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'The Americans' USA vs. USSR fan react: Family secrets

Season 3 | Episode 10 | “Stingers” | Aired Apr 1, 2015

This week’s The Americans proves the best show on television can leave fans holding their breath for minutes at a time with—or without—adding to the already sky-high body count.

So who came out ahead in the race between the Cold War superpowers this week—USA or USSR? (Be sure to cast your vote below!)

Family dinner will have to wait. Kimmy, drunk, calls Philip for a ride home from a wild frat party. He deposits her safely—and, thankfully, fully clothed—in her bedroom, then uses the opportunity to switch surveillance tapes in her dad’s briefcase. He spots a family photo with smiling parents and a sulking Kimmy and starts to realize just how alone she really feels.

The recording tips Philip and Elizabeth off that something’s about to happen between the CIA and ISI, the Pakistani secret service. (I found myself leaning in toward the TV to hear the recording, as if I could decode its meaning along with the Jennings.) Too bad their main point of contact has gone AWOL. They finally track Yousaf down, but he’ll only meet with Philip in person.

They did, however, pick up on the name of the hotel where the meeting may take place. Disguised, they sip cocktails in the lobby and search for a mark. Elizabeth flirts with the concierge, bantering like a bad ’70s porno, and she scores his business card. +/-USSR. They’ve laid the groundwork (and planted all the right bugs), but they haven’t won this one yet.

Zinaida, watching Tootsie at the theater with Stan and her guards, takes a break to powder her nose. (Maybe she’s not a Bill Murray fan.) She hides a small piece of paper under the sink, a coded message to the Rezidentura about the threats someone (Oleg) made at her hotel. What vindication: She really is an undercover traitor! +USSR for a clever plan. +USA (or only Stan) for listening to his gut. Now he just needs to prove it.

Walter Taffet gets around to interviewing Stan about the bugged pen, and a slight facial twitch hints that Agent Beeman has suspicions about who might be responsible. He won’t give up a name, but asks after Martha post-meeting. (She’s out on family business.) +Stan: great instincts, cool under pressure, insists on due diligence.

What’s new in the Soviet Union? The scientist and Nina speak English to keep their conversations away from prying ears. His work is slow-going because he needs photographs of the U.S. technology. Nina reveals she learned to speak English in America, and he seems intrigued. +USSR for Nina’s spycraft

“Oh Sh*t” Moment of the Week: Paige is waiting up for her parents when they arrive home from the hotel reconnaissance and Gabriel’s place. Egged on by Pastor Tim, she bravely confronts them about years of strange behavior. She used to think she was crazy, she tells them, but now she knows it’s not her imagination. Are they in witness protection? Is she adopted? Are they aliens? (Well, sort of!)

The anticipation builds through long pauses and wordless conversation between Elizabeth and Philip. What are they going to tell her?! In a shocking moment of honesty, they come clean. Philip, ashamed, can’t make eye contact; he keeps his head bowed, and, voice cracking, admits they were born in the Soviet Union, and serve their country by delivering information that can’t be otherwise obtained. Paige is the only one who uses the word “spies.” Elizabeth proudly admits that she and Philip are working on behalf of their nation and serving “the cause.”

They try to impress upon her the gravity of the situation: If she tells a soul, she’ll send her parents to jail forever. Paige insists on staying home from school the next morning. Elizabeth doesn’t feel right about leaving for work, but Philip trusts Paige to keep their secret. There is an incredibly tense minute when she dials Pastor Tim and begins to describe the confrontation … but in the end, she does not spill their secret. Yet.

What lies ahead for Paige, who has a hard time just containing her disbelief upon realizing her dad’s best friend is an FBI agent, who’s over for dinner like it’s no big deal? No points for USA or USSR until Paige herself can dig through the facts and her feelings. + to Holly Taylor for playing Paige as the oldest teenager on television, and I mean that as a compliment. Paige is shocked, angry, and confused, but never falls into the trap of teen melodrama.

WINNER: TIE, USSR and Agent Stan Beeman. The Soviet Union has got a better team at the moment, but the FBI has a star player whom I predict is going to tear the whole game apart by season’s end.

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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