The horrific psychological effects of keeping her parents’ secrets on Paige, the daughter of the two KGB agents named Philip and Elizabeth, have already been noted. But the recent second to the last episode of the current season of “The Americans” shows that their son, Henry, is in deadly peril of losing his future if his parents go through with their desire to return home to the Soviet Union, presumably taking their two American children with them.

What bright future

Henry, the young, personable math genius, is anticipating getting a scholarship to a prime boarding school that will help pave the way for an excellent education.

He also has a charming, friendly girlfriend. Both are on display when he cooks Philip and Elizabeth dinner as a thank you gesture for agreeing to let him go away to school. If he knew what they have in store for him, he might have seasoned the dinner with arsenic.

Off to the dreary USSR

For Henry, a high-spirited, patriotic American boy, suddenly finding himself in the Soviet Union would be like being consigned to hell. Not only will he have to watch everything he says, but he will experience economic privation and a lack of opportunity that he would find to be unimaginable. Henry’s one desire would be an escape, which the Soviet Union was well designed to prevent at all costs.

Real world examples

The case of Walter Polovchak was a cause celebre in the Reagan years, though is mostly forgotten almost 40 years later.

Top Videos of the Day

At 12 years old he was the son of Ukrainian detectors living in Chicago when his parents decided to return to the Soviet Union. Walter and his 17-year-old sister Nataly fled to live with local relatives and sparked a years-long custody battle that was dragged out by sympathetic Reagan administration officials until both were 18 and the matter became moot. The case pitted parental rights against the right to live in a free country.

15 or so years later young Elian Gonzalez was not so lucky. His mother having died getting her son to Florida and freedom out of Cuba, his father demanded that Elian be returned to him. The Clinton administration sent federal agents to take the boy from relatives in Miami at gunpoint to deliver the boy back to his father, who returned him home to Cuba, a communist, totalitarian dictatorship. The action likely caused then-Vice President Al Gore to lose the election the following year.

Regarding Henry

Legally and politically, Henry is in a better position. He is an American citizen, and his parents are illegal Soviet spies. If Henry managed to get away from his parents, the same Reagan officials who helped Walter Polovchak would be counted on to help him. Plus, he would become a valuable asset in revealing what his parents have been up to.