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Review: ‘The Americans’ Season 4 Episode 6 ‘The Rat’ Exposes Everything

Review: 'The Americans' Season 4 Episode 6 'The Rat' Exposes Everything

Briefing

Martha’s gone rogue, you guys! After an episode that saw her (kind of) unknowingly leave her home for good, meet Clark’s co-worker for the first time and have her only source of safety stolen while she slept, Martha high-tailed it out of Gabriel’s less-than-luxurious abode, dropping an implicit threat as she left. “I’ll scream,” Martha threatened before dropping the real bomb on Gabriel. “And everyone will know you’re KGB!”

Clearly, Martha knows too much; an idea that Phillip’s been trying to hide for some time, but came to the surface for everyone else in “The Rat.” The looks of horror on Gabriel and — most notably — Elizabeth’s faces when they found out Martha had seen Phillip without his Clark disguise were quite telling, and you better believe a conversation is soon coming between Elizabeth and Philip that will rival, if not topple, the heated exchange between Phillip and Gabriel. 

That’s for future episodes, though. This week saw Stan and Agent Aderholt (Brandon J. Dirden) hone in on Martha’s hidden identity even before she called in sick to work — a fact Gabriel will never be privy to — and then inform their higher ups to their suspicions. If Martha tries to go back to how things were, which she expressed to “Clark” as her true wishes, she may be in for a rude welcome at the office — and an even ruder end result, courtesy of some very worried KGB agents.

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘The Americans’ Season 4 Episode 5 ‘Clark’s Place’ Releases the Pressure

Phillip’s Loyalty: USA

“Our bosses don’t know what they’re doing. You’ve figured that out, right?” This is the kind of affirmation that Phillip really needs or he really doesn’t need. On the one hand, he’s certainly been thinking as much for some time now, making William’s statement all the more welcome to a man in need of an ally. On the other hand, Phillip has put himself in quite the pickle no matter what happens with Martha. Best case scenario: She gets sent back to Russia, safely and without too much hatred for her fake husband. That would mean Elizabeth is still uber pissed at her real husband, and Gabriel will remain suspicious of Phillip’s motives forevermore — if he even sticks around after this. He’s threatened to leave before, and this might push him past the point of forgiveness.

No matter what, Phillip is going to have to answer some questions about his loyalty, and I don’t think he’s ready to do that just yet. If he’s honest, Gabriel and Elizabeth aren’t going to like what he has to say, and the evidence against him — disobeying orders, keeping information from his handler, exposing himself and thus, his family, to an asset — would keep him from lying even if he wanted to (not that he would). The Cold War that’s been brewing within Phillip is about to go nuclear — right after we deal with Martha.

Elizabeth’s Loyalty: Not Phillip!

Clearly, Elizabeth’s passionate lovemaking was not enough to distance Phillip from Martha’s arms. If she was suspicious of his true feelings before the events of this week, now she’s downright livid. And she should be, really. Phillip has a unique connection with another woman, but more than that, it’s a connection he didn’t share with Elizabeth. She didn’t know how deep undercover he’d gone, or, to be more to the point, how much he’d uncovered with another woman. 

An emotional betrayal is bad enough, but throwing in the professional treason on top of it could prove to be too much for Elizabeth. Will she take her anger out on Martha, especially if her execution is ordered from the higher-ups? We’ll see soon enough.

Stan: Savant or Square?

Stan has gone into full-on savant mode with “The Rat.” Among all the familial bunglings, sometimes we can forget that Stan is an incredibly savvy agent when he gets a hunch. And his hunch has turned into a frighteningly accurate operating theory at this point, edging Stan closer and closer to putting Martha together with his neighbor — the combustible connection we’ve been teased since Episode 1. Good for you, Stan. You need a win. 

Best Asset: Martha

Obviously, we’re using the term “best” from a viewer’s perspective and not for Phillip, Elizabeth or the rest of the KGB, who cannot be happy with Martha. She’s certainly our favorite asset right now, and — after Nina’s difficult death just two episodes prior — we’re praying there’s a way out of this for her. What might they be? Well, let’s break it down.

1. Martha Goes to the FBI
– It’s hard to decide if this is the safest course of action or the most dangerous. The second she steps foot back in her old office, I’d have to imagine the KGB would write her off for good. They’d never trust her again — not even Phillip — and she’d have to be taken out. But, if the FBI can somehow protect her, she’d live the rest of her days with a clear conscience. Well, she’d at least have a clearer conscience than if she willingly betrays her country.

2. Martha Tries to Go Back to Work
– Martha told Clark she wanted everything to go back to normal, and while he told her that was impossible, perhaps Martha would test the waters for herself. Odds are Stan & Co. would throw her into an interrogation room and lock the door, at which point I’d bet Martha would confess. And even if she doesn’t, she can’t go back to the KGB. This is not the best plan.

3. Martha Goes Back to the KGB
– Honestly, I think this is the best course of action for Martha, in terms of her survival odds. Sure, the FBI might be looking for her, but they’re not going to shoot on sight like the KGB would if she went the other way. By choosing the Russians, she’d at worst get busted by the FBI and thrown in jail and at best live a tortured existence in Russia. It’s not exactly a winning scenario, but at least she’s alive. 

4. Martha Runs Away on Her Own
– I love Martha to death, but there’s no way she could last more than a few hours on her own. Whether the FBI and their many resources tracked her down first or Phillip racks his memory to find out where she’s hiding, someone would get to her. Don’t do it, Martha. You need to pick a side and make the best of it.

5. Martha Runs Away With Phillip
– Martha’s dream scenario is also the least likely to happen. No way does Phillip abandon his kids, let alone Elizabeth, for life in hiding with Martha. Be it in the States or overseas, the couple has been fractured beyond repair. Martha’s plea for him to stay with her was an act of desperation from a person trying to cling to some semblance of her formerly perfect life. It’s not going to happen, no matter how much either of them want it.

Wig Count: 3

A few old favorites made the rounds again, as Phillip donned his Clark disguise and Elizabeth did her best to dress up like a little old lady (those glasses). But we did get one new look: Goateed Phillp. The fact William didn’t scoff at the sight of him was surprising, given how William loves to mock. Still, we’re glad to see a fresh look in a season lacking many.

Quote of the Night

“I think Martha’s bad.
– Stan Beeman


It didn’t take much convincing for the formerly unflappable, now permanently-flapped Agent Gaad to come around to Stan’s point of view on a secretary who’s “had access to everything” for the past 10 years. And, to be fair, Stan’s case upon telling his boss was pretty solid and only getting firmer. Still, the key here was seeing two things: First, we were reminded how integral Martha was to both sides. The wallop that the news took on Gaad paired with the importance suddenly placed on a secretary everyone had ignored until now really spoke to her value — both to the FBI and as an asset for the KGB. 

Second, we saw how the pieces started falling together for Gaad, Stan and their team. Not only did they figure out what Martha was up to based on almost entirely circumstantial evidence, but Gaad’s mind immediately went to his biggest embarrassment — the pen recorder — and how that connected to Gene’s death. “She could have been working with Gene,” Gaad said. “Or they could have killed him to protect her.” That line got quite the look from Stan, but it won’t be the last time he’s shocked this season. The ball has started rolling, and there’s no stopping it now. The rest of Season 4 is going to be one helluva ride.

Grade: A

Relive simpler times, with the trailer for Season 4 below. 


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