Tonight’s episode of The Americans was pretty fast-paced. It looks like we are really building toward an exciting finale and I cannot wait to see who lives and who dies. Will Larrick continue to get away with murdering everyone on the show (Jennings children beware!) or will Phillip and Elizabeth take him out? Also, has anyone started a drinking game for the amount of times the show mentions the word “stealth”? We may all be dead thirty minutes into the episode.
Paige Makes A Stand
Paige just won’t give up will she? Like most teenagers, Paige will not accept her mother’s reasoning for not allowing her to attend summer camp, “because I’m your mother!” It’s even gotten to the point where Paige doesn’t want to speak to her parents because they aren’t being fair; she feels she is being punished for wanting to do something “good” and is trapped in her own home. It’s hard not to feel bad for the poor girl!
Things change, however, when Paige presents her parents with another activity option. She asks if she can go with a church group to peacefully protest the military’s use of nuclear-armed bombers at an Air Force base in Pennsylvania. Elizabeth and Philip both agree that this would be beneficial for her (and humanity) and allow her to go on the trip. Are they also going to volunteer to be chaperones? It seems like this would be a good opportunity for the spies to scope out a military base. Along with being another way to “stick it ” to the Americans, the protest helps Elizabeth see that Paige is a lot like her; she wants to make a difference in the world but is looking in the wrong place (at least according to Elizabeth).
Stealth and the Scientist
When we last saw Anton, the Russian’s abducted scientist, he was extremely despondent. Having just been taken from his family in the United States, Anton wanted nothing to do with helping his captors acquire stealth technology. Now, however, Anton has accepted his conditions, though he still is not ready to talk about how great “Mother Russia” is. He has stopped his hunger strike, appears to be sleeping with a blonde woman (prostitute?), and most importantly, has decided to start working on the Russian’s stealth program. With the help of the ARPANET data that Phillip stole from a lab in the U.S., Anton realizes what the Russians need to acquire to give their planes a stealth capability: RAM (radar absorbent material) and Echo, a computer program that will help model and determine whether a plane is invisible to radar.
Phillip is charged with finding out what the Americans are using for RAM. First he meets with his contact Fred, who tells him about a budget anomaly at Lockheed that left $100 million unaccounted for. Because he doesn’t know much more about the topic, Fred gives Phillip the name of John Skeevers (played by one of my favorite character actors Željko Ivanek), a former Lockheed aeronautics engineer that worked on the SR-71 Blackbird. Skeevers was fired from Lockheed after he got cancer and went off the deep-end, claiming Lockheed poisoned him.
In a particularly ratty disguise, Phillip shows up at a pharmacy where Skeevers is waiting for his medication. After striking up a conversation with Skeevers about his favorite topic, government conspiracies, Phillip finds a way to steal his wallet so he won’t be able to pay for his medication. Like a white knight, Phillip then swoops in and saves the day, offering to pay the remainder of Skeevers’ fee as a show of goodwill.
It also helps the mission that Skeevers’ wallet contains his driver’s license and address. Awhile later, Phillip arrives at Skeevers house. He pretends he found the man’s wallet in the pharmacy parking lot and wanted to return it to him. Soon, the men start talking and Phillip offers Skeevers money in exchange for information about RAM. Skeevers takes the money and tells Phillip about iron ball paint, which the Americans used as RAM on the SR-71.
Nina, The Young Pioneer
Stealth is also a very important topic in the Nina/Stan storyline this week. It seems the KGB has not forgiven Nina for her traitorous behavior with the Americans. No matter how much she has tried to prove her loyalty to Russia, she is back under the gun (literally). After Nina tells the KGB about Stan’s marital problems, they see it as their chance to strike against him. Although she doesn’t like it, Nina is tasked with getting more than surveillance reports out of Stan. It is now time for the big stuff. Since Stan has been read into the U.S. stealth program, the KGB needs him to acquire information about Echo.
Unfortunately for Nina, if she is unable to get Stan to flip, she will be sent back to Moscow to stand trial for her earlier crime. Arkady informs Oleg about the stakes of the mission and even tells him about Nina’s past crimes. Oleg is not phased, however, and just wants to make sure Nina is okay. He warns her that if she doesn’t think she can get Stan to turn, she needs to run away. Maybe she can use the skills she learned as a Young Pioneer to fend for herself.
Nina ends the episode in Stan’s arm, thus setting up the next stage of her mission. She tells him Oleg informed Arkady about her relationship with the FBI and she is in incredible danger. She can never go back to them or they will send her back to Moscow for trial. Stan says nothing will come between them and he will find a way out for both of them.
Stan, Stan, The Commended Man
Along with his obsession with Nina, Stan is continuing to find more and more information on Emmet and Leigh Anne. Now, he has discovered that they stole their American identities from children who died at a young age. Stan begins to wonder how many other “illegals” have done this? More importantly, for our sake, will this new information help point Stan into the direction of finding the real identities of Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings?
Due to his problems at home (I think Sandra and Stan are getting a divorce now???) and his stress about Nina’s safety, Stan hasn’t been a beacon of happiness at the office. Hopefully his mood was uplifted a little after receiving a commendation from the FBI regarding the Dameran case. Stan also found out he is Henry’s hero and was asked to be the subject of his school project. How’s that for accolades?! Stan may not be in a good place personally, but he does have the approval of a nine-year-old.
Thanks to the bug in Gad’s office, Phillip and Elizabeth know that the FBI is onto Emmet and Leigh Anne. The audio makes them aware that Stan went to meet with Jared and ask him about his parents. To find out what they talked about, Elizabeth also wants to meet with Jared; of course, she will don her sexy child protection officer disguise. Little does she know, Stan showed Jared the sketch of that exact disguise and asked him if he had seen that woman.
Phillip doesn’t like Elizabeth’s idea; after all, what if Jared is under surveillance and Elizabeth is walking into a trap? Elizabeth assures Phillip she will be able to tell if there is a trap and demands to go. As it turns out, Elizabeth is feeling guilty about not giving Jared his mother’s letter, which told him about his parents’ true occupation and loyalties. Elizabeth is scared he will find out the truth about his parents from the Americans :gasp:, and there is nothing worse than that.
Elizabeth goes to Jared’s house and gets him to talk about his experience with the FBI agent. Uh, does Jared have guardians anymore? What happened to that nice family that was looking after him? Anyway, he informs Elizabeth that he was asked a ton of questions by the FBI agent and was also asked to look at sketches. He says he didn’t recognize anyone but was told to call the FBI if anything strange happened :wink wink: Elizabeth leaves the house but follows Jared to see what he’s up to next. He goes to a diner where he meets none other than their handler Kate! Does Jared know what’s going on? Is he a member of the KGB? Also, why isn’t Kate in disguise?
Larrick is a one-man wrecking ball and tonight’s casualty is the Jennings’ handler, Kate. Last week, we saw Larrick kill George, the KGB’s phone operator, and acquire the contact information for Kate. After coming home from meeting Jared, Kate can tell something is wrong. She goes into the bathroom, unravels a roll of toilet paper (more on this in a second), and gets her gun. Even with a gun, however, she is no match for Larrick and is immediately assaulted when she comes out of the bathroom. In true Dexter form, Larrick ties Kate to the ceiling fan and talks to her about her crimes. He decodes a few messages that come through on the radio, which mostly consist of the KGB asking why the phone operator isn’t responding. When he tries to get information out of her about her fellow agents, however, she refuses to speak and Larrick breaks her neck. Does this mean Claudia will be coming back?! Hey, I’m trying to look on the bright side here!
Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Phillip have been trying to get through to the Centre to tell them about the FBI’s lead on Emmet and Leigh Anne. They can’t get through to the operator or Kate. After finding another way to contact their KGB leaders, Phillip and Elizabeth are tasked with going to Kate’s house to check on her and figure out what is up with the lack of communication. When they get to her apartment, it is wiped clean. The only thing that is off is that there is no toilet paper on the roll. Elizabeth checks the cardboard and discovers a coded message, “Get Jared out.” Dun dun dun.