{TB Talks TV} The Americans Review: “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov”


Tweetable Takeaway: Philip gets cranky with Gabriel over the KGB’s one-way streets.  

Airtime: Wednesday at 10pm on FX

By: , Contributor

have a lot of questions to answer in One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov. Paige is naturally full of questions and presses Philip and Elizabeth hard. She struggles with curiosity, anger, and a growing deep mistrust of her parents. Philip tries to tell her more of their side but she isn’t interested. Paige imagines a life of restriction in her future, a tapered kind of freedom.

Walter Taffet keeps turning screws at the FBI office.

Frank worries about all the possible security violations he may have committed while his office was bugged. He journals every conversation he can remember going back for months.

Walter wants to log some serious time with Martha. At first, she’s worried, but Philip coaches her threw it. This guy has so much going on, but when he’s in the game, he’s incredibly cool. He’s calm, talks her through a strategy, and boosts her confidence. By the time she meets with Taffet again, she’s ready, maintains control. Walter is clever and he says something about the death of Agent Amador that gets Martha thinking, doubting.

Something has to be done with Gabriel.

Philip and Elizabeth tell Gabriel that Paige knows their secret; just the basics, nothing about their operations. He seems pleased, but he good poker. He delivers another tape to Elizabeth from her mom, but cautions her that there may not be any more. Her mom is really sick. Philip reports he has a meeting set with Yousef about the Mujahideen, and Elizabeth is confident she has Neil in her pocket at the hotel.

Yousef tells Philip the CIA is bringing three top English speaking Mujahideen to the United States, though they won’t say what for. He does know that one of them is an old school maniac when it comes to poppin heads off Russian soldiers. Philip relays the intel to Gabriel, but also asks for a favor; try and get Elizabeth home to see her mother one last time. Gabriel says “no,” and this pisses Philip off. He does a lot for the KGB and feels like the KGB does little in return. The truth is, he goes above and beyond for his bosses and they do need to do something for him.

Philip trusts Martha but no one else does.

Philip has a regular date night set with Martha, he believes she loves him and he is safe. Elizabeth wants Philip to have Hans conduct a surveillance sweep first. Hans is great little plot-mine and I can’t wait to see how he pops. We know he has a crush on Elizabeth, but would he do something to Philip or Martha?

Nina gets through to Anton.

Anton has a tough gig. Ripped from his family, flown to the USSR, forced to entertain a steady stream of women. That’s right, his handlers have sent a whole team of women his way and he admits he had the excitement with most of them. Then it dawns on him, he’s tired of them deciding who he wakes up with. This resonates with Nina. She’s clever about men, about everything really.

While Anton is off working his problem without the use of his much needed intelligence pictures, Nina pokes through his tiny room, which is barely a step up from a prison cell, a prison cell where they send a seemingly endless train of enticements. There isn’t much, but she finds a pile of letters he’s been hiding in his mattress. She makes a quick read and discovers they are letters he’s been to his son Jacob. Anton hates the idea that Jacob doesn’t know what happened to him. Jacob may think his father just ran off one day. Abandonment issues anyone?

Elizabeth hooks Lisa and Maurice and nails Neil, nails him again, then takes her business home for another round with Philip. This girl is on fire.

Elizabeth pays a visit to her friend Lisa who works at Northrop, but finds Maurice waiting. Elizabeth coy, offers to lend them money, but Maurice knows cheddar when he sniffs it. He tells them he’s willing to come on board, support Lisa gathering intelligence at Northrop, but he wants more money. “More money more risk,” he says.

Elizabeth also closes the deal with Neil. Of course, he thinks it’s his idea, but she’s the one driving the dessert cart. It’s starts with a fancy dinner and F-un in one of the nicer hotel suites, but the next time she meets him at his office. Neil, the smoothie, boasts about his big computer and all the information it holds, but he gets called from the office, some sort of reservation emergency. While Neil is off saving some business traveler, Elizabeth punches through his computer, finds the files and information she wants, and makes impressions of the relevant room keys. When Neil returns, she has a little more fun with him, then goes home to Philip. This hot spy gives new meaning to “bring home the bacon.” Philip wakes up and tells her he has an idea about a way to get her to see her mother, but he doesn’t say before Paige the party pooper bursts through the door preceded by her stormy angst.

Arkady brings Oleg and Tatiana in on operation Zephyr; pouring through the really boring transcripts of the FBI mail-robot bug.

The Rezidentura receives towering stacks of mundane chatter from the bug Philip installed on the FBI mail-robot. It’s too much for him to go through on his own, so he gets help from Oleg and Tatiana. It’s real important stuff, like the snack machine ripped some agent off, the men’s room is out of toilet paper, and like 550 robotic beeps. Oleg does it cheerfully enough, but he keeps a suspicious eye on Tatiana.

Only two episodes left this season and plenty of plot-mines waiting to pop. Look for someone to step onto something deadly next week.


Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.
Twitter: @etom2012

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