The Americans, Season 3 Episode 11: “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov”

At least we know the vending machine is broken.

Okay, I had choir this evening and it’s nearly 10 pm, so this isn’t going to be the best or even longest review. “One Day in the Life” was a good episode of The Americans, it’s just that “Stingers” was one of the best episodes of television I’ve seen all year, and “One Day in the Life” was always going to be a step down. This week Phillip and Elizabeth still have to keep going with their various missions while their daughter knows their real identities. Paige doesn’t know exactly what they’re up to, which is probably a good thing, since she’d probably be even angrier at them if she did.

There are a few key scenes with Paige this week. The first is at the breakfast table at the beginning of the episode, the second is in the garage and the final one is in Phillip and Elizabeth’s bedroom. They’re three significant locations in The Americans. Phillip and Elizabeth’s most intimate moments have happened in the kitchen rather than the bedroom, and the garage is where they keep all their spy stuff. At the beginning of the episode, Paige is asking about her parents’ cover story: is the whole travel agency a front? The answer to that is no, and I’m glad to hear that everyone else who works there is actually a travel agent, because I wasn’t sure myself. Parenthood is the theme of The Americans, and it was never more prominent than when Phillip is trying to organise for his wife to go home to see her mother before she dies. Both Gabriel and Elizabeth say it’s not possible, but Phillip is getting frustrated that Gabriel is saying no all the time. Paige doesn’t say anything when she finds out that Elizabeth can’t get back to Russia, she just stares at her parents and then leaves. Who knows what she’s thinking? As she tells her mother in the car, it’s hard to believe your parents when they’ve been lying to you for your whole life. I don’t think this is going to be okay any time soon.

Along with getting Paige up to speed on their real jobs, Phillip and Elizabeth have three or four different missions going at once: Lisa at Northrup, sexy hotel manager, Yousaf and Martha – Kimmy took a week off, which is kind of a relief, I don’t think Phillip would have been able to handle it. Lisa told her estranged husband about the deal Elizabeth has going on with the guy who’s giving her money, and he wants in. Elizabeth pretends to protest, but this was always their goal, and it seems that Maurice knows she’s the one running the operation. He’s a smart guy, and if I was her I’d keep an eye on him. Phillip is still meeting with Yousaf, and they talked about Annaliese, but I can’t remember the intel that Yousaf gave him. Meanwhile, Elizabeth successfully seduced the hotel manager to get access to his office and a particular key, but he seemed to seduce her just as much, and I’m not really sure what’s going on there. Over at the FBI, Martha was worried about answering questions, but Clark trained her interrogation techniques the same way that Stan taught Nina last season. The missions are interesting, but now that Paige knows who her parents really are, that’s what I want to watch.

Other thoughts:

  • Stan and someone else at the Residentura are going through the intel gained from the Mail Robot bug.
  • Nina is getting closer to the scientist, but I’m unclear as to what the Russians want from him. He needs photos before he’s able to get any further with his research.
  • There are only two episodes left in the season, so this week was a necessary evil, setting up the dominos before they all fall down over the next two weeks.
  • Holly Taylor continues to be outstanding, they nailed the casting on that one.

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