The Americans: "Don't You Worry About God?"
The life of a sleeper agent presents a conundrum to those harboring spy fantasies. Most of us grew up equating "spy" with James Bond or Jason Bourne, men of action whose duplicity was tested only so far as their baccarat dealer was willing to believe they worked for a company called "Universal Exports."
Just a couple of dudes drinking beer, talking sports, and ... eating caviar.
Somewhere between 007 and the tedium of intelligence analysis is the sleeper agent. Much of their job is simply to blend in to their environment, not arousing suspicion or calling attention to themselves. But unlike you or me, occasionally they're called on to perform an (often distasteful) service for their country. This week, Phillip and Elizabeth were set to a task with a high degree of difficulty, and left with few entertaining options to complete it. By show's end, they were questioning both their superiors and their methods.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Cue gnarly, Prokofiev-esque theme song!
This week's episode, "The Clock," opens with sex. Always with the sex, at least for the first two eps. Phillip (Matthew Rhys) is rocking blue contact lenses as well as a woman named Annelise (Gillian Alexy). He and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) discuss her strengths (open to suggestion) and weaknesses ("half off her rocker") before we cut to a diplomatic party where Annelise, the wife of an Undersecretary of Defense is taking pictures of a study with a cleavage camera. Bet she got it at Bizarre Bazaar.
Phillip's cover for "getting close" to Annelise is "Scott Birkland," Swedish intelligence officer. Talk about picking an identity no one would check. Most people's knowledge of the country begins with the Swedish Chef and ends with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Anyway, Annelise tells Phillip/Scott she loves him. He responds in kind before nailing her again. He definitely seems to be enjoying his assignation more than Elizabeth did last episode.
All this is to get access to the Secretary of Defense (Caspar Weinberger, for those of you who slept through history class), whose study Annelise was photographing. Back at the Soviet Embassy, an officer named Vasili and another man (Arkady?) discuss the necessity of getting access to the study in advance of a visit by British Prime Minister Thatcher and Defense Minister Nott. Vasili balks at the time frame (two days) and threatens to call General Zhukov when his visitor tells him the General "isn't who he used to be." Threatening, but then, who is?
C'mon Mom, at least she bought a "red" bra.
Meanwhile, Agent Beeman (Noah Emmerich) and Agent Amador (Maximiliano Hernández) tail a mysterious woman who leaves a stereo shop with a mysterious package. Mysterious. They question the clerk before taking his expensive Russian caviar, incongruously sitting behind the counter.
Phillip doesn't think they can pull off the Weinberger caper, Elizabeth insists they must. Didn't see that coming. She loiters on a nearby campus and pulls a Rosa Klebb with her umbrella on a passing student. He's Grayson, son of Weinberger's maid Viola (Tonye Patano), and he's been poisoned. Phillip tells her he'll administer the antidote if she brings them the clock from Weinberger's study. Viola's not a calm customer, and though she procures the clock, she also brings her brother. Phillip incapacitates him after a brief melee, but leaves him alive after obtaining the clock. All that delicious fast food and three whole TV channels must have made him soft.