The Americans “Pastor Tim” Review (Season 4 Episode 2)

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In the latest episode of “The Americans,” Phil and Liz tried to get rid of the virus sample they had obtained from Will, while still dealing with the fallout from Paige telling “Father Tim” about who they really were. Meanwhile, Nina tried to do a solid for Anton at the risk of her own well-being.

We basically picked up where we left off, as Phil, still reeling from his run-in with Stan, finally told Liz about his attending EST and that Sandra was there as well and that they hung out and that was why he was upset. He tells her about it and she asks if she could come along and he says yes, though whether this will clear up the problems with Stan remains to be seen.

Later, they meet with Gabriel, who essentially refuses to handle the virus at all, and tasks Phil with getting it to the person who will get it out of the country, which does not go over well with him or Liz, who don’t want it in their house, understandably. Gabriel also wants Phil to try and gain access to Level 4 of the lab he works at, which he has been denied because of his cranky demeanor.

This is where the most virulent of pathogens are, but they can only be accessed with a specific set of codes, which Gabriel needs Phil to talk Will into getting, which would allow them access if Will won’t help, which seems likely. Gabriel gives Liz a list of employees to investigate for potential ways into doing so.

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Gabriel also gives them a computer as a gift to the kids, telling them how it will basically be the wave of the future that everyone will be using soon and the sooner they become well-versed in how to use it, the better. Little does Gabriel know how right he is!

Meanwhile, Arkady meets with Oleg to give him the sad news that his brother died in combat. Sadly, his tour was already over and it could have been avoided if he hadn’t extended it. As this happens, Stan finds out about it from Gaad, who also gives him some news to pass along to Oleg- it turns out they won’t be making the trade for Nina after all, as there is a much more high value trade the government is interested in.

Liz discovers from her bug that Paige has been talking extensively about who they are to Pastor Tim and hits the roof, telling Phil they should kill Tim immediately. Phil worries that doing so will only arouse Paige’s suspicions and potentially scare her off, as she will undoubtedly suspect them of being behind it, so Liz agrees to back off…for now.

Phil takes a look around Tim’s office, where he discovers that there’s a cabin he goes to out of town to write his sermons. Liz agrees to check it out, where she finds out some potential ways she could set up Tim’s death, using the gas line and a lantern, but doesn’t set anything up yet.


Nina gets to meet with her husband, Boris (Gene Ravvin, “The Last Harbor”), who she hasn’t seen in ages. The two are basically only married in name only, and Boris has since moved on, starting a family with another woman, though he has yet to dissolve his marriage to Nina, or vice versa, for that matter. Indeed, that’s precisely what Boris thinks he’s there to do, but instead, Nina asks him to pass along a note to an old acquaintance, Gorelik, which he agrees to do.

Phil heads to a bus station, where he boards an airport shuttle and meets covertly with a pilot who has been earmarked to get the virus out of the country. The man is clearly nervous as all get out, even more so when a security guard gets on the bus. So much so that the guard gets suspicious and Phil is forced to strangle him to death on the fly to the strains of the Soft Cell classic “Tainted Love”!

Needless to say, this is a bold maneuver as there a few people on the bus and hanging out outside, but Phil nonetheless gets away with it, much to the pilot’s horror. Phil stashes the body under the seat in the back as the shuttle heads to the airport.

Phil talks the pilot down and gives him the virus, but when he gets up and leaves, he leaves the virus behind as well, much to Phil’s consternation. Phil ducks down as the shuttle returns to where his car is, so that the bus looks empty and he is able to get off of it without anyone spotting him, including the driver, taking the virus with him.

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Nina tells Anton that she’s managed to get a note out to his son, letting him know that Anton is still alive. He worries that he may not be able to improve on what he has achieved with the plane wings, and that they Soviets will kill or imprison him for life when they realize he can’t do so. He also worries about Nina putting herself on the line like this for his sake, thinking she might just bring herself down with him.

Phil returns the virus to the hiding space in the laundry room, telling Liz about the botched operation, while she tells him about Tim’s cabin and how she thinks they will both have to do it together, as there is a groundskeeper there.

Phil also confesses about the bullying experience we saw in the premiere and tells Liz how he fought back and killed one of them. She seemingly has no problem with it, which isn’t that surprising, given what we know about her. He says that it’s the sort of thing EST helps with, but you also have to think about nasty stuff like that again, which isn’t pleasant.

We see via a dream that Liz has some unpleasantness of her own that she could use help with, as she flashes on Paige finding a dead Pastor Tim and freaking out, but then a man appearing in his place that grabs Paige and throws her down and rapes her.

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I didn’t recognize the man, but I seem to recall Liz mentioning that she was raped at one point, so my guess is that that’s the man in question and she was just combining her own concern about how Paige would react to Tim’s death with her sublimated memories of her own horrific experiences in the past, as dreams often do. Looks like EST could do her some good, too, maybe.

Phil meets with Will, who isn’t onboard with a “dead drop” approach to getting the virus out of the country, nor is he the least bit interested in helping them infiltrate the Level 4 section of the lab. He says the materials there are way too volatile and that they shouldn’t mess with them, lest they get out and infect the general population.

Liz meets with Gabriel to complain about the whole virus debacle and how she wants it out of her house sooner than later, worried the kids will stumble across it. He says he’ll take care of it. Gabriel also tells Liz that her mother has passed and that she said she loved Liz in her final moments, which Liz is skeptical of. Gabriel tells her to keep it together and everything will be fine.

Sure enough, as Anton predicted, Nina is caught when Gorelik refuses to deliver the message she passed along via her husband and instead gave it to the authorities. Nina admits that she wrote the note and that Anton knew nothing about it, nor did her husband, aside from her asking him to deliver it to Gorelik.

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Vasili is disappointed, saying that she was so close to being free but that this may have derailed that, and that he will have to tell the prosecutor about it. Nina is, as ever, unapologetic about her actions.

Liz talks to Paige about her mother dying, and they hug, and she asks her to look after Henry tonight as she and Phil have work to do. She agrees but then tearfully confesses that she told Pastor Tim everything. Liz reprimands her, reminding her that she and Phil could go to jail, but it’s clear Paige is sorry for her actions.

As such, Liz calls off the attack on Tim, knowing that if they do it now that Paige will know it was them and never forgive them. Liz also tells Phil about her mom and worries that they might be in real trouble this time, given the circumstances, which is where we leave the episode.

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All in all, a solid if unspectacular episode, with the bus sequence a definite highlight. It’s not easy to make a scene seem intense to the lightweight, if brooding sounds of “Tainted Love,” but damned if “The Americans” didn’t pull it off. It’s also impressive how much drama they are getting out of a small tin, albeit one containing something that could wipe out who knows how many people in one fell swoop- our main protagonists among them.

Beyond that, though, not much happened, making this more of a transitional episode at best, albeit a somewhat necessary one, as the Pastor Tim matter had to be addressed eventually. Interesting, though, that the character never actually appeared in his namesake episode, save in a brief dream sequence. Not sure how this matter will be resolved, but it can’t end well, right?

Some have posited that Tim is a double agent meant to test Paige’s loyalty, but that seems a bit far-fetched to me. I do think he’s likely kept Paige’s secret for now, but I can’t imagine he’ll keep it for much longer, so something will need to be done sooner than later. The question is, how to do it without losing Paige’s trust? There is no easy answer to that, I think.

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What did you think of the latest episode of “The Americans”? Is Pastor Tim doomed? Is he a double agent? How will Liz and Phil handle the situation? If they kill him, will Paige forgiven them? Will the virus be successfully gotten out of the country or will it break here in the States and wreak havoc somewhere? Will Will be more cooperative? Or Gabriel, for that matter? What is Stan up to with Henry, or is it just simple friendship? Will Liz find solace in EST, like Phil? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next week!