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THE AMERICANS: “Covert War” S1E11 (recap)

By Morayo Sayles

The FBI still reeling from the death of the scientists and Agent Amador (Maximillian Hernandez) retaliates with brutal force and takes out three high level KGB agents.

In their crosshairs unfortunately was General Zhukov (Olek Krupa), the mentor of Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell).

Elizabeth is devastated and vows immediate revenge, despite direct orders not to take action and Phillip’s (Matthew Rhys) vehement objections.

So what happened this week with our spy crew?


It seems all the spies are taking turns being emotionally compromised (I promise I will never use this phrase again!). It’s Elizabeth’s turn this time and she is really hurt.  She’s lost Phillip, then Gregory (Derek Luke), now Zhukov who from flashback scenes in the episode we come to see played a fatherly role in Elizabeth’s life.  Agent Gaad (Richard Thomas) briefs a roomful of agents of the FBI’s next move in raging cold war between the US and the Soviet Union and then we witness the death of Zhukov, who was quietly reading a book in his home.

Elizabeth learns from Claudia (Margo Martindale) that the CIA director of planning for the Soviet Union, Richard Patterson (Paul Fitzgerald) is the brain behind the kit on Zhukov.  Elizabeth demands that Patterson die, but Claudia orders her not to proceed and also chastises her for ignoring the orders for killing Gregory.  Elizabeth of course in her emotionally compromised state ignores Claudia and goes after Patterson.

This leads to an outrageously awesome fight scene in the bathroom between the two of them, but thanks to a metal hand towel dispenser, Elizabeth emerges as the sole victor. She is unable however to kill him afterwards and then releases him. But the time spent with him alone in the secret warehouse location provides the FBI with another clue about her identity – she works in warehouses and she has a male partner.  Yes, because even though he was furious with her, Phillip still came to help out his ladylove in her vendetta. 

Elizabeth comes to realize though that she almost played into Claudia’s hands.  Thinking clearly and calmly, Elizabeth realizes that Claudia had done nothing but stir up the pot since she first stepped into their lives.  Elizabeth and Phillip’s relationship is fractured and both of them were making big errors in judgment because of their emotional ties to one another and to other people. Elizabeth confronts Claudia about this and of course granny doesn’t back down.  The two women draw their lines in the sand and it is on, like Donkey Kong. But their battle will have to wait for another day, or another season.


Phillip is still living in the dump of a motel we’ve seen him in the past two episodes, however it appears that he’s had it as he and the children witness an errant man taking a whizz in the parking lot of the motel. 

Phillip decides it’s time for him to see other living arrangements. AND, he also gets the shock of his life when Martha (Alison Wright) calls him over for an emergency only to spring her parents (Richard Kline and Peggy J Scott) on him. 

It appears that Clark is getting himself in way deeper than Phillip was expecting him to go. 

Will the charade proceed with going down the aisle or is there a messy break-up in their future? 

This is a tough one because Martha is such a goldmine of information and a fantastic, albeit, oblivious leak. 


Stan (Noah Emmerich) is all alone on his island of guilt, deception and shame. 

Sandra (Susan Misner) figures out that her husband is having an affair and angrily freaks out on him after he comes home late (Again!) from the office. For being a tenured spy who can lie his ass off, he sure is not pulling the wool over the eyes of Mrs. Beeman. 

So while he’s dealing with the emotional trauma of what his job is doing to his family, he also returns to the safe house where Nina (Annet Mahendru) waits to hear about what happened to her friend Vlad and to slake her lust.

Stan again lies about Vlad, and then tells Nina that they can’t continue with the intimate part of their relationship.  Nina agreed and their celibate relationship lasted 2 minutes. 

Ah Stan!

But then again, he’s in the same quandary as Phillip in that Nina just got a promotion at work, and is closely working with Arkady (Lev Gorn).  She’s a bursting oil field of information. Except, subtle difference here – Phillip is reluctantly engaging in an intimate relationship with an unknowing spy to retain access to FBI Agent.  Stan and Nina are well aware of what each other are and Stan knows he should not be sleeping with Nina.  The tangled emotional web of spy work is tightly woven in this group!

However with one more episode to go in the season (sob!) I can’t imagine that anything earth shattering is going to happen to unravel it next week.

Words I’ve said before… I know!

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