Where We Left Off:
Last week, we saw Elizabeth’s killing spree continue, as she executed the low-level security worker (and, we can assume, his girlfriend) who unknowingly gave her the information she needed to go after the radiation sensor. Sophia and Gennadi’s more-or-less arranged marriage is crumbling, and the two informants both receive political asylum thanks to Stan and Agent Aderholt. Stan has been living with Renee for some time now, and she is inquiring about how to become an FBI agent, something that strikes Stan as suspicious. Stan also met up with Oleg and told him to stop whatever he was planning, but Oleg (obviously) didn’t listen, as he was shown in a rendezvous with Phillip at the end of the episode. Phillip is officially going through with spying on Elizabeth, and the spy vs spy game is officially on!
What Went Down:
We open with Oleg and Phillip walking in the park, the meeting we saw taking shape at the end of the previous episode. They are getting to know each other, which is very interesting since they worked together for so long without ever really meeting. They discuss the possibility of peace between the US and Russia, and Oleg gives Phillip more backstory on why he wants him to spy on his own wife. Phillip tells him about Rennhull and the radiation sensor, before Oleg tells him that they won’t be able to meet in person again. As expected given the nature of the first few episodes of this season, Elizabeth’s mission to get the radiation sensor results in an even more dead bodies, and she wasn’t able to complete the mission.
From there, we see Phillip returning to his Jim Baxter cover to visit Kimmy again, collecting another tape from her father’s office. But she is going out of town soon, so Phillip won’t be able to collect any new information ahead of the summit. Back in the Jennings kitchen, Paige and Elizabeth discuss work, and when Phillip walks in, he undermines them both, questions the suicide story in front of Paige, and the tension is beyond palpable. He has become nothing more than a casual observer in his own daughter’s life, forced to watch her walk the path that has all but claimed his wife’s life and soul. When she confronts him afterward, their disdain for each other is clear. He gives her the Breland tape, but she’s not happy to hear that there won’t be another until Christmas. When Elizabeth delivers the tape to Claudia, they discuss what was said (they believe the Americans have a human source on the Soviet negotiating team at the summit) and Claudia tells her about the defectors Gennadi and Sophia. Elizabeth will need to deal with them if it is true. More information for Elizabeth to sort out, more bodies to drop.
Phillip’s financial struggles are finally revealed to Henry, who may not be able to attend his final year at St. Edward. Drawing him back home while all of this is barreling towards a terrible conclusion is a scary thought. Earlier, we saw Oleg call his father under the guise of discussing transportation algorithms, but he was clearly speaking in code and his father was writing everything down. We see him meet with Arkady Ivonovich and hand him a piece of paper (likely the coded information on what Elizabeth has been up to) and the two discuss Oleg and his family, as well as his mission in America. We later learn that Oleg’s family isn’t doing nearly as well in his absence as his father makes it sound. In bed, Elizabeth and Phillip discuss the travel agency and how he doesn’t know how to fix it. They are clearly talking about more than work and both know it. They are next to each other, but may as well be separated by the Grand Canyon.
Under her nurse cover, Elizabeth hears Glenn telling his wife about a World Series party that he wants to go to, featuring not only members of the negotiation team, but also “one of the Russians.” Sensing an opportunity, Elizabeth offers to take her so she can be out in the world again, spending time with her husband. Aderholt tells Stan that relocation needs help with “Mr. and Mrs. Teacup,” which doesn’t thrill Stan. Elizabeth steals Erica’s jacket and arranges for a bug to be sewn into the seam ahead of the party she takes her to attend. Paige hooks up with an intern of a congressman on the Armed Services Committee, and eyeballs his badge while he sleeps (going directly against what her mother had told her earlier in the episode). Her level of commitment could end of rivaling Elizabeth’s, which is terribly ominous. After the party, Elizabeth listens to her recording, which provided nothing of note. Yet another dead end.
Where We Go From Here:
Elizabeth is clearly having moments of quiet self-reflection and, possibly for the first time, doubt in her overall mission. We as viewers know the Cold War ends, so whatever missions she’s on don’t truly matter in the long-run, but she’s always been fiercely committed to the cause. And now she’s pulling Paige into that commitment, putting her on the frontlines while insisting that she’s in no danger. But so far, a lot of this has been for nothing, as she is running herself ragged for zero return on investment. Meanwhile, Phillip is the saddest man on television, and now his business is as uncontrollable as his family. He’s helplessly watching everything fail. And now the two clearly suspect that something is up with the other, how long can this marriage survive? Now that Stan is roped into helping Gennadi and Sophia, while we know Elizabeth is looking for them, I can’t help but fear that this is how Stan will finally learn of the true identity of his neighbors. And then there’s Oleg Burov, the one man who consistently follows his conscience and tries to make an impact on the world for the sake of everyone, and not just himself. There’s a lesson to be learned, there.
What did you think of this week’s episode?
Will Elizabeth’s body count catch up to her? Will she give in to the fatigue before it can?
What will happen with Gennadi, Sophia and Stan, now that they are on an unofficial collision course with Elizabeth?
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