The Americans
Covert War

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B- | 8 USERS: A-
Lady Vengeance

Back to the disco! Elizabeth is LIVING FOR IT out on that dance floor, while Sandra just kind of half-steps it and looks on nervously. She's just not ready. Disco is a big step for a married, thinking-about-cheating lady. She does not yet fully love the night life. She is fairly ambivalent on the subject of the boo-gay. Instead, she retreats to the pay phone and calls home. Hoping to get Stan, she instead gets Matthew, who hasn't yet left for The Rocky Horror Picture Show (oh, don't look so surprised; with THAT face?). When he informs her that Dad called and said he'd be home late yet again, Sandra gets more despondent.

Speaking of grim existences, the remaining Jenningses are at the motel vending machines. Exterior hotel vending machines. Of all the indignities, having random passers-by witness your junk-food purchases? Dear God. They also have to watch a grown man peeing across the lot. Philip chastises the man before ushering the kids inside.

Later that night, at the Beeman abode, Sandra sits in the kitchen in the dark, an open bottle of what appears to be crème de menthe on the table. (Okay, probably not, but it probably should be.) Stan finally arrives home and Sandra is loaded (so to speak) for battle. She says she called HQ and they said Stan had left hours ago. WUH-OH! Stan has no excuses beyond "You don't understand"-style stonewalling. Sandra is unwilling to accept that, nor his condescending requests to calm down. Sandra proceeds to have a pretty fucking fantastic freakout on Stan, about his absences, his apparent lying, how he's the only bad guy she sees in this situation and how she can't stand the sight of him. She throws her glass against the wall! Good thing Matthew's at a midnight movie. Oh God, what if he comes home in the middle of this, dressed as... wait, what would be the funniest? Frank-N-Furter? Rocky? Columbia? Columbia. Always Columbia. Sandra is now shoving Stan and really starting to break down into tears. She thinks she's been lying to herself for a while now, maybe all this time. Ultimately, she careens out of the kitchen in mid-sentence, unable to even verbalize how much of a fool he's made of her.

The next day, we catch up with Elizabeth and Claudia in the park, seconds after Claudia has informed Elizabeth of General Zhukov's death. Elizabeth is obviously winded. She immediately wants to know who did it. Claudia says that the CIA Director of Planning for the Soviet Union Richard Patterson is reportedly to blame, but Moscow has officially decided to stop the escalation of violence before things get too crazy. Elizabeth finds this unacceptable, and it looks like Claudia's not wild about it either, but the difference is that Claudia follows rules. Not like, ahem, Philip and Elizabeth when it came to Gregory last week. Claudia says they're all lucky that little street shootout didn't bring down the whole operation. And: seriously. Elizabeth is fully "Sorry Not Sorry" about it. The mix of tension, begrudging respect and open hatred between these two is probably the most unambiguously enjoyable aspect of this show, for me. They're both just wolves baring their teeth constantly. Of course, then the show has to go and be dumb and have Claudia call after Elizabeth from about fifteen yards away and have her talk about how Viktor Zhukov was a good man who meant a great deal to Elizabeth, and she hopes Elizabeth will honor his memory by doing the right thing. Excellent covert ops-ing, everybody!

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The Americans




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