The Americans Thread: The Penultimate Episode

I love the word penultimate as much as epistolary or eponymous and since I used those words earlier today, there was only one title for my recap of The World Council Of Churches.

The reason for that unwieldy, even bureaucratic, episode title is that the KGB secured Pastor Tim a sinecure in Argentina to get him out of the Jennings’ hair. I’m uncertain if it’s their real hair or one of their flotilla of wigs but, in any event, he’s out of it. And Paige is wigging out with glee.

Before taking our spoiler break, here’s a musical selection inspired by Phillip’s Brad the pilot persona. You know the guy who “adopted” Tuan. The pilot may be ready to drop the Vietnamese Kid if you catch my drift. More about that anon.

The episode revolves around parents and their chirren as Philip and Elizabeth consider the unthinkable: going back to the USSR.

Another Fine Mess: Philip has been tired of hurting innocents for quite some time. Elizabeth joined the club in last week’s episode Dyatkovo when she gunned down a minor war criminal’s husband because he was a witness. That was very gangsta, indeed gangster, of her.

They inform Claudia of their desire to hear the “balalaikas ringing out” and, to my surprise, she concurred after warning them that it would be hard on the children. Philip and Elizabeth are kidding themselves if they think that isn’t true. Elizabeth is convinced that Paige will thrive. Of course, she hasn’t been home in 20 years and we know from Oleg’s story line that the situation in the Soviet Union is dire. The balalaikas are too busy queuing up for food to ring out.

Paige continues to pump her parents for information. She asks about their names and they tell her they belonged to dead Americans. They didn’t add that they typically used those who died as children without Social Security numbers. That’s right, Very Young Americans. Hit it, David:

Paige is relieved that Pastor Tim and Alice will be off to Buenos Aires thanks to the “peace-loving” KGB. I wonder if they’ll bump into the stars of this movie?

Paige would have been horrified that her parents consulted with Pastor Tim (not Don Ameche. Who would object to calling Alexander Graham Bell?) about their big plan BEFORE talking to her. In a weird way, it makes sense: he counsels people all the time albeit not KGB illegals. His advice was that they should think it through and that the kids should have a say. It’s unlikely to go well: it means that Henry cooked dinner for nothing. He really put the Boyar into Chef Boyardee. And I’m not talking about baseball playing brothers Ken and Clete Boyer either.

The Reluctant Secret Policeman: Oleg’s situation is more and more precarious. He learns that the investigation into him is about something he did: revealing Dylan Baker’s identity as the virus dude to Stan Beeman. Oleg did, however, impress the investigators with his status as a red babe magnet because of his flings with Nina and Tatiana.

The food chain investigation is ending without any higher-ups being charged. Like most Soviet investigations, it’s strictly for show. Anyone surprised? I thought not.

Oleg’s frustration leads to a terrific scene with his father. Minister Burov is usually an austere, remote figure but, if he had any hair, he would have let it down in this conversation with Oleg. He offers to “crush” those going after his beloved son but Oleg waves him off. He knows that if he’s charged with treason, he could drag his father down with him. What’s a poor boyar to do? Me, I’d consult with Tim Finn, but that’s just me:

Speaking of Oleg’s pal, Stan; he’s worried that Tass Chick may be a double agent. Why? She brings her hockey puck of a boy friend to a meet. Surprise, surprise, Stan and Dennis. Said Olympian asks for a raise. Beeman and Aderholt are non-committal but worried that they’re being played.

Tuan Gone Redux: Things are not going well with the Morozov operation. The Ballerina informs Dee/Elizabeth that Alexei refuses to take his family back to the USSR. He’s right: a prison cell or worse awaits any returning defector. He’s smart enough to not believe assurances by Oleg’s ex-squeezeski Tatiana. It doesn’t matter if Pascha comes home with a black eye, they’re staying put. Alexei is content to “crawl like a viper through these suburban streets.”

Tuan comes up with a plan to get the Morozovs to break up, which will lead to the mother and son going home. Tuan convinces Pascha to slit his wrists in order to prove to the Ballerina that he’s serious. He’s supposed to make like a disgraced Roman at a time his parental units are due home. What could possibly go wrong? In a word: everything.

Unfortunately, Tuan is free-lancing. When he tells Brad/Philip and Dee/Elizabeth his plan, they’re horrified. They react as parents, not spooks. Tuan is baffled: he grew up in war-torn Vietnam so life is cheap to him. He figures that, even if Pascha dies, it will destroy the Morozov’s marriage. He is unaware, of course, that our spies are tired of hurting innocent bystanders. Philip impulsively heads over to Morozov Manor with Pascha’s fate unknown. No good can possibly come from any of this.

The last word (image?) goes to two GIFFY tweets from The Americans twitter feed:


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