The victims of communism number in the hundreds of millions, many killed, tortured, imprisoned, and otherwise forced to live in horrible, oppressive regimes. “The Americans” depicts one of those victims who, while certainly not suffering in a Siberian labor camp or being shot in the back of the head in a Soviet prison, is slowly, gradually being corrupted by her parents, who happen to be deep cover Soviet agents living in America of the 1980s. Her name is Paige Jenner, a teenage girl who realizes that her parents are not whom she always thought they were.

The revelation is proving to be an almost unendurable strain on a girl who already has her share of teenage problems.

When Philip and Elizabeth first confess to their daughter as to who they really are, their first task is to make sure Paige doesn’t tattle on them, especially to Stan, the FBI special agent who lives across the street. They are helped by two facts. Paige loves her parents and does not want to believe that they could be involved in anything evil. She also seems to be blissfully ignorant of the atrocities committed by the Soviet state during its long bloody history. Indeed, she had recently come under the influence of a man named Pastor Tim, a liberal Christian, who leads his flock in anti-nuclear protests, the theory being that the Cold War is all a misunderstanding and not the twilight struggle that President Kennedy described it as.

She doesn’t seem to have enough intellectual curiosity to find out.

In a recent episode, we see the depths to which Philip and Elizabeth will descend to corrupt their daughter. They have her meet their handler, Gabriel, a grandfatherly looking man who turns out to be a monster who committed atrocities during the Stalin era.

They lie to her about an alleged conspiracy to destroy the Soviet grain supply, even though they found out that the plot is bogus. The more that Philip and Elizabeth can make Paige hate her country, the less likely she will be to unmask them to the authorities.

The strain of keeping such a horrible secret is proving too much for Paige.

She breaks up with her boyfriend, a nice lad named Matthew who, ironically, is Stan’s son. This act has only served to make her even more miserable. But she cannot have normal friendships that any teenage girl can have so long as she is a keeper of secrets. If Paige survives the 1980s with her sanity intact, it will be an unlikely miracle.