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‘The Americans’ Anxiety Report: Paige And Mail Robot Are Not Gonna Be Okay


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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. Henry (Last week: 9)

There was nothing specific this week to make us worry about Henry. He seems pretty happy off at his school, playing hockey and juggling his fan club and correctly pointing out that his father often sounds/looks like he might leap out a window. No, this is just a baseline anxiety. It will take a lot to bump Henry off this list. I just like him a lot and he seems like a normal kid and I do not want what is happening to Paige to happen to him. We must keep him safe. We must protect Henry at all costs.

9. Oleg (Last week: 1)

Quiet week for Oleg and his cool new beard. One assumes he’s very busy with his urban transport planning class at George Mason. Do you guys think Oleg is a good student? I can’t decide. On one hand, he’s a bright guy and has always been pretty dedicated to whatever task is in front of him, albeit a little loose cannon-y. On the other hand, he always sits with this relaxed cool guy posture like the most popular kid in high school and he did have that sick leather jacket last season, so I could also see him, like, sitting in the back row leaning his chair back on two legs and laughing because the teacher got a chalk outline from the eraser on the butt of his gray pants and doesn’t realize it yet.

We’ll need more information.

8. Mail Robot (Last week: Unranked)

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I’ll begin with an apology. I should have put Mail Robot on the list last week. We didn’t see it at all and three years passed between seasons and it wouldn’t have been outlandish to assume that the future had come for our beloved automated inter-office delivery system. I’m not sure how I would have handled it if there was some sleek new version rolling through the halls. I do not think I would have liked it.

And that’s the thing. Mail Robot is probably on borrowed time as it is. It’s 1987, for the love of God. We’ll have to say goodbye for good eventually, on screen or off, and I’m not entirely sure I’m ready for it. Maybe they can send it to a nice farm upstate with lots of room to scoot around and deliver letters to loving families nearby.

7. Stan (Last week: 6)

Stan is happy hunting drug dealers and murderers and I am happy for him. This business with the bickering Russian couriers and their funky bathroom hijinks can’t be good, though, both because their appearance probably means something will go wrong there and because you never want to get in the middle of a bickering couple. Too much stress, no upside.

6. Tchaikovsky (Last week: Unranked)

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Retroactively worried about young Tchaikovsky.

5. The employees at Philip’s travel agency (Last week: 4)

Just as the future is coming for Mail Robot, the future is coming for travel agents. Philip won’t have to worry, probably, because he’ll be dead or in prison by the time the Internet and its quick and easy budget travel sites take over the industry. (So he’s got that going for him.) But the rest of them, Stavos included, are gonna need a backup plan. I can go to San Diego by myself, thanks.

You know what I’m just now realizing? Henry is a computer and math whiz. His dad is in the travel industry. Maybe that’s a thing. He can pitch it to Donna’s old firm from Halt and Catch Fire. Maybe Boz can help. Henry and Boz. I would watch that.

4. Philip (Last week: 5)

Hey, let’s check in with Phi-..

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Ahh. Right.

3. Elizabeth (Last week: 2)

Two sides to this coin.

SIDE ONE: Elizabeth is fried, man. She’s smoking cigarettes and looking frazzled and trying to balance like eight cover identities at once, in addition to doing secret nuclear things that require her to wear a suicide pill around her neck at all times. She’s not getting enough help or support and the thing she said last season to Tuan about the importance of having someone to work with is starting to look less like advice and more like a prophecy. She can’t go on like this. She’ll either get killed or just scream into the void until she vibrates fast enough to turn into a quickly spreading cloud of molecules. Lady needs a break.

SIDE TWO: Screw Elizabeth. She’s strong-arming assets and lying to Paige about the life she’s pushing her into and she’s basically going to torture the negotiator’s sick wife until after the summit, which is bad. A fair amount of the problems people have on the show could be solved by removing her from the situation. Although I guess Claudia would still train Paige. And if Philip is sad now, hoo boy, imagine that frowning disaster. And Henry would be bummed. We can’t have that. So there are no good answers here.

Some great wigs this week, though. Gotta give her that.

2. Anyone who goes into the woods, ever, even once (Last week: Unranked)

One of the only things I know for certain in this life is that nothing good has ever happened in the woods. The woods are bad. If someone says to you “Hey, let’s go into those woods over there for a minute,” you say no, because either a) that person is going to murder you, or b) someone or something is going to murder you both. In fact, just cut that person out of your life, to be safe. You can’t be putting your life at risk by hanging out with a person who suggests going into the woods! You have such a bright future!

Anyway, this is why, as soon as Elizabeth and the military guy went into those woods, I was like “Well, rest in peace, bud,” because it’s too soon in the season for Elizabeth to die and there was no way both of them were coming out alive.

Don’t go into the woods.

Never go into the woods.

1. Paige (Last week: 3)

There are some things in life you can’t unsee, things that burn themselves into your brain and haunt you for the rest of your life. I’ve got to imagine “your mom’s panicked face covered in a man’s brains” is one of those things. Even if everything somehow works out okay for Paige (it won’t), like she escapes her family and testifies against them and writes a bestselling series of loosely fictionalized spy novels and uses the royalties to retire to St. Barth’s in her early 30s, she’ll still wake up in a sweat like 50 nights a year with that image sharp as a scythe in her mind. Paige is broken now. It’s not great.

Also, and this is admittedly a much smaller problem in the grand scheme of things, but still one worth noting, if she ever has kids and they see a picture of her from this time period, she’s gonna have to explain these pants. Also not great.

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