The Americans S5E09

IHOP

This episode was packed with bob and weaves, a few blasts from the past show up. As a whole, it felt like staging area while we wait for the next big thing to happen.

Where to start? Stan seems like as good a place as any for this week.

At work he’s informed that the FBI has dug around Frank Gaad’s death when he was in Thailand with his wife. A few known KGB agents were in/around there and that’s enough for them to link Gaad’s death to the Soviet Union. Stan goes to see the widow to tell her what he found out. He doesn’t come away from the visit with what he wanted. She tells him he’s the first person from the FBI to visit her since Frank’s death. She’s been more or less been sent adrift by the agency. Not really going to her for a social call, he really wanted to get her advice. With the trauma of Frank’s murder brought to the surface again and Stan with the possibility of using Oleg to get who did it, Stan asks her what she thinks Frank would do given that it would pull an innocent person into a mess. Stan thinks Frank would let it go. She steps on that with barely a second thought. “He would want revenge.” Stan has been vehemently against using Oleg for anything but this personal twist seems to have changed Stan’s mind.

Oleg gets pressured at home. Them finding nothing in his apartment last week didn’t soothe their suspicions that Oleg has been compromised. He talks face to face with two higher ups and they get into talking about his time with Nina and Stan. He confirms that he spent the most time working Stan (the whole Nina disaster) and that his efforts went nowhere. Everything they did to flip Stan didn’t work and he downplays how much/often he conversed with Stan. After so much effort to ignore (or cover?) the past, Oleg is forced to bring up Stan. Olef and Stan have gone to great lengths to steer clear of each other half a world away and now it looks like they’re slowly being turned to face each other.

Mission wise, Oleg makes some headway with the man he arrested. Letting this guy stew alone for awhile along with some persuasive talk about family gets Oleg a name on who runs the food game in the Soviet Union.

Speaking of family, it’s time for the Jenner’s and their kids. After a big episode for her last week, her story is pushed to the side. She gets a name drop early on and this time it’s major waves for Henry. He drops a shocker on them: he wants to go to boarding school in New Hampshire in the fall. He’s got his reasons all planned out and Philip and Elizabeth are dumb founded. Chris, the girl he’s been hanging out with (“new friend,” not girlfriend) is going there. She’s talked up about how great it is, he thinks his current school is holding him back and Chris’ father has written him a recommendation letter. Him suddenly doing so well in school surprised them, this stuns them. If they had concerns that they didn’t know their own son, this pushes it over the edge. Henry has clearly been thinking about this for some time and has been talking to Chris’ parents way more than his own. Talking it over with Philip, Elizabeth thinks they can’t hold him back from growing up. Philip is stuck thinking that Henry, the Henry he has known up until now, would never want to go away to such a strict school. The first thing that popped up into my mind when Henry said all this was brought up. “Do you not want to live here with us anymore?” asks Philip. I saw it just like that, but Henry says no, that’s not what this is about. Henry is clearly being heavily influenced by this girl but as Elizabeth comes to think, this could be the jumping off point for a bright future for him. They just thought high education like this would beb where Paige would head to, not Henry.

Tuan gives Philip and Elizabeth a scare. He disappears and they have to put the spy squad on him to see where he’s slipping off to. They track him to an IHOP in Pennsylvania and when they confront him, he says it’s for family. The family that took him in, their biological son has leukemia and isn’t doing well. He went way out to PA to keep his cover, go far away to make a phone call to talk to them. He’s been careful and noticed he was being tailed (they taught him well) so he only ate at the IHOP that night, he didn’t call them. Elizabeth has sensed his loneliness and has been worried about him. Tuan making such effort to reach out to connect like this makes sense to her and believes that he’s telling them a truth. Being up to their eyeballs in muck for so long, Philip is inclined to agree. He’d go for a chance to reset things and start over too.

Last week, I thought that Claudia was Gabriel’s replacement. She’s not, it’s going to take some time for that person to come in. In the meantime, the temp contact is Father Andrei. Philip goes to meet him in a hospital. He passes some intel to Philip but they were talking in code so I didn’t get a grasp on what was really said (I assume we’ll see where that goes next week). Before Philip takes off, Father gives him some advice: prayer can help soothe the soul for those that do the work that we do. Philip is clearly not hiding his beaten psyche well.

This is after Philip hears (from the bug he’s been running on Kim’s dad for a long time) about a group of fighters in Afghanistan being killed by a violent sickness. It sounds a lot like the bio-weapon they got from Will. While it could be just a coincidence, Philip thinks that’s highly unlikely and puts this up for Elizabeth to digest with him. What if getting that bio-weapon wasn’t for defense but to go on the offense in Afghanistan? Whether the Center pivoted the use of it or they just lied the whole time to Philip and Elizabeth is up for debate but the end result is the same: their work is being used to murder.

Finally, Gabriel, now home, goes to visit Martha. It’s a brutal scene. He shows up at her crappy apartment where she’s alone cooking a crappy dinner. She asks him if he came to giver her news (no) and if he came all this way just to visit (no, I’m retired). Gabriel is clearly feeling guilty. He does tell her that her parents know she’s a live, but not where she is. And that’s only because Clark (Philip) made arrangements for that to happen and that he thinks of her all the time. You can actually see Martha’s brain boil at this nonsense gesture. The catch up talk they have is horribly depressing. She got screwed. She’s lost everything and the help and thanks that she’s been getting by the Soviet’s has been garbage. Gabriel tells her that it’ll be better when her Russian improves. She kinda strugs that one off. Then, when he tells her when her Russian is better and that they’ll get her a job so she can translate for them? Message received: I’m just going to be used more. The look on her face! She kicks him out, telling him never to come back. The question in Martha’s head is the same as Philip’s. What the hell did I go through all of this for?

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