The Americans Season 1 Review “The Colonel”

On the season finale of “The Americans,” everything at last came together, but in a fashion befitting the show, not at all how one might expect. As expected, the meeting set with the Colonel was indeed a set-up of sorts…but not the right one. Likewise, the FBI’s faked a “secret meeting” at the Weinberger residence with Baker in attendance that was pure fiction, making sure the Russians got wind of it and would go to pick up their recordings from the clock bug at the house planted by the maid who they blackmailed.

As it turned out, the FBI wasn’t sitting on the meet with the Colonel, but the car outside the Weinberger’s where Liz & Phil regular picked up their tapes. To make matters worse, Liz asked Phil to pick up the tape while she went to the meet with the Colonel, as she knew it was likely a set-up and wanted Phil to get the kids if she was caught. However, Phil felt otherwise and went to the meet with the Colonel himself…only to discover there was no set-up. There, at least.

Meanwhile, Nina got wind of the FBI’s actions after a meet with Stan sent up a red flag, as he promised her it was almost over and that he would be getting her out of town and into the witness relocation program asap. Suspecting something big was about to go down, she alerted the Embassy, proving her trustworthiness in the process. They hurriedly sent out car with “abort” symbols painted on them, which Claudia saw.

Given that Liz reported her and she ended up getting reassigned, she could have taken the low road, but she rushed to tell Phil, only to realize that it was Liz being set up. Phil rushed to her side, just getting her out of dodge and eluding the FBI by the skin of his teeth long enough to switch cars and get out of the area and to safety…only to discover Liz had been shot.

Ironically, it ended up being Stan who “got” the kids in the end, as Phil called him to make sure they were looked after, essentially asking the man at least partially responsible for his “wife” being shot to do the thing that both had argued so virulently over before. Ah “The Americans,” what a tangled web you weave.

What can I say? This was the perfect end to a perfect season. Every step of the way I’ve been wondering how they would sustain the premise and keep Liz and Phil out of harm’s way. I’ve also wondered how they would keep them sympathetic, not to mention the rest of the characters. I love that each character showed actual growth throughout the season, even while making crucial mistakes along the way- Phil’s affair, Liz telling the Soviets her doubts about Phil, Stan’s mistreatment of both his wife and Nina, Claudia’s betrayal of Phil & Liz, etc.

And the twists just kept coming, too, didn’t they? I honestly didn’t know where they were going with the show the majority of the time. Every time there would be a new development, I would be like, okay that’s it for this character, only to see them get out of it somehow. And way the various plot-lines dovetailed together at all turns was beautifully done. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this is easily the best new show I’ve seen all year.

Other moments worth mentioning: the big reveal that Claudia wasn’t lying about her relationship with Zhukov to Liz after all (how great was Margo Martindale in that scene with her killing Patterson?); the thrilling shoot-out/car chase with Liz and Phil being pursued by the FBI and seeing how things like sting operations worked back in the day before cell phones and the internet (that whole situation would have gone down completely differently in today’s world, needless to say); the brilliant bait and switch between the FBI and the Soviets and Liz and Phil’s unwittingly fateful decisions in that regard; and the great button at the end when it looked like Paige might have caught her mother at her own game, only to find that Liz is not one to forget to dot those “i’s” and finding clothes folded as she said. Doesn’t miss a trick, that Liz. Bonus points for the excellent use of the superlative Peter Gabriel track Games Without Frontiers,” the perfect way to end the season (it also made up for that dreadful disco pickle song, I might add).

Can’t wait for the show to return, and I’m so glad it got an early renewal, despite middling ratings. This is one show that deserves a shot at continuing on.

What did you think of “The Americans” season finale? What was your favorite moment? Who was your favorite character? Let me know below in the comments section!