The Americans Season 5, Episode 9 Recap: We Never Thought We'd See Her Again

Photo: Jeffrey Neira/FX.
Kimmy, Gaad’s wife, Nina, MARTHA. Where to begin? The character throwbacks this week are numerous and yet there’s also so much plot that watching this episode feels like getting a pop quiz on literally everything that has happened on this show for the last four years. And after watching it twice, I’m still not sure I’d score higher than a B-. Let’s run through this practice test together.
On a scale of 1-10, how creepy is it when Philip sings “Forever Young” to Kimmy while carrying a birthday cake?
Um, a thousand. This is a (barely) seventeen-year-old girl he’s been “dating” for two years. Judging by her flirtatious, “You wanna know what I wished for?” and his response (“Whoa whoa whoa, don’t tell me!”) it seems as if he hasn’t actually had sex with her, but clearly, they’re still seeing each other. The only thing creepier than a 40-something man dating a teenager is wishing that she’d stay “forever young.”
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Aw, no, it’s cute! Maybe they’ll finally do it!
Wait, who is Kimmy again? Somebody’s daughter? Can we pause real quick so I can rewatch Season 3?
Surprise! Henry The Genius secretly applied to a super elite prep school in New Hampshire. Why?
Because, as he says, it’s a very good school. And his teacher says he’s at the most important developmental stage, so, “don’t we want to capitalise on that?”
Because his parents sure aren’t all that interested in his academic aptitude, and maybe he should go somewhere where they actually care that he’s a genius.
Because why the hell would he want to live in that house anyway? His sister is having a meltdown, mom and dad are never home, and he’s been taking care of himself for a long time anyway.
Because a girl he likes is going there. Come on.
Stan swings by for a cup of coffee with Agent Gaad’s widow, Linh. The FBI have new intel on the KGB’s role in Gaad’s death, which they’d like Stan to use in order to squeeze Oleg (which he doesn’t want to do because of their special bro code). He’d like Linh to tell him it’s okay not to use this against Oleg, because Gaad wouldn’t want revenge anyway, right? Wrong! “He would want revenge,” she says. Real quick, who was Gaad and how did he die again?
Stan’s boss/Accidentally fell through a glass door in Thailand while being cornered by KGB agents.
Stan’s partner/Stabbed by Philip and later died of complications. Or was that another guy?
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Stan’s new partner/No wait, that guy’s alive…
It totally doesn’t matter. All we need to know is Stan now has to press Oleg, bro code or not.
A group of Mujahideen died of a hemorrhagic fever which sounds a lot like the hemorrhagic fever which infected and killed William — and which Elizabeth and Philip sent back to Russia in this season’s first episode. Remember, the Soviets said they needed it in order to create an antidote, because the Americans were planning to use it as a chemical weapon against them. But now it kinda seems like they just wanted it to use it themselves in Afghanistan. True or False?
False: “We don’t know it’s the same virus we gave them,” Elizabeth says.
True: “It’s a hell of a coincidence if it isn’t,” answers Philip.
Who is this priest and what is he talking about?
I spent seven hours on Wikipedia after Googling “KGB Russian Orthodox Church.” Let me tell you all about it.
Don’t know, don’t care, I’m exhausted. Has South Park started yet?
What are the odds we’re ever going to see Martha again?
AMAZING! Martha is back and now she will never leave us again, RIGHT?
Not great. After all the excitement with her surprise cameo earlier this season, tonight’s reappearance was — well, just as grim as one would expect. She’s an innocent victim who’s been yanked out of her life by the KGB. “I understand everything now,” she tells Gabriel. And by the look on her face, she means it. And that must be a brutal, bitter truth to swallow every day. Seems like she’d kind of like to be left alone with her sad baked potato, and live the shallow semblance of the life she now has in peace. After everything she’s been through, maybe it’s best we obey her wishes.
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What is Oleg’s deal anyway?
Oleg is fully committed to the KGB gig now, which is why he goes to the prison and convinces the grocer to give him some names. “We’re more powerful than you think.”
Oleg knows he’s on borrowed time and will likely be arrested and/or executed at any point. That’s why he willingly shares everything with the PGU, including his relationship with Nina and the fact that he’s angry about her execution. He knows he’s sunk so he doesn’t care anymore. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, and all that.
Oleg is faking casual but secretly freaking out. He’s being honest with the PGU as a last-ditch effort to save his own skin — and because he knows they probably know everything already.
Oleg is having a crisis of faith, just like every other character this season (except Henry). His father is no longer his hero — particularly not after that monologue about what a good guy he was for staying with Oleg’s mom despite what “she did” in the camp. His country is failing and out of food, and he is well aware that the dream of a communist utopia is not coming true anytime soon. Oh, and his girlfriend is still dead. Sooooo, yeah. That’s his deal.
Tuan took a surprise trip to Pennsylvania this week, and Elizabeth and Philip tailed him to an IHOP. He says he went out of state to call home, where his brother is sick with leukaemia. He also says he knew he was being surveilled, so he didn’t make the call and ducked into the IHOP instead, before heading back Virginia. Are you buying this?
Totally. Tuan is like a young Elizabeth — impeccably skilled and unwavering in his commitment to the cause. How else would he have been able to realise he was been tailed by the Jennings? He’s just that good.
Or he’s just that good a liar. If Tuan is a double agent, Elizabeth and Philip are screwed.
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