This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of The Americans, including last night's Season 1, episode 12, “The Oath.”
Last night was the penultimate episode of The Americans season 1, and I don't know about you, but they got me good. How did I miss the signs?! It's so obvious, looking back, how the episode was going to end, where the show wanted to be at the start of next week's season finale, but I was too absorbed to notice.
It was hard to narrow down my Top 5 this week, but there was no choice at all when it came to my #1 favorite scene—how about you?
5. Viola's confession to the FBI. We already knew Viola felt incredibly guilty about her part in Elizabeth and Phil's scheme earlier in the season to bug her employer's house, despite the fact that she was as much a victim as her son in the situation, so I didn't feel it was really necessary to set up her trip to FBI headquarters like they did. That said, the fact that Gaad and Stan now have a new source of intel in the bugged clock Viola planted for Phil and Elizabeth will lead to good drama in the future, I'm sure. And given how the episode ended...well, at least the FBI has something going for them?
4. “It was you. Did you kill Vlad?” Honestly, HOW DID I MISS THIS SETUP?! Nina asked Stan outright if he killed Vlad but then immediately dropped it after he denied it. (“I would never do anything to hurt you,” he said. “You know that.”) Should have known that was suspicious—Nina's a smart cookie. Having said that, I can't decide when, exactly, Nina knew what she was going to do later in the episode. Was this the moment she decided? Was she testing Stan here, and he failed? Or was the oath reaffirming her loyalty to mother Russia what did it? Maybe packing up Vlad's desk flipped the switch? What do you think?
3. Elizabeth and Paige's boy talk. Stan and Sandra's son is throwing poor Paige for a loop, as she's got a big crush on him but can't tell if he returns her feelings or not. So she last night she consulted her mother, who ended up giving (unsurprisingly) odd counsel to her 13-year-old, explaining that sometimes you see something in a person that isn't really there. (True, but not sure a girl with her first crush's going to grasp that.) But Paige latched onto her words anyway, cleverly turning the question around and asking if that's what happened to her, that Elizabeth saw something in Phil that turned out not to be there. To which Elizabeth replied, after a moment, “No, it was there.” Yay!
2. Clark and Martha's wedding and all that entailed. I feel TERRIBLE for Martha but at the same time cannot get over how easily manipulated she is. Sigh. Still, it was humorous to see Elizabeth playing Clark's sister, and the wigs she and Claudia wore! Oh my. And then there was the deliciousness of Elizabeth's reaction to her husband-who-isn't-really-her-husband marrying another woman. This show is so twisted. I love it. It's here we got confirmation (as we all probably figured) that Phil and Elizabeth were never actually married, though it sounds like Elizabeth wishes it were otherwise: “You and I were never really married. ... It's funny; I know they're just words people say. Do you think things would've been different between us if we would've said them?” Phil, however, continues to be completely shut down on this front and simply replies, “I don't know.” Your attitude is rather infuriating, sir. Aren't you supposed to be the more emotional one? What's going on here? You guys need to get back together already!
1. Nina's play to become a double agent. “Arkady, you can kill me or let me redeem myself in the eyes of our beloved Russia.” Nina confessing all to Ivanovich Arkady was awesome. She didn't hold anything back, and was incredibly fierce when she told him he could send her back to Russia to be punished, or he could kill her himself...or he could let her become a double agent and earn back his trust. This should be FUN. 'Cause I gotta say I feel like Stan deserves it. For such a smart guy he's been making some pretty dumb decisions, especially when it comes to Nina, whose meddle he obviously severely underestimated.
Of Fandom Note: Found this lovely Phil/Elizabeth vid...
Photos courtesy of Craig Blankenhorn/FX
The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EDT on FX
Heather Waters is the site manager of H&H, and a 24/7 fangirl. Tweet her @redline_