The Americans Season 1 Review “Trust Me”

Tonight’s episode of “The Americans,” aptly-titled “Trust Me,” was a bit of a transitional one, but a necessary one as well. In some ways, the show was in danger of backing itself into a corner, and it seemed like it was indeed headed in that direction for a large part of the proceedings tonight, though, in what is becoming typical “Americans” fashion, it deftly managed to avoid it through some clever storytelling and plotting.

We started more or less where we left off, with Phil telling Liz about the suspected leak, likely in the Embassy. She’s shocked, but given the turn things took in the last episode, not entirely surprised. After all, how else to explain why things went so awry, necessitating the hit on their source, Dorwin? The FBI rightly assumed that his death occurring at the same time as Visili’s meeting was scheduled to take place was no coincidence, and that it was connected to his access to certain missile-related government blueprints.

Phil arranges a meet with Martha to check the temperature at the FBI, but he’s rudely interrupted by a group of men that roughly kidnap him and take him to a “Hostel”-type location and tie him to a chair. The team leader questions him, telling him that they know exactly who he is and what he’s up to, and that the jig is up.

He details who Phil is, who is his family is, notes the shadiness of his background before he took up residence in DC, and tells him outright that he knows he’s a communist, even offering up a tape recording of his previous conversation with Martha as evidence. Needless to say, things are not looking good for Phil, and I wondered if the show hadn’t played its hand too quickly, suspecting that it was already going to go the Nina route with Phil and make him an informant and way too soon, in my opinion.

Speaking of which, Nina was feeling the heat of being a mole, when Visili informed her that the Russians knew there was an informant at the Embassy and that he will be found and killed. This sends Nina into full-on panic mode, and she sets up a meet with Beeman, begging him to pull her out of the Embassy before she ends up dead. He tells her to hang in there, as all will be taken care of if she just trusts him. She does not find this comforting, and understandably so.

Meanwhile, back at the Jennings’ house, Liz overhears footsteps upstairs when she knows herself to be alone in the house. She takes a knife to investigate and is jumped by a guy easily three times her size, which she then proceeds to impressively kick the crap out of before being knocked out cold by another man. Can I just say that, as a former fan of “Felicity,” what a hoot it is to see Keri Russell so fully inhabit a role like this? The parts couldn’t be more night and day, but I never find Russell less than believable in anything she does. If anything, I think Liz is way scarier than her husband, and a true force to be reckoned with.

Back at the creepy warehouse, the interrogator is beating the crap out of Phil, demanding he give up a list of names of fellow KGB agents, dead drop sites, communication protocols and anything else he has that can save his hide, otherwise things will not end well for him. Phil assures him that he’s not going to talk, under any circumstance. When his henchmen bring in Liz and plop her down in a cell wallpapered with pictures of her family, we realize that things don’t look good for our antiheroes.

Things also aren’t looking too hot for their kids, who are stranded at the mall when Liz doesn’t show up, for obvious reasons. When a call home results in no answer, Paige makes the not-so-bright decision to hitchhike home. A car finally pulls over and Henry doesn’t like what he sees, but reluctantly gets in the car after his sister browbeats him into it.

Turns out he was right to be hesitant as the guy in question is a bit of a creeper, though he talks a good game. He detours off from their intended destination, and gets even skeevier, so Henry understandably clocks him with a beer bottle and they make a run for it, eventually making their way home. Paige apologizes for getting them into the situation in the first place, and reassures Henry he did the right thing, but that they are not to tell their parents about it under any circumstances.

Beeman talks to his superiors and there’s some cryptic business about diamonds that doesn’t make sense, then he meets with Nina and tasks her with another nail-biting inducing assignment: to take a small camera and take pictures of some important documents. She says she’ll never be able to get out of the Embassy with it, and he tells her she won’t have to worry about that, but doesn’t explain why. I love the cinematography in this scene, which was set in an art gallery, in a room where colorful shapes were being projected on the wall. It was a beautifully shot scene that perfectly captured the tumultuous position that poor Nina finds herself in.

Back at torture central, the guy hauls Liz in and plops her down in front of Phil telling him that if he doesn’t talk, she’ll be the next to be tortured. Phil, who knows his wife all too well, balks at this, saying that he’s wasting his time. He says they’ll die before they talk, and that this was what they were trained for, so go right ahead because it won’t get him anywhere. The man is about to test that theory when a voice rings out, telling him to stop right there.

It’s none other than Claudia, much to Phil and Liz’s shock. It seems this was all an elaborate ruse to see if one of them was the mole, as only a small number of people were privy to the information that was leaked and they were the prime suspects. The Soviets needed to test their loyalty and they had passed the test.

Liz is understandably pissed and proceeds to kick the crap out of Claudia in a highly gratifying moment. Phil disarms his captor and holds him at gunpoint while letting Liz have at her for a bit, then finally pulling her off before she kills Claudia, which was clearly the direction she was headed in. Of course, as we know, no one is more committed to the cause and loyal than Liz, so her reaction is completely understandable.

She tells Claudia to show her face to her superiors to let them know what she thinks of their suspicions and they quickly make an escape after securing the keys to their car. Phil rightfully accuses Liz outside of telling them something that must have set them off, such as his wavering not too long ago and considering defection. She insists she didn’t at first, but eventually admits that she did imply that he maybe liked America a little too much, which isn’t wrong. Still, it’s likely what led to this situation, so Phil is understandably upset.

Back at the Embassy, Nina sneaks off and nabs some documents, takes them into the bathroom and snaps her pics and goes to return them to the library. She comes this close to being caught, but manages to semi-flirt her way out of it with the clerk. Meanwhile, Vasili goes to buy some tea and the cashier slips something into his bag, which we don’t see. The cashier calls Beeman and tells him it’s done, and he in turn calls the Embassy.

Leaving multiple messages with the clerk seen earlier with Nina as “Theo,” it would seem that he’s signaling to Nina somehow. He makes reference to a tea shop and says that Vasili should visit when he’s not “under the gun.” Nina takes the hint and goes to Vasili’s office, where they make love in his back bedroom.

Liz and Phil head home, but realizing the need for a cover story for their highly noticeable injuries, Phil intentionally wrecks the car as a means to explain. They tell the kids what went wrong, and Liz asks them how they got home from the mall and Henry lies, as Paige made him promise to do. Liz seems to pick up that something else is going on, but lets it slide. Henry wants to go to Martha’s to make up for their missed date, and asks Liz for some jewelry, which she gives to him in a huff.

Liz goes to meet with Gregory on the sly and tells him she wants eyes on her husband and kids at all times, which he agrees to, but says he’d feel better if she had them, too, and volunteers himself for the job. Liz makes it clear that she can take care of herself- tell us something we don’t know- but acquiesces nonetheless before storming off, still clearly upset by the days’ events.

Back at the Embassy, Vasili’s right hand man, Arkady, questions him about the calls from “Theo.” Vasili says he doesn’t know any Theo, but understands the suspicion and agrees to allow a search of himself and the office, saying he’d do the same under the circumstances. He hands them the contents of his pockets, which include the tea from earlier.

We finally see what was really going on when it was revealed that the cashier put diamonds into the tea bag, as a means of arousing further suspicion of Vasili. The final nail in the coffin arises when we see where Nina’s camera with the document pictures went: Vasili’s room, where she hid it away inside a radio on the nightstand after their tryst. Vasili protests his innocence, rightfully claiming he’s been set up.

He passes Nina on the way out and they exchange glances. It’s only a matter of time before he realizes she had to be the one who did it, but for now, Vasili is history, and is consequently sent back to the homeland. Agent Gaad calls Beeman to let him know how everything turned out, and Beeman breathes a sigh of relief, knowing that Nina is safe…for now, at least. But for how long?

Beeman finally lets his guard down a bit with the wife, telling him that, though he himself is no longer in any kind of danger in his current line of work, he is in charge of people who do sometimes find themselves in harm’s way. Sometimes those situations work out, sometimes they don’t. Today was a day in which they did, which makes it a good day, if a stressful one. It’s pretty obvious he’s gotten attached to Nina, and though his wife appreciates him opening up a bit, he still wriggles out of any true affection, in terms of lovemaking and the like.

Phil meets with Martha finally and tells him why he missed their meeting earlier, or a version of why, at least, giving her the car wreck explanation, which she readily accepts. He gives her the necklace he got from Liz and all is well. They kiss, but he drives home the fact that they can’t be together just yet.

When Phil gets home, he and Liz argue again. She says he has to understand that she felt a line was crossed when the Soviets attacked her in her own home and how she felt betrayed by the people she trusted most. Phil says he knows the feeling, indicating her. Ouch. Phil voluntarily goes to sleep on the couch, still highly upset with Liz. Can this relationship be saved?

What did you think of “The Americans” this week? I thought it was yet another solid episode, if a bit of a come-down from past episodes. Still, it had its moments, and the scenes with Liz kicking butt were pretty awesome. It will be interesting to see what the repercussions of her beat-down of Claudia will be, if any. Hell, given the way the Soviets operated at this time, Liz might even get a promotion of some kind. I suspect that it will actually drive a wedge between her and her former feelings for the motherland, though, and that they will come to regret betraying one of their most valuable assets in the States.

Let me know your own theories for what will happen next in the comments section!