Philip Jennings is sad. Philip Jennings is so sad. All the time. If there’s one thing you should take away from this season of The Americans, it’s that. Not that he’s the only character dealing with some heavy stuff. Most of the people on the show are, really. Paige is an emotional disaster. Oleg is in constant fear of being squeezed by intelligence agents, both foreign and domestic. Martha was on screen for five minutes and managed to cook the single most depressing potato I’ve ever seen. The only reasonably happy character on the show right now is Henry, the Jennings’ math whiz teenage son, and that’s teetering on doom too because his parents are preparing to drop a “Let’s move to Russia” bomb on his brilliant little head.
But no one is as sad as Philip. He’s sad in every scene. Do you even remember the last time he smiled? I don’t. It was probably part of the non-stop subterfuge that is tearing him apart, whenever it was. Maybe it was when he was drinking beer with Stan, the FBI agent neighbor he likes personally but is always working for information. Maybe it was while he was talking with Pastor Tim, the guy he has to be nice to because Paige let slip that her parents are Russian spies. The man hasn’t had a moment of real, honest joy in years. It’s heartbreaking, in a way, which is weird, because American viewers are probably not inclined to feel sympathy for your average murderous Russian spy. And yet, here we are.
Here are some screencaps of Philip looking sad.