Episode 6 of The Americans continues its solid run as the best new cable drama of the New Year. The characters continue their deep cover in the suburbs of America, hitting of the clichés the 1980’s had to offer. However in “Trust Me,” there is some serious fallout from last week’s discovery; that there is indeed a mole in the Russian Rezidentura. The Rezidentura is the KGB station that is usually located in the Russian Embassy in a foreign capital. Right away I was thinking of the lovely Nina, who is Stan the FBI man (and neighbor’s) woman inside the Rezidentura. But man, did this episode throw me for a loop.
As Phillip is making one of his pay phone calls to Martha Hanson, his contact at the FBI who has been feeding him intel for quite some time and setting a date to meet at her apartment, the veteran KGB Agent is kidnapped in broad daylight. The men throw a black bag over Phil’s head and he never stands a chance. Nowadays, the in broad daylight abduction would be caught on street cams, ATM cams and of course, the pedestrian walking by with his or her iPhone or Android video running. However, Phillip is taken into a dank and cold basement where his “Super-American” captors tell Mr. Jennings just exactly who he is in great detail, before calling him a communist slur. They remove the fake wig and glasses that Phillip had on for his meeting with Martha, proving that they really do know he was on an intelligence gathering job.
Back at home with the kids at the mall; Liz is catching up on some house duties when she gets that strange feeling in the house. Creator Joe Weisberg does a brilliant job building the tension as Liz brandishes a knife at the suspicion of a home intruder. It has that great “someone’s in the house!” feel from 80’s slasher movies and sure enough, there are two agents ready to snatch and grab Elizabeth. Presumably she will be taken to the same place her husband is being semi-tortured. Then again, it is tough to put the word “semi” in front of the word “torture.” Anyway, she is kidnapped too but worst of all, the kids are stuck at the mall. Ah the ride to and from the mall, the 80’s conundrum of parents everywhere.
Stan has a very telling weekend meet with Senior Agent Gaad that sees a concurrence in the news. Last week Adam Dorwin was shot just two miles from where the Feds were surveilling a “rezident.” He was the agent who was panicking that he did not have a handler and Liz had to eventually take him out with a single shot. The late Dorwin was a project manager working on the missile technology that lost top secret blueprints shortly before he was assassinated; making it a very interesting coincidence. Later they also discuss the interception of diamonds from another country and the use they can be now in a very cryptic way.
Nina has now stepped up to sleeping with Vasili and as she gets closer to the head Rezident, she realizes that there is indeed a mole at the KGB. She demands a meet with Stan and tells him she needs to be extricated immediately because she is the mole. Stan handles her as best he can and assures her that she will be safe. Clearly Stan has developed some feelings for the damsel-in-distress Russian Nina. Not only is she gorgeous but she has information; an FBI Agent’s dream come true. While meeting at an art museum in a date-like atmosphere, Stan gives Nina a spy camera, ensuring her that she can do this and that he has been there before. There is definitely an unspoken thing between Nina and Stan’s continually eroding marriage.
Back at the basement torture chamber, Phillip is taking all he can from the All-American G-Men who revel in playing his operations on audiotape. Phillip maintains that he is not a spy; the company line. They show him Liz, tied up, in order to get him riled up, but he is pretty cool under pressure. Psychological torture is used on Liz by locking her in a room filled with pictures of her family before bringing her out and they both tell their captors that they will die before they give them any information; that they are trained for this. Just then, Claudia aka “Granny” reveals that this was a test because she had to see if the Jennings were moles. As Granny tries to give excuses as to why this was necessary, Liz rearranges her face into a bloody pulp. Phil and Liz angrily leave and just as they are consoling each other, Phillip asks Liz if they questioned her. Immediately Phillip is paranoid Liz divulged that he “likes it here too much.” Angrily, they both buckle their seatbelts and drive right into a tree to have a cover story for the kids. I found it funny that they “casually” buckled up as if it is any kind of option nowadays.
Nina surprises herself that she is able to get the spy photos of sensitive Russian documents. She has become a competent double-agent who just wants out of this game to live a normal life. However, I fear she never will. Vasili has stopped to buy some tea and something special is put inside his bag of leaves that the security at the Rezidentura will love: diamonds. Not only diamonds, but the precious gems appear on the same night that the Embassy receives random call after call for Vasili. The Russian enforcers also find a spy camera; the same one Nina used to nail Vasili into his proverbial coffin on a plane back to Russia. Liz has a clandestine meeting with Gregory and asks him to be her family’s eyes after what has happened in the past 24 hours. “I’ll be your eyes” he retorts to his lost love.
Overall the tension is becoming palpable as we move into the second half of The Americans’ freshman season. While this episode might be considered “action” by some, there really was not much for me in that realm. I think they need to add a little more Jason Bourne of earlier episodes, rather than the slowdown that is going on right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love the spy games, but a little action goes a long way. And nudity, specifically from Nina. Thanks.