Episode 610 - 'Start'

Director: Chris Long

Writers: Joel Fields, Joseph Weisberg

This is it - Good luck Stan, good luck Oleg!
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Comments

  • Oh man, only a few more hours to go -  hoping for a strong finish.  Good luck Henry too!  
  • Poor, poor Stan

    MrXrkcrawf
  • There might’ve been some waterworks during that finale. I’m really going to miss this show 
    MrXmajjam0770
  • Did not see all of that coming. Excellent wrap up to the series. Did not see Stan going that way and he’ll always wonder (but I don’t think care) if she is a spy. Paige staying was the icing on the cake. Emotional rollercoaster. I am sad to see this show go, but happy they ended it strong. 
    rkcrawfmajjam0770Elisa
  • MrXMrX CO
    edited May 2018
    Give Matthew Rhys all the Emmy's. That parking garage scene, just wow. I don't think I took a breath the entire time. One of the better scenes I've seen on television.

    We got Dire Straits AND U2 montages! I knew that when they set the season in '87 we'd be getting some Joshua Tree.

    When the train started rolling and they showed Paige on the platform, and the cutting to Philip and Elizabeth, gut punch. And of course everything involving the decision to leave Henry behind was tough.

    I'm impressed they gave us such an emotionally satisfying finale without anyone dying!

    And yes, poor, poor Stan.
    rkcrawfmajjam0770Elisa
  • Oh, and also how unnerving was that unexpected dream sequence for Elizabeth with Gregory and the painting? That painting was so haunting and they had done such a good job using the artist to help drive Elizabeth's growth this season, in really glad it made an appearance in the finale.
    majjam0770Elisa
  • Can P&E ever return to the United States?
  • I loved this finale. The parking garage scene with Stan, Paige getting off the train, Adderholt's interogation. All stellar work. My only criticism: It felt like half the episode were extended montages. A bit much. 
    KingKobramajjam0770Renisamartian
  • tom_g said:
    Can P&E ever return to the United States?

    My feeling is that they murdered a whole slew of people, so not sure the FBI ever let's that slide even with the dissolution of the USSR.
    majjam0770Elisa
  • MrX said:
    tom_g said:
    Can P&E ever return to the United States?

    My feeling is that they murdered a whole slew of people, so not sure the FBI ever let's that slide even with the dissolution of the USSR.
    Officially, I'm sure you are right.  I was thinking, once the heat is off, 10~15 years, under fake identities, they could low key visit Henry.  Is even that too risky??

    No reason they couldn't call him.
    majjam0770
  • tom_g said:
    MrX said:
    tom_g said:
    Can P&E ever return to the United States?

    My feeling is that they murdered a whole slew of people, so not sure the FBI ever let's that slide even with the dissolution of the USSR.
    Officially, I'm sure you are right.  I was thinking, once the heat is off, 10~15 years, under fake identities, they could low key visit Henry.  Is even that too risky??

    No reason they couldn't call him.
    That would be MUCH too risky. Maybe a call in the future, but would Henry want to talk to them? Luckily this is before the internet so he should be able to have a future. 
    majjam0770
  • My wife and I were reduced to tears on more than one occasion during this finale.. We will miss this fantastic bunch of actors performing together..what a great 6 seasons it has been!
    majjam0770Elisa
  • Loved the finale. I appreciated the musical choices more after watching it a second time. My heart almost skipped a beat seeing Paige left behind on the platform. I don't see why people are saying that Stan will never know if Renee is one of them. All of the illegals seem to have taken the identities of deceased people so he can easily uncover that much at least. Some of the bigger questions seem to be will he, why wouldn't Stan and all of his personal contacts be investigated, and why wouldn't he be at least forced out of counter intelligence. If Renee is an illegal, which I think she is, I would think that she would be on the run too no matter how much tighter her cover might be. 
    majjam0770Elisa
  • roscoe said:
    Loved the finale. I appreciated the musical choices more after watching it a second time. My heart almost skipped a beat seeing Paige left behind on the platform. I don't see why people are saying that Stan will never know if Renee is one of them. All of the illegals seem to have taken the identities of deceased people so he can easily uncover that much at least. Some of the bigger questions seem to be will he, why wouldn't Stan and all of his personal contacts be investigated, and why wouldn't he be at least forced out of counter intelligence. If Renee is an illegal, which I think she is, I would think that she would be on the run too no matter how much tighter her cover might be. 
    I’m not sure if all his contacts would, he was the one to bring Phillip and Elizabeth up. If it wasn’t for him they would have basically never been found out. Renee would only be looked into if Stan does the digging. She’s already made it through security checks to get a job at the FBI. The real question is does he want to? Much like letting P&E go even if Renee IS an agent would he turn her in? 
    majjam0770Elisa
  • @KingKobra Almost forgot that Stan isn't in counter intel anymore. He was shown to be somewhat corrupt ever since Nina so he might leave it alone. But if Renee is an illegal, I doubt she will stay with him forever once the intel dries up. Pretty sad lol.
    KingKobramajjam0770Elisa
  • Great finale. My wife and I just finished it, and we're both sad like Phillip. A few thoughts came up during the episode:
    • Wouldnt they be in danger in Russia, since Elizabeth killed a KGB agent? Id think someone would want payback.
    • What's Paige's fate? She's probably going to get caught, right? Maybe hope for leniency. 
    • Philip pulled the Jedi mind trick on Stan? I loved the scene for the drama, but I didn't find it credible that Stan let them go. I am okay with it, but I think it does a disservice to Stan as a strong character. I tell myself the bit about Renee was the gut punch that made it work.
    • Surprised Stan didn't put two and two together with Martha...that would have been a good counterpunch to Phil.
    • As much as the device gets overused, I would have appreciated either a flash forward or a text summary of where the characters end up. Considering the fall of the USSR, it would have been cool to see how that impacts the principal players.


    majjam0770CoryElisasamartian
  • rkcrawf said:
    Great finale. My wife and I just finished it, and we're both sad like Phillip. A few thoughts came up during the episode:
    • Wouldnt they be in danger in Russia, since Elizabeth killed a KGB agent? Id think someone would want payback.
    • What's Paige's fate? She's probably going to get caught, right? Maybe hope for leniency. 
    • Philip pulled the Jedi mind trick on Stan? I loved the scene for the drama, but I didn't find it credible that Stan let them go. I am okay with it, but I think it does a disservice to Stan as a strong character. I tell myself the bit about Renee was the gut punch that made it work.
    • Surprised Stan didn't put two and two together with Martha...that would have been a good counterpunch to Phil.
    • As much as the device gets overused, I would have appreciated either a flash forward or a text summary of where the characters end up. Considering the fall of the USSR, it would have been cool to see how that impacts the principal players.


    1) I believe Stan got the message out, which is how they were able to get in and have a “ride”. We know Gorb survives and thus those who did try to overthrow him “removed”. 

    2) maybe, maybe not. It depends on what she decides to do. 

    3) Stan was at a crossroads, and with the information that Phillip gave and corroborated what Oleg told him letting them go was his “one mercy”. While he’s been portrayed as “strong” he’s also been emotionally vulnerable (this has been shown multiple times). 

    4) they may want to save that for a possible movie. 


    Elisa
  • Just watched it -I definitely shed a few tears.  I echo the wish for a little epilogue scene at the end but really have no complaints.  I think Paige really knew or intuited more than her parents told her all along, and she made her own choice at the end.  Kudos to the Holly Taylor (Paige) for a strong performance this episode.  And Henry, in some ways the lucky one since he has no crimes against the USA, but goddamn that was sad when they decided to leave him behind.  

    I was expecting a more tense chase-type ending, but this was really a solid sendoff to a fine series.  Paige staying behind was really powerful.  Stan also was really great imo.  He could and some would say should have turned the Jennings in, but he can see the bigger picture here.  He is a true friend, helping their son out, possibly helping Oleg out, and doing good in the world.  
    Elisa
  • edited June 2018

    Got around to watching the finale last night, here's some thoughts I had:

    Overall, I enjoyed it because the show was ending and I was looking forward to how they were going to wrap things up. 

    Philip- fantastic episode from him.  Obviously the garage scene was powerful and very emotional.  I really wanted him to tell Stan that their friendship was the only real thing in his life but I think that was sort of said without actually having to be spoken.  Also, major props to Philip for recognizing that Henry belongs in the USA.  Was definitely surprised (but I guess since Philip considered Stan a friend) that Philip told Stan that he wasn't sure about Renee.

    Elizabeth- the dream sequence she had, was that just a dream or were they trying to suggest that perhaps Paige or Henry was not Philip's child?  Or was it that she was already pregnant from Philip but just sleeping with Gregory as well?  Just wasn't sure if that was suppose to be just a dream or an actual flashback scene.

    Stan- very interesting episode from him.  From tracking down the Jennings to letting them escape, just interesting choices he made.  Probably against what the character stood for but from an audience perspective, we were all probably rooting for Stan to let them go.  One thing I was shocked is that Stan mentions Sofia and her husband but he doesn't mention his partner from season 1 or anyone else in the past.  I think I would have liked to see Stan rattle off a few more names at the Jennings from people that they've killed.

    Renee- clearly left to interpretation.  I think from previous posts here, that people can determine that I'm in the "no, she's not a spy" camp.  But I can enjoy how they left it open ended.  Although, I really think Stan would eventually do his own background check and verify some of the things that she has previously told him just for his own sanity.

    Paige- I don't quite get her choice at the end.  Is she choosing to just stay?  Does she intend on still being a loyal spy for the USSR?  I mean, without the resources and her mother behind her, I don't see how that's possible.  I also don't see why she would choose that type of life seeing exactly what is happening with her parents.  I'm not a big fan of how her character ended.  If anything, for the train scene, I was expecting that Philip and Elizabeth would look out and see that Paige got arrested and being taken away (because I think when the border patrol was on the train they had 3 pictures that they were looking for, Philip, Elizabeth, and pretty sure it was Paige, although why they would be after Paige as they have no proof of her doing anything wrong seems odd unless they just figure that she would be with Philip and Elizabeth as a way to get to them).

    Henry- poor kid.  Hopefully Stan adopted him.  Not sure what happens with him (in terms of his reaction).  Although, I kind of feel that if Philip eventually reached out, I think Henry would still be happy to see him.  Maybe Paige connects with him and helps ease his pain in terms of what happens.

    Oleg- so what happens with him?  I felt like here we didn't get the closure that we were looking for.  Since Stan was able to corroborate what Oleg was doing via the Jennings, does Stan now take pity on Oleg and help him out and essentially get him back to Russia alive and well?  Or are we to believe that Oleg rots in jail for the remainder of his days?

    Final scene- here's where it just felt weird to me.  No problem with them making it back to Russia.  But just seemed weird to end the entire series about Philip and Elizabeth talking how their lives would have been different if they just stayed.  I'm not really sure there was any good way to end the show for a final scene unless maybe you see them deciding to go back to the US or maybe some sort of flash forward.  But just them talking like that, it just didn't work for me.

    rkcrawfElisasamartian
  • @dochielomn - Great analysis. Excellent points all around. 

    On Elizabeth - I took that to be a juxtaposition of what her true self really wanted, but had to give up in order to be a spy. She wanted Gregory, didn't want kids, liked smoking, and I guess had some appreciation for art. But she had to bury/sacrifice all of that to become Elizabeth Jennings. I read the conversation between her and Philip about leaving Henry, as her being in denial. She loved Henry as a mother, but she was not extremely close to Henry as a person. Even Paige, for most of the show's run, was kind of an asset to her, or something to be protected. But at the end, her desire to keep the family intact is because it's what she knows. When I think about the relationships in the show, it was Philip who truly acknowledged Paige and Henry as individuals. The reality is that they were already losing the children, but Elizabeth never acknowledged it. To me, this dream sequence also tied together the final scene, where they're wondering if it was all worth it. 

    On Stan (and Paige) - totally agree. I wonder if Paige's presence kept him from going through an exhaustive list of the collateral damage. Maybe Stan will cover for her. No one else has any proof she was complicit (except Father Tim(?). If Stan's going to let the family go, maybe he wouldn't have her be locked up if she resurfaces to help Henry. 

    Henry - I still don't know what P&E were thinking. He was already in jeopardy of getting kicked out of school. How's he supposed to pay tuition now (assuming they're not counting on Stan being a good samaritan when they decided to leave Henry). A close examination of his situation is the main reason I think Paige got off the train. I like to think she realized how broken he'd be. I, too, thought the series would end with P&E getting away and Paige getting caught. 

    Elisa
  • @rkcrawf, the more I think about it, yeah, I agree with your analysis from Elizabeth's dream sequence.  As for the discussion regarding Henry, I think it was more the reaction that any parent would have in terms of leaving Henry behind.  The initial instinct is "no, the children are coming with us we're not abandoning them".  However, Philip was able to make Elizabeth step back for a moment and give it a little thought and realize that Henry's life is not meant to be lived in Russia (although, if he was that skilled in hockey, then perhaps that could have been his outlet in Russia).  However, I do completely agree that Elizabeth's and Henry's relationship was basically non-existent at this point in Henry's life.  Earlier this season, Elizabeth basically said that Paige was hers and Henry was Philips and in one scene between Elizabeth and Henry, you could see how awkward and uncomfortable it was for both of them.

    For Stan, i'm not sure if he guessed that Paige was actively involved with her parents real business.  Because, all indications Stan had previous was all about Philip and Elizabeth.  All Paige does is acknowledge that she knows what her parents really are.  She didn't say she was helping them in any way.  And so, I'm not sure Stan would think that she was.  Although, he probably should be slightly suspicious.  Stan was just smart enough to know that if Philip and Elizabeth were on the run, that they'd probably at least contact Paige, if not take her with them, so he knew to place surveillance on Paige's apartment/dorm.  But, as I questioned, was Paige's picture also listed on the border patrol clipboard?  I think it was.  But the real question is, why?  Does that imply that the FBI now suspects her as a spy?  Or is it more about that they know if they see Paige that Philip and Elizabeth are probably near by?  Because, if they suspect Paige as a spy, then she's screwed by staying behind and going back to the DC area as she would easily be identified and picked up and locked up (because there's no way you're convincing me that Paige is going to survive interrogation and keep her mouth shut).

    For Henry, really just hope that Stan decided to help out and keep him in that school and act as a father to him.

    Also, another possible ending could have been Elizabeth getting killed by the KGB as retaliation for turning her back on them and for killing one of them.  I'm guessing we are to suspect that Philip and Elizabeth sent the message back to the proper people and were able to help stop any uprising against Gorbachev but as mentioned in this thread, you'd almost have to suspect that the remnants of the KGB would still be going after Elizabeth for what she did, especially if she's back in Russia.  

    rkcrawfElisaFlukes
  • @dochielomn - You bring up more great points. 

    Any parent would have that reaction of "no, I'll never see my child again." But I found it poignant that it was Philip who reached the conclusion of what's best for the kids first (as he usually does). Elizabeth was always "country first." Elizabeth did "have Paige" until Paige found out about the honeypot business. And to be fair, Elizabeth did try to protect Paige at times, and they are both pretty horrible parents. 

    On that note, I was moved by the part of Philips speech that showed his side. He and Elizabeth were raised into that life out of patriotism, desperation, naivete, etc. I wonder what a counterpart series would look like with an American spy family undercover somewhere else. 

    I don't think Stan or anyone suspects Paige as a spy. Like you said, I think it'd be more of a hint that P&E could be traveling nearby. 

    I like to imagine that Paige becomes a history teacher somewhere down the line.
    majjam0770
  • edited June 2018
    I’m definitely the only Americans fan who didn’t like the finale. It was such a great show it doesn’t even matter! I’m so bummed it’s over. I have nothing but praise for all the writers, actors and everyone involved. 

    I hope to see the these actors pop up on other successful shows and movies. 

    I really want to give credit to Brandon J. Dirden (Aderholt) for such a great performance. Every other actor did great as usual (esp Noah Emmerich as Stan) but Brandon really nailed his limited role in this one. I will rewatch just see him kill that interrogation scene again. 

    This episode was heavy on the emotions and light on the action which I respect but also kind of lost my interest. I know the creators have said since season 1 this show was never supposed to be all about FBI vs KGB but no argument can convince me that Stan vs P&E didn’t deserve more than a partial episode. I still believe with all my heart this was a 7 season show that had to wrap up one season too early. 

    Farewell to an amazing show! If I had just read the description only I never would of gave this show a chance but it did such a awesome job I’m so glad I found it. If anyone knows any good books or documentaries about the Cold War please share them!
    ElisaFlukes
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Read a good interview with Sepinwall and the showrunners on Uproxx: https://uproxx.com/sepinwall/the-americans-finale-interview-creators-spoilers/

    The interview left me feeling a bit better about the finale. At first, I thought it was excellently executed, with some minor qualms about Stan and whether things were true to the characters. My qualms have been put to rest. Throughout the run of the show, I have come close to putting it in the shelf because it got slow (years of Paige, sojourns with Oleg in Russia, etc.). However, looking back, it mostly paid off emotionally. Understanding that they were trying to evoke specific emotional responses, and recognizing that they achieved it (with me, at least), made the journey worth while. 

    I think they stick the landing.
    KingKobraMrX
  • edited June 2018
    akritenbrink said:

    The comment about Renee, we know Philip really believes that, because he's mentioned it before to Elizabeth, but we don't know if he's telling Stan as a friend or using it as a tactic, but it makes the blow to Stan hit that much closer to home.

    @akritenbrink, no way Philip was using that line as a tactic.  Stan was already letting them go so it wasn't a ploy by Philip to make Stan let them leave.  At this point in time, Philip was being honest (can't say 100% honest because they were still lying to Stan when he mentioned stuff, especially about killing people) with him and in a friendly manner wanted to warn Stan to at least do his homework on Renee just in case. 

    Additionally, I re-watched the Amtrak scenes and got better clarification.  The border patrol seem to just be looking for Philip and Elizabeth, not Paige.  It was just multiple pictures of each one in different disguises, so that's where I got slightly confused and thought one was Paige.  So, Paige choosing to stay behind is probably fine.  Only way she gets into immediate trouble is if Stan does something that implicates her with her parents.  But I don't see Stan doing that to Paige (especially since Stan didn't know that Paige was training to be a spy).  Although, with Claudia gone and without Elizabeth, I just don't see how Paige manages to do any sort of spy work.  Sure she can still learn info and gather intel, but who is she reporting this to?  And since she's not fully trained, you figure she's going to mess up or get caught in a situation where she needs support but doesn't have it and then what?

    ElisaKingKobrarkcrawf
  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    I thought they landed this just about perfectly. I think I had more fireworks in my imagination, and I've had some issues with the pace and lost threads, but this by itself was just about perfect. 

    I think Paige is fine. Stan let them go (which I found believable), so there's not a lot he can say there. She can offer up a lot of excuses - coercion, intimidation, ignorance, etc... I do think about what he'd have told Henry about her, since he likely thought she was also gone when he was breaking the news. But I suppose she can give Henry the same excuses if she wants.
    Elisatom_g
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    edited June 2018
    akritenbrink said:

    The comment about Renee, we know Philip really believes that, because he's mentioned it before to Elizabeth, but we don't know if he's telling Stan as a friend or using it as a tactic, but it makes the blow to Stan hit that much closer to home.

    @akritenbrink, no way Philip was using that line as a tactic.  Stan was already letting them go so it wasn't a ploy by Philip to make Stan let them leave.  At this point in time, Philip was being honest (can't say 100% honest because they were still lying to Stan when he mentioned stuff, especially about killing people) with him and in a friendly manner wanted to warn Stan to at least do his homework on Renee just in case. 

    I also felt Phillip's motivation for telling Stan about his Rene suspicions was ambiguous. I don't think Phillip is lying (he really has these suspicions), but I think the compassionate thing would be to keep his suspicions to himself. I think it's likely that Phillip wasn't sure if he, as a friend, should drop the Rene bomb, but he decided, as an agent, to use it because it would overwhelm Stan and help ensure their escape. It's definitely a gamble, but Phillip knows Stan pretty darn well.

    I don't have any evidence for this point of view except this: my wife independently came to the same conclusion and she's way smarter than I am.
    Elisasamartian
  • If my closest friend suspected my wife (or husband) was a Russian spy, I'd want them to tell me . . . Dear FLOTUS, I have something very important I need to tell you.
    FlukesrkcrawfElisa
  • Flukes said:
    akritenbrink said:

    The comment about Renee, we know Philip really believes that, because he's mentioned it before to Elizabeth, but we don't know if he's telling Stan as a friend or using it as a tactic, but it makes the blow to Stan hit that much closer to home.

    @akritenbrink, no way Philip was using that line as a tactic.  Stan was already letting them go so it wasn't a ploy by Philip to make Stan let them leave.  At this point in time, Philip was being honest (can't say 100% honest because they were still lying to Stan when he mentioned stuff, especially about killing people) with him and in a friendly manner wanted to warn Stan to at least do his homework on Renee just in case. 

    I also felt Phillip's motivation for telling Stan about his Rene suspicions was ambiguous. I don't think Phillip is lying (he really has these suspicions), but I think the compassionate thing would be to keep his suspicions to himself. I think it's likely that Phillip wasn't sure if he, as a friend, should drop the Rene bomb, but he decided, as an agent, to use it because it would overwhelm Stan and help ensure their escape. It's definitely a gamble, but Phillip knows Stan pretty darn well.

    I don't have any evidence for this point of view except this: my wife independently came to the same conclusion and she's way smarter than I am.

    See, my view point is entirely based on friendship.  If you've been married a long time (say like 15 to 20 yrs) and you consider yourself a happily married person that has a great relationship with your significant other.  Than one day, your best friend sees your significant other coming and going from the same motel room with another person and it's rather obvious that your significant other is having an affair.  You can argue both sides of the coin, whether to tell your friend or not.  Some people will say that they have an obligation to inform their friend even though they recognize that it's going to crush them.  Others may say that it's better to keep this info from your friend and keep them ignorant to the situation since they don't want their friend to be crushed.  In this case, I think Philip was the former for a) he truly consider Stan a friend and b) Stan already knew who Philip really was and felt betrayed and so in the spirit of honesty, he decides to let Stan know that perhaps Renee may not be who she claims to be and to not have Stan feel like his life is a "joke" should he later find out that Renee is actually a spy.  To me, the moment that Stan lets Elizabeth and Paige walk to the car, he has chosen to let the Jennings go.  Philip does truly care about Stan's well being and so for him to use the Renee card as a tactic, I guess I just don't see him doing that.  Philip was free to go at that point, so there really isn't much gained by mentioning the Renee thing as tactic. 
    KingKobraFlukesElisa
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