The Americans fifth episode, "Comint," understands that sex sells. Not just in the sense fewer viewers would tune in if Elizabeth wasn't stripping down to her skivvies often or the (regrettably) rarer instances of Philip showing off his KGBanging body. Both Russian and American characters trade their bodies for secrets in "Comint," with sometimes deadly results.
Cracking Spies and Cryptic Codes
Double agent Udacha faithfully served Mother Russia until his wife died six months ago. Grief leaves his resolve wavering, and new FBI encryption techniques prevent any comrades from providing comfort. Elizabeth and Philip are assigned to cracking this new code.
Nina's also feeling heat from the feds. G - Man Stan tells her either dig up some useful information, or invest in Gulag appropriate clothing.
More Like Elizabest, Right?
Elizabeth performs some seductive subterfuge towards breaking the FBI's code, but with disturbing results. Her target begins viciously beating her with a belt in a hard to watch scene. Though Elizabeth feigns helplessness during the assault, afterward she shrugs it off as an annoying part of her job. Keri Russel does some amazing acting here. She's thoroughly convincing as someone who could murder this guy 23 ways using only her eyebrows, but won't blow her cover.
After returning home, Philip becomes incensed seeing his wife's bruises. Elizabeth sternly reminds him her assailant would be all kinds of murdered if needed. She then proves her spy skills stealing the FBI encryption key, and Philip apologizes for his anger. Really this whole episode really expanded Elizabeth's character, and The Americans is better for it.
A Killer Ending
Nina similarly uses sex to obtain information on this new breach in FBI security. Stan feels incredible guilt for basically pushing her into this position. Did anyone else pick up on some vibe that Stan's growing increasingly attached to his turncoat? If that's true, this will only end in tears.
The KGB cut their losses when they can't meet with Udacha. Rather than risk his defection, Elizabeth shoots him in the face. It creepily harkens back to the earlier sequence when she says if she wants someone dead, they're dead.
This was my favorite episode of The Americans yet. There was plenty of character growth and spy hijinks, two of this series' strengths. Did you enjoy it as well, or was "Comint" way too raunchy? Comment and let us know!
(Imae courtesy of FX)