The Americans: "I'm Way Past Tricks, Curtis."

Ashtrays on the dining room table? That takes me back.
Ashtrays on the dining room table? That takes me back.

I just realized I don't know anybody named "Stan."

The last one I did, in fact, was in grade school in the 1970s. Checking the Social Security name site, I see the name "Stanley" has been in steady decline since its peak popularity (#34) during the Great War. It really plummets in the 1950s, a change I blame entirely on Marlon Brando. Currently, it's at #674 with no sign of recovery.

I bring all this up because last night's episode, "Only You," was pretty Stan-tastic, following Noah Emmerich's dogged FBI agent as he hunted his partner's killer, lied to his Soviet informer/lover and drunkenly commiserated with his neighbor/friend, who -- oh right -- is actually Amador's killer.

Pretty busy couple of days.

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The Jennings' marriage is still on the outs and Phillip (Matthew Rhys) is still staying in a fleabag hotel, but at least Elizabeth (Keri Russell) gave him a ride there. That's progress, right?

But let's get to it: The Eff Bee Eye is pulling out all the stops (again, recall they did this after the bombings) to find Agent Amador's killer(s). Agent Gaad (Richard Thomas) calls Stan in to surreptitiously praise him for killing Vlad, then sends him home to rest up for the big investigation. Instead, he pays a drunken visit to Phillip to talk about Amador and make pointed comments about marriage and secrets. He then thanks Phillip for being a friend and not, presumably, for knifing his partner.

Stan talks to Nina (Annet Mahendru) the next morning. She believably (because she's telling the truth) insists that nobody knows anything about Amador while trying to find out who murdered Vlad. Stan assures her the FBI are "not monsters." Bold statement for a guy who probably had to clean Vlad's brains off his wingtips.

Phillip interrupts a mother-daughter standoff to tell Elizabeth about Amador's missing ring and Stan's nocturnal visit. She seems taken aback that he didn't prime the grieving agent for info (frankly, so am I). Gregory's team handled the car, so Elizabeth uses this convenient excuse to warn Gregory. Oh, and tell him about her and Phillip's separation.

But there are bigger problems, because the Feds have already found the ring, and the car they used to move Amador's body. Stan goes full Bad Cop on the salvage-yard guy, who fingers the guy Stan saw while they were looking for Joyce Ramirez. His name's Curtis, and he's stone busted. Phillip and Elizabeth brief Claudia (Margo Martindale) and discuss options for Gregory. She instructs them to "talk him into Moscow," because the other option is even less pleasant than exfiltration to the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

"I always hated your window treatments."
"I always hated your window treatments."

Gregory (Derek Luke) is less than enthusiastic about the prospect. He makes the same half-assed offer to Elizabeth that Irina made to Phillip (run away with me to live in forests of azure, or something). Interestingly enough, Sandra (Susan Misner) says pretty much the same thing to Stan later in the show. All three of our principal characters have now been offered an escape from their current situation. And everyone seems so happy.

Stan tries to appeal to Curtis's patriotism, and it apparently works, because next thing we know, Gaad is giving a slide show to his agents about Gregory. They raid his house (he's not there) while Claudia tries to impress upon Gregory the necessity of making like a drum and getting out of there. Oh, and by the way, the KGB has set him up for Amador's murder. APRIL FOOL'S!

Elizabeth tries a different approach (the sexy approach). Gregory gives her some sweet, sweet loving, but still refuses to go to Moscow (can you blame him? Name one decent Soviet jazz musician). His plan is more of the "suicide by cop" variety. Improbably, both she and a late arriving Phillip let him go do just that. The episode ends to the strains of Roberta Flack's version of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" as Gregory goes down in a hail of bullets, Elizabeth eats stoically with the kids and Phillip dines alone on pizza in his hotel.

So the heat is temporarily off the DC branch of Directorate S, but Stan's lying to Nina will likely come back to bite him on the ass (if Sandra doesn't find out about his affair with her first). Is the Jenningses' marriage permanently kaput? And how is Phillip going to resolve his "situation" with Martha?

Next week: Someone is killing the great chefs KGB directors of Moscow.


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