The Americans
Mutually Assured Destruction

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B | 2 USERS: B+
The Replacement Killers
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Previously: Espionage in the 1980s was all about clandestine sex.

Currently: Elizabeth is writing down code off the reports from the radio. Philip comes home from morning racquetball with Stan and the two are almost immediately gossiping about the marital problems going on across the street. They're also being very flirty/sexy with each other, so I guess they're all well and fully recovered from last week's fighting. Elizabeth has news of trouble at work, though. Seems the Center contracted a guy to kill American scientists in the anti-ballistic missile program, but then they changed their mind and don't have the capability to recall the order. So now it's up to Elizabeth and Philip to take out the assassin. Professional hazard, I suppose. Don't feel too sorry for him. Philip asks if they have a name for this guy or a description or perhaps a schedule of his proposed hits? Nope, nope, and nope! Elizabeth does say they have a list of fourteen scientists who are being targeted, so it's only mostly impossible. Philip is very snarky about how awful the assignment is. "But doesn't it sound fun?" Elizabeth asks with a smile. He smiles back and reminds her of their dinner with the Beemans on Wednesday, where she is expected to bring her meatloaf, while he merely has to bring his "winning personality." Everybody's in a great mood! Can't wait to see what awful thing happens.

That night, the Jenningses are staking out a target, an older couple returning to their car from a restaurant. Elizabeth notes that after 30 years of marriage, they're still holding hands, while Philip is more incredulous that these incredibly important scientists working on an incredibly important national security project have no security at all. Elizabeth remarks that they feel safe. "Not for long," Philip says, as he produces a detonator switch. Hi near-glee at this moment does not fit with his personality -- he's never relished a kill -- so something's obviously up here. Indeed, Philip waits for the old man to try to start his car, check the engine when it stalls out, notice the bomb blinking its big red light from under the hood and pull his wife to safety. Only then does Philip blow the car up. A warning to the would-be victims of this unknown assassin and a signal to the Feds to start protecting their nerds better. And a perfect time to hit the credits.

Indeed, after the credits, Special Agent John-Boy is updating his men on the status of these two scientists and how out of character this attack was. They're not even really thinking it's the KGB because the attack was so brazen. It's akin to the Soviet Union declaring de facto war on the U.S. So the solution thus far is to put all scientists working on the Star Wars program into protective custody. Agent Chris wonders if it should even stop at scientists and they should protect more targets. Agent John-Boy, in his Chris-hating bitchy way, is like, "That would leave us no time to do anything else." All this takes a backseat to the fact that Chris is wearing a red-gemmed pinky ring, however. Does the FBI pay so little that Chris needs to moonlight as a Turkish ruby-fencer? He leaves his agents with the usual boilerplate instructions and tells them to inform their wives they won't be seeing them much this week. Stan's ears perk up at this, for all the obvious reasons.

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The Americans




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