The Americans “Salang Pass” Review Season 3 Episode 5

The Americans Salang Pass Season 3 Episode 5 01

On the latest episode of “The Americans,” the ick factor of what Phil has to do for a living reached an all-time high, as he continued to juggle all sorts of insanity, from Martha’s kid fever to Kimberly’s daddy issues to his own past, which might have been the worst of all. The show was entitled “Salang Pass,” which is referring to a mountain pass in Afghanistan in which a huge fire in the tunnel going through said mountain resulted in the death of any number of Soviet troops involved in the war there. I suppose, in a more metaphorical sense, the title was also referring to the wreckage that can occur in the lives of their operatives in the States.

Towards the end of the episode, we got insight into the type of training that went into making a spy for the KGB, and it wasn’t pretty. You thought “Full Metal Jacket” was bad? Try being forced to have sex with complete strangers, some elderly women- and even some old men. Yikes! Not to hate on the older people out there, or sound ageist, mind you, but given the young age at which they recruit these spies, that would be a pretty f’d-up thing to have to do at a young age- or even an older one, for that matter.

Phil is, of course, learning that the hard way now, as he’s been put into a position where he might have to seduce the 15-year-old Kimberly. As a parent of a girl around that age, it’s not the easiest thing in the world for him to do, and it was interesting the way the show juxtaposed Phil spending time with Paige with his trying to worm his way into Kimberly’s life. He looked like a full-on creeper at the teen get-together he met Kimberly at- and most everyone there knew it, as evidenced by the guys’ reaction to him.

Wisely opting to meet her on less tricky ground, Kimberly later invited Phil over to her house while her father and stepmom were out, where they got high on Afghani weed- helpfully supplied by Gabriel- and had the creepiest food fight ever. It was heartbreaking hearing how troubled and vulnerable the poor girl was, and here was Phil put into a position of having to take advantage of it. Thankfully, all that ended up happening was a kiss, but it’s definitely headed into an unpleasant direction.

Actually, Phil did manage to take some pictures of Kim’s father’s jacket and briefcase, along with some measurements, in order to help determine where to later place a bug and the size it needed to be and so forth. Later, he quizzed his wife about what to do, and she wasn’t much help, saying she didn’t know. Of course, this is the same woman who flagrantly killed a man underneath a car so that she could get a position opened up for her potential recruit Lisa at Northrop, so maybe she’s not the best person to ask.

What is interesting is that no one really said anything about it online last season when it was revealed that an operative had seduced a teenage boy and had been engaged in an affair with him for some time. Now that the tables are turned, though…I’m just saying. Granted, we didn’t find that out until late in the season, and we never saw much of it happening- it was almost entirely revealed after the fact, so the show never really went there like it’s doing now.

So, it is a bit different, the way they’re approaching it this season, but still, interesting that I didn’t see a peep about that other plotline, and now everyone is flipping out about this one on the net, to the point where you’d think that the actor involved was actually doing it! FYI, the actress playing Kim is 21, so the show itself isn’t doing anything hinky, despite some of the reactions I’ve seen, where people have actually criticized the actor and the show itself for doing something like this with an “actual teenager.” It’s called suspension of disbelief, people- look it up. Just because she looks young, doesn’t mean she is.

Of course, I say that, but I admit that I was thoroughly grossed out by Phil’s flashback, even though it didn’t really show much of anything. It was what I was thinking in my mind that was the really gross part, and I don’t doubt that the show intended it to be that way, so I only have myself to blame for that one. Still, eeew. I definitely don’t think I could do anything like that, even in the service of my country. More power to those who could, but yeah…just no. Moving on…

Beyond that, we got a little headway on the Nina front, in that Stan came up with an idea that might get Nina free after all. Rightly suspecting that defector Zinaida might be a Soviet plant, he met with Oleg to pitch an possibility: if Oleg could find out that Zinaida was an actual spy, and provide evidence to that end, then they could potentially trade her for Nina, thus saving her from her current, and potential future fate, depending on what happens on her front, which is obviously still undetermined. Good idea, but so far, nothing. Tatiana didn’t even flinch when he mentioned the possibility- instead, she told him he should write a memo about it to his superiors.

Potential new lead Lisa moved into Liz’s “mother’s” house, and away from her agro husband, and is now about to start working at a Northrop plant closer to where she is, with the accompanying security clearances that Liz needs to do whatever it is she’s supposed to. Paige prepared for her impending baptism by going shopping for a new dress with Phil, and Phil talked to Liz about how he had to “make it real” with other women for his undercover jobs to work, and admitted that he used to have to with her- but didn’t anymore.

That was about it, really, but it was still a solid episode. The bit with Liz killing that random guy was pretty shocking, and as aforementioned, the stuff with Phil and Kim is getting more wrong by the minute. I’m hoping that Phil draws the line at doing what he’s thinking about doing, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I do hope that Stan’s plan with Oleg succeeds, though, as it would be nice for all concerned to have Nina back. (That said, I do like actress Callie Thorne, of “Rescue Me” fame, and I look forward to her return as Stan’s potential love interest, Tori, who he has a date with next week.)

What did you think about the latest episode of “The Americans”? Is the thing with Phil and Kim also skeeving you out? How about Phil’s flashback? Could you do something like that, even for your country? Is Paige’s baptism going to be a disaster? How about Stan’s dinner date at Phil’s with Tori? (Remember, Henry has a crush on Stan’s wife, and isn’t beyond asking inappropriate questions about it.) Will Stan’s plan to get Nina back work? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week!