Amber Waves is the season premiere of Season Five of The Americans on FX, and the fifty-third episode overall.  It aired on March 7, 2017.


As Philip and Elizabeth struggle to contain the risks from Paige's growing relationship with Matthew Beeman, the Centre sends them on an operation unlike any they've ever had before, straining their family and marriage to its limits.


At fictional Granville High School in Silver Spring, MD, Tuan Eckert approaches Pavel “Pasha” Morozov, and strikes up a conversation about how hard it is to move to a new school. Tuan is a recent arrival from Michigan; Pasha is from Moscow. Tuan brings Pasha to his house after school and briefly introduces him to his parents, Dee and Brad Eckert, aka Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings. Tuan is in reality a young agent for a Communist Vietnamese agency, who's partnering with the KGB for this mission. Pasha’s father has recently defected to America.

Through Tuan’s friendship with the miserable and awkward Pasha, the Jennings are able to meet the Morozov parents. Alexei, the father, is enthusiastic about his new life, and talks extensively about how great it is not to wait in line for food, share an apartment and bathroom with three other families, or have to bribe someone to use the telephone. The mother Evgheniya feels isolated at home and spends much of her energy hovering and fretting over her son, who doesn’t eat much and is depressed. Pasha misses his old life and resents his father for constantly denigrating the Soviet Union.

At the FBI, Agent Wolfe tells Agent Beeman that Oleg Burov has returned to Moscow. Oleg is shown adjusting to living with his parents, and his new position at the KGB which involves investigation of bribery, fraud and corruption within the USSR’s food supply.

Using a passport provided by his mother, Mischa leaves the Soviet Union for Yugoslavia. When they can't locate him, The Center notifies Claudia he may be trying to come to the US to find Phillip. Claudia tells Gabriel.

Paige and Matthew are dating and both Jennings children are spending increasing amounts of time at Stan’s house. Stan jokes that the kids should just move in; they set the table and help Stan cook as if they already live there. Phillip and Elizabeth are unhappy Paige is seeing Matthew. Paige tells them she has “bigger problems” because she can’t sleep, still troubled from her near-mugging and watching her mom kill someone. Elizabeth teaches Paige some self-defense techniques. Stan tells Phillip about a woman he met at the gym.

Gabriel meets with the Jennings and tells them what happened to William. He gives them a new assignment, saying William has one last job. The Jennings, Hans, and a crew of several other agents go to “Area B” of Ft. Detrick at night, and dig a huge hole. After several hours they locate William’s buried body, encased in plastic in a metal container soldered shut. Once the container is open, Phillip and Elizabeth don protective gear and masks, cut a hole in the plastic and remove a chunk of flesh from William’s thigh. Placing it in a plastic bag, Elizabeth hands it up to Hans, who is standing at the edge of the pit. As he grabs it, Hans slips and falls into the hole on top of William, cutting his hand deeply on the contaminated knife. He tells Elizabeth “it doesn’t hurt,” and she assures him it will be okay. But, as he turns to climb the ladder out, she shoots him in the head. The Jennings put Hans’s body into the container with William, and close it.


  • The episode title is taken from a line in the song "America the Beautiful," which specifically refers to "Amber waves of grain."
  • Tuan watches "The A-Team" on tv, saying it's stupid, but necessary for him to remain current with his peers. The A-Team was a popular American show that aired from 1983 to 1987. Four members of a fictitious US Army Special Forces unit, after being court-martialed "for a crime they didn't commit," escape from military prison. While on the run, they work as soldiers of fortune. One of the defining elements of the show was the extreme diversity among team members, in background, personality and skill. In the clip shown during this episode, team leader Hannibal tells a villain: “The next time you think you wanna take somebody out … get yourself a good squad. Get yourself a team.” The quote speaks to the team of Phillip and Elizabeth, the team of the Jennings and Tuan, and later in the season finale, Elizabeth’s advice to Tuan that he shouldn't work alone.
  • Phillip and Elizabeth invite Paige to join them in watching the Olympics, which took place February 8-19, in Yugoslavia. Also in the episode, a copy of the Washington Post from February 16, 1984 is shown.
  • Paige reads John Irving's "The Hotel New Hampshire," a 1981 coming-of-age novel about a quirky and unconventional family.


Song Title Performer(s)
That's Good Devo
America the Beautiful Nathan Barr & Chamber Choir of the Guessin Musical College 


The Americans Season 5 "Formation" Teaser Promo (HD)

The Americans Season 5 "Formation" Teaser Promo (HD)

Season Five
#501 "Amber Waves" #508 "Immersion"
#502 "Pests" #509 "IHOP"
#503 "The Midges" #510 "Darkroom"
#504 "What's the Matter with Kansas?" #511 "Dyatkovo"
#505 "Lotus 1-2-3" #512 "The World Council of Churches"
#506 "Crossbreed" #513 "The Soviet Division"
#507 "The Committee on Human Rights"