Close
Date TimeMay 30, 2018
VoiceShowrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg speak to THR about the big moments in the 90-minute episode as FX's Cold War spy drama comes to an end.
The Americans Bosses Break Down Tragic Series Finale
[This story contains spoilers from the series finale of The Americans]
Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) left the United States and returned to their native Russia in the series finale of The Americans on Wednesday night.
But in a tragic twist, the Russian spies who'd spent years posing as an American couple living outside of Washington, D.C., had to leave their children behind. The pair early on made the decision to let their son, Henry (Keidrich Sellati), who didn't know his parents' true identities, stay in the U.S. But eldest child, Paige (Holly Taylor), who had entered the family business this season, spying alongside her mom, was set to make the trip with her parents before she suddenly left the train they were on. The moment was a shocking one for Elizabeth, who throws herself at the window of the train when she sees Paige still on the platform as the train pulls out of the station, and Philip.
But as for why Paige got off the train or what's next for her, apart from "probably a hangover," after she's shown drinking a shot of vodka near the end of the episode, showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg wouldn't say, preferring to leave those answers to the audience to figure out.
Similarly, Fields and Weisberg declined to speculate as to what was behind the resolution of another dramatic development in the episode — the Jennings' confrontation with their FBI agent neighbor Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich). While much is said, particularly by Philip and Stan who assess whether their friendship was indeed real, Stan chooses neither to arrest or kill the Jennings but instead lets them escape.
And the showrunners left it to "the hearts and imaginations of everybody" in the audience to speculate about what's to come for Philip and Elizabeth in Russia, including whether Philip would reunite with Martha (Alison Wright). But the showrunners pointed out that the characters don't know that, returning in the late '80s, the Soviet Union is on the verge of collapse, making the family estrangement seem permanent.
"As they stand there looking over Moscow in the end, they've got no sense that the Soviet Union will ever fall," Fields said of Philip and Elizabeth. "They're back behind the Iron Curtain, and their children are on the other side. That's pretty tragic to us."
But Fields and Weisberg would discuss the stories behind the ending and the confrontation with Stan as well as what the series, a period piece that became especially timely in the last two years because of the ongoing investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, has to say about modern-day relations with Russians. Also, they reveal why the series didn't definitively answer whether Stan's spouse, Renee (Laurie Holden), is a KGB agent.
Is this what you always envisioned for the Americans finale? How did your original vision for the end of the series change compared to what we saw?
Joel Fields: Well, Joe and I came up with pretty much this ending either towards the end of season one or beginning of season two; we don't quite remember exactly. … This ending was there from pretty early on, and though we considered a lot of different ones over the seasons and things could have gone very differently because the story was definitely a living, breathing organism and it changed a fair amount as we went, to our surprise, this is the ending that stuck.
What about the last shot and last line? Was that in the original plan or when did you come up with that?
Joe Weisberg: That was all stuff that we broke this season. It was really only the idea of Philip and Elizabeth going back with one of their kids or none of their kids that we saw so far in advance. Everything else you saw in that finale came about as we broke the final season this last year and that last scene in particular. How they would get back to the Soviet Union and where they would land in the Soviet Union and what the final scene would be and what they would say to each other — that was very late in the game.
The whole storyline of Philip and Elizabeth having to leave their kids behind, why did you decide that was the right way to go?
Weisberg: We're always guided by what feels like it would happen. So a lot of things that are happening in the story are engines that we put in motion and then it feels to us like the story takes off on its own and we try to follow it. That didn't mean that it couldn't go off in one direction or another, but we always try to stick with what feels most real and most true to us. So if you think about what would happen as they were leaving and how would they feel about their kids, what would their kids do, these seemed to us like the most likely events to unfold. And then we have to ask ourselves certain questions like, "Does it then make for an ending that is both true and real but also satisfying?" And we felt that it had to be tragic, so, "Is it tragic and does it work on all of the levels we need it to work?" And it seemed to us that the answer was "Yes." We were devastated in the right way.
A big moment in the finale is the confrontation with Stan. Did you always want Stan to find out and have him have this face-off with the Jennings?
Weisberg: That was one that I don't think we 100 percent knew the answer to that. If you had asked us in season one or season two, my guess is you would have gotten a "probably" but not a "definitely" because we'll always go where the story takes us and it's not that hard to imagine a version of the story where they don't confront each other and if the story had really leaned in that direction, I don't think we would have been afraid of going there. But we also liked the idea of it coming to this conclusion largely because of this relationship that grew between Philip and Stan and what we knew was waiting in that garage scene. This show really lives and breathes in those conversations between people — those are often the best and most powerful emotional scenes. And that Philip and Stan have to have it out after all of these years — sometimes when we write we do this thing called "scenes we want to see," and I can't think of anything higher on that list.
How did you figure out the dialogue for that scene in terms of what they would say and what they wouldn't say?
Fields: Through a lot of writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. We spent a lot of time on that scene. … The question that we asked ourselves was, "If you imagine that these are real people and that this story is actually happening, 'What would get said here?'" That was what we were looking for is what felt like what the most honest version of that scene would be.
Obviously, this show became very timely in recent seasons with the Russia investigation. Ending it now with that story in the news still, what would you hope that people take away from the show in terms of their view of Russia and Russians?
Weisberg: The show had almost something to say in that regard even though it launched at a very different time, when the United States and Russia were getting along, and therefore it was a comfortable time for this point, which is that we tend to demonize and dehumanize the enemy and fail to even understand that they're human beings like us and so let's take some people who were the worst of the worst enemies, these godless communist KGB monsters, and demonstrate that they're fundamentally people just like us and we'll prove it. But then lo and behold a couple years in, Russians started getting turned into the enemy again and dehumanized again and not being seen as fully rounded, three-dimensional people, with good sides and bad sides, just like us, so even though it was very different from the original plan, it would be a great time for people to remember that that's a tendency of ours to turn people into enemies and stop seeing people in their fullness.
What about Renee? Why did you decide to leave that open-ended as to whether or not she's a KGB agent?
Fields: I think for us, we were really thinking about what our characters know, so to us we weren't leaving it open-ended. Philip had information and he made a decision about what he could do with the information that he had but in order to get any other answer, we would have had to create more plot and give answers to the characters that they didn't have and that seemed unimportant to us at this moment in the story. What seemed important was what the characters would do with what they knew rather than adding information to the mix.

Trump And Kim Kardashian Met At The White House Because 2018
Half of world's children at risk of war, poverty, discrimination, report finds
Valerie Jarrett calls for turning Roseanne Barr's racist tweet into 'teaching moment'
Virginia poised to expand Medicaid
Sarah Sanders gets choked up after child asks about about 'senseless' school shootings
Channel 4 reveals shortlisted cities for new national HQ
What is 'Right to Try'? A look at the drug law Trump supports
Ambien maker responds to Roseanne Barr: 'Racism is not a known side effect'
Pakistan and India agree to stop exchanging fire in Kashmir
Italy at risk of new financial crisis in wake of coalition's collapse
Cleveland Cavaliers have almost no chance of winning NBA title, Vegas oddsmakers say
Jimmy Kimmel Picks Controversial Frontrunner to Win 'The Bachelorette'
TV Ratings: 'America's Got Talent' Makes a Strong Return
Paris Jackson Leaves Dior Fashion Show Because Animals ‘Whipped’
'Active Shooter' video game is pulled from Steam gaming platform after backlash from shooting survivors
Kim Kardashian meeting Kushner to discuss prison reform
'Murdered' Russian journalist appears on Ukrainian TV after staged death
Top best-selling books all time
Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu And Let's Go Eevee: Everything We Know So Far
Pusha-T Fires Back at Drake With Ferocious Diss Track ‘The Story of Adidon’ (Listen)
Liverpool to sign Brazilian Fabinho
EDL founder Tommy Robinson jailed for contempt of court
Soros-backed campaign to push for new Brexit vote within a year
More Hawaii residents forced to evacuate as Kilauea volcano danger continues
Gaza's Hamas rulers say cease-fire reached with Israel
Tesla in Autopilot mode crashes into parked police cruiser
At Rally in Nashville, Trump Links Democrats to MS-13
Roseanne Returns to Twitter: 'Don't Feel Sorry For Me'
Americans Are Split Over The NFL’s Decision On Anthem Protests
‘The Daily Show’ Leaks Starbucks’ Training Video And It’s Hilarious
Santa Fe High School students to return to campus after shooting
Police: 52 patients accuse former USC gynecologist of inappropriate conduct
Seven killed, 32 wounded during Memorial Day weekend in Chicago
Hurricane Maria killed more than 4,600 people, not 64. That’s more than 70 times the official estimate
Apple Releases iOS 11.4 With Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2
ABC cancels 'Roseanne' after star's racist Twitter rant
One million people in France quit smoking last year
Raheem Sterling defends gun tattoo against media criticism
Israeli jets bomb Gaza after more than 25 mortar shells fired from strip
New find at Pompeii shows skeleton of man crushed trying to flee eruption
Rwanda defends $39 million sponsorship deal with Arsenal
Trump announces tariffs on China, tech crackdown ahead of key trade meeting
2 police officers and passerby shot dead in Belgium
'Spider-Man' of Paris to get French citizenship after child rescue
How scientists are using Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano to study Mars
North Korean officials and U.S. meet in Singapore ahead of summit
More than 25 mortar shells fired from Gaza, Israel says
French billionaire dead at 93
It could take 10 years for N Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, experts say
Former Aberdeen player Neale Cooper dies after collapsing at home
Roman Abramovich granted Israeli citizenship
Video Shows Police Officer Punching Woman On New Jersey Beach
Eminem responds to Nicki Minaj dating rumor
Michelle Wolf doubles down on Sarah Sanders jokes on new Netflix show
From Neighbours sweetheart to pop superstar: Kylie Minogue turns 50 – in pictures
Macron rewards migrant hero who saved dangling child in Paris
Trump marks Memorial Day with Twitter video
Italy's 'political referee' waves red card
CATASTROPHIC flash flood in Ellicott City Maryland as state of EMERGENCY declared
Ivanka Trump photo with son sparks backlash over separations at border
Driver tries to run down cops, jumps sidewalk in dramatic video
LeBron James scores 35 as Cavs advance to NBA Finals
Elon Musk has more to say about the media
'Spiderman' rescues child dangling from Paris balcony
US Navy operation threatens China's security, Beijing says
Danica crashes out of Indy 500, her final race
Chelsea Clinton: Trump 'degrades what it means to be an American'
France's Macron to host Libya summit pushing for elections
Giuliani admitted the White House is trying to discredit the Russia probe
George H.W. Bush hospitalized for low blood pressure and fatigue
Daniel Ricciardo keeps cool in stricken car to win Monaco Grand Prix
Horrifying pictures after massive fire rips through Germany’s biggest theme park
United Kingdom sees more than 60,000 lightning strikes during thunderstorms
US delegation travels to North Korea for potential summit preparation
Warriors force Game 7 after Klay Thompson shines in 115-86 victory over Rockets
North Korea-US summit on track, says Moon, after candid talks with 'friend' Kim Jong-un
President Trump welcomes Josh Holt, American held in Venezuela, back to the US
Florida, Mississippi and Alabama declare emergencies ahead of storm Alberto
Real Madrid win Champions League as brilliant Bale sinks Liverpool
Official tally shows big win for abortion rights in Ireland
Justin Timberlake Visits Texas School Shooting Victims
Alan Bean, the 4th person to walk on the moon, dies at 86
'Worse than ever seen before' - Vladimir Putin in STARK warning of MAJOR financial CRISIS
American freed from Venezuela prison heading home, Trump says
North and South Korean leaders meet again
Irish strongly in favor of ending abortion ban, exit poll shows
Pusha T on 'Daytona': Kanye West paid $85K for Whitney Houston bathroom photo on album
Liverpool vs Real Madrid prediction: 'Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo will score but'
New helium tank for SpaceX crew launches still waiting to fly
Irish voters appear to embrace repeal of abortion ban
2 hospitalized in Indiana school shooting, suspect in custody: Police
Tommy Robinson arrested for 'breaching the peace' outside court during grooming trial
Donald Trump says North Korea summit could be back on
Putin accuses Britain of blaming 'all their mortal sins' on Russia
Meghan Markle honoured with Coat of Arms as new Duchess welcomed by the Queen
Samantha Bee Recalls 'Very Thirsty' Kellyanne Conway's Visits on 'The Daily Show'
Emilia Clarke Dishes On Her Final ‘Game Of Thrones’ Scene
TotalBiscuit, popular British gaming critic, dies at age of 33
Facebook and Google targeted as first GDPR complaints filed
Dublin-bound plane hit by another jet on Stansted runway as 1000s head for abortion vote
OPEC, Russia prepared to raise oil output under U.S. pressure
Harvey Weinstein arrested on rape charges
Alexa creepily recorded a family's private conversations, sent them to business associate
Voting begins throughout Ireland in major abortion decision
N. Korea keeps hopes of talks alive after Trump cancellation
Late-Night Hosts Deliver Trump-North Korea Meeting Postmortems
Assange's refuge in Ecuadorian embassy 'in jeopardy'
15 people injured in explosion at restaurant near Toronto
Kim Kardashian shares never-seen-before photo from wedding to Kanye West to mark four-year anniversary
Taylor Swift is doing more to stop scalpers than Ontario’s new ticket act: experts
‘There will be CONSEQUENCES’ Macron meets Putin to salvage Iran deal after US quits pact
Morgan Freeman accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior
Boris Johnson gets pranked by Russian callers pretending to be Armenian prime minister
Elon Musk Is No Donald Trump
Ivanka Trump serves up support for Serena Williams
Russia rejects claim its missile downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
This NASA Camera Melted During a SpaceX Rocket Launch, But the Photos Survived!
North Korea blows up nuclear site tunnels
Trump cancels summit in letter to Kim Jong Un
Missile which downed MH17 'owned by Russian brigade'
Trump to be interviewed on 'Fox and Friends' Thursday morning
Game Night movie review: Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams steal the show
Australian woman sentenced to death for drug offences in Malaysia
Italy rail crash HORROR as train PLOUGHS into truck stuck on tracks - at least two dead
Macron and Putin to discuss Iran nuclear deal, Syria
Italy is on track to have one of the most radical governments in all of Europe
Deutsche Bank is cutting more than 7,000 jobs
Will Smith teases official World Cup song
Donald Trump's lawyer 'paid $400,000 to arrange meeting with president of Ukraine'
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, has White House security clearance restored
Russian sub test-fires 4 intercontinental missiles in salvo
13 workers wounded in shooting in Mexican border city
Sarah Sanders: It ‘Bothers Me’ Being Called A Liar
Trump can't block users on Twitter, federal judge rules
Stacey Abrams wins Democratic primary in Georgia. She could become the nation's first black woman governor
PMQs verdict: Jeremy Corbyn fails to press home advantages on NHS
3 more teens charged in death of Maryland police officer
Tesla's Model 3 isn't really for the mass market. It's a luxury car
Lupe Valdez Makes History In Texas By Winning Democratic Nod For Governor
Philip Roth: Portnoy's Complaint and American Pastoral author dies aged 85
'Get a job!’ Millennial, 30, evicted from parents’ house after losing legal battle
Syrian official rejects US demand for Iranian withdrawal
Merkel heads to China to talk economy, trade, rule of law
MH370 not deliberately crashed by pilot, say investigators
Jon Stewart Camps Out Under Stephen Colbert's Desk With Charity Contest Winner
Trevor Noah Reveals The Question He’d Ask Trump That No Else Has Dared To
Mark Zuckerberg's big European test did not go well
Young Americans try to stop Ireland from voting Yes to abortion
F-35 stealth fighter jets get first taste of combat
Active shooter in Panama City, Florida - BOMB SQUAD scrambled and 'flash grenade thrown'
No repeat of data scandal, vows Mark Zuckerberg in Brussels
Trump suggests historic North Korea summit in June could be delayed
Will Amazon's facial-recognition tech enable mass surveillance?
Duke and Duchess of Sussex make first appearance since royal wedding
Manchester bombing: Prince William and Theresa May pay respects as UK falls silent
Ariana Grande sends love to fans as Manchester marks a year since concert bombing
James Corden Reveals The Worst Part Of The Royal Wedding Ceremony
The Onion Mocks Michael Cohen With His Own Cease-And-Desist Note
10 confirmed dead from Nipah virus outbreak in India, including nurse treating patients
Melbourne grenade attack signals gang trouble in 'world's best city'
Irish abortion vote: 'propagandistic' use of children with Down's syndrome condemned
Manchester Arena attack: thousands to mark anniversary
Santa Fe comes together through faith after school shooting that left 10 dead
French Open is punishing Serena Williams for having a baby
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to tell European Parliament: 'I'm sorry'
Former Playboy model pushed son, 7, out of NYC hotel room window before own fatal leap: report
Australian Archbishop Found Guilty In Cover-Up Of Child Sex Abuse
Foreign media arrive in North Korea, suggesting nuclear shutdown on track
'American Idol': Winner Revealed
Colbert Just Can’t Resist Turning Trump’s Nickname Into A Pee Tape Joke
Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki dies on eighth Everest attempt
Heatwave kills at least 65 in Pakistan
Sweden to send war pamphlet to 4.8 million households
'Alien' asteroid discovered orbiting the wrong way near Jupiter
Marseille shooting: Hooded men open fire with Kalashnikovs
LONDON BLOODBATH: Man stabbed to death in Islington as wave of violence grips capital
Trump praises new CIA director, Gina Haspel
Tesla needs to sell more expensive Model 3s so the company doesn't 'die,' Musk says
Janet Jackson Becomes First Black Woman To Receive Billboard Icon Award
Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Release Official Royal Wedding Photos
The Obamas Are Coming To Your Netflix Queue
Russian billionaire Abramovich runs into UK visa issues
Pompeo threatens US will 'crush' Iran through sanctions and pressure campaign
Hawaii lava reaches ocean, brings new danger
Billboard Music Awards: Khalid and Normani Deliver Rousing Performance of 'Love Lies'
Trump demands U.S. justice department see if FBI infiltrated his 2016 election campaign
Robots can now complete tasks by simply observing humans
A New Policy at Starbucks: People Can Sit Without Buying Anything
China launches satellite as part of mission to explore moon's dark side
Venezuela says President re-elected; US calls it a 'sham'
Turkey's Erdogan seeks votes in Bosnia after ban on campaigning elsewhere
Oliver North Blames School Shootings On Ritalin
Premier League transfer news: Gianluigi Buffon, Willian, Robert Lewandowski
John Cena and Nikki Bella PICTURED: WWE Superstars reunite in San Diego after breaking engagement
One dead and another injured in a cougar attack in Washington state
Basketball great Bill Russell released from hospital
Trump misspells Melania's name in tweet on return to White House from hospital
Cuba mourns more than 100 killed in plane crash
Watch: The royal wedding in 90 seconds
Juventus mark Buffon's last match and raise Serie A trophy
Close