Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer TV Rewind: The Americans 1.10: "Only You"

“He had no secrets. You know? You can’t be married and not have secrets. Can you, Phil?”

“Only You” really explored the aftermath of the murders that took place in the last episode. Both the FBI and KGB are hurting right now, the FBI because of Amador and the KGB because of Vlad. Interestingly, the KGB hurt over Vlad doesn’t quite extend to Phillip and Elizabeth. As Directorate S operatives, I think they are too distant to know a Rezidentura line staffer like Vlad was. Nina is really upset over the loss, though, and once she finds out how it happened, I think her relationship with Stan will change fundamentally. Each side is still seeking vengeance on the other, and the whole thing makes me wonder how we ever really got out of the Cold War. I rocked my AP US History test in high school, so I know all about glasnost and perestroika and all, but I’m surprised the spies on the ground were ever really able to stop.

Like I said, this episode really gets into the aftermath of Amador’s and Vlad’s deaths. We see Elizabeth drop Phillip off at the low end motel where he’s been staying since the separation. The separation is definitely taking its toll on both of them. Later in the episode, there’s a scene where Elizabeth is having a lot of trouble establishing a new morning routine with Paige and Henry. They’re still really upset about the separation, and they’re acting out. Phillip busts into the house in the middle of this and offers to take the kids to school. Elizabeth is pissed off that Phillip undermined her effort to create a new morning routine. Phillip has a legitimate reason to visit, though, besides just causing chaos. He learned that Amador wore a very distinctive ring and it is missing. It may make it easier for the FBI to figure out what happened.

On the FBI side of things, Agent Gaad has what seems like a big rally to both remember Amador and encourage his agents to try and figure out who killed him. He (and most of the other FBI agents) really, really want Amador’s killer dead. After work, and already drunk Stan pays Phillip a visit at the motel, where they drink even more beers. Stan tells Phillip his partner was killed, and obviously Phillip doesn’t let anything slip about his own involvement. Can you imagine what it would do to Stan if he ever found out the truth? I’m sure he will at some point before the series is over (TV Rules), but that is going to be a story bomb like no other. Anyway, the visit from Stan was how Phillip learned about Amador’s ring.

Stan and the other FBI folks aren’t the only ones reeling from a death in this episode. The Rezidentura is feeling the loss of Vlad. In a way, the deaths of Amador and Vlad weren’t that different. Both were young men with a lot of promise, and that makes their loss especially tragic. During a clandestine rendezvous, Nina asks Stan if he knows anything about what happened to Vlad. Stan denies any knowledge, of course. Nina says Vlad was her friend, and he never really wanted to be a spy. He wanted to be a doctor, and he was planning on quitting the Rezidentura and going to medical school next year. We also get a very sad scene where Nina, Arkady, and some other Rezidentura higher ups take Vlad’s coffin to the airport. It’s pretty clear that if Nina finds out Stan killed Vlad, it’s not going to be pretty.

Anyway, Phillip and Elizabeth now know they have to find and dispose of Amador’s ring, but Stan, being the good FBI agent he is, is already on the trail. He figured out that the owner of an auto shop pawned the ring, so he pays the mechanic a visit. It appears that this mechanic sometimes procures and disposes of cars for Gregory’s crew. Elizabeth got Gregory’s help to deal with Amador’s body, so that’s how everything is connected. Stan brings the mechanic into the office for more questioning, and when looking through a book of mug shots, the mechanic identifies a man named Curtis. Curtis works for Gregory, and Stan remembers seeing Curtis during the whole mess in Philadelphia a few episodes back.

Curtis is arrested, so the KGB know they are in trouble. Gregory could be next, and his whole organization, although it seems like a drug operation on the surface, is all about supporting the KGB. Elizabeth and Claudia have a very serious discussion about what to do with Gregory. Claudia says they can begin the exfiltration process immediately. Gregory will have to go to Moscow, where he will be set up with a modest apartment and stipend. He will also be expected to teach future KGB agents. Elizabeth isn’t so sure Gregory will take the deal, but she certainly hopes he will.

Gregory, however, has other ideas. He really wants to run to California. Elizabeth tries to convince him that this is a spectacularly bad idea. The FBI wants blood for Amador’s death, and they won’t rest until they find (and probably kill) Gregory. They won’t be able to get to him in Moscow, but they can certainly get to him anywhere in the United States. Gregory doesn’t think he would fit in if he went to Moscow. He wants to be a martyr for the cause instead. Elizabeth and Gregory end up sleeping together one last time before everything goes to Hell.

The KGB higher-ups aren’t thrilled with Gregory’s desire to be a martyr because they don’t trust that he’ll actually go through with it. Phillip arrives at the safe house to help Elizabeth do what needs to be done with Gregory. He’s about to kill Gregory himself, but Elizabeth stops him. She reminds Phillip that Gregory has always been honest and has never, ever betrayed the cause. Gregory’s plan is suicide by cop so that the FBI will think that Amador’s murderer is dead and not come after Phillip and Elizabeth. After thinking about it, Phillip decides to let Gregory go ahead with it.

The end of this episode is just gut wrenching. We slowly see Gregory enter a standoff with police, and eventually he is shot to death. Phillip and Elizabeth can’t be anywhere around to help him. They both have to appear as if they are going about their ordinary lives. Elizabeth is feeding Paige and Henry dinner when a breaking news report about the standoff and Gregory’s death comes on television. She can’t bear to watch and just turns off the TV. I never really bought Gregory and Elizabeth’s relationship. I don’t really understand what they saw in each other. But I could definitely see that Elizabeth is in serious mourning now.

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