Beard And Loathing
The mujahideen arrive in D.C., and quickly end up putty in our illegals' hands.
Who's causing a family crisis? Fucking Paige.
How? Like her poor parents don't have enough on their plate having to bust into the Clayton Hotel and mess with the phone line in one of the rooms the CIA's reserved for the imminently arriving mujahideen; then they have to come home to find a note from Paige informing them that she's gone to a lecture at the church and plans to stay over at Pastor Groovyhair's place -- informing them, not asking permission. (Kids, this was in the days before she could text them.)
Which relatives have a problem with it? Philip and Elizabeth, who object to her going out on a school night...but also still don't trust her not to narc on them whenever she's out of their sight.
Who's an unlikely ally? Also Philip, who realizes that part of why Paige is acting out so much is that she yearns for family and isn't sure what aspects of the one she has is even real.
Spoiler: Careful what you wish for, Paige! You might not be on your way someplace where you can buy a cool travel poster to go with Paris!
All Eyes On Martha
Alert Type: FBI Scrutiny Alert.
Issue: After Stan spontaneously pops by Martha's, apparently for the first time ever, just to tell her that if she's got concerns about anything that's been going on at work she can totes tell him, Martha starts getting real nervous.
Complicating Factors: Philip seems not to have considered even the possibility that Martha might get caught for having planted the bug, and when she starts getting really jumpy, he doesn't really have a plan to calm her down.
Resolution: First, "Clark" has to send Hans to get Martha and bring her to him at some abandoned aqueduct or something, Hans having spotted Stan getting out of a car with government plates and signaled Philip not to go in that night. He promises her that Stan's visit wasn't officially sanctioned by anyone, since the FBI would have sent someone else if it were, but also tells her they may have to go away somewhere. After that, Martha gets a lot more interested in catching up with her parents than she ever has been before.
Spoiler: When Martha forces "Clark" into a major disclosure, she's going to flip her wig.
The Latest Accessory From Leica Vuitton
Who called the meeting? "Michelle."
What's it about? She's giving Lisa her camera purse, and direction on how to use it most effectively when she gets close to the equipment she's supposed to be shooting on behalf of their "consultant" client.
How'd it go? Uncomfortable. Elizabeth's trying to give Lisa pointers on what to do and keeps getting interrupted by Maurice, asking a bunch of questions about whether it won't look weird for her to have a purse on the plant floor and what her excuse is for being there until Lisa finally tells him everything's going to be okay. When Elizabeth produces a mild sedative for Lisa to take to calm her nerves before going in, Maurice shuts it down: "She's not taking that." Elizabeth tells him it's only 5 mg, and then tries to shut him out, assuring Lisa that she'll be great and that she'll meet her afterward. HEY MAURICE WHY DON'T YOU TAKE ALL THAT ENERGY YOU SEEM TO HAVE FOR MANSPLAINING AND GET A JOB.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Aderholt vs. Stan
Stan's coming out of The Vault with a folder when he's waylaid by Aderholt; Stan tries to blow him off, but when Aderholt says he wants to ask Stan some more questions about Nina, Stan kind of has to pay attention, and pulls him into a conference room. Aderholt says he's been reading files and he's pretty sure he's figured out that Stan and Nina had Something going on. "What are you accusing me of?" snaps Stan. "Did you plant the bug?" Aderholt demands. Stan says he didn't, adding, "and you are not as smart as you look." Aderholt doesn't get it, so Stan explains: "You read all those files. Let's say the woman I shot didn't actually die. Maybe she's the one who beat the shit out of you and Gaad. Maybe she even killed my partner, Chris Amador. Our office is a target of The Illegals, the best, most dangerous officers the KGB has. Now they got to somebody on the inside, and it wasn't me. Work on that." Wow, Stan, I think you might have something there! Also, nice deflection on the part of the story Aderholt actually got right!
Winner: Stan? But they both just end up looking kind of bitchy.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
"This Bitch." - Elizabeth
"Michelle" is waiting at the appointed place and time when she sees a car pull up behind her and immediately rolls her eyes.
Instead of Lisa, it's Maurice, with Lisa's purse. Maurice is too ignorant to recognize that Elizabeth's slid into her "Don't Fuck With Me" voice as she tells him, "This wasn't the arrangement." "I'm dealing with this side of things now," he snaps. "You got a problem with that?" "I do," says Elizabeth, whereupon Maurice turns back around and heads for his car. "That's my camera," Elizabeth calls after him. "How about I take the film out, expose it, give it back to you?" Maurice muses. Elizabeth decides to get through this encounter and destroy Maurice later, handing over a purse full of cash; after peering inside, Maurice hands off the camerapurse. "Tell Lisa I'll talk to her soon," says Elizabeth. "In person." Maurice:
Oh man, I can't wait for Elizabeth to wipe that smirk off his face. Preferably with a belt sander.
You've Got Way Too Much Mail
Alert Type: Intelligence Firehose Alert.
Issue: The bug on the FBI mail robot is generating tons and tons and TONS of recordings of chatter from the office.
Complicating Factors: All of it needs to be transcribed, and apparently none of it is at all actionable.
Resolution: Arkady decides he's sick of this shit and tells Oleg and Tatiana that he's shutting down Operation Zephyr due to uselessness.
Spoiler: Arkady may not have as many allies at the Rezidentura as he thinks.
DialogueYou should go, take her with you.I don't know.She doesn't think she has any family, and she does! Look, if you don't take her, I will.
"And They Should Stop Trying To Make The Pashto Word For 'Fetch' Happen"
Who called the meeting? Philip and Elizabeth.
What's it about? How the other two mujahideen who've arrived with this guy Abassin Zadran are, like, totes not even on his level.
How'd it go? Kind of like the three-way calling scene in Mean Girls? First, we see that the reason Philip and Elizabeth tampered with the phone in room 629 is so that Philip could pose as a CIA agent, give his number, have the actual agent inside place a call to the office (Elizabeth) to get approval for Philip to take Zadran out for coffee or whatever. Then, when Philip and Elizabeth have him in their car, they tell him they have concerns about the two other mujahideen dudes the CIA has flown in along with Zadran; they think that the other two guys are going to lower Zadran's worth and make it so he doesn't get the weapons he wants from the U.S. government. In response, Zadran gets kind of philosophical: "Why is there no war here, in America? My country is always at war. And for what? Afghanistan has nothing -- no planes, no helicopters, no medicine. Nothing of our own." Then he talks up his men, in the mountains, who are all psyched to die martyrs' deaths and get buried still covered in all their own blood. (Cool?) Philip and Elizabeth are like, right, but this meeting, though, like maybe you could figure out a way to just go by yourself, since you're clearly the best one? Whereupon Zadran proudly tells them, "I am Abassin Zadran. I am the one who cuts the Communists' throats. I have killed many people with my knife. I have cut them open and watched them die....I found them swimming, their guns on the riverbank. Laughing. Singing. After dropping bombs on our villages. Desecrating our women, killing our babies! They are cowards! If there were two hundred infidels standing on the road, I would gut every one of them like a goat."
So...I guess he's got this? (And props to all of Philip and Elizabeth's spy handlers for training them so well that neither of them barfs on this guy as he's bragging about violently killing their comrades.)
CLAUDIAAAAAAAAA! Bitch, you were MISSED. She meets Gabriel for hot tea (and some Commie bitching about how annoying it is to have so many CHOICES in a diner, hee hee) and a catch-up on the Paige Jennings sitch. After complaining about how the Centre's focus on Paige has messed with Philip's mind, Gabriel asks what happened at The Centre when they heard about Jared, and Claudia says, "Honestly, I'd never seen anything quite like it in forty years. They fired the head of the American department, who left in shame. Everyone was in mourning. I thought they might shut down Directorate S." Gabriel's like, so they gave up on the idea of turning second-generation spies, riiiiiiiight? Alas, no, I guess they've decided Jared was just one lone crank. "They think you can do it." Gabriel's like, lucky me.
J. Walter Weatherman Lesson
"Just Horseplay, Don't Come In!"
Zadran asks his handlers if he can go hang out with his friends, and about three seconds after Zadran and the second guy have convened in the third guy's room, the CIA agents "guarding" them hear a scuffle and run in to investigate.
Wrap It Up
Tatiana having convinced Oleg that shutting down Operation Zephyr is not just a bad idea but could be bad for Arkady's career, they go into his office, where Oleg does a dramatic reading of a totally banal exchange (about going to see The King Of Comedy) between a man and a woman at the FBI to convince Arkady that there really is something in all these reams and reams of transcripts! I have no idea what Tatiana's motivation is here, but...sure?
Paige is moping in bed when Elizabeth comes in to tell her some exciting news: Elizabeth is going to Russia, and Paige is invited! "It would be the only chance you have to meet your grandmother...but it's your choice!" Wow, Elizabeth's mom is really good at guilt if she can do it just by being mentioned in a sentence! "This means nothing to me / This means nothing to me" cranks up on the soundtrack as Paige ponders whether anything means anything to her anymore!
And finally, Philip, in his "Clark" drag, enters Martha's apartment to find her sitting tensely on the bed, waiting for him next to her packed suitcase! Everyone at work knows she's lying! She can't take it anymore! She needs a break, so she's going to stay with her parents! Philip desperately tries to dissuade her by saying he loves her and he's working on solving this problem, but her mind is made up! She stands up to leave...
...which is when Philip exhales, "Martha...." He takes off his glasses, and as she watches, he starts pulling pins out of his hair! Martha stands there quivering with terror at what's about to happen!
And then IT HAPPENS: he pulls off his wig...
...rakes his fingers through his real hair (finding way more pins -- this shit was complicated!), and then stands before her with totally naked hair!
And while I find it hard to believe that Martha never even SUSPECTED that Clark was AT LEAST wearing a toupee, Alison Wright is definitely convincing as she stares at Philip in such horror that you'd think he just peeled his face off! I guess Martha's really into blonds! BUT SERIOUSLY HOLY SHIT WHAT ELSE IS THERE LEFT FOR HER TO LEARN??!??!?!? WE'LL SEE IN THE SEASON FINALEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!