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The Americans – S3E2 – Baggage

Previously on The Americans, ‘EST Men’

Hard Life

A sad Nina is peeing in a Moscow prison. At least she has toilet paper and a Juicy Couture track suit. She looks beautiful, quiet, and vulnerable.

Speaking of quiet and vulnerable, a very dead Annalise lies on a hotel bed. Philip/Scott gently closes her eyes, as Yousaf looks on. Philip/Scott hands Yousaf a beer and leaves to make “arrangements.” Yousaf sighs. Drink your beer, Yousaf. You earned it. Killing lovers is tough work .

Awkward Conversations

Elizabeth comes home and meets Paige in the kitchen. Philip/Dad calls to say he’s having another tough day at the office and needs Elizabeth’s help. Paige “Colombo” Jennings insinuates that her father is having an affair and suggests that her parents care more for each other than their children. Elizabeth leaves her daughter to go help her husband. Sometimes children just don’t understand.

Philip/Scott returns to the hotel room after calling his wife and more or less comes clean to Yousaf about who he is. They sit and wait for Elizabeth to show up and take charge.

Stan and a few other agents watch as a crate is opened and what do you know, out pops the U.S. Canadian Institute defector they are tasked to protect. She looks happy to be out of her crate and Stan looks happy to see her.

Chekov’s Suitcase

Elizabeth shows up, like a Boss, with a suitcase. Elizabeth and Philip/Scott lay out a tarp and place Annalise upon it. Then they break her bones. Yousef stands in the doorway like a sulky teenage until Elizabeth glares at him. He closes his eyes, thinks “Why me?” and grudgingly shuffles over to help. This guy.


As Philip/Scott and Yousaf snap, crackle, and pop their way through Annalise, Elizabeth takes a break. Oh wait, she just stepped away to take incriminating shots of Yousaf in action. You know, just in case. Youself looks at Philip/Scott, “Is she for real?” Philip/Scott looks at Yousaf, “Tell me about it. I’m married to her.”

Before Orange was the New Black

Just another day in the ol’ Lefortova prison. Nina gets a Beligan roommate, Evie. Evie is wearing the windbreaker I had in the 3rd grade and Jordache jeans. She is distraught – pacing and mewling. Nina is having none of it. She pulls a blanket over her head, wishing she had earplugs. Roommates are the worst.

Pack it Up, Pack it In

Elizabeth and Philip efficiently fold Annalise parts into the suitcase. They don’t even have to sit on it to get it to close. Philip arranges with Yousaf to meet the next day and the Jennings leave. Yousaf sighs. I bet he wishes he had that beer.

Breaking Bones - The Americans

Work, Rest, and Play

At FBI office, The Defector has her first Milky Way bar. It’s lust at first bite. Stan and his fellow agent, have the decency to look slightly uncomfortable. The Defector manages to tear herself away long enough to explain what her institute does. She seems to think that her ordeal is over and she is safe. Must be the chocolate.


In a flashback dream, Elizabeth tries to talk her mother into visiting a memorial to honor soldiers like her father. Her mother refuses, disgusted by her husband’s cowardice. Apparently, he was a deserter and was shot in the back.

The next day, The Defector speaks at a press conference, denouncing the Soviet’s involvement in Afghanistan. “Soviet leadership believes they can decide for the future another country.” Oh, the 2015 irony. A reporter asks her what impact Brezhnev’s death will have on the war and she says she does not know but the entire Politburo is behind the war.

Male Bonding

Philip/Scott meets with a cleaned up Yousaf and they swap thoughts about Annalise. Yousaf seems to actually have cared for her. Not like you’d know with the strangling and body dismantling. Philip/Scott asks Yousaf to find a way to meet with his CIA agent contacts in private. Yousaf is up for the task.

Elsewhere, two other men talk about a mutual lover. Oleg corners Stan in an alley. He is not happy and he has a gun. Oleg blames Stan for Nina’s predicament. Stan says he loved Nina and offers to help if he can, but this only angers Oleg the more. Stan tells Oleg to shoot him in the back if he must, turns and slowly walks away. Oleg does not shoot Stan. I kind of wished Oleg shot Stan.

Stan - The Americans

In their bathroom, Philip and Elizabeth continue to argue over Paige. Elizabeth is determined and unyielding. Philip is angry. ”I don’t want her putting people into a suitcase. And I don’t want her ending up in a suitcase.” These are words that should never have to come out of a father’s mouth. Elizabeth thinks their daughter can serve her country and still be safe. Philip disagrees.

Sad Sack Stan

Reeling from his encounter with Oleg, Stan calls his son and wife from a pay phone and gets Sandra’s boyfriend’s answering machine. He leaves a message, asking them to call him back. Uh, Stan? You’re at a pay phone. Where is she supposed to call and will you even be there if she does?

He must have realized this because he goes to see her the next day. He shares his near-death experience at the hands of Oleg and says that she was the only person that he wanted to tell (as calling Moscow might be a little inconvenient, right now). She says that she’s not coming back to him, but she’s glad he’s alive. Sandra’s great. Stan is not.

It’s meal time in Lefortova prison, but Evie isn’t hungry. She gives her piece of…bread? meat? to Nina and professes her innocence. Nina is still having none of it. “This isn’t a prison for innocent people.”

Have a Lite

After a little reconnoitering and uncomfortable conversation, the Jennings are a go — it’s mission time. Philip in a pornstache and Elizabeth in a wig reminiscent of Felicity Season 2 set up shop at a hotel to watch over Yousaf’s assignation with the CIA agents. But all does not go according to plan. The agents and Yousaf leave the hotel. Elizabeth/Felicity impulsively jumps into a car to tail them and convinces Philip/Pornstache to follow them into a bar. They covertly take pictures of the operatives seated at a table with Yousaf. Job complete, Jennings sit on bar stools, crack open beers and watch the fight. Just another ordinary American couple.

Too Soon to Celebrate

Back at FBI HQ, The Defector opens up another chocolate bar as Stan goes over her press schedule. She wants to go sight-seeing. She seems surprised that it would be unsafe to roam around Washington DC in the open. Surely, no one could kill her here in America. I guess her US-Canadian intelligence glossed over some of the less toothsome details. She tells Stan to call her Zinaida since her last name is beyond his FBI training.

The Americans S3E2 Stan

Back in Moscow, a guard comes in to take Nina to meet with Oleg’s father, Igor Pavlovich. He is curious about Nina, despite having told Oleg that he couldn’t help her. Nina’s flame for Oleg still burns bright and she asks Oleg’s father to tell his son that she wasn’t pretending with him. Save me Oleg, you’re my only hope.

Nina in Prison - The Americans

Mommy Issues

The Jennings are in their travel agency office. A much calmer Elizabeth brings up Paige to Philip. She explains that her mother was firm in her commitment to her country and didn’t think twice about her daughter entering into service for that country. Clearly, this has influenced Elizabeth and her views on parenting. Her story moves Philip. While Philip is motivated by his heart, Elizabeth is motivated by her belief.

Little Bits

Still not a Robot: Elizabeth and Philip are at odds this entire episode. But when Elizabeth pays a visit to Gabriel, her demeanor changes. They talk of her mother, Philip and of Paige and we see Elizabeth soft and reflective. Gabriel subtly encourages her to influence Paige

At the Rezidentura: Oleg and Not-Nina share a laugh at President Reagan’s expense. She has asked him to find out more about The Defector and he relays what he’s learned. Not-Nina tells Oleg that she wants him to understand that Propaganda is more important than anything. And stands a little too close. Back up, lady.

Meta Moments:

Persistent injuries: Elizabeth continues to have issues with her tooth and bruises from her fight with the FBI agents, throughout the episode. Frank Gaad still looks like he was run over by a 5’3’’ truck. It’s a welcome bit of continuity, if nothing else.

Direction: The dismantling of Annalise was mostly silent aside from the sound of bones breaking. A few times, the camera widens to show rather disturbing views of limbs bent at unnatural angles. Just one example of the great direction and sound design in this episode.

About Mallika Chakravarti (99 Articles)
Mallika is a digital marketer, yoga teacher and nutritionist. She spends her fun time writing, podcasting, consuming vast amounts of media and wishing she could fly. Mallika can currently be found thinking of something else.
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1 Comment on The Americans – S3E2 – Baggage

  1. The suitcase scene was probably one of the most uncomfortable ones on the Americans yet.

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