“The Americans” returns for its fifth season tonight, March 7, at 10:00pm on the FX network. The spy drama about a pair of deep-cover KGB operatives living in the suburbs of Washington DC travels down a number of dark corners and hidden passageways of character and story, so you might find yourself in need of a refresher course on where we last left our antiheroes. Watch the video above for a handy Cliffs Notes summary of season four.
Last year spies Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) came close to getting caught in more ways than one. Philip’s asset in the FBI, Martha (Alison Wright), was nearly caught. And another undercover agent, William (Dylan Baker), actually was apprehended in the season finale and gave away a few hints about husband-and-wife spies before succumbing to the illness he infected himself with upon capture.
So where does that leave us now? With the series set to end with season six in 2018, this upcoming fifth season has us pondering a number of questions that will need to be answered soon:
1. Will FBI agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) finally put two and two together?
Since the beginning of the series, Agent Beeman has been investigating Russian spies while living next door to them the whole time. One can hardly blame him for his ignorance — how many of us suspect our racquetball buddies of high treason? — but now that he’s gotten a clue about the spies he’s looking for how far can he be from piecing it all together?
2. How deep will Paige (Holly Taylor) get into the family business?
Philip and Elizabeth’s teenage daughter Paige learned the truth about her parents’ identities in season three, and she spent season four wrestling with the burden of keeping their secret. But we’ve also seen signs that she’s willing to compromise herself to protect her family, from manipulating her pastor to befriending Agent Beeman’s son for intel. Her parents have put her in an impossible position, so how far is she willing to go to keep her family together?
3. Will Henry (Keidrich Sellati) finally discover the truth?
Since Paige found out that her parents are really Russian spies, that leaves her younger brother Henry as the only member of the immediate family still in the dark. How much longer will that last? And if he does find out, will the aftermath be even more explosive than Paige’s discovery?
4. Will Philip reunite with his long-lost son Mischa (Alex Ozerov)?
At the end of season four, we were finally introduced to Philip’s illegitimate son, Mischa, who had been serving with the Russian military in Afghanistan and now is determined to find his father in America. Family reunions are usually cause for celebration, but considering Philip’s secret identity, his two American children who have no idea about their half-brother, and the FBI circling, the arrival of the secret son could be a disaster for the Jennings clan.
5. Will Philip defect?
Years of moral compromise have clearly taken their toll on Philip, who is frequently seen questioning his mission, the KGB, and the virtues of Mother Russia. At the same time he has built a life and a family in America, the country he has grown up believing is the enemy. He may be just one more cruel twist of fate away from abandoning the homeland altogether.
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