Previously on The Americans, ‘I Am Abassin Zandran’
I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil. – Ronald Reagan, March 8th 1983
Mother Daughter Time
Elizabeth and Paige are taking a trip to Western Germany and Henry is pretty grumpy. Why does his big sister get all the luck (/parental worry/KGB attention/interesting storylines)? Philip quietly tells Elizabeth he’s sorry he never got to meet her mother, and she tells him her mother wouldn’t have liked him, anyway.
In Kreuzber, West Berlin Paige and Elizabeth are walking down the street and talking of Elizabeth’s mother. Elizabeth’s spy-dy sense are in overdrive and she checks for a tail. Paige is alarmed, but her mother assures her they are safe. She just likes to be careful, even though she’s not technically working. You can take the girl out of espionage….
The next morning, Elizabeth and Paige wake up to a knock on the door. An attendant brings in a woman in a wheelchair. Elizabeth greets her mother with tears in her eyes. Her mother says she had to let her go because everything was at stake. Elizabeth’s mother turns and calls out to Paige who comes and joins them. The three women embrace. Oh so dusty.
After their visit, Elizabeth watches as her mother leaves in a car. She finds Paige in the bathroom, praying for her grandmother. Elizabeth sits on the floor, watching her daughter.
Paige can’t sleep. She asks her mom how Elizabeth’s mother could let her go and if Elizabeth would let Paige do that. Elizabeth says Paige would never have to do anything like that. Interesting choice of the word “would” (not “will). She would never have to do anything like that if she worked for the family business.
Paige and Elizabeth are back from Russia. Paige tells her mom she doesn’t think she can go home and lie to Henry and her friends. It’s not who she is. Her dear mother tells her that everybody lies and that it’s part of life. She promises her that they will get through it.
My Name is Philip
Yousef and Philip debrief. The plan worked. The CIA canceled the meeting with the Mujahadin and the Senate Arms Committee. Yousef asks Philip if it was worth Annalise’s death. Philip feels that they’ve saved the lives of many young men (like his son). He admits he feels like shit all the time. Theme of the season for poor Philp.
Philip meets with Gabriel and presents him with a fait accompli. All the Centre needs to do is take Paige and Elizabeth across the border. Gabriel is none too happy that Philip bumped the chain of command. Philip somewhat petulantly says he is taking care of his family. Gabriel tells Philip to grow up. Then stop asking him to hang around sixteen year old girls, Gabriel!
Philip is at an EST sex meeting. Alone. But there is someone else there who knows Philip. Sandra spots Philip during the lurid talk and catches up with him after it adjourns. Philip awkwardly says he’s there…privately and Sandra leaves him to his…privacy.
Philip, in an awful blond wig, is sitting in an apartment, playing with a toy. Gene, the FBI IT guy comes home and Philip ethers him into unconsciousness. Philip plants bug-related evidence in a drawer and turns on the computer. The camera draws back to show Gene hanging from the ceiling. Philip types a cursory suicide note “I had no choice. I am sorry.” He looks at the hanging Gene and Philip does indeed look sorry. Philips sets the toy he had been fiddling with on the shelf and leaves. Martha is NOT going to react well to this plan to clear her name.
We’re back at EST and talking about guts. Sandra and Philip listen to a man talking about getting connected to his body. The feelings in his body are more important than the thoughts in his head. Philip looks thoughtful.
After the meeting, Philip talks to Sandra about the session. He asks her if she talks about it with her boyfriend. Sandra admits to being in counseling with her boyfriend, but asks that he not tell Stan. Philip isn’t sure why he came to the Graduate Sex Seminar. Sandra says it’s not necessarily about really knowing someone. Someone really knowing you. She doesn’t think anyone really knows her (Stan and Arthur should borrow The Kama Sutra from Philip-Clark). Philip does think Elizabeth really knows him. Yet, he waited until she was out of town to come. Sandra suggests they share everything while they are in the seminar. Henry would be SO jealous of his father right now. Philip says he doesn’t really know if he can do that (understatement of the year). He says he’ll think about it. Philip, the king of disguises, is wearing a name tag with his real (fake) name on it.
Stan’s Oleg Man
Arkaday is holding council at the Rezidentura. The Centre has spoken: No operations will move forward without the proper approval of all parties. This decree from above is in response to rumored reports that someone in Moscow had been running operations behind the local rezidenturas’ back. Zoom in on Mr. Shenanigans himself, Mr. Oleg Burov.
Time for another episode of Two Tall Bros in a Car. Oleg tells Stan about the message from the Centre and Stan comments that Zinaida must have gotten a message out. They now know – what we all knew – the Defector is not really a defector. They wonder what Nina would say if she knew her two lovers were sitting in a car together. Stan thinks she’d like to put a bullet into his head. She may not be alone in that sentiment, Stan.
No Nina for You
Filled with vim and vigor, Stan meets with Gaad. He hands over at tape with Oleg’s confession that Zinaida is a spy working for the KGB. The can trade her in for a better model named Nina. Stan, who has never heard of the Bro Code, says they can also bring in Burov. But, this meeting does not go the way Stan planned. Gaad is shocked Stan would talk to Oleg and asks him how he began speaking with Oleg in the first place. Stan admits Oleg found out about his “complications” with Nina and tried to use it against him. Gaad calls Stan’s loyalty to the FBI into question and wonders why he should trust Stan. Stan is okay if they sack him, but he wants his Nina. Gaad isn’t having any and leaves.
Zinaida is greeted by Gaad and a cavalcade of officers. They indicate she should come with them. She seems resigned. I’ll miss you most of all, Milky Way.
Gaad informs Stan that he has spoken with the Director. He has recommended that Stan be dismissed and an investigation opened. Stan is to wait at his desk until the Director has made a decision. He tells Stan they arrested Zinaida and are trading him for… another CIA asset Russia arrested a year ago. Sorry, Stan. You just gave up your career and no Nina.
The Director calls Beeman in to meet with him. Rather than open an investigation, he asks to Stan report directly to him and work on turning Oleg. Stan says that they need to get Nina released so they can use her with Burov. No dice, says the Director. Sorry, Stan. You just got promoted and no Nina.
Honey Trap or Just Honey?
Anton is burning the midnight oil. He has the pictures of the stealth bomber (courtesy of Elizabeth-Michelle) and is busy making calculations. Nina brings him his regular and they switch to English. She tells him he should get some rest, but Anton is quite excited by the challenge. They may have his body, but his brain is his escape.
Anton is writing letters to his son when Nina comes a-knocking. Once again, she comes bearing food. She asks him if he was writing and he said he can’t talk about it. Nina sits on his bed and says she doesn’t know if buying her life back is worth all they ask her to do. Anton tells her that if she denies what they give her, they will start to lose their power. Is this another of Nina’s long cons or is she cracking? I’ll be pleased if despite Oleg and Stan’s machinations, Nina rescues herself.
Come Together, Fall Apart
Philip comes back to an empty home. Stan has left an answering machine message. Henry is over at his place. Philip goes upstairs to listen to the news about Afghanistan. He lies on the bed until Paige and Elizabeth return home. He comes to life, again.
Elizabeth and Philip discuss the trip. She thinks it was good for Paige and she is glad they went.
In her room, Paige lies crying on her bed.
Philip tells Elizabeth about Gene, but says he didn’t tell Martha about it first. Philip thinks he should wait until Martha comes to him. Elizabeth thinks it best if Martha hears it from him, first. She says he’s not seeing things clearly. So true.
Paige picks up the phone and calls Pastor Tim.
Philip tells Elizabeth that it was hard dealing with the IT guy. He had the same kind of games Henry plays with.
Paige is struggling. She doesn’t know what to do.
Philip is struggling. He doesn’t know what to do. He tries to articulate this, but Elizabeth spots something on the TV.
Paige tells Pastor Tim that her parents are liars and they are trying to turn her into one. Paige tells the Pastor that her parents aren’t Americans. They are Russians.
On the television, Reagan delivers his famous Evil Empire speech, condemning the Soviet leaders as evil.
Sir Not Appearing in this Episode
- Martha – How is she going to react to the news about the Gene, the IT guy taking the fall for the bug?
- Maurice –Do we have to wait until next season to see him die a horrible, glorious death or will it happen off screen?
- Hans – How crazy is this crazy boy going to get? What will he do for his crush on Liz?
- Kimmy – What has happened to poor Kimmy? Wait, scratch that. I don’t really want to know.
I was satisfied with this episode. It focused on the season’s main storylines and (hopefully) left the rest for next season. I was surprised we went to Russia and back so quickly and I wonder what part it played in Paige’s motivations. Both she and Philip reached the end of their respective ropes and I’m interested to see what’s next in their journeys. I suspect that Pastor Tim might sympathize with the Soviet cause. Philip could turn double agent to protect his daughter and/or son(s). I want to know what will happen with Henry. He served as delightful comic relief this season, but the shot of him sitting in front of the television at home alone last episode has stayed with me. His friend/adopted father is none other than FBI Agent Extraordinaire, Stan Beeman. How easy would it be to infiltrate the Jennings’ home, should Stan’s Gut start leading him in their direction? And what of Martha and Martha’s (not yet) Chekov’s gun? I’m so glad this tremendous show will be back for a fourth season.