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The Americans: Covert War

Don't mess with Russia.
Don't mess with Russia.

I am covering this week's recap of The Americans while Pete is vacationing in Cuba with his wife Beyoncé.

Given all that has happened to the brotherhood that is the FBI, specifically the death of Agent Chris Amador, it's no wonder that thems is pissed! The agency is so angry that they've teamed up with the CIA to set up a string of KGB assassinations. Number one on their list is that Russian guy Zhukov (whose name I can neither pronounce nor spell), who was something of a father figure to Elizabeth, and she's going to want revenge.

Elizabeth and Sandra (Stan's wife) get all gussied up and hit the discotheque. As the ladies suck down cocktails, Sandra reveals some of her true feelings about marriage and potentially the act of adultery. Elizabeth is her ever-tight-lipped self, keeping her comments on cheating, which happens to be the reason for her marriage's current demise, to herself. The ladies take to the dance floor and for once ever in her life, Elizabeth lets loose. It's enchanting as she flips her hair around, but it freaks Sandra the heck out. Maybe something dawns on Sandra, something about her new friend's behavior or perhaps something about herself?

Philip has the kids for the night and he proves to be the quintessential single-dude dad. He gives them vending-machine candy for dinner. There's a nice moment when the three of them are watching television and a discussion about capitalism comes up. Why do insurance companies sponsor television shows? Because that's the nature of this country and we all just take advantage of it. America!

Stan comes home to a drunk Sandra, who basically accuses him of cheating...ya know because he is banging his Soviet spy, Nina.

Elizabeth is on the warpath to avenge the death of whatshisface and points her bony finger at Richard Patterson, one of the directors of the CIA, whom she deems responsible because Claudia told her as much. Despite also being told by Claudia not to do anything rash, Elizabeth has feelings about something for the first time in her life and doesn't understand what that wet stuff is that's coming out of her eyes; she's going to bust a cap.

Naturally, Philip thinks Elizabeth is overreacting, but the guy loves her and he will keep helping her no matter what unstable business she gets them into. She makes a plan to get with this guy Patterson, who has a penchant for pretty girls, and kill him.

All is going according to plan; Elizabeth and Patterson hit it off over a cocktail and a tête-à-tête about Air Supply. Elizabeth gets the guy in the bathroom and mid-makeout, she turns around and kicks his ass. Elizabeth is a tiny woman, but she can throw some good punches.

Moments later she has the guy tied up and blindfolded, but it doesn't go according to plan. He is a no one, and furthermore he gets under her skin by pointing out how evil her side of the coin is. The Russians are the bad guys, not the Americans (ohh...). She can't kill him and she won't let Philip do it either. They let the guy go.

Oh, and on the other side of town, Stan attempts to tell Nina that he can't sleep with her anymore because of that whole "wife thing" he's got going on. Oh, really, she responds by slowly undressing, and there goes that. What's going to happen, however, when she finds out that her boyfriend is the one who shot her buddy Vlad in the back of the head?

 

Elizabeth heads over to Philip's ill-equipped motel bachelor pad with a six-pack in hand. She feels bad, he helped her, she wants to make amends. But she is yet again thrown for a loop when he tells her that rather than pining over her and their comfy home, he's rented an apartment. She flies out the door, angry and upset. Oh, those darn emotions, why can't they be regimented or drowned in vodka!

I like this show and I'm a chick, so for me a big part of it is their relationship. I liked when they were enjoying their marriage, but it was short-lived. I really hope that their connection isn't a series of will-it-or-won't-its. Although I suppose that makes for good drama.

Letting the CIA agent go was probably a bad idea. He knows kind of what the Jenningses look like; he described them as a "couple."

In the very last scene of the show, Elizabeth finds her way into Claudia's car and admits that she did not kill the CIA agent. She also determines that Claudia secretly wanted her to and that's why she didn't do it (that and the whole love speech he gave her). Is Claudia out to get Elizabeth or is it all in her head? Regardless, I can't wait for her to punch that old bag in the face again.

This was another great episode for this series. The show is really finding its footing in terms of creativity and confidence. By concept, it is a risk-taking show, but I'm glad that it embraces that fact and isn't afraid to get a little weird. There were several atypical moments in this episode: Elizabeth's dancing, Philip and the kids watching a guy take a leak, Stan's son wearing eyeliner to go to a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening but saying that it didn't make him gay. And that awkward scene where Martha invites Philip (disguised as her pseudo-boyfriend Clark) over to meet her parents because she's totally "over the moon" for him, which was oddly wonderful. These little additions make this show hands down good television.

There are only two episodes left to live vicariously through the Jenningses and imagine how cool it would have been to be a Russian spy in the 1980s! I would wear one of those fur hats.


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