[SPOILERS for The Americans series finale.]
The series finale of The Americans has come and gone, but questions still remain as to what will happen to Philip and Elizabeth’s two children, Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati). The series deliberately leaves the futures of the two now mostly grown children of deep cover Soviet agents up in the air. Co-showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields feel that leaving both the kids with clear “hurdles” leaned into the show’s sense of tragedy, but the differences in those hurdles help explain the fundamental differences in the characters.
Since the series began, the oft-neglected Jennings children were differentiated by the varying suspicions of their parents’ activities, in particular the odd hours a pair of travel agents kept and why they were always doing laundry behind a locked door. Paige was certainly the more inquisitive of the two, following her instincts to discover some shocking truths (and having at least one very uncomfortable image burned into her memory), while Henry remained trusting and mostly oblivious of what was going on.
In the finale, ‘Start’, Henry finally learns the truth about his parents from Stan, as Weisberg said in a recent conference call: “In our minds [Stan] told [Henry] the truth there. That's what we picture happening. That's sure how it looked to us.”
Paige, meanwhile, opts out of a one-way ticket to the Soviet Union and decides to hide out in Claudia’s now empty apartment, taking shots of vodka while planning her next move. Neither character’s life will ever be the same, and the series leaves them in an as emotionally fraught situation as Philip and Elizabeth, according to Weisberg and Fields. But what happens next is anyone’s guess.
“You know,” Weisberg said, “it's worth noting that, in a way… from the very beginning of the show, [we] thought of Henry as being… kind of most American or most fully American person in this whole family… In a way he [never] really inherited the Russian soul of either of his parents. Whereas Paige, it seemed to us, was American but had also gotten her mom and dad's Russian soul. And, you know, you can factor that in, if you agree with that, which you may or may not. But that seemed to be the story that got told. You can think about that when you think about their future and what it might hold for them and what the possibilities are.
But we're certainly leaving that at the end of show. What extremely dark and tragic and difficult moment for both of them. Everybody's got a lot of hurdles in front of them. But, who's to say what they're going to do with those hurdles?”
The Americans seasons 1 - 5 are available to stream on Amazon Prime, season 6 is available to stream with the FX Now app.