Previously on The Americans, “Urban Planning Transport”
Philip and Elizabeth exchange words from across the kitchen island. Later they talk more conversationally, in bed. Regardless of their proximity, they are living separate lives. Last season, Elizabeth prophetically warned Tuan of the danger of trying to live this life without a partner. Without the support of the other, Philip and Elizabeth are falling apart.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Elizabeth breaks into the radiation sensor warehouse. Despite alarms, sirens and guards who yell “hey,” Elizabeth continues with the mission. Even so, she has to leave with empty hands. As she tells Paige in their Mother-Daughter Talk du Jour, sometimes the job is like that. Lots of work with no payoff. On the other hand, she did manage to get her Kill-of-the-Episode in the first act.
Elizabeth is further frustrated at the World Series party. She convinces Erica Haskell to go to the party; she sends Glen’s jacket off to be wired. Rather nifty spy-work. Then Erica gets sick at the exact wrong moment and all Elizabeth’s careful machinations are for naught.
Philip isn’t of much assistance, either. He may have been out, but like Stan he still had this one job… that job being Kimmy. But Kimmy is inconsiderately going on a trip with her friends instead of coming home for Thanksgiving, which means no further intel from that source. Elizabeth does learn that the Americans have a “man on the inside,” but this raises more questions with no easy way to get answers.
All of this is taking its toll on Elizabeth. She seems more desperate than ever to get the job done, but it’s harder without the support of her partner. Even so, she has built her life around her work, her cause. And that’s what matters, right?
Erica proves again to be her mirror. When Erica got her diagnosis and put her time into her art, so she would have something to leave behind. But now, as she approaches the end of her life, she just wishes she spent more time with Glen. Is Elizabeth, carrying death around her neck, starting to question her life choices? Contemplating plans with Claudia and Paige, Elizabeth tells Claudia it’s all good.
“It’s like coming back to myself.”
Is family becoming more important?
“Start from the dark, work towards the light.”
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
Philip used to scrape food from the bottom of an empty pot to ease his hunger. Now he’s eschewing ham sandwiches, worrying about paying his son’s private school tuition, and line dancing with people he’ll likely be laying off soon. As his good buddy Stan’s father says “You want more, you get more.” Then again, what would Stan know of the struggle? He’s got a government job. Philip used to have one of those…
Elizabeth makes clear that Henry is Philip’s problem. The capitalism of it all is too American for the likes of Mrs. Jennings. I’m surprised she remembered his name. Philip breaks the news to Henry and our collective hearts break right along with theirs. Philip wants so badly to be good at business and succeed in America. But he’s never had to do it honestly and without help.
Wise Woman Kimmy tells Jim/Philip he needs to seize the day. Philip is trying, Kimmy. But the day isn’t cooperating. Maybe he needs to try coconut farming.
Stan tried to get out of the Teacup game, but Mr. and Mrs. insist on having him involved. Claudia has discovered Stan’s contact is a hockey player and they are watching Stan. The FBI is following Oleg so he and Philip can sadly no longer meet in person. Oleg is passing along information gathered from Philp through carefully encrypted messages to his father. Arkaday tells Oleg’s father, ““He wants to do something that matters. And that’s because of you.” They could be talking about Elizabeth and Paige.
Last episode, Stan and Aderholt also discussed the mysterious “suicide of the General.” The General likely killed by Elizabeth. And if they remember it, the FBI also has a sketch of someone who looks a lot like Patty-Elizabeth.
The circles are getting tighter. How long before they get tangled and intersect? Six episodes to find out.
- Paige broaches honey trapping a connected co-ed, but Elizabeth puts her mom hat on and advises her not to go that route. Still basking in the post-coital glow with said co-ed, Paige looks sad. Did she sleep with him for spy reasons? Is she concerned her job will always be between her and a relationship?
- Philip line dancing! More!
The plot thickens. Lots of good progress (or lack, thereof) on the spy plots balanced with the realities of relationships in the espionage game. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys gave great nuanced performances. You can see the love even as the distance between them grows. I’m actually interested to see what Paige does. I’m rooting for Philip to find a way to succeed and keep Henry in school. Is there money in line dancing?
The Americans S6E4 Review Score
"Mr. and Mrs. Teacup"
Starring: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Costa Ronin, Lev Gorn