Patrick Harbron / FX

The Americans Hit The (Berlin) Wall

In which Elizabeth tries to treat her stress with cinema and self-help but ultimately falls back on a proven (bloody) classic.

  • Snapshot
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  • Passages
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    До свидания, Martha

    In the dark, Philip drives Martha to a tiny airfield, where a small prop plane awaits. (He's also got Gabriel in the back seat, assumedly to make sure Philip actually takes Martha to the right plane and doesn't try to drive her to Canada or something.) As Gabriel hands off William's duffel and its precious deceased-rodent cargo to the pilot, Philip opens Martha's car door and slowly, the better not to spook her, walks her toward the plane, holding her hand. Neither can manage to speak until Martha screws up her courage and tells Philip, "Don't be alone, Clark. All right? Don't be alone." "You too," he chokes. "Oh, sure," she scoffs. "I'll just learn Russian and--"

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    "Yeah, okay. Me too." Martha leans forward and kisses Philip. He's in pain, but Martha's either made her peace with what's about to happen or has learned (through her own pain) that there's no point fighting the inevitable, and she bravely turns and boards the plane.

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    Framed in the airplane window, Martha looks like a cameo.

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    Philip watches impotently, trying and failing to reassure her with a smile. Martha keeps her eyes on Philip as the plane turns around and rolls toward the runway.

    Previously.TV

    Previously.TV

    As the plane actually gets airborne, Philip exhales with a start, like he didn't think it was actually going to happen and still can't quite believe that it has, and thus we must say our goodbyes, too, as the plane's taillights are swallowed by the dark. Farewell, Martha! I don't know whether I should hope for you actually to make it to the USSR, or to get put out of your misery in Cuba with a clean head shot Philip never needs to know about.

  • Dialogue

    Last time, he made a whole seven-ton Learjet disappear. But that was nothing.

    Doesn't sound like nothing.

    Mom, this is the Statue of Liberty. Every single person I know is going to be watching this...except, probably, my dad, because he won't be here.

    [wandering in to hear the end of this] Won't be here for what?

    David Copperfield's making the Statue of Liberty disappear on TV.

    Oh! Well, chances are I will be watching it disappear with you. We just lost a big client, so I have a lot more time on my hands.

    Does this mean we're going to be running low on the moolah?

    We can eat less steak!

    The good news is, I won't be spending a couple of nights away every week anymore.

    You won't?

    Start getting used to more Dad.

  • Awkward
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    You've Tried The Rest, Now Maybe Try est

    Situation: Philip and Elizabeth are alone in the house the morning after Martha's extraction.

    What makes it awkward? Both of them are having complicated feelings about the end of Philip's other marriage, but neither knows how to talk about it. Obviously Elizabeth wants to know how the actual departure went, but Philip is not forthcoming.

    How is order restored? Elizabeth changes the subject, asking what Philip's reading.

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    Still curious about the whole est thing, Elizabeth asks whether he's finding it helpful, and Philip gruffly says, "It's helping me realize some things." For example? "This whole winter I wanted to play hockey, so I'm gonna start playing hockey again." Elizabeth:

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    This non-answer is sufficiently irritating that Elizabeth retrieves a pack of cigarettes hidden in the back of a cupboard and goes out to smoke. So: order is restored in that they've returned to their dysfunctionally poor communication habits -- unproductive, yes, but at least it's familiar.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Live Fast, Die Young, Bad Girls Do It Well

    The cigarette isn't enough to improve Elizabeth's mood, so she makes a phone call, suits up as "Patty," and meets Young Hee for Tender Mercies (a title I nearly always confuse with Tender Is The Night. But don't worry: they've gone to see the romance about an alcoholic country singer, not a fictionalized portrayal of how much F. Scott Fitzgerald hated his wife). Young Hee is embarrassed to come out crying -- she even cried at Star Wars, she says -- and after she stops at a decorative mirror to try to tidy up her eye makeup, she confesses to "Patty," "I feel really guilty for trying to turn you into independent beauty consultant so I can make extra money." After reminding Young Hee that they don't take her money out of Elizabeth's, Young Hee says she knows: "I like you, and my mother always say, don't mix money and friendship." "Well, you're not going to make much money off of me, so our friendship is very safe," cracks Elizabeth. They then notice a couple of teenagers sneaking into another movie and, without really speaking any actual words other than "Look" (Young Hee) and "Yawanna?" (Elizabeth), they very casually turn around and slide into The Outsiders. So now we know that Young Hee considers "Patty" a real friend and not just a pyramid-scheme mark; that Young Hee has a mischievous side; and that both Young Hee and Elizabeth are about to have wet dreams about a young Patrick Swayze.

  • Dialogue

    Beer Beer Beer Bed Bed Bed

    After Stan comes over to borrow some of Philip's beer -- Stan's has mysteriously gone missing lately! -- and commiserate about a very shitty week at work, he turns down the dinner invitation of a just-arrived Elizabeth, wanders home, and leaves Philip to give her the full debrief.

    Turns out they were on to her. Stan just told me they were in the middle of a disaster at work. I'd been worried I'd pulled her for nothing.

    Well, you were right. She had to get out. She'll be okay. She was a nice woman. She was straight-ahead, uncomplicated. Simple, she was--

    She wasn't simple.

    I don't mean simple, I meant...easy. You know, to talk to. You could probably talk to her about those things that you've been talking about.

    She was actually very complicated.

    [nodding] Of course.

    People underestimated her.

    Apparently.

  • Meeting Time
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    Forget-Her-Not

    Who called the meeting? Gabriel.

    What's it about? Philip's handing off intel from Kimmy -- remember her?

    How'd it go? After Gabriel tells Philip that his son (remember him?!) finished his tour and safely back to the Soviet Union, Philip asks whether he has any family there. Gabriel says that Irina's father lives in Moscow. (I have to assume they're bringing up all these Season 3 names because they're about to be important in the last third of this season but I GUESS WE'LL SEE.) Philip then moves on to a question he has obviously not stopped thinking about since he put Martha on the plane: is there any word on her travels? "No," says Gabriel flatly. Philip wants someone to contact her parents about her "soon," and Gabriel nods, saying The Centre will do it when it's safe: "Six months, maybe." Philip:

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    "They'll think she's dead," he spits. "Philip, there are procedures in place for this," says Gabriel evenly. "It's not perfect. It's a hard situation." Off Philip's guilty look, Gabriel murmurs, "All right. Maybe you can call them yourself, and maybe we can make it happen sooner -- a little sooner." Philip wants to promise Martha's parents that they'll see her again, but Gabriel sighs, "You know that won't be possible." "Things can be arranged, Gabriel" says Philip urgently. "If we want to do it, we can do it. Come on." "Philip, you cannot do this one on your own," says Gabriel firmly. "And I don't see The Centre agreeing. I'm sorry." Philip:

    Previously.TV

    Previously.TV

    So now Philip is distraught that he's broken up a family, and Gabriel is annoyed that his agent is being a suck. Let's call this a bad meeting for everyone involved.

  • That Happened
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    Something With Tatiana's Brother, idk

    After Oleg comes in to Tatiana's office triumphantly reporting that Martha made it to Cuba and is waiting for a flight to Prague -- adding that Tatiana deserves a commendation for her part in pulling it off -- he notices that she seems distracted and quiet and asks what's up. Apparently, her brother was "called up"; he can't say but she thinks he'll be serving in Herat. She's embarrassed by her emotional display of...looking a little upset, but Oleg is undeterred and, without meeting her eye, grips her hand supportively. Tatiana:

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    So was Tatiana's brother really called up, or is she working Oleg somehow, as Stan has thus far been hesitant to do? (You've only got five episodes to make me understand why we're spending so much time with these two dullards at the expense of Arkady, show. Figure it out.)

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Philip vs. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth comes home to find Philip getting his hockey shit out of a cupboard, and after confirming that the kids are out again -- thanks for all the free babysitting, Stan! -- she announces that she went to est. Immediately on his guard (and, er, rightly so, as we are about to see), Philip hesitantly asks what made her do that. "I told you I was going to go," she chirps ingenuously. But then she says she sees why Philip likes it: "Things that are hard to talk about, that hurt too much, maybe it's good that someone makes you look at those things." Philip admits that it is weird to do it in front of strangers, but Elizabeth finishes his thought -- that they make you question what you're saying: "It helps. I can-- I can see that."

    Previously.TV

    Previously.TV

    "...But?" Philip asks. Elizabeth pauses before chuckling, "They just try so hard to get you to sign up for more. You know, spend more money. Bring in your friends." "That's not the point," says Philip quietly. "I think that is the point," says Elizabeth. "They manipulate you to get at your wallet." "You think I'm being manipulated," says Philip, insulted. "I just think it's very American, the whole thing," Elizabeth shrugs. "You don't get it," Philip tells her. "That's what they say when you don't go along with it," she immediately replies. "'You don't get it.' So you do sign up for more seminars. You spend more money. And then suddenly, you get it!" "I get a lot out of it, and that's what matters," says Philip sternly. "But are you? Getting a lot?" she shoots back. "Because from what I can see, you're not sleeping, you're not eating." "Yeah, and there's a reason for that," says Philip hoarsely. "Because you put Martha on a plane, is that it?" asks Elizabeth, faintly disgusted. "Isn't that enough?" he hisses. Elizabeth impatiently reminds him, "It happens, Philip. We lose agents." "'Agents'?" Philip repeats incredulously. "That is what she was," says Elizabeth. "She was a human being," says Philip emotionally. "AT LEAST SHE'S ALIVE," snaps Elizabeth. "You didn't have to send her out onto the street to get mowed down." "You want to talk about GREGORY, NOW?" yells Philip. "I have not said a word about Gregory ALL THIS TIME," Elizabeth reminds him. "But you still think about him, apparently," barks Philip. "Of course I still think about him!" yells Elizabeth. "WELL I'm SORRY THE MAN YOU LOVED DIED AND YOU'RE STUCK WITH ME!" screams Philip (and it's one of those moments where you realize the people who make this show must try hard to keep Matthew Rhys from shouting, because his Welsh accent really comes out when he does). "I am stuck with you because I TOOK YOU BACK," counters Elizabeth. "After you SLEPT with the woman who had your son and you LIED TO MY FACE ABOUT IT!!!" Hoooooooooo lot of old business, here, guys.

    Winner: With the can open and worms everywhere, the phone rings, so this fight ends in a draw.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Everyone vs. Philip

    Philip and Elizabeth's fight is on hold, temporarily, so they can meet with Gabriel at the safe house; he reports that Martha's touched down in Cuba en route to Prague. Elizabeth says that her old AA pal Lisa (last seen getting pushed around by her jerk husband Maurice in the penultimate episode of Season 3 -- which, in show time, was just a few weeks ago) wants to meet sooner than usual, and Elizabeth doesn't know why. Philip is silent and pouty and Elizabeth is bristling with hostility, so Gabriel asks what the problem is. "Fine, I'll tell him," snaps Philip. "I've been going to est." "est?" Gabriel repeats. "Yeah," says Philip. "It's a type of seminar." "I know what it is," says Gabriel disdainfully. "The question is why." But then they don't really get into specifically what might be tormenting Philip because a verbal slap fight breaks out instead. Philip tartly tells Gabriel he wouldn't understand what Philip gets out of est because he hasn't lived Philip's life, but actually Gabriel thinks he has, or close enough. "He doesn't want to hear it from you, Gabriel, or me," snips Elizabeth. "Apparently, he needs a group of strangers in some hotel room to listen to him." Philip, hurt that Gabriel and Elizabeth think his thing is dumb, silently takes his leave. Gabriel, not very encouragingly, asks if Elizabeth wants to talk about it and seems relieved when she doesn't: "I'm tired. I'm going to go home, take my antibiotic, and then I'm going to take a nap." Replace the antibiotic with some M&Ms and that sounds like a perfect evening to me.

    Winner: Skeptical Soviets.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Elizabeth vs. Paige

    Elizabeth is cooking (slash Keri Russell is hiding her baby bump behind the kitchen island) when Paige comes home. Elizabeth curiously says she thought Paige had Bible study today, but Paige says she decided to skip it: "I'm just-- I went last week and the week before." "You have to go every week, Paige, if you're going to stay close to Pastor Tim." Paige wearily says it's okay if she skips a week. Elizabeth, her voice getting tighter, replies, "I can see why it might look that way to you, but you need to maintain a consistent presence in his life." "When you go to Bible study, you have to talk, and be into it, so if I'm not in the mood, it's going to be obvious," Paige testily explains. Elizabeth: "Well, then, you GET yourself in the mood." Paige, for some reason, thinks she and Elizabeth are peers and that she can just shrug off the discussion whenever she wants, but Elizabeth corrects her on that one with a quickness, barking, "Get back in here right now."

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    Previously.TV

    When Paige has trudged back into the kitchen -- a little too defiantly for my taste, frankly -- Elizabeth lowers her voice and reminds her, "We have been trying, Paige -- trying to be nice to you, trying to forgive you for what you did. But if you think for a minute you can be precious about your moods when it comes to Pastor Tim and his wife--" "I can't control how I feel," whines Paige. "You CAN control what you do," bellows Elizabeth, proceeding to lay out their situation with zero ambiguity: "And from now on, you are going to. And let me be clear about what you are going to do. You are going to go to Bible study every week. You are going to go to Sunday services every week. You are going to find some other shit to volunteer for at that goddamn church so that not a day goes by without you seeing Pastor Tim and his wife. And then you are going to come home every night and you're going to tell me and your father everything that happened -- what was said, their moods, their attitudes, their feelings -- because THAT is WHAT IS IMPORTANT right now. Because thanks to what YOU DID, that is ALL THAT STANDS BETWEEN US AND THIS FAMILY BEING DESTROYED." Paige:

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    Winner: Scary mommy!

  • Meeting Time
    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Patrick Harbron / FX

    "AND We Had To Do It Uphill Both Ways In The Snow!"

    Who called the meeting? Gabriel. And it's with Claudia, yay!

    What's it about? That Philip and Elizabeth are a couple of fucking crybabies.

    How'd it go? Gabriel is pretty disgusted -- "Bringing their marital spats to the job, going to est -- they say goodbye to an agent and they think it's the end of the world" -- and reminds Claudia that, in his day, there were things that were worse than a war: "I had a friend, Gakhov, a decorated officer. We were close in school. Then he became an enemy of the people. I had to go to his house and pull him out in front of his wife, his son, and his two daughters. The wife was screaming. The children were screaming. 'Not you, Comrade,' he said. They pushed him into a car. We did what we had to do! That was the way it was, or we got killed ourselves! They think this is so bad, what they're going through? They have no idea....I'm losing my influence with them. They're not listening to me." Claudia lets Gabriel vent, and then lays some truth on him: "Boo hoo....Things have gone to shit, and you think, 'Well, it's not their fault, so it has to be yours." "Well, whose fault is it?" Gabriel asks. "It's the world! You don't have the answer. I don't either. Do you think there's someone waiting in the wings who does?" So Gabriel doesn't really leave with any new tools to help him deal with his troubled agents, but maybe Claudia's helped him gain some new perspective, so in that respect it's at least a partial success.

  • Passages
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    Lisa's About Done With The Steps

    "Michelle" comes to check in on Lisa, who is in a bathrobe in the middle of the day and not doing great; she admits right away that her husband, Maurice, is drinking again, and so is she: "He took our money, all that money that's been coming in from you and Jack. He took it, ran off to Florida with some woman he met a month ago." Elizabeth tells Lisa urgently that they should go to an AA meeting right now, but Lisa's not in a place to do that, ignoring the suggestion and mumbling that she's sent her kids to her sister's. And she's been thinking, which, bad idea: "I've been living a lie. I need to make things right, and you do too. We need to tell the police about Jack, about what we've been doing."

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    Elizabeth starts to see that this conversation is taking a dangerous turn, and plainly tells Lisa that they can't go to any authorities. But Lisa says they have to; she started slipping in her recovery as soon as she started taking the money. The pressure is too much, and she cracked -- and "Michelle" will too if she doesn't come clean. "Lisa, I'm not going to crack," says a steely Elizabeth. Lisa says that's what she thought too, but that it snuck up on her. And when Elizabeth says she'll talk to "Jack" so that Lisa doesn't have to do anything she doesn't want to do. Lisa turns on him, saying he's probably got all kinds of women doing shit for him: "You need to get rid of that asshole!" Lisa gets desperate: "Please! Please help me! I can't go in there by myself! If we go in there together, they will give us immunity!" Elizabeth can't believe Lisa actually thinks that: "They'll take your kids. I know you feel bad right now, but you don't have to do this, okay? Let's just get to a meeting." "I'll do it by myself, then," mutters Lisa. "They don't want to make a deal, they don't get to hear what I have to say." Speaking of what Lisa has to say: the time for talking ends, abruptly.

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    Previously.TV

    Lisa writhes on the floor for a little while...

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    ...but probably not for much longer. So...I guess that's a series wrap on Lisa! It's probably a good thing we didn't meet her kids or we might feel even worse for whatever's going to happen to them next.

  • Meeting Time

    A Bloody Shame

    Who called the meeting? Gabriel.

    What's it about? I think it starts as a chill hang in which he aims to try to reconnect with Philip on a human level -- or so I surmise from the fact that he's pouring out Scrabble letters when Philip enters. (Philip politely declines a game.) But then it becomes about something rather different when a dazed Elizabeth enters...

    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Patrick Harbron / FX

    ...with someone else's blood on her neck.

    How'd it go? Though one imagines this is not the first near-stranger's blood Elizabeth has gotten on her this month, Gabriel is alarmed...

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    ...I guess because normally she would have the presence of mind to clean herself up before going out in public, but this Elizabeth is in some kind of fugue state, all her usual control utterly gone. As Philip gently sits her down and starts wiping Lisa's blood off her, Gabriel comes to a big decision: "Things have to change."

    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Philip and Elizabeth look up at him like frightened children as Gabriel says he's going to talk to The Centre and tell them to back up off the Jenningses. They can continue dealing with the bug at Kimmy's and Young Hee, but they won't get anything new to work on: "This will be the closest you two ever come to a vacation." "For how long?" asks Philip quietly. "Take as long as you need," says Gabriel firmly. Elizabeth can't believe The Centre will agree, but Gabriel declares that he'll make sure it does. Bad meeting turned BON JOVI FRIDAY!

  • Dialogue

    So I guess we're going to be travel agents now.

    ...You know what we should do?

    What?

    Take the kids to Epcot.

  • Symbolism
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    Good Old Lady Libertovna

    The Scene: Elizabeth and Philip come home to find Paige and Henry watching David Copperfield V: The Statue Of Liberty Disappears. And so can you!

    The Symbol: The...Statue. Of Liberty.

    The Meaning: Elizabeth seems as amused by the Statue of Liberty as she recently was by Ronald Reagan's blush, and isn't even convinced by Copperfield's heartwarming tale: "My mother was the first one to tell me about the Statue of Liberty. She saw it first from the deck of a ship that brought her to America. She was an immigrant. She impressed upon me how precious our liberty is, and how easily it can be lost. And then one day, it occurred to me that I could show, with magic, how we take our freedom for granted. Sometimes we don't realize how important something is until it's gone. So I asked our government for permission to make the Statue of Liberty disappear, just for a few minutes. How long will we stay free? For just as long as we keep thinking and speaking and acting as free human beings. Our ancestors couldn't. We can. And our children will." But while Elizabeth barely musters enough energy to pretend to be interested in the Statue's reappearance, never mind the symbolic element...

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    ...she keeps eyes on Philip, as rapt by this decadent American entertainment as he has been by est. Once again, Philip's true allegiance is in question, because I guess a guy can't just like a magic show if he happens to be a Soviet spy.

  • Wrap It Up
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    This is the point where I had to check EpGuides and make sure this wasn't the season finale because whaaaaaat?

    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Pastor and a very pregnant Mrs. Groovyhair are out at mini-putt with Paige, who's just nailed a shot right through a Statue of Liberty's legs! Remember? From before?

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    Henry, Elizabeth, and Peter play hockey in the driveway!

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    Stan comes over to say hi to Gaad, who definitely did get fired as shit over the Martha caper -- but now he's about to go traveling in southeast Asia with his wife! Stan reports on Gaad's replacement: "Typical Webster munchkin....Shoe shines, haircuts. You can tie your tie any way you want, as long as it's a half-Windsor. He's doubling the tech sweeps -- no more personal clocks, radios...." "Pens?" asks Gaad, because I guess after seven months, you have to laugh. "You'd think so, wouldn't you," says Stan dryly.

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    The Groovyhairs bring Paige home and warmly hug her goodbye! Cordial greetings are exchanged between Groovyhairs and the Jennings parents!

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    "I can't stop thinking about you and Burov," muses Gaad. "Maybe he can't be turned, of course, or maybe you've turned him already. But my instinct tells me you haven't. It's your operation, Stan. Screw the Deputy AG, and screw your new boss, and screw the Director if they're pressuring you. But it might be that you're holding off with Burov because your conscience is bothering you, because of what happened with Nina." Remember her?!!?!?!?

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    Paige hurries up the driveway into the house, and though she barely acknowledges her parents, they casually IMMEDIATELY follow her.

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    "Things get personal," Gaad continues. "You're not the first. You feel bad about Nina, Burov does too. You've got his brother, and you've got her, and that's your plan. And then your conscience pops up, because it starts to get a little bit too much. Now, I'm going to sound like Webster here, and I would rather cut my own throat than do that, but you talk about things getting personal?"

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    Inside, Paige tries to escape the inevitable debrief by hauling ass up the stairs, but when they stop her, she barfs it all out as fast as she can: "They were both in a good mood. They enjoyed miniature golf. Alice said she could feel the baby moving. I said I can't wait to babysit."

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    And as we watch Philip and Elizabeth not feeling great about having turned their child into an agent, we hear Gaad's final piece of advice to Stan: "Whatever comes up -- feelings, sympathy, friendship, whatever -- you can't lose sight of who these people are." And maybe keep an eye out for incomplete knowledge of American movie trivia and preternaturally good hockey skills!!!

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