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The Americans: "I've Been Spying for the Americans."

Come on, honey; wives plant bugs for their husbands all the time.
Come on, honey; wives plant bugs for their husbands all the time.

Thanks to Abby for covering the show last week. Sasha Fierce and I had a blast in Cuba. Awesome cigars.

An oath, as any currently incarcerated member of the Mafia could tell you, is only as binding as the person taking it wants it to be.

In some cases, oaths are sworn with the best of intentions but time and/or circumstance leads to an eroding of the swearer's resolve. In others, the person taking the oath never intends to hold true to it. Last night's episode of The Americans (three guesses what it was called) found characters confronted by both scenarios, setting the stage for more betrayal, violence and (hopefully) lingerie-clad Nina.

Sanford Prince (Tim Hopper), Elizabeth's timorous laser lab contact, claims he's recruited an Air Force colonel with access to more space plans. The KGB's not buying -- not at the $50K asking price, that is -- until Elizabeth (Keri Russell) sees the goods. Still, she and Phllip (Matthew Rhys) are excited about the possibilities. Elizabeth picks up the microfiche from Prince's dead drop, and they look very promising indeed. Claudia (in between games of Ms. Pac-Man) agrees, and tells Elizabeth to prepare for a meeting the KGB has already arranged with the colonel.

Nina (Annet Mahendru) receives a promotion and a new assignment from new resident Arkady: She'll be helping him wrangle Directorate S. To begin with, she has to take an oath that sounds a little heavier than the one Flounder and Pinto took in Animal House. She still mourns for poor Vlad, even more so when a secretary informs her he had a crush on Nina but viewed her as "out of his league."

Her new responsibilities don't stop her from spilling the latest dirt to Stan (speaking of "out of your league"). She mentions a dream she had (or didn't) about Stan saving her from a burning building while stripping down to her skimpy Sears undies. She then asks if he knows who killed Vlad, again. Stan (Noah Emmerich), taken off guard by close-proximity pulchritude, lies. Again. This time, not so convincingly.

 

"Let's get to the good stuff: Did you ever see Secretary Weinberger naked?"
"Let's get to the good stuff: Did you ever see Secretary Weinberger naked?"

Viola (Tonye Patano), Weinberger's housekeeper (remember her?), is having a moral crisis as she agonizes over leaving the bugged clock in the Secretary of Defense's study. Unable to live with the guilt, she goes to the FBI, specifically Agents Gaad (Richard Thomas) and Beamon. Stan picks up on the fact that both she and the dead CIA guy were scooped up by a man and a woman acting together. He knows!

Oh, of course he doesn't. Still, Phillip isn't too keen on Claudia's meeting plan and has a crazy idea: get his special lady Martha (Alison Wright) to plant a bug in Gaad's office. You know what else is crazy? Proposing to Martha to facilitate your plan. She accepts, but won't plant a bugged pen unless they tell her parents. "Clark" relents, and then Martha says she wants to get married that weekend. A bigger problem is how Clark needs to cough up some family for the ceremony. Enter Claudia (Margo Martindale) and Elizabeth as "Mom" and "Sis."

Elizabeth also has to deal with her envy over Phillip and Paige's newly enhanced father-daughter relationship. But Paige (Holly Taylor) has her own problems. Namely, Matthew's new band has a female guitarist. With bosoms. She seeks motherly advice, and Elizabeth realizes she's still in love with Phillip. This is even more obvious at the wedding, and Elizabeth's misery is palpable when Phillip and Martha exchange vows. "Till death do us part," says Martha, which is probably closer than she realizes.

Finally, in a fairly predictable development given Stan's nonverbal cues, Nina confesses her spying to Arkady, giving him the option of killing her or "letting her redeem herself in the eyes of Mother Russia," thus putting the rare "triple agent" option into play.

Next week: SEASON FINALE, BITCHES. The FBI stakes out Directorate S's meeting with the colonel. Will Stan and/or Phillip live out the American dream and kill their annoying neighbor?


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