Remember Prince, that guy in the missile-defense program who Elizabeth wrangled up while dressed like Morticia Benatar and the Blackhearts? He comes to Elizabeth with news that a highly-placed Air Force colonel is disillusioned and prepared to flip. Elizabeth and Philip are worried it's a trap, and they're more worried when Claudia tells them a meeting with the colonel has been set up. They try to work around Claudia, maybe even get her sent back to Moscow. Prince, meanwhile, threatens to gum up the works entirely by getting arrested by the local cops for not paying his child support, the louse.
Meantime, though, they need to find out if it's a trap, so Philip decides that Clark can get Martha to plant a bug in Special Agent John-Boy's office if he gives her the right incentive. That incentive being: he proposes marriage. A secret marriage she can't tell anybody about (okay, fine, her parents, but that's it). And so we get the absurd visual of Elizabeth and Claudia in dumpy dresses and big glasses, standing as family and witnesses while Philip pledges his life to Mrs. Clark Westerfeld. But hey, she does plant that bug.
Meantime, Heylia James gets an attack of religious-based conscience for planting the bug in the clock at the Secretary of Defense's house. She ends up confessing, to her employer and then to the FBI, who are now aware of the bug and can plant false information at will. Now, between Heylia and Agent Patterson, they have two accounts of a man-and-woman couple carrying out dastardly KGB deeds. The sketches don't look anything alike (so, I guess, fuck us for complaining about the insane disguises), but Stan uses his special powers of deduction and intuition to conclude that they ARE the same person (so I guess fuck them for thinking such insane disguises would help).
Finally, Arkady puts enough trust in Nina that he puts her on the Directorate S beat. Comes with a pin and an oath and everything! At the same time that the Motherland is putting such faith into her, it seems that she really very much suspects that Stan was the one who killed Vlad, his straight-faced denials to the contrary. So we get the shocker of a scene where Nina confesses to Arkady that she is the mole and throws herself at mercy of Moscow. That said, she does also admit that she and her FBI agent handler have become sexually involved. She asks if she could use that to perhaps redeem herself somehow. Nina! Making the big moves!
Previously: The Jenningses coerced Heylia James from Weeds into planting a bug in the Secretary of Defense's home office, despite her strong religious objections; Martha proved time and again that she was a complete delusional doormat who would do anything for "Clark"; Stan and Nina's relationship could not stop being about the sex, except when it was about Stan lying about killing Nina's work friend Vlad; and Elizabeth dressed up like Yvonne DeCarlo-meets-Suzi Quatro in order to rope in a source within the Missile Defense Shield program.
Currently: Dark-Lady Elizabeth is meeting once again with Sanford Prince, her Star Wars contact. She's annoyed at being summoned, but he's got news: a colonel in Air Force intelligence working on the missile shield project is ready to defect. Prince is super proud of himself, saying he used the same techniques to flip this guy as (the late) Adam Dorwin used to recruit him. Elizabeth says that Dorwin was working off of KGB instructions the whole time, doofus. But Prince is undeterred in his enthusiasm. This Colonel is way up the food chain and disillusioned with the "chicken hawks" in the Reagan administration to boot. Elizabeth wants to see the intel, of course, but Prince informs her that it's for sale. The Colonel is selling it to whoever will pay him $50,000 for it. "We playing at the big-boy table now, Sanford?" Elizabeth asks with contempt mixed with a dash of surprised respect. "$50,000 buys a lot of poker chips," she tells him, referencing his pesky gambling habit. She needs assurances first, so she tells him to dead-drop what he's got and she'll get back to him.
At the Rezidentura, Arkady has summoned Nina to his office. After some pleasantries, he gets down to business. He informs her that, among their assets in the U.S. are a small group of patriots. "The illegals," she supplies for him. Makes them sound like an urban legend, which tracks with the way the FBI discussed Directorate S in the early goings of this season. Arkady tells Nina that, with her promotion, one of her new duties is to assist him in Directorate S business. This is apparently such a milestone that it occasions a special pin AND an oath, which Nina must read aloud: "Deeply valuing the trust placed upon me and grateful for the decision to send me to the sharp edge of the struggle for the interest of my people. As a worthy daughter of the homeland, I would rather perish than betray the secrets entrusted to me. With every heartbeat, with every day that passes, I swear to serve the Soviet Party, the homeland and the Soviet people." Amen! So Nina gets pinned and honestly? She looks legitimately honored to have reached such a level. And good for her. That she didn't have to sleep her way to the top to get this promotion must feel pretty great.