The Americans Review: "Trust Me" (Episode 1.06)
I didn’t really believe for a moment that Elizabeth and Philip had been caught and their secret identities had been revealed in “Trust Me.” It was way too soon for the show to go all Homeland on us and completely upend our expectations. Plus, you know, the entire premise of the show is the couple being deep undercover KGB spies. There is still a plethora of ways to go with the current premise.
So, all along, I assumed this was the KGB trying to ferret out its mole. But what I did believe is that Elizabeth and Philip believed that the jig was up and their covers had been blown. And that added a heightened anxiety to the episode.
Besides, the scene where Elizabeth beats up Claudia was awesome. “Tell whoever approved this that your face is a present from me to them. Show them your face,” she bellows. This is definitely the episode Keri Russell should submit when it comes time for Emmy nominations. Because what I also believed is that Russell, who is lovely, petite and lithe, could beat the crap out of whomever she wants to—be it granny or the man five times her size who came to abduct her from her house.
The stakes have changed for the Jennings. The KGB doesn’t trust them. And, more importantly, they no longer trust each other. Phillip realizes he was tortured because Elizabeth has reported his love of America to their superiors. This development is a fascinating ripple to add to their already-charged circumstances.
The episode also highlighted how the Jennings truly have no back-up plan for their children. Their children have no aunt or uncle or grandmother or grandfather to call when they don’t get picked up at the mall. Both kids need a serious “stranger danger” lecture. And it’s interesting how, once released, neither Phillip nor Elizabeth seemed particularly concerned about if their children were OK. They took the time to argue and stage a fake accident. I would have been rushing home half-crazed with worry. But I may be putting 2013 sensibility on early 1981 before Adam Walsh was abducted and we all became well aware of the dangers. Or maybe their children will always come second. Either way, now the kids are lying to the parents and keep things from them. Duplicity goes both ways in the Jennings family.
I also really loved how Stan saved Nina. There’s something poetic about Noah Emmerich’s controlled performance. You can feel the weight of his worry as he maneuvers his plan to have Vasili set up as the mole. You can also feel how his feelings for Nina are becoming much more than professional. Couple that with his strained relationship with his wife, and things are poised to become very, very interesting.
I kind of find it fascinating that I almost felt bad for Vasili even though I knew he would kill Nina if he discovered the truth and, let’s be honest, he’s not that great a guy all-around. But he had been set up. He had been loyal to his country and he was being sent home to die. And I still worry for Nina. How long until Vasili realizes she’s the one who set him up?
“Trust Me,” which put a huge halt to the burgeoning romance between Philip and Elizabeth, also brought back Gregory, who is clearly still in love with Elizabeth. And beating up Claudia will most likely have consequences—that can’t be the kind of insubordination the KGB will tolerate. On a show where the stakes are already impossibly high, they just got higher.