Film and TV

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

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.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar