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The Best Episodes of The Americans

Updated May 19, 2020 1.2k votes 164 voters 5.4k views67 items

There are so many good episodes of The Americans, but which ones really stand out? Do you like "The Colonel" the best, or is "Chloramphenicol" your favorite episode of The Americans? To determine once and for all what the best episodes of The Americans are, let's rank every The Americans episode from best to worst. If you're all caught up on the shows, you can also find something new to watch with our list of shows like The Americans.

Set in the '80s during the Cold War, The Americans on FX follows Russian KGB officers Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) as they (and their two children) pose as an American family living in northern Virginia, steps away from Washington DC. The Americans premiered on January 30, 2013 and is slated to end in 2018 with a 10-episode farewell. The Americans has been nominated for over 55 awards.

Vote up your favorite episodes of The Americans, and downvote any bad episodes that you really didn't enjoy, despite how much you love the series as a whole. It can be painful to put one The Americans episode over the other when there are so many good ones, which is why you can vote on however many episodes you like.

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  • 1
    Season 3 Episode 9: Philip and Elizabeth struggle with the gravity of unexpected collateral damage. Stan and Oleg hatch a risky plan to help save Nina.
  • 2
    Season 4 Episode 8: The Jennings's approach their breaking points as both Philip and Elizabeth must handle loyal agents. Will they make it through with their patriotism - and sanity - intact?
  • 3
    Season 3 Episode 7: Philip and Elizabeth feel the weight of a new family secret while following up on the KGB's interests in South Africa. Stan faces struggles both at work and at home. Martha confronts a shocking development.
  • 4
    Season 2 Episode 12: With Larrick closing in, Elizabeth rushes to exfiltrate Jared while Philip readies Fred for a crucial mission. Arkady finally plays his hand, forcing Stan to make an impossible choice.
  • 5
    Season 5 Episode 11: A surprise assignment from the Centre divides Philip and Elizabeth, forcing them into a moment of profound crisis. Stan gives Henry a tour of the FBI ‐‐ but will he see too much?
  • 6
    Season 3 Episode 10: Philip and Elizabeth deploy a plan for the C.I.A.'s Mujahideen visitors. Tensions at the Jennings' home escalate.
  • 7
    Season 4 Episode 4: A devastating flaw during a mission forces Philip, Elizabeth, William, and Gabriel to confront the depths of their patriotism... and their mortality. In Russia, in striving to be a better person, has Nina put her life on the line?
  • 8
    Season 1 Episode 7: Philip and Elizabeth's troubled marriage is further tested when a mission to discredit a Polish pro-democracy leader reunites Philip with his old flame.
  • 9
    Season 4 Episode 7: The KGB and the FBI both race to track down a vital agent... everything is at stake.
  • 10
    Season 1 Episode 13: When Philip and Elizabeth are ordered to go through with a meeting that could potentially be a set-up, they find themselves confronted with unexpected truths about their relationship.
  • 11
    Season 3 Episode 13: Elizabeth and Paige take a trip that lands them in treacherous territory. After an emotionally charged mission, Philip turns to an unlikely source for solace. Stan's plan to save Nina culminates in unforeseen ways
  • 12
    Season 2 Episode 8: Philip and Elizabeth both find themselves faced with painful turns in their various missions. Stan fights to gain access to an American military program that could give him the upper hand in his battle of wills with Oleg.
  • 13
    Season 5 Episode 10: Paige’s snooping leads Philip and Elizabeth to make a choice that could shift the balance of their lives forever. Stan and Aderholt’s recruitment of Sofia suddenly bears fruit.
  • 14
    Season 1 Episode 1: The Americans is a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President.
  • 15
    Season 5 Episode 13: The riveting season finale of THE AMERICANS finds Philip and Elizabeth racing against the clock as a life hangs in the balance, while Stan faces an uncertain future.
  • 16
    Season 2 Episode 6: A dangerous Naval officer becomes the key to Philip and Elizabeth's mission as well as a potential threat to their family's safety.
  • 17
    Season 4 Episode 5: Philip must consider his life with Martha and make a crushing choice from which there is no coming back.
  • 18
    Season 3 Episode 4: Philip faces a moral dilemma while developing an asset. Philip and Elizabeth's friction escalates. Stan develops a theory with serious repercussions for national security. Paige makes a surprising birthday wish.
  • 19
    Season 4 Episode 11: Elizabeth completes the last steps of a very personal operation... but at what cost?
  • 20
    Season 4 Episode 6: Martha must finally face the truth she has denied - and her life may never be the same. Plus, a chilling new development in William's work forces the Jennings to face the realities of what a biological war would mean.
  • 21
    Season 1 Episode 3: Philip and Elizabeth discover that their murdered colleague Robert had a wife they never knew about. As they try to determine what she knows and where her allegiance lies, Stan's investigation into Robert's death puts him hot on their trail.
  • 22
    Season 2 Episode 1: Elizabeth comes back from her injury and straight into what should have been a routine mission – but it goes awry, leaving her and Philip in fear not only for themselves but for their whole network… and family.
  • 23
    Season 1 Episode 6: A mole hunt within the KGB causes suspicion amongst allies and shatters trust within the Jennings' marriage. Meanwhile, Stan's plan to keep his mole safe puts her at even greater risk of discovery.
  • 24
    Season 2 Episode 5: Philip and Elizabeth are finally assigned a new handler as Philip works to clean up the mess of the last operation and Elizabeth does her best to smooth things over with Martha.
  • 25
    Season 2 Episode 9: Philip and Elizabeth's long-planned mission turns ugly, impacting each of them in different ways. Stan digs in deeper at work as his personal life continues to unravel.