You know things are bad when the man whose best friend is a KGB illegal notices there’s something wrong with a teenage girl. Of course, Stan Beeman is alternately clueless and perceptive about life in general. He’s right: there *is* trouble in Paigeland. I have an alternative theory as to why: I blame that dreadful brown geometric wallpaper in her bedroom. It looks as if Piet Mondrian projectile vomited on the wall. No wonder Paige is sleeping in the closet at the beginning of this aptly titled episode. Pests abound this week but we’ll get to that after my feeble attempt to make this thread spoiler proof.
Before the break, let’s get in a 1984 mood by paying a brief visit to Heartbeat City:
That was a taxing trip. That video is almost as full of pests as this pestiferous episode. We only catch a brief glimpse of my favorite KGB Spook Daddy Gabriel as he gives Philip and Elizabeth a new and potentially dangerous mission that takes her to a creepy bug-infested greenhouse in Podunk, Illinois. I keep waiting for the feline Gabriel to scent-mark the dynamic duo but it hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps he’s saving that for his first foray to Paigeland…
Let’s break this recap down into digestible segments:
Bennigan’s Begin Again: There are pests everywhere, both humanoid and insectoid, in this episode. The Morozov family are real pills. The father, Alexei, is not only a defector, he’s raising a defective son who lives up to his imperious name: Pasha. He sounds like an official in the Ottoman Empire or something. Pasha is certainly tired of hearing his father go on about the glories of American food as they dine at Bennigan’s with Philip, Elizabeth, and Tuan.
The Vietnamese kid hates the Morozovs, especially Pasha’s teenage angst. Who the hell does he think he is? A Russian Robert Smith? Both Tuan and I think this 1984 Cure song may be about Pasha, or even his father as he crams stuffed jalapenos into his big Russian bazoo:
Morozov the elder is *almost* as annoying as the unfunny Soviet emigree comedian Yakov Smirnoff who was also prone to food related rants. He can only aspire to be as lovable as Gabriel or the Robin Williams character in Paul Mazursky’s 1984 film, Moscow On The Hudson.
Stan By Your Spook: Pests is a Stan-centric episode. In between worrying about Paige, he worries about our old pal Oleg Borov. You may recall that, in a fit of human decency, Oleg warned Stan about the KGB’s chemical weapons related activities in the US&A. It was strictly a one-off thing but the CIA has decided to try to flip Oleg now that he’s back in Moscow, but not on the Hudson. Stan is outraged that America is playing as dirty as the consarn Commies. His superiors wave off his concerns and the CIA contacts Oleg and name drops Stan as they do so. Both Stan and I miss the days when John Boy was his boss. The current boss, Agent Wolfe (Peter Jacobson) is still scarred by working for Dr. House in the waning days of that show…
Stan has some of the best lines in the episode. He finally mustered the courage to ask fabulous gym babe Renee (Laurie Holden) out. Their first date goes so well that Stan tells Philip: “It’s like being out with a female version of you.” Does this mean he’s seen Philip in his blond Clark wig? Probably not. My advice to Stan’s new love interest is just:
I somehow doubt that she will since Laurie Holden is a name brand actress best known for playing bad asses. Philip thinks Stan’s job could be a babe attractant but his buddy is dubious:
Philip: “You’re an FBI agent, Stan. Women love that stuff.”
Stan: “Maybe when we were chasing Capone and Dillinger. It’s 1984, Philip.”
There may be more to the “funny look” Renee gave Stan when he told her who he followed for a living. It wouldn’t surprise me if she turned out to be a Valerie Plame-style undercover spook.
Stan also gets some dubious dating advice from his partner, Agent Aderholt. He suggests a venue for his second date with Renee if she doesn’t just walk away:
“Take her to one of those bread oven places. They have a see through grand piano. What else do you need to know?”
You mean like this one?
I’m surprised that Elton John never played one of those onstage. It’s certainly flashy enough.
Parenting KGB-style: The crux of the episode are the scenes between Paige and her spook parents. They’re concerned about her fling with Matthew Beeman. They should be: the kid is much smoother than dear old dad. He probably already knows about the joint with the see through piano.
Elizabeth and Philip have the weirdest version ever of THE TALK with Paige. Since she won’t give the blonde muppet up, they decide she needs a device to prevent her from blurting out about her KGB kin in the throes of passion. KGB illegals are weird: who talks about their parental units during sex? They tell Paige to rub her right index finger and thumb together when she’s losing control. I guess it’s how Philip and Elizabeth cope with betraying people they’ve fucked. It’s really fucked up, yo. I somehow doubt this will work when Matthew starts giving Paige puppy dog eyes. It night work when Pastor Tim asks her to pray with him though. Where are Pastor Tim and Alice? I hope Elizabeth didn’t bury them under the creepy Illinois greenhouse but ya never know.
The mother-daughter scenes gave me a 1984 earworm, so let’s give Genesis the last word. I wonder if Tony Banks ever played a see through grand piano?