Is Tuan Running A Con On The Americans?
The Eckerts' little boy makes a big move, Oleg decides what kind of agent he wants to be, and Stan gets the go-ahead for a mission of vengeance.
It's A Date
"Happy Birthday, Dear Patsy! I Mean, Kimmy!"
Well well well. Look who's one year closer to being spy-fuckable.
Who's on a date? Kimmy -- last seen around this point last season -- and "James," her older boyfriend.
Where has he taken her? The one place they must always go: her parents' house, so he can go up to her CIA agent dad's home office and change out the tape hidden into a secret compartment in his briefcase.
Are things headed in a horizontal direction? He's managed to wriggle out of it to this point -- despite her stated willingness -- by claiming he's half a born-again or some shit, so no. The birthday seems like foreshadowing for Claudia (or whomever) putting pressure back on Philip to lock her down with sex, though.
We Made A List
Exposition Crammed Into This Travel Agency Scene
- Henry's last report card was better than Paige's.
- Elizabeth thinks Tuan is lonely, so she's going over there tonight to surprise him with dinner and some fake-mom face time.
- Philip's got an appointment with one of Gabriel's people -- someone he hasn't met before.
- Philip and Elizabeth really do have to do actual travel agent shit like run down reimbursements -- delegate, idiots!!!
Situation: Wolfe's got some news about Gaad's death.
What makes it awkward? It seems to implicate several non-KGB officers who also traveled to Thailand around the same time -- and any FBI agent could be next! So Wolfe wants to activate Oleg after all, in order to try to get more information about this, but it seems like he's leaving that decision up to Stan. To help him sort out his own feelings about the matter, he goes to see Gaad's widow, Linh, which also makes things awkward: she tells him that no one from Gaad's former office has been by to see her since Gaad's funeral, which is why she knows Stan isn't there purely to socialize, and basically asks him what he's there to get out of her.
How is order restored? Stan straight up tells her that Soviets killed her husband: "And now I have something on someone else -- an unrelated case, but the department wants to me to use it as a way to get back at them. Thing is, this guy -- he didn't do anything. The opposite. I don't see putting him at risk so we can go after some other people. Revenge isn't that important, and I don't think it would be to Frank."
GUESS THAT'S THAT THEN????? Also, Mrs. Gaad, as Buddhists go, you're not the best.
Tuan On The Ruan
Alert Type: Blown Curfew Alert.
Issue: When Elizabeth went over to the Eckert house to surprise him, Tuan wasn't there, and still hadn't come home when she left at 3 AM (though when she went snooping through his room, she didn't find anything suspect).
Complicating Factors: Tuan may be hard at work on his plan to make Pasha's life even worse by getting himself into the cool/bully crowd and isolating Pasha at school even further, in which case they can't really get too mad at him for staying out late.
Resolution: Philip and Elizabeth activate Norm and Marilyn to follow Tuan...all the way to Harrisburg, where they tail him to an IHOP.
Spoiler: Tuan may be lonelier than any of us imagined.
Goop! There It Is
Remember William? And the viral strain for which he martyred himself? ABOUT THAT.
I was at Kimmy's a few days ago, and on the tape: a group of mujahideen died of a hemorrhagic fever. So maybe it wasn't about protecting us after a nuclear attack. Maybe they just wanted to use it in Afghanistan.
We don't know it's the same virus we gave them.
It's a hell of a coincidence if it isn't.
Thoughts And Prayers
Name: Father Andrei -- which I only know thanks to IMDb because in classic The Americans style, we don't find out. Maybe someone will say his name fifteen episodes from now. Age: Late 40s. Occupation: Clergyman/Soviet spy/guy Philip was called to meet when he was at the travel agency before. Goal: To frustrate the aims of the U.S. government and, when he's not doing that, to provide spiritual succor to the members of his flock. But he's not really sure what to do with the intel he's recently collected now that Gabriel's gone and his replacement won't be there for a few months; he really wants to set up regular meetings with Philip as his new Gabriel, but Philip has to tell him, regretfully, that's not going to happen. YOUR LIFE'S SO RICH YOU CAN'T MAKE A NEW FRIEND?! Who's giving Father Andrei birthday cakes??!?!??!?? Sample Dialogue: "I will pray for you....You should try it." ("I keep hearing that," says Philip drily.)
Prepping To Get Written Out
Philip and Elizabeth walk into the kitchen AND an uncomfortable conversation with Henry: his (girl) friend Chris's whole family went to St. Edward's, this very fancy boarding school in New Hampshire, and not only does he want to go there too -- he actually sent in an application, behind their backs. Philip and Elizabeth are instantly horrified even though, as Henry reasonably points out, he couldn't very well have actually gone without their knowing. Henry keeps touting the school's prestige and how unchallenged he expects to be by the local public high school (the dump that relative bonehead Paige attends) and though Philip seems very hurt that Henry wants to leave home -- as if both of his parents are ever there with Henry more than four hours a week -- Elizabeth seems like she's starting to be won over by the rigorous standards Henry's describing and treating ANY of this as if it's not a foregone conclusion is ABSURD since the WHOLE POINT of getting Henry out of the house is so that he doesn't come back into it three days after the events of the end of the events of Season 5 looking like John Cena from behind.
"Want Some Coffee? If So, I Hope You Brought Some!"
Who called the meeting? Gabriel.
What's it about? How Martha's doing in her new life!
How'd it go? Hoooooo, it is very uncomfortable. Setting aside her sad baked potato with sadder sautéd onions (Gabriel: "Looks good!" Ron Howard v/o: "It didn't"), Martha starts out civil, because she thinks Gabriel's there with news -- like, for instance, that her Soviet nightmare is over and she's about to get to go home. Gabriel says he has no news of any kind, which is when Martha starts getting increasingly chilly. She's not happy to learn that her parents don't know where she is; hearing that they've been told she's safe doesn't seem like much comfort. She asks if he came all the way there to tell her that, but when he says he's living there again now that he's retired -- not, to her question, that he is or ever was married ("Too difficult for my work"), though he does have family, she sneers, "Well, that must be nice." Brrrrrrr but also very deserrrrrrrrved.
Gabriel waves that off ("We're not close") and says he wanted to know how Martha is. She has a Russian teacher who comes every other day to help her practise; there's a guy named Volodya from Gabriel's office who takes care of everything else for her. But she doesn't have any friends, and the men Volodya's introduced her to are unsuitable. Gabriel promises that when Martha's Russian's better, they'll get her a job as a translator of some kind and then she'll meet people...
...definitely the wrong thing to say since it's clear all Martha wanted was for Gabriel to tell her when she'd be going home, but now that hope is dead and she understands the answer is never. Gabriel doesn't help when he volunteers, "Clark thinks about you, Martha. He wanted to send you a letter, but it's not allowed. He's the reason I talked to your parents, he insisted. He wants what's best for you. We all do."
"What's best for me?" spits Martha. "I understand everything now, Gabriel. All of it. You can go. And please, don't come back again." MARTHA, NO, HE MIGHT BE CONNECTED ENOUGH TO GET YOU PEANUT BUTTER!!! Anyway: I hope we all enjoyed Alison Wright's Emmy clip.
And Oleg Is Also Still In A Storyline
Look, I am good at watching TV. I can appreciate a slow burn. But nowhere has the inordinately slow-burning slow burn of this season more in evidence than whenever we cut back to Oleg because whooooooooooooo cares. In case you do:
Kuznetsov, who searched Oleg's room last week, calls him in and demands a list of every foreigner he ever had contact with when he was posted in the U.S., even though that is a fairly absurd ask? They also recap the Stan/Nina/Oleg "love" triangle, I guess for the people who decided to pick up this show in the ninth episode of its fifth season.
Oleg goes home and tells Igor he knows Yelena, his mother, was in a prison camp, and Igor gives this whole monologue about how she was never the same after she got out and lots of husbands left their wives but that they made a family and he never told Oleg about any of it so that Oleg "could have this life."
And then Oleg goes to the prison and uses maudlin talk about his brother, dead in Afghanistan, to play on Dimitri's fears about his own soldier son and get him to cough up a black marketer's name: "Fomina Lydia Nikolayevna." A LADY?! Now I've heard everything!
Anyway: I have no idea how much of this, if any, is important or headed toward some kind of payoff. Maybe the show should've only been renewed for just one season? SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Spies vs. Spy
Tuan makes it home from Harrisburg and lets himself in...
...to an ambush. Philip slams Tuan against the wall, barking, "WHERE WERE YOU?!" Tuan immediately admits that he was in Pennsylvania, but that he determined he was being followed and scrapped his intended plan: "Was that your team on me?!" Threats are made, a gun is pulled (by Elizabeth), and eventually both the Eckerts shut up long enough for Tuan to explain: his foster brother from his placement in Seattle has leukemia, so he calls to check up on his condition -- but he's careful, which is why he goes out of state. (Way out of state. With a couple of states between his origin and destination just to be sure.) But he "caught surveillance" -- good lad -- so he didn't make the call and went into an IHOP instead. When he got the call for this assignment, he just disappeared and they didn't know where he went: "They're not bad people. They took me in. And the kid's been doing terrible lately. He likes me." Elizabeth puts her gun down, at last. "Don't put this in the report, please," Tuan begs. "I know, it's a dumb thing to do. But I work hard. You know that. I do everything and this has nothing to do with that. Don't tell anyone. I can't have my people finding out about it." We couldn't have lost one or two or fourteen Paige scenes to get some explanation of exactly who Tuan's "people" are? No? 'Kay.
In the car afterward, Philip and Elizabeth are shook, but they both believe him. "If we report it, would they send him back to Vietnam?" asks Elizabeth. "Maybe that's what he wants," suggests Philip. "To be pulled out of this shit, start over." PROJECT MUCH? "It's not who he is," says Elizabeth firmly. PROJECT MUCH LIKE EVEN MORE THAN YOUR HUSBAND???
Winner: Spies; cancer.