The Americans: "Shame's Not An Option For Me."

Our phony marriage is on the rocks!
Our phony marriage is on the rocks!

In retrospect, you knew Agent Amador was a dead Fed walking as soon as he gave Martha the stinkeye at the file cabinets.

He was already living on borrowed time. His wild and crazy bachelor lifestyle was never going to end well, even before this episode's portentious flashbacks ("I've got no attachments: no family, no wife, no pets."). Do we view his noble yet ultimately fruitless demise as a cautionary tale? An allegory for the coming AIDS epidemic?

Or maybe he just got too close to Directorate S. Not everything's symbolic, Dr. Freud.

At dinner, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) utters those words every kid who grew up in post-Vietnam American dreaded hearing: "Dad is going to be staying somewhere else for a while." And with that, another American touchstone is achieved. Paige blames Mom, Henry cries, which is a very 80s thing for a man to do. At the same time, divorce for a couple of KGB agents is either very unwise or the perfect way to fit in with their surroundings.

They still go to the Beemans' party, nonetheless. So do most of Stan's FBI buddies. Agent Gaad (Richard Thomas) announces they're going to take down Arkady "extra-judicially." Stan (Noah Emmerich) begs off. Elizabeth tells Sandra (Susan Misner) about the split, which probably just destroyed the latter's faith in the institution of marriage.

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Phillip (Matthew Rhys) has his own problems: Martha (Alison Wright) is in love with him (well, with "Clark" anyway), and she convinces him to spend the night. Why the hell not? Beats a motel. And with an added bonus, she spills the beans about Gaad's plan to off a KGB agent. But before Phillip can drive off in his OldsmoBuick to warn anyone, he's confronted by Agent Amador (Maximiliano Hernández). The jilted G-man has a two-fer of a problem: he's terribly jealous, and he suspects Martha of high treason. Before you can say "Flowers By Irene", Amador has a knife in his gut and Phillip and Elizabeth are in full on crisis mode.

Amador's absence prompts Stan to check out his apartment, which provides no clues except for some plaintive messages from needy waitresses. Further freaked out, Stan recalls his comrade waxing rhapsodic about being a "lone wolf," which spurs him to action, presumably of a lupine nature. Nope, he's just leaning on Nina (Annet Mahendru), who claims she doesn't even know who Amador is. Stan brusquely orders her to find out who took him and she leaves, her hurt feelings apparent on her face. Bros before Commie hos, I guess.

As if the FBI agent bleeding out in an abandoned building wasn't bad enough, Elizabeth has to deal with her troubled kids. Paige is merely being a shit, while Henry is blowing of his homework. She sublimates her parental frustration into interrogating Amador, who assures her America will win in the end.

I don't know, was Reagan really that much more inspiring than Brezhnev?

Vaya con Dios, Agent Amador.
Vaya con Dios, Agent Amador.

But life goes on with the unauthorized op. Gaad has brought in some CIA assistance, and Angry Stan is now on board, because This Time It's Personal (TM). He tells Gaad that taking out Arkady means Amador is as good as dead. Gaad counters that Amador could give up Nina. The op would appear to be a bust anyway, as a freak potato accident keeps Arkady from going on his daily jog. But Stan gives the go ahead to grab his assistant Vladimir, who endures Stan's awkward retriever analogy and insists he doesn't know anything. That doesn't stop Stan from calling Arkday and threatening to kill "Vlad" if something happens to Amador.

Which, of course, it does. Amador dies thinking the Arkady hit was a success, leaving Phillip and Elizabeth with no recourse but to dump his body. Gaad assures Stan he'll make Operation Avenging Amador (I just made that up) the Agency's top priority, after which Stan has an odd flashback related to Amador's eternal love of poontang. He then returns to the safe house, where he muses about the virtues of American fast food with Vlad, then kills him. Quid pro quo, or something.

I can't help wondering is Arkady faked his injury because Nina tipped him off. I kind of hope so, because I think she's the only principal I want to see walk at the end of all this. What made Amador's death, while inevitable, a bit of a bummer was how all the assumed motives were out of whack. Killing him wasn't an official KGB op, but that didn't help Vlad. And with the Bureau now officially on "red alert" (heh), Phillip and Elizabeth better watch their asses.

Next week: The FBI don't play.

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