The Americans
Pilot

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B- | 12 USERS: A-
YOU GRADE IT
Pilot

Philip's gonna take all that bottled-up frustration of his and go for a RUN. You run it out! He runs all the way into a flashback to Moscow, 1962. A weird-haired Philip (apparently becoming an American curled his hair up nice) stares sadly at a photo of his sweetheart before tearing it up. The KGB will accept no sweethearts! He's brought by Colonel Zhukov into his office to meet Elizabeth. The Colonel leaves them to get acquainted, with the instructions that they are to only speak of their ginned-up American backstories, not their true lives. This way, the only version of each other they will know will be the Americans Philip and Elizabeth. So the colonel leaves and Philip awkwardly offers his betrothed some tea. It's interesting. It's basically an arranged marriage that they have. But arranged marriages generally grow to become real marriages and real relationships (if Apu and Manjula from The Simpsons have taught us anything). Philip and Elizabeth never did, seemingly through Elizabeth's will. Is this because there's an endgame where they finish their work and return to Russia and become their old selves again? I wonder if Elizabeth is holding onto that.

Philip run-run-runs to a pay phone in the park, where he places a call to Arlington Methodist hospital. Pretending to be a Fairfax County sheriff, he inquires about a stabbing victim from the other night. He gives the description of Cuteski and he's told that that patient died that night. Aw. Adorable little cannon fodder.

Philip returns from his run to find Stan in his driveway. He needs some jumper cables. Philip: "Sure! Jumper cables! I keep mine right in the Kremlin! I mean garage!" Philip leads Stan inside to the garage, while Stan small-talks about the "shitstorm" at work that's going to keep him working seven-day weeks for the forseeable future. Philip's ears obviously perk up at that. In the garage, the Jenningses have smartly propped the hood up, the better to sell the broken-down car cover story. Also, for all the shit I rightly have given Philip about being jumpy, he manages to maneuver to the trunk, retrieve the cables and gives Timoshev the "You'll shut up if you know what's good for you" eyes, and field Stan's possibly-suspicious questions about the make and model of the Oldsmobile, all while seeming pretty cool. So good job! He smoothly shuts the trunk just as Stan is walking around to the back, hands over the cables and averts disaster.

Later, at the FBI, Stan and Chris are gabbing by the coffee machine, Chris obliterating the pronunciation of "pirogues," when Agent Bartholomew comes up with his former deputy, Agent Gad. Gad is played by Richard Thomas and is my current No. 1 contender for the "Who's a Soviet mole within the FBI" spot. He's here to help with the Timoshev case. Gad asks Stan specifically for his thoughts, since -- and this is news to Chris, at least -- Stan spent the last three years undercover on a bank robbery assignment, embedded with white supremacists. "When you're betrayed by one of your own," Stan says, "you're not inclined to put him out of his misery fast." He bets the Russians want to bring Timoshev back to Moscow first and look him in the eye before disposing of him. He goes on to correctly describe basically everything the Jenningses have done with Timoshev, from not being able to hand him over to their overseers to keeping him in their home. Bartholomew says if he's in the home of some covert op, they'll never find him. Stan's like, "Uh, yeah." Gad thanks Stan for his help. After the two bigwigs leave, Chris turns to Stan with questions about his last assignment. "Were you like burning crosses with those guys? Like 'Heil Hitler' and stuff?" Stan doesn't look like he wants to get into it, just saying, "It was a little deeper than that." Uh-oh, SECRETS!

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The Americans

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