Previously on The Americans, ‘Stingers’
Your parents are spies. So now, what? You question everything you’ve ever known to be true. Paige starts in on Philip and Elizabeth first thing in the morning. They handle the interrogation pretty well. Then Henry, born ready for biology and waffles, appears and the façade of normalcy reasserts itself. Elizabeth and Paige exchange glances over the sound of Henry’s knife cutting into his breakfast. Prediction: Seemingly clueless, goofy Henry is playing a long con on them all and will run away with Sandra, next season.
Gabriel comes home to find Philip and Elizabeth waiting for him (Now, how did they get in? Gabriel doesn’t strike me as the kind to be liberal with his keys). They brief him about their conversation with Paige and he thinks this is a good thing. They talk about their assignments at the hotel and with Yousef. Gabriel slides over an envelope to Elizabeth and sadly tells her not to expect many more. Nice, simple way of saying her mother’s health was failing.
Back in the car, Philip asks Elizabeth if she’s okay with the hotel operation. She nods, rather unconvincingly. He says he’ll run surveillance before he meets with Martha. She asks him to take Hans and he agrees. Trust, but verify.
Right Kind of Honey
Nina has made headway in sweetening Baklanov. He tells her he can’t make much progress without photographs of the stealth bombers. They switch to English. He confides he thought she was just the next women in a line of women they’ve been throwing at him as “inducement.” He got tired of waking up next to strangers they chose for him. Nina says she understands (truer words, Nina Sergeevna). Anton says his son doesn’t know whether his father is alive or dead. This is the one thing he cannot take.
Martha is back in the office and Taffet wants to spend some quality time with her. She says she’ll make arrangements. Gene, the IT guy, has just come from one of these lengthy sessions. He commends Taffet for his computer acumen. Taffet really gets information processing. He’s like a walking computer. This is not reassuring to Martha. Prediction: Taffet is a prototype government robot. He and Mail Robot will collude to bring down both the Soviets and the FBI.
Elizabeth finds Paige sitting in the car. She needed to get away from Henry’s Mr. Robinson routine. Elizabeth commiserates. Henry is nuts (Well, hello Pot). Elizabeth reassures Paige and talks a bit about her own childhood. Not knowing her father other than a picture they had of him in a uniform. Raised by her mother in an apartment with three other families. She wistfully says she never saw her mother after she left Russia. Paige looks like she wants to believe her, but says she doesn’t know how she can believe anything her parents tell her.
Clark-Philip does a quick reconnoiter before visiting Martha. She tells him that Taffet wants to speak to her again and is nervous about what he will uncover. Philip-Clark sits Martha down for a little Spy 101. Taffet might have suspicions but he doesn’t know anything for sure, which means Martha holds the cards. He tells her Taffet doesn’t have superpowers (Taffet may have superpowers). Want to sell a convincing lie? Look at the tip of man’s nose. It’s likely dawning on Martha how adept her husband is at this game and she may be wondering how often he’s stared at the tip of her nose while lying to her face.
Bobbed Liz and Neil, the hotel manager, are having dinner in the privacy of Bobbed Liz’s room. She puts her spy seduction to work. The garters and lace really do it for Neil and he helps Liz get into the mood. She’s back on that Honey Trap horse, again. Quite a few close ups on those garters…maybe its product placement.
Elizabeth returns home after her Trap Trick. She spends a moment in the car. Sad and in thought. Maybe that horse wasn’t such an easy ride. Maybe she’s hoping Paige never has to know such a horse exists.
Gabriel and Philip talk on a bench overlooking the Potomac. Philip wants Gabriel to arrange for Elizabeth to see her mother, again. Gabriel says it cannot be done. Philip is frustrated. Gabriel asks for a lot of Philip but gives very little. Gabriel asks if he’s falling apart. Philip says he’s fine. Philip is not fine.
It’s Martha and Taffet round two. He asks her some general information and then delves into her personal life. He asks if she’s had any romantic partners. She stares at the tip of his nose and handles his questions well. This reminded me of Nina’s lie detector interrogation scene. Wonder when Philip will tell Martha about the butt clenching. She says she doesn’t date much and the last relationship she had was with Agent Amador. Predictions: Martha finds out that her husband killed her former lover and turns double agent. Robot Taffet falls for Martha and becomes a real, live boy.
Nina searches Baklanov’s room. She finds handwritten letters to his son under his mattress. His most coveted secret.
Later, Baklanov and Nina are eating and pick up their previous conversation about his son. Baklanov is devastated that the government could be so cruel to allow them no communication with the outside world. Nina mentions Jacob. Anton never told her his son’s name and wonders how she learned of it. Nina says he should keep writing stories to his son and she won’t give away his secret. He asks her why, but Nina does not know. It’s called a heart, Nina.
Neil shows Bobbed Liz a computer named after his mother, Betty. He’s all about computerizing data and making it sound sexy. There’s a knock at the door and Neil is conveniently called away to handle a matter with a wigged-out Philip. Bobbed Liz is left alone in the room with Betty. What’s a spy to do? Infiltrate the computer and make an imprint of the master key using her compact, of course. Neil returns and wants more sexy time with Bobbed Liz. Sorry(notsorry), she has to go.
Elizabeth returns home again to find Philip in bed. She tries to connect with Philip, but he’s not that into it. They both seem to be suffering from her hotel seduction operation.
The next morning, Philp tells Elizabeth he thinks he knows of a way she can go see her mother. They are interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s Paige (Learned your lesson about knocking, haven’t you Paige?). She wants to know what they are talking about and they tell her about Elizabeth’s mother. Paige asks if it’s possible for Elizabeth to go see her. Elizabeth says it’s not. Paige walks out the door. Prediction: Philip’s plan has to do with Kenya and Pastor Tim. Elizabeth will spend some time in Mother Russia and Paige will worry about never seeing her mother, again.
Yousef and Philip meet in a warehouse. Yousef is moody about Annelise and this spy life and Philip gives him a pep talk. Yousef says the CIA is flying three mujahidin leaders to the United States. This is possibly related to a new weapons system (aka Stingers). One of these men is a nasty Communist killer. Philip asks about the other two.
Operation Mail Robot
Tatiana and Oleg are in Arkaday’s office. Arakaday briefs them on Operation ZEPHYR, which involves the Double Agent Mail Robot. Arkaday needs people he trusts to read through the copious amount of information. Check out the way Tatiana sashays over to the chair after she enters.
Oleg and Tatiana are getting bored looking through Mail Robot’s transcripts. Vending machines, football and beeps are not that exciting. They beep at each other and chuckle. Mail Robot would be offended.
Elizabeth-Michelle and Lisa come home to find Maurice sitting on the couch. The couple – and by “the couple” I mean Maurice – want in on the game Elizabeth-Michelle has going on with Philip-Jack. They need money and the information Lisa can offer the consultant is worth a lot, given her high security clearance. Elizabeth-Michelle makes vague protestations before saying she’ll see what she can do. Lisa leaves the room to get coffee. Maurice confronts Elizabeth-Michelle about being the brains behind the scheme. Prediction: Elizabeth will get her stealth bomber pictures, Maurice will be too dead to spend his money and there will be much rejoicing.
This episode felt like standing up and stretching after sitting at my desk all day at work. Each episode this season has been a gut-punch in one way or another, and I have no doubt that the next two episodes are going to ratchet up the intensity. This episode let me breathe a little and just enjoy the world this show has created.
We’re seeing the increased wear and tear of this type of life on these two people, their marriage and their family. Each operation seems to erode their spirit and increase the disillusionment towards their cause. Asking Gabriel for favors on the other’s behalf is risky, as The Center will wonder if their personal relationship is overriding their commitment to their country.