The Americans: "You Don't Usually Like Things Too Spicy, Stan."

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People sure have a lot more sex than I remember in 1981. Of course, I was in middle school at the time, so my recollections may not be relevant.

Sex in The Americans serves two purposes. First, it demonstrates the conundrum faced by Phillip and Elizabeth as they try to make their cover marriage more real, even when part of their assignment is bedding potential sources and/or targets. And as we find out this week, there's a difference between "professional" and "personal" coitus.

Second, FX gets to show a lot of ass. How you doin', Annet Mahendru?

I'm going to paraphrase the opening scene of last night's episode:

"How was your morning, honey? "Played racquetball with the FBI agent sworn to destroy us. You?" "Oh, just deciphered a coded transmission telling us we have to stop one of our own assassins from killing a ballistic missile scientist. How are the kids?"

Phillip (Matthew Rhys) cleverly outsources the nigh impossible job of protecting several of its scientists by planting an easily detectable bomb in one of their cars, thereby eliminating the need to shadow all 14 and watch for unknown enemies. The playful banter between him and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) almost makes you forget they're godless Commie scum.

Claudia (Margo Martindale) gives Elizabeth some more detail and tries to mend fences, in a way, by telling her about Phillip and Irina's tryst in NYC and appealing to her patriotism (and Phillip's evident lack thereof). And just like that, the thrill between the couple is gone. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Agent Gaad (Richard Thomas) gives Stan (Noah Emmerich) the keys to the kingdom. Or rather, a safe house for him and Nina. Jesus, why not just strap a mattress to his back? Of course, Stan wastes no time "arranging a meeting" with his comely informant. Naturally, Stan has checked the room for bugs and the like before they get down to business again, right? Certainly he wouldn't let a Soviet government employee get that close to him without being extra careful, right? Sheesh, men are stupid.

The Jenningses brace a guy who sold the assassin some explosives (the preteen daughter menacing Elizabeth with a shotgun was a nice touch). The hitman they're looking for is a big, beefy German, and he's already on the job. Part of which is getting a hooker to "distract" one of the FBI agents long enough to plant a bomb in his walkie-talkie.

FBI secretary Martha (Alison Wright) doesn't want to talk about work with "Clark." Not until he "silos his ICBM," anyway (okay, I'll stop). Afterwards, she's so grateful she offers info on the threat to the scientists to help Clark save his job. Later we see her happily Xeroxing a copy of the Feds' list of suspicious immigrants for her man, which she gives him after boom, boom, boom going back to her room (okay, I lied). Sheesh, women are stupid.

The weekly Beeman/Jennings dinner is unusually tense. Especially with Stan's suspicious newfound love of spicy food. His post-conjugal glow is practically radioactive. Elizabeth confronts Phillip about Irina, and he caves like, well, a Frenchman, and whatever brief matrimonial mirage (mirriage?) the two enjoyed is gone. They're still able to ID Ze German from Martha's list, but unable to convince him the KGB has called off the dogs. He goes out in spectacularly gory fashion, made only more hilarious by the fact he was watching The Fall Guy beforehand.

And it's all for naught anyway, because the walkie-talkie bomb still takes out the scientist. "This will not stand," says Gaad. He was so close to a Dude-ism. Elizabeth blames their mission failure on the introduction of emotion into their "arrangement." Phillip gives her the option of getting a separation. Play us out, Cure!

What will come of Agent Amador's (Maximiliano Hernández) rejected advances on Dorothy? Maybe she should have caved, because now his suspicions have led him to follow her around. Is there any doubt he's going to interrupt a tryst and "Clark" is going to kill him? Signs point to "No."

Next week In two weeks: Lots of bad hair and even more potential betrayal.

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