THE AMERICANS Review: “Darkroom”

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THE AMERICANS plan to get rid of Pastor Tim in “Darkroom.” There were some troubling moments in tonight’s story and one huge calculated risk. First let’s deal with Tuan and the Morozov mission. Tuan is concerned his mistake put him and his adopted family in jeopardy. Elizabeth comforts him with as much a pep talk as she’s capable of giving. She didn’t report him for going off book, but can never do it again. Tuan. Never again!

The Morozov’s are struggling to hold their family together. Alexei has a man to man with Philip about all the work he’s putting into his relationship with Evgheniya and all the support he gives their son Pasha. Their house and overall situation is much better than what they had in Moscow, but no one is happy. Pasha is more depressed all the time. Alexei doesn’t know Philip’s team is waging a toxic campaign against them and it gets ugly this episode.

Tuan says he convinced some school bullies to leave dog-poo in Pasha’s locker. Now, he fights with his mom every morning about even going to school. I can understand working against the parents, but targeting Pasha seems extremely low. It’s hard to believe Philip is okay with it. Evgheniya confesses to Elizabeth she’s had an affair with one of her students. She’s miserable now because she sees how hard Alexei is working to make everyone happy.

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Philip updates the Centre in his dead drop and they send a rep to contact Evgheniya. A kind young woman from the Russian embassy soft sells Mrs. Morozov about returning to the U.S.S.R. She says nothing bad will happen to them if they want to go home, don’t believe the propaganda about mistreatment of returnees. It’s something to think about. Sure, dog-poo in the locker, who wouldn’t want to move?

Back in the U.S.S.R., Oleg stakes out Lydia Fomina, the name prisoner Dmitri gave him after Oleg tough talked him. She doesn’t appear to be living the life of a corrupt official. She drives a tiny little box of a car, removes and hides its mirrors and wiper blades before heading into her crappy little box apartment. Oleg thinks maybe Dmitri lied, but his partner Ruslan says they should wait and see what happens. Sounds like solid government work.

Cue the most dangerous choice of the night: Dinner at Oleg’s. This scene had to be based on a dare. Oleg, his mother, and his father sit at the dinner table each with a magnificent salad and a terrible bowl of red starch. They don’t say anything. It’s just a couple of minutes of mom staring, Oleg pushing his salad around, and dad wondering when it’s all going to blow up. I’m sure some people will hate this scene and I couldn’t take a whole movie like this, but I love actors and love scenes where they just point the camera at them and let them work. I’m not saying it did work, but I love that they went there.

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Stan and Aderholt meet with Sofia in their safe-apartment. Again, I love this character, she’s pure heart, 100% stakes. They ask how the dentist is working out, she smiles and says she’s been there four times. They ask if she’s met anybody, she smiles and says she’s met a former National Team Hockey star. He brings her gifts when he’s in town, treats her nice, and his son loves hanging around the guy. Sofia is living the dream Alexei Morozov wanted for his family. This is a woman Stan will fight for. Question is, if the powers (and by powers I mean writers) at be made him choose between Sofia and Oleg, which way would he lean? This is shaping up to be a great little story pocket.

Stan and Renee have a karaoke double date with Philip and Elizabeth. Philip watches Stan drive away for the night stewing in suspicion. Elizabeth asks why the Centre’s involvement with Stan bothers Philip so much. He says, “I don’t want Stan to be like Martha.” The response disturbs Elizabeth, Stan is their and Philip is obviously attached on some other level. A level she neither understands nor respects. Martha needed their help, she was in way over her head, but Stan is a different story. He is formidable. Philip quietly questions the Centre’s position more and more. Elizabeth can sense it.

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In a really weird turn, Philip asks Elizabeth to marry him for real. They have their fake sleeper marriage certificate, but Philip asks Gabriel’s long time friend, Father Andrei, to perform a real ceremony. Philip appears happy to make it official. It’s hard to say where Elizabeth is. She says “yes” to the proposal, but it’s more of a tolerant “yes” than a dream-day “yes.”

Paige drives the last bit of drama. She’s been reading Pastor Tim’s diary and this time there are entries about her she finds disturbing. She explains this to her parents and they offer to have the Centre present Pastor Tim with a offer that he may want to accept that leads him far away from their family. The next time she babysits, Paige takes photos of several pages from his diary to help them research someplace he may want to go, but they mostly see how much he thinks they’ve damaged her ability to trust. Philip doesn’t like it, but felonious Elizabeth is furious. Pastor Tim may not be with us much longer.

Season 5, Episode 10 (S05E10)
The Americans  airs Tuesdays at 10PM on FX

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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.
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Eric Rodriguez | Contributor
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