The Americans reintroduces some old faces this episode, and they are nothing but trouble for Phillip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell). The episode is all high stakes and oaths.
The first of the old faces is Prince (Tim Hopper). The degenerate gambler is still a degenerate gambler and he comes to Elizabeth with the news that he has a new recruit for her, never mind that he’s not supposed to be making these decisions. He tells her he’s flipped an Air Force colonel and for $50,000 she can have plans for the missile defense system.
Elizabeth tells Claudia (Margo Martindale) about the colonel. She is very skeptical and thinks it’s all a huge risk. She’s not at all sure about Prince. Claudia tells her that it might be worth it. When Elizabeth tells Phillip about this, she tells him that she is done with Claudia. He wants to contact Moscow directly and question Claudia. He can’t believe Prince was ever okayed as a mole. They decide they’re going to ask for a new handler. Leaving her in place after the whole snatch and torture thing was enormously stupid. Phillip says they need to bug Gaad’s office to see if they’re talking about it. He says he’ll get Martha (Alison Wright) to do it. Then he asks if Paige (Holly Taylor) can come over for dinner and they’re back to the mundane.
Meanwhile, Arkady (Lev Gorn) calls Nina (Annet Mehendru) into his office. She’s worried, but it turns out that she’s really shining at work. So he’s bringing her in on Directorate S. He has her read a very involved and florid oath about the Motherland. She looks uncomfortable. When she and Sonya (Inna Beynishes) clean out Vlad’s desk, she is made even more uncomfortable when Sonya forces her to acknowledge that Vlad had an enormous crush on her.
Elizabeth picks up Paige from Phillip’s apartment. Paige doesn’t seem all that happy to see her. It’s a scene that plays out probably every day across the world. Phillip rushes off to dinner with Martha. He takes her to a romantic dinner. She’s not thrilled that they’re all the way in Leesburg, but he charms her out of any pique. And then the champagne comes and he proposes via writing in her palm. She says yes of course.
Back at her apartment, he asks her for a favor. He gives her a bug disguised as a pen and a receiver. He asks her to place the pen in Gaad’s office and to keep the receiver in her bag at all times. She’s no dummy so she’s very uncomfortable. Especially since the engagement and eventual marriage has to be secret (he could get fired or even arrested!), but she reluctantly agrees.
Elsewhere, Viola (Tonya Patano), the Defense Secretary’s maid cleans the study. She stares at the clock. After going to church, she confesses to the Secretary’s wife and speaks to the feds. Gaad (Richard Thomas), Stan (Noah Emmerich) and the Deputy Attorney General (Cotter Smith) talk to her. Stan tells her she’s very brave when she explains about the poison and threats. She works with a sketch artist. Stan is convinced that this must be the illegals they’ve been searching for and that they must be the same couple who snatched Patterson. The sketches aren’t very good, and look nothing like the Jennings.
Nina meets Stan and just before they have sex, she asks if he was the one who killed Vlad. He tells her he’d never do anything to hurt her. He didn’t answer the question, and she notices.
Elizabeth retrieves a microdot that Prince leaves for her, and they’re clearly plans. Claudia tells her that the plans are years ahead of anything they have and that the feds would never let this out on the off chance of getting them. She okays the deal. Elizabeth is still not comfortable.
The feds examine the clock but leave it in place. Mrs. Secretary is not happy, but they’re planning on using it.
Prince is arrested for failure to pay child support. Of course, the degenerate gambler doesn’t pay child support. Sigh. But Moscow wants to push through anyway. Martha does manage to plant the pen, but she’s really not happy. She goes home and makes a pro and con list. She doesn’t understand why they have to keep it a secret from everyone. She has to tell her parents who live 2,000 miles away. They only want her happiness. He agrees she can tell them. Then she says she wants to get married this weekend. Martha is really pushing it, but Phillip is no position to fight so he agrees.
Paige is over at the Beemans. She’s watching Matthew (Danny Flaherty) play with his band. His mom and their neighbors are super understanding because they’re not bad, but it is super loud. Paige’s good mood plummets when Sarah (Jill Shackner) shows up and jams with the boys. She tells Elizabeth about it, and Elizabeth tries to console her, but Paige seems to be okay with it. She’s not about to chase a boy who isn’t into her, but when she asks about what happened with Phillip, Elizabeth shuts down.
He asks Elizabeth to come because he has to have family there. So she and Claudia show up as Clark’s sister and mother to meet the Hansons (Richard Kline, Peggy Scott). Elizabeth is moved by the ceremony. She and Phillip never had one. She wonders if things would have been different if they had said sworn oaths to each other. He doesn’t know.
If Nina is anything to go by, maybe. Because she goes into Arkady’s office and confesses. She tells him he can kill her, or he can give her a chance to redeem herself and to make it up to Russia and her people, and just like that, there’s a triple agent in the mix.
Photo credit: The Americans