‘The Americans’ Season 3 Finale: Is the Jennings’ Big Secret Finally Out?
FX Brought the Cold War to another standstill with The Americans Season 3 finale “March 8, 1983,” but the Jennings homestead may burn to the ground before Season 4. Find out who was let in on the big secret, who didn’t make it through the hour, and who might be in serious trouble for Season 4 with our full Americans finale recap!
You’re warned of classified spoilers for The Americans Season 3 from here on out, but if you thought Paige learning her parents’ secret was a big enough deal, that cat is officially out of the bag. Following an excursion to Germany to meet Elizabeth (Keri Russell)’s ailing mother, and subsequent return home, the eldest Jennings child finally cracked under the pressure, and tearfully spilled the beans to Pastor Tim over the phone. We didn’t see the other side of the call, or its immediate aftermath, but there’s only so many ways to construe “they’re not American” and “they’re Russians.” Ouch.
So where were the Jennings themselves during this nail-biting call? Why, just a few doors over recapping the week’s events with one another, as Elizabeth erroneously assumed the visit had been good for Paige, and Philip seemed shaken from staging the CIA computer guy’s suicide to cover Martha’s tracks. Philip started to suggest that he couldn’t handle the missions anymore, before Elizabeth cut him off to listen to Ronald Reagan’s famous “Evil Empire” speech on the TV, not coincidentally spoken on “March 8, 1983.”
Well, because these “quiet men” do not “raise their voices,” because they sometimes speak in soothing tones of brotherhood and peace, because, like other dictators before them, they’re always making “their final territorial demand,” some would have us accept them at their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses. But if history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.
So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority. You know, I’ve always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the church. So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.
Stan kept plenty busy on his own this week, first learning from Oleg that Zenaida must indeed be a Soviet spy, following the Rezidentura’s mandate that no assassinations or intimidation be carried out sans direct approval. Stan took the admission tape straight to Gad, only to find his superior livid that Stan had again broken the CIA’s trust, and suggesting an investigation be opened that ends with Stan’s dismissal. Stan seemed to have an angel on his shoulders this week however, as the Deputy Attorney General not only kept Stan’s job intact, but encouraged him to continue his relationships with the KGB for the sake of the agency.
Sadly, Stan’s good work wasn’t able to free Nina from her Russian obligations, but despite feeling like the Soviet Union had pushed to heard for her to earn her life back, Nina found plenty of kindred company in the similarly oppressed Anton Baklanov. And speaking of company, Philip didn’t stay particularly alone in Elizabeth’s absence this week, running into Stan’s ex-wife Sandra at several EST meetings, admitting that he’d found something worth going for. In their second encounter, Sandra alluded to a rough patch with her current boyfriend Arthur, and rather suggestively suggested she and Philip spend some regular one-on-one time to “tell each other everything.” Ruh-roh.
After all, women don’t tend to do too well around Philip, as Martha was mysteriously nowhere to be found this week, following the prior climax that saw Philip ominously removing his Clark wig to expose his true appearance. Philip later mentioned that Martha would come to him upon learning of her co-worker’s suicide, though there’s certainly something amiss about her absence this week.
And where was Henry Jennings in all of this? Nowhere. Henry does nothing, guys.
Perhaps not the most transformative or eventful finale in The Americans’ history, but certainly one that bodes particularly ill for Season 4, now that Pastor Tim at least seems to know about Philip and Elizabeth’s Russian heritage. Will Paige’s confessions be dismissed, or will the Jennings have to step in and show Paige what happens to those who threaten to expose the family? Stay tuned for more on The Americans Season 3 finale, “March 8, 1983"!