Patrick Harbron / FX

The Americans Tries Shrinking Another Head

Elizabeth's new op has her looking into a psychiatrist -- which is kind of convenient, since she has some things she might want to talk about. (Obliquely.)

  • That Quote
    "Stobert just wants to end world hunger. Like Miss America. Jesus."
    - Gabriel -
  • Snapshot

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  • Awkward

    Boy Oh BOY

    Situation: Philip is still being assaulted by painful memories about his childhood -- like, as we see, the time his father came home from work, handed his boots straight to Philip's mother...

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    ...and let her see the water she was using to clean them fill with blood. (Not for her to cut them up for dinner, which is what I originally thought. Well, people eat leather in famines! IT HAPPENS!) Later, Philip tells Elizabeth about a couple of men in Tobolsk -- they were dirtbags who had, he knew, done time -- who were always giving him and his brother dirty looks, though he never knew why.

    What makes it awkward? He's gone into a line of work in which staying very cool and collected tends to be important? Also, remembering the grim deprivation of his youth and the misery of everyone around him makes him question whether his overarching project -- destroying capitalism from within the heart of its most powerful representative nation -- is worth doing. You know, his current life in America is pretty good! He's got that sports car and everything.

    How is order restored? He'll be having a conversation with Gabriel later that will answer some questions for him, and raise about a million others.

  • That Happened

    Bait Taken? Soon?

    Stan and Aderholt are still trying to cultivate Russian assets in the U.S., and it looks like this lady might just take them up on it!

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    Maybe the fact that they approach her at a playground and have her point out which kid is hers before they start in with the references to how they might alleviate some of her stresses if she can just co-operate with them makes for a more appealing pitch and/or more effective veiled threat than when they tried to turn that guy at the urinal.

  • Dialogue
    He's home. They met him at the airport.
    And?
    They're going to give him his old job back.
    He'll be fine.
    The look on his face when he left. Philip gets that look sometimes when he's troubled.
    Is Philip troubled now?
    I don't think he's particularly happy.
    Has he ever been?
    [stopping so she has to turn back to him] I've never lied to them before.
    He's lied to you. You did the right thing.
  • Snapshot

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  • J. Walter Weather­man Lesson

    Dimitri Learns A Tough Lesson About Bribery

    Remember Dimitri, that food distributor from last week -- the one with the son in Afghanistan, who took umbrage to Ruslan and Oleg's suggestion that they could ruin (or end) said son's life if Dimitri doesn't participate in their investigation into food graft?

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    Well, it turns out that cursing out a KGB agent isn't a great idea, because (a) that agent knows where you live; (b) he knows how to break in without your even hearing him; and (c) he will find your boxes of bribes. Dimitri immediately tells Ruslan to help himself to whatever he wants -- clearly, there is plenty for everyone! -- but that's not going to solve his problems this time. Dimitri offers to tell them how the process works: "I get my delivers from the farms. Then I have to divide everything up. Not just grocery stores. Hospitals. Orphanages. All under me. It's tough. What comes in, it's different all the time. Different amounts, different quality. I have to make decisions. Some people are going to be happier, some are going to be disappointed." "But some of them -- it's important to make sure they're happy," says Oleg. "That's how it works," says Dimitri. "I've been doing this job a long time." Ruslan (and, to a lesser extent, Oleg) want Dimitri to dime out everyone in his supply chain. "If I answer that, I'm finished," says Dimitri. "I can't. You don't know who you're dealing with." Because they are kind and generous men, though, Oleg and Ruslan will give Dimitri the choice of getting killed by his black market confederates, or dying in a Soviet prison.

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  • Meeting Time

    To Sir, With Love

    Who called the meeting? Gabriel.

    What's it about? Initially, it's just a check-in: Philip's running Norm and Marilyn, the Oklahoma agents, surveilling Evgheniya as she goes to and from her Russian-language instruction job; Elizabeth's got to stay on Ben duty since it would be just as useful to the USSR to get access to his super-wheat. But then: Gabriel announces, "I've got to talk to you." As Philip and Elizabeth stand at the door and everyone watching assumes Gabriel's about to break ranks and tell them about Mischa, he disappoints us all: "I'm going home."

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    How'd it go? It's emotional! Philip and Elizabeth are shocked and, of course, want to know why. Elizabeth asks whether something happened, but Gabriel says, "It's just time." Philip blames himself: "If it's-- If it's me, I know I've been hard to deal with--" But it's not that either; Gabriel says he's just ready to go: "You don't need me anymore. You have each other." Gabriel admits, though, that Philip has attracted the wrong kind of attention to himself, and will always be of special interest to The Centre, as long as he's in the U.S.: "Once they start worrying about somebody, they never stop. And now the lab. And to be honest, I'm worried. You've seen too much. You've done too much." While Philip looks scared and guilty, Elizabeth looks heartbroken about losing the only father she's ever known.

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    "I'll miss you terribly," rumbles Gabriel. WE'LL MISS YOU TOO, COMMIE GRANDPA!!!

  • Alert!

    A Head Fit For Shrinking (And Wigs)

    Alert Type: Mental Health Alert.

    Issue: Elizabeth's been kind of on edge lately: Ben, using a Chinese medicine technique, diagnoses her with heartache by looking at her tongue, and recommends that she join him in some morning tai chi, which she seems to find helpful.

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    Later, Paige cheerily calls her to the door to talk to a Nancy Norton, a very friendly Mary Kay representative, and Elizabeth tenses up and gets rid of her with sufficient brusque-itude that even Paige calls her out for her rudeness. Elizabeth says that if they weren't going to buy anything, they would have just wasted Nancy's time, because she can't admit that the name "Mary Kay" reminds her of Young-Hee, the only friend she ever had, whose marriage she ruined for the sake of Mother Russia. As luck would have it, though, Elizabeth's latest assignment requires her to case the office of a certain Dr. Robert Semel, a psychiatrist, so she can talk to him about her problems!

    Complicating Factors: Of course, Elizabeth can't tell Dr. Semel her actual problems, so she gives him a doctored version of her and Paige's mugging last season that does not end in her killing one of them; in this telling, "someone came along and they ran away."

    Resolution: Giggling self-effacingly, Elizabeth tells Dr. Semel that she's been taking karate lessons, and does he think that's stupid? He doesn't. When she adds that she just wants to feel like she did before this happened, the doctor says that's understandable, but that she went through a trauma. Elizabeth rejects that term, but Dr. Semel says that people often think the way to get past such traumatic events is to act like they didn't happen and never talk about it, but that it doesn't really work.

    Previously.TV

    Elizabeth rejects this diagnosis.

    Spoiler: Her snarl of guilt won't be ignored.

  • On The Menu

    FX

    What's On The Menu At Stan's?

    Stuffed Peppers: Henry was dubious when Elizabeth first served him stuffed peppers, until he realized they were basically stuffed with cheeseburgers. (It kind of looks like both Henry and Stan are just eating the insides, and I kind of don't blame them.)

    Wink: Stan comments that he's glad Henry was the one to bring him the leftovers, since he hasn't seen Henry in so long. WE GET IT, THEY HAD TO KEEP KEIDRICH SELLATI OFFSCREEN BECAUSE HE HAD A GROWTH SPURT. Does every character he interacts with have to make some cute remark about it?

    Mind Your Own Boulliabaise: Hey, Stan hasn't seen Paige in a while either -- does Henry know what's up with Paige and Matthew? Henry does not; he doesn't talk about that stuff with Paige. But the subject then changes to Henry's own love life; he no longer has a crush on that hot science teacher, but he likes some girl in his class. I look forward to never hearing about that again. Who cares.

  • Meeting Time

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    No One Else Ever Gets To Say They Have Daddy Issues, Sorry

    Who called the meeting? Philip.

    What's it about? Since he can't shake his bad memories, Elizabeth suggests that he go ask Gabriel about his father: "Who know's what's in our personnel files. He would have read it all. This may be your last chance to talk to him."

    How'd it go? After Philip asks again why Gabriel is returning to the Soviet Union, making sure it's not that he's ill, we get to an evasion that is, to those of us on the outside, very obvious. "So you're not keeping anything from me," says Philip. "It's time for me to go," Gabriel replies. (Query: did Gabriel trade his own return to the USSR for Mischa's getting his old job back instead of returning to the mental institution...or worse?)

    Philip then gets down to it: he wants to know about his father. "My mother never really talked about him, but I'm having these memories," he says. "He was quiet -- very. My mother didn't talk about him really; she said they met at a movie at a workers' club. They knew each other a month before they got married. And she said he was a logger, and that's all I know. He used to bring things home? Was he a logger?" "He worked at a logging camp," says Gabriel. Philip clocks this dodge: "Was he a logger?" "A guard," says Gabriel. Turns out that Philip's father worked at a penal camp. Philip wants to know why Gabriel didn't tell him, and Gabriel says he didn't think it was his place. Philip asks whether his father ever killed people were trying to escape, and Gabriel says he doesn't know. Philip: "Who'd he work for?" "Us," says Gabriel. "So that's why you came for me," says Philip, but Gabriel denies it: "We were always on the lookout for talented people. You were talented. The fact that you came from a trustworthy family -- that was good." Philip:

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    "Those were different times, Philip," says Gabriel. "It's hard to explain. Who knows what your father did? He had his job. A lot of things happened. You think it was his fault? He was nobody. We were all nobodies. It's been over for a long time." It's definitely not over for Philip, and I fear what worse memories might be yet to bubble up after Gabriel's gone and he has no one to ask about them.

  • Wrap It Up

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    Elizabeth puts on a new disguise to go stake out Young-Hee's house, guiltily. When a totally different family parks out front and let themselves in, she gets guiltier still, probably assuming, as we all are, that they left their old house to go live in a couple of sad divorce condos. Way to go, "PATTY."

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    Elizabeth stops by Paige's room and finds her reading Pastor Groovyhair's copy of Das Kapital. As he had predicted, she does buy his economic argument, but breaks with him on religion as "a drug that keeps people in chains," telling Elizabeth, "Nothing in my life made me feel as good as being baptized." She asks whether Elizabeth has read it, like: duh; Elizabeth enthuses: "What he writes about the capitalist class structure being a kind of slavery, how revolution is necessary to create and achieve a workers' state so that no one is exploited -- my whole country came out of those ideas." "What's it like there?" asks Paige. "Is everybody equal?" Elizabeth reflects for a moment before answering, "We have our problems. But everyone's in it together." "You haven't been there in a long time," says Paige, and Elizabeth smiles that Philip says the same thing. She adds, "You should probably keep this book on your shelf, with other books on similar topics. That way anyone who's looking won't pay any attention to it. I could get you a few that would fit." Who would be looking in her room? Does she have any friends? Matthew or Henry care what she reads? Or is that just a pretext for loading her up with more anti-capitalist philosophy?

    FX

    Philip parks his dumb car in the garage and sits in it long enough for Elizabeth to come out and ask him what happened. After a brief recap (leave it to the professionals), Philip asks whether she knows anything about the camps. "I know they existed," she says. "I'm not sure why my mother didn't tell me. Maybe she didn't like what he did. I didn't know anything. My own parents, I don't know anything about them at all."

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    Oleg goes to see Dimitri languishing in his cell...

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    ...particularly moved by the sight of the container Dimitri poops in, which looks smaller than my wastepaper basket -- at least, I assume that's what Oleg is thinking when he stares at it based on the fact that we get a lingering shot of it.

    Previously.TV

    Oleg -- who, earlier in the episode, had returned to that meeting place again, only for no one to show up, so I guess Stan successfully got the heat off him after all -- then goes home, takes his CIA artifacts from their hiding place, exchanges a SIGNIFICANT LOOK with his mother...

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    ...and goes up to the roof to set both the map and the tape on fire. Прощай, blackmail fuel!

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    Apparently Philip's grief at not knowing anything about his parents gave Elizabeth an idea, which is to bring Paige...

    Previously.TV

    ...to meet Gabriel. Здравствуйте, Commie Grandpa! Are you sure you need to go back to the Soviet Union right now?

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