How does The Americans just keep getting better? This is a very serious question. Because every week for four seasons now, the FX Cold War spy drama has been churning out A+ episode after A+ episode. They're gonna have to falter eventually, right?
Well, not yet, and especially not in this excellent fourth season finale. The bioweapon storyline came to a head when Dylan Baker's William was caught by the FBI—and administered the deadly poison to himself, ensuring a slow, gruesome, lonely death for himself while quarantined in custody. As we've learned over the past four years, the spy life is lonely, y'all.
Because of his capture—and Martha's discovery, and pretty much all of the close calls Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) have had over the years—the Centre has decided that it's now time for the family to pack up their operation and head back to Russia. But it's ultimately up to the Jennings whether or not they actually do that.
Plus, there's the whole Paige problem.
Paige Jennings (Holly Taylor) has always been one of the most fascinating parts of the show. She has her haters, but are those people hating Paige herself or are they just conditioned to hate the whiny teenage kid subplot? This is no Dana Brody.
Paige's slow discovery and acceptance of her parents' secret has been a huge part of the DNA of the series so far, and she's finally at a crossroads. Will she eventually accept that they are spies and follow them into duty, or will she completely reject her heritage? She's grappled with the gravity of this decision all season long, and in the finale it finally appeared that she might side with her family when she asked her mother to teach her how to fight.
But now that she's got a teenage fling going on with the son of her FBI agent neighbor (real or strategic to help her parents? It could go either way, though in the closing moments of the episode Philip forbade her from seeing him), will she be comfortable with leaving the only life she's ever known?
We'll have to wait another year to find out what decision the Jennings make—and whether the show can continue to top itself in season five.