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The Americans recap: Darkroom

Quite a day to recap The Americans. Pity the TV series about Russian subterfuge that has to keep up with real life.

Anyway, time for a stiff drink.

Alexei Morozov offers Philip some home-brewed Soviet-grade moonshine, and they have a gripe session about married life. Alexei, whose wife Evgheniya (unbeknownst to him) is having an affair with one of her CIA students, has noticed a cooling off in their house after relentless fights over his decision to defect. “Now, no fights. She is quiet. Like dog somebody beat with stick.” His son is no better off. “Just sad, sad, very sad boy.”

Philip, Elizabeth, and their second son Tuan are helping make life miserable for Pasha Morozov because the KGB wants this family back, back in the U.S.S.R. The man the wife is having an affair with will soon be the CIA’s man in Moscow. They want the affair to continue. Good blackmail fodder.

Even Alexei is feeling a little homesick. He tells a story about his mother, a biology professor, who took him ice skating rather than rush home to make dinner. “Moscow was nice city with my mother.”

Elsewhere, Elizabeth meets with Tuan, who was last seen sneaking off to a mystery meeting in Pennsylvania, allegedly to check in on his brother. “I know I made a mistake. I’m sorry. I failed you. I failed my people,” he says.

“I admire you I believe in you,” Elizabeth says. “You’re fighting so things like that don’t have to happen to other people. I wish I cold tell you it gets easier. It doesn’t, but you can do this. You can be great at it.”

“Did you report me?”

“No,” she says, simply. “You hungry?”

Philip reports that Pasha is doing worse, and Tuan says he coaxed some of the bullies at school to put dog crap in the boy’s locker.

“Pasha has no idea I got them to do it,” Tuan says.

“Good,” Elizabeth says.

Back at the Jennings house, Paige is obsessively mopping floor. Out, out damn spots!

She has guilt pangs over something she read in Pastor Tim’s diary while babysitting his child. “He says I might be screwed up. He’s worried about my soul.”

“He doesn’t really know you,” Philip says, but the good pastor has struck a nerve with Paige.

“I don’t know. I think maybe I am screwed up. Pastor Tim thinks it’s from all the lying.”

“Everyone thinks they’re screwed up. That’s what I’ve learned,” Philip tells her.

“It wasn’t lying,” Elizabeth says. “We kept things from you to protect you. And when you were ready, we told you.”

Paige isn’t going to get over this so easy. They know she’s not the kind of kid who can put things behind her.

Back in Moscow, Oleg Burov is following up on Lydia Fomina, named as one of the key figures in the food corruption probe. She takes her windshield wipers off to prevent them from being stolen. It hardly makes sense that she’s some kingpin.

In D.C., Aderholt and Beeman are having good luck with Sofia Kovalenko, their TASS contact who has new teeth and new intel for them — a Soviet soccer star is one of the couriers who ships secret information and objects back and forth for the KGB when he visits the United States.

Philip and Elizabeth check in with Claudia and turn over the information gathered last week from Kimberly’s CIA father — revealing that Mujahideen fighters were discovered dead from a hemorrhagic fever — similar to the virus they helped the KGB steal.

“We were told it was being used for defense,” Philip says.

“I don’t know anything about it. I’m sorry,” Claudia tells him.

They let her know that Pastor Tim is making mischief again. Perhaps he can be sent “somewhere far away,” with a job offer he can’t refuse.

“There are peace groups, international religious counsels. Do you want me to look into it?” Claudia says

“We’ll let you know,” they tell her. This will be Paige’s call.

Claudia says the KGB was thrilled with the wheat sample they delivered, but they will be working on it “for some time.”

Elizabeth and Philip look worried. Some time?

“Years,” Claudia says. “You’ll have to keep running Stobert and Kemp long term.”

Her agents are not happy to hear this.

Mom and Dad break it to Paige that Pastor Tim could be manipulated into leaving. “We don’t think you should have to be around him anymore,” Elizabeth says.

“We don’t think you should have to manage him for the rest of your life,” Philip counters.

They propose the idea of a job he would love that would keep him busy — and far, far away from them. “That seems weird. Without him even knowing…” Paige says.

“We would only do it if it was something good for him,” Philip assures her.

“And we wouldn’t do it if you didn’t want us to,” Elizabeth promises.

Paige asks about the wheat situation, still unaware that their fears about the U.S. creating a famine were unfounded. Her parents let her keep believing that lie. “It does feel good when you can make a difference,” Elizabeth says.

“You did something so huge, and no one even knows,” Paige marvels.

“That’s how it works,” Philip says.

We catch a long scene of a silent dinner at Oleg Burov’s house, with his mother and father, whose secret about her imprisonment decades ago is now hanging over the family.

Then we cut to the Morozov house, where Evgheniya tells Elizabeth about how miserable her son is at school. “Every day we fight to get him out of house,” she says.

“I know a lot of kids who’ve gone through that sort of thing. It does get better,” says Elizabeth, the person who is secretly making it worse.

“What if not?” Evgheniya asks. Then she confesses. “I… one of my student, we have sex. I was so mad at Alexei. We fight, fight all time. My student was so nice, easy, and fun. Alexei now try not to fight, for Pasha he say we must be strong. I feel bad all time now.”

She sobs. “I want my family be happy.”

Elizabeth leans in. “Then fight for that.”

Then we see a double date between Mr. and Mrs. Jennings and Stan Beeman and his mysterious girlfriend Renee. They make plans for another night out, but in the car Philip and Elizabeth worry about her being a KGB plant meant to turn Stan.

“I don’t want Stan to be like Martha,” Philip says.

We see Philip going for a run and dropping a red-marked rock while hearing an inspirational speech from one of his EST meetings.

The rock makes its way to the Rezidentura, where Tatiana decodes it. Then we see her personally confront Evgheniya on the street. “I’m from the embassy. Can we talk? I’m a friend you have nothing to talk about.”

Philip’s message must have told Soviet officials to invite the Morozov family back home, with no punishment, no questions asked — only to set Evgheniya up as blackmail against her CIA paramour.

“You probably think if you ever wanted to come home, you might be in trouble because of the way you left,” Tatiana says. “I understand why you would think that. There’s a lot of bad information out there. Western propaganda. But the truth is people who leave — we want them to come back. It looks very good for us, too. There would be no problem. No repercussions.”

Evgheniya says she will think about it. The trap is set

Speaking of traps…

Here is the big news of this episode: Philip and Elizabeth are married. For real. Philip leads her to an abandoned warehouse where the Russian Orthodox priest he encountered in the last episode, a longtime contact of Gabriel’s, is there to marry them.

Philip proposes to his KGB partner by presenting her with the phone marriage certificate they were given decades ago.

“You want to make it official?” he asked. She does.

And we are the lone witnesses to the marriage of Nadezhda and Mikhail.


At the FBI, Stan’s information about the KGB soccer player is yielding info about how covert information is smuggled, in hack-proof cases that destroy the contents if anyone tries to open them by force. This seems like setup for a future operation.

At the Jennings house, Philip and Elizabeth are told by Paige that she wants them to send Pastor Tim away.

“I do want you to give him that job offer. I’m not mad at him. He’s been good to me, but he hasn’t been good for our family. And since it would be good for him, too…”

She photographed his diary, saying that might help them figure out the best place to lure him away. Perhaps South America…

As they develop the film in the basement, they see why Paige was so troubled by his writings.

“Are they monsters? I don’t know. But what they did to their daughter, I’d have to call monstrous. I’ve seen sexual abuse, I’ve seen affairs, but nothing I’ve seen compares to what P.J. has been through.”

There’s more:

“A severe psychic injury… Damage is done.”

“How can she trust anyone ever again?”

“I am afraid for this poor girl. She doesn’t even know how much she is suffering.”

Poor Pastor Tim. He’s the one who doesn’t know what’s coming.