The Americans Makes Martha Face The Consequences Of Her Many Bad Calls
How long will Martha last on the lam with two Cold War powers in hot pursuit?
The Good News Is, There's More Food To Go Around For Dinner. ...Oh, The Bad News?
Who called the meeting? Gabriel.
What's it about? Martha's escape during the tularemia rat handoff.
How'd it go? It's bad in the sense that IT'S BAD, ALL OF THIS IS BAD. But considering the circumstances, it's pretty efficient and effective. After Gabriel has delivered the salient information that Martha took off -- "She stood on the street, threatening to scream KGB. I'm sorry" -- and when (forty minutes ago), Philip hands off the rat bag and talk turns to where she might have gone. Since Philip knows her best of the three of them, most of the questions about her possible destination are, obviously, directed at him; however, the "if you were her husband" queries make him feel guilty for his part in endangering Martha and defensive with his colleagues (one of whom is also his real wife -- or "real" wife, depending who you ask and the day of the week), so after tossing out a few pretty generic possibilities -- tidal basin! cherry blossoms! her church! someplace they had a picnic one time! -- he lamely gives up: "This is a big city, she could be anywhere." "SHE'S SEEN YOUR FACE," Elizabeth reminds him. I mean, she'd always seen his face: it's not like the glasses totally transformed him; he's not Superman. Still, that one seems to sting:
I'm sure the wig was itchy but IT SERVED A PURPOSE, DUDE. Philip says that Elizabeth and Hans should search and that he should stay by the phone. Before Philip and Elizabeth move out, Gabriel reminds us all that there are Stakes: "If it's in public and she starts screaming again...well, you may have no choice."
Hey, if they see her, they should just tell her that and maybe she can govern herself appropriately for the situation. jk.
Plot Lightning Round
At Martha's, an FBI forensic team is going over everything.
No, like...everything. Not even her tampons go unmolested. (Sidebar: who knew Martha wasn't the maxi-pad type? Maybe that's why the tampons came under suspicion!!!)
By the window, Gaad broods. Stan and Aderholt notice and exchange a look about it, so maybe there's a Chocolate Chip Cheer Up! cookie bouquet in Gaad's future.
Philip rings a doorbell; operator Joan, looking kind of shocked, lets him in. (Did...nobody call ahead and tell her Philip was coming? Ironic!)
Joan shows Philip which line will ring if Martha calls. Philip prepares to park it, first sending Joan to get him maps, train schedules, and bus and river routes. PLEASE let this lead to a scene of Martha making her daring escape on a fan boat.
For now, Martha just stalks the streets, starting at every bland-looking white guy in a trench coat. Like so much in her life, Martha did not think this through!
We Made A List
More Facts The FBI Knows About Martha
- She went to this bridge one time with her parents.
- She goes to First Trinity Church.
- Her last deposit in her savings account was three days ago -- no withdrawals -- which suggests she wasn't planning to go anywhere in a hurry.
And...that's it for now. That dude Warren rolls up and tells Stan to put pressure on Oleg -- "Play him the tape" -- see if the KGB's got her. Stan doesn't think blackmail's going to work. Gaad backs up Warren in a not-especially-bossy way; Stan stands firm: "This guy, he's not cut like that. We have to play the long game with him." "There's no long game, Beeman," snaps Warren." Use the goddamn tape!" "All that would do is wreck the operation, sir," says Stan quietly...but before this debate can continue, Stan gets saved by the literal Bell.
I Just Called To Say I Fucked Up
The FBI are monitoring Martha's parents' phone and all shut up to listen as she calls home. Martha begs her mother not to disturb her dad because this is just a totally normal call, definitely not possibly the very last time they'll ever hear each other's voices, but her mom gets her dad anyway and then Martha has to try to figure out what she's going to say. "Daddy, I'm in trouble?" is how she begins, and she goes on to say, "It's just not working." Uh oh. As her dad tries to interrupt with typically uncomprehending dad-ish reassurances, she talks over him: "No matter what you hear, I love you." "We love you too, sweetie," he tells her. Realizing she's almost certainly talked too long, Martha hangs up, looking wrecked.
Back at the FBI, Stan notes, "They wouldn't let her make that call. Not with us up on the line like this. They don't have her." And then Gaad finds out they've traced the call to a pay phone in Woodley Park! To the Blandmobile!!!
Place Of Interest
Looks like a very nice place to have a picnic.
Or leap to your death. Perhaps one followed by the other!
I Just Called To Say HOW DARE YOU
Borscht time having ended, Joan decides she and Philip might as well pass the time with some small talk -- like, oh hey, does he happen to know what happened to the person who had her job last? Philip says he doesn't, but I think he does and if he doesn't I DO. Joan's like, "When I was getting ready to come over, it was suddenly accelerated. I got this weird feeling, like something bad--"
LUCKY FOR PHILIP, that's when his fake wife calls. He leaps on the phone, the better not to have to tell Joan the grim story of her predecessor's demise, and Martha is pretty shocked to hear him pick up. "I've been, um, sitting here waiting for you to call." Cue the recriminations! "You left me! With a stranger!" Martha yodels. Cue the apologies! Martha says she didn't know if Philip was going to come back and it made her crazy! ...Yeah. That's what did it. (It's not that the instincts telling her to get the hell out of the safe house were wrong; it's that if she'd ever had one other good instinct her whole life, she would not have ended up there at all.) Anyway, Philip asks where she is and says he'll come and get her; they need to talk. But Martha knows enough to know that, for this moment, she has the upper hand: "You'll just tell me some version of the truth that's not very true!" Philip promises to tell her "everything," though I'm sure even with the crappy audio fidelity of a mid-'80s pay phone, she can hear the enormous fucking asterisk on the end of that statement. Still: as she says, she wants it to end, so when Philip asks her again to tell him where she is, she only takes a moderately long moment before telling him she's at Rock Creek Park, at the valley trail head. Philip tells her to stay there and hauls ass out of the apartment, yelling his destination over his shoulder on the way out. The clock! SHE TICKS!!!
Fight! Fight! Fight!
"Jennifer" vs. Martha
Elizabeth having called Joan's for an update and gotten Martha's, she says she's close and heads straight there, reaching Martha well before Philip does. Now, look. Do I want Poor Martha to get killed after everything else she's gone through? I...guess not? But on the other hand SHE'S BROUGHT ALL THIS HEARTACHE ON HERSELF. Plus I'm not totally opposed to Philip and Elizabeth's larger missing. America in the 1980s (McDLTs notwithstanding) was fucked up in a lot of ways, and efforts to dismantle its systems might not always be totally off-base, you know? I am not a crackpot, but death to Reagan's America. Just kidding. Not really.
But I digress. As she creeps toward Martha, Elizabeth keeps a hand on something in her pocket that we don't see, and at this point, if Elizabeth decided she shouldn't waste the opportunity of Martha's having left herself alone in a wide-open space where all the other innocent citizens and bystanders happen to be walking away from her and just SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, could anyone blame her, really? But Elizabeth does not kill her: she announces herself by quietly speaking Martha's name. Justly alarmed, Martha looks around and asks where Clark is. "He's on his way," Elizabeth tells her, adding that he wanted Elizabeth to stay with her until he got there. "Are you sleeping with my husband?" demands Martha. "No," says Elizabeth -- generously not telling Martha that actually the exact opposite is true, because now's not the time. "The woman at my wedding," Martha recalls. "She's not his mother!" Rather than getting into that whole thing, Elizabeth just asks Martha to come back with her. "Who is she?" spits Martha. "Is she like you?" "Yes, she's like me," says Elizabeth quickly. "And the man with the cane, who's that?" Martha demands. "LOOK, BITCH, WE'RE ALL KGB, NOW SHUT UP AND GET IN OUR LADA" is something Elizabeth does not say." What she DOES say, gently but firmly, is "Martha, it's not safe for us here. We need to go." Martha insists that she's not going anywhere with Elizabeth...
...but I guess Martha didn't notice how much Elizabeth had closed the gap between them because Elizabeth decides she doesn't need to talk anymore, and instead punches Martha VERY HARD in the ribs. As Martha gasps for breath and concentrates, I assume, on not collapsing or possibly dying, she falls onto Elizabeth's shoulder, allowing Elizabeth to hiss into her ear: "Martha. There's nowhere to go. They know who you are. They're coming for you. And they will find you. They'll arrest Clark. His life will be over. Do what I say and you'll live. You'll live." Since nothing to this point has gotten through to Martha the way this literal body blow has, Martha stops trying to argue (possibly because she still hasn't caught her breath), and lets Elizabeth hold her up and help her stagger out of the park.
Winner: Elizabeth. Me during that scene:
Not to be insensitive. Martha's life is a hellscape. I would have definitely already jumped off the bridge if I were her. But Elizabeth! DAAAAAAMN.
Beer Is The Opiate Of The Tween Masses
What's the occasion? Okay, so what happens is that Philip gets to the trail head and Martha's not there and we see him place a call on the pay phone but don't see whom he calls BUT the next thing that happens is that Paige spontaneously shows up at Stan's to hang out with Henry and Matthew so while I am no spy, I assume Philip called her, told her some shit was going down, and asked her to distract Henry from his parents' 1,000,000th unexplained absence on a weeknight.
What are the refreshments? Beer. Matthew's dipped into Stan's supply and given Henry a little. When Matthew gives Paige a whole one, Henry whines about it, but Matthew points out that Paige is fifteen, plus if they hit the beer too hard Stan's going to notice: "You know, my dad is an FBI agent." (Paige must have really taken Philip's direction to heart because she shares some of hers with Henry.)
Whose big public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? Henry's, as he takes his first sip of beer and immediately grimaces.
What a baby! Just kidding, no one noticed. But here's what they WON'T be talking about: how Paige and Henry's parents are totes shady! Thanks, beer!
J. Walter Weatherman Lesson
Dead Assistant Director Walking
At the vending machine, Stan gives Gaad some updates on the Martha search: that he and Aderholt didn't find her at the park (yes, they recognized that bridge from the photo with her parents, and no, they didn't find any evidence that she'd jumped off it) and that her old roommate was a dead end since they haven't spoken in two years. Gaad reports that Warren went to the Director of the FBI to tattle on Gaad's inability to control Stan: "I said the Deputy Attorney General needs to get the hell out of my department." Stan is proud of Gaad for sticking up for him, and Gaad shrugs, "One thing I learned in Khe Sanh: don't fall down and play dead. Then again, with the bug in my office, and Gene, and now Martha, I'm pretty much dead already." He shambles off, Stan sadly watching him go.
It's just bruised. I'll be all right. Nothing is broken. ...What's your name?
The name you were born with.
Mikhail. But everyone called me Misha.
[blinking back tears] Misha.
...I'll get some ice.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
In Our Enemy's Quite Serious Contusions, And In Health
Before Philip heads back upstairs with the ice Martha will need to start recovering from Elizabeth's beatdown, Elizabeth has him take a moment so she can tell him, "If she runs again--" "I know," says Philip with resignation as opposed to screaming "I KNOW" like I would. He fucking gets it, guys, damn! Save some of this for his annual performance review! Anyway, Elizabeth also has some advice: "You should tell her that you'll join her, that you'll have a life together. She needs that hope to get on the plane." Philip blinks, but seems to lack the strength to agree.
And then Elizabeth takes a sharp left turn: "If you could go back--" "'Back'?" sputters Philip incredulously. "What do you mean, 'back'?" "With Martha," Elizabeth breathes. "If our kids were grown, and you could just get out of this whole life." "What-- What are you talking about?" Philip squints. "Would you go with her?" Elizabeth asks. "Are you crazy?" Philip replies. "Martha and I--" "I'd understand," Elizabeth assures him -- and I really do think she means it. "It's not like that," Philip tells her. "At all." "It's different," says Elizabeth. "I know, I know." "Yes," says Philip, clearly not sure she's actually hearing him. "You should get her that ice before it melts," she advises. But before he does that, he looks into Elizabeth's eyes and tells her, fiercely, "I love you." Elizabeth:
It's the kind of moment where, as a viewer, you're kind of like, "Well, it's not great that Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys scumbagged whoever else they were with and fell in love with each other, but MY GOD, THEY'RE ONLY HUMAN."
Philip tells Elizabeth he'll be home in a few hours, but she disagrees: "You should stay." She kisses him, and leaves him to handle the touchiest part of all of this on his own. And, you know, it was a rough day for Elizabeth, but at least she can comfort herself with the knowledge that, in every way that matters, she's still got it.
Wrap It Up
Tatiana dictates a report on the tularemia sample, which, along with Martha, is being prepared for transport to Moscow. "Handle with extreme caution," she advises. I ASSUME SHE MEANS THE RAT BUT WHO KNOWS, THIS BROAD'S A TRICKY ONE.
As Gaad drinks in his office, Stan pops in to show him a sketch of "the boyfriend" from the super's description. "Not boyfriend," says Gaad deliberately, handing Stan the marriage certificate. "They married her. Martha is married to a KGB officer." Stan:
Gaad lays out the sitch: "Blood tests and everything. Witnesses. They seduced. And married. My secretary." Probably feeling guilty about Gaad's imminent forced retirement, Stan tries to backpedal from what LITERALLY EVERYONE IN THE OFFICE has been working on the past couple of days: "Maybe we're seeing it wrong. Maybe-- Maybe, maybe they fell in love somehow! Maybe-- Maybe they knew each other from, from way back when, and connected--" "I am in charge of FBI counterintelligence, and my secretary. Married. A KGB officer," says Gaad. "It could have been for a million reasons," murmurs Stan. "Like what?" spits Gaad. "Money? Sex? Is the Kama Sutra that good? And was she that unhappy?" Must be nice not to have ever been so lonely that you can only speculate, GAAD.
As Philip ices the very, very large and very angry bruise on Martha's ribs, he tells her, "Tomorrow morning, early, you'll leave for Russia, to begin a new life." It has apparently never occurred to Martha that this was how her story would end, and she is alarmed: "Russia?!" "I know it's not easy," Philip tells her. "It's the only way." She nods, and cries, and after a moment asks, "And how soon before you come?"
Ignoring Elizabeth's advice, and keeping his earlier promise to Martha, he tells the truth: "I won't. I can't." "Not even to visit?" she chokes. He shakes his head again: "No."
As Martha tries to keep it together and not sob out loud, Philip looks down in shame. Finally, she manages to remind him, "My parents. They'll wonder what happened." "We'll get a message to your parents," Philip assures her. "I don't know if I can do this," Martha exhales. "You can," Philip tells her. "You have to. There'll be people there to take care--" "I don't speak Russian," she tells him. Philip promises that there will be people to teach her. "I'll be alone," she tells him. "Just the way I was before I met you." Aaaaand that's my heart on a cheese grater, thanks a lot, show.
This also gets Philip, who cries with remorse as he tries to comfort her: "They'll take good care of you. Treat you with respect and honour. They know your sacrifice, Martha."
And I've made fun of her severe '80s styling and weird eyebrows over the years, but Martha's really never been more beautiful than she is in this moment. Tragically beautiful, but still. I feel like I need to ice my ribs after all that.
At home, Elizabeth gets ready for bed, and stares into the mirror, silently asking herself what she's become.
And at the safe house, Philip and Martha lie in bed, side by side and wide awake. What will she do tomorrow? What is he prepared to do if she doesn't stick to the plan? Will the rat get its own seat?!