The Americans: The World Is a Better Place without You in It

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This week on The Americans: a couple of murders, a mom & pop robot repair business, a budding bromance turns violent, a sham marriage regains its footing, and just a couple of dudes enjoying a nice game of Scrabble


Elizabeth in her Geena Davis-robbing-a-bank wig meets with Hans to tell him he is being let go from the spy intern program because recently released abductee/murder witness Todd may have seen him. He doesn’t take the news well.


Over at the travel agency, Philip tells Elizabeth how Martha totally busted him, but s’all good. She’s under his love spell. Elizabeth isn’t so sure. Martha still doesn’t know details. “She doesn’t want to know more than she has to,” he says. Isn’t that the basis for all successful long-term relationships?

Speaking of which, we peek in on Martha and Philip-as-Clark. She’s handling things well, making soup and telling whatever-his-name-is about the pressure John-Boy is under at work, and how he beat up the mail robot so good they had to send it out for repairs. When Children’s Services calls because they’re having a sale on rent-to-own babies, she informs them it’s not a good time. Then she tells Clark it would be “unrealistic” to have a child. Martha is anything but unrealistic. She’s understands now the basis of her relationship. She gives him information and he gives her mind-blowing sex and the fantasy of love. Who needs kids when you’ve got that?

Ilya Kuryakan and Napoleon Solo, alias Oleg and Stan, meet to discuss their top-secret plan to expose Zanaida as a double agent and trade her for Nina, whom they’re both going to marry. Oleg still doesn’t know for sure whether Zanaida is a plant, but he has a risky plan to find out. After they both get sacked, can they open up a private detective agency in a spin-off, please?

With the best will-they-or-won't-they tension since Moonlighting

With the best will-they-or-won’t-they tension since Moonlighting

Hans goes rogue and shoots Todd in the eye. Todd tries to fight back, and Hans strangles him. What does he do with the body? Who knows? Later, he tells Elizabeth, who seems okay with it.

"What did you think I was going to do? Get my job back at Build-a-Bear?"

“What did you think I was going to do? Get my job back at Build-a-Bear?”

Gabe takes a walk with Elizabeth and Philip in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Maybe they take the train and meet there so they won’t run into anyone they know in DC. No plans for killing Martha at the moment. Looks like they’ll have to get to the mail robot and plant a bug in it. That totally makes sense, right?

"Does it look anything like that robot in Rocky III. That was a darn good movie. I can't wait to see what they do in Rocky IV!"

“Does it look anything like that robot in Rocky III. That was a darn good movie. I can’t wait to see what they do in Rocky IV!”

Philip and Elizabeth break in to the mail robot repair shop, because back in the 1980s they had those. Fortunately, there’s no real security even though they fix equipment for the FBI. They hear something. Elizabeth investigates. It’s Sookie Stackhouse’s Gran, but she isn’t a ghost…yet. Her name is Betty, but she’s a real Chatty Cathy. Maybe she read somewhere they won’t kill you if you tell them your whole life story, or she figured she’d babble until Elizabeth fell asleep. She talks about working alone at night on the books. It’s a family business – her son Andy is the boss since her husband Gil died. Gil was in the war. Blah, blah, blah. Liberated a concentration camp. Blah, blah, blah. Lost his religion – Christian Scientist. She asks for a glass of water. Elizabeth pulls out the phone. Does she strangle her with the cord? No such luck. She gets her the water, stopping to chat with Philip, who says, “She picked a bad time,” which is Russian spy code for: “I got nothing. You have to kill her.”

THE AMERICANS: The World Is a Better Place without You in It

“Can this wait a minute? This guy says he can get me a great deal on long distance.”

Elizabeth brings Chatty Cathy back the water. She has a bad heart and takes a pill. She asks a lot of questions, and Elizabeth tells her just about everything. When she gets to the Russian part, Chatty Cathy knows she’s not going to make it out alive. “This is not how I expected it to end, the story.” But how could you, Chatty Cathy? Who expects to be executed by the KGB? It’s not in the top one million ways to go unless you’re a reporter or opposition candidate in Russia. Elizabeth opens the pill bottle and places the pills on the desk. Chatty Cathy gets the idea and takes one at a time. Jesus, she’s dragging this out!

Meantime, Stan has become Zanaida’s personal assistant, which involves taking her to meetings and then back to her hotel. Doesn’t he have a day job? Does he get overtime for this? He also has to order her food. She’d like a BLT, please. She starts to explain what that is. Does he have to taste it for her? He checks around her hotel room and then waits outside. For what? Is he supposed to be here all night? She goes into the bedroom, and guess who’s waiting for her? Oleg with glasses, a beard and slicked back hair — an 80s look that truly must never make a come back. She asks who he is. He says, “A patriot,” and tells her she’s going to recant and go back to Russia. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to pretend to be her “handler” to suss out whether or not she’s a double agent? At some appointed time, Stan busts in and Oleg beats him up and runs out. That went well.

"Dude, learn to throw a stage punch."

“Dude, learn to throw a stage punch.”

Won’t someone think of the children? Paige and Henry, as usual, are home alone. And speaking of children, what’s up with Kimmi? We haven’t seen her in ages! Henry’s playing video games – a perfect pastime for a future school shooter, which this kid is so going to be someday, while Paige is scribbling in her Bible.

Chatty Cathy, who’s still not dead and shows no sign of slowing down, is giving relationship advice. Seems she and Gil split up. Got a D-I-V-O-R-C-E, and then he married her best friend, Helen, and Helen died, and they got back together and…


This is going to go on forever, isn’t it?

"Oh, I'm sorry, is my murder inconveniencing you?"

“Oh, I’m sorry, is my murder inconveniencing you?”

Chatty Cathy tells Elizabeth, and this is important so listen up, the second time around worked better because they “no longer had the sugar in [their] eyes.” Then she loses it for a moment and asks Elizabeth if Gil sent her. Elizabeth says, “Yes,” and should have added, “And he told you to hurry.”

Then Chatty Cathy’s mind snaps back, and she asks, “You think doing this to me will make the world a better place?” Elizabeth, ever the believer, says it will, and Chatty Cathy replies, “That’s what evil people tell themselves when they do evil things.” Speak truth to power! Amen! Then she starts huffing and wheezing, looks up, and dies with her eyes open. Elizabeth is unnerved, but probably not so much she doesn’t still want to bring her daughter into the fold.

The next day at work, Stan has a headache from the Russian hitting him and is taking tons of aspirin. The New Guy, who is a total know-it-all in addition to being black, tells him to have a beer with the aspirin because it works better that way. Did he go to medical school too?

Stan leaves and meets Oleg in his car. Oleg still doesn’t know the deal with Zanaida, so he beat Stan upside the head for nothing. Stan downs a bunch of aspirin, and NOT one at a time like an old lady. He chases it with a brewsky, which he offers Oleg, who recommends raw egg like they take for hangovers in his country. Stan reminds him it’s not a hangover. Then they both drink beer together because bromance.

Philip is playing Scrabble with Gabriel, who’s being a bit loquacious himself. Must be an old people thing. Philip spells “geode,” and Gabriel is a complete condescending dick about it. Then Gabriel gets “amatory” – a word Philip doesn’t know, so Gabriel lectures how it’s from the Latin and means loving, adoring, etc, which he explains is unlike “wedlock” from the Norse, which means perpetual battle. So now he’s a marriage counselor? If he’s such an expert, where Mrs. Gabriel? He tells Philip that Elizabeth actually rejected another officer before accepting him as her partner, so “in her way she chose you.”


“Can we please just focus on one wife at a time”

Philip has had it with Gabe’s little bombshells that may be total bullshit. Gabriel asks what the problem is. Philip tells him, “My job is to look out for my family because no one else will.”

Has Philip just declared war? Will the Chatty Cathy incident leave Elizabeth with any residual pesky feelings? Four more episodes left to the season, and per the previews, looks like Paige may be making some preemptive announcement. This could get interesting.


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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