The Americans “I Am Abassin Zadran” Review (Season 3 Episode 12)

The Americans I Am Abassin Zadran Season 3 Episode 12 08

On the riveting penultimate episode of “The Americans,” things came to a decidedly gory head with Liz and Phil’s hotel operation, as well as Liz’s side op with Lisa, while Paige continued to struggle mightily with her parents’ revelation, in “I Am Abassin Zadran.” We began with Liz and Phil finalizing preparations for the hotel op, as Liz posed as a phone tech while Phil snuck into the room foreign guest Abassin Zadran (George Georgiou, “A.D. The Bible Continues”) was scheduled to stay in and made sure Liz had effectively tapped the phone line.

That accomplished, the two head home, only to discover that Paige isn’t there, having left a note announcing her intentions to stay the night with Pastor Tim- without having run it by them first. Obviously, this didn’t sit well with them, and they went and retrieved her, much to Paige’s chagrin. After much fighting on all sides, it was determined that Paige had continued to keep her mouth shut thus far, but the cracks were definitely starting to show.

As if all that weren’t enough to deal with, Phil still had to run damage control on Martha that evening, but when he arrived, Hans waved him off. It seems she had an unexpected guest: none other than Stan, who’d come by to tell her if she needed someone to talk to, he was always there for her. While it seemed relatively genuine, it was clear he also was beginning to suspect her of some wrongdoing and she knew it. At the same time, it also seemed possible that Stan might be hitting on her, so she ran him off under the guise of that interpretation and that was that. Still, it was enough to scare Phil off for the night, so that was one crisis that would need to wait.

The next day, Hans picks Martha up and takes her to Phil, who says they might need to leave town on short notice, under the circumstances, which doesn’t sit well with her. Meanwhile, Liz meets with Lisa and Maurice to run through what she needs to do at the factory, which is basically just take photographs of certain things on the sly. Maurice is micromanaging the whole thing, which worries Liz and Lisa alike, but Lisa eventually pulls it off. However, it’s Maurice that delivers the goods and picks up the money, which she isn’t too keen on, probably because she suspects he might run off with the cash and leave Lisa high and dry, which might well be true. I suspect Liz might have to tie up some loose ends to that end on the finale. We shall see.

Meanwhile, back at the FBI office, agent Aderholt is starting to wonder if it’s actually Stan that’s up to something, given his past relationship with Nina, which he’s now read up on. He all but accuses him of planting the bug and treason, but Stan bristles and tells him he’s barking up the wrong agent. Needless to say, tensions are running high at the office, as is the case at the Centre, where Arkady isn’t faring much better with his own secret operation, Zephyr, which he contemplates shutting down. Oleg and Tatiana, despite minimal evidence to the contrary, feel differently, mostly because they worry it will sink Arkady’s career, so they try to convince him otherwise. He seemed dubious, but we’ll see next week.

Both Paige and Martha continue to spiral out of control, with Martha wanting to head to her parents’ house, while Paige is full of questions about who is or isn’t their actual relations, armed with a photo scrapbook. Neither are happy with the answers they’re getting, though Phil tries to soften the blow with both, by showing Paige genuine pictures of her and Henry’s youth and coming clean somewhat about himself to Martha, even taking off his gloriously terrible hairpiece at the end of the episode. I hate to say it, but Martha may not be long for this world. I thought maybe she’d be okay for a while there, but it no longer seems likely to me, given the situation.

Phil tells Liz he thinks she should go and visit her mother back home while she can, and take Paige with her. She scoffs, but he says if she doesn’t, he will. They head to the hotel and Phil, posing as an CIA agent, picks up Abassin Zadran, with an assist from Liz, who poses as security when one of the agents standing guard on Zadran’s room calls it in to verify. Once out, they meet with Liz, who is also posing as a CIA agent, and they quiz Zadran about the impending meet, expressing reservations about handing over a portable anti-aircraft weapon to members of the Mujahideen.

Phil and Liz tell Zadran that the other two commanders at the hotel are from the same village and they have reason to believe they will try and sabotage the meeting. Zadran insists he is honorable and that his people are as well, are willing to die as martyrs, and only want peace in their homeland. Phil and Liz suggest that the other two are in bed with the Soviets, and notes that there is no war going on in their respective regions- unlike his own. They point out that if the commanders even infer being allies with anyone else, it would sink the deal.

Phil and Liz say maybe they could cut out the middlemen if Zadran went to the meeting alone, playing up to his hatred of the Soviets. It works all too well, as Zadran details the myriad ways he and his men have taken out various Soviets during the war, then, full of fury, he proceeds to go back to his room, grab a knife and kill both of the other commanders. Yikes! I can’t say I saw this plan coming, and it was an extremely effective series of scenes, especially the chilling talk in the car with Zadran and the aftermath of his wrath in the hotel. Clearly, this guy puts his money where his mouth is. Mission accomplished, and then some.

Meanwhile, Gabriel meets with none other than Claudia (a returning Margo Martindale), expressing his concern about their maybe pushing Paige too hard. He wonders if Phil will block any progress she might make, and if he might be right in doing so. He notes that Phil and Liz were a much more cohesive and effective unit before all of this, and that it’s threatening to divide them permanently and do more harm than good.

They also discuss the fallout from the early- too early- recruitment of Jared Connors, which ended with his entire family dying at his own hand, and the firing of the head of the American department, with even the director almost getting sacked. Claudia says they’re all still in “mourning” over the event, and that it was the worst thing that had happened in the spy division in some 40 years. Gabriel says he’s shocked they would even want to try it again with Paige, given all that. Claudia says they have faith in Gabriel’s abilities.

It’s clear that, in order to help facilitate the process, Gabriel gets the go-ahead to let Liz visit her mother at home, and to take Paige with her. Liz asks Paige, but we never get an answer, as of yet. Ditto with Martha, who seems determined to bail. I guess we’ll have to wait until next week for those answers and/or resolutions. I feel like Paige will say yes, but Martha might be doomed. I think Stan will also realize, all too late, that his instincts with Martha were right on the money and wish he did more to help her. Some have also posited that Pastor Tim might be a KGB agent himself, but that seems a bit too out there for my tastes. Besides, if that were true, wouldn’t he have gently encouraged Paige to join forces with her parents instead of making trouble for them?

All in all, yet another excellent episode in another great season. (Bonus props for the use of Ultravox’s “Vienna” at the end.) Can’t wait to see how it all pans out next week, and so glad that the show got another season to resolve things. What did you think of the latest episode of “The Americans”? Were you satisfied with the resolution of the hotel operation? Do you think Maurice will take the money and run? Will Paige go to the Soviet Union with her mother? Will Phil kill Martha? What’s going on with Nina? Will Arkady’s secret operation pay off in the end? Did you enjoy seeing Claudia again? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week for the big finale!