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'The Americans' USA vs. USSR fan react: The heat is on

Season 3 | Episode 8 | “Divestment” | Aired Mar 18, 2015

Anyone who’s totally honest on The Americans is often rolling the dice with their lives, but skirting the truth and telling white lies (or complete BS) is usually the smarter strategy.

Who won this week’s Cold War battle, USA or USSR? (Scroll down and cast your own vote!)

Elizabeth and Philip interrogate Venter at a warehouse. He won’t spill secrets, but is happy to voice his hatred toward black Africans—so Reuben traps Venter in a tire, douses him with gasoline, and lights a match. Todd watches in horror as his partner in crime burns alive, emitting deep, growling screams of pain, followed by gasps, and thankfully death. Even this seems a bit much for the Jennings, who exchange glances and hang their heads.

Todd, with the image of Venter’s flaming corpse probably burned into his brain forever—no pun intended—tells Elizabeth what she wants to know. They confirm his story, that Venter wanted him to bomb the campus and blame the anti-apartheid protesters, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. And despite Reuben’s desire to just shoot him, the Jennings give Todd a chance to get right, and let him go. +USSR and the anti-apartheid movement

Nina, after so easily getting a confession out of her cellmate, is offered an even better deal: Figure out if Anton Baklanov, last season’s kidnapped scientist, is purposely stalling his work in the lab, and she will have paid her debt in full.

Is another betrayal worth the price of freedom? Totally. She delights over things she probably didn’t even know she missed in prison: her tiny new apartment, a hairbrush, clean towels. She’s even excited about her first day on the job, until she meets her new boss, who’s actually just her old boss that she set up and had sent back to Russia. Though he won’t forgive her, Vasili Nikolaevich promises not to let bad feelings get in the way of their working relationship. (I predict trouble ahead.)

Nina will need to crank up the charm. Her attempt at a meet-cute with Anton (she notices he isn’t eating and brings him tea and biscuits) fails, as he’s suspicious of the new girl and too busy for small talk. +USSR for strategy, using mankind’s fascination with Nina as a weapon

Oleg’s father calls Arkady Ivanovich on the special, red KGB phone and demands his son return to Russia. Arkady promises Oleg he’ll do what he can to keep him in America. (I wish we’d see more of their friendship, maybe grabbing a brewski or playing Pac-Man at the arcade.) +USA: Oleg loves his new home and is desperate to stay, while Arkady seems to be softening to America

Agent Taffet starts interviewing FBI staff about the bug. Martha puts on a smooth performance, as a secretary who’s good at her job, but not so good as to upset the apple cart like one of those annoying feminists. She’s got a reasonable answer for each of his questions, sharp and quick like Rosalind Russell or Katharine Hepburn. She’s so convincing, Taffet walks right past her later like she’s not even there. Just a secretary to be overlooked; innocent at best, incompetent at worst.

Of course, all the calm breathing and fist clenching in the world can’t save her from breaking down later when Philip/Clark stops by for a visit. She confronts him, and I find myself hoping he’ll come clean and tell her everything for once. But while he’s obviously surprised, he stays composed and skirts the truth, and she falls into his arms. Of course, after they have makeup sex, she lies awake with her back to her lying lover. Martha’s too smart to entirely fall for his promise to love and protect her. +Martha Hanson +USSR (Philip’s cover is still safe … for now)

Taffet’s a hard guy to nail down. I can’t figure out what he’s thinking, whom he suspects, or the subtext underneath his questions. He asks Aderholt if it’s hard being new, and we wonder for a moment if he’s really asking whether it’s hard being black among mostly white agents.

Gaad isn’t pleased when Taffet insinuates it was his negligence (not installing security cameras, for example) that allowed the KGB to infiltrate the FBI. He takes out his frustration on the mail robot. +/- TBD. My prediction is Taffet will continue to cause trouble in the bureau, but Martha won’t go down for the crime

WINNER: USSR. Like a taste test between Budweiser and a fine Russia vodka, there’s no contest.

The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on FX.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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