The Americans “Open House” Review Season 3 Episode 3

The Americans Open House Season 3 Episode 3 04

On the latest episode of “The Americans,” things got all kinds of tense when Liz and Phil got a little too close to the CIA Afghan group members for comfort, in “Open House.” While the episode was admittedly light on actual action, you could certainly cut the tension in some scenes with a knife, notably the one in which Liz was being tailed by any number of CIA guys, who were joined ever-so-slightly late in the game by our guys in the FBI, Stan and Adahalt (Brandon J. Dirden, “The Good Wife”). Also worth a mention was a particularly cringe-inducing ad-hoc teeth pulling in the Jennings’ basement, after Liz’s issues became too much to handle without some sort of dental work to relieve them.

We began with a game of Scrabble between Phil and Gabriel, which might as well have been a game of chess, given the underlying moves and countermoves being made beneath the surface. As the two tried to outfox one another in the game, Gabriel reported on what the Soviets had been able to find out about the CIA’s Afghan group that Phil snapped photos of in the last episode. Among them: head of the division, Isaac Breland (Frank Deal, “Law & Order: SVU”) and the floundering Ted Paaswell, who was in the midst of a failing financial situation that was forcing him to sell his house.

Using the latter man’s unfortunate circumstances against him, Liz and Phil paid a visit to the titular open house and Liz kept the realtor occupied while Phil panted some bugs, including one he placed in what I think was a radio of some kind. Phil had a close call when Ted showed up unexpectedly, but he played it off like a champ, and it paid off when Ted grabbed the radio (or whatever that was) and took it with him back to his car, allowing Liz and Phil to track him, complete with audio. They discovered something fishy going on with the babysitter that Phil thought they could exploit, but things went sideways when they realized they were being tailed by someone, likely the CIA themselves.

So, Phil bailed on the fly, jumping out of the car while Liz continued on, and notifying the Soviets that she needed an exit strategy. They provided one, via radio interference, which took the CIA agents’ eyes off the ball just long enough for the Soviets to stage a car crash and Liz to bail out of her car and into another one nearby. Around the same time, Stan and Adahalt arrived, after the latter suggested they would do better to stop following Liz and apprehend her while the getting was good. Gaad gave them the go-ahead, but it was too little too late, as Liz was already in the process of getting out of there.

Alas, the nightmare had just begun for Liz, as when she got home, a relieved Phil hugged and kissed her, only for her to recoil in pain. The pain had clearly become unmanageable, and since they couldn’t well go to the dentist, with the FBI and CIA monitoring the local dentists for any sign of Liz, it was home dentistry time. Liz is a better person than I am, because I honestly don’t think I could have sat there and sat still while someone pulled out not one, but two of my teeth out with a pair of pliers. Not to mention with nothing beyond a slug of booze for anesthesia. Ouch! Forget “Marathon Man,” this was the newly-minted “Marathon Woman.”

Later on, going directly against Gabriel’s orders to back off of Paaswell’s block and let sleeping dogs lie, in light of Liz’s close call, Phil and Liz took it upon themselves to follow him anyway, discovering that Paaswell’s babysitter was hitting on him, as Phil had suspected after hearing their initial conversation. Thinking they could use the opportunity to blackmail Paaswell, Phil was more right than he knew, as it turned out that the babysitter in question was one Kimberly Breland, aka the daughter of the head of the CIA Afghan group. On the negative side, Paaswell had yet to go for it with Kimberly, but from the sound of things, he was fighting an uphill battle, and his defenses were wearing thin, so it’s likely just a matter of time- or so Liz and Phil hope.

That was the major developments, but there were also a few other notable events throughout the episode: Oleg opted to disregard his father’s request to come back to Moscow, with Arkady’s support; Oleg and Tatiana are looking into the stealth bomber situation with the Americans; Phil continued to protest Paige’s involvement with being recruited for the Soviets, mostly to no avail; Paaswell is hiding money from the mortgage company, with his mother’s help, which might lead to further ins on blackmailing him; Henry is crushing on Stan’s wife; Martha continued her quest to talk Phil into kids, this time those from underprivileged homes; Liz continued to train Hans, and had to rebuff his advances, even though Phil claimed he was okay with it- he should be, as he does it on a regular basis with others.

That was about it, but to me, it was a step up from the last episode, which was a little too exposition-heavy for my tastes. The scenes with Liz in particular were either nerve-wracking or nerve-fraying, making for a tough watch, especially in terms of the car chase and the tooth-pulling nightmare. She is tough as nails, that one. All in all, a solid episode.

What did you think of the latest episode of “The Americans”? Did you enjoy it, or was it still a bit too poky for you? What did you think of Liz and Phil defying others? Could you have dealt with having two teeth removed with pliers? Is Phil right about Paige not being ready for recruitment? Or is she stronger than Phil thinks she is? How will Oleg’s father react to his actions? Will the babysitter situation get Paaswell into trouble in more ways than one, if he goes through with it? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next week!