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The Americans recap: Glanders

The Cold War goes biological

Posted on

Eric Liebowitz/FX

The Americans

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

Philip is having some not so pleasant dreams: It’s about a young boy (apparently him) beating another kid to death with a rock. Oh, the hazy crazy days of youth.

He wakes with a start and Elizabeth asks if he’s all right. “You were right about Martha,” he says, passing it off as regular workplace restlessness. “I need to tell her about Gene before she finds out at work.”

So begins season 4 of The Americans. Gene, of course, is the FBI computer technician Philip murdered at the end of last season so he could plant the recorder at his apartment that would absolve his other wife, Martha, of spying on the same office.

From there, we see Philip head to his other home, his other bed, that of Martha, the well-meaning but somewhat gullible secretary who thought he was her husband “Clark.” And he is. Sort of. At the very least, it becomes clear in this season premiere that he cares about her as more than just a KGB source.

“In the next day or two you’re going to get disturbing news at work,” he says. “Gene Craft is dead. He’ll be found in his apartment. It’ll look like he killed himself.”

“I don’t understand,” she tells him.

“The recorder will be found in his apartment.”

This is too much for her. “My recorder?”

“It was the only way to protect you.”

Martha begins melting down the way any fundamentally decent person would when informed they’re responsible for the death of another person. “I didn’t agree to this. I don’t want this…” She weeps as she pushes back: She tells him to stay away.

“Clark” informs her that he can’t visit her home, their home, anymore. But he has one of his own she can visit.

While he’s away, Elizabeth is at their home with teenage daughter Paige, who is still getting used to life with parents who are secret Russian agents. She wants to know where her father is.

“He’s with what we call a source. He might get some information,” Elizabeth says.

Paige doesn’t understand. Is he lying to this other person, tricking them?

“It’s more about getting people to trust you,” Elizabeth says. “To help them understand that you want the same thing they want, which is to make the world a safer place.

Paige is still grappling with this, and at school we see her hiding outside class for American pledge of allegiance. This is a girl who takes her pledges very seriously — except, perhaps, when it comes to the secrecy she promised her mom and dad.

We see her later confessing the truth about her family to Pastor Tim, who is either another KGB plant, a CIA agent, or cruising for a serious bruising by the Jennings, who have killed people for interfering with far less.

NEXT: A new mission