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Review of 'The Americans' 6.1

Elizabeth Versus Philip

Well, The Americans, never more relevant to the current news than it is today, was back last night with the first episode of its final season. And the story it set in motion was relevant indeed. It's the story of Gorbachev and the perestroika and glasnost he set in motion verses the KGB forces and the older, harder liners who opposed him in what would be the final few years of the Soviet Union. History tells us he won—but not completely. And, eventually, those KGB forces took power again, in the form of Vladimir Putin.

But back in the late 1980s—with Bork just nominated to the Supreme Court—Putin was not yet in command or control. And the battle between Gorbachev and the KGB was played out with other people. Including...

Here in the U.S., Philip was recruited from retirement on behalf of Gorbachev to keep an eye on what the KGB-loyal forces are doing here. Which include Elizabeth. In other words, the couple we've followed for the past five seasons are not only no longer working together. They're working against each other. With a directive to Philip to kill Elizabeth if necessary. It's that serious. The Americans has always been as serious as it gets, but never more so than now.

At least, that's the set-up for now. Philip tries to tell Elizabeth, but she's too exhausted to listen. Emotionally drained. As indeed she should be. She just killed a young naval security guard who's offense was to take Paige's ID— more out of flirtation than anything else. But Elizabeth can't take any chances. She never could. Killing is always her ready option. She may agonize about it. But unlike Philip, she gets over it. One might even call her a kind of psycho.

This binary opposition—Elizabeth vs. Phillip—was in the cards all along. It's exciting to see it finally come out on the table in this final season. And I'll be back here next week with more.

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Paul Levinson
Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code (winner Locus Award, Best 1st Science Fiction Novel of 1999) & The Plot To Save Socrates. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context has been translated into 15 languages. 

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Review of 'The Americans' 6.1
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