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The Americans Ending Explained – Why Did Paige Get Off The Train?

Summary

  • The Americans’ intense and emotionally devastating finale leaves Paige behind in America, showing her love for her brother and difficulty in starting a new life in a foreign place.
  • Philip and Elizabeth return to Russia where they must reacclimatize to life in a changing country, but they are without their children and face the possibility of never seeing them again.
  • Stan, despite his anger and hurt, lets the Jennings family go free because he still loves them and couldn’t bear to break them apart, showing the depth and complexity of their friendship.


The Americans ending was an emotional finale that shook things up for its main characters. Set during the Cold War in the 1980s, Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) are Russian KGB spies posing as an American married couple with their American children, daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) and son Henry (Keidrich Sellati). The series explored Elizabeth and Philip’s conflicts between duty and family, and hiding their true line of work from their neighbor, FBI agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich).

The Americans‘ season finales were always top-notch, but “START,” the final episode of The Americans season 6, is especially intense, a superb ending to a great spy drama. The series finale was so acclaimed that it garnered two Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (given to showrunners and writers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields) and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Matthew Rhys. Here’s a full breakdown of The Americans’ ending that became a celebrated conclusion for the hit TV series.

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Why Paige Gets Off The Train In The Americans’ Ending

This Was The Finale’s Big Twist

One of the most emotionally devastating scenes in The Americans‘ ending is when Paige gets off the train to leave the country, watching as Elizabeth and Philip look outside their windows in shock. It’s a heartbreaking scene even without dialogue. As for why Paige even made that choice, part of it can be attributed to her love for her brother. Elizabeth and Philip are on the phone at the train station with their son, Henry, who they’d decided to leave behind in America, since he doesn’t know his parents are Russian spies.

Philip and Elizabeth have a heartbreaking conversation with Henry, telling him that they love him, though Paige, on the other hand, can’t bring herself to say goodbye to him forever. Paige cares about Henry and doesn’t want to go the rest of her life without seeing her brother. In an interview with Gold Derby, Holly Taylor says that Paige was likely angry about being lied to her whole life and wouldn’t have wanted to start over in a place where she didn’t know the language.

“I think she’s thinking that her parents have lied to her so much and she’s been betrayed pretty much her whole life that what was she gonna do if she moved with them to a different country, where she couldn’t even speak the language and things like that? I think she knew that there was really no hope for her there and she didn’t really trust her parents at all anymore.”

What Will Happen To Elizabeth & Philip Jennings In Russia?

Life Will Be Totally Different

Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings and Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings contemplating being back in Russia in The Americans' finale

The final scene of The Americans shows Elizabeth and Philip outside in Moscow. Philip says being back “feels strange,” and Elizabeth replies in Russian that they’ll get used to it. After over two decades in America, Philip and Elizabeth have to reacclimatize to life in Russia. Russia is far different from what it was when they left, especially with Mikhail Gorbachev leading the Soviet Union. In a few years, the Soviet Union dissolves, and Elizabeth and Philip will have to navigate this change.

Philip and Elizabeth were born and raised in Russia, so they’ll get used to living there again. However, Philip embraced American customs, and he will undoubtedly miss the comforts. Fortunately, the couple is under the protection of Arkady Zotov, the Directorate S deputy chief, so they should be treated well. Still, there’s one thing Elizabeth and Philip don’t have – their children. They have no way to contact Henry and Paige and may never see them again unless Paige and Henry visit Russia.

Why Stan Lets The Jennings Go Free After Learning The Truth

The Show Built To Their Confrontation Since Day One

Noah Emmerich as Stan Beeman aiming a gun at the Jennings in The Americans

Stan’s suspicions of the Jennings grow throughout The Americans season 6, culminating in a tense confrontation in a parking garage during The Americans ending. Stan is furious, having thought of Phillip as one of his best friends. Stan has the opportunity to shoot Philip or Elizabeth or turn them over to the authorities. However, he ends up letting the family go free after hearing Philip’s impassioned confession about his spy work and what his friendship with Stan truly means to him.

Though Stan is angry and hurt, he still loves Philip and his family, which is ultimately why he lets the Jennings family walk away. Instead of taking the chance to become an American hero, Stan’s sentimentality wins out, and he allows Philip, Elizabeth, and Paige to flee. He considers these people like family, especially Henry, and in the end, he can’t bear to put Elizabeth and Philip in jail. This is a heartbreaking gesture since Stan grapples with the fact his best friend works for a cause Stan spent so long fighting.

What Happens To Henry In America?

Does Stan Tell Him The Truth?

In a scene from The Americans, Stan, a blonde-haired man, is sitting and talking to Henry, a brunette teen boy in a hockey uniform

While Elizabeth, Philip, and Paige make plans to flee the country, Henry is at St. Edward’s Academy, a prestigious boarding school in New Hampshire, where he’s part of the hockey team. Stan comes to one of Henry’s hockey games and presumably tells him the truth about his parents. Though their conversation isn’t audible, Henry’s physical reaction to the news is clear: he’s angry and disappointed and probably feels like his life and family have been a lie. Stan is the only reliable adult figure Henry has.

Stan has grown to think of Henry like a son and bonded with him over sports. Henry even feels comfortable enough around Stan to talk to him about girls. There’s no doubt Stan will look after Henry, especially since Paige and Philip plead with him to take care of their son. Now that Henry knows the truth, he’ll need emotional support, and Stan can provide that. Henry should continue his normal life, though he will grapple with his parents and sister being out of the picture – unless Paige figures out a way to reconnect with him.

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Was FX’s The Americans Based On A True Story?

The Americans TV show was steeped in Cold War-era history, leading audiences to wonder if it was based on a true historical story about real people.

Was Renee A Spy In The Americans?

Could It Just Have Been Stan Being Paranoid?

Renee in The Americans, a woman with curly blonde hair and a pink workout top

Before the Jennings family leaves, Philip reveals to Stan that he thinks Renee is “one of us,” implying he believes Stan’s second wife could be a KGB spy. Philip had been suspicious for a while, even tailing her car. However, The Americans leaves Renee’s status ambiguous, and Stan has Philip’s words creating doubt in his mind as he looks at his partner in a new light. It’s possible Renee could be a spy, especially since she’s very invested in Stan’s FBI job. However, she could also simply be an ordinary person.

Stan’s sense of trust is broken after finding out his best friend is a spy, but this last admittance from Philip is a bombshell. It shows Stan doesn’t know who he can trust. Either Renee is a spy and Stan’s relationship is a lie, or Renee isn’t, and Stan is needlessly paranoid. In any case, Stan won’t look at his relationship with Renee the same way ever again. In an interview with The Ringer, Joe Weisberg even admits the cast and crew don’t know if Renee is a spy, leaving that matter up to the audience to decide.

“They say, ‘Was Renee a spy?’ And they get the same exact answer, which isn’t even ‘We’re not telling.’ It’s ‘We don’t know.'”

The Real Meaning Of The Americans’ Ending

Philip And Elizabeth Became A True Couple

Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings, Holly Taylor as Paige Jennings, and Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings standing in a dark parking garage in The Americans

The ending of The Americans is bittersweet; Philip and Elizabeth escape, but they do at the loss of their children. The couple made so many sacrifices as they left Russia for America, and now the show has come full circle, causing them to make sacrifices again to get back to Russia. The Americans ending also reflects how Philip and Elizabeth’s marriage evolved. At the start, the two weren’t close, only part of a cover marriage. By the series finale, Philip and Elizabeth have a real relationship and care for each other more than their spy mission.

Will The Americans Season 7 Ever Happen In Some Way?

At the moment, there are no plans for The Americans season 7. Keri Russell is doubtful about The Americans returning, telling ComicBook.com, “It was such a good ending. I don’t think I would mess with that one.” On the other hand, Matthew Rhys seems more open to a possible revival, saying on The Rich Eisen Show (via YouTube) that the finale left things open-ended and that more stories could be told. Despite Rhys’ enthusiastic comments, perhaps leaving The Americans as is would be best.

The Americans‘ ending may have left some loose ends, but most importantly, it resolved its biggest stories. Plus, there’s always the possibility that a revival would ruin the show’s impeccable legacy. While it would be interesting to see what Paige and Henry are up to, especially in the modern day, it’s not a bad thing to leave the characters’ fates open-ended. The Americans had one of the best TV series finales of the 2010s, and it would be difficult for a revival to match or top such a superb conclusion.

  • The Americans poster

    The Americans

    Summary:
    In the midst of the Cold War, Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings appear to be an average American couple, living out the American dream in their house in the suburbs with their two children, Paige and Henry. In truth, though, Elizabeth and Phillip are Soviet agents, working under deep cover for the KGB.

    Cast:
    Keidrich Sellati, Richard Thomas, Holly Taylor, Annet Mahendru, Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, Noah Emmerich, Maximiliano Hernández

    Genres:
    Mystery, Drama, Crime

    Release Date:
    2013-01-30

    Seasons:
    6

    Network:
    FX

    Story By:
    joseph weisberg

    Writers:
    Joseph Weisberg

    Streaming Service(s):
    Hulu, Disney+

    Directors:
    Chris Long

    Showrunner:
    Joseph Weisberg

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