The Americans RECAP: Who's Your Daddy? (S3:E3)

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Philip and his handler Gabe are playing Scrabble, but Philip is never sure whether Gabe is bluffing. Smells like a metaphor. Gabe is also discussing our favorite spies’ next assignment, which will be to get something on some member of the CIA’s Afghanistan team. But be warned! The CIA will be watching very carefully—expecting Soviet agents to target them.

"Of course 'maxizy' is a word. Any real American would know that."

“Of course ‘maxizy’ is a word. Any real American would know that.”

Of course, the conversation turns to Paige. Philip reminds his handler of what happened last time the Center tried turning the child of illegals—Jerod went Ed Gein on his entire family.

Next up, Elizabeth is doing spy training with young Hans, who has an obvious crush on her. They’re walking around a campus, and she’s making him remember details about people. He’s pretty good at it. She’s wearing a not totally unattractive blonde wig, and he comments, “You always look great.” She gives him an all business look, and he backtracks, “I didn’t mean that.”

YOU TOTALLY MEANT THAT, HANS.

And it's not like it's not true.

And it’s not like it’s not true.

Later, in the bedroom, Elizabeth mentions Hans’ progress to Philip. Also that he was “checking her out,” but she put a stop to it. Philip wonders aloud if that was a great idea. “You recruit men,” he reminds her. Does he say it in a loving, generous way, like, “Go ahead and enjoy one of the few benefits this job offers and have tantric sex with his hot young body, and then come home and tell me about it so we can both get off?” No, he certainly does not. He says it like, “Whatever! Go ahead and do him because this isn’t a real marriage.”

What’s eating Philip? He’s still mad about the Paige thing and that Elizabeth spoke to Gabe about it behind his back.

Speaking of tantric sex, remember the new guy at the FBI that Elizabeth beat up the night she also beat up Gaad? His name is Adahalt, and he has a big fat crush on Martha. He better be careful. The last guy that liked Martha got killed by her fake husband. He’s making awkward conversation, but then gets called away because there’s a call about a woman coming into a dentist office because all the dentists everywhere are on the lookout for a woman with injuries to the side of her face—like the kind Stan’s neighbor lady had the night of the incident.

Protecting you from harmful plaque... and communism.

Protecting you from harmful plaque… and communism.

Elizabeth and Philip go to an open house at the home of one of the CIA guys they are looking into.  Philip manages to plant a bug even though the CIA guy comes home unexpectedly and almost catches him. But disaster is diverted. Good thing it all worked out, and they didn’t have to kill anyone!

Over at the Rezidentura, Arkady tells Oleg that Oleg’s father arranged for him to be transferred back to Moscow, but Arkady wants to give him a choice. Oleg reminds him that his daddy is pretty tight with the new old guy now running the country. Arkady lets him know it’s still his decision. ARKADY IS THE BEST BOSS EVER!

Elizabeth and Philip are driving around near the CIA guy’s house so they can listen to the bug, but they realize they’re being followed, so they have to go out of range—just when things were getting interesting—as in a quasi-inappropriate conversation between the CIA agent and a teenage babysitter. They can’t shake the tail and wind up driving for hours. Elizabeth must have kidneys of steel, or maybe her spy kit comes with some kind pee-while-driving device or a diaper.

pit-stop-portable-urinal-system-761062

Sadly, the Pit Stop Portable Urinal System for men and women had not yet been invented.

Philip manages to jump out of the still moving car (without the tail seeing him) so he can call in the situation using spy code.

Time out for a reality check: The CIA allows its agent to have an Open House even though they think the Soviets might be spying on them. They have agents watching the house, but they aren’t taking pictures of the people coming in and out of the Open House. And they don’t check the house for bugs. How exactly did the Soviets lose the Cold War?

...OR DID THEY?

…OR DID THEY?

Meantime at the FBI, Gaad, Stan and Adahalt are still hanging out at the office, discussing how the CIA is following around the Russian spies. Adahalt is wondering why they don’t just pull them over. Gaad says it’s not the FBI’s call. The new guy suggests maybe it should be because this is pretty stupid.  Gaad gets some guys on it.

I’m betting this new guy does not make it through the season.

Paige and Henry are home alone as usual. Paige—the parental one—asks Henry if he has any laundry. These kids see their parents even less than the children at Downton Abbey. Paige discovers Henry has a much, uh, thumbed photo of OMIGOD Mrs. Beeman! Henry yells, “It’s not even mine!” While they’ve managed to develop Paige as a character with interests, Henry remains nothing but a cipher with “issues.” Along with Dana’s forgettable brother on Homeland and little Bobby Draper on Mad Men, he is one of the overshadowed lost boys of Tvlandia.

Somewhere on the road, someone manages to drop a walkie-talkie into Elizabeth’s still moving car. Couldn’t they also have thrown in a danish maybe?

Philip gets home, and Paige is still up watching television. He says, “I know it’s hard on you, your mom and me working so much.” Paige assures him she’s “fine.” FINE IN A WAY THAT WILL TAKE YEARS OF THERAPY TO UNTANGLE.

Elizabeth keeps going, with instructions coming through her walkie-talkie. Just before the FBI can do its roadblock, the cars following her have radio interference and wind up colliding with each other.

Um, no. Nothing like that.

Does she have time to wipe down her car before she escapes? Will someone else run in and do that like a relay team? Is it pretreated with special stuff that causes all physical evidence of her presence to disappear? How many extra untraceable cars do they get to drive around in? So much organization, but they haven’t found her a spy-dentist yet?

Philip is up, waiting, when she comes home. Boy does she look miserable! He kisses her, and it makes her scream—not in a good way but in a getting socked in the jaw and having loose teeth kind of way. He leads her by the hand to the laundry/spy room and gives her a shot of whisky as he prepares to do some DIY dental work. Seriously show, did the KGB have to cut back on medical services in the field due to the cost of the war in Afghanistan? And don’t they even have anything stronger in the house—valium, nitrous oxide, heroin? Get this lady some heroin, damn it!

It's the 80s. They've gotta know a guy.

It’s the 80s. They’ve gotta know a guy.

Philip has to take out two teeth with what looks like a pair of pliers that are way too big, and he doesn’t even have a flashlight. There are lots of icky sounds and no Muzak to drown them out. However, Keri Russell grunts a lot, and damn she’s hot, so the whole thing is weirdly sexy even if dental torture is not a part of your usual erotic repertoire.

The next day there’s more bonding between Stan and the New Guy who is SO going to get himself killed. Also, did I mention he’s black, like the black best friend who always gets killed in every horror movie ever?

CDC statistics show the lifespan of the black male characters is 7.2 episodes less than their white counterparts.

CDC statistics show the average expected lifespan of black male characters is 7.2 episodes less than their white counterparts.

Over at Martha’s, she’s talking about getting a foster child, and Clark is being disagreeable. Can this fake marriage be saved? How the hell does Philip find time for this? And why? Has she done anything for him lately with the FBI stuff? Or is he now in it for the tantric sex? Or is he being miserable on purpose to get her to break up with him?

Then Philip has another conversation with Gabe,and winds up yelling and walking out when the subject of Paige comes up.

Over at the Rezidentura, Oleg has decided to stay. The defector is being interviewed on television and talks about Afghanistan being the final straw in her decision to leave the Soviet Union. “We’re killing thousands of people for a bad system.” Also, no Milky Way bars.

Despite the risks, Philip and Elizabeth have to get close enough to the CIA agent’s house again, so they can listen in. It’s another hot conversation with the babysitter. Elizabeth insists on trying to get pictures, so they drive right past. Just then, the babysitter’s father shows up to take her home. Who’s her daddy? Only the homeowner’s boss—the HEAD of the CIA’s Afghan group.

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

TV Show: The Americans

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