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Emmys 2017
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The Americans recap: Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow

To run to Russia — or go to EPCOT?

Posted on

Craig Blankenhorn/FX

The Americans

TV Show
run date:
Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell
Current Status:
In Season

This episode is all about the way we project a future for ourselves, existing in possibilities, imagining destinations, and then slamming face-first into the inescapable present.

Titled “Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow,” it involves a plan to visit Walt Disney World’s futuristic EPCOT Center near Orlando, Fla., but you know what happens to best-laid plans, right?

The hour opens with “Clark” waking up beside Martha on his fold-out sofa. She’s staring at him, and it’s easy to read her eyes: This is not my beautiful house; this is not my beautiful spouse. “Still not used to it,” she says when Philip wakes up and catches her staring.

Elsewhere, Elizabeth is undercover, apparently infiltrating a Mary Kay makeup sales meeting. A Korean-American woman named Young Hee (Ruthie Ann Miles) is talking about how most store makeup counters don’t know how to apply foundation that matches Asian skin tone, making them appear green. But, ah, Mary Kay has the personal touch that solves that!

“I tell my friends they don’t have to look like Martians,” Young Hee says. “We are all Americans now.”

After the credits sequence, we’re in the office of Pastor Tim (Kelly AuCoin), and he is conversing with Philip and Elizabeth, whose true natures he recently learned from their daughter, Paige. Secret Soviet agents are a new one for the good pastor.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this,” he says.

“What we do is not that different from what you do,” Elizabeth says.

“I know what spies do,” says Pastor Tim, who has probably seen a lot of movies.

Spies. Elizabeth forces a smile. “Is that the word Paige used?” Gosh, golly, that Paige!

“We develop relationships with people on both sides who wish to defuse the tension between our two countries,” Philip says.

“We fight for justice, for equal rights for everyone,” Elizabeth adds.

“Unless they’re religious,” says Pastor Tim. Touché.

“Our country isn’t perfect,” Elizabeth says. “Neither is this one.”

“I understand the need for secrecy, but let’s be clear — a pastor’s obligation to keep his parishioner’s secrets ends where his duty to the greater good begins,” says Pastor Tim, dialing up the sanctimony.

The Jennings explain that if he reveals them, they’d go to jail. Their son and daughter would go to foster care. “They’d never see us again,” Philip says.

“I’m listening to you…” Pastor Tim says. “And I’m listening to my conscience. Let’s all think about this for a few days and talk again.”

Before they leave, Philip asks if the pastor has told anyone else, like his wife, perhaps?

“Alice and I minister to each other,” he says, adding that she understands completely the sanctity of the confidence of the secrecy of the church of the…

Really, he just put crosshairs on Alice’s back, too.

NEXT: To run or not to run…?