The Americans Celebrate An All-American Thanksgiving
When the feds close in on a cell in the Midwest, Elizabeth must make a pilgrimage to Chicago and risk arousing suspicion in both Stan and Henry. YES, EVEN HENRY.
After some very recent previouslies, we open on the kitchen table chez Jennings, where a despondent Philip is sitting up waiting for Elizabeth. "Oh -- hi," she says when she walks in and sees him, aiming for breezy despite the more-horrible-than-usual assassinations she's coming from having just committed. She perfunctorily asks, "How was work?," and, with an edge, he replies, "Nothing new to report." "...Okay," says Elizabeth, in no mood to explore which of his jobs is giving him the most trouble at the moment. She pours and quickly downs a glass of water before blurting, "Tired, going to bed," but of course there's no escaping what Philip's sat up to tell her: "Stan came by." She stops. "He's very upset about a couple that was murdered right in front of their seven-year-old kid," says Philip, hitting that "c" and "k" especially hard. "Defector and his wife--" "I didn't do it in front of their kid," says Elizabeth defensively. "He was in another room, I-- I didn't see him." "He saw them," says Philip reproachfully.
"Covered in blood."
Elizabeth is visibly upset, but of course can't admit that to Philip, the quitter, so she digs in: "What do you want me to say?" Philip faintly shakes his head and, sneering, tells Elizabeth he's not going through with Operation Kimmy (though of course we know he did already play doctor with her, HEY-O). Elizabeth is stunned into several seconds of silence before murmuring, "Of course you aren't. You were never going to do it." "No, I was," says Philip bitterly, getting up. "You got me. Somehow, you got me." Uh, I think we all know how? After weeks or months of celibacy, she let you into her (high-waisted) pants? "You just wanted to fuck her," says Elizabeth of Kimmy. "You weren't getting enough action here." "You can think whatever you want," says Philip. Elizabeth tells him she'll deal with Kimmy: "Don't agonize over it." Philip takes a beat before informing her, with evident pride, "I warned her not to go to any Communist countries." Elizabeth narrows her eyes at this sabotage as Philip goes on: "I'm never going to see her again. It's over. That's over."
Elizabeth glares a few seconds longer before stomping off, while Philip watches her go in clench-jawed defiance. Maybe he was hoping to goad her into a sparring match, since with Paige he had to stay at like a 2?
At the top of the stairs, Elizabeth gives a brief glance toward the master bedroom before turning the other way and stomping into Paige's room, firmly closing the door and sitting on the bed to reflect, or seethe. After a brief interval, Philip follows -- guessing, when he gets upstairs, why Paige's door's not open, and retreating to the master alone. Good thing he likes country music now, because there are a lot of heartache songs he could soothe himself with -- though, probably, none that capture this precise situation. (At least, not until he is sufficiently moved to write "Smoke Show From Smolensk.")
After the credits, we're at the FBI, where we get less than a minute of Stan working on one of his non-Russian cases -- something involving a corrupt motel owner running a housing grift on the D.C. government -- before Aderholt comes in. Stan introduces Aderholt to his colleagues, saying, "He runs CI, most screwed-up division in the Bureau. Not that it's his fault." Obviously knowing Stan is still smarting from Gennadi and Sofia's murders, Aderholt just drily tells him, "Well, thanks for that." He tells Stan he needs him to come downstairs, to which Stan says he's not sure: "Every time I go down there, someone winds up dead." "Easy, there, Stan," warns Aderholt, while one of Stan's new colleagues makes a "Daaaaamn" face. Stan stares, gives one tiny twitch, and remembers it's not really a request.
The elevator doors are about to close on Stan and Aderholt when they glide open again and...
...THE MAIL ROBOT ROLLS IN. Hilariously, Stan and Aderholt stiffly back up and make room for good old M.R. to take up all the space between them; I realize this is only its second appearance this season, but this character is far more fully realized and three-dimensional than, for instance, Nesterenko. If this guy doesn't end up in the Smithsonian when the show is over, that institution should just SHUT DOWN. Anyway, when the doors have closed, Aderholt offers Stan the chance to blow off any more steam he may need to, but Stan, chastened, declines. "I mean, get it out now," Aderholt urges. Stan says he's fine.
And then we're in the Vault, which for the first time this season is full of agents, the cork board filled with evidence from Sofia and Gennadi's murders. Stan clearly was not expecting this level of activity, and asks Aderholt what's going on. Brace for exposition! "Before [Gennadi] died, one of his diplomatic pouches had a circuit board for some kind of sensor in it....Picks up radioactivity....Altheon makes them. They've got a plant in Chicago, and a warehouse here, out in Newington. Eight days after Bystrov's pouch leaves the country, there's a break-in at the warehouse. Three guards get killed....They're obviously after one of these sensors, but they didn't get it. The circuit board in Bystrov's pouch came from the Altheon plant in Chicago. Couple of people out there started looking at the employees, consultants -- anyone who could've had access. We get onto this one engineer. Forty-two years old. He folds in like five minutes. Tells us about this man he met in a bar who ended up recruiting him. They were, apparently, very intimate." Stan is LIVING for this scandal: "No shit." Aderholt says they had him set up another meeting: "Or...date? Whatever. We were there." "An Illegal?" asks Stan, scarcely daring to believe it. Aderholt smirks and, to build suspense, moves over to another part of the conference table: "Code name Harvest." He hands Stan a folder, which Stan flips open to a blurry head shot. "Lives in Skokie," Aderholt adds. "Runs an accounting business in Chicago. Him, two other accountants, and a secretary. We've had a team on him out there for almost two weeks now." He brings Stan over to a cork board and points to a clearer photo.
"It's been a gold mine," Aderholt enthuses. "We've been getting all sorts of intel on how he operates -- most of it's tradecraft we've never seen before. We're starting to use it to track down the rest of them." He pauses, and then lays it out: "I know you don't want to be down here, Stan. But look what's going on. We got Rennhull: a key general in the SDR program, once accused of being a Soviet spy, commits suicide in a public park? Then Bystrov and Sofia, the sensor in his pouch, this Illegal--" "And Burov shows up out of nowhere," Stan adds, "studying traffic or whatever it is." "The Russians are sitting down with us in public trying to negotiate this big treaty, but behind our backs, they're stealing our weapons and our technology -- as usual," says Aderholt. "They want to look peaceful, but really they're just trying to screw us! We're close, we're really close! We've got this guy in Chicago; we're going to get the Illegals here and all over the country based on what we're learning. It's going to happen fast. Because after this there are only four more episodes." Fine, he doesn't actually say that last part. But it is true! "You've been mad about this a long time," Aderholt reminds Stan. "I get why. But this is it, now. You should be here." Stan clenches really hard and wishes he hadn't bitched back in Episode 3 about how Gennadi's pouches never contained anything good, because you know he's just waiting for Aderholt to throw that back in his face like the previouslies just did eight minutes ago.
Then we're at the bus station, where Henry and his acid-washed jeans are debarking to be met by Philip. In the car, an extremely believable battle of wills ensues over the radio as Henry tries and fails to overrule Philip's choice of a C&W station playing an extremely twangy number. Philip changes the subject to finals, and Henry says everyone's panicking except him; he and some other guys on the hockey team started a study group, so they're fine, although he does have to finish reading "this Thoreau book" (lol there's really only the one), so Philip shouldn't be mad if he spends a lot of time in his room that weekend. Henry then takes an extremely long pause to remind us that Keidrich Sellati was maybe sidelined because he had a suspension-of-disbelief-threatening growth spurt and/or maybe because he is not a very talented performer, and broaches the awkward subject of his education, hesitantly saying that he doesn't want to leave St. Edward's. Philip uncomfortably says he knows, and that he's doing the best he can. Henry says he talked to the bursar, who says there are other scholarships for which Henry can apply; he adds that he's going to get a summer job. Philip goldfishes his mouth a few seconds before saying he knows Henry's trying to help, but that "tuition alone" (so I guess housing isn't included? I have no idea how boarding school works but that sounds like a scam) is $9000. Henry knows, but he's not talking about getting a job at the mall. He has a friend named Jason, whose dad owns a tannery in West Virginia; Jason works there every year, and said Henry can too. At first, Philip is aghast...
...but when Henry says that the tannery pays $7.10 an hour (well above the $4.55 I was initially paid when I got my first job at the public library three years later! Did I mention I am old?)...
...Philip looks like maybe he might also like an application. Henry adds that room and board ARE included there, so, take a note, snooty rich school for swells. Into the silence as Philip ponders how much he's failed his teenaged son for Henry to be trying to solve this problem himself, Henry says he knows it's not enough, but he thought there might also be some things they could do to help the business, adding, "Don't get mad." Philip looks alarmed. "Jason's dad owns a couple of different companies," Henry explains, "and I told him we were having some problems with the travel agency." "HENRY," snaps Philip, cuck of capitalism. Henry protests that Jason Sr. "was totally cool with it -- he said he'd had a few failures himself!" "I-- I haven't failed!" Philip protests, and I guess that's true in the sense that, from what we've seen, he's merely in the process of failing. "I haven't failed!" Philip repeats. "All-- You-- You told him I failed?" "No!" says Henry, his voice cutely breaking. But he adds that it doesn't matter -- Jason Sr. doesn't care, and would be happy to give Philip some advice. Philip whines that he doesn't know this guy (as opposed to pointing out that what Jason Sr. has learned as a tannery owner may not be relevant to the travel industry), but Henry says he's really nice, and dangles the possibility that he'd throw Philip some business and then refer all his other rich jerk friends. Philip looks utterly bereft. "Are you mad?" asks Henry. I mean, he DID tell Philip earlier not to be. Philip sighs that he's not, but that he just wishes Henry had talked to him first. Henry says he wasn't trying to talk about Philip behind his back; they were just discussing the tannery job and it came up. He implores Philip to talk to this guy. Philip will only go so far as "maybe." Seems like Henry should be working at Dupont Circle Travel, given that he's pretty adept with guilt trips: "I busted my ass for three years, and if I don't actually graduate from St. Edward's, it doesn't mean anything." I mean, if he actually did get a superior education there, which presumably was the point, he would probably sail through his senior year at a public high school at the top of his class and potentially have less competition applying to elite colleges than he would at a chi-chi private school...right? Isn't that how this shit works? But whatever! Henry closes by begging Philip to think about it, and Philip grimly says he will.
Wow, does this motherfucker need a win.
And then we're at an art house theatre. Elizabeth, in a more-convincing-than-usual long blonde wig, finds her way down the aisle toward this Chinatown Timothée Chalamet-ass-looking kid.
"This is Rififi, right?" Elizabeth asks. He glances up and distractedly confirms that it is. She chuckles that she mistakenly walked into Bob Le Flambeur: "Great movie, but I've already seen it." Shmimothée tells her she'll enjoy this. "Oh, you've seen it?" she asks, taking off her coat. Seeming faintly annoyed by her interruptions while he's trying to read, he says it's his third time: "It's the greatest heist movie in history." He glances around and mumbles, "Can't believe it's not more packed." Ugh, he's this guy. This may turn out to be Elizabeth's most challenging assignment yet, or maybe just the most challenging one for me to endure, unless/until she gets to kill him. She asks if anyone's sitting in the aisle seat of his row, and he tells her to go ahead. "I guess everyone's saving their money for Three Men And A Baby," she sniffs, sitting. "Yeah, right," he snorts. "Although the original, Trois Hommes Et Un Couffin, isn't bad." The original Timothée would have done a better job pronouncing that. "Surprisingly good, in fact," Elizabeth smiles, and finally Shmimothée decides to notice the beautiful woman trying to engage him.
Yes, Shmimothée: she has a crotch.
Back in the Vault, an Agent Loeb is briefing Stan and Aderholt about what the Skokie intel has taught them about the Illegals' operations: "There are thousands of places they could be renting as garages here that match the kind of places we tracked Harvest to in Chicago." They've found 200 so far, of which they still have twenty yet to check out, and are looking for more. Aderholt says that agents in Chicago may have identified a safe house of Harvest's: "Someone there is paying the utilities in advance, so that could be how they do things everywhere." They're going to check on accounts in D.C. that match that profile. Another agent asks about wiretaps, and Aderholt says there hasn't been anything they regard as definitive yet. Aderholt then walks Stan through what they've learned about Harvest's cars: two vehicles in undercover garages, both bought for cash through classified ads, with a fake ID on the registration. Stan wants to know how they determine that, and Aderholt delightedly explains that they'll check the registration on every car bought for cash in the D.C. area. Stan blinks. Aderholt goes on: they start in 1987, go back to 1978, pull IDs, and cross-reference them with the rest of the names and information they're getting from the Illegals' tradecraft, since they might use the same name on a lease or a utility bill.
Hey, wouldn't Stan like to go through what looks like about a thousand records??? "Lot of cars," Stan understates. Aderholt tells him to bring on as many other agents as he needs to go through the pile, so: seems like busywork; is actually extremely important.
After the movie, Elizabeth and Shmimothée come out together, still in the Rififi afterglow. "And that heist?" squeals Elizabeth. "I mean, what was that, like a half-hour of silence?" "Twenty-eight minutes," Shmimothée pedants. He shakes out a cigarette (and I feel I should note, given the pretension he's exuded since we met him, that at least they're just regular white ones and not Gitanes or some shit); he offers her one, and she accepts: "I can't say no after a French movie!" This perfectly sets up Shmimothée to mansplain that the director, Jules Dassin, isn't French; he was an American who had to work in France after getting blacklisted. He goes on to recommend another Dassin film, The Naked City, and tiresomely lectures about its significance for having been filmed on location in New York in the late '40s, when that was rare. "You know a lot about film!" Elizabeth fluffs. "It's the greatest art form of the 20th century," Shmimothée declares. Elizabeth then sets up what should be the easiest sell for any straight man who thinks he's an expert on anything: "I was going to go get some pizza. Do you want to tell me more?" Shmimothée stammers and looks away and finally says he has to be up really early for work, but that it was good talking to her. She agrees, and as he takes off, Elizabeth watches his retreating figure and wonders how this little pissant got the temerity to turn down ANY offer she could have made him.
When we see her next, Elizabeth is smoking again -- but now dewigged and on the back deck at home. Henry comes out to greet her and, though he's been away at school all season, no hug is offered or seemingly expected by either of them. MAN she is cold. Seeing her smoke, which we never saw her do at home until this season, he doesn't comment but just asks if he can bum one. There's a long moment as Elizabeth kind of smiles in amused disbelief, then regards him appraisingly, and then goes for her pack, at which Henry is scandalized: "No, holy shit, I was joking! Put 'em away, are you trying to give me cancer?" Elizabeth, smiling, complies, and Henry disappointedly asks if she's "been smoking a lot." "I smoke," says Elizabeth wearily. "I always smoked. It relaxes me." Henry claims he gets it. Elizabeth allows that she probably smokes more now than she used to: "But you're an adult now. I don't have to hide things from you anymore." Careful, Elizabeth: real American mothers don't generally think of their sixteen-year-old children as adults. They do, however, offer to make food -- as Elizabeth goes on to do -- for sixteen-year-old children who are perfectly capable of assembling their own damn sandwiches. They head inside, where Philip is tensely doing paperwork at the kitchen table, though he puts it away and leaves the room when they enter. Henry notes the tension in the silence between his parents, but Elizabeth is about to serve him up some mac and cheese, so clearly now is not the time to get into it.
The next day, Henry comes down to see Philip still at the table eating breakfast. Henry asks whether Paige is home; Philip doesn't think so, but Henry saw someone sleeping in her bed the night before. Philip says that Elizabeth slept in there, since she had to get up early, which Henry accepts. He then asks whether Philip isn't late for work, and Philip checks his watch and agrees that he is: "Unless...I am the boss." He smiles mischievously. Henry, to his credit, does not remind Philip that he's supposed to be making that St. Edwards tuition paper, so maybe he should quit fucking around and go sell some goddamn cruises.
Instead of doing that, Philip takes Henry to a slot car raceway. Henry's in the middle of telling Philip a story about some kid he knows who had to go to the hospital after a bike accident or something, but Philip isn't paying much attention, since he's way too into the performance of his (cucky) turquoise slot car, which presently spins out and has to be reset by an attendant...and then spins out again, as Philip's irritation rises...and then again...
...at which Philip screams "FUCK!!!" way too loud given both the situation and the venue. He gets up to reset his car himself...
...while Henry watches him, looking shocked. "You okay?" he asks quietly, when Philip has sat back down. Philip, embarrassed but also still tense, says he is, and apologizes. "Is it work?" Henry asks. Philip is like, yes, but no. "Is it Mom?" Henry asks, concerned. Philip, alarmed, swivels to look at Henry as he asks what he means. Henry's not sure how to answer, except to say that Philip and Elizabeth don't really talk. Philip, smiling ruefully, claims that everything's fine: "Look, I love your mother, she loves me, it's just, sometimes-- Everything's fine." Henry doesn't seem reassured, but drops it.
Then we're on the Metro, as the world's newest Jules Dassin superfan makes her way through a car and "happens" to end up right next to Shmimothée! "Rififi," she greets him. He looks up, and smiles when he recognizes her: "Oh! Yeah!" She regretfully tells him she hasn't seen The Naked City yet. He tells her she's got to, and she says she's had too much work. "Yeah, tell me about it," he says. She asks what he does, and he haltingly says he's an intern for Sam Nunn (so, this is someone she's working because of that shot of Nesterenko from the last episode, which featured an aide from Nunn's office; this isn't Paige's guy). "Oh, I know Sam," says Elizabeth casually. Shmimothée asks how, and she admits she doesn't know him personally, but that he works with people in her firm: she's a consultant at a firm called McIlraith. Shmimothée says he's heard of it, but doesn't get what a corporate consultancy would have to do with Nunn. "Well, someone has to tell him what to do," she "jokes." As they settle into newly vacated seats, she asks, "Your friends don't like foreign films?" He laughs that they don't. Elizabeth says it was the same when she was younger; she always had to go alone. She asks if he's planning to go into politics, and he says it's not really his thing; he's just in D.C. for the semester: "Putting off going home to work for my dad," who manufactures pavement sealers and maintenance products. Elizabeth puts on a look of heartbreak at the tragedy that this sensitive film appreciator is being shunted against his will into so (literally) pedestrian a career before jokingly asking, "And you don't find that interesting?" They both crack up, and Shmimothée mumbles, "Let's just put it this way: nobody in Marietta, Georgia, is going to Rififi." "Right," she murmurs. He backpedals slightly, saying it's not that they're "backwards"; it's just a small town. The most formative event of his youth was apparently a family trip to London when Shmimothée was fifteen. "That must have been exciting," Elizabeth patronizes. "I came back home with an English accent," says Shmimothée -- unnecessarily; we all would have assumed he did whether he said so or not. Elizabeth laughs, and then hands him a card and tells him he should call her: the firm is "a cool place." His dad would be "really impressed" with the business side: "But we also figure out ways to bring culture to corporations -- make them more human. And, we've got a great management training program." This earns an interested eyebrow raise from Shmimothée. "And besides," she concludes, "us film nerds need to stick together." Pleaaaaaaase kill this guy fast. I can't with any of this. And finally Elizabeth asks his name: it's Jackson Barber, so I regretfully retire the Shmimothée alias.
Philip has, apparently, managed to make it to work, because now Stavos is coming into his office at Philip's request. It's extremely obvious what's about to happen, because I guess Philip is only able to mask his real emotions when he's got a wig on, but Stavos can't seem to see where things are going, even when Philip refers to issues with "the bottom line." "I know this," Stavos interrupts. Philip gets hopeful, thinking this won't have to get more painful for both of them, as Stavos goes on: "I know you, Meester Feelup -- I see stress on your face all the time." Philip agrees that it's been a hard year. Stavos nods. "I'm going to have to let some people go," says Philip. This...comes as a surprise to Stavos? Apparently? Like, what did he think small businesses do when they get into financial trouble? Philip says there's no other way to keep the agency open without losing staff: "And I wanted you to be one of the first to hear, because you've been here a long time." Stavos nods understandingly at this acknowledgement of their long professional relationship. It's not until Philip says he thinks of Stavos as a friend that he finally gets that he is getting fired, right now. "You and Lacey and Steve," Philip adds, unprofessionally, since we just saw Steve and Lacey walk past the doorway behind Stavos, and given how cheery they were, he has not actually told them yet. Ask A Manager would be appalled! Philip then goes on to twist the knife, saying he went through all the records and is letting go the employees whose sales are lowest -- I guess to explain why Stavos is getting axed despite his seniority, but like, Stavos didn't ask, so maybe he didn't need to know the gory details! Philip ends by saying he's "so sorry," and Stavos gathers his dignity and leaves, by which I mean he does so without telling Philip to fuck off.
And then it's the next day, as Philip is coming home from some kind of athletic activity, which is when we find out from context clues (Henry whipping mashed potatoes) that the reason Henry's home is that it's Thanksgiving. Philip fired Stavos on Thanksgiving Eve. Presumably this isn't a holiday that's particularly meaningful to Stavos, but still: dick move! Philip tries to get away from Elizabeth by heading for the shower, but Paige says they'll be done by then and makes him come help. Just then the phone rings; Elizabeth keeps it short and hangs up, announcing, "That was work. I have to go....I'll be back as soon as I can." Paige and Philip nod knowingly, while oblivious Henry doesn't even merit a reaction shot.
Elizabeth goes to a park to meet Claudia, who briefs her on the Chicago situation from the Soviet side: Harvest sent an emergency signal, because he knows he's under surveillance. She hands Elizabeth an envelope: "See if you can get him out. Apparently he's been working on...whatever it is you've been working on. Mexico." Elizabeth, realizing what this means for Harvest, blanches, but in case we forgot, Claudia adds, "It means he can't get arrested." "Bulgaria isn't going to happen," Elizabeth tells her, disgustedly adding, "Philip wouldn't do it." Claudia seems surprised, but shakes it off, saying that when she gets back they need to talk about their strategy with regard to Nesterenko -- and based on Elizabeth's sharp sidelong look, I'm guessing that strategy is going to be "kill him, ideally in a less messy way than you killed the Bystrovs." "I may have someone in Sam Nunn's office," Elizabeth tells Claudia. "Good," Claudia replies, and Elizabeth quickens her step as they part.
Elizabeth is still walking fast back in her room at home, as she packs. Philip, now dressed for dinner in an era-appropriate dorky sweater, comes in and closes the door behind him, asking where she's going; she tells him Chicago, and: immediately. "Now?" he gasps. "That's not going to look good -- it's Thanksgiving." WONDER HOW STAVOS IS CELEBRATING. Sorry, but seriously, would a week have made $9000 worth of difference?! Anyway, Elizabeth doesn't care, telling Philip, "Figure it out." Philip asks what's going on: "We should talk, because it's better not to let bad feelings fester." "You can take your Forum bullshit and you can shove it up your ass," she spits. Hurtful, but I see her point! "One of us is in trouble in Chicago, Philip. I'm going there to help him. Someone who's doing his job -- someone who still gives a shit." Off she stomps with her wee weekend bag, and Philip is cucked again. She's going to be lucky if he doesn't Rennhull himself while she's gone.
Elizabeth is striding through the front hall when Paige, back in those awful jeans, stops her to ask if Elizabeth's sure she can't come. Elizabeth is: "It would raise too much suspicion at Stan's." That's kind of her to say; I really doubt Paige would be invited regardless of what day it was. Paige: "Should I--" "Houston," says Elizabeth firmly. "Business emergency." They actually hug, for once, as Elizabeth says she'll see her when she gets back. Paige, I swear to god, you must burn these jeans.
They make you look like you're wearing four diapers!
I guess Paige and Elizabeth could have that conversation out in the open because Henry's already gone across the street to see his old friend Stan. Pleasantries are exchanged as Stan carves; Stan, obviously, opens by asking about school, and Henry doesn't dime out Philip for his possibly imminent inability to keep Henry there. Stan asks about girls, and Henry says there was one but that it ended quickly; he doesn't know why, and jokingly suggests that Stan could come up to school and interrogate her. Aderholt and his wife, Janine, enter, having put the baby down for a nap and poured the wine. This is also where we learn that Aderholt put in a good word for Renee, who has gone through with her application to work at the FBI. REMINDER THAT THEY HAVE BUT FOUR MORE EPISODES AFTER THIS TO LET US KNOW WHAT HER DEAL IS ALREADY. The doorbell rings and Stan goes to get it, admitting Philip and Paige. He peers around the door for Elizabeth before closing it, and when Renee asks where she is, Philip sounds credibly put-upon as he launches into the cover story under Paige's appraising eye: "Ohhhhhhh, on her way to Houston....We had this client, organized a big family reunion. Damn airline stranded Uncle Somebody and Cousin Whoever in Atlanta. He's pissed, he's a CEO, one of our biggest clients, threatened to drop us -- he finally agreed to meet her, but she has to fly down there." ...Okay, not his best, but let's remember he had about five minutes to come up with it. Stan says he knows what it's like when work gets in the way, and Philip wrinkles his face convincingly and nods in response. Renee promises to get her leftovers, as if Elizabeth gives half a shit about the traditional foods of this celebration of American genocide. ...Maybe the mashed potatoes.
Obviously Stan does not regard the holiday that way and is not woke enough to use his toast to advocate for Thanksgiving to be renamed National Ethnic Cleansing Day. Instead, he says he's sorry not everyone could be there, but that he's grateful to be there with friends and family: "Grateful for everything we have in this country. You know, not everybody around the world wants us to be able to live in peace." Aderholt nods sagely instead of noting, as one of the only two people of colour at the table, that when it comes to "living in peace" in the U.S., ONE'S MILEAGE MAY VARY, but I guess cop cancels out race. Stan continues: "But aren't those the things the pilgrims came here for in the first place?"
Paige arranges her face into a bland non-expression though you KNOW she is dying laughing inside at his naïveté. "If you ask me, we should all be willing to fight to hold onto them," says Stan, "because there are people out there who don't like our way of life. They're afraid of it -- of us. And we have an administration right now -- President Reagan and his people -- they know that the only way to get to peace is to stand firm against those who wish us harm. And believe me, they do wish us harm. Make no mistake about that." He looks across the table at Renee, who squinches her lips in an unmistakable "I get it, but wrap it up." To everyone's relief, Stan closes up the "profound" segment of the evening.
After dinner, Philip gets restless.
Tears For Fears's "Ideas As Opiates" scores a montage as Philip gets up from his brooding on his bed; quietly sneaks down the hall past Henry's closed door; creeps into the Secret Basement Of Spycraft; drives a secret car to the Secret Offsite Garage Of Spycraft Featuring The Wig Depository; opens Elizabeth's locker and rifles through what we recognize as the Stephanie look she wears to the Haskards'; opens another box filled with the expected passports and cash...
...but ALSO contains Elizabeth's sketchbook! Finally, the payoff for all her drawing lessons! (Not bad, "Stephanie"'s reflexive self-deprecation to the contrary.) Maybe this evidence of Elizabeth's artistic efforts convinces him there's more to her than leaving parents' corpses around for their child to find -- I mean, obviously there's no denying that's in the mix, but she's also interested in rendering shadows! Philip ends up back in the Secret Basement and, from a cigar box, retrieves a bunch of spy gear to write a message. Outside later, he walks around a corner and slides what appears to be a square metal plate in the space between a window ledge and its security grate.
And then we're in Chicago, where Elizabeth and Marilyn are plotting their moves on maps spread out over a hotel room bed. Elizabeth wishes Harvest's commute were less straightforward, which makes it easy for the feds to cover; she points to one spot she thinks they might be able to get him. Marilyn hesitantly says she's not sure about this plan, and asks, "just between us," what Elizabeth thinks are the odds they'll pull it off. "Not great," Elizabeth eventually admits. Marilyn watches her and nods -- obviously not thrilled, but seeming to appreciate that Elizabeth respects her enough to confess weakness. As Elizabeth continues poring over the map, Marilyn comments, "You should get Erica more patchouli oil," and this is the first time I realize that her trip to the Haskard house to get Glenn's baseball jacket wasn't a one-off and that she's been "Stephanie"'s colleague "Colleen" all along. Duh. Anyway, Elizabeth is surprised by this suggestion; Marilyn explains that Erica likes it when "Colleen" uses it to rub her feet. "She let you touch her feet?" Elizabeth marvels. Marilyn shrugs. I guess "Colleen"'s not getting art lessons if Erica's monopolizing her hands like that. Elizabeth says they should get some rest, and when Marilyn leaves the room, Elizabeth gets misty. She sits on the bed, takes off her shoes, and leans back awkwardly with her back against the headboard, hands in her lap. After a moment, she looks at the TV, being wasted (it's off), before picking up a pad and pencil from the nightstand and, like a good student, doing her homework. I'm not saying it's because now she knows the alternative would be giving foot rubs, but I'm not not saying that either.
In the Vault, agents are dishing up from a Thanksgiving leftovers pot luck. Aderholt takes his place behind Stan in the buffet line, asking how it's going; Stan says he's got fifty guys working phones. Aderholt asks for the return of an Agent Samuels to help with the priests: Harvest was seen meeting with a Russian Orthodox clergyman, so they're looking at ones in D.C. He changes the subject to the dinner at Stan's the previous day, apologizing for a mess his baby Calvin made on a rug; Stan waves it off, saying Renee is crazy about Calvin and wouldn't care what he did. Aderholt, in the way of all new parents, asks if Stan and Renee are considering having kids, and since we know that Renee is older than thirty-seven, I'm going to say probably not? Which is pretty much what Stan replies, minus the rude specifics.
Henry hears the phone ringing in Paige's room and comes in to pick up: it's Elizabeth, on a pay phone in Chicago. Henry says Philip's not home, but she says she's calling for him. This is so unlike her that Henry doesn't know how to react, but he rolls with it, sitting on Paige's bed and politely asking how Houston is. She tells him it's hot, and asks how things are there. Henry says it's cold, but better than New Hampshire. Obviously unaccustomed to expressing any interest in her son's life, Elizabeth awkwardly asks, "How's everything going?" He says school's okay. She asks about a favourite class, and he says he likes American Lit, except Walden, the terrible book he's reading now. Elizabeth (obviously) has never read it (and is missing nothing), and Henry describes it: "It's about this guy who sits at a pond and just thinks about how boring it is." This is accurate but leaves out all the matters of uninterrogated privilege which I wouldn't expect Henry to recognize or his snooty school to address, but I'll stop there because I DON'T WANT TO BORE YOU WORSE THAN THAT PIECE OF SHIT BOOK PROBABLY ALREADY HAS. Elizabeth giggles and asks why it would have been assigned; Henry doesn't know: "It's important literature, apparently." She asks about girlfriends, and Henry tells her less than he told Stan, simply saying, "Working on it." Elizabeth blinks and, having run out of conversation, haltingly ends the call. Let's call that a failed experiment.
Back in D.C., Oleg walks around a familiar corner, after dark, and retrieves the plate Philip left in the window.
Henry is in the kitchen eating pie when Philip walks in, warningly asking whether that's the last piece. Henry says it's the second-last one, and Philip breathes a slightly theatrical sigh of relief. As he goes into the fridge for the final piece, Henry remembers that Elizabeth called. Philip asks what she said, and when Henry says she called for him, Philip is pleasantly surprised. Henry agrees that it was nice, but seems to think it was strange that she was asking about school and the weather. HEY MAN, SHE'S TRYING, AND YOU'RE FUCKING DULL. "It was weird, 'cause she never really calls me?" says Henry. "We barely ever talk." Philip frowns and cocks his head like he's about to make an excuse for her, but stays quiet as Henry keeps talking: "All of a sudden, she's calling me from a business trip and asking me about English class? I don't know. Whatever. I just really don't understand why she's so unhappy." This pulls Philip up short, and to his murmured, "What?," Henry repeats his assessment. "She has a nice life, right?" "Y...eah," Philip replies. "I think so." Ah, the age-old question: how can Elizabeth be such a Commie when she's got all those gorgeous boots???
Back in Oleg's hotel room, we see that what he's retrieved is actually two plates, which he takes apart to reveal a slip of paper. From his dopp kit, he removes little bottles of what look like mouthwash and aftershave and mixes a little of each in a small cup. While they're commingling, he takes out a pad and counts pages, tearing one out. He sets it on the desk next to his cup, which he stirs again before dipping his fingers in it and using them to paint the page until text appears. Setting his note next to the code key, he gets to work...but we'll have to find out what the message is later.
And then it's Philip's turn to make a pay phone call -- this one to Elizabeth's hotel room phone. She's just as shocked to hear from him as Henry was to hear from her, but her voice is soft as she returns his greeting and asks if everything's okay. He says it is, and that he was calling to see if everything is all right with her. "I don't know," she tells him. "Not really....It's just a, uh, hard one." "You might lose the client?" Philip slowly asks. "I'm not sure I can accomplish what I came here for," she says, "without-- It's just going to be tough." Philip blinks, and asks, "Without what?" "More help," she admits, reluctantly. "Are you asking me to come?" he checks. "I'll handle it, this is my side of the business," she tells him. After a long beat, Philip tells her, "I don't think that's been working these last few months, and he's not the only client in the world."
Elizabeth's eyes are bright with tears at what Philip's suggesting as he continues: "Why don't you come home?" She shakes her head and breathes, "What's happened to you?" He sighs: "Nothing, still the same asshole as always, doesn't care about anyone but himself, right?" "I'm not coming home," she tells him hoarsely. Philip nods: "Okay. I'll come." Elizabeth's jaw drops and she hurriedly tells him, "N-- Nobody's asking you to do that." "I know," Philip replies. "Just sit tight. I'm on my way." Maybe he'll be so distracted that Steve and Lacey can remain employed through the capitalist orgy better known as Christmas!!! God bless them, every one.