The Americans Thread: Lotus Positioning

Lotus 1-2-3 was an intense and emotionally fraught episode of The Americans. Philip starts the episode in bad shape and ends up in a exceptionally dark place after a revelation that we’ll deal with later.

There was, however, one humorous bit. Philip ends up playing Topeka-boo with the logistics expert chick. She uses computer talk as a sort of geeky foreplay by recommending the Lotus 1-2-3 program to Philip. After they do the deed, she offers to show him her print-out. Hence the post title. Hubba, hubba.

Philip and Elizabeth declined Stan and Renee’s invitation to see Romancing The Stone, which was a monster hit in 1984. In a futile effort to avoid spoilers, we’ll close this section with an Eddy Grant song that was written for the movie but ended up on the cutting room floor.

It’s always a treat when my main man Gabriel is featured in an episode. It’s a bonus when he’s joined by Margo Martindale as fellow KGB spymaster Claudia. She both succeeded and preceded Gabriel as Philip and Elizbeth’s handler. She’s back to discuss what to do with Philip’s spy baby, Mischa.

Mischa Masha: Mischa is in Washington and calls the KGB spook hotline in an attempt to meet his spy daddy. It’s unclear if the number was 1-800-KGB-SPIE. I hope there were no charges like on the Dionne Warwick endorsed psychic hotline of that era. All I have to say about that is: just walk on by if you know the way to San Jose…

Gabriel and Claudia sit in a car and discuss Mischa. Claudia is adamant that unstable Mischa should not meet shaky Philip. Why is Mischa unstable? He spoke out against the war in Afghanistan. Claudia is a hardcore communist. Gabriel is not and is inclined to let Mischa see Philip in a controlled environment. Claudia wins because she has the Center on her side. As far as I know,  it has nothing to do with her role as Mags Bennett on Justified. Mags would have poisoned Gabriel long ago. End of FX masha-up…

The scene between Gabriel and Mischa on a rainy day at Bess Truman Park is heartbreaking. Mischa refuses Gabriel’s offer of a private meeting, so they communicate in English. Mischa’s is not good but he catches Gabriel’s drift if you catch my drift. I have a funny feeling that Mischa won’t give up that easily.

The scene gave me a Jim Webb earworm:

I wonder who brought the cake? Probably Gabriel: he’s a helluva cook, after all.

Speaking of food, Gorp Guy cooks Egyptian meat soup for Ebrenda. No woodpeckers were harmed in the writing of the next segment.

Gorp Guy: Food Do-Gooder- As expected, the whole “the Americans are poisoning our food supply” storyline turns out to be a MacGuffin. It’s actually more of a red herring but, whatever it is, the revelation sends Philip into a tailspin. He killed some poor Okie Bug Guy for nothing, which is something that not even an EST-hole would do…

For his part, Gorp Guy turns out to be a nice person even though Elizabeth cased his apartment whilst canoodling. I will miss Gorp Guy and his indoor smores.

I will also miss the nifty period clothes provided to eBrenda by costume designer Katie Irish:

The Spy Who Loved Me? Stan’s relationship with the drop dead gorgeous Renee has progressed to the point where they’re having drinks with his partner, Aderholt at a joint called Aperifit. Doesn’t sound like a place to get a beer and a shot, does it? And I thought Stan only drank the champagne of beers.

Stan is on top of the world in this episode. His gambit to protect Oleg seems to have worked as the CIA stands him up on a cold Moscow night. Do they have any other kinds of nights?

I’m suspicious of Renee. On this show when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Philip is concerned that the Center has used his reports on Stan to try to flip him. Laurie Holden is mighty attractive bait even if she has big-80’s hair. Philip dons a new disguise that makes him look like then Surgeon General C Everett Koop and follows Renee.

This could turn out to be a KGB red herring or the start of a dangerous new plot line. Philip’s concern indicates how genuine his feelings for Stan are. He loves the big lug. Stay tuned.

Speaking of spies and love, Oleg’s father tries to set him up with three Russian babes. Even if they’re hotsky to trotsky, Oleg is not amused by daddy’s blind datery. He’s too busy fighting corruption and dodging the CIA, after all.

I don’t want you to think I’m a tease so let’s play a certain Bond theme:

Nobody does it better than Henry Jennings even if he’s hard to find.

Henry, Henry, Henry: We haven’t seen much of the youthful gamer this season. They’ve already covered the teen angst angle with Paige and his buddy Stan is busy being spied on or something. It turns out that the parent-teacher meeting involves good news: Henry is a math wiz. Philip and Elizabeth are gobsmacked and admit as much to Henry. He is not amused.

There’s a good chance that Henry doesn’t study as much as Paige because he’s brilliant and grows up to be a software mogul. There’s an even better chance that this storyline is an opportunity for the producers to mess with the audience. There’s been a lot of “where’s Henry” commentary on the internets including a funny piece by Brian Moylan at Vulture.

The Closing Scene: The episode concludes with Philip and Elizabeth in their pilot-stewardess disguises discussing what went terribly wrong with the wheat-bug operation. Philip seems to have reverted to his season 1 angst. He never wants to kill an innocent person again. Elizabeth doubts that is possible and offers to do the dirty work. He declines saying: “It’s us. Both of us. It’s us.” Claudia is right: Philip *is* shaky.

Since Lotus 1-2-3 used a Stones song, I’ll give them the last word. It’s time to toss the football around with Tuan the Vietnamese Kid: