The next day, Phillip and the kids hop in the car to check out the new mall. Elizabeth refrains from the family outing; it's just like every other mall, she says. No, this one has fountains and skylights, Phillip answers, displaying his affinity not only for his nice suburban family but also for the more materialistic perks of life in America versus Russian life.
Important note: Russell's co-star Matthew Rhys is all kinds of endearing, what with Phillip's complete embrace of his American family lifestyle (even as he is constantly tugged into violence by his job and coldly rebuffed by his wife, partly for reasons he does not yet know). But it's the trip to the mall that seals it -- that he is, to those of us who are still fretting a little over whether Felicity should have been with Noel or Ben in the end, Felicity-worthy.
First, he dances, to the horror of teenage daughter Paige, to the strains of Juice Newton's "Queen of Hearts" (Juice Newton, hello you totally tubular '80s pop star, you) while trying on a pair of boots in a shoe store. Then, while checking out at the register, he restrains himself while a perv named Errol (Phillip notes his full, distinctive name from his credit card) makes a pervy comment about 13-year-old Paige.
"You're getting older … it's no use fighting guys like that," Phillip tells her as they're leaving the store. "God, I wouldn't want you to," Paige says.
We're going to jump forward, because Errol's retribution, which he so richly deserves, is so satisfying.
Phillip, having used the credit card info to track the knuckledragger down, sneaks up on Errol while he's BBQ-ing (wieners, of course) in his backyard. Without a word, Phillip begins thrashing Errol around the yard, ending with sticking a BBQ fork in Errol's junk, then his hand. Cool hand Phillip then snags a hotdog; puts it on a bun; and, as he walks away, tells the cretin, "No more little girls. Or I'll be back, and I'll stick that in your heart."
Speaking of, Phillip and the kids return home, where Elizabeth is baking brownies to take to the new neighbors and contemplating using a knife on the Captain. She also yet again rather brutally rebuffs Phillip's efforts to show affection.
And Phillip's day is only going to get worse. Those new neighbors? The dad is FBI guy Stan Beeman. And no, as Phillip asks, hopefully, Stan does not go after bank robbers. He's in the counterintelligence game. Spies. And the worse spies, according to Stan? Russian ones. Who needs enemies when you're taking homemade brownies to your spy-hunting neighbor?
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The new nabe sparks a hasty conference in the laundry room at Casa de Jennings, where Phillip, much more seriously this time, again brings up the possibility that they consider defecting. Stan's presence in the 'hood may be a big coincidence. Or maybe it's not, he reasons. Millions in cash and the U.S. government's assistance could mean a good life for them and their kids, he says. But even the suggestion that they betray "the motherland," as Elizabeth calls it, earns him her scorn and a slap across his face.
The next morning, after his jog, Phillip runs into Stan, who wants to borrow a pair of jumper cables. Phillip has to quickly retrieve them from the trunk -- of the Olds -- a split second before Stan reaches the trunk himself.
Meanwhile, at the FBI, we learn a little more about Stan (played by a fantastic Noah Emmerich). His last assignment took him deep undercover within a white supremacist group, and he's now considered an expert on counterterrorism cases. An agent on a counterterrorism task force (played by Richard Thomas … John-Boy Walton, people!) approaches Stan and asks for his opinion on the recent kidnapping of a defecting KGB agent. Where does Stan think the kidnappers would take him? Where would they hide him if he was still in the country, John-Boy Task Forcer asks.
Probably at home, Stan replies.
Speaking of, back at the Jennings home, Phillips has taken it upon himself to sneak into the garage, get the Captain out of the trunk and take him off for a meeting with the Americans to get the defection ball rolling. Elizabeth walks in, though, and after he explains that he's made the decision for them to proceed this way, she tells him she'd rather die, rather lose everything, before she would betray her country.
"I'm finishing this," she says, before going after the Captain. Phillip tries to intervene, but can't before she kicks the Captain's head through a wall. Told ya.
As she picks up a tire iron to finish him off, the Captain speaks. "I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt you. They let us have our way with the cadets. It was part of the job. A perk."
Phillip slowly realizes just what the Captain did to Elizabeth all those years ago and what it's done to their lives all these years since. Though she looks at the Captain with anger, she drops the tire iron and tells Phillip to do with him as he pleases, even if it means taking him to the Americans.
Phillip grabs the Captain, stands him against a wall, and snaps his neck.
With Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight" as their soundtrack (understandable choice, though such an overused song that it feels like one of the very few missteps of the series so far), Elizabeth and Phillip drive off to dispose of the Captain's body, which they commemorate with hot sex in the car, initiated by her -- probably, almost certainly, the first real intimacy they've shared in their relationship.
Does he still love America, his American family and the American lifestyle? Yes. Is she still hopelessly devoted to the motherland? Indeed. But we've just seen the beginning of Elizabeth and Phillip's real marriage, no matter how inevitably complicated it's going to remain.
Especially since, during a meeting with a KGB general, Elizabeth finds out that she and Phillip are in hot water for botching, as the KGB sees it, the Captain case. More is going to be expected from them, more dangerous missions, going forward, she is told.
And also because Stan, who likes Phillip, finds there's something just a little "off" about him. And the feeling's not so little; Stan breaks into the Jenningses' garage and checks out the trunk of the Olds, which Elizabeth had already cleaned.
But Phillip knows they're being watched -- by the KGB, and by Stan. That's why Phillip was hiding in the garage, watching Stan, with a gun in his hand.
Phillip and Elizabeth bond again, later, in bed, when she tells him that their jobs are about to get more dangerous, uglier. He assures her that everything will be OK, and she grabs his hand and begins to tell him about her real background, before she met him.
But another flashback reminds us that the two are dealing with a fundamental difference in the way they feel about their current homeland. When they first arrive in America, they delight in the comfort of air conditioning. Everything, Phillip says, is "brighter" in America.
Elizabeth's take: "There's a weakness in the people. I can feel it."
Her feelings about her husband, her willingness to get close to him, may have evolved. But America, the American way of life? She's still fighting a cold war.
And yes, since any "Felicity" devotee is wondering, her hair is long again. Just the way we like it.
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"The Americans" airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on FX.