The Americans Bug Out Over A Vulnerable Food Supply
As wheat takes its rightful place at the center of a suspense plot, Paige gets more stressed.
Of William And Wheat
Who called the meeting? Gabriel.
What's it about? What happened at Fort Dietrich.
How'd it go? Well, they've all definitely had more successful operations in the past. After Elizabeth hands Gabriel the cooler containing the sample of William's diseased flesh...
...(which by the way isn't this cooler handle/lid lock design still a few years away, or were we just behind in Canada?), Gabriel can tell that Philip and Elizabeth are upset and asks what's wrong. Philip tells him about Hans's accident and subsequent immediate execution; Gabriel is sorry, but not that sorry: "You do understand we had to have it." "I think William would have liked us getting the virus sample off his body," deadpans Philip. But there's no time to debate morality, because Gabriel has, he says, been getting signals from The Centre on an hourly basis; shit's going down: "Half of our grain comes from America and its allies. If they're doing something to it -- contaminating shipments -- we don't exactly know. People will starve." "Going after people's food?" asks Philip, aghast. "I thought there were things they wouldn't do." Gabriel:
The Centre is keeping close tabs on Morozov, which is how they know he's going to Illinois soon. You know, the Land of Lincoln! Gabriel's got a zinger off that connection.
That Quote"To think they once had a Lincoln. Now a Reagan."- Gabriel, who probably won't live to know how much worse it's going to get -
Paigie, We All Got Pain
Who's causing a family crisis? Paige.
How? Being all traumatized and shit, as we already know. But this week it starts showing itself in new ways. When Elizabeth and Philip come home from the base and check on the kids, they see that Paige's bed is empty. They assume she snuck out to see Matthew...
...but it turns out that these days, when she can't sleep, she bunks down in the closet.
Which relatives have a problem with it? Judging by their faces...
...her parents do. But even Stan has concerns, telling Philip over beers that he's noticed recently that "everything's not all right in Paigeland."
Who's an unlikely ally? Elizabeth, who gets the idea that the cure for a mopey Paige is more fight training. But, as usual, Elizabeth's way of being an ally is with a significant helping of self-interest: as Paige smacks around a duct-taped pillow, Elizabeth explains that it's not safe for any of them for Paige to keep dating Matthew. Even though Paige and Matthew aren't sleeping together at the moment (which Paige insists they aren't), if they ever do, trouble will follow: "I don't care if you have sex, it's not about the sex. It's confusing when you get close to someone like that. I don't think you'd ever tell him straight out, but you might end up saying something or acting in a way that would draw suspicion, and we can't risk that, Paige." "So I just can't ever have a boyfriend, ever," Paige snits. "Just not Matthew," says Elizabeth sadly. "Any other boy but him." Paige wilts and tries to get away to do homework, but Elizabeth tells her they're not done, and Paige resumes smacking the pillow...
...never losing eye contact with her obviously proud mother.
Spoiler: Paige later goes far enough with Matthew to suggest that she's ready to get on the road to sex (if not that they actually did complete the act when the camera cut away), so it's a good thing her parents have a trick to teach her before she lets herself get too vulnerable.
Better Red Than Dead
Alert Type: Asset Management Alert.
Issue: An Agent Strider from the CIA has stopped by the FBI and pulled Stan and Agent Wolfe into the secure conference room with an update on Oleg: he's alive, and working at the KGB in Moscow again.
Stan is relieved!
Complicating Factors: Ooooof, so many. Strider's there not just to give Stan the latest on Oleg for empathetic human reasons, but to get Stan's input on how best the CIA might recruit Oleg as a foreign asset.
Stan is horrified! He tries -- first casually, then more insistently -- to explain that he didn't really recruit Oleg; that for the invaluable intel he gave the Bureau on William, Oleg deserves to be left alone; and that, anyway, Oleg is a patriot who will sacrifice himself rather than betray the Soviet Union: "He can't be turned." Strider's like, what if we fucked with his parents tho. Stan gets emotional as he desperately tells Strider he's going to get Oleg killed, and suggests that they give up on the Oleg project and try to find out who killed Gaad instead.
Resolution: Stan books a meeting with his old friend the Deputy Attorney General to try to get him to intervene with the CIA and get them to lay off Oleg. The Deputy AG claims the CIA isn't under his influence at all; Stan calls bullshit, but there's not really much he can do.
Spoiler: Or is there?
Pretty sneaky, Stan.
But yikes, poor Oleg. Next time he'll just let thousands of people die of a horrific disease, probably.
Everyone Is Going To Illinois!
Alexei and his beefy colleagues head to Illinois, tailed by Elizabeth and her latest horrible wig.
Q: What's in Illinois?
A: An apparently unattended farm with a large greenhouse.
Q: ...What's in the greenhouse?
A: As Elizabeth discovers after picking the lock on the greenhouse: grain plants. Lots of them.
Q: Why would grain plants need to be guarded with so much secrecy?
A: These aren't normal grain plants. Some of them don't look so good.
And even the ones that do look good...
Lots and lots and lots of bugs.
Just Some Normal Home Maintenance At The Old Eckert Place!
When we meet back up with Captain Eckert, he's on a ladder "cleaning the gutters," but really surveying the street and talking to Tuan about the car that stakes out the Morozovs and making sure Tuan knows what to do if anyone comes to the door asking questions. Tuan assures Philip that he does, doubling down on the militancy he exhibited in the season premiere: "I'm like one of them. You know what the Communists did to my country?" Philip:
Philip then shows Tuan the nest from the gutter, so I guess he wasn't just faking a drainage emergency to get a better vantage point on the street. Tuan identifies it as a robin's nest; his foster/adoptive father in Seattle, with whom Tuan lived for five years, was "a nature guy," he says. Philip asks what that was like, and Tuan shrugs, "They were nice to me. Never gave anything to the other kids they didn't give me too. The mom, she was always worried about me. But they were also proud of themselves, that they took in a boat person." It's a real shame that Tuan's first experience of white Americans was with the really smug self-righteous kind. The openly racist ones are worse, of course, but, let's be real: both varieties are pretty punchable.
On The Menu
What's On The Menu At Bennigan's?
The Eckerts and the Morozovs have met up for another lovely family dinner! And what a spread!
Curried Gloat: As the table is covered with more and more dishes, Alexei enthuses that no one in the Soviet Union could possibly eat like this, other than maybe the czar! And if you don't like what you ordered, you just send it back and get something else instead! What a country! He can even yell that he hates Russia and nothing will happen -- and does so to prove it! As Pasha and Mrs. Morozov get increasingly embarrassed, Alexei illustrates how much less freedom people have in the Soviet Union: his father spent fifteen years in a prison camp, not for murder or theft, but "just for being alive." Eckerts:
Pasha Al Diavolo: Pasha's not impressed by Alexei's nonstop criticism of their former home and tells him so, in Russian.
Icee Condescension: In the car after dinner, Tuan asks Elizabeth what Pasha said. When she tells him, he laughs contemptuously: "It's just such a stupid thing to say. My whole family died back home. I was out with my grandma when they bombed the village. My parents, brother and sister, aunt and uncle, cousins -- these kids have no idea. Family, more food than they can eat, all these clothes. I can get Pasha to do anything I want. He's weak." "You've done a good job with him," says Elizabeth, who undoubtedly agrees with Tuan's assessment of soft American kids straight down the line what with the two she's got at home. But also yikes, look out Pasha or Tuan will shiv you and feel zero remorse about it.
Less Than A Feeling
Situation: Paige's feelings have been oozing all over the episode, and Elizabeth's done, telling Philip as they pull into the garage, "I'm sick of treating her like a goddamn kid." So she and Philip stop by her room for a serious talk.
What makes it awkward? What's worse than having the sex talk with your parents? When it's the talk about how to compartmentalize your feelings after sex. Elizabeth: "If you're with him, and things start to get uncomfortable, or go bad -- you're feeling overwhelmed, or emotional, or uncertain -- rub your thumb and your forefinger together, and picture me and your father, to help remind yourself of who you are and where you come from." Philip says it's a little thing, but that if Paige practises, it'll always be there for her. Wait, THAT'S IT?! Not even a spoon scraping a china teacup? Does this work because they tell Paige it does? I AM DUBIOUS.
How is order restored? It's not: we still don't know for sure how far Paige's curious hand got up Matthew's thigh earlier, and if she's already compromised her parents.
But she's got this gesture down pat.