Do you think the writers of The Americans sit around thinking, “Let’s see, how can we deeply disturb our viewers next?” First they stuffed a dead body in a suitcase. Then they removed a tooth with a dirty wrench and no painkillers. And this week Philip’s mark was a vulnerable 17-year-old girl. “We’ve never used someone this young before,” he tells Elizabeth.
But that’s not going to stop him. Philip is going to manipulate her and use her and probably sleep with her, all to get information on the CIA, a “hard target.” Kimberly isn’t that much older than his own daughter, and he’s about to use her and abuse her. It was downright creepy watching Philip worm his way into Kimberly’s life by way of fake I.D.s and the promise of better pot. The scene with them on the steps listening to Yaz was so unsettling and disturbing. I really do think this is what is going to send Philip over the edge. Not only does the KGB want his daughter, they want him preying on other people’s daughters as well.
It’s Paige’s birthday and all she wants is to have Pastor Tim and his wife over for dinner. Then Paige tells them what she really wants—she wants to be baptized in Pastor Tim’s church. Elizabeth is livid and it has upped her commitment to getting Paige into the KGB. “I’m doing it with or without you,” she tells Philip. Elizabeth believes if they tell Paige the truth “at least she’ll know who she is.”
Stan and Philip attend another EST seminar (I knew we had to be seeing Scott Michael Winters again) and Stan meets Tori (Callie Thorne, one of my all-time favorite actresses; I’ve loved her since her days on Homicide). Tori invites Stan out for a drink, but Stan declines. He’s still trying to make things right with Sandra and goes and confesses to Sandra that he had an affair. He not only confesses that, but he also admits to being in love with Nina. Although he stops short of telling Sandra he fell in love with a spy and almost betrayed his country for Nina, Sandra is still not thrilled with this news. I mean if Stan is trying to win his wife back, this doesn’t seem like the way to do it.
In a storyline that is very reminiscent of the first season of Homeland, Stan is convinced that Zinaida isn’t a defector but, in fact, a spy. He returns to the restaurant where she went to the bathroom, searching for a message she may have left behind but finds nothing.
Nina learns that if she gets her cell mate Evi to confess what she’s done, Nina will get to live. Nina, always the ultimate survivor, begins to use the same tactics on Evi that she used on Stan and Oleg—she is vulnerable and calculating. It’s fascinating to watch and I remain thrilled that the series decided to follow Nina to the Soviet Union this season. Although, like many of you, I’m also concerned that perhaps Evi is the one spying on Nina—after all, Nina is confessing all her sins as well.
Philip tells Elizabeth that Martha wants to take in foster children, and when he mentions how strong willed Martha can be, Elizabeth responds “Who wears the pants in that family?” Philip is a man under attack at his job and in all of his home lives. How long can he keep it up?
Other thoughts on “Dimebag”:
• I’m telling you I still don’t trust that Pastor Tim.
• Can Martha and Nina not be in the same episode? They’ve been trading off since the start of the season.
• I still can’t get over what a giant Henry is this season.
• That commercial for Love’s Baby Soft took me back. I think buying a bottle of that stuff (and it smelled awful by the way) was a right of passage for every tween and teen girl in the 80s.
• I have to think we’ll be seeing Callie Thorne again.
Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.