Soviets on The Americans Welcome Teen Daughter’s Wish to Join Anti-Nukes Protest

Another educational illustration, on FX’s The Americans, of the alliance of interests between Soviet communists and the Left in the West during the 1980s, when both worked to undermine the Reagan administration’s defense policies.

(The series, set in the early 1980s, revolves around “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings,” undercover KGB agents living as an ordinary American husband and wife in suburban, Washington, DC. A new episode debuts tonight.)

In a current storyline, the Jennings are outraged their teen daughter, “Paige” played by Holly Taylor, has joined a church youth group, prompting her dad, played by Matthew Rhys, to go into a rage in which he grabs and tears up her bible: “You respect Jesus, but not us?!”

And her mother, played by Keri Russell, adamantly rejects her daughter’s request to serve as a summer counselor at the “Cedar Grove Fellowship Camp,” despairing to her husband: “I won’t let her be indoctrinated by the church. They get them when they’re young. It’s what they do. You know it’s what they do.”

So, when “Paige” asks them about joining a church trip to protest nuclear weapons on Air Force bombers, she’s taken aback when her mom quickly agrees.

On the May 7 episode, “Stealth,” set in May of 1982, “Paige,” unaware her parents are communists, delivers a plea for very un-Soviet-like individuality:

“I understand you have control over me -- what I do, where I go, and who I see until I’m 18, but who I am and what I think and feel and believe is mine and me. There’s a protest at an Air Force base in Pennsylvania this weekend, and they’re having them all around the country at bases that fly bombers with nuclear weapons. A group from church is going. I want to go, too. We’d be leaving tomorrow after school, and it’s chaperoned, and-”

“Elizabeth” jumps in: “Okay. I think it’s a worthwhile cause and sounds like a good idea.”

The video (above) shows that scene after a clip from the episode first run on April 23, “Martial Eagle,” in which the parents learn their daughter has given $600 to a church, angering them and leading dad “Philip” to grab and tear up his daughter’s bible, accusing her of lying to them and screaming: “Does this book tell you to do that? Does it? You respect Jesus, but not us?!”

The interest in protesting the U.S. military wasn’t the first time the KGB operatives mimicked U.S. liberals' political alignment with the Soviet Union. Sounding remarkably like American liberals and journalists at the time – not to be redundant – on the April 16 episode “Elizabeth” sputtered in disgust at President Ronald Reagan on her TV: “Look at him. He’ll do anything. He doesn’t care. Kids, nuns, journalists -- he doesn’t care.”

My previous posts on The Americans, in order from the first episode, in late January of 2013, and moving to newer episodes:

> Three Scenes in FX’s ‘The Americans’ Which Should Hearten Conservatives

> FX’s ‘The Americans’ Imagines Moment When Soviets Learned of Reagan’s Plan to Deploy SDI

> ‘Conservative’ Journalist on Reagan: ‘I Hope the Bastard Bleeds to Death on the Operating Table’

> Successful KGB Operation to Discredit an Anti-Soviet Polish Priest Portrayed on FX’s ‘The Americans’

> FX’s The Americans Returns Tonight; Last Season: Reagan ‘Chicken Hawks,’ SDI a ‘Fantasy’ of Deluded Reagan

> KGB Operative on FX Drama Echoes Liberal Attacks on Reagan: ‘He Doesn’t Care – Kids, Nuns...’
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center