The Americans recap: Pastor Tim
This episodes picks up moments after the last, with Philip coming back into the house after Stan roughs him up in the garage (with a vial of deadly pathogen in his front pocket).
Elizabeth (Keri Russell), naturally, wants to know what’s up, so Philip (Matthew Rhys) explains that Stan is angry because he was hanging around with Stan’s ex-wife at a meeting of the new-age-y EST self-help group.
These two regularly sleep with informants and subjects to discern information, but suddenly Elizabeth feels…betrayed. What was bothering Philip so much that he needed the therapeutic embrace of this group?
In the next scene, Gabriel (Frank Langella) discusses ways to smuggle the pathogen back to Mother Russia while suggesting that Philip and Elizabeth need to find a contact at the Fort Detrick bio-weapons lab who has higher security clearance than their current contact, William (Dylan Baker).
Gabriel also offers the Jennings family a personal computer. Their first. Welcome to the mid-1980s!
Back home, Elizabeth is listening to recordings from Pastor Tim’s telephone line and discovers their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) has told him all about her secret agent Soviet parents.
Mom’s first reaction: kill the pastor. Dad suggests they wait. Killing Pastor Tim will send Paige fleeing from them.
He breaks into Pastor Tim’s home and figures out that he goes to a cabin to write his sermons. Elizabeth thinks it’s the perfect place for a hit. “If you’re going to pull her into this job, and she gets even a whiff of what we really do…she’ll figure out we killed him,” Philip protests.
NEXT: Nina gets her meeting
Back in the gulag, Nina (Annet Mahendru) gets the meeting with her husband, Boris, that she requested. It has been a while since they’ve seen each other. He looks older; she looks skinnier.
He thanks her for sending money from her stint at the Rezidentura in the United States. He has two sons now and says he wishes she had kept their baby. They are still married, and Boris says he would marry her all over again. As for the mother of the kids… He describes a loveless, colorless existence.
“Not everything works out the way you plan it,” Nina says.
She has a favor to ask, and slides a piece of paper across the table. She wants Boris to let the family of kidnapped scientist Anton Baklanov know he is alive, well, and being held against his will.
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Philip conscripts a Russian pilot to help smuggle the pathogen out of the United States. The pilot is jittery, he thinks his co-pilot knows something is up. Philip thinks he’s being too jumpy.
They meet on an airport shuttle, and while the driver is having a smoke break and a teenage passenger is listening to Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” at full volume on her Walkman, an airport security agent gets on the bus and starts asking questions of the pilot. Philip tries to distract him, but it’s no use. He has to strangle the man to death.
Nobody notices — except maybe the jittery pilot, who is now more frightened than ever. He leaves the pathogen on the bus when he gets off. Later, Philip sneaks off the bus — leaving the body, and taking the “cannoli,” so to speak.
“How’d it go?” Elizabeth asks when he gets home.
“Pretty bad,” Philip answers.
NEXT: Paige confesses
He confesses to her about beating the two childhood bullies to death with a rock when he was a boy. Philip is starting to fall apart from so much killing.
Gabriel delivers the news to Elizabeth that her mother has died and sends a message to her and Paige that she loves them. “Did she?” Elizabeth asks.
“What do you mean?”
“Did she really say that?”
“Of course she did,” he answers. “Elizabeth, when you do what we do, it’s very easy to lose your bearings. I don’t want that to happen to you.”
Back at gulag central, Nina’s note was turned over by the courier her husband used. The authorities know she sent it, and she admits as much. She’ll be prosecuted, and so will Boris. She was almost free, but now she will be brought up on treason again.
“I’m not who I was,” she explains.
Back in the States, Paige admits to her mother that she told Pastor Tim their family secret, and Elizabeth manages not to explode. “We’ll figure it out,” she says, while her eyes flash MURDER MURDER MURDER.
Later, in the car with Philip, Elizabeth says, “She told me. She admitted it.”
“And what did you say?” he asks.
“I said…‘Wait until your father gets home.” Classic.
We don’t know yet what’s in store for old Pastor Tim. Maybe he’ll be delivered unto his maker soon.