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Eric Liebowitz / FX

The Americans Prepare For A Summit By Spying Harder Than Ever

Philip gets out, but will Directorate S pull him back in with his most challenging assignment yet? We take you through the Season 6 premiere in this EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP!

Previously: five seasons of this twisty-ass show. The Centre wanted to recruit Illegals' kids, and apparently Paige was at the top of their list (...of spy kids who could survive their training). Elizabeth started on-boarding Paige by training her at home. Stan started dating some broad named Renee that he met at the gym, who was probably totally on the up-and-up and who later moved in with Stan. Oleg went back to the Soviet Union, but was still in danger of having his co-operation with the FBI used against him, which Stan felt compelled him to intervene and protect his asset, earning him a lot of shit from higher-ups in the Justice Department. Thanks to est, Philip started feeling bad about murdering people all the time and suggested to Elizabeth that perhaps he should quit the spy business and maybe she should too, and she was like, "I can't!" in a way that made him seem reeeeeeeal soft on capitalists by comparison.

We open Season 6 with Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over," one of the all-time classic pop songs of the '80s.

This song -- or, rather, a slightly yet noticeably edited version that compresses some instrumental sections and repeats some verses ("In the paper today / Tales of war and of waste / But you turn right over to the TV page" was perfectly clear the one and only time THE ARTISTS thought it needed to be in the song, SHOW) -- plays over a montage that catches us up on how much time has passed and where everyone is, starting with Elizabeth: she's still Living That Wig Life in a long curly number that she's rocking with frumpy clear-rimmed glasses and a pink polyester smock as she dozes in an armchair in a comfortable-looking bedroom. Across from her, in a hospital bed, Miriam Shor (best known lately as Younger's resident statement necklace enthusiast, Diana) sits up sketching, apparently taking Nurse Elizabeth as her subject. The camera pans around the room to show us more of the artist's work at various stages of completion.

We go from there to a very Modern machine printing out a cardboard plane ticket in a bright travel agency with very late '80s exposed brick. Enter Philip, with shorter hair, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, for this is his place, and he cheerfully greets his staff, which looks to have at least doubled since we saw him last. Enjoy it while you can, Philip: soon you and all the other travel agents will be living under a bridge with the American auto workers, dynamite sax soloists, and Friendster CEOs. ...I mean, not you, specifically, Philip; you'll probably be killed or sent to the gulag. The point is: these are your Carlsberg years, and they are numbered.

Back at Miriam Shor's house, Scott Cohen -- good old pepperoni nippled Max Medina from Gilmore Girls -- comes to the bedroom door and gives snoozy Nurse Elizabeth a fond smile as Miriam Shor sketches on, ignoring him until he comes over to stroke her cheek; she squeezes his hand and kisses it.

At the travel agency, Philip beavers away on his IBM desktop computer. No ledgers for him!

In the glass shower stall of a well-appointed bathroom, Elizabeth showers, seeming to focus her cleaning efforts on her crotch -- and we see why as she comes out in a robe and wanders past a naked man passed out on a hotel bed. She grabs her smokes and lights one, gazing wearily out at the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. These moments of ironically artsy disdain for the symbols of American institutions played a lot different two seasons ago, huh.

A chipper Philip rolls through a neighbourhood carrying his car stereo by its handle, which was the style at the time.

Elizabeth, looking haggard, loiters at a fence and smokes some more.

Philip opens his car with the code in the door and slides the stereo into place, right above his car phone. The '80s Man has logged on. As he pulls away, the offerings at the nearby multiplex helpfully situate us historically.


Ah, The Pick-Up Artist: a movie I saw in the theatre by myself at age twelve (I MIGHT HAVE BEEN A NERD), and the first movie I can ever remember thinking was bad. In case you forgot: it's directed by James Toback, so I was WAY ahead of my time.

In her third wig of the cold open, Elizabeth buys a newspaper from a street box (soon to join the travel agents under the bridge of obsolesence) and uses her purse cam to snap photos of a few dudes coming out of an office building across the street.

At home, Philip is leaning over the kitchen island snacking and working when Elizabeth comes in the front door, looking rekt. (By which I of course mean "Keri Russell rekt, which is approximately red carpet-ready for any other woman.") Philip gives her a tiny smile hello, and she seems like she's trying to remember what a smile is before looking down and then heading upstairs without a word. This is one pair of empty nesters who aren't going to get recruited to star in any bank brochures.

After the credits, Philip comes downstairs with an overnight bag to see Elizabeth on the back porch, smoking some even more. He comes out and gently suggests that she could come with him, but even though she claims she'd love to go watch Henry play hockey (fact check: false), she has to work. "Have a good trip," she murmurs, going back inside without so much as a firm handshake.

Then we're at Claudia's, or a safe house; it's not clear which and maybe there's no difference?


Paige and her edgy new haircut (approved) are flanked on the couch by Elizabeth and Claudia, all watching a Russian TV show (or movie, perhaps) with English subtitles. Paige seems enthralled, though it's hard to tell if she actually likes it or if she just can't believe this is what passes for entertainment in the Soviet Union when, just across the Bering Strait, people are fucking with Murder, She Wrote.

Then we have to watch Henry's stupid hockey game, I guess so we know (a) Philip actually went where he said he was going to; (b) Henry is still at St. Edward's Academy; and (c) he's actually so good at hockey that (d) girls want to fuck him.

Back at Claudia's, the credits roll on the show or movie they were watching, and it's time for the review: Paige is bummed that the female characters were "so man-hungry," and that the standard of living for adults was commensurate with her freshman-year dorm. Claudia says she lived in a workers' dormitory when she was young, and that she and her roomies had fun: "We would sneak boys in at night." "That's why I live off-campus," says Paige, so make a note: she's in college. Elizabeth changes the subject back to what they just watched, and a character named Katarina that she liked. Paige agrees, adding that her bravery and determination reminded her of Elizabeth, who's flattered by the comparison. "In that skirt suit, with the vest, running that whole factory?" marvels Paige. "Fantastic!" Elizabeth and Claudia beam, the latter telling Paige, "That's how it is there." "But then she let that guy put her in her place," says Paige. "Like, dominate her. I hated that." Claudia concedes, "Sometimes it's a little more traditional there. But some women I know would have cracked his head open." Media Studies concluded, Claudia asks whether Paige's professor talked any more about "the summit" this week...

...and since it looks at this point like the climax the season's going to build to, the summit in question is the Washington Summit of December 1987: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met guess where (Washington) (D.C.), and among other things signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty -- INF Treaty for short. The summit took place at a time when Gorbachev was getting a lot of pushback on his reform efforts, a.k.a. Perestroika, so not everyone on the Soviet side thought it was a great idea to sign a treaty eliminating short- and medium-range missiles, and this is the backdrop against which the events of this final season shall, evidently, take place.

ANYWAY: back to the mini-summit at Claudia's. Paige says this prof spent the whole class talking about "the Soviet SS-20," but then said that if the summit goes well, there won't be any SS-20s anymore, so [shrug]. She says her prof seems optimistic, but Elizabeth comments, "It's hard to trust the Americans. There's a long history of these types of negotiations." Understatement! She offers to give Paige a ride back to her aforementioned off-campus apartment, then sends Paige out to wait for her in the car so she can give Claudia a quick debrief on her various ops. The guy she was watching when she bought the paper is a McCleesh at the Department of Energy. There's a Haskard whose briefcase she hasn't been able to get to, but she'll try again when she's back with him that night. And a Vohler is on her docket for tomorrow.


Claudia and her squirrel pin gaze at Elizabeth for a moment before asking, "Are you sleeping?" "Sure," says Elizabeth.


Yeah, it...totally looks like you're getting your eight hours of sleep AND your eight glasses of water! "You've got nine weeks to the summit," says Claudia, setting the clock a-ticking. And then she has more news that isn't going to do much for Elizabeth's freshness: a trip to Mexico, the next morning. Claudia doesn't know whom it's with or what it's about. Elizabeth looks alarmed, but takes the proffered envelope before glancing back toward the TV and commenting, "I can't believe what Moscow looks like." "You could've been one of those silly little girls," Claudia replies. Elizabeth smiles and departs, I hope to at least buy some under-eye cream.

Then we're in Moscow, watching Arkady ring an apartment doorbell. #12 turns out to be the residence of Oleg, who's grown a full beard since we saw him last, and who seems wary to see that Arkady's come to talk to him; he invites Arkady in, but Arkady needs to speak to him privately, and when they step out for a walk, Arkady says he knows what the higher-ups think Oleg did. "People talk," says Oleg, to which Arkady says, "I'm Deputy Chief of Directorate S. I know a lot." Oleg looks impressed and congratulates him on the promotion, but Arkady stops so he can look at Oleg as he says, "You're lucky they didn't shoot you." There's not really anything for Oleg to say to that, so Arkady adds, "This isn't a trap," and lays out the situation, which is that if Oleg did co-operate with Stan when he lived in the U.S., Arkady gets why: "There was something more important to you than the little games we play. I need someone to take that kind of risk again." Oleg's not interested; he has a one-year-old son to think about now. "There's just the matter of the country he'll grow up in," Arkady knife-twists. The issue is the people I was mentioning above, "who don't believe in Gorbachev." Arkady needs "someone outside the organization" -- which Oleg, who now works for the Ministry of Transportation, definitely is -- who can get to the U.S. quickly; they could come up with a pretext for him to go, and with Oleg's family connections, he can travel. Gorbachev's "staked everything" on success at the summit, but Arkady has found out that a general in the Strategic Rocket Forces is going to be talking to one of Arkady's Washington-based officers, "somewhere in Latin America." GOSH WHERE DID I JUST HEAR ABOUT SUCH A MEETING. Arkady's not crazy about this general meeting Elizabeth (not that he names her, doy) behind his back: "It's unheard of." He says that he met this agent's husband once, and has researched him extensively: "He's different. He quit a few years ago." Arkady can't reach Philip on official channels, but he wants Philip to find out what Elizabeth's doing and "stop her, if necessary." Oleg can't believe he's being sent to the U.S. to get a dude to spy on his own wife. "Be aware of his wife, let's say," Arkady euphemises. Gorbachev's made a lot of changes, but he "can't get rid of the leadership of the KGB. He doesn't have the power. And who wins there may decide who wins in the whole country." A ticking clock AND stakes? I am intrigued!

Okay, so then we're in "Mexico City," and look, this show's production designers are great at disguising Brooklyn and Queens, but Mexico may have been a SLIGHT overreach.


Just out of frame is Jay Z having a stoop sale. Like, come on. Anyway, Elizabeth takes her bouquet and crosses through a restaurant to the patio, where just one other patron, a dude, is seated. Sure enough, this is Kovtun from the Strategic Rocket Forces -- Arkady's turbulent general -- and he knows it's a big deal for him to get to meet someone in her position. Respect thus offered, he leans in to tell her the real real: "Even your regular contacts at the Centre can't know about this," and neither can Philip. Peter Gabriel's "We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)" starts playing faintly.

We cut back to D.C., where Philip -- clearly a hands-on manager who's pleasant and easy to work with -- is exhorting his staffers to use their personal travel stories to make connections with clients. Hmmmm, maybe Philip will have a future in the travel industry if he can apply this instinctive knowledge to the coming social media era!

Back to Mexico, where shit is going down that Philip can't fathom and specifically does not want to truck with. Kovtun says that, a few years ago, "the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces started building a system called Dead Hand." The idea is that if Soviet leadership were "completely decapitated" in a first strike by the Americans, Dead Hand is set up to deliver a fully automated response, so that "the Americans will be wiped out if they attack us." Kovtun says it's close to completion, pending the acquisition of "several key pieces of technology." The people at the Centre who put Kovtun in contact with Elizabeth want her to look into a man named Fyodor Nesterenko (of whom he has a photo); he's "an officer at the foreign ministry" who previously worked with Gorbachev at the summit in Reykjavîk the year before, and is now in Washington participating in negotiations for the forthcoming summit. The music starts getting louder -- drowning out the dialogue I'm going to say the majority of this episode's viewers probably can't understand anyway -- and Elizabeth's face hardens as Kovtun tells her people on his side fear that Gorbachev told Nesterenko about Dead Hand and "gave him permission to trade it for the Americans' Star Wars program." Elizabeth's people put Nesterenko on the team working with Glenn Haskard, whom Elizabeth mentioned earlier when recapping her week to Claudia; Elizabeth is to watch him closely and find out if he's planning to trade, in which case she must alert Kovtun & Co. immediately: "Gorbachev will be gone within twenty-four hours." By the way: Dead Hand is real, and it's speculated that it may still work, so...sleep well?

Kovtun produces a jewellery gift box and places it on the table, telling Elizabeth, "You know about Dead Hand now. You can't be arrested." Elizabeth sets her jaw, and after taking a brief moment to absorb this, she picks up the box.

Next we see her on the plane, looking...bad.


Unable to get comfortable (middle seats, amirite), she goes to the bathroom and opens the box. Inside is a necklace with a large opal pendant; she gingerly removes it from the box, turns it over, and slides open the compartment to reveal...


...a pill the exact size, shape, and colour of the dissolvable Imitrex tablets I used to get for my migraines before I switched to the regular pills because I started associating the minty taste and smell of the dissolving ones with the feeling of having a migraine and THAT would nauseate me-- WHAT'S THAT, YOU DIDN'T ASK? I guess my point is that I never thought my old pills were for suicide though there are definitely some days my throbbing head has me wishing for death's endless slumber-- HUH WHAT YOU DIDN'T ASK THAT EITHER? Well, migraines are very bad, educate yourself!!! Resigned, Elizabeth (remember her) puts the necklace on.

Back to the part of the episode that's even less about me: Stan and Renee are having a dinner party, where Paige is lecturing everyone about what a bad Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork is -- which, like, he wasn't great? But if Paige lived to see the corrupt, illiterate ghouls with which Trump has filled his Cabinet, she's probably about ready to push Elizabeth down the stairs for that permanent Forget-Me-Now Kovtun just gave her. Also in attendance is Aderholt, who objects when his wife (or so I assume -- he never seemed the type to have a baby out of wedlock) calls Bork "an asshole" while holding their very young baby, though she waves him off, saying the baby doesn't understand. Everyone else is amused by Paige the college student and her college-studentishly adamant opinions -- which is extra-funny for the audience given that we know she is actually a literal pinko -- and when Stan says that it doesn't matter how reactionary Bork is since his personal opinions aren't a factor in his work as a judge (lol), and that "everyone" thinks Bork is "brilliant," Paige shoots back, "A lot of Nazis were brilliant too." The whole table erupts in indulgent "whoa!"s at this Godwin's Law-ery; Stan fondly says he can handle it, but everyone seems relieved when Aderholt changes the subject by asking after Henry. Stan seems nearly as proud as Philip and Elizabeth are of Henry's new incarnation as a hockey star, "like Wayne Gretzky," and it's nice to get a reminder of what good pals Stan and Henry used to be, aw.

Then it's time for dessert, and even though Renee tells her not to bother clearing, Elizabeth follows her to the kitchen with dishes and breezily says, "I'm going to get you started." I realize that Elizabeth has an ulterior motive here and...well, always -- in this case, to eavesdrop as Renee and Mrs. Aderholt (who comes in to nurse the baby) exposit that Stan and Aderholt don't work together much these days; mention a woman with whom Stan has a lot of contact, which makes Renee nervous; and compare notes on how little their partners confide in them about the stresses of their work -- but I love how Elizabeth's matter-of-fact pitching in shows how close these women have grown as neighbours and friends since we saw them last, and also how to make it easy for a host to accept help you know she wants. Obviously we've all been like "Leave it" and secretly wanted to be overruled if it meant having to scrape fewer plates; "I'm going to get you started" is firm yet casual and I propose that we all adopt this attitude in our own lives!

Back in Moscow, Elina -- a.k.a. Mrs. Oleg -- angrily berates Oleg about the trip and refuses to accept that Oleg is doing this to help secure a safer future for their son.


Her mole remains unconvinced as Oleg goes into the baby's room to hold his boy and weep.

Then it's mid-afternoon and we're at an establishment called La Bocca Café, where Elizabeth and her cavernous under-eye circles have posted up at a table beside the window, under a wig I can only describe as bitchy?


Like, I realize that's a weird way to describe a hairstyle and yet it's the first adjective that came into my mind and I'll be damned if I can dislodge it. Elizabeth surveils the building across the street -- an office block with 55 over the door -- as "Listening Winds" by Talking Heads starts to play. As she watches, out comes Scott Cohen with Nesterenko, so: that would make Mr. Miriam Shor the aforementioned Haskard.

Then it's nighttime as a cab pulls up to a building with extremely temporary-looking Potomac Inn signs stuck on it, and Oleg disembarks, looking warily at the Washington Monument. WE GET IT.

Still at night, Elizabeth in her nurse drag parks outside a Cape Cod-looking house, pops a mint in her mouth, steels herself, and climbs out of the car, balancing a stack of covered Tupperware bowls. Haskard's working at the dining room table when Elizabeth comes in; seeing her bowls, he warmly tells her that feeding him isn't part of her job description. She waves him off, saying that they both have to eat and she always makes too much, before asking how "Erica" is doing. "The usual," says Haskard. Elizabeth comments that Erica was bragging about him the previous day, and that he's going to save the world. Haskard's not so sure about saving the world, but would like to feel, someday, like he did his part, "if we don't blow each other to bits." "Well, that'd be good," murmurs Elizabeth. Haskard admits, "I drift off sometimes," thinking about Erica: "And when I'm here, it's...." "She understands," says Elizabeth with a reassuring smile.

Upstairs, the nurse Elizabeth's come to relieve -- who calls Elizabeth "Stephanie" as she greets her -- is tucking covers in around Erica, who's ignoring her as she sketches. Elizabeth asks her colleague, Colleen, how Erica's doing. "Still breathing," grunts Erica. Elizabeth asks if she needs anything, and Erica snits, "I need quiet," to which Colleen gives a silent wave on her way out. Elizabeth parks it in an armchair next to the bed and looks at one of Erica's paintings on the opposite wall: a face, somewhat feminine, perhaps as seen behind foggy, streaked glass.


Erica notices her gaze and volunteers, "I painted that right after my mother died." "Oh," Elizabeth nods. "'Oh'?" Erica repeats. "That's it?" kind of a weird answer for any person to give as opposed to "I'm sorry" or "When?" or "How did she pass away?" or some combination of the three -- never mind a nurse, who you'd think would at least be curious on medical grounds. "I don't really-- Art's not my thing," says Elizabeth. Erica gives her the kind of disgusted look only Miriam Shor can deliver and snorts, "That's like saying life's not your thing. Beauty, not your thing." Elizabeth takes another look at the painting and muses, "Hm. I don't know!" Erica's look of disgust curdles into outright contempt...


...before she returns to her sketch with a snort. "How many paintings have you made?" asks Elizabeth blandly. By way of answer, Erica shrugs. "I never knew an artist before," says Elizabeth softly. "Well, now you do," says Erica.

But Elizabeth's not the only one immersing herself in the arts! We cut from here to a honky-tonk bar, where it appears as though Philip's brought his staff for a night of team-building line dancing. It's clear this isn't his first time not just because he's appropriately dressed in a plaid shirt, 1987-ishly light jeans, and cowboy boots, but also because he's kind of good?


The uncomplicated pleasure Philip is taking in this exquisitely normie activity is enough to break my poor heart. He just has no idea Oleg is out there, preparing to ruin his dorky retirement.

Back at the Haskards', Erica sleeps fitfully, wincing aloud in pain. Elizabeth gets up and rests a hand on Erica's shoulder, which seems to soothe her. As Erica subsides into silence, Elizabeth takes a long look at another of Erica's paintings -- similar to the one they discussed before, but with what looks like a more masculine face, though this one's even more obscured with streaks, so it's hard to guess what Elizabeth is seeing in it.


Oleg strides up a street and makes a chalk mark on the side of a mailbox.


Crazy how it's just a single curved line, and yet it clearly reads, "Sorry, Philip, but your boot-scootin' days are over."

And sure enough, when Philip drives to work the next day, he sees the mark and sighs. Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman" starts playing, I guess because that chalk mark WILL make you cry, make you break down -- but DOES he know how to pick up the pieces and go home?

Now it's time for Paige -- lightly disguised in glasses and a plain baseball cap -- to take the corner table at La Bocca; a man is sitting across from her, but they're both silently reading while they surreptitiously surveil.

Elizabeth's in yet another wig as she drives past the restaurant, with our old friend Marilyn in the passenger seat.

At his office, Philip sits at his desk, staring into space and regretting all his life's choices before finally getting up and telling one of his staffers he has to leave early.

Norm walks into a bar weirdly called "O-Reilly's," giving him a different vantage point of 55.

Philip trudges up a sidewalk and takes a tube left on a a really obvious spot that would be right at an inquisitive kid's eye level, but whatever, I guess the ones in this neighbourhood are incurious.

Paige and her male companion leave La Bocca just as a dark-haired woman we don't know walks in and sits down in view of 55's front door.

And then Philip's back where he never thought he'd be again: The Secret Basement Of Spycraft. He's extracted a slip of paper from the tube he picked up and has just finished decrypting it on a notepad, as we watch him take in its message. Based on his reaction, it doesn't seem to be orders that he take the Dupont Circle Travel gang out for some rock 'n roll bowling.

After dark, a still hatted and bespectacled Paige is sitting in the driver's seat of a parked car, reading.

Elizabeth and Marilyn, again or still, are driving around.

Some other guy is sitting at a side table at O-Reilly's, keeping an eye on good old 55.

Back to Paige, getting a knock on her window. As she rolls it down, the knocker tells her he's "with Security, U.S. Navy?" He says he noticed her sitting there, and that it's not the best neighbourhood. Paige smiles that she's waiting for a friend. The guy asks to see her driver's license, and while I get that, as a baby spy, she's not trying to draw undue attention to herself...does he actually have the authority to do that? While he examines it, she takes note of his name tag (M. Hanley); he then greets her as Ellen Torreno and informs her that there are a lot of sensitive sites around her parking spot. She plays dumb, asking where, so he points, saying that eight blocks that way is the Naval Observatory, where he works, and which is also the residence of the Vice-President; there are a lot of embassies around as well. He then says he needs her phone number and a second form of ID, which is when you can tell this clearly isn't official business and that he's just waving his dick around; regardless, she offers her college ID.

While this fuckery is going on, something's actually happening at 55: the guy in the bar buzzes the walkie in his pocket, and Elizabeth pulls over just ahead of the building's front doors to let Marilyn out. Marilyn shoulders her bag and starts slowly walking in front of a little posse of guys in suits, including Haskard; Elizabeth puts in an earpiece to listen via Marilyn's transmitter, and though we don't see the face of the tall Russian man talking to Haskard, it sounds a lot like James Cromwell? Right?

Stupid Hanley is still abusing the authority conferred by his uniform as he leans into Paige's car window to bore her about some Chinese restaurant a block away and urge her to come with him. She apologetically claims she wishes she could, but she already has plans with her friend. Hanley gives her back her driver's license, adding, "I'm going to hold on to this other one, though. You can get it back Saturday night after I take you to dinner." OH HELL NO, BRO, HOW'S "ELLEN" SUPPOSED TO GET A RESERVED READING OUT AT THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY WITHOUT HER ID??? Paige turns on the nice-girl charm, smiling and even giggling a little as she tells him she needs her ID and promises she'll go out with him. "I don't know," says Hanley. "Beautiful girl like yourself might forget, you know?" "I couldn't forget you," purrs Paige. "That's a nice try," says Hanley with a bitter chuckle. He ends by repeating that he'll see her Saturday, and Paige really has no choice but to leave it there and shit a brick as he walks away. Ban men.

Back in the car, Elizabeth continues to eavesdrop on Haskard and Zefram Cochrane (...RIGHT?) making small talk about the daughters the latter left back home.

And, later, Elizabeth sits in Paige's passenger seat as Paige concludes her breathless recap (leave it to the professionals) of her encounter with Hanley, and blaming herself for reading instead of drawing more suspicion by sitting there looking around like a weirdo, I guess. Elizabeth tells her, "This is part of it. This is what happens. You handled it well." "He has my ID!" squeaks Paige. Elizabeth reminds her that it's an ID with a fake name and address, and that Paige gave him a fake number and remembered everything she's supposed to do: "He's a security guard at the U.S. Naval Observatory, he's not a police officer. This isn't a big deal!" While Paige continues silently stressing, Elizabeth tells her, "Under pressure, you kept your cover. You said and did all the right things. There's nothing to worry about." Still not seeming pacified, Paige thanks her, and as she pulls away, Elizabeth gets back into Marilyn's car and gives her an intersection to drop Elizabeth off. "I like Julie, but I told you when she came on, she's too young," Marilyn opines. "I have a lot of faith in this one," says Elizabeth. "Drive." Marilyn knows better than to argue back.

Marilyn rolls to a stop at a corner and Elizabeth hops out of the car -- and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that all she needed from Paige was the name of the Chinese restaurant where Hanley was going to correctly figure out where he'd be and when, because there he is, walking up the block. Elizabeth calls out to him; he stops, and once she's clocked his name tag, she asks if he has a light. He's fumbling with his pocket when she pounces: she produces a large knife from her coat, sticks it handle-deep into his neck, and jerks it around until he falls onto her, gurgling.


While Hanley continues choking on blood, Elizabeth crawls out from under him, recovering "Ellen's" ID and I think also taking the cash out of his wallet; it's hard to tell in the dark, but come on, it's what you or I would do, I ASSUME. Bye bye, Hanley! Your chauvinist, fascist ass won't be missed!

Oleg wanders slowly through a park as, from the other direction, a Ned Flanders-ass-looking Philip approaches, shambling with a similar degree of reluctance. To Oleg, now seated, Philip states, "I always like D.C. at this time of year." "I prefer it when the cherry blossoms are out," Oleg replies.


Both halves of the code thus supplied, Philip gives one last look to his old life before sitting down next to Oleg and asking, "You sure you're good?" Oleg says he took nine hours to make sure, and that he'd have to be followed by the whole FBI not to notice. Oleg recaps the situation (leave it to the professionals), to which Philip replies, "I'm out of it." "He told me," says Oleg, adding that he wouldn't be there if not for the forces arrayed against Gorbachev. He tells Philip about Elizabeth's trip to Mexico, asking if he doesn't think that's strange, and Philip loyally says that Elizabeth just does her job, and well. Oleg says she's being used by the people who are opposing reform and progress, "or she is one of them." Philip finally looks as exhausted as Elizabeth has throughout the episode, clearly not sure what her allegiances actually are, and says nothing. Oleg says that the summit could be a turning point: "We have a pretty good idea where you stand." Philip repeats that he's out of the business, but Oleg blows past this, saying that he and Arkady want Philip to find out what Elizabeth is doing, and maybe, also, stop her. "She's my wife," says Philip through gritted teeth. Oleg nods, and says he also has a wife, and a baby boy, both of whom he left to deliver this assignment to Philip: "If I'm arrested, I'm finished. If they catch me and send me back, I'll be shot. I'm here because the future of our country is being decided right now. You know that. And I'm sorry you have to make some tough decisions too. I'll wait to hear from you." He departs, leaving his folded newspaper on the bench next to Philip, who still looks like he wants to barf.

On a corner somewhere, an unwigged Elizabeth tries to smoke away the guilt of her latest murder. You've come a long way, baby?

Back home, Philip is sitting up with the newspaper, and deliberately sets it down when Elizabeth lets herself in the back door. She manages the most wan of smiles before pointing her chin at his reading material and commenting that it's full of "crap" about the summit, "like we're the ones standing in the way." "You're working on it?" asks Philip blandly. She nods. "It would be good if they made a deal," Philip shrugs. "Fewer weapons." She raises her eyebrows: "Fewer weapons for us, not for them. Just want to use these treaties as a cover so they can keep building up their arsenal while we get rid of ours. That sound fair to you?" "What's going on with you?" asks Philip, a little plaintively. "What do you mean?" she frowns. Without getting specific, he expresses concern about the look of her, and that she smells like cigarettes "all the time": "These past few months, it feels like it's just getting worse and worse." "Well, I'm busy, obviously," says Elizabeth, her eyes hardening. "It is finally getting to you, after all these years," says Philip -- not a question. "When you told me to quit, you were right: it was the best thing I ever did, and I was thinking--" "I'm-- Look, I'm so tired right now?" says Elizabeth, her voice barely starting to break. Philip knows, but he has to talk to her about something. Elizabeth asks to talk tomorrow and repeats that she's beat. "I know how hard you're working," says Philip. "I'm not complaining," says Elizabeth tightly. "This summit is a big deal. There's a lot to do. Whatever it is you want to talk about, we can talk about tomorrow. Whether it's Henry, or your work, it can wait." Philip says it's neither of those things, but she cuts him off: "Whatever it is, I have to figure out what the hell is going on with this summit, and everything else right now. So I know you love to talk, but you don't have to sit here and wait for me 'til 1 in the morning." "I know how tired you are," says Philip, starting to match her anger, "but I need to talk to you." "If you knew how tired I am, you wouldn't still be talking," chokes Elizabeth. FAM I KNOW THAT FEEL. Philip tries to empathize, saying her job is complicated and hard, but she closes her eyes in irritation, saying she doesn't need another one of his speeches: "I need sleep. Let me sleep." Philip swallows: "Great. Fine. Go sleep." Elizabeth gives him a look that's definitely mostly exhaustion but also more than a little pure loathing.


She stomps for the stairs, leaving Philip to clench his jaw. If he was about to tell her about his meeting with Oleg -- even against his and Arkady's explicit prohibition -- he might be less inclined to protect her peevish ass now.

Elizabeth strides through their bedroom to the ensuite, tossing her cigarettes onto the vanity and taking a good, hard, extremely bleary-eyed look at herself in the mirror before fishing her necklace out of her collar and worrying the pendant with her fingertips.

Downstairs, Philip tries to work but is MAYBE KIND OF DISTRACTED RIGHT NOW. He looks up from his spreadsheets toward the ceiling, wondering if Elizabeth is up there filling the bedroom with tar.

But no, Elizabeth's just pinching the pendant before dropping it back inside her sweater. Sorry, suicide! Not today! But, like...probably soon.

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