Phillip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Kerri Russell) have yet to come to a decision about Paige (Holly Taylor) in Season 3 of “The Americans.” Then again, making big parenting decisions – like whether or not to bring your daughter into a Soviet spy ring – is hard when you’re working late every night, at odds with your spouse, and barely seeing your daughter anyway. The Jennings were no less busy in episode 3, “Open House.”
Phillip visited Gabriel (Frank Langella) early in the episode. He had worked out the identities of the CIA Afghan group from the photos Phillip and Elizabeth took in the bar hideout in episode 2. The leader of the group was Isaac Breland (Frank Deal), but Gabriel set the Jennings on Ted Paaswell (David Furr). Paaswell was in the middle of a divorce and selling his home cheap, both signs that he would be a vulnerable target.
Phillip and Elizabeth attended Paaswell’s open house, where Phillip was able to bug his home office, as well as the CIA agent’s portable phone. Phillip was almost caught when Passwell arrived home unexpectedly, but he covered for himself, posing as a prospective buyer enamored with the home office. Paaswell gave him some advice – turn the office into a den.
“If you have a home office you bring work home,” advised Paaswell. “Your wife starts to resent it, then she starts to resent you” – as if Phillip needed to be reminded of the perils of taking work home with you.
After the open house, Phillip and Elizabeth trailed Paaswell in his car, listening in via the tapped portable phone. They overheard a conversation with the CIA man’s babysitter, Kimberly (Julia Garner), who was coming on strong to her boss. Phillip and Elizabeth saw an in with the inappropriate relationship, but their surveillance was interrupted when they caught the attention of a CIA surveillance sweep.
Phillip was able to roll out of the car and get home, but Elizabeth had to drive well into the night to keep avoiding CIA capture, only barely getting away. When she did get home, the couple addressed something that’s been hanging over them almost as much as the Paige decision: Elizabeth’s busted mouth from the premiere scuffle with CIA agents. Unable to go to a doctor for fear of detection, the injury had not gone away and the two Jennings went into the basement so Phillip could pull the troublesome tooth out himself. Needing two tries, Phillip eventually got the tooth out in a memorable scene showcasing the show’s trademark blend of intimacy and brutality.
Meanwhile, Stan (Noah Emmerich) was still baby sitting the Soviet defector (Svetlana Efremova) while a friendship with Agent Adahalt (Brandon Dirden) started to blossom. On the other hand, Adahalt was beginning to get frustrated futilely chasing Soviet spies -- cough, Elizabeth -- with no results.
Later, Phillip met with Gabriel and suggested that he and Elizabeth trail Paaswell again and look into the Kimberly angle. Gabriel did not think it was safe and the conversation about the risks of the job turned into an argument about Paige and Gabriel’s inability to guarantee her safety.
Eventually, Phillip disregarded Gabriel and went after Paaswell with Elizabeth anyway. At the end of the episode they learn a shocking fact that promises to give them some future leverage -- Kimberly is Breland’s daughter -- as in the head of the Afghan group Breland. Things are about to get interesting!
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