The Americans Season 1 Review “COMINT”

On this week’s intense episode of “The Americans,”– somewhat bafflingly entitled “COMINT” (please sound off below if you got the reference), Phil and Liz had their hands full yet again. Of course, they always seem to, but there was a lot of stuff going on, to be sure. We started with a buttoned-down Liz posing as Frances, a representative of Videotech Security. I liked her insistence on mark Adam Dorwin’s checking her credentials out more closely, just to drive her identity home that much further.

Dorwin, a sad-sack widower and the manager of Laser Operations for the company, answered a number of questions designed to get Liz a step closer to identifying the encryption codes from the FBI that the head of security of Videotech is using. Dorwin proved an easy-enough mark for the likes of Liz, though he was, by his own admission, tight-lipped about his job, having not even told his wife about it when they were married, much less had he been with anyone else since she died. So, not as much information as she hoped, though she did get a security code, at least.

The bulk of the episode revolved around Udacha, who had antiballistic missile Intel, but would only meet with his trusted contact, the head of the Russian Embassy, Vasili. The FBI were able to hear his frantic call to Vasili and knew the guy was about to crack. All they had to do was intercept the meeting. The only problem was they didn’t know who the contact was, and he didn’t mention where the meet would be, either. So, the only way in for the second week in a row was to lean on poor Nina for inside info.

Meanwhile, Phil meets with their inside contact at the FBI, Martha, who Beeman’s partner is sweet on. Turns out she’s sweet on Phil, having bought new shoes and the like, hoping to impress him. Phil gets the hint and strings her along just enough to get her talking, sealing it with a kiss and a promise that if things were different, he’d be with her for real in a heartbeat. Though clearly disappointed, she nonetheless accepts his awkward position and lets it slide- for now. She tells him the identity of the surveillance contractor, Curt Schultz.

As Liz heads out to work, she sees her hubby buddying around with Beeman again, and later expresses her concern about the budding friendship. He thinks it’s a valid connection worth working, as it paid off in some key info last week, but she thinks Phil’s playing with fire. Phil thinks she looks sexy in her socks, which she totally does, and thinks her next mission will be a breeze.

It is not, as it turns out. Though she readily seduces her next mark, he turns out to be a total freak that beats her with his belt, causing her to cry out loudly. Of course, we already know she’s been through worse, so it’s all an act to get him to back off, lest they be heard by their neighbors in the hotel. Posing as a business rival to his security company, she seeks to buy him out, but he balks at her offer, saying he’d need at least 30 million to play ball.

Of course, that’s not her ultimate goal, anyway, so it doesn’t matter. What does is the information that his tech is portable and is being used by the FBI in their cars, which means they will need to track down a FBI car and infiltrate the tech to get the desired encryption codes. No the easiest thing to pull off in the world, and the likelihood of getting caught is high.

Meanwhile, Nina, taking Beeman’s inferences to mean she should seduce her boss, does just that. At first, it seems for naught, but later on, while she’s giving the head of the Embassy some, um, under-the-desk dictation, she overhears some details on the impending meet with Udacha, and is able to report it to Beeman.

Beeman is properly horrified when he hears what she had to do to get it, and swears he never would ask her to do such a thing- though clearly Russia has no problem with it, as evidenced by Liz’s ongoing actions this week and in the past. He promises her someday this will change and she’ll have a new identity and a new life and she should take comfort in that. I think she’ll be lucky to survive the season.

I think maybe Beeman’s more than a little sweet on Nina- who can blame him? Regardless, he flat-out shuts down his sexy wife’s advances, as she approaches him clad in lingerie, and why? So that he can brush up on his Russian, all the better to communicate more effectively with Nina. Bad move, after last week’s showdown. I’m getting the feeling he’s not too interested in saving his marriage after all.

Liz meets with Claudia for the second time, and this time, Claudia senses that Liz is taking on too much, and keeping too much inside, though Liz denies any such thing. She tells Claudia she’s on the FBI car thing and will keep her posted on any developments. She and Phil fight about her state when he sees her scars from the previous incident, but she jumps down his throat, saying she can handle herself just fine. Phil wants to track the guy down and beat him to a pulp, but Liz intercedes and he ultimately backs down.

Phil takes it out on Henry the next morning and Liz calls him on it as they spot a tail from the FBI. Phil slams on the brakes intentionally, though it seems unintentional at the time, what with them arguing and all. This causes a traffic accident and Phil follows the FBI guy to the mechanic, also submitting his car to be looked at. While talking to the mechanics, Liz sneaks out of his trunk, and using some bad-ass gymnastic-type moves, is able to sneak into the FBI agent’s trunk while Phil keeps everyone occupied, albeit just barely.

Unfortunately for her, Phil isn’t able to stall the agent enough to keep him from leaving, and he does so with Liz in the trunk. Phil scrambles to get his car back and follows the agent back to his work, and waits for Liz to hopefully get out of her situation, which, of course she does, by simply walking off the lot after escaping the trunk. They are able to talk out their issues and resolve them for the time being, not that Phil has much choice in the matter.

With Beeman’s information, the FBI sets up a bust on the meet with Udacha and Vasili. Meanwhile, Vasili sets up the meet, only to discover that the FBI changed the encryption codes that Liz went to such lengths to acquire, at the last moment. There can only be one reason for this, and Vasili knows that the Embassy must have a mole. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before he realizes its Nina, given that she was one of the only ones privy to the information. Hopefully, she’ll bail from her situation sooner than later. Lord knows, she’s gone above and beyond the call of duty for the FBI.

Knowing he’s likely to be tailed, Vasili goes ahead with the meet, but under false pretenses. As the FBI tail him, he goes to the Potomac and simply sits there, staring- excuse me, ‘gazing’- at the water. At the same time, Liz goes to the actual meeting place and shoots poor Udacha square in the forehead. Looks like he was right to be nervous. Later, Claudia tells Phil about the mole, and basically that their hard work had all been for naught. Phil isn’t amused, and neither is Vasili, when he discovers his right hand man has gone over his head to tell the Soviets about the mole, which certainly reflects poorly on him.

So, lots of developments this week, albeit many of them canceling themselves out by virtue of the situation. What do you think will happen next? Will Phil continue to get jealous of Liz’s trysts in the name of Mother Russia? Will Nina be caught? Will Beeman’s marriage go down in flames? Will Vasili be taken out or replaced? Let me know what you think of the latest “The Americans” in the comments section!