Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Aaaaaand here we go again....

...with America's favorite KGB agents and their pals, that is. 

The Americans—Mission # 4, Episode 1
FX 22:00  3/16/2016

That includes ambivalent teen daughter Paige (or as her grandmother calls her, Pie-AGE) and oblivious tween son Henry (who names their kid Henry? That should have been a tip off to the FBI.) ( But then again, the FBI agent living closest to the Jennings' is Stan the Man, who is barely aware of anything besides his own navel.)

When we last saw Elizabeth and Phillip they had decided to tell daughter THE TRUTH ("Honey, you remember when we said the pledge of allegiance with you at the National's game?  Well….").  As can be imagined, this has put the sensitive young lady in quite an intellectual tailspin.  They're Russians, but they live here; they're patriotic, but to a slave state—well, maybe she doesn't know yet it's a slave state—they seem to like her quite a bit, but their job description includes murder, which her religion vociferously condemns.  So the last scene of the last show was Paige alone in her bedroom on the phone with the beloved, evangelical but liberal, Pastor Tim and saying "They're not who they say they are….they're not AMERICANS!"  Which suggests  Paige is more xenophobic than my-mom-and-dad-sometimes-kill-people-a-phobic. 

This show picks that sub plot up where it left off, with Tim counseling Paige to report her parents, which of course she refuses, so he tells her to find out more about their activities. .  Which is another way of saying, "then report them later after you have more evidence that they should rot in jail." 

And then, we check in with all the usual suspects this week. 


  Phillip, in the guise of "Clark",  is back at the apartment of the woman who continues to have delusions that he is her husband and that he works for the FBI deeply undercover (which is why he won't let her list him as a family member on her own application for an FBI position).  Nevertheless, she remains in the vestiges of a big time freak out, after the office she works in with John Boy Walton (head of the division after leaving the quite life of an Appalachian poet and becoming totally citified) and Stan the Man is turned upside down by a ball point pen Clark had her take to work.( John Boy discovered last season that the pen was listening to him).   She and Clark separated last season, and both of them were afraid Martha would get in big time freak out trouble.

  So Clark took care of that in the last episode last year, and this week he tells her that he killed another employee at her office and wrote a suicide note to implicate him as the evil pen provider.  Clark sees this as evidence of himself protecting his pretend beloved, Martha, and tells her so.  Martha sees this as a reason to move away from him on the bed on which they're sitting and look at him as if he's just told her he killed one of her coworkers and implicated him in a pen escapade that he had involved her in.  She stays with him during this entire episode, but keeps her distance.


 Stan the Man has a girl the woman friend!  Who's wearing a bra and a skirt when the scene featuring Stan begins.  He tells her of his exploits last year that his boss wants to fire him for but HIS boss wants to give him a medal for.  I think this was his affair with the Russian KGB lady.  What a lady's man.  Anyway, she's a friend from the touchy-feely support group (EST) that he attended for awhile last year—and that his estranged wife and Phillip the KGB spy next door who has eluded any suspicion from bird brain Stan about his job, both still attend.

Stan's Girlfriend the Woman tells him he should be straight up and honest with his boss, and his boss's difficulty in being straight and honest with him will simply collapse like a tent under snow.  Anyway, Stan—with uncharacteristic brilliance—tells her "The FBI doesn't work that way."  Which may be why he doesn't like EST, although he probably mostly doesn't like EST because if he goes he has to put up with his wife not acting like his wife. 

The next time we see Girlfriend the Woman it's in the bar, where it just so happens Phillip and Stan's wife have gone to get a cold one after the EST group.  Phillip probably needs it, because he almost has told the group all the details about a flashback he keeps having of Mother Russia, where pre-teen Phillip is running from 2 bullies in a place that looks like a tunnel but also has barred windows. Phillip (or Mikhail or Sergei or whatever his name is) surprises one of them by hitting him with a big rock. Then hitting him again.  And again.  And keeps hitting him at the rate of 2 rock hits a second, even beyond the time the other kid is bleeding.  Even beyond the time that the other kid quits moving and making any noise. Then he runs away.  Why Phillip should be more afraid of his ability to kill a bully when he was being bullied than he is killing people who are often innocent of any wrongdoing is a mystery.  But he is.  However he stops short of telling the group that he murdered his tormenter, telling the leader when asked whether he ever confronted the guy later, "Uh…he moved away."  To Soviet Bully Heaven, no doubt. 

So ol' Phil is talkin' up Stan's wife and for all intents and purposes they just look like pals getting together for a drink after a support group they attend (does that break any rules of EST, btw?).  But Girlfriend the Woman is Taking Note.  Later in the show, Stan corners Phillip in the Jennings’ garage, accusing him of having an affair with his estranged wife, since Phillip was spotted in the bar by Girlfriend the Woman.  When Phillip protests, actually, no, Stan grab him and shoves him against the wall.  “Don’t lie to me!”  Then lets him go and says “SCREW YOU, PHILLIP!”  which is weird, because he just accused Phillip of screwing his wife.  It would be kind of ironic if a split in the friendship between Stan the Man and the Jennings’ would happen because of jealousy, and not the FBI agent’s realization that the Jennings’ are ENEMY SPIES.  But, it might happen. 


So the guy who played Dracula in the 70s is of course the couple's Soviet handler, Gabriel.  Early in the show he’s seen scolding them for Elizabeth’s and Paige’s trip to Europe to see Elizabeth’s sick mother , contrary to his strong forbidding of such a visit.  Doing his best Jewish mother impersonation.  “I protect you, I advocate for you, I play Scrabble with you, and THIS IS HOW YOU REPAY ME?”  He gets over it quickly though and tells them about their next mission.  Which is sick.  I mean literally.

He  explains that their guy in one of the US labs has told them he’s bringing them a sample of a disease the US is planning to weaponize.  He tells them it’s like meningitis, and gives them a vaccine for the same, then sends them out to find their man in the US labs. 

They make the connection.  The guy laughs when they tell him that Gabriel inoculated them with meningitis.  Apparently this stuff is much, much worse. 

Incidentally, it is in the next scene where Stan the Man roughs Phillip up…with a vial of bioweapon in Phillip's pocket.  No further info on that until next week.


Arkady, the KGB Residentura posing as the Russian ambassador,  finds out Tatiana's up to something.  In fact, she's locked him out of the office.  What's she doing?  She can't tell him.  When he  protests, she asks him to call Moscow.  He does, and they tell him he's locked out of the office and Tatiana is doing something she can't tell him about. 


Nina of course is the triple agent who had an affair with Stan the Man and has ended up in Siberia because of it.  Last year her sentence was made a tad more comfortable (but not any warmer, as she is now situated in what looks like a double wide trailer out in the tundra)  when she was given the task of spying on Anton, the scientist Phillip had kidnapped and repatriated.  Anton was repatriated specifically to make for the Russians something he'd engineered for US fighter planes.  Nina is supposed to report anything making it look like he's sabotaging instead of working for them (because when you're ripped away from your family and sent thousands of miles away in the hold of a ship to return to the place you escaped from, you would have extremely warm and cordial feelings toward those who kidnapped you).  Nina has so far failed to get anything juicy out of him.  She provides one of the teasers in the film….demanding of her handler she wants to see her husband.  Nina has a husband?  Who knew? 


So that's it for this first week.  Hold onto your hats as we approach Week 2 in the episode:


Don't Turn Us In! or

I Left My Heart Somewhere Where There's Good Central Heating






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