Predicting The End Of The Americans With Some Help From Breaking Bad

by Rachel Bellwoar

For a while I’ve been nursing this theory about how The Americans will end, and before it’s too late (and I can no longer point to this article as evidence of my prescient mind), here’s how it goes.
Breaking Bad and The Americans are not connected. Different networks, different creators, different casts. One’s about drugs, the others about Russian spies. There is no reason to believe Breaking Bad contains clues to how the Jennings’ family drama will play out, yet that’s what I propose. Breaking Bad is the key to predicting The Americans.
With an argument based entirely on parallels I’ve found between the different characters, here are the fates I forecast for our favorite travel agents and their FBI neighbor foes.
*SPOILERS for Breaking Bad and the season six premiere of The Americans below*
– Henry is Walt Jr.
Where everyone else in his family knows what’s up, Henry has remained in the dark about his parents’ spy career and will be blindsided when it comes out in the open. Another connection: Walt Jr.’s close relationship with Hank mirrors Henry’s close relationship with Stan.
– Stan is Hank
The DEA agent who didn’t know his brother-in-law was a drug kingpin, meet the FBI agent who didn’t notice his neighbors were Russian spies. Stan is going to be destroyed the minute he learns his best friend, Phillip, has been Red this whole time. His career is over, and it’s possible Stan won’t survive the 80’s, either. Like Hank, he’ll spend the rest of the episodes, after he finds out, trying to take the Jennings down.
– Matthew is Marie
Marie was Skyler’s sister and after Hank died, her fury at Skyler knew no bounds. Matthew and Paige used to date and when he finds out what kind of position the Jennings have put his father, Stan, in – compromised, and disgraced – he’s sure to have some choice words for his ex.
– Phillip is Jesse
The spy with a conscience, Phillip can no longer stomach killing people, and like Jesse, knows that if he doesn’t get out, it will only get worse. He’s no longer convinced the American way of life is so bad, and then there’s Paige, who he never supported joining the family business. While it’s hard to imagine Phillip turning on Elizabeth, the way Jesse turned on Walt, should he agree to spy on her like Oleg is asking, that could change everything.
– Oleg’s a little tougher to nail down
From their former association, trying to save Nina, he could be Hank’s partner, Steve Gomez, which means (like Stan in this theory) Oleg will not make it out of this series alive. My hope, though, is since he’s been recently asked to reach out to Phillip, Oleg can be one of Jesse’s friends, Badger or Skinny Pete, and survive to return to his wife and child.
– Elizabeth is Walt
While Elizabeth doesn’t have cancer like Walt did, after a reoccurrence in the final season (Breaking Bad), her health couldn’t be worse in the Season Six premiere. Overworked and no longer sharing the load with her husband, Phillip, her belief in the cause has kept her going (like Walt’s ideas about helping his family served him), but at what cost? Add to that the cyanide capsule she’s forced to wear and Elizabeth’s unwillingness to quit might mean she doesn’t get out before it’s too late.
– Paige is Skyler
Paige had a lot of trouble, at first, carrying the weight of her family’s secret. Now she’s right in the thick of things, training and helping her mom surveil, as the newest Russian recruit. She’s bound to learn that her mother hasn’t been completely honest about what her job entails. If there’s any character’s future you can be sure won’t be pretty, it’s Paige’s.
Will any of this come to pass? That’s up to series creator, Joe Weisberg, and producer, Joel Fields, but for the next couple of Wednesdays, I’ll be glued to my TV, waiting to find out.
There’s another difference between Breaking Bad and The Americans, though, and that’s in how I’ll feel about any of these predictions coming to pass. By the end of Breaking Bad I had lost all sympathy for Walter White, but that isn’t the case with the Jennings. Whether they’ve actually done less awful things (and no question about it, they’ve done some unforgivable things — Betty Turner, Martha, Young Hee, etc.) I like Elizabeth, Phillip, Oleg and the rest. Their victims deserve justice, but it’s going to be ugly.
The final season of The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10 PM EST on FX.

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