The Americans finale recap: 'The Soviet Division'
As Philip and Elizabeth plot their escape, they find they can't untangle from their secret lives
Well, hey, look who dropped by for a visit — it’s Tuan and his parents! Come right in, the Morozovs say, Pasha should be upstairs.
He’s upstairs all right, bleeding out on his bed after an attempted suicide. Tuan told him to do it to get their attention (part of a blackmail scheme to drive the family back to Moscow so the mother can continue her affair with a CIA operative).
Philip and Elizabeth are horrified by Tuan’s actions, and they’ve taken an incredible risk in showing up unannounced for a “casual” visit that ends with Pasha being wheeled into an ambulance in critical condition
An American surveillance agent who sits outside the Morozov home to monitors potential threats helps rescue the boy and comes into close contact with Philip and Elizabeth, who are now (potentially) part of whatever investigation may follow.
The exposure here is immense, but Philip and Elizabeth’s consciences won’t allow them to sit back and let this nightmare play out.
Afterward, Alexei finds his son’s note: “He is sorry… but he cannot live in America.”
Back in the Jennings’ neighborhood, Philip spots Stan moving his mysterious girlfriend “Renee” into his house. A pipe burst in her building, and she needs a place to stay.
“That’s going to take time,” Philip says.
“About a month,” Stan tells him with a grin. “Maybe two if I’m lucky.”
It’s the season finale for the show, but we still don’t know whether Renee is secretly a KGB operative. The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden hasn’t had a lot to do this season besides go on a few dates and tell a few anecdotes. She has to be here for some reason.
Philip thinks she’s a spy. “What do you think would happen if they have kids, and she is one of us?” he asks. “Paige thinks she has it bad? Pffft…”
Pasha is doing better, but will be in the hospital for a few weeks. His mother will be taking him back to Moscow, but Alexei will be staying. “Too scared,” Philip explains.
“Didn’t we send someone to say that it wouldn’t be a problem?” Elizabeth asks.
Alexei doesn’t believe it. Philip can’t really believe all of this himself. “If Pasha died…” he says. “Tuan’s tough, but he’s just a kid.”
“Like we were,” Elizabeth answers. She wishes she could take Tuan back to Moscow when they quit.
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Elsewhere, Stan and Amador are administering a lie detector test to their TASS contact Sofia’s new fiancé — whom she unwisely informed she was supplying information to the FBI.
The hockey player/Soviet courier is told there is a problem with his answers, but he persists. It turns out he has no problems; that was a ruse. He passes with “flying colors.” No sign of any deception.
Now it’s a question of whether they believe the test.
In a meeting with Claudia, Philip says the CIA agent monitoring the Morozov house hasn’t raised any alarm about their presence at the scene of the attempted suicide.
They urge Claudia to try to keep the family together when they return to Moscow, but she says it’ll work better if Alexei stays in America, since that frees up Evgheniya even more to conduct her affair. “Nobody is going to roll out a red carpet for him,” she says.
On the way home, Philip and Elizabeth speculate about Paige helping Henry to adjust in Russia. “It’ll be good… without all this s— on our backs,” Elizabeth says.
Back home, Paige listens to a TV reporter about President Reagan’s notorious “radio joke,” saying he signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union. “We begin bombing in five minutes.”
Back in actual Russia, Martha is practicing her Russian and watching schoolkids play in a park. They’re orphans. Cast-offs. Sort of like her.
“We want you to be happy,” the translator says. Martha looks at the kids, especially a little girl named Olya. There are tears in her eyes. Maybe there is happiness to be found together.
Back in the states, Tuan and his “parents” drop by the Morozov house, and Tuan gets to sit with Pasha on the bed where he tried to take his life. Pasha seems happy to be heading back to the Soviet Union.
“I’m sorry, man,” Tuan says of their suicide plan. “It was a stupid idea.”
“It worked,” Pasha tells him.
Downstairs, his mother blames herself for not seeing the signs of his depression and attempt on his life. Upstairs, his father tells Philip that if Pasha tries to take his life in the Soviet Union, he won’t survive. “Doctors there are not so good.”
Philip tries to pressure him to go back with them.
“No…” Alexei says. “That’s not possible. Not after the way I leave. If I go back, they throw me into jail to die. Like my father.”
Afterward, Philip and Elizabeth tell Tuan they are going to write a glowing report about him, then suggest he could “have a different life,” doing work that is not as dangerous — or life threatening for others.
Tuan responds with outrage. He tells them he has already filed his own report about the operation, and admitted to his mistake of traveling to Pennsylvania to make contact with his brother. That means they have nothing to hold over him anymore — not that they were doing that anyway.
Then the bombshell: In his report, he accused them of flaws in their cover, and says he alerted them to this, but they ignored them. They protected him, but he ratted on them instead.
“I also put in my report that I believed the success of the mission was risked at the very end because your commitment to reaching our goal was overridden by certain petty, bourgeois concerns,” Tuan says.
“We were concerned Pasha would die,” Philip says, as patient as a real father.
“But he didn’t,” Tuan says. “I told you he wouldn’t.”
“Let me talk to him for a few minutes,” Elizabeth says. Mother knows best.
“You can think whatever you want about the way Philip and I work, or how we handle our cover,” she says, “but we were running multiple operations during our time here, not just one, like you.”
“What I said was the truth.”
“The people back home who aren’t in the field, sometimes they get what we do, and sometimes they don’t. When you’re in the field, you have to make split-second decisions and don’t always have the luxury of thinking things through.”
“I know that.”
“You should also know the Center trusts us,” Elizabeth says, “and knows we do our jobs extremely well. So whatever you put in your report isn’t a problem for us, Tuan… And since we’re being honest here, there’s something you should know. You’re not going to make it.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s too hard, the work we do, to do it alone.”
“Not for me.”
“You will fail. Something will happen. You’ll get caught. Or you’ll die. One day it will all come crashing down. You need someone, Tuan, a partner. To do this with. To get through it with.”
“Make them send you someone.”
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Back at the Jennings house, Henry gets his boarding school acceptance letter. Philip breaks bad news: “I know we said you could go, but this isn’t going to work out.”
“I’m in. I got accepted. I’m going.”
“You’re not going,” Philip says. “That’s it. This family stays together.”
Pastor Tim and Paige are handing out food to the less fortunate to the tune of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” He’s planning his goodbye; she may (or may not) be planning his surprise party.
We see Philip and Stan playing racquetball. Hey, it’s Renee, stepping in for a game. The lyrics seem meaningful here. ♫ “Maybe you’ll get a replacement… there’s plenty like me to be found…”
At home, Elizabeth stands before her closet with a mesmerized look. She wanders the house, her beautiful, well-stocked American house.
After the food pantry, Paige walks home. She takes a shortcut through the parking lot where she watched her mother kill a would-be mugger. No fear.
The sequence cuts to Philip in his hanging-out-with-the-youth-generation guise, partying with the teens at Kimberly’s house, where the kids pepper him with questions about whether he’s got a girlfriend or is available. “I might be moving to Japan,” he says.
This is the first Kim has heard about this plan. She’s upset. “It’s so far away.”
She starts crying. “I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.”
“You’re going to be fine. More than fine. I’ve seen you grow and change. You have a great relationship with your father now. You’re going to have a great life,” he says.
He tears her a paper towel to dry her tears.
Later, he’s listening to the tape he lifted from her CIA father’s briefcase. Elizabeth interrupts to ask about the fight with Henry.
“We’ll all be dealing with other things soon enough,” she says, and goes off to do some fight training with Paige. It’s rough, and Paige gets a bloody lip.
As he keeps listening to the tapes, Philip hears that Kim’s father is being moved to lead “The Soviet Division” for the CIA. This is big. So big they may not let him go home and abandon this operation. He needs to go for a drive.
Philip stands at the river’s edge, holding the tape. Maybe it needs to disappear. So he and his family can do the same.
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Back at Stan’s place, the FBI man is cooking dinner with Renee. He has some news for her. “I’m thinking of leaving my job. Not the bureau, but the thing I’m working on.”
He can’t tell her about the TASS operation, but he hints that his current project is going to go on for a long time. “I don’t want to do it anymore, the kind of work I’m doing.”
He’s worried about Sofia, and the risks she’s facing. He sees Nina in her. He doesn’t want that guilt anymore.
Renee tells him he’s a good person. “Not many people care like you do. I know you’ve been feeling stressed. And part of me is really happy that you’re leaving, but I can’t help but think your department needs someone like you, who’s not afraid to push back and stand up when something’s wrong. If you don’t do it, who will?”
Philip comes home and finds Paige icing her lip. He apologizes for what they’ve done. She should have had a normal life, he says.
Upstairs, he asks Elizabeth to go sit with him “somewhere.”
“I just took a drive. The recording I got from Kimmy… I was going to get rid of it. Just pretend like it never happened. I still think maybe that would be better, but…”
He tells her about Kimmy’s father’s promotion. “Maybe they can find someone else to get the recordings from Kimmy,” he says. But he doesn’t trust that. And he’s torn about whether to remain in their jobs. “It’s not just me having a hard time. It’s you, too. The kids. We’re allowed to have a life.”
Elizabeth has an admission. “I can’t. I just can’t.”
Can’t let go of her life as a spy — or can’t let go of her life as an American?
“The head of the Soviet Division?” she tells him. “I’m sorry.”