With Russian hacking commanding real-world headlines, FX’s Reagan-era drama set during the height of Cold War hostilities — with two KGB moles hiding in plain sight — took on somewhat different hues. The season’s major thrust, however, dealt with the growing disenchantment of one of those spies, as well as the corruption of a Soviet system essentially rotting by within, paving the way for its fall along with the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Those seismic events are still a few years away by where “The Americans” will be in its narrative life, nevertheless the signs are there. In fact, This specific season’s most fascinating arc involved Oleg Burov (the terrific Costa Ronin), the former KGB agent along with former embassy operative whose return to Russia unearthed his parents’ unsettling past along with exposed him to risk by suspicious officials.
Closer to home, Philip (Matthew Rhys) came to suspect the Soviets of various atrocities, including the use of a biological agent in which he had worked to retrieve. A scheme in which ultimately resulted in a teenage boy’s attempted suicide further soured his outlook.
“Do we have to tear This specific family apart too?” he asked his handler, played by the ever-reliable Margo Martindale.
Philip along with his partner in espionage along with life, Elizabeth (Keri Russell), were also directly confronted by the horror of what they have done to their children, as conveyed via the stolen journal of Pastor Tim, who the couple’s daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) has taken into her confidence.
Teenage kids have long been a source of wrong turns among serious dramas — witness the groan-inducing antics of Dana Brody on “Homeland” — nevertheless Paige’s plight has been the sterling exception to in which rule. The moment when Philip along with Elizabeth were exposed to Tim’s musings about the depth of their betrayal in an earlier episode ranked among the season’s highlights.
The real question currently will be whether central duo — having spent so much time undercover inside the U.S. — can go home again, or if they are in essence people without a country. Moreover, the audience harbors a knowledge they don’t about what the broader future holds inside the Soviet Union, generating their decisions all the more perilous.
Everything about “The Americans,” in fact, keeps coming back to moral dilemmas, including those facing FBI agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), who throughout the season was pressed by his bosses to betray confidences along with past pledges. “I’m tired of feeling [lousy],” Stan lamented inside the finale, reflecting in which no one on either side of the Cold War conflict will be likely to come away unscathed.
“the idea just keeps getting worse for you,” Elizabeth told Philip at the end.
While the evidence of in which was written all over his face, “The Americans” has only gotten better as the seasons pile up, stoking anticipation — among its relatively modest fan base — for the final act of This specific improbably timely period drama.