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The Americans recap: The Great Patriotic War

We’re close to the halfway mark on the final season of The Americans, and the title of this episode gives you some idea where we’re heading: “The Great Patriotic War.”

As Paige learns during her Russian Immersion Training from her mother and fairy spymother Claudia, this is what Soviets call World War II, where they lost (by Claudia’s estimate) 27 million people to the Americans’ 400,000.

There has always been a body count on this show, but it’s usually strangers who meet untimely ends. Chances are, we’re going to start losing people we know very soon.

That brings us to Sofia and Gennadi, the Russian defectors nicknamed Mr. and Mrs. Teacup by the FBI. Stan helped recruit and manage them, but now their cover has been blown and they are in protective custody.

This humiliation cannot be allowed, so The Center has dispatched Elizabeth and her team to eliminate Mr. and Mrs. Teacup. We open with them using Stan as the trail of breadcrumbs that will lead to them.

One problem is that Gennadi and Sofia have a very unhappy marriage. Stan meets with Sofia to tell her about how they’ll be given new identities in Oklahoma. She wants to know if Gennadi will be joining them.

Stan is happy to hear this. He wants to keep them together. “He thinks you are his only friend in America. Maybe we’ll go somewhere new,” she says.

Stan also spends some time hanging with Gennadi, watching hockey. Now the Soviets have eyes on both Mr. and Mrs. Teacup. But really, they only care about eliminating him. He’s the courier, he’s the famous ex-hockey player, he’s the traitor. They don’t care about Sofia or her young son all that much.

Their other big concern is the member of the U.S.S.R.’s nuclear disarmament negotiating team, who is having clandestine meetings with an officer from the CIA’s Soviet division. That’s another problem that will need to be eliminated.

Elsewhere, Paige reveals to her mother that she has been eavesdropping on that fellow student who is interning with a congressman.

“You shouldn’t talk to him about that stuff,” Elizabeth says.

Paige is flabbergasted. “I don’t know why you don’t want to know. You wouldn’t believe what these interns have access to. He’s walking around with classified documents.”

“I don’t want you to do this.” Elizabeth doesn’t want her own daughter using sex as a weapon, even though it’s one her mother has wielded quite a lot.

Back home, Elizabeth thaws a little to Philip. “We told Paige about the war. How many people we lost.”

“What did she say?”

“I think she got it.”

They start to kiss. Things have been so awkward between them that this is a major breakthrough. Philip and Elizabeth fall back on the bed. Elizabeth laughs. It’s been a while since that happened, too.

Afterward, she confides a little more in him. “One of our negotiators has been meeting secretly with a CIA officer.” There’s more: “I need your help.”

Philip didn’t realize it, but Elizabeth just used the honeytrap on him — as a means of getting at Kimmy, the college kid Philip has been working since she was a high school kid. Her father is a CIA officer, and Philip has been bugging his briefcase for years.

“You’d have to meet Kimmy in Greece. Bring her over to Bulgaria. We would pick her up with drugs and hold her. I would go to her father and say, ‘Do you want her to spend 20 years in a Bulgarian prison? Tell me what I need to know.”

Philip recoils from this idea. “There has to be another way.”

But there’s not. “Everything I have been working on. This summit. Our security. Everything. It all comes down to this. All you have to do is go on a trip.”

“She’s just a kid,” Philip says. This has always bothered him. Lying to a teenage girl is one thing, but he has never wanted to do more.

“Not anymore,” Elizabeth responds. She’s young, but Kimmy is now an adult.

Philip still resists. “She’ll be there less than 24 hours. Then you’re done with him and done with her and all of it,” Elizabeth says. “For good.”

She pushes further. “I haven’t asked for much, anything really, but I need this one.”

Cut to a bar: Paige is there hanging out with some college guys. One of them is trying to impress her with a skydiving story, the other is doing his best to sabotage his friend. “You said it was like getting jerked off for the first time. You’re scared, you don’t know what to expect. Then you just…relax.”

When Paige is unimpressed, the jerk friend tells her she’s not that hot anyway. “Okay, if you ever want to get laid again, get a better wingman,” she says, gathering her coat. But before she can leave, the jerk grabs her wrist.

Her training kicks in and she instinctively flips him. Flips him for real. When the Skydiver Extraordinaire scrambles over his wounded friend to ask if she is okay, she breaks his nose for him. Then she runs.