FX’s The Americans is a show that’s essentially about a conspiracy. It’s set during a time when the threat of covert operations erupting into an apocalyptic war with a vast worldwide Communist network lurked in the background of the public imagination. It should be no surprise, then, that the show itself has spawned its share of oddball fan theories about twists and turns to come. Nothing is ever as it seems, after all.

We’ve explored our own ideas of how the central questions left open-ended at the end of the Season 3 premiere might be resolved in the upcoming season, but as hard and far-out as we’ve speculated, the faithful members of the r/TheAmericans Reddit and other forums have their own far more daring and sundry theories. These reveal complex thinking — some convincing, some wishful, and some truly alarming.

Philip and Elizabeth will plant kiddie porn on Pastor Tim instead of killing him.

In an effort not to excite Paige’s suspicions, to fulfill Philip’s desire to minimize killing at all costs, and just to not draw unnecessary attention to themselves, one user determined that planting something on him to put him away and undermine his credibility would be just the ticket. As a slightly uncanny, well-quaffed guy running a youth group, what would work better than this sick little scheme? You Reddit-heads have really big imaginations! Nonetheless, finding an elaborate way to ruin Pastor Tim’s life seems like a real possibility, if Philip has anything to say about it.

Someone is going to have to get AIDS.

It’s the ’80s, after all, users figure. The Americans has generally tried to allude to trends of the time, though they’ve usually just keep up with fashionable attire and major moments in political history. But fans think this will go beyond a side-character affliction, or something on TV in the background. This has led to some debate: Who’s using protection and who isn’t? And why??

Martha killed herself, or will.

Martha has a gun, but she’s never used it. When will she need to? The commonly accepted theory is that she will use it on herself instead of Philip or some agent sent to snatch her up for treason. There’s important precedent for this theory:

Paige has secretly been pretending to love Jesus.

Beyond Reddit, there’s been speculation about a drastic twist regarding Paige. The goody-goodiness, perhaps, is doomed to exhaust itself, or perhaps, never was real. Many of us had friends who tried on religion for a while, mostly as an attempt to find meaning or a sleeker self-image, before renouncing it. Could a major turn be in store for her? Perhaps she will happily become a Soviet operative, and turn in her about-to-defect father? Man, anything is possible, amiright???

Entertainment Weekly asks:

“Is Paige just trying to tweak her more-Godless-than-she-knows parents with a most ironic form of teenage rebellion? Is she experimenting with identities, seeing what fits and sticks, as many adolescents tend to do? Or what if she’s a phony like her parents, her faith a front for the fact that she, too, has gone Commie, turned by her socially conscious minister who himself is also actually a Marxist? ‘Socially conscious.’”

Again, this raises the possibility that Pastor Tim is in on it all:

Finally, that The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Americans overlap will be revealed.

There’s been some healthy speculation about this fact:

Are Kimmy and her parents also Russian spies, working for Gabriel and the KGB? We shall see!

Whatever else is true, most seem to agree that heads will have to roll, and either Stan or the KGB themselves will be behind it when Philip and Elizabeth finally get — as the teasers specify — “in trouble.”

Or this sinister substance in the full season trailer will literally destroy the world. That would be the truly best way the show’s hellish Cold-War-paranoia could swing: complete dystopian fantasy. See also:

The Americans premieres on FX on March 16.

Photos via 'The Americans' Facebook