The Americans Ep. 4

What an explosively powerful yet quiet episode. Episode 4 of The Americans titled Mr. and Mrs. Teacup in a snide reference to the defecting soviets Gennadi and Sofia’s handles with Aderholt and Beeman, had all the hallmarks of the first season. The action involved was subtle, everyone is playing the long-game, but the interactions between all the characters had a weight and significance that few other shows can match.

At its core The Americans is a show about the Jennings’ marriage, and their relationship with each other seen through the lens of their work. This season, more than any other they are separated. There is the obvious separation in Phillip being a full-time travel agent and Elizabeth carrying on the espionage by herself, but it, like everything in this stellar show, goes deeper.

As mentioned in this episode, Phillip and Elizabeth have a deal of sorts in their respective roles; she gets the Centre and Paige while he gets to be a travel agent moonlighting as a line-dancer and Henry. They have separated their assets neatly and logically with no divorce involved, yet. They each have individual struggles that they cannot freely discuss per their own devised restrictions. Elizabeth can only confess her to-the-bone exhaustion, not the intricacies involved in maintaining her numerous missions, many of which are not going as planned. And Phillip has money woes as he falls into the American debt trap and has to inform Henry that he may not be able to afford another year at the conveniently far-away boarding school. The Jennings are straying farther from each other as each episode airs, and have discovered that the intimacy they once had in their arranged marriage may be wearing thin.

This was the fourth episode in a this 10 episode final season of the series. Though this episode was slow in terms of advancing the Cold War conflict, it revealed several important plot points. Oleg’s is feeding information to this father back in the Moscow, to what end we do not know, but based on his discussions with Phillip, Gorbachev is gaining support back home. This information gives Phillip a sense of relief. In stark contrast, when Claudia tells Elizabeth about “Mr. and Mrs. Teacup” or Gennadi and Sofia’s defecting she is steeled to deal with yet another seemingly impossible mission to defeat the Americans. Even so despite her resolve, she seems in denial too, asking Claudia “what we should do next with Paige.” Elizabeth is clinging onto her memories and connection to the Soviet Union as the end of the Cold War looms near. Her loyalty is unwavering, but as Oleg warned Phillip, “loyalty can be used.”

Some Thoughts:

  • It was wonderful seeing Kimmie (Julia Garner) again as Phillip’s source for information under the guise of Jim. She’s in college now, but it was a neat throw back for viewers.
  • Stan is constantly being pulled back into his old job because of Sofia and her husband. He keeps saying that he’s done with all of that, but me thinks he doth protest too much.
  • It will be interesting if Henry has to enter back into the family unit if it’s within the scope of this episode. Will we ever get to see him discover his real parents? Or will he just skate off to join the Soviet olympic hockey team?
  • I love all the scenes when Elizabeth interacts with Glenn’s bed-ridden wife Erica Haskard (Miriam Shor). As an artist she is so intuitive, it is wonderful seeing Elizabeth both unnerved and admirable of this woman. I would not be surprised in Miriam turns out to suss out Elizabeth’s purpose.
  • The moment that the screen lingers on Paige after she sleeps with the congressman’s intern is one that give me major Elizabeth vibes. Her decision to sleep with the intern has no motive yet, she may be acting out of love or with calculation. Time will tell.
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