Before I begin, I’d like to pose a question. How did the directors of this show manage to capture the twin towers in the first scene during Phillip’s trip to NYC and manage to make it look realistic and digitally enhanced at the same time? Including the image of the World Trade Center is still considered somewhat taboo in our post 9/11 mindset, however I do think it is something worth your attention.
Our episode begins by once again acknowledging Phillip and Elizabeth’s marriage instability. Neither of them trust each other at all at this point. So naturally, both of them dive into their work to hide from the real problem at hand. Phillip travels to NYC to attend a travel agent conference while really tracking a Polish communist hero visiting the US. Elizabeth continues to wear wigs, scare the living crap out of American government officials, and have secret meetings with Claudia (who still dons a bruised face courtesy of Elizabeth herself). Nothing that isn’t normal for this series. But Phillip exhibits very strange behavior as he fantasizes about a woman from his Russian past who appears to be a spy/travel agent herself.
Turns out that it is his old girlfriend, Irina who now goes by the name Ann, and the sexual tension begins. I guess Elizabeth isn’t the only one with a past containing a secret lover. But unfortunately, the lovely Ann is also on a mission to track this Polish communist. Needless to say, the paths of these star-crossed lovers meet again…except this time Phillip takes her purse while she is on a date with this visiting Polish, who is also a priest apparently.
We then turn back to DC where Elizabeth is having dinner with the Beemans. Stan can’t make it to dinner because he’s busy being an FBI agent. This marriage is breaking down a lot faster than the Jennings, but more because of loyalty than trust. Agent Beeman simply doesn’t want to give his family the right time of day. Instead he would rather go out with his coworker Chris and have a drink and hit on women who are not his wife.
Back in New York, Phillip and Ann meet in a hotel room once more after she slips something into the Polish man’s glass of wine. Ann’s big eyes only grow wider when she reveals to Phillip that she was pregnant when he left for the KGB training academy and they have a son together. This is a HUGE turning point in our journey but Ann makes the whole thing seem so casual that it’s slightly nauseating. The only thing that is more nauseating is the fact that Phillip beat her after she told him. It looked as if it was all part of the plan.
After a quick clip of a drunk agent Beeman making out with his mole, Nina, is shown (out of nowhere if you ask me), Elizabeth calls Phillip to tell him that she misses him and asked him to come home. Phillip promptly hangs up on her as Ann lays in bed next to him. It’s obviously not a shock that the two slept together. But this is the first time that Phillip sleeps with someone else in this show as Phillip and not some other character with a wig on. He irrevocably broke the marriage vow as Elizabeth had years ago. Both are now guilty of breaking trust.
In another quick clip, it is revealed that the drunken agent Beeman slept with Nina. We all knew this was coming for a while but now it’s official. Side point: The Americans is not good with their subplots within an episode. They give each subplot three minutes tops in a given episode, it never makes sense. The next morning, the Polish priest is being framed for rape. He wakes up from his drugging to his American escort showing photos of Ann’s bruises. Ann and Phillip sit in a park on a dark, grey morning as she confesses that she cannot be a spy anymore. She states that she’ll disappear and quietly begs Phillip to go with her. That night, the Polish man announced that he is stepping down from his position as head of the Polish Liberation Movement as Ann patiently awaited for Phillip to arrive at the train station. Phillip arrives just to tell her that he can’t ride off into the sunset with her. So she runs off alone, but I have a feeling that it’s not the last of her, as it was not the last we saw of Gregory after episode 3.
“How Was New York? Did you see any hobos or drug dealers?” asks Henry when his father arrives home. Ah New York in the early 80s. Elizabeth tells Phillip that she wants to try to make their marriage work one more time. After he agrees, she asked him if anything happened between him and Irina (Ann) AND HE DENIES EVERYTHING! What a way to start off a second chance. This is obviously going to blow up in his face later on. But no one can say that he didn’t have it coming.