Last week I detailed the power the Russian women of The Americans claimed, but this week saw a more destructive power being wielded. Each of our main women (and one girl) made choices that caused a lot of trouble and ultimately had to be rescued. Elizabeth’s disclosure betrayed Philip so she had to seek protection from Gregory, Nina framed Vasili to protect herself and strengthen her protection from Beeman and even Paige put Henry in a dangerous situation he then was forced to protect her from. I’ve already questioned the pseudo-feminism message of the last episode, but this one has it firmly in the pseudo camp.
With the KGB consumed in mole hunting, Philip got right down to business and decided the best place to start looking was in Martha’s pants. On route to their rendezvous, however, he was kidnapped and taken to an abandoned warehouse to be interrogated. The interrogation seemed pointless since it appeared the integrator already knew everything about Philip, had his many passports and a recording of his conversations with Martha. Philip endured his torture and for all his talk of defecting to the American dream, he did not break. Even when Elizabeth was brought in (after being abducted from her home and proving that all the bad assery in the world is no match for a lamp to the face) the two spies stayed silent.
Truth be told, I suspected the KGB was behind the kidnapping the second Philip had a bag over his head. They were desperate to find the mole and Philip and Elizabeth were the two known agents who knew about the encryption codes. Also, The Americans just got renewed for a second season and it would be a much less exciting show if it took place in federal prison. Were there more subtle, less rib bruising ways to determine if they were the moles? Probably, but the KGB isn’t much for subtly. But of course, the real seed of doubt wasn’t planted for both the Jennings’s, but for Philip in particular and that seed was planted by Elizabeth. Way back in the pilot episode, before the couple really got to working on their relationship, Elizabeth mentioned to their runner that Philip may have grown a little too accustomed to the American way of life. I don’t believe she made the remark vindictively or for the purpose of creating suspicion, I believe she truly felt he was becoming a danger and telling her superiors was her duty. But that’s the problem that has plagued the Jennings for the years; Philip has always placed his loyalty to his family before his loyalty to his country, something Elizabeth (until perhaps this episode) could never do.
Meanwhile, the actual KGB mole, Nina, was getting an FBI approved get of Siberia free card. Nina was rightfully spooked that, now that the higher ups knew they had a leak, she would be found out and she begged Beeman to pull her out and give her the security he had promised. Trouble is the security may have been more of a conversion tactic than an actual promise. So, instead, he orchestrated a seamless sting to frame the rezidant that killed two birds with one stone; Nina was safe and the Russians were done looking for the mole. Of course, you don’t get to be the rezident by being blind and Vasili has to be racking his brains over who set him up and chances are it won’t take long before it lands on the beautiful young girl who suddenly started showing him affection. The only question is if he’ll be able to share that theory before he gets a bullet in the brain.
But the most impressive duo of the hour was the Jennings scions. After being abandoned at the mall while their parents were being tortured, Paige and Henry went through a check list of everything you learn not to do in after school specials. Hitchhike? Check. Get into car with someone who would pick up hitchhikers? Check. Take alcohol from a guy who picked up hitchhikers and then drove to a secluded pond instead? Check. Luckily, at least one of the kids takes after their parents and Henry found his opportunity to hit the creep over the head with a beer bottle before anything could get too weird. It was a touching moment of bonding siblings, but it also brought up an interesting point.
Many times this season, as Philip and Elizabeth have been sneaking around at all hours of the night, I have wondered aloud, “where are your kids?” And in this episode, Paige and Henry were left at a mall and yet there was none of the fear, indignation, or surprise that most kids feel when their parents forget about them. Paige just matter of factly stated their mother wasn’t coming and set about getting them home herself. These are kids who are used to their parents disappearing (even their cover story of a car accident is thin. Why would it take that long for them to get home and if they had been taken to a hospital they could have called to check on the kids). Perhaps they don’t realize that most parents don’t go running off in the middle of the night, but Paige is getting to the age where she might start questioning her parent’s behavior. And if she has a drop of their DNA, it won’t take her too long to figure out what’s up.
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