Patrick Harbron / FX

The Americans Land In A New Op

When Elizabeth and Philip aren't in airline drag for a job they're working on a recent Soviet emigré, they're trying to keep Paige from losing her mind.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    You CAN Sit With Us

    At an all-American high school, a boy -- whose name we will soon learn is Tuan -- goes through the cafeteria line (mmmmmmmmmstarch) and finds a seat at an otherwise empty table. He thinks he knows the kid's name is Pavel, but Pavel corrects him: "Friends call Pasha." Tuan also knows that Pasha is a new arrival at the school; he's been there two months. Tuan is brand-new, himself, having just arrived from Michigan. But before that, he came from Vietnam, and kindly asks Pasha how his English is coming. Pasha murmurs that he can understand well enough, but still finds it hard to speak. Tuan remembers what that was like, and promises Pasha that things will get better...

    ...and that turns out to be true, as we see Tuan bringing Pasha home after school to study and hang out, offering the briefest greeting to his parents on his way upstairs.

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    OH SHIT! So they didn't have to go back to the USSR after all! Guess William's guts didn't manage to stay in his anus after all. RIP, William (and his anus).

  • Snapshot
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  • Meeting Time

    Last Oleg Of His Trip

    Who called the meeting? Agent Wolfe.

    What's it about? Bringing Stan up to date on Oleg's current whereabouts.

    How'd it go? Stan is dismayed to learn that Oleg has returned to Moscow (and, since he is sensitive, probably still upset about William's extremely horrible death). But since the FBI knows that Oleg took the journey on his own, without minders, they figure that means nothing's wrong...though there's also the possibility that the KGB's just going to arrest him when he lands. But Wolfe thinks Moscow would have to put together a lot of pieces to connect William to Stan, and Stan to Oleg. Wolfe adds that Oleg took a big risk for his conscience.

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    Stan's clenched jaw is not sure it was worth it!

  • And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor
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    The A-Team!

    Are you a covert operative using your youthful good looks to pass as a high school student but have to make it believable by watching all the stupid shows your "peers" do? Try The A-Team! It might not be the best hour you spend all week, but it will absolutely be the most predictable, and if you nod off in the middle, it's probably fine.

  • That Happened

    Mischa's Excellent Adventure

    Remember Philip's love child Mischa, and his dead mom left him travel documents he could use to go find his father? That's what's happening...

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    ...despite his very quiet panic attack at Passport Control.

  • On The Menu
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    What's On The Menu At Pasha's?

    Pasha and Tuan have gotten so tight that Tuan's finagled a dinner invitation at the Morozovs' not just for himself, but for his parents, the Eckerts, as well! Now Philip and Elizabeth can see first-hand how bitter Pasha's dad Alexei, the former Soviet agricultural consultant, is about all the corruption, deprivation, and general horror he left behind (the kind of disloyalty that had Tuan telling Philip and Elizabeth after an earlier encounter that the Soviets should not just have prevented Alexei from emigrating, but put a bullet in his head)!

    Wings: Elizabeth and Philip cheerily tell the story of how they got together -- and even though she's a flight attendant and he's a pilot, it's not because they worked together! She became a flight attendant after they became a couple! (I don't know if this detail is going to turn out to mean anything later, or if we're just getting another glimpse at a smooth and expert Philip/Elizabeth performance of functional couplehood.)

    Tea: Alexei confirms all of Tuan's reports as he basically spills it everywhere, railing against the Soviet system and scolding his wife and son to speak English at the table. Mrs. M also confirms Tuan's assessment that she babies Pasha, as she notes Tuan's appetite and urges Pasha to eat like Tuan does.

    Dreamsicles: In the kitchen as they set out squares, Mrs. M apologizes to Elizabeth for Alexei's brusque opinions, and admits that she and Pasha didn't hate the USSR as much as her husband did. Mrs. M also wishes she could get a job in D.C.: when Elizabeth says, of her flight attendant job, that she can read a lot on long flights, Mrs. M sighs that she would love to get a job in a library, but she's self-conscious about her English. As someone whose first real job was shelving books in my local public library, I can say without reservation that Mrs. M would find no warmer, more accepting, and more encouraging environment in which to learn. The only people who are bigger sweeties than librarians are rangers at National Parks.

    BUT I DIGRESS: Elizabeth reassures Mrs. M from her own experience: they adopted Tuan when he was ten, and he spoke no English. Pasha will find his way in America, and so will Mrs. M. (Elizabeth doesn't mention that Tuan's

  • Awkward

    Love, Americans-Style

    Situation: With Philip and Elizabeth out with Tuan being the Eckerts, Paige (and, eventually, Henry) are going across the street to the Beemans' for dinner.

    What makes it awkward? Stan eagerly tells Paige how happy he is that she and Matthew have gotten so close, and Paige can't tell him that her parents have basically forbidden her from having any kind of romantic connection to him.

    Previously.TV

    Previously.TV

    How is order restored? It's not so much that order is restored (does that happen on this show ever, really?) as that Matthew comes down from the shower, ending Stan's nice but oblivious pushing.

  • Dialogue

    Stone Soup For The Soul

    Can't wait to have dinner with that family again.
    Yeah.
    Sorry you had to wait in line to eat. He's old enough to remember having nothing to wait in line for.
    My mother used to make us soup from a few onions, nothing else. It was really just hot water.
    After the war, my mother always said she wasn't hungry. I knew, but I ate everything. She was so thin.
    We'll get another chance to go home. It wasn't the right time.
    What's the right time?
  • Family Matters
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    Paige Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Who's causing a family crisis? Paige, who else.

    How? She's not bouncing back as quickly as her parents might want from that whole thing where Elizabeth killed a guy in front of her.

    Which relatives have a problem with it? Philip doesn't love how much time Paige is spending with Matthew, both for the usual fatherly reasons, and because of the thing where Stan seems to keep getting a tiny bit closer to discovering his neighbours' big secret.

    Who's an unlikely ally? As we'll soon see, Elizabeth thinks she can bring Paige around by toughening her up the way Elizabeth was toughened up as a youth.

  • Awkward
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    King Of The Slow Play

    Situation: Stan brings over a six-pack of beer to have some dude time with Philip.

    What makes it awkward? He interrupts a conversation about how careful Paige needs to be with...him? And his son? And the vegetables Stan isn't ever serving for dinner, though that's sort of a side issue.

    How is order restored? Stan excitedly regales Philip with the tale of the woman he met at the gym. Except it turns out that the only contact he had with her was to give her a cup of water at the cooler and not actually ask her name, never mind ask her out. And what could be more on-brand for Stan than being weird with a woman?

  • Hell No!

    Anachrupholstery

    Mischa has made it out of Russia and onto this bus in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

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    Sorry, gonna have to call bullshit on that peppy seat fabric print, which I feel is certainly too decadent to have made it to any Communist country in the '80s. I never saw in North America prior to the mid-'90s -- and trust me: I have been on lots of buses because I was a super-cool awesome winner in a marching band and therefore a period bus expert.

  • Meeting Time

    Oleg Burov: Farm Cop

    Who called the meeting? Oleg's new boss, Colonel...Somethingovich.

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    What's it about? Oleg's exciting new portfolio!

    How'd it go? You know how Alexei was complaining about all the waste and corruption in the Soviet food distribution system? Well, it turns out he's not the only one who feels that way! After acknowledging that this new posting is kind of a comedown for Oleg, the Colonel tells Oleg that it's also going to be pretty sensitive: he believes that the USSR should be able to feed its people "a hundred times over," but graft and inefficiency are preventing that from happening. So this office is going to be cracking down on corruption in food production -- and Oleg, specifically, will be conducting criminal investigations into violations. The Colonel knows that Oleg's family is connected, and predicts that this assignment will put Oleg on the trail of people who've had dinner at his parents' table, so the Colonel needs to make sure that everything they discuss in his office will stay there. "Can I assume that you're a KGB officer first?" asks the Colonel. "Of course," Oleg replies. How many wheat board officials' pee tapes will Oleg uncover? I can't wait to find out!

  • Dialogue

    After discussing the fact that Mischa's AWOL from his factory job in the USSR and probably on his way to screw up his dad's life, Gabriel and Claudia move on to a discussion of OTHER assaults on the Jennings family.

    When William was caught, I told them to get out -- that they should go home.
    On your own? Or you had permission from The Centre.
    ...
    And?
    They're still here.
    Nothing scares those two.
    Everything scares those two.
  • Hell Yeah!
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    Kick, Punch, It's All In The Mind

    So here's where Elizabeth tries to get Paige through her crippling anxiety by teaching her how to fight. It's a great moment both because it's important for women and girls to learn how to defend themselves (or start shit, honestly, not just react), and because Elizabeth has no compunction about shoving Paige around, and Churchy is overdue for it.

  • Dialogue
    We think we know what happened to William: they arrested him. Somehow he infected himself with the virus he was carrying, probably so they couldn't interrogate him. They took him to their bio-containment facility at Fort Dietrich and we assume he died there.
    Lassa fever -- how bad is it to....
    We doubted him, and he killed himself for us.
    I saw him back home, married, with some little kids running circles all around him. I really wanted to get him there.
    He's a hero.
    Maybe he'll get a stamp.
    Well, I'm afraid he has one last job. [setting out an aerial photo] This is called Area B. It's in the back of Fort Dietrich.
  • J. Walter Weather­man Lesson
    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Patrick Harbron / FX

    Hans Learns A Tough Lesson About Situational Awareness

    This is a pretty mesmerizing scene to watch, but a tough one to write about since it's almost entirely silent: Philip, Elizabeth, and a crew of dudes that includes Elizabeth's protégé Hans follow the map to a spot at Fort Dietrich that William had told Gabriel about, and over what seems to be an entire night, they take turns digging a fairly large, more than six-foot-deep hole. By the time they secure a rope ladder to a nearby tree, I'm pretty sure they're digging a foxhole so that a couple of them can just embed in the base for a while, but then someone digs deep enough to hit something that isn't dirt. Philip and another dude start digging with their hands and uncover a metal case, which another guy opens with a welder's torch to reveal...

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    ...William, by far our snarkiest Communist hero. Everyone dons surgical masks while someone produces a scalpel to cut open the bag William's been encased in, and then cut off a rather large slice of William's arm and put it in a Ziploc bag. At the edge of the hole, Hans takes the sample...

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    ...and maybe, before inspecting it -- like, what does he even think he's going to see in the dark? -- he should have taken a few more steps away.

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    Hans is instantly terrified about the horrible gash that is surely lousy with Lassa fever -- so much that Elizabeth breaks the silence to tell him it's okay. Hans, comforted by her assurance, says with relief that it doesn't even hurt. Philip tells Elizabeth to go up to the surface with him...

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    ...but that is not what occurs. With barely a look between them, they roll Hans's body onto William's and close them both up for fate to deal with. If fate has a torch to bust into that metal coffin, I guess!

    Fox

    Fox

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