Well it looks like those earlier missions weren’t one hundred percent successful after all. This episode incorporates past missions into one episode to gear us up for tonight’s exciting season finale. Ironically enough, it all begins with something new and interesting. Nina is sworn in as a KGB agent. I never thought I would see this woman pledge loyalty to her country. She seemed so in love with agent Beeman that I almost felt bad for her, but it turns out that this woman can keep secrets of her own. Deception is a beautiful thing on this show.
Remember the 2nd episode, the one where Elizabeth and Phillip poison the son of a maid so she could bug a clock inside the office of an important American government official? Well the maid has returned and she feels guilty for disobeying her religion. She comes forward to her boss and the counterintelligence agency about the situation at hand. She then is sent to sit with a sketch artist to give a description.
Elizabeth receives intelligence from a new recruit regarding space travel, all he wants is $50,000. She meets with Claudia about it who doesn’t think it’s a trap. Elizabeth is more suspicious about it than usual and decides to call the head of the agency on Claudia with Phillip, they never liked her anyway. But Phillip also decides that he will ask his fake girlfriend, Martha, to bug the head counterintelligence’s office. Getting her to do this would take a severe act of courage, heroism, and bravery. Naturally, the only way to get her to agree to this task is by proposing to her. Of course Martha says yes, she is now the person I pity most on the show.
Nina has a secret meeting with Beeman in their little safe house. She acts very affectionate and describes a dream to him in which Beeman is her savior from a hazardous fire. Nina slyly turns it around on Beeman by asking him one more time if he was responsible for her friend Vlad’s murder. He lies ever so sweetly, “I would never do anything to hurt you. You know that.” Nina can see through him but kisses the poor sucker anyway. I can’t wait to see what tortuous acts she has in store for him.
Back at Martha’s apartment, she tells “Clark” she wants to take his last name but “Clark” makes up some sad excuse as to why that cannot be. Then he springs the $64,000 dollar question on her. “Will you bug your boss’s office for me?” It wasn’t that sweet but after a little wordplay, “Clark” gets the answer that he is looking for. Martha successfully plants the bug the next day in her boss’s office. That night, Martha and “Clark” get into an argument. I am still a bit thrown off that this minor b-plot of the past has been pushed center stage at this point in the season, I will never underestimate the importance of these side stories again. Martha, like most other women in the 80s, created a pro-con list on marrying “Clark” (how cliche). She can’t take his last name, she can’t tell her parents, and the couple can’t even share a home together. How delusional is this poor woman? But poor, doe-eyed Martha is somehow still convinced that “Clark” is the one after he says that her parents can come to the wedding.
Somehow, Elizabeth gets dragged into this wedding nonsense. Apparently Phillip needs people to play “Clark’s family”. And suddenly, the most comical close up of two old church ladies appears on the screen. It’s Elizabeth and Claudia arguing about spy matters! In church lady costumes! I couldn’t take anything they said seriously for the next few moments. Suddenly, Phillip/”Clark” is getting married in front of Elizabeth’s teary eyes. It is one of the few times we see Elizabeth Jennings show any kind of emotion towards anyone or anything aside from the cause.
At the FBI headquarters, the sketches have been compiled and are being displayed to a conference room full of agents. The agents go back and forth about whether the compiled sketches from various crimes are sketches of the same people. The head of counterintelligence thinks they are, but Beeman disagrees. Either way, the agency knows that they are looking for a couple, they are one step closer to discovering the Soviet spies…yet so very far away.
The episode ends where it begins, in the head Rezident’s office at the Soviet embassy. Nina comes forward and confesses that she was spying for the USA to the head Rezident, Arkady whom we met in the episode of Vlad’s murder. He seems stunned by the confession, yet Nina continues to confess everything, including details of her intimacy with agent Beeman. She ends with a proposition, “you can kill me, or you can let me redeem myself in the eyes of our beloved Russia.” What a spectacular way to end an episode! Even more importantly, it was an amazing way to prepare viewers for tonight’s season finale! A bit of the past mixed with a slowly emerging b-plot and a twist of vengeance will certainly make for an exciting ending to season one of The Americans. There were no previews released for tonight’s episode but I can assure you that it is television that you will not want to miss.