of college-age creeps who unwittingly stumbled into the Cold War by hitting on Paige.

Can’t rule it out.

6. Stan

We covered this. In detail. Too much detail, some would say. “Did you really write like 800 words about Stan for your Americans season preview, without mentioning Elizabeth and Philip at all, after a sentence or two in the intro?” they’ll add. Guilty. Guilty as charged. I love that occasionally crooked goofball. I need me some happy Stan.

And so, good news and bad news:

GOOD: He went three years without getting killed or set-up by Renee, and he switched out of counterintelligence for a more straightforward FBI crime-fighting job. If we’re being honest, Stan was always a little sensitive for counterintelligence. That’s not a bad thing. I hope most people I meet are not the type of icy maniacs who can work a mark for months, meet their family, and then poison their soup because the mission calls for it. Stan was not built for that life.

BAD: Still don’t trust Renee.

5. Philip

I could explain Philip’s journey this week, from carefree line-dancing travel agent to “Oh God, I’m getting pulled back in and they want me to spy on my damn wife?!,” but I think these four screencaps will explain things better than any words I type.

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4. The employees at Philip’s travel agency

Same boat as Henry. Things are pretty good for these folks. Their boss is back and engaged, smiling and apparently successful enough to buy a fancy new car with a fancy new sunroof and fancy new stereo system. Morale is good. He’s giving motivational speeches! Philip! The guy who spent most of last season ripping his hair out in clumps and using clothespins to prevent his droopy frowning face from sliding off his skull and onto the floor! These people must be blown away. They must be telling their spouses about it with wonder in their voices.

“Hey, remember I told you about my boss, Philip?”

“The sad man with the pretty but very intense wife who never leaves the office except to rush out and disappear for a week at a time?”

“Yup. He wants to take us all line dancing!”

“Huh.”

3. Paige

I do not like that Paige is Hans now. I hate it, in fact, even if she did get a cover as “Julie” so even the other spies don’t realize who she is. Hans died in a damn unmarked hole with the corpse of a contaminated scientist. I do not want Paige to die in an unmarked hole. Or any hole. I do not want Paige to die. This is terrible.

Still, cool blazer.

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2. Elizabeth

Wearing a necklace with a cyanide pill inside it must be so stressful. So stressful. You could be out just having fun, knocking back a few margs or what have you, and you could mindlessly start playing with your necklace and suddenly you’ll be all “Oh right, if the cops come in here and look at me funny, I have to swallow the pill in this necklace and poof that’s the end.” Ugh. Ugh. No thank you to cyanide pills inside jewelry. Very anti-cyanide pill, this guy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

And that’s just one part of what she has going on. She’s juggling like three cases, by herself, while her husband line dances and watches youth hockey games. She’s murdering people because her daughter made a mistake and she doesn’t want another agent to Hans her. She’s got nuclear secrets in her head and a husband who wants to “talk” at 1 am. (She looked like she might take the cyanide pill just to get out of that situation.) It’s not great. Lady is fried. And now rogue KGB agents are recruiting her husband to spy on her.

Could be better.

1. Oleg

A Russian spy on an off-the-books covert mission aganst his own government on American soil during the Cold War. What could go wrong?

[puts finger to ear like news anchor]

What’s that? Everything? Everything could go wrong? Ah, well that makes sense.

It’s not fair, really. How is any man — any person — supposed to hear a former superior officer give them a variation of the “We need you. You have to come back. Because… you were the best” speech and not succumb. That speech has worked 100 percent of the time. It will continue to work 100 percent of the time. And Oleg had even grown the mountain man retirement beard and everything.

It’s got to be such an ego boost, that conversation. Part of me wants to retire after filing this post just to see if my editor tries it on me to get me to keep doing them.

“I’m retired,” I’ll say.

“But you have to.”

“Why me?”

“Because you were the best damn… wait. What exactly did you do?”

“Uh, the jokey recap things?”

He’ll stroke his chin. “Hmm.”

“What?! People liked them!”

“Did they?”

“Kind of.”

“Actually, yeah, let me get back to you on this.”

Never mind.

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