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Review: ‘The Americans’ Season 3 Episode 11, ‘One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov,’ Preps for What’s Next

Review: 'The Americans' Season 3 Episode 11, 'One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov,' Preps for What's Next

EPISODE 10 REVIEW: ‘The Americans’ Season 3 Episode 10, ‘Stingers,’ Has the Conversation 

Briefing:

“One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov” served as a reactionary episode more than a progressive one — which we should’ve guessed given the title favoring a Russian scientist we barely know. After the many revelations of last week’s “Stingers,” we watched Paige cope with the full knowledge of her parents’ secret lives while Elizabeth and Philip tried to prepare for what’s next (mainly the meeting between the CIA and Mujahideen).

Outside the family drama, Martha tried to dupe Agent Taffet, Oleg bonded with the new gal at the office over an awkward assignment and, of course, Nina made a move on the titular Anton. Episode 11 may not have had much to offer in terms of secrets, but the insight into these characters is always enormously valuable (even if, plot-wise, we’re pretty much where we were last week).

Philip’s Loyalty: None

“You need to tell me something Philip. Are you falling apart?” The short answer to Gabriel’s uncharacteristically pointed question is, “yes.” Philip is stuck between a rock and a hard place, freely admitting to the frustration he’s suffering but unable to do anything about it. He can either keep going with his mission — head down, blinders on — or put a stop to it and risk retaliation from his Russian overlords. It’s not an ideal scenario for anyone, but the emotionally fragile spy may need to make a big move before Season 3 ends if he wants to be anywhere else. 

Elizabeth’s Loyalty: KGB

Elizabeth did not see this coming. Last week, I said Elizabeth would just have to wait to see what Paige’s ultimate reaction was to her parents’ secret lives. Now that her views are starting to pour out, it’s clear Elizabeth was at least partially blind to many of her daughter’s feelings. This surprise was most clearly depicted when Elizabeth spoke with Paige in the garage. After Elizabeth poured out her heart to Paige, remembering the best aspects of her own mother, Paige responded, “How can I believe anything you say?”

It’s a valid question, and one that caught Elizabeth off guard. Knowing the full truth all along — as well as her true feelings for Paige, Henry and even Philip — provides Elizabeth with a completely different perspective than her daughter. Paige has to question everything now — she didn’t even know the real names of her parents. Elizabeth may not have realized how much would be put into question when her true identity was revealed, but she’s surely seeing it now — and her inner Russian isn’t happy about it. At least part of Elizabeth expected implicit trust from her daughter, much like her own trust in the Centre’s mission. Questioning authority is an American trait, and now Elizabeth has to deal with that side of Paige.

Stan: Savant or Square?

Stan appeared as only a cameo role in “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov,” visiting Agent Gaad in “the vault” to reassure him he’d done nothing wrong. It was a kind move, but his boss is right. They should have been conducting their business in the room made for sensitive discussions. More importantly, the scene served to illustrate two things: 1) Gaad is a good agent, and one who will take things upon himself as the leader of men. It would be a shame if he takes the blame for the leak, even if he wouldn’t put up one bit of fuss. 2) Who is going to take the fall, though? Someone has to, and Agent Taffet doesn’t seem to be skewing one way or another. Unless there’s a big break in the case he’s hiding from us, no one can be proven guilty. But someone has to be, and it could be Stan — after all, he’s making a risky move with Oleg and has been getting the side eye from his coworkers of late. 

Best Asset: Martha

In a week of extremely good or extremely bad assets, Martha reigned supreme. Lisa fell back into the trap of her should-be ex-husband, demanding to cut in on the non-existent con game Elizabeth is running. Youssef may have finally come forward with some good intel, but I don’t trust that guy as far as I can throw him. Meanwhile, Nina may turn out to be the best spy in the world if her instincts with people remain this solid. Her turnaround of the scientist via a risky confessional involving his letters to his son was a thing of beauty, and any other week she’d be taking the top spot.

But Martha earned it in the “vault.” After some legitimate coaching from her fake husband, Martha walked into her meeting with Agent Taffet well-prepared to lie right to his face. And lie she did. Martha’s execution couldn’t have been better, and her surprising trust in “Clark” — despite him lying to her throughout their relationship — paid off. Martha may be in self-preservation mode right now, but it appears she’s going to be looking out for her not-so-dear hubby until it bites her in the keister. 

Wig Count: 3

Another week gone without any new wigs. Elizabeth may have been turned on by her hotel-managing target, but it’s somewhat surprising her side-swooping bangs didn’t ruin her seduction. Clark brought back a more controlled version of his blonde wig for Martha, and Elizabeth again donned what has to be the worst wig of the season for her blackmailing session with Lisa and Maurice. Why couldn’t she bring back the short blonde cut instead? 

Quote of the Night: 

“Yeah. That kid’s nuts.”

There may have been more telling quotes in the night’s episodes, but none were as memorable as Elizabeth’s attempt at humor with her upset daughter. Like many sisters do when their brothers reach that awkward developmental age, Paige has given up on understanding Henry. Instead, she merely flees for her own protection when he starts imitating a black comedian performing racially-charged humor. 

Henry’s actions aren’t incidental. Paige has to decide right now if he’s ready to know the truth about their parents, or perhaps if she feels he has the right to know. Even if he’s not ready — as these behavioral indicators clearly point out – she still might have to tell him, especially if things go as haywire as it feels they might in the season’s final two episodes. How their children react may decide more than just their family’s fate.

Grade: B

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