THE AMERICANS pivot their Kansas mission to poach the super-wheat in “Crossbreed.” Characters did a lot of internalizing this episode and even though Elizabeth didn’t kill anyone, she talked about the night she was mugged. I can’t wrap my head around Mischa’s return to Russia. Gabriel sends him back and sets him up with his old job. Okay, but why spend four episodes showing his journey? I have faith the writers have a great reason for this, they don’t miss a step; for now, it remains a bump.
Next mystery, The Centre is always concerned about Philip’s loyalty, but there’s something strange going on with Gabriel. He accepts the Jennings assessment that Agricorp isn’t in the business of poisoning the Russian people and then keeps them on mission to find the super-wheat in case they can steal the formula to save the U.S.S.R. Later, Gabriel tells Claudia he isn’t comfortable deceiving Philip and Elizabeth. Claudia knows what he’s talking about but they reveal nothing to us.
Henry is back and has a catch-up dinner with Stan. Henry is cruising through his new advanced algebra class. Stan comments that he always knew Henry was smart, but never really applied himself. Henry confirms he has a new crush named Chris and intimates that it is a girl, but who knows, anything is possible in Henry’s world. Stan and Aderholt make a promising connection with a Russian woman who wants to care for her young son, hopefully we’ll see this develop in future episodes. Stan’s been doing far less FBI’ing than Oleg and his KGB investigation.
Oleg and Ruslan search dirty distributor Dimitri’s apartment and find boxes of money, watches, and other valuables. Dimitri returns home and offer to split the loot with them. Again, they question him for names, but Dimitri is too afraid to give anyone up. They arrest him and confiscate his things. Oleg keeps going to meet the CIA team blackmailing him, but they never show up. Eventually, he burns the map and tape. Oleg’s life is full of intrigue and danger, at this point in the season, I expect his Russian existence to evolve into something much more compelling.
Elizabeth has a few mysterious moments tonight. First, she tells Gabriel something might be wrong with her, but she doesn’t explore it. Gabriel reinforces that she’s a great agent if not their best. She goes back to Kansas to honeypot Ben for secrets of super-wheat but he can tell something is off with her chi. He shows her a few Tai Chi moves to help with her energy issue. At first, she thought of Ben as a man trying to starve a nation. Now that she sees him as a do-gooder, where is her head at? Maybe this is part of her recent issue.
Elizabeth’s new mission is a psychiatrist’s office, Dr. Robert Semel. She goes in for a fake session and talks about the mugging. In this version, she doesn’t kill the two attackers but it must be meaningful in some other way. Later, she stops her car outside Young Hee’s house. The Hee’s don’t live there anymore, but Elizabeth really liked her and it’s possible she feels regret for wrecking their life. We’ve never seen Elizabeth struggle with real regret. I’d lover to see the show explore some more of her emotions. On the other hand, she’s proud to see Paige reading and appreciating Marx, and reconsiders her role in the family business.
Philip has a team surveilling Mrs. Morozov where she teaches Russian to government employees. This seems like busy work more than anything, like Stan with his street pitches. Gabriel tells Elizabeth and Philip he plans on returning to Russia. He says he’s tired and it’s overdo. Elizabeth suggests Philip ask Gabriel any questions about his family before he leaves America; if anyone would know the truth about Philip’s past, it would be Gabriel. We’ve seen Philip having flashback memories for weeks, but they really sew it up with a scene between him and Gabriel. Philip thought his father was a logger but Gabriel tells him he was really a guard at a prison work camp. He doesn’t have a lot of details about the man, but he delivers a few compelling lines of dialog on the matter. “He was a nobody. We were all nobodies. It’s been over for a long time.” Everyone except Claudia has a case of the Moondays. “It’s been over for along time.” What’s that about? More internal character mystery to chew on.
The episode ends with Philip and Elizabeth driving Paige over to meet Gabriel in person. What, just because she liked the Marx? Since this season isn’t about spy planes, Central America, or bio-weapons we can assume they’re rolling out something more intimate. I’m interested in the inside game too, they have a full bench of great characters to torment, but I still want to see Elizabeth get lethal. Maybe, for some reason, she has to clear Ben while they’re on a hike. Also, I still want to know about Martha in Russia. We got that one glimpse of her in the supermarket, there must be more.
Season 5, Episode 6 (S05E06)
The Americans airs Tuesdays at 10PM on FX
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Eric Rodriguez | Contributor