The saying goes “and the plot thickens” but this week I think it’s more apt to say “the plot takes an unexpected turn.”
The thread for this episode was relationships and I’ll follow the flow starting with Stan this week.
His threat to his boss about leaving Oleg alone worked. The FBI (with Stan and his partner’s involvement) start working on generating new sources. In the Soviet Union, Oleg works with his partner and figuring out the food trade system for the grocery stores in the area. Afterwards, Oleg folds to the pressure of the threat from the FBI and goes to the meeting place where no one shows up (because of Stan, which he doesn’t know). When he goes home, he finds a matchmaking effort. Three single women invited by a family friend (I didn’t recognize the man), something probably put into motion by Oleg’s mother. Oleg is in some murky water, both in his investigation that could turn dangerous and the specter of the FBI near him, so he’s in no position or mental state to get into a relationship. He tells the guy to butt out.
Stan, on the other hand, is all in with his relationship. He’s spending a lot of time with Renee, Matt knows her, Stan’s partner has met her socially and theJennings’ have as well. Stan is feeling good. Philip finds this perfect match to be suspicious. He clues Elizabeth in, remarking that they’ve been telling The Center a lot about Stan. How he’s alone, his vulnerabilities…he thinks Renee is actually a co-worker. The thought never occurred to Elizabeth but she doesn’t deny the possibility.
On to Stan’s kid Matt, he’s getting the cold shoulder from Paige. They don’t spend much time alone anymore and she’s very distant in general. He asks her about it, wondering if she’s bored with him and wants to break up. Paige doesn’t know what to say and fumbles through the conversation.
She opens up to Philip when they’re alone at home after talking about Henry (she’s a little jealous and surprised at him, which I’ll get to next). Her inner turmoil about Matt is getting worse, if anything and it’s making her question her own self-worth and future. Matt is her first relationship and she can’t be honest with him. She has so much to hide she’s afraid of saying anything. She’s becoming afraid of intimacy and tells Philip that she wonders if she’s meant to be alone. It’s a shot to Philip’s heart to hear his daughter say that.
Now, what’s going with Henry? Well, he isn’t in trouble at school. His math teacher says he’s doing so well he wants to move him up to a more advanced class. Elizabeth and Philip are stunned. They never see him do any studying, video games seem to be his things. Turns out he’s naturally gifted, in math at least. His parents try to tone down their shock and he throws some shade at them, essentially saying he knows they’re surprised because the success didn’t come from their golden child, Paige. They don’t know what to say to the son they now realize they barely know and fumble the rest of the conversation. The Jenners’ have a daughter who feels isolated from knowing the truth about her parents and a son who feels ignored because he’s the runner up in the family. The Jenners’ household is not in order, which leads us to end this with Mr. and Mrs.
Philip’s mission in Topeka is torture. The woman has the personality of a chalkboard. He manages to get close to her in an attempt to get information from her. He looks like he’s trying to crawl out of his own skin while they’re having sex and it leads to….being shown Lotus 1-2-3.
Elizabeth finds out Alexei’s wife is applying for a job as a Russian language instructor where her husband works. That leads to Tuan finding out (through Pasha) that she got the job. It’s a major opening for them as it’s now possible for them to get a list of all the potential agents that could be sent to the Soviet Union.
That’s the extent of the good news. Elizabeth isn’t keen on her similar Topeka relationship mission, but the man is actually a functioning human being. She hams it up, they have what you could call real dates and she distances her mind when they have sex, going through the motions to keep up the front. Then she finds out what he does at work.
The Center had it all wrong about the bugs in the wheat and in the lab. They aren’t trying to start a famine by messing with the food. The company is working on a new breed of wheat to sell to impoverished nations. The bugs were to test and see if they had made a wheat that the bugs don’t like. It’s to eliminate world hunger, not push it further along.
That means they killed that lab technician for nothing. He was more than an innocent man, he was part of trying to make the world better. Philip is beside himself. He’s been struggling for months with their missions and this just rips at Philip’s soul even more. He’s done more evil with no justification. Elizabeth says they’ll be more careful and that maybe he should take a backseat in some of their missions from here on out. He thinks that’s nonsense, whatever she does he’s involved with. There is no separation. I’m not sure if Philip can feel any lower. This has major implications for him and the pushback he’s going to give Gabriel has got to be the beginning of the end for him. Philip is going to object to everything The Center says and Gabriel isn’t going to be able to temper him anymore.
Finally, Misha calls the spy hotline to meet with Philip. The communication gets to Gabriel and Claudia for consideration. Claudia says absolutely not. Before knowing about what happened with the wheat, she thinks Philip is far too sensitive to meet the son he never met and just recently found out existed. Gabriel pushes back, but Claudia’s logic wins out. Gabriel meets with Misha instead of Philip and tells him it isn’t safe to meet his father. Not now and not here. Maybe in the future, back at home. Misha is crushed.
Not sure what’s going to happen with Misha now but the plates are spinning like crazy and we’re only 5 episodes in. The fallout from the wheat mission is going to be a game changer and what’s going to happen when/if they find out The Center sent Renee to Stan? Till next week…