Family matters dominate the latest episode, IHOP. Philip is obliged to contemplate his real son as well as two fake sons. It’s hard being a spy sometimes. Even worse, Philip’s resolve continues to be shakier than a Jello salad at a Midwestern church supper.
Another main theme of the episode is how overextended the Jennings are between travel agenting, spying, and parenting. In the immortal words of Johnny Mercer: Something’s gotta give. Something’s gotta give. Something’s gotta give.
On that cheerful note, it’s time for our spoiler break. But first, one of the songs I’ve been substituting Tuan for gone in. It’s a weird hobby, but it’s mine all mine:
Who she is and why she’s Tuan are beyond me. I’ll get to the Vietnamese Kid in a bit. Let’s start with the Jennings’ bio-son, the long-suffering and somewhat neglected Henry.
Henry & The Fancy Orphanage: Philip and Elizabeth are so out of touch with their son that they’re gobsmacked to learn that he wants to go to a tony prep school where the “coaches are your teachers.” Philip is appalled, suspecting a plot by the producers to avoid answering questions about Henry. I made up Philip’s motivation but I suspect they *are* tired of being teased about Henry. He is the Waldo of The Americans, after all.
Since Philip has been brooding about his impoverished childhood, he hates the idea calling the school “a fancy orphanage.” Elizabeth is more open to it. It *is* a way to keep Henry out of the life that’s dragging them down and turning Paige into a basket case.
When Martha Met Gabriel: Gabriel drops by Martha’s depressing Muscovite dwelling. It’s not horrible by Soviet standards but a far cry from the cozy DC digs wherein Clark seduced and duped her. Martha is quite rightly bitter and not happy to see my main man Gabriel despite their matching gray sweaters. Who can blame her?
Martha is no longer naive about what our spooks did to her. Gabriel tries soothing her in his feline way but she’s not having it. He assures her that once her Russian improves, her life will as well. Once again: Martha isn’t buying it. It’s obvious that the slumber party with Gabriel and Oleg will never happen as she throws Gabriel out and says:
Yeah, I know, that song didn’t come out until the next year but what’s an anachronism among friends? Give it up. Stop.
Oleg’s Muscovite Blues: Things are not going well in Burovland. The secret police beckon him for another visit. It remains unclear what they’re really after. They are, however, very interested in Oleg’s operation with Stan and the late Nina Kriolva. (pauses to light a virtual candle for her.) It’s either confirmation that Stan’s new squeeze Renee is KGB or a red herring. They *are* reds, after all.
Oleg walks in on a fight between his parents. He uses his interrogative skills on his father. Minister Burov claims that he didn’t tell his son about mama’s imprisonment to protect him. It’s much like Philip and Elizabeth “protecting” Henry from their spy-tude. No wonder Henry wants to become a preppy nerd.
The Ghost Of John Boy: The FBI thinks they know what happened to Frank Gaad who was played by Richard Thomas. They’re half-right: Gaad was killed by KGB men but it happened by mistake. Nobody put the hit out on John Boy.
Stan’s current boss, Agent Wolfe, urges him to reconsider his stance on Oleg. Wolfe asserts that Oleg could be the key to avenging Gaad’s death. Stan is reluctant until he visits Gaad’s widow who informs him that “Frank would want vengeance.”
Once again: stay tuned.
Good night, John Boy.
Before the segment, another Tuanny interlude. Don’t worry it won’t be “way down upon the Tuanny river.”
Already Tuan: Elizabeth knows that her spy son is lonely so she decides to spend some quality time with him. When she arrives at their sumptuous safe house, the Vietnamese kid is a gone Tuan pecan. Initially, she figures that he went out for pho with the bullies he’s going to sic on Pascha. But he doesn’t come home, and a worred and alarmed Elizabeth leaves at 3 AM.
It’s surveillance time. Tuan skips the pho and has pizza with some jocks. Then he boards a bus to Harrisonburg, PA. I was immediately concerned that he was spying for then Governor Dick Thornburgh but that wasn’t the case. Tuan eats at an IHOP (I approve. My father was an IHOP fan so I’ve eaten in my share of them.) and then returns to Washington.
He is greeted by Philip and Elizabeth and, boy, are they pissed:
Tuan swears that he went to the Keystone State to make an untracable call to his adopted brother in Portland. Another family matter. The kid has leukemia and Tuan wanted to check in on him. But he spotted the surveillance and did not place the call. Instead, he had pigs in the blanket and went home. He pleaded with the Jennings not to report this momentary lapse of reason. He obviously didn’t want to be sent home to Vietnam to face execution or a re-education camp.
I believed him as did Elizabeth. Philip wasn’t so sure. He wondered if Tuan just “wanted to be pulled out of this shit.” Once again, our favorite spies are out of touch: Tuan’s fate would be a grim one much like that of Nina. The Jennings have not lived in a Communist country for over 20 years and Elizabeth has an idealistic view of what life is like back home. Philip does not but he’s still woefully out of touch. This is bound to come back and bite them.
Let’s close this out with another Tuan tune. This one is from the Bad Company songbook. I call it Tuan, Tuan, Tuan: