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The Americans: EST Men – Season 3 Episode 1

With the Connor’s deaths behind them, things have mostly returned to normal for the Jennings. However, the orders of the Centre are still looming. 

With The Americans, “back to normal” means having a lot of things going on at the same time. Currently, the issue of the day is still the war in Afghanistan and the Russian presence there. Elizabeth goes to pick up a list of names of US operatives in Afghanistan. Her CIA contact gives her the list, but has a change of heart during their meeting. She calls the authorities and tries to stall Elizabeth until they get there. Being aware of her surroundings and her asset, Elizabeth picks up on the change of heart and wipes her seat down before excusing herself. She slinks away into the streets while trying to alter her disguise enough to not be noticed. It’s a pretty slick move, but not good enough. She gets stopped by two FBI agents, one of whom happens to be Agent Gaad. She busts the two guys up pretty bad, but they get the upper hand on her. She manages to get away by getting one of the guys hit with a motorcycle. She also has the opportunity to shoot Gaad, but chooses to knock him out instead. Of course, that doesn’t ease the blow when the other FBI agents find out that the two agents were taken out by a tiny woman. They put out notices to hospitals, but there’s little chance that Elizabeth’s going to actually seek medical treatment for her injuries.      TheAmericans-s3e1-elizabeth-gun-facing

That same night, Stan and Philip were out at an EST meeting. EST was that program that Stan’s wife got involved with before getting up the courage to leave him. Stan decided to check it out in hopes of finding a way to reconnect with his wife but, as you’d expect, Stan finds it to be a bunch of crap. He’s not wrong. When Stan and Philip get back home, they find Elizabeth with fresh wounds from her encounter with the FBI agents. She claims that she hurt herself bringing in groceries. Stan’s too drunk or chauvinistic to notice that that’s a terrible lie and they manage to get him out without being suspicious. One day Stan is going to find out about the Jennings and his brain might just explode when he realizes the amount of suspicious stuff he’s seen. He does usually have a lot on his plate though with Nina, the divorce and the drinking. The next morning, Stan gets some more bad news from the racoon-eyed Agent Gaad about Nina. She was found guilty of espionage and treason back in Russia, which means that she’ll likely be killed. Stan is upset about this, but there doesn’t seem to be much he can do about it. The FBI has been tasked with protecting some Russian official who’s made it to America, so maybe Stan will find a way to use that to help Nina.

The KGB agents at the Rezidentura are also getting bad news. They’re getting videos of Russians being executed in Afghanistan. They’ve also been given a new girl named Tatiana to replace Nina. Arkady warns Oleg to be careful around her because they don’t know anything about her yet. I think Arkady’s suspicious that Tatiana may be some kind of informant for Moscow. It would make sense that they might suspect that there’s more than one leak in Arkady’s office. Oleg continues to insist that this isn’t fair to Nina. Arkady seems more resigned to the outcome and points out a lot of the problems with Nina’s situation. Even pointing out that she may have actually been in love with Stan. He tries to dissuade Oleg from helping her, but Oleg may have run out of options anyway. Oleg’s highly connected father has already refused to help him, saying that they shouldn’t use their position for personal gain. For as much as people looked down on Oleg for being well-connected, it does seem like he and his family actually try to earn their own way. We see Oleg tailing Stan later in the episode, but we don’t find out why. I’m sure he’s got some kind of plan to try to help Nina.

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The Jennings go to see Gabriel, an old friend of theirs who works for the Centre. There’s some gift exchange and other pleasantries, but they soon get down to business. Gabriel tells them that the Centre has understood Philip’s message about Paige, but that they do believe that this is the right time for her. Elizabeth has been getting closer to Paige and makes a report that suggests that Paige could, at least, be open to the ideas of their cause. Philip wasn’t aware of Elizabeth’s “research” and just sits there with this confounded look on his face. Later, they get into a fight because Philip believes that Elizabeth has been developing Paige to become an operative already. He refuses to think of her as anything but their daughter and seems to think Elizabeth isn’t doing that. Based on Elizabeth’s parenting style, that may not be true. She just has a different way of thinking about her kids. The two don’t speak for a while but then Elizabeth listens to a tape that Gabriel gave her. The recording tells Elizabeth that her mother is dying. As usual, Philip can’t stay mad at sad Elizabeth.

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Gabriel also tells them that they can’t wait to move on Yousaf. With the way things are developing, they need to get to him faster. Philip tries to get Analise to push him harder, but she makes an ill-advised decision. While she’s in bed with Yousaf, she lets him know that she’s been working him. She doesn’t get to go into much detail because Yousaf attacks her. With Philip listening in the other room, Yousaf chokes the girl to death. Philip comes into the room to find her dead on the bed and Yousaf trying to get his clothes back on. Instead of being upset about Analise, Philip starts to work Yousaf. Philip tries to convince Yousaf that he can’t just try to disappear and that his people won’t be happy about this. He tells Yousaf that he can “make this go away.”

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Other Notes :

  • It looks like Martha and Clark are practicing the Kama Sutra. Not really sure why that happened. Maybe this show actually has a quota for sexy scenes in an episode.
  • When Elizabeth is considering Paige’s future, she remembers teaching her to swim. Unlike the other, more nurturing parents, Elizabeth just tosses Paige into the pool. Hopefully her spy training is a little bit better. TheAmericans-s3e1-young-Paige-Elizabeth-pool
  • Stan is teaching Martha to use her gun.
  • Stan goes to drop off some stuff for his wife, and tells her about EST. When she presses him about being non-confrontational he tells her how stupid he thought the whole thing was. As you’d expect, that doesn’t seem to help anything.
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