The Americans

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B+ | 11 USERS: A
Philadelphia Freedom
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Previously: A whole lotta hoo-ha was put into putting a mic into a clock. Also, a lot of attention is paid to Cuteski's demise, so expect that to be a thing, not to mention the incredibly random choice to include the part about how Agent Stan plays not hockey but racquetball, which I can't imagine would end up being important, unless...

Currently: Stan and Philip are playing racquetball. Certainly glad we got that "previously" clip about this, or else we'd have spent the full hour wondering what this odd game played inside a glass sweatbox is called. All kidding aside, I like the unshowiness of racquetball as a symbol of '80s-ness.Everybody was doing it back then! Coke and racquetball, that was the 1980s. Like any TV show worth its salt, The Americans is not content to simply show two men playing a game. They have to use the game to tell you some very ham-handed truths about our characters. So we get Stan spelling out his strategy of patience and waiting out his opponent until said opponent makes a mistake, while Philip displays an anything-to-win attitude that includes firing a ball into Stan's back and calling for a forfeit win after Stan gets an important page on his beeper (Philip/Anyone Born in the 1980s: "Do you sell drugs? Why do you have a beeper?") and has to leave early. Poor Philip. Hockey doesn't reveal character this way.

That page was to get Stan's ass back to the office, where Agent Chris is waiting to accompany him to meet with his brand new informant from last week, Nina. She tells Stan that the KGB had an agent get killed the same night that Timoshev vanished. This is good info. Of course, Nina already wants to talk extradition plans for her, but Stan tells her to slow her roll quite a bit. That part comes way down the line, after she gives up way more than this. "The day you forced me to work for you," she tells him, "my life got very scary." He's like, "Hey, I didn't tell you to start stealing fancy foodstuffs from your government." He pledges to protect her if she makes herself "worth protecting." So she gives him details: stab wound, died at a local hospital, and he was Directorate S. "I have value," she tells him. "You'll see." Boy, between Nina and Lady Undersecretary last week, this show is really lining up the beautiful young women on the periphery who are basically guaranteed to get killed by season's end.

After the break, Agent Stan, Agent Chris and various other agents are presenting what they know to Agent John-Boy: they've got a photo of Cuteski's corpse from the hospital; he came in with no identifying information. Stan says they've sent the photo out to police departments across the country, but without any information on the guy, it doesn't sound too promising. Plus, a Directorate S agent isn't going to have a police record, come on. One of the unnamed agents suggests DMV records, but Chris scoffs at the idea. "What are we supposed to do, send his picture out to every DMV in the country?" Agent John-Boy gets pissy at this and says that's exactly what they're going to do. He says to tell the DMVs that overtime is approved and they expect their people to work around the clock until a match is found. Oh, man. Sooooo '80s. "Overtime is approved."

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The Americans




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