The Americans “A Roy Rogers in Franconia” Review (Season 4 Episode 12)

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On the penultimate episode of “The Americans,” Paige dealt with the emotional fallout from her and her mother’s altercation with two thugs last week, as Will had second thoughts about the upcoming mission and the FBI finally got a breakthrough on the case, in “A Roy Rogers in Franconia.”

It all began innocuously enough, as Phil played a game of “Defender,” somewhat ironically, with Henry, when Liz and Paige came in, both clearly rattled from the events at the end of last week’s episode. As Phil did his best to comfort Paige, she wondered why they couldn’t call the cops (it would draw too much attention to them) or if killing one of the thugs was really necessary (it was a split-second decision on Liz’s part in the heat of the moment).

Alas, Phil had to leave prematurely, as he had a “work-related” gig to get to, which only raised more flags on Paige’s end. Paige asked her mom how she knew how to do what she did and she admitted it was her training. She also wondered how her mother could be so calm, which forced Liz to admit she’d done this sort of thing before- more times than she could put a number to, in fact. But that didn’t change the fact that Liz was admittedly scared for both their lives.

Meanwhile, Aderholt continued his investigation into the “mail-bot” incident, talking to the man in charge of the facility where it was repaired after Gaad’s outburst. Alas, it proved to be a dead end, as the man said that his mother was sick and had been for some time and there was nothing fishy about her dying. But Aderholt remained dubious, convinced he was onto something.

Phil meets with Will and we see that, thank God, the Hee mission actually wasn’t for nothing, as the computer files must have yielded the code to Level 4 after all, as Phil gives a numerical code to Will that must be it. Will remains skeptical about going after the virus, describing in icky detail that effect it has on people and how he doesn’t want it getting out and it being all his fault. He tells Phil he’s out and will not be stealing the virus for the Soviets.

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Tatiana is also out- as in about to be out of the country, having been promoted to Rezident at the Centre for her efforts in the bioweapon mission, the rare female to be bestowed this honor. About to be transferred to Nairobi in Africa, she asks Oleg if he wants to be her Deputy and accompany her there.

She also admits she worries about what the Soviet will do with the virus, and clearly wants to put some distance between her and whatever happens next. Oleg congratulates her, but says he’ll need some time to think over her proposition. It’s clear he’s also dubious about all of this as well.

Phil returns to find Paige asleep but a rattled Liz still up. Liz tells Phil what Paige told her about Martha and how upset her family was and the toll it was taking on Stan as well. Liz notes how that, without her really having asked her to do so or instructed her about any of this, Paige was already shaping up to be a hell of a spy, with fantastic, natural instincts to that end.

Aderholt has the mail-bot searched and sure enough, the tech in charge finds a bug hidden there. Aderholt writes down a note, indicating to him to put it back just where he found it and leave it intact and working, and then reports the matter to Agent Wolfe (Peter Jacobson). Along with Stan, they discuss the matter and decide to put someone on the mail-bot to watch and wait to see who retrieves the recorded tape from it.

Paige ends up staying home from school the next day, much to Henry’s consternation. She tells Liz she knew what they did was dangerous, but didn’t realize it could be life-threatening. Liz admits they downplayed it, as they didn’t want to worry her. Paige says that isn’t going to work for her, as their answers were always so vague and never entirely on the level.

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Liz tells Paige about how her city was decimated in WW2, but that the people there banded together to rebuild and essentially fought back from being run off. However, her own family did flee, and Liz had always wanted to stay and fight like the others in spite of the danger, which was why she joined up to be a spy. She says she wishes she could go back to her hometown and see what has become of it since, and take Paige along with her.

Tatiana talks to Oleg again, who is working on the Centaur, a rocket stage, which is to be reportedly used on the Challenger Space Shuttle, which assuming it’s the one I’m thinking of, will go on to be one of the biggest disasters of the 80s- and incidentally, one of the earliest memories from my childhood. Oleg says he thinks the prospect of going to Africa is strange and the people there are “weird,” but that he hasn’t made up his mind yet. Tatiana says no rush.

We see two men staking out the mail-bot on a closed-circuit camera, when someone finally comes along to switch out the tape. It turns out that the woman was approached by a guy who implied he was part of the Mob, and who thought that the FBI was out to bust their illegal gaming operation.

The man offered her $500 to switch out the tapes every so often and make a drop, which she accepted. Stan mentions that the woman met the man in question at a “Roy Rogers in Franconia,” hence the title. They decide to leverage her to go ahead and make the drop so that they can follow her and see who comes to pick the tapes up.

Meanwhile, presumably at Phil’s urging after getting wind of Stan’s upset over it, Gabriel finally calls Martha’s family and lets them know she’s okay and is safe and being looked after, and that they would call back with more if possible. Oleg likewise checks in with his mom to find out if she’s okay as well. She’s better but still struggling with his brother’s death, as is Oleg.

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We get an amusing moment in which Paige tries to explain soap operas to a flummoxed Liz- “It’s emotional, not logical”- which clearly does not compute with her. Then, speaking of computers, Matthew comes over and shows Henry how to hook up the computer to the TV so that they can play games there, instead of on a tiny computer screen. Henry’s mind is suitably blown by this, which just goes to show it didn’t take much to do so in those days, lol.

Paige helps Matthew hook things up, as naturally, Henry can’t be bothered to actually put in the work required to do so, and it’s clear there is some flirtation going on there, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Liz. Liz also overhears Paige subtly talking spies with him, in regards to his dad, as we see Stan the man himself plotting the stake-out on the tape drop with Aderholt.

Afterwards, Stan goes to meet with Oleg again, this time at the latter’s behest. Oleg says that this will be the last time he will be talking to him as well, just as Stan did previously. Oleg communicates that he thinks the Russians are about to get ahold of something they can’t handle and that’s it’s too dangerous to let slide, in his opinion.

Oleg stresses how Stan needs to watch who he tells about this, as one wrong move and it could blow the whole thing. He says all he knows is that there’s a big operation in motion and that it involves bio-weapons and that they have a mole in place at one of their labs to help with the op. That’s all he knows, but that’s all Stan needs to go into overdrive.

Stan tells Wolfe and a team is assembled to go through all the information they have about bioweapons and local labs working on them, with the dead drop thing essentially put on the back-burner for now, as they don’t want to tip off the Soviets that they know about the mail-bot bug just yet, as it might make them back off trying to get a hold of whatever bio-weapon Oleg mentioned, which could lead to a much-bigger bust.

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Phil meets with Will again and they go to Gabriel’s, where Will expresses his concerns about the impending op in question. Gabriel tells him that this will be his last op and after that, he will finally go home, having earned his retirement. But that he still needs to do it, first, regardless of his hesitation. Ah, the “one last mission” gambit. This won’t end well. Hasn’t Will seen a spy movie before?

Be that as it may, Will ultimately agrees to go through with the mission after all. Somewhat ironically, had it not been for his hesitation, he might could have done it already by now and that would have been that, but now? Oh, he is so screwed, right? The question is, who will he bring down with him- and will he make it out alive?

Sure enough, we cut to the team as they continue to go through the files, eliminating potential suspects and narrowing down locations. Eventually, Aderholt discovers one with a fake name that belongs to a dead guy- just like the one involved with Martha, which can’t be a coincidence.

The name in question? None other than Will- and is indeed our Will, as we see from an enclosed picture in his file. Additional surveillance is assigned to poor Will, as if he weren’t under enough scrutiny.

Phil tells Gabriel he is astonished he managed to talk Will into doing the mission after all, as even he was skeptical at this point. Gabriel points out that that’s why having Liz in his life is so crucial- she’s steadfast in her devotion to the cause and Phil needs that in his life, as he tends to be more emotional in his decision-making process. How much you want to bet that Phil would eat up that soap Paige and his wife were watching?

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Phil admits that he and Liz are indeed well-matched. Gabriel laments being alone himself, and sympathizes with others, like Will, who opted to go their route alone. Of course, Will didn’t entirely have a choice, having left his wife behind in the process of becoming a spy, while Gabriel intentionally chose a life of solitude. He admits it didn’t make what they did any easier.

Matt gives Paige a ride home from school and they talk for a bit, with Matt eventually making a pass at her and kissing her, in what was quite possibly the most junior high kiss I’ve ever seen on television. The smacking! Ah, young love. But is it one-sided? The look on Paige’s face sure makes it seem that way.

Paige dutifully reports back to her mother that Stan has been MIA for several days now, as per Matt’s information to that end, and Liz tells her she doesn’t have to report back on Matthew. Liz asks her if she likes him- like, “like” likes him, lol- and Paige says she supposes, not very convincingly. Liz says they can be friends without her having to report back on him or do anything she’s not comfortable with, so long as Paige watches what she says around him.

Paige naturally points out that she didn’t have much choice in the whole Pastor Tim and Alice thing- and whose fault is that, Paige?- but Liz and Phil tell her this is different. Paige seems unconvinced. Phil gets a call that’s highly suspicious, which only raises Paige’s hackles that much more. She wants to know what it was about, exactly.

Phil tells her it’s a man from work and that he needs to meet with him to pick up something they need, “they” being the Soviets. Paige says he’s still being too vague and wants to know what “it” is. Liz finally spills the beans and tells Paige that it’s part of a weapon their country will use if they ever have to fight the Americans. An exasperated Paige says “great” and that is where we leave things for now.

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This was another solid episode of the show, this time unfortunately cutting things off just as they were really getting interesting, but then, that’s to be expected, I suppose. After all, this is the lead-in to the finale. The question is, will the Soviets complete the mission before or after surveillance is put on Will? If not, then Will is obviously going down, which would be too bad, especially since it could also lead to Phil and Liz going down as well.

On the other hand, Oleg has a point in that the Soviets really have no business with this bioweapon, least of all after the debacle with the last one, which was a mess that nearly cost them several agents in one fell swoop. I can’t say I blame him for being dubious about how they handle it and the potential for things to go way wrong. It’s no wonder he felt compelled to come forward.

But did he come forward too late, or just in time? That’s the real question. I guess we’ll find out next week, but with two more seasons announced, I feel like there’s no way Phil and Liz are getting caught just yet, despite Stan having never been so close to exposing them before. If I had to guess, I’d say that Will will realize he’s about to be busted and kill himself to avoid being captured, and thus keeping his cohorts from being exposed in the process as well.

However, there will still be repercussions, as there’s the mail-bot bug and the woman caught switching tapes to contend with, and obviously, the Soviets will realize that they have a leak somewhere in the Rezidentura, one assumes. Might it be traced back to Oleg eventually? Or Tatiana, for that matter? Also, will she lose her promotion if the bio-weapon op goes south?

Lots of interesting ways this could all play out, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how they do. Join me next week for the big finale of “The Americans,” and be sure to leave your predictions on what you think will happen down below!