‘The Americans’ Anxiety Report: Won’t Somebody Please Think Of The Children?

Editor-at-Large
05.31.18 12 Comments

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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. The employees at Philip’s travel agency (Last week: 9)

It’s gonna be tough to find a new job in a hurry, especially in a field like travel where the rise of the internet will more or less wipe out the need for personal service, and especially if the last place of employment on your resume is DuPont Circle Travel Agency, the one that just got shut down and raided by the damn FBI because its owners — who disappeared into thin air, leaving their children behind — were suspected of being high-level Russian spies who were responsible for dozens of murders on American soil.

“So, uh, we have two good candidates here: Rick and Laura. Both have a lot of experience and seem great. I’m torn.”

“Hey, didn’t Rick work for that agency that turned out to be a front for a KGB operation in the middle of the Cold War?”

“Ah, right. Yes, he did.”

“Let’s go with Laura.”

Other than that, shouldn’t be a huge problem.

9. Oleg’s dad (Last week: Unranked)

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The emotional hammer of the episode dropped much later, when we saw Paige at the station as her parents’ panicked faces pressed up against the glass of the speeding train, but please do note how sad this moment was, too. Look at the poor man’s face. And realize that he does, in fact, have to explain to Oleg’s mother and wife that their beloved bearded boy will be rotting in an American prison for the next few decades. It’s tough.

For added heartbreak, because why the hell not at this point with this show, cue up Bono’s wail from “With or Without You” so it hits right as Oleg’s poor dad throws his arms skyward to curse his fate and question the Creator’s grand plan. Everything is sadder with a Bono wail.

8. Martha (Last week: Unranked)

Picture this, if you will.

Martha is shopping. Just groceries, some last minute things for dinner. She’s making baked macaroni and cheese, from scratch, because her young child will only eat about four things, total, and if they have to have mac and cheese for dinner, again, then dammit, Martha is gonna make it right. She’s a good mom. She cares so much. The situation could be better, but she’s finally settling in and making friends, and you know what? This isn’t so bad, really. Not the life she dreamed of as a child, sure, but who gets that, anyway? We all make compromises along the way and try to make the best of it.

As she turns the corner into the dairy aisle to grab the cheese and milk, she sees a man looking at the yogurts. Is that…? No. It can’t be. It can’t be. That just… it’s impossible. It wouldn’t be fair to do this to her. Not now. The universe can’t possibly be that cruel. Can it?

She ponders this for all of five seconds before they lock eyes and he raises a tentative hand to waive. She doesn’t remember exactly what happens next (fits of blind rage will do that to you), but according to the manager who called her later to ban her from the store for life, it involved multiple heaved gallons of milk and shrieking. Not words, the manager specified. Just shrieking, as though she had been possessed by a spirit who had seen nothing but pain.

Martha stirs the macaroni noodles, slowly, with the remaining half of the long wooden spoon she snapped in half moments earlier. She’s been breaking things a lot lately.

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