The Americans Ending Explained: The Americans Series Finale’s Greatest Secrets, Explained by Its Showrunners!

The Americans Ending Explained

Joe Weisberg and the FX network present The Americans, an American spy thriller series set in the 1970s.

The film takes place in the early 1970s, during the height of the Cold War, and tells the story of Elizabeth Keri Russell and Philip Jennings Matthew Rhys, two Soviet KGB intelligence officers posing as an American married couple living in Falls Church, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., with their children, Paige Holly Taylor and Henry Jake Lacy Keidrich Sellati.

Additionally, the show follows the perspectives of agents on both sides of the battle between the FBI office in Washington and the KGB Rezidentura there, notably Jennings’ next-door neighbor and FBI counterintelligence agent Stan Beeman Noah Emmerich.

The events of the series take place between January 1981, after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, and December 1987, just before the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by the presidents of the United States and the Soviet Union.

After six seasons, The Americans ended on May 30, 2018. The series started on January 30, 2013, and it aired for the first time on that date in the United States.

The series’ script, characters, and acting were frequently singled out as reasons why it was rated among the best of its day.

In addition to winning the Golden Globe for Best Television Series  Drama and the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Rhys, Weisberg and co-lead writer Joel Fields also received the award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the series’ final season.

Margo Martindale’s guest roles in Seasons 3 and 4 earned her the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series on both occasions. It also won two Peabody Awards, making it one of the few drama series to do so.

The Americans Finale Proved Death Does Not Necessarily a Tragedy Make

The Americans Ending Explained

Which major characters, if any, will be killed off or taken prisoner was a pressing subject leading up to the series finale of The Americans.

Over the course of its FX run, the program said goodbye to a number of key cast members in a wide variety of ways, with several meeting violent or otherwise tragic deaths poor, poor William.

It seemed nearly unthinkable that The Americans wouldn’t follow in the footsteps of other modern TV shows by killing off characters for no other reason than to boost ratings, especially since this was more likely than usual in the show’s fictional world.

The writers of The Americans astonished the television world by not killing off any of the series’ main characters in the show’s final season while killing off a large number of secondary characters.

However, rest assured that there was enough drama in that series finale despite the lack of bloodletting.

In fact, we’d argue that leaving all of the main players alive is a far crueler fate than killing any of them, what with the Jennings family likely being forever split up and on the run, Henry Keidrich Sellati facing a future without his family, Stan Noah Emmerich having his world literally turned upside down, and Oleg Costa Ronin facing the dire consequences of his own actions.

One Good Deed Went Tragically Punished on The Americans Finale

The Americans Ending Explained

All through its six seasons on television, The Americans stood out as a drama with some of the most nuanced moral complexities.

If you don’t believe us, just look at Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, the show’s main characters; they’re always lying, killing KGB operatives fighting against the United States government.

The characters are complex and interesting, and we often find ourselves rooting for them despite their double-dealing.

Philip and Elizabeth did some terrible things to The Americans, but they thought they were helping their country.

They did, however, find themselves on the side of the right for at least part of the show’s last season when they fought to thwart a KGB plot to destroy a potential arms pact between the United States and the Soviet Union in order to topple Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

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The Finale of The Americans Never Lost Sight of Actual History

The Americans Ending Explained

Despite the fact that the show’s main characters are obviously fictitious representations of people who may or may not have been, the historical framework in which they functioned is remarkably accurate.

We would go as far as to state that the show is a fascinating study of the Cold War arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during its peak and final days.

That’s because it glorified the evils of both the Soviet and American regimes at the time, despite the fact that the series was set in the United States.

That being said, Joe Weisberg, creator of The Americans, used the tense beginnings of Start Negotiations as a framing device for the show’s penultimate season.

As a result of the deal, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to significantly reduce their offensive weapon stocks.

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Futures Are Uncertain Across the Board at The End of The Americans

The Americans Ending Explained

While none of the central characters were killed off in the final season of The Americans, nobody got away clean.

Part of what made the show’s finale such a captivating event was that Weisberg and long-time The Americans scribe Joe Fields took things a step further and pretty much left their characters’ narrative threads twisting dramatically in the wind.

It’s safe to say two of the more tragically twisting threads belong to the Jennings kids, Paige and Henry.

We’ll talk to Henry first, because the poor lad never knew anything of his family’s true nature, but lost them anyway, with Mom, and Dad, and is hitting the road after being discovered.

Sure, he’ll probably be happier with Stan in America, but will he ever get over the sting of his family not trying to take him with them?

As for Paige, after leaving her parents at the Canadian border in one of the show’s most thrillingly heartbreaking moments, she heads back to D.C. with no credentials, no money, and not a soul in the world to help her.


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