The Americans: “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov”

(Episode 3.11)

TV Reviews The Americans
The Americans: “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov”

How are we doing since last week’s episode? Have you recovered from the fact that Paige knows the truth?

I’m not sure I have so I’m glad the show gave us a little breathing room this week. The Americans settled into its two main shocking plot twists—Paige and Martha know the truth (kind of). Paige has LOTS of questions for her parents and a little bit of an attitude. “You guys don’t have to whisper when I come into the room unless you have some other secret that you’re keeping from me,” she tells them. Paige has earned the right to be snarky.

She wants to know why her parents don’t have accents. Is Mr. Beeman really their friend? What are their real names and is the travel agency even a travel agency? Philip and Elizabeth are happy to talk to her, even relieved they don’t have to keep lying to her. But they really don’t want to talk to her while Henry (still perfecting his Eddie Murphy imitation) is in the house. “You cannot speak about this when Henry or anyone else is around,” Elizabeth tells her daughter. She then tells Paige a story about growing up in Russia. It is touching and heartbreaking and Paige responds, “How can I believe anything you say?”

The chasm between parent and child almost seems irreparable at this point. And think about it—Paige still doesn’t know all that her parents do. The killing. The sleeping with other people (as Elizabeth had to do again this week). The torture. The long, long cons.

Elizabeth and Philip tell Gabriel that Paige knows. Philip hopes this will keep the Centre happy for a while. He also asks Gabriel to arrange a trip for Elizabeth to see her dying mother. Gabriel says it’s not possible. Philip reminds him that he and Elizabeth are asked to do impossible things all the time, citing specifically that time when he had to stuff Annaliese’s dead body into a suitcase (how could we ever forget?). “You need to tell me something Philip. Are you falling apart?” Gabriel asks. “I don’t want to keep hearing ‘no’ from you,” Philip tells him.

Martha is being called in for questioning and is understandably panicking. Philip teaches her how to lie convincingly (you stare at the tip of a person’s nose) and reminds her Agent Taffet doesn’t know anything. “His job is to make you feel as if he knows,” he tells Martha. Taffet, for his part, knows how someone could have gotten to Martha, asking her if she had “any romantic relationships that could have compromised” her in anyway. I still would like clarification on exactly what Martha thinks is going on here. Who does she think Clark is working for, and why hasn’t it occurred to her that her marriage is a sham? Denial, thy name is Martha.

Elizabeth is making headway with Lisa, whose louse of a husband Maurice says he wants Lisa to get twice as much money for selling Northrop’s secrets. But Maurice isn’t buying Elizabeth’s innocent act. “You’re the real head of this operation, aren’t you?” he says to her. Maurice is definitely a loose cannon, which doesn’t bode well for his future. I mean, Elizabeth killed a man so Lisa could get a higher security clearance. What would she do to an alcoholic who asks too many questions?

Nina is still working her special brand of deception on Anton Baklanov bonding with him over the fact that he’s separated from his son, and vowing not to tell his bosses that he still writes letters to his son. It won’t be long until Nina gets the truth out of him.

Back at the Center, Oleg and Tatiana has been assigned to listen to the recordings the mail robot has picked up. So far they’ve only learned that the vending machine isn’t working and there’s a need for toilet paper.

At the end of the episode, Paige knocks on her parents’ door (a nice nod to the Season Two opener when she, memorably, didn’t knock). She wants to know what her parents are talking about and Philip tells her—he wants Elizabeth to take a trip home to Russia to see her mother. It’s all a bit too much for Paige, who leaves but not before closing the door behind her.

Other thoughts on “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov”:

• I’m just going to go ahead and reiterate my fearless prediction that I still think the season ends with Philip making a move towards defection to save Paige.
• There are so many disparate story lines in play right now. Will the Lisa, Kimmie and Hans story lines ever converge?
• Who is getting the information out of the mail robot and giving it to the Centre?
• I kind of think Agent Taffet knows Martha did it. How about you?

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.

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