Previously on The Americans, ‘Baggage’
Gabriel and Philip are playing Scrabble. As Gabriel illustrates his aptitude for the English vocabulary, the two discuss possible weak points in the CIA’s Afghani taskforce. Gabriel identifies Max Sampson, a marathoner and Isaac Breland the group’s leader. But both are too clean. Especially Breland who is a widowed single father and certifiable saint (if saints were certified). That leaves Ted Paaswell. Paaswell seems desperate to sell his house and desperate people can be influenced. The topic then turns to Paige, as most conversations seem to these days, and Gabriel tries to assuage Philip’s concerns. Philip doesn’t quite trust Gabriel. Yeah, I looked up “Stygian” too, Philip.
They’re as Cold as Ice
Elizabeth, looking hip in a straight, blond wig, tests her young protégé’s powers of observation. Hans does fairly well, but he still has much to learn. He threatens to buy a pair of stone-washed jeans and that segues into awkwardly flirting with Elizabeth. She’s cold as…Elizabeth and leaves. Hans has much to learn.
Paige’s birthday is the topic of conversation in the Jenning’s bedroom. Elizabeth has a gift in mind for her Mini Me but figures she’d get her husband’s input prior to purchase (yeah, right). But Philip is icy. Elizabeth coyly mentions Hans, and her dismissal of his advances. Philp wonders why she didn’t go ahead and entertain him. That’s her job, after all. He’s as cold as…Elizabeth. He is upset she discussed Paige with Gabriel on her own. The subject continues to lie heavily between them.
A battered Aderholt (Gaad’s partner has a name) tries to outdo Hans’ awkwardness with the fairer sex, by coming on to a quite comely Martha. He then stiltedly apologizes to a rather stilted Stan for being rude. We’re saved from further uncomfortable humor by a phone call. There’s a possible (not possible) lead on Aderholt’s pixie assailant.
High Quality Air Supply
The Jennings, in matching wigs and glasses, attend an open house at the possibly corruptible Ted Paaswell’s. Wiggy/Philip sneaks away to plant a bug in an archaic car phone. When Paaswell unexpectedly returns and catches Philip near-act, Philip shows off his first-rate improv skills. These skills are wasted on a seemingly oblivious Paaswell. So much for being a CIA agent. He cautions Wiggy/Philip about bringing work home with him… it just leads to resentment. Oh, this show. So good at weaving in the situational irony.
The bug is successful and Paaswell is All Out of Love. Let’s just hope that Philip isn’t.
The Wiggy/Jennings are listening as Paaswell flirts with his underage babysitter (older than her years like Paige, perhaps?) when they notice they’re being tailed. Realizing their only hope is to keep moving, they continue to drive around until dark. Wiggy/Philip sketches together a plan. He mentions Maple and Green to a worried Wiggy/Elizabeth, before dropping and rolling out of the car.
A phone call interrupts a woman from her aerobics video. It’s Wiggy/Philip. He reports an accident at the intersection of Maple and Green. I hope we see Jazzersize Kitty again.
Philip returns home and tries to reassure Paige about her parents’ lack of attention. But his daughter is as cold as…Elizabeth. She wishes they wouldn’t worry about her. Which is all the more reason to worry about her.
Buckle In, Kids
Beeman and Gaad discuss the eleven cars (ELEVEN) that are tailing their suspect. Now, how in the world did these fools get tipped off? Meanwhile, Wiggy/Elizabeth reaches Maple and Green and a man throws a paper bag into her car. Inside is a radio. A man’s voice gives Elizabeth directions and she breathes for the first time in ten hours.
Beeman, Gaad and Aderholt discuss their suspects’ car. They have it surrounded, but the CIA wants them to hold off. Beeman and Aderholt convince Gaad to pull the suspects in.
Philip tensely sips his coffee as the TV blathers on about the Geneva conference.
Elizabeth tensely drives her car the agents blather on about the surveillance over radio. They are closing in. Until a mysterious person turns a dial on a device and there is radio interference, disrupting the agents’ communication. Elizabeth stops at a light and the man’s voice tells her she has ten seconds. She hurriedly wipes down the car for prints. A car rams into the surveillance vehicle directly behind her and she uses the distraction to jump ship. She jumps into the backseat of an awaiting car and the driver peels out.
Sit Down. Have a Drink
Elizabeth gets home just as the America Broadcast signal comes on, announcing that it’s way too late. Elizabeth and Philip hug. They kiss. Well, they try to kiss until Elizabeth pulls away in pain. It’s the tooth that breaks the camel’s back. Philip nods at Elizabeth. Her bad day is just about to get so much worse.
Basement. Plyers. Alcohol. Towels. The car chase seems like a sweet dream. Philip goes in with the plyers and with much effort and gasping (from us as well as Elizabeth), pulls out a tooth. Relief. But wait. There’s another. And it’s worse. And yet beautiful.
Teach, the Children Well
It’s Martha and Clark/Philip in the kitchen and the topic of kids come up. Martha wants to try fostering, but her husband is against it. A loving Martha asks him if he doesn’t see the value in sharing what they have and helping someone to learn and grow. “That kind of relationship with a young person. That doesn’t appeal to you, at all?” There’s that irony. Clark/Philip kisses her. He’s as warm as… Martha.
Elsewhere, Hans tries again to impresses Elizabeth with his observational skills. Elizabeth’s heart has defrosted a bit, and she explains why she brushed him off. There is someone important in her life and she doesn’t want to jeopardize that. Apparently, Philip’s plyers unlodged something more than her teeth.
Gabriel and Philip reconnoiter. Philip wants to continue surveilling Paaswell, despite their near miss. Gabriel is against this. Some things aren’t worth the risk. Philip agrees and the subject has moved from Elizabeth to Paige (again). He wants something better for his daughter. An angry Philip storms out.
The Jennings are in a car (again). Elizabeth is saved from yet another discussion about Paige as the bug picks up a conversation between Paaswell and his babysitter. Paaswell is dropping the girl off and this is too tempting for Philip and Elizabeth. They risk a pass by and identify that the babysitter’s father is Isaac Breland, the head of the CIA Afghan group. Huh.
- …at Rezidentura
- Arkady rescues Oleg from reading more about Baklanov’s Stealth Program. Papa Igor has ordered Arkady to sign paperwork authorizing his son’s transfer back to Moscow. Arkady will only sign it if Oleg wants to go. Oleg decides he will stay.
- The American’s might be building a stealth bomber. Oleg and Tatiana are on the case.
- …at the FBI
- Anderholt and Beeman bond over their near miss. Anderholt brings up Beeman’s work with the white supremacists and Beeman says him the key to folding them was telling them what they want to hear over and over again.
- Later, the Defector is being interviewed as Stan looks on. He gets really close to the monitor. Is he falling for her? Or is he suspicious of her? Maybe both?
- …at Jenning HQ
- Mini Me Paige finds a picture of Stan’s wife on her brother’s bed. Henry denies all. Paige places the picture on his desk and leaves his room with a simple “Okay.” Creepy Henry stares after his creepier sister. Her mama would be proud.
- Direction and Sound Design – I commended last week’s direction and sound design, but this week had it beat. I was on the edge of my seat during the car chase, but the bit of basement dentistry sent me over the edge. The silence of the room, save noise of the teeth being pulled and Elizabeth’s sounds of distress. Then the visuals. The hair stroking. The gazing. The shirt clutching. The involuntary tear. The absolute vulnerability. I’ve seen sex scenes that were less intimate. I can imagine how hard it was to shoot, for all involved.
- Scene Setting – This show does a great job at setting place and time. The Time Magazine cover Phillip was reading in bed, the switching of the presidents’ portraits at the Rezidentura, the TV news’ mention of the four-day Geneva conference.
- Underlines – I mentioned the situational irony, but there are also quiet lines dropped in throughout that are just nice touches. The babysitter saying, “It’s not natural to be with one person your whole life.” to the TV’s “ I promise you, it won’t hurt a bit.” There are also the parallels. I think we’ll see Paige and the babysitter be played off each other over the idea of underage consent.